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Jeffrey
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 11:07 am:   

The first book I'm reading in 2004, appropriately enough I think, is Ian R. MacLeod's THE LIGHT AGES, which concerns the heralding in of a brand new day...or at least, the efforts of various people to bring that day about. I saw this at the last Readercon and it seemed right up my alley, and I later read in a LOCUS interview that MacLeod is a huge fan of Thomas Hardy, an enthusiasm I share. LIGHT AGES has a bit more the feel of Dickens to me, perhaps, than Hardy - there's a bit of GREAT EXPECTATIONS in it - but the Hardy influence is there. The book is very heavy on description; the pictures MacLeod paints of the city and the countryside - of the environments of the wealthy and the poor - are vivid and poetic. One troubling aspect of the book is that it has a shocking amount of typos, especially considering that in LOCUS, MacLeod said it took him 5 years to write the book; you'd think he would have caught them in that time. (The worst, on page 305: "This was what was not what was supposed to happen.") But overall the book is very nicely written, and I love the way MacLeod incorporates the use of magic in the book, taking the glamor out of such things as dragons and unicorns to make them sad mutations created for display and entertainment. These wonders and more are fueled by aether, a magical resource (like oil, the cause of much greed and suffering) mined by the lower classes - this concept being my favorite aspect of the novel. It's really an impressive book to this point - MacLeod creates a striking world. My first glance of the dust jacket had me suspecting that it was inspired to some extent by China Mieville's universe (both render surrealistic views of London, though only MacLeod calls it that, and both utilize socialist themes) but THE LIGHT AGES has its own mood and atmosphere, ultimately. It's much more leisurely paced and low key in its story-telling style, its characters more mundane and sadly befuddled, the tone more melancholy, and the mutant city MacLeod builds turns out to be very much his own. As I enter the last 100 or so pages, I look forward to seeing how it all wraps up.

Beyond that, I very much look forward to beginning Michael Cisco's THE TYRANT, the next book on my list...and further beyond that, his book with the Ministry of Whimsy, containing THE DIVINITY STUDENT (which I loved) and its sequel THE GOLEM. Cisco is another master of surreal world-building, and one of my favorites among such architects.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - 09:57 am:   

I feel I'm slacking off - I haven't finished a book yet. I'm in the middle of two though:

Cabinet of Medical Curiosities by Jan Bondeson and McSweeney's 11. With Cabinet, I've just finished the section about believe in spontaneous combustion and am now reading about bosom serpents. It really boggles the mind the bizarre stuff people believed (still believe) in.

The Tyrant was very good. I'm looking forward to Cisco's next. I'll have to check out Light Ages.
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Jeffrey
Posted on Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - 03:59 pm:   

Bosom serpents? Ha! Well, I still believe in trouser serpents. ! Really, though, I must get that book - one of my favorites of that type is Gould and Pyle's classic and profusely illustrated ANOMALIES AND CURIOSITIES OF MEDICINE, a source of much inspiration to me, including the pieces I wrote for THE THACKERY T. LAMBSHEAD POCKET GUIDE TO ECCENTRIC AND DISCREDITED DISEASES.

For Christmas, my sister got me a calendar called "Forgotten English". Today's phrase is "monkey spoon".
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - 06:42 pm:   

Bosom serpents are snakes that live inside the stomach. The chapter also talks about toads, frogs and snakes living in people too. One person even claimed to have vomited up a small dog. It's amazing how recently people believed in this.

Gould & Pyle's book is mentioned in the introduction as a very influential work on Cabinet. I should get their book too.

What is a monkey spoon?
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JET
Posted on Thursday, January 08, 2004 - 04:02 pm:   

A spoon with a monkey or ape engraved on the handle, given to pall-bearers at the funerals of great people in the city of New York.

Hmm...New York...Statue of Liberty...Planet of the Apes. I'm trying to work it all out...

