it's a great life, if you don't weaken (matociquala) wrote,
it's a great life, if you don't weaken

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where I work...

The cat does not think I should be working on the page proofs.

A tightly-made bed or a flattened-out futon is about the best place to work on page proofs and CEMs, because it requires a good deal of spreading piles of paper out and making marks on them. There's also a lap desk involved, but that's out of frame on the right.

In lieu of content, as I expect to spend the weekend buried under paper, I offer the following review roundup...

First of all, the Fantasy Book Critic blog offers several authors' "Best of 2007/Most anticipated for 2008" lists. Including, um, mine. No surprises there if you read this blog, but some capsule book reviews. ETA: Seems to have gone away again. Oh, internets, how you mock me.

Second, a whole bunch of reviews and comment by other people on my stuff (and Sarah's stuff, too).

The Best!! Review!! of ACTW evar!!:

In which you may hear runpunkrun say, "YET IT'S NOT BAD."

And that, right there, is why one subverts, with the subversion.

(And yes, it really is more or less wolfmaegthingamajiggy. Ahh, Old Norse, the language where you don't need nouns, because you have "thing.")

That's Immaterial reviews A Companion to Wolves with bonus The Bone Key. And here I am thinking, A trilogy?? But, even at 100K, Wolves essentially has no plot.

I really do like books denser than other people do, don't I?

sanguinity's 2007 book list includes mentions of all sorts of books that look really interesting. And, A Companion to Wolves.

Saul Relative reviews Hammered for Associated Content.

The Perpetual Beginner is reading the Jenny books. 

JJA interviews Sarah on A Companion to Wolves for SciFiWire.

folzgold found Undertow somewhat confusing but ultimately rewarding. You know, this just proves that even when I am going out of my way to write a straightforward adventure novel, my brain may not cooperate.

ginny_t has a favorite line in the book, however. (And yes, it's one of my favorite lines, too.)

andyleggett likes Carnival, but thinks it might be a little dense.

selestialstar over at Greatest Journal thought Carnival was too heavyhanded in its message. (Message?)

3seed liked Dust.

fadethecat comments on Dust here and here and here

stillnotbored really, really liked Dust.

You know, I am going to have to think about the reactions to that book, because there's something going on there and in the reactions to New Amsterdam that I am not yet competent as a writer to understand. Which is to say, people seem to really, really like them.

And in both cases, I kind of thought what I was doing was writing solid little adventure novels, not too deep or complicated, and sort of free of the complicated ethical and thematic arguments that really hit my kinks. There aren't any really good moments of "Let's drag this untenable set of unwinnable arguments out into the light and thrash them over some," in either, and while I think there are some interesting thematic bits--for example colonialism and alienation, in New Amsterdam, as evidenced by Sebastien's age, Abby Irene's attempts to move through a world that really has no place for her, Jack's attempts to do the same, etc etc--they're not books that really dig down into my own feelings and conflicts about the way the world works in the same way that, say, Whiskey & Water does.

I'm not even sure I could tell you what Dust's thematic argument is. Although it's got something to do with loving people on their own terms, and the way men's/societal expectations of women's roles conflict with women's self-determination. But it's very linear, in my head, very straightforward, and it feels like a somewhat shallow treatment without a lot of nuance. (Although, well, A Companion to Wolves really puts the B back into "subtle," as it were, and people are still managing to miss that.)

But then, I don't do polemics, unless the subject of the polemic is "This is pretty fucked up right here." I, you know, write arguments. Because nothing bores me more than somebody who thinks he knows the answers.

Which is not to say that I think either Dust or New Amsterdam are bad books--far from it; they were the best books I could write while remaining true to the book each one was in my head, and I think they're both pretty solid. I would not have let them out of the house if I didn't.--but I do think they're, well, a bit fluffy. Not very ambitious, you know? I wasn't pushing my limits in writing either one of them. I wasn't taking any chances. And I know it. Dust was written well inside my span of control. Maybe that means I sissied. Maybe that means it's a mature novel. Who knows?

It's hard being a self-aware artist. You know, other writers can just do this stuff without analyzing it to death.

(leahbobet said, if it's fluff, it's nuanced and well-written fluff, and I thank her for that.)

And yet, readers are obviously getting something out of them. Maybe it is that very linearity that I find so limiting and frustrating and surfacy.

And then they find Undertow and Carnival confusing and overly dense. *g*

I dunno. I'm rereading the page proofs of Blood & Iron, which, when I wrote it, was the hardest thing I had ever written.

And of course, being me, all I can see is how incredibly terrible it is.

Yeah, I hate them all. I either hate them for not being ambitious enough, or I hate them for failing to attain their ambitions.

All right, enough goddamned introspection and self-pity. Back to the reviews!

Undertow was maybe a little too understated for firstfrost. But in general, a thumb's-up, I think.

SF Signal reviews Wastelands. And spoils the hell out of just about every story in it.

mrissa on A Companion to Wolves. "Monkeys, monkeys, monkeys!"

a_c_fiorucci on Dust, with interesting comments about style and voice. That would be, er, the Zelazny pastiche homage.


stwish on A Companion to Wolves. I quibble the point that modern humans can't appreciate the barbarism of our ancestors. I'm pretty sure some of my neighbors would still turn up for bear-baiting or a nice drawing and quartering if it were going on down at the town green.

Joe Sherry awards the Promethean Age the top spot on his best of 2007 list.

ETA: And just to round that out, the Mercury News hated Whiskey & Water with a passion.

Tags: navel gazing, reviews

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