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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So, I just found out (via coalescent) that "Two Dreams on Trains" is longlisted for a BSFA award. So is a certain charmingbillie, and a few other people a I know. Me, I would probably recommend Kelly's story off that list in preference to anything I am ever likely to write. *g*

HorrorScope reviews TTA 42 and says of "House of the Rising Sun" that it adds "little new to a very old genre."

That is a totally fair cop. It doesn't, and it wasn't honestly an attempt to add anything new to the vampire genre. It was just a story about a guy who happens to be a vampire and gets presented with a once-in-a-deathtime opportunity. One he wouldn't have been able to take while he was alive, and might not be able to take now, because he's a bit used to being told what to do. So the question is, do people ever get stronger, or don't they?

I write in a genre that privileges novelty. I should really be used to that by now.

Writer Tate Halloway comments on the sexual politics of Scardown here. (I read too many writer blogs. I do. I know it.) THERE ARE SPOILERS. Huge, major, massive spoilers. (And I spoiler Worldwired slightly in the comments.)

lossrockhart has a very nice preview plug for The Chains that You Refuse here.

52-book challenge, book 10: Nick O'Donohoe, Too Too Solid Flesh, spoilers follow.

Boy I wanted to like this book. There is so much Cool Shit in here--in fact, it subscribes totally to skzbrust's Cool Shit Theory of Literature ("Books are all about the Cool Shit."). It's got Android!Hamlet and Not-Android!Horatio, and the relationship between them is marvellous, and had so much potential to become a kind of deconstruction of power (that seems to be what the book wants to be about, but I was left feeling that the author didn't have the level of craft necessary to carry off the thematic aspects while still maintaining the flow of the plot and the characterization. Other Cool Shit: the worldbuilding is tres neat, though I didn't buy it in places; [spoiler redacted]!AI and its encounter with Hamlet; the level of absolute decadence of the rotting society and its rotting people.

But I had some problems. The writing is often clunky and toneless and the omniscient is sort of a poster child for How Not To Write Omni (though there's some wonderful dialogue and the odd trenchant observation scattered through it: A veteran of tragedy, Ophelia did not entirely trust surprises.) and if one more person said something flatly I was going to scream. The plot doesn't really resolve satisfactorily--I knew whodunnit and how on page 60 or so, and I'm not a solver-of-mystery-novels. I prefer to keep myself in the dark as long as possible, but it was impossible to miss the setup here. Also, I did not buy the dodge used to get the human Horatio into the android theatre company. Not when half the suspects are people who work in the android fab lab. No. And that kept distracting me all book, because I was looking for the Plausible Explanation that never quite materialized. I liked [spoiler redacted] the AI, but I got the feeling he was Just There To Be Cool; he didn't actually have a purpose in the narrative but was kind of shoehorned in for the purpose of making a few cryptic pronouncements to Hamlet, and then underutilized afterwards.

Also, the big reveal at the end? Did not work in the context of the story being told, and offered, to my mind, a sensation rather like it had been shoehorned in from another book. Possibly Wolves Eat Dogs, come to think of it....

I wanted more of the decay and the decadence and Hamlet and Horatio struggling against it. I wanted the book to live up to the promise of its best bits, which include the wonderful passage about Hamlet and how the tension in the play grows from watching him walk this unraveling rope over assured destruction, which I reread three times. I kind of felt as if the author knew what the bits he wanted to write were, and then strung them together with whatever narrative he could find that kind of made sense.

The good bits, in other words, were really pretty darned good. But the flaws wound up taking the novel apart for me.

Tags: 52 book challenge, link salad, narcissism, reviews

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