I didn't know that there was a book called FORGOTTEN ENGLISH by Jeffrey Kacirk, but I saw it on your list of books read in 03, Robert. I'm enjoying this accompanying calendar Kacirk put together.
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Paul Tremblay
Posted on Friday, January 09, 2004 - 06:04 pm:   

Just finished I SAILED WITH MAGELLAN by Stuart Dybek. Amazing book...a novel of interconnected short stories all taking place in a Chicago neighborhood.
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Neddal
Posted on Sunday, January 11, 2004 - 03:50 pm:   

So far...
Veniss Underground - Jeff Vandermeer
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch - Philip K. Dick

That Forgotten English calendar seems to be pretty popular, I have one too.
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paul tremblay
Posted on Sunday, February 29, 2004 - 11:18 am:   

THE CONTORTIONIST'S HANDBOOK by Craig Clevenger. Can't say enough about this book. One of my favorite recent reads. Dark, dizzying, paranoid, oddly beautiful at times. Story about a borderline-autistic guy who changes identities (with masterful forgeries) every time he has a godsplitter (a super migrane). The godsplitters send him into painkiller overdose every time. He changes id's so as not to be remanded to state coustody. Awesome, awesome book.

REASONS TO LIVE by Amy Hempel. Cool little book of quirky short stories.

BULLETS OF RAIN by David Schow. A fun, twisted thriller.

Currently reading THE HOURS, which is amazing as well.
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Jeffrey
Posted on Monday, March 01, 2004 - 06:36 am:   

Wow, CONTORTIST'S HANDBOOK sounds truly fascinating. Still working on Michael Cisco's THE TYRANT - I was sidetracked proof-reading a friend's collection for him - but I'm loving it; I thought I might prefer it to THE DIVINITY STUDENT, for a while there, but I'm not sure...both are so superb.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Monday, March 01, 2004 - 09:31 am:   

I'm working on The Book, The Writer (Zoran Zivcovic).

I've started a lot of books this year, but few were able to keep my attention and they got dropped after a few chapters. The ones I've finished are

Cabinet of Medical Curiosities by Jan Bondeson
Vanitas by Jeffrey Ford
Rumors of Existence by Matthew Billie (the most reliable cryptozoology book I've found, since it doesn't go for longshots, but mostly deals with stuff we know exists, or things which may be crossbreeds, mutations or new species).
Memoranda by Jeffrey Ford
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John Klima
Posted on Tuesday, March 02, 2004 - 05:53 am:   

I just finished THE BEAST THAT SHOUTED LOVE AT THE HEART OF THE WORLD and I'm about 20 pages from the end of Iain Banks' COMPLICITY (which picked up nicely after a slow methodical start). Next could be BEULAHATCHIE or ALTERED CARBON or GIRL WITH THE PEARL EARRING or GRENDEL. We'll see. Or another Harlan Ellison short story collection.

JK
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paul tremblay
Posted on Tuesday, March 16, 2004 - 09:13 am:   

KISS ME, JUDAS by Will Christopher Baer. It might just be perfect in the most twisted, dark, and haunting sense. Neo-noir with buckets of style of meaning and grace and ugliness and eroticism and perversion and death and love. It's going on my special shelf, reserved only for books that have completely kicked my ass. This is the kind of book that will make me hunt down the author and read everything he's written, even if it was on a napkin. I gush...

The book might be hard to find, but I'm told MacAdam Cage will be reprinting this book, along with his follow up (PENNY DREADFUL), and then print a third book (HELL'S HALF ACRE). Suffice to say, I can't wait to read the next two.

And, I'll admit it. I just read THE DA VINCI CODE (a co-worker insisted I borrow it and read). It was breezy fun. And since I didn't know a lot about grail lore, I enjoyed that part too. So I read a mainstream book...shoot me. <g>
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John Klima
Posted on Thursday, March 18, 2004 - 06:55 am:   

Just finished DA VINCI CODE (enjoyed it, but had my suspension of disbelief pushed to the limit), THE GIRL WITH THE PEARL EARRING (loved it), and ALTERED CARBON (which was great). Off to finish up THE DANTE CLUB, which started really slowly and I had a lot of trouble getting into. So I read ALTERED CARBON and am know coming back to it. I still need to get my hand's on a copy of MONSTROCITY....

JK
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JV
Posted on Thursday, March 18, 2004 - 07:26 am:   

The book of the year so far for me has been Clare Dudman's One Day the Ice Will Reveal All of Its Dead. I can't agree more with the Publishers Weekly review of the book. In fact, I couldn't have said it better myself.

