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bear by san

March 2017

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phil ochs troubador

The Independent reviews Aileen Ribeiro's Fashion and Fiction. Worth reading, I think, just for the swing of the reviewer's prose.

Book 18: Charles Nicholl, National Portrait Gallery Insights: Shakespeare and His Contemporaries

Good. Pretty. Brief. Occasionally slightly sloppy, but trying to bio Ben Jonson in three pages with illustrations is the sort of thing we don't expect anybody to do without fluffing a step.

I liked it, snd not just for Nicholl's inimitable snark. We loff you, Charlie.


Book 19: Margo Lanagan, Black Juice

Yeah, I'm going to be the guy who didn't like this collection as much as everybody else. Go figure.

The writing is stunningly beautiful, the stories sometimes piquantly observant. But Lanagan's sense of rhythm and mine don't mesh. I see where her beats fall, and then she carries the story on after the kicker, as if she doesn't quite know how to arrange things so that the necessary information falls before the final downbeat, or as if she doesn't quite trust the reader to get the epiphany (all her stories in this are epiphantic rather than climactic, if you know what I mean) without having it 'splained. Also, after a while, though the situation of each story was interesting and unique, they all started to sound alike to me: character walks through brief, interestingly-worldbuilt situation. Character undergoes epiphany. Narrative explains epiphany. fin.

This made me sad. (I had the occasion to tell the story this weekend of why I am a professional writer because Algis Budrys rejected me so very well. The third or fourth story I sent him, when he was editing Tomorrow, he rejected by saying something to the effect of "I was really enjoying this story until the end, when I think it fell apart on you. This made me sad." It flipped a light switch in my head, because it made me realize that the editor was rooting for me, and it was up to me to fulfill his expectations, to live up to his desire to publish me.

After that, it took seven or eight years to learn how to do that, of course, but that's neither here nor there.)

Anyway, as I was saying: beautifully written, with some jewel-like observations. She evokes a sense of place and the sensations of how a particular setting feels as well as anyone I've read. Not bad, just not for me.

Book 20: Ken MacLeod, Newton's Wake

I still haven't finished this, because I needed shorter narratives during the con. But I did get the opportunity to compliment Mr. MacLeod on his use of voice over the weekend, and he is not only a lovely man with a gorgeous accent, but he blushes when you say nice things to him. I may have to develop a completely inappropriate crush.

Comments

he blushes when you say nice things to him. I may have to develop a completely inappropriate crush.

*snort*

Thanks. I needed a chuckle before slogging off to work.

'Twas a great con.
Likewise.

(Nice meeting you, Bear. Must do it again some time where there's a working bar and no loud [c]rap playing in the background ...)
Nice meeting you, too. *g* And yes, we must. Also when I am not dying of incipient food poisoning....
Food poisoning? Ah, that explains the disjuncture between your normal online personna and your, um ... lack of energy?

Been there done that, BTW -- food poisoning can really ruin a weekend. Much sympathy.
Oh, yeah. Saturday night, when I went home early? I was, um. Very ill. Fine by Sunday though....
Actually, janni was also underwhelmed by Black Juice.

---L.
Thanks for the comments on Black Juice. I'm on the waiting list for it from the library since I'm doing a project on the f&sf novels that have won or won honors for the Printz award. Yes, sad to hear what you have to say about the book, but not surprised. I was at a reading of hers once and have read one of her stories, and I was the one not hanging on every word. A lot of atmosphere, gorgeous and engaging atmosphere, but the characater was acting in a vacuum of sorts. Which may be a way of saying I didn't feel the character's motivation. But at the reading, everyone else was so drawn into the story that I felt like I'd been left outside the door. Hopefully, I'll like Black Juice more than you do when I finally get it from the library. I'm #8 on a waiting list, and #11 for Airborne by Kenneth Oppel.
though the situation of each story was interesting and unique, they all started to sound alike to me

Hm, maybe they were written to be read in magazines one at a time among other authors' stories, instead of all together? One argument against libraries and small bookshelves.