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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

I am.

Home safe.

V. bloody tired.

Several books heavier.

I did get a lot of reading done on the plane, however.

Book #55: Vellum: The Book of All Hours, Hal Duncan

I *really* liked this. I found it reminiscent of The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath and Roadmarks and Creatures of Light and Darkness, not in a derivative fashion, but in an evolutionary fashion. (Upcoming opinion piece in ASIM on just this topic, actually). I loved the fragmentary nonlinear narrative, and the repetitions, and the alterations, and the inconsistencies, and the complexities, and the wonderful headbendiness of it all. I thought it was a courageous and sharp book; I wonder if it will retain its power in ten or fifteen years, when it's no longer quite so topical, however.

I did find the last hundred pages or so sort of anticlimactic. I was hoping for a bit more oomph in The Big Reveal, as it were, but it may just be that (a) I've been writing along similar thematic (although very different structural) lines and (b) I'm a trained professional.

All that aside, however, this book is An Achievement.

Book #56: Shakespeare and Co., Stanley Wells

Stanley Wells, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

This is a wonderful book. Not only does Wells know everything, he can get it on the page concisely, amusingly, and with rather good prose.This is a wonderful book. Not only does Wells apparently know everything about the Elizabethan and Jacobean stage, he can get it on the page concisely, amusingly, and with rather good prose.

This book is full of fascinating tidbits--the usual anecdotes, of course--but lesser-known stories as well. I had to read some bits from this at my reading at Worldcon, it was so good.

Book #57: On Stranger Tides, Tim Powers

An old favorite, which I just picked up a new copy of, as there is a small-press trade printing with a great cover (and a couple of dropped quotation marks.).

Still love it. "Saints be praised! The cook survived!" I had forgotten the bit with the compass needle. I came up with a similiar schtick for The Journeyman Devil. Ooops. Bloody, funny, apt, and full of juicy goodness.

tigersquirrels.net review B&I.

The Little Professor reviews Year's Best Fantasy & Horror 2006, and liked the Lovecraftian category romance.

To-do list:

finish "Limerent" (Sept 5)
Whiskey & Water CEM (Sept 22)
Undertow rewrite (?)
The Stratford Man rewrite (?)
write "Chatoyant" (Dec. 31)
write "Lumiere" (Dec. 31)
write "1796" (asap)
revise By the Mountain Bound (Dec. 31)
Dust proposal (?)
rewrite All the Windwracked Stars (January 1)
write space opera novella (April 1)


I think I read Stephen King on writing at a formative age. I vividly recall the bit in Danse Macabre (which I read when I was, what, fourteen? Fifteen?) bemoaning the plight of the novella-writing author. Possibly the industry has changed a wee bit since then, or perhaps his experience is not universal.

I quite reading like novellas, myself. Are they fun to write?
Well, you get to quit just as you get to the middle, so they beat novels. *g*

They're often feted as the natural length of science fiction--long enough for adequate worldbuilding, short enough not to bog down. YMMV....
Novellas are considered by the *industry* to be awkward. They take up too much space in a magazine or an anthology, with the corresponding risk that if a reader doesn't like the novella, it's a much greater chunk of the whole that the reader dislikes. They're not long enough to package solo except as special gift books, which tend to sell poorly.

OTOH, readers tend to like them, they work well in single-author collections, limited edition small press books (where you don't expect to sell a lot, so make up for it with quality and prettiness of book and binding), and the internet's only length-limits are really what the individual reader is willing to look at on screen.