JeffV

In British author Dudman's stunning first adult novel, she reveals the poetry of science, interweaving a deep character study of German meteorologist Alfred Wegener (1880Ė1930) with scenes of pulse-pounding Arctic adventure. Today, Wegener's theory of continental drift, with some refinements, is accepted as scientific truth. During his time, however, Wegener was seen as an eccentric failure. Dudman allows Wegener to tell his own story in first-person present tense. This approach utterly immerses the reader in a sensual, detail-rich world. Dudman's prose is luminous, as in Wegener's reverie over the pages of a rare old book: "I too am adding parts of myself to the pages: oils are leaking from the skin of my hands and molecules of fat are smearing themselves invisibly on its surface." Dudman also displays an astute gift for characterization. Wegener's complex relationship with his brother Kurt and his love for his wife, Else, as measured against his lust for meteorological expeditions, is expertly, often heartbreakingly portrayed. As the story leads inexorably toward Wegener's demise in the frozen tundra of Greenland, Dudman's control over her material becomes even more masterful. The emotional yet understated final scenes are particularly fine. Above all, Dudman shows us one incontrovertible truth about her Wegener: he loved the world, in all of its riotous complexity. Some may say the same of Dudman after reading this wise, beautiful novel.


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paul tremblay
Posted on Thursday, March 18, 2004 - 03:46 pm:   

Good rec', Jeff. I'll look it up.
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Rhys
Posted on Friday, March 19, 2004 - 04:58 am:   

Sounds amazing. I've always been fascinated by the real story of Alfred Wegener -- one of the great 'scientific heretics' like Nikola Tesla, Oliver Heaviside, Eric Laithwaite, etc.

The most amazing author I've discovered this year so far is Isaac Babel (a mere 70 years after his heyday). Never read him before. Stunned by his style!
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JV
Posted on Friday, March 19, 2004 - 05:46 am:   

It was published in the UK under the horrid title of Wegener's Jigsaw. Oy! No poetry there.

Jeff
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Brendan
Posted on Friday, March 19, 2004 - 07:26 am:   

Rhys - Yeah, my uncle gave me the complete Isaac Babel a year or so ago. I have not read that much of yet...I have been going chronological. Maybe a bad idea. If his later stuff is much stronger. What I have read so far has been good though: Russian Jewish gangsters and all that sort of thing.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Sunday, March 28, 2004 - 08:26 am:   

I just finised Word Made Flesh by Jack O'Connell. After the positive comments on the 2003 thread, and the reviews at Amazon, I ordered a copy. I wasn't disappointed. It was one of the few books I picked up this year that thoroughly engrossed me.
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paul tremblay
Posted on Sunday, March 28, 2004 - 06:10 pm:   

Will Christopher Baer's second novel, Penny Dreadful. It's a sequel or continuation of the brilliant Kiss Me, Judas. Not quite as good as Judas (the s&m play wasn't as engrossing as Judas' storyline), but really, not much is as good as Judas.

Also finished Poppy Z Brite's Liquor. Funny, even heartwarming. Great bit and major characters, and more than you ever wanted to know about how to run a restaurant.
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Neddal
Posted on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 04:23 am:   

Weirdmonger by D.F. Lewis. Awesome. I don't suggest trying to go from cover to cover, the writing is extra dense (a good thing). It's one of those books that's best when dipped into.

Dead Girls, Frenzetta, and The Twist by Richard Calder. Loved Dead Girls and Frenzetta, I'm still digesting The Twist.

In my 'to read' pile:
Books for review - Fiction for Lovers: Freshly Cut Tales of Flesh, Fear, Larvae, and Love by Tony Burgess
Move Under Ground by Nick Mamatas

Waiting - The Queen's Conjurer by Benjamin Wooley (a biography of Dr. John Dee.)
Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan
V by Thomas Pynchon

Morgan's Broken Angels has just been released here as a mass mkt. paperback, was very tempted to pick it up when I saw it at the bookstore last week.

Robert - If you liked Word Made Flesh you should also check out O'Connell's Box Nine. There's also a new piece at Fantastic Metropolis.


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Jeffrey
Posted on Sunday, April 11, 2004 - 09:34 am:   

Recently finished Michael Cisco's THE TYRANT. It looked like I was going to prefer it to THE DIVINITY STUDENT...but while I wouldn't say that, having completed it, I still loved it. Hard to compare it to anything; very remotely, it had something of the feel of Alfred Kubin's THE OTHER SIDE.

More recently, I finished reading a flip book from Eraserhead Press: Carlton Mellick III's THE STEEL BREAKFAST ERA and Simon Logan's THE DECADENT RETURN OF THE HI-FI QUEEN AND HER EMBRYONIC REPTILE INFECTION. The latter, while not as impressive as his BRILLIANT collection i-o, is loads of fun (though I think I missed the meaning of the "embryonic reptile infection"). Blackly humorous, a bit campy; felt a little like a Mark McLaughlin piece. Mellick's novella is the longest thing I've read from him yet and I really enjoyed it; a surreal piece - oddly touching at times, with a weird kind of innocence to the bizarre characters - boasting something of the feel of the Japanese film TETSUO (if you crossed it with DAWN OF THE DEAD).

Now I've begun reading Brian Evenson's THE BROTHERHOOD OF MUTILATION, an Earthling Pubs chapbook, and it is good indeed! Again, the longest thing I've read from him yet (his LEVIATHAN 3 story was definitely one of my favorites therein).

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Robert Devereux
Posted on Tuesday, April 13, 2004 - 04:59 pm:   

I liked the Tyrant, although the opening made it a slow start for me. It took a while to really get going, but The Divnity Student grabbed me from the first paragraph.

I haven't read much by Carlton Mellick, but what I read was really weird.

I've finished a few more books...
A New Universal History of Imfamy - it starts out as a reasonable Borges pastiche, but slowly becomes something that only Rhys could write.

The Beyond by Jeffrey Ford - I've now read all his books. I liked this up until the end.

Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries by David Ulansey. It's a good, and rather convincing interpretation of the symbols of the cult of Mithra.

Things That Never Were by Matthew Rossi. It's definitely one of the most odd non-fiction books I've read, essays range from sci-fi based conspiracy theories to theories treating fiction as if it was real. It's all quite mad, but in an interesting way that might get you to see connections where you never saw them before.

Next up is the second William Hope Hodgson collection.
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des
Posted on Wednesday, April 14, 2004 - 02:24 am:   

I've been reading two books about identity and memory and chance recently:
'The Invention of Solitude' by Paul Auster (Becoming more and more impressed with this writer.)
'The Rings of Saturn' by W.G. Sebald who has a feel of Proust for me with his approach to Time and Memory.


Also reading Lawrence Dyer's Cottage on The Moss (a compulsively written book about his experiences in buying a lonely cottage in the UK Peak Distict - using a wonderful prose style that should appeal to horror and fantasy readers.) A major work. Could have also been called 'The Invention of Solitude'!

Finally (talking of style): a book entitled 'Style In fiction' by Geoffrey Leech and Michael Short - which examines the (subconscious?) structures of fiction prose in enormous detail, in a similar way as others have approached poetry. Probably a book to read at the end of a writing career rather than at the beginning or during!
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Neddal
Posted on Thursday, May 06, 2004 - 11:37 am:   

I just finished GAME by Conrad Williams, which I liked quite a bit. It's a bloody good noir (or a good, bloody noir.)

Also, FICTION FOR LOVERS by TONY BURGESS (which I didn't like so much) and MALIGNOS by Richarrd Calder
(probably my fav. of his works so far w/THE CATGIRL MANIFESTO from AZ #1 coming a close second.) There are reviews of GAME and FICTION FOR LOVERS here:
http://www.monotremata.com/dead/issues/da63.html

The essays on Rossi's blog are great too.

Up next: Altered Carbon

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Jeffrey
Posted on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 - 01:13 pm:   

Argh - too many fascinating-sounding books to keep up with. But I do own GAME, and after reading the review am very anxious to get to it.

I just picked up THE SOUND OF WHITE ANTS (title taken from a line by one of my favorite authors, Yukio Mishima) - a collection of stories by Brian Howell that sounds very intriguing.

Recently finished Brian Evenson's bizarre and dream-like noir novella, BROTHERHOOD OF MUTILATION (from Earthling Pubs, like GAME) and I'm halfway through both Chuck Palahniuk's DIARY and TITUS ANDRONICUS. Both going very nicely so far (well, it's not going so nicely for Shakespeare's Lavinia).
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Forrest
Posted on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 - 03:12 pm:   

I'm a HUGE Brian Evenson fan, Jeffrey. I met him just last month at the &NOW conference down at Notre Dame U. I also picked up his collection THE WAVERING KNIFE down there, and am enjoying it a lot (it includes a repring of "The Progenitor"). If you want a really bizzare dose of his work, read DARK PROPERTY, which should have one best horror novella in just about any awards ceremony I can think of. It wasn't marketed as horror, though, so the crowd that only reads horror missed out.
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Forrest
Posted on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 - 03:15 pm:   

That should read "a reprint of . . ."
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Jeffrey
Posted on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 - 04:02 pm:   

"I'm a HUGE Brian Evenson fan." Perhaps a diet is in order? Badda-bing! Seriously, a few weeks ago Brian Evenson appeared at a local book store, just a few towns away, but I learned of it too late to attend - argh!
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Neddal
Posted on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 04:29 am:   

Paul at Earthling just sent a copy of BROTHERHOOD OF MUTILATION my way. I can't wait to check it out.

I finished ALTERED CARBON over the weekend. Am of two minds about it. The main character is great. The PKD-Ellroy mixture is great. The antagonists, not so great. There's a nasty anti-Catholic streak to the book too. Not that I'm a huge fan of the Catholic Church, but I think he belaboured the point. That being said, I was totally absorbed while reading it.

Am about half-way through the biography of John Dee, is interesting, but not fascinating.

Up next (barring anything for review showing up w/in the next couple of days) either HIT MAN by Lawrence Block or V by Pynchon.
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Forrest
Posted on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 11:26 am:   

Just finished:

AS Byatt's ANGELS & INSECTS

Currently reading:

Anna Tambour's MONTERRA'S DELICIOSA
Brian Evenson's THE WAVERING KNIFE
M. John Harrison's THINGS THAT NEVER HAPPEN
SLEEPING FISH #0
Alan Kausch's REMORSE CODE AND OTHER TANTRUMS

and I'm not going into my "to be read" stack, though it is much shorter than it has been in recent years.
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Luke Brown
Posted on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 05:05 pm:   

The best books I've read this year so far are JERUSALEM POKER by Edward Whittemore, USE OF WEAPONS by Iain M. Banks and ARC D'X by Steve Erickson. Iím just finishing the last fifty pages of THE LIGHT AGES by Ian R. MacLeod. I think this is a great book, the best fantasy I've read for a while, so Iíll add my voice to the chorus recommending it. Next is Richard Morgan's BROKEN ANGELS and Jeff VanderMeer's SECRET LIFE. Also looking forward exploring Alastair Reynold's oeuvre in the near future.
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JV
Posted on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 05:40 pm:   

Jesus! That's an amazing back-to-back list, Luke--Whittemore, Banks, Erickson. Those are three of my favorite books of all time.

JeffV
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Luke Brown
Posted on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 05:48 pm:   

Jeff - Not back-to-back, there were books in between, but those three were the best I've read this year -- all brilliant books. I'm going out of my way to search for good books this year, rather than let good books find me (if that makes sense). It's criminal that ARC D'X is out of print. I think that's the case for most of Erickson's books. He deserves more recognition. What else of his would you recommend?

Looking forward to getting home to Canberra where your short story collection is waiting for me.
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JV
Posted on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 05:41 am:   

Tours of the Black Clock by Erickson is amazing. All of his work is good, but I remember Arc and Tours the most.

Use of Weapons is my favorite Banks book, but I've enjoyed every other Culture novel except the last one.

Jeez--I think it best if you read some John Grisham before you go on to Secret Life (I am still sending you Day Dali Died), otherwise I might disappoint, given the amazing stuff you've been reading.

JeffV
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John Klima
Posted on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 06:16 am:   

Sorry to be such a dullard (Jeff understands, I can't help myself) but is Steven Erickson different from Steven Erikson?

JK
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JV
Posted on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 06:23 am:   

Oh, yes--Steven Erickson, who I've never read, is extremely different from Steve Erickson. Steve Erickson is perhaps the most brilliant writer of surreal fiction in the world. Steven Erickson writes what I understand is really good heroic fantasy.

Jeff
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Luke
Posted on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 06:38 am:   

John - You're not a dullard -- the two have been confused in the circles I frequent. I haven't read anything by the British writer, Steve Erikson, of Mazalan (sic?) fame, but my understanding is that his work is epic fantasy in the tradition of Tolkien via Stephen Donaldson and the Black Company Books. Steve Erickson is an American writer, and only having read ARC D'X, I can liken him to Faulkner and Pynchon via a David Lynch film. Despite these comparisons, ARC D'X was one of the most unique reading experiences I've ever had. With my first reading I found the book very difficult. With my second reading, I realised how beautiful and important the book was. Surreal. Labyrinthine. Dark, strange. I could go on...
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 07:05 am:   

My reading of Arc D'X was a bit difficult. It seemed both brilliant and frustrating at the same time. As soon as I got used to a particular part, there was a bizarre narrative shift, making me get used to something new. That was frustrating at times, but the writing was so good. I haven't tried a second reading yet.

Stuff I've read recently...
Road to Ubar by Nicholas Clapp
Great Pretenders by Jan Bondeson. He's quickly become one of my favorite non-fiction authors. He picks historical oddities, examines the stories about the events, then details medical evidence related to it and comes up with an opinion based on that.
Nineveh & Other Poems by George Sylvester Viereck. His poetry is fairly good, even if his politics were horrible.

I'm now halfway through Other Side of the Mountain by Michel Bernanos.
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JV
Posted on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 07:14 am:   

Oooh--Other Side of the Mountain is a great one. Jeff Thomas clued me in to that one!

JV
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John Klima
Posted on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 07:26 am:   

I was wondering about this Eri(c)kson stuff. I know that Tor has acquired US rights to the Erikson fantasy stuff, and I was wondering if they were the same. Apparently not. I wonder if Erickson is still alive and if his stuff would be available for reprinting? Hmmmm. Well, I'm re-reading the Harry Potter books in prep for the next film. I started on Monday and I'm almost done with the first three. Also reading IN & OZ which at times reminds me of Lethem's THIS SHAPE WE'RE IN or VanderMeer's VENISS UNDERGROUND or Thomas' PUNKTOWN.... I'm about half-way through and really digging it. I'm doing a weird thing right now where I'm reading one set of books on my train rides (the Potter series, getting about 100 pages each trip) and something else at work during lunch etc. I have a stack of books here at work that I haven't dragged home yet, so I'm going to read them here. At home, once the Potter stuff is used up, I think I might be reading Jim Grimsley's novel THE ORDINARY. But there's so much I have at home to read (hundreds, maybe thousands of books) that it's almost impossible to decide.

JK
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JV
Posted on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 07:49 am:   

Yeah, Erickson's alive, and he's got a publisher as far as I know.

Jeff
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Wexler
Posted on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 08:06 am:   

Half.com has a slew of Arc D'X hardbacks. I just ordered me one.

Recently read Raymond Chandler's THE LONG GOODBYE, which I thought was terrific, also PUNKTOWN (I had read the first couple of stories a while back, and got back to it last week--some good stuff. I especially liked "Immolation."

Robert
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John Klima
Posted on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 01:22 pm:   

Amazon has a ton, starting at $0.88. I'll have to order one at those prices.

JK
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ellen
Posted on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 03:56 pm:   

I prefer Erickson's early novels, even if they aren't as smoothe as his later ones: Days Between Stations and Rubicon Beach.
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JV
Posted on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 04:17 pm:   

Ellen:
Tours of the Black Clock is pretty early, too. I think Arc d'X is the high water mark for me. Although I really liked Days and Rubicon. After awhile, it did seem as if he was repeating himself. Still, since almost no one else is doing anything like what he's doing, such repetition is not a terrible thing.

JeffV
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Dr. Thomas
Posted on Saturday, May 15, 2004 - 04:35 am:   

As long as you're here...

Jeff V., this is from the Shocklines.com message board (subject, pick a writer you feel deserves wider recognition; the poster's handle is SAMMY51):

"Jeff Vandermeer. Yeah he's won a lot of acclaim lately but he still deserves a lot more. And he's still largely unknown to the general public."

Dr. Wexler said of PUNKTOWN: "some good stuff. I especially liked "Immolation." Thankee.


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JV
Posted on Saturday, May 15, 2004 - 05:56 am:   

I plan to unveil myself to the general public in 2005 at a ceremony in New York City involving a squid, the statue of liberty, confetti, a parachute, and a rather disgruntled family pet.

JeffV
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GabrielM
Posted on Saturday, May 15, 2004 - 11:25 am:   

Still working on the squid. The giant one might take us overbudget. Consider replacing with Jeff Ford in squid costume? He'll do it for a case of Rolling Rock and if cute enough, Disney will consider purchasing broadcast rights to event. Please advise.
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JV
Posted on Saturday, May 15, 2004 - 04:22 pm:   

Yes, well, that's probably deserving of a thread all its own.

Another book I'd recommend is Cathrynne M. Valente's The Labyrinth, which will be out from Prime in July. Think Angela Carter during her most surreal period, mixed with the French surrealists and just a whiff of Alasdair Gray. Very good first novel.

I've also read Robert Wexler's The Circus of the Grand Design and think it's wonderful.

Jeff
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Saturday, May 15, 2004 - 05:02 pm:   

Both of those are books I want to read once they are out. I did enjoy Valente's poetry chapbook (Music of a Proto-Suicide), I usually prefer rhymed poetry.

I started Alasdair Gray's Lanark earlier today.
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rabblerouser
Posted on Monday, May 17, 2004 - 08:18 pm:   

Theme song to get Disney onboard:
Under the squid
Under the squid
Get Jeff some drinky
he'll get all inky
Under the squid.
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paul tremblay
Posted on Tuesday, May 18, 2004 - 03:24 pm:   

ONE DAY THE ICE WILL REVEAL ALL ITS DEAD (on Jeff V's rec.) by Clare Dudman. A stunning, dark, sad, and still beautiful book about an extraordinary (and still ordinary) life.

CHILDHOOD AND OTHER NEIGHBORHOOD STORIES by Stuart Dybek. Great short story collection. Along with Dybek's I SAILED WITH MAGELLAN, not to be missed short fiction about life in ethnic, big city neighborhoods, with occasional dashes of whimsy.
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paul tremblay
Posted on Monday, June 14, 2004 - 05:59 pm:   

Jim Crace's BEING DEAD and THE DEVIL'S LARDER. Both excellent. Though I liked DEVIL'S better (DEAD is a novel, LARDER a collection of 64 short-shorts about food and eating).

Nick Mamatas' MOVE UNDER GROUND. Terrific novel. Highly recommend it. JET: this book is Jack Kerouac vs. Cthulhu.
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Mastadge
Posted on Monday, June 14, 2004 - 06:06 pm:   

I recently read BEING DEAD and QUARANTINE myself. Am going to pick up THE GIFT OF STONES and DEVIL'S LARDER sometime soon.
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paul tremblay
Posted on Tuesday, June 15, 2004 - 05:44 am:   

I heard THE GIFT OF STONES is very good. I'll be picking that one up soon.
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Jeffrey
Posted on Tuesday, June 15, 2004 - 12:29 pm:   

MOVE UNDERGROUND sounds fascinating, but would I still enjoy and really get it if I've never read Kerouac?

Recently I began the sequel to Cisco's THE DIVINITY STUDENT, THE GOLEM, in his book THE SAN VENEFICIO CANON. Also, I'm reading a brilliant collection of short stories about Japan, Brian Howell's THE SOUND OF WHITE ANTS (title inspired by a line from Yukio Mishima). The stories are brief and stark and almost abrupt, dream-like, surreal, disturbing. Could be my favorite book so far this year. From Elastic Press. One of the stories appeared in Nemonymous.

Still only about halfway through TITUS ANDRONICUS.
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Mastadge
Posted on Tuesday, June 15, 2004 - 12:43 pm:   

"MOVE UNDERGROUND sounds fascinating, but would I still enjoy and really get it if I've never read Kerouac?"

The word on the street is that you will. I tell you this because I am totally down with the street.
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Jeffrey
Posted on Thursday, June 17, 2004 - 02:12 pm:   

Me too, home-boy.
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Neddal
Posted on Wednesday, June 23, 2004 - 06:31 am:   

Having read ON THE ROAD last month, I say check it out and get down. Awesome, awesome book. I don't know why I didn't read it earlier.

So yeah, reading - BROTHERHOOD OF MUTILATION by Brian Evenson. I think Paul @ Earthling is on a roll with the ultra-noir.

ON THE ROAD and assorted essays in THE PORTABLE JACK KEROUAC, EXORCISING ANGELS by Clark and Lebbon, THINGS THAT NEVER WERE by Matt Rossi (The guy is a freak, in the best possible sense of the word. TTNW is of the most imaginative books I've read in a long time), assorted short stories by Mr. Thomas, Conrad Williams, D.F. Lewis, Mark Samuels, John B. Ford, and Quintein Crisp, bits and pieces from THE WORLD'S BEST HORROR STORIES edited by Stephen Jones.

Currently reading: HITMAN by Lawrence Block.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Thursday, July 15, 2004 - 06:08 pm:   

Finished some interesting stuff lately.

Secret Life by Jeff VanderMeer. More good short stories from him.

Drowned World by J.G. Ballard.

Museum of Hoaxes by Alex Boese. It's a nice collection of hoaxes throughout the years. The last few decades weren't quite as interesting since I lived through some of the hoaxes so they weren't new to me.

Byzantium - The Early Centuries by John Julius Norwich. Part 1 of 3 of his history of Byzantium. The names get a bit confusing (too many people named Constantine, Constan and Constantius), but it's quite readable. I can also see some of the influence of this on The Early History of Ambergris.

A bunch of stuff by Jules Verne - Around the World in 80 Days, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Center of the Earth. I guess travel has made me interested in other tales of travel.

Dictionary of the Khazars (Male Edition). This was a very odd piece of work, but surprisingly enjoyable.

War of the Flowers by Tad Williams. I wasn't too thrilled with this. I guess the really long and twisting fantasy tale isn't my thing anymore.
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Jeffrey
Posted on Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 09:14 am:   

Summing up my embarrassingly scanty 2004 reading:

*THE LIGHT AGES - Ian R. MacLeod
*THE TYRANT - Michael Cisco (preferred this to the DIVINTY STUDENT sequel in THE SAN VENEFICIO CANON)
*THE STEEL BREAKFAST ERA (Carlton Mellick III) paired with THE DECADENT RETURN OF THE HI-FI QUEEN AND HER EMBRYONIC REPTILE INFECTION (Simon Logan)
*THE BROTHERHOOD OF MUTILATION - Brian Evenson
*DIARY - Chuck Palahniuk
*THE SOUND OF WHITE ANTS - Brian Howell (my favorite book of the year)
*THE SAN VENEFICIO CANON - Michael Cisco
*THE DOOR INTO SUMMER - Robert Heinlein
*COMPOSITIONS FOR THE YOUNG AND OLD - Paul Tremblay
*LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF STORIES - A. S. Byatt (second favorite book of the year)
*MEN ARE FROM HELL, WOMEN ARE FROM THE GALAXY OF DEATH - Mark McLaughlin (wacky, fun poetry)
*MR. DARK'S CARNIVAL - Glen Hirshberg (a pleasingly spooky novella evoking Bradbury)

I hope I do better in 2005 but I'm off to a slow start!


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Brian Howell
Posted on Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - 04:44 am:   

Hi, Jeffrey, I just saw this. Thanks. I'm glad it maintained your interest!


Brian
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Jeffrey
Posted on Wednesday, June 01, 2005 - 10:25 pm:   

Thank YOU, Brian...I urge readers to seek out THE SOUND OF WHITE ANTS!

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