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EDatlow
Posted on Saturday, July 17, 2004 - 01:16 pm:   

Because thread one has gotten too long to load.
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Mahesh Raj Mohan
Posted on Saturday, July 17, 2004 - 02:43 pm:   

"Mahesh, I zipped through The Martian Chronicles as a kid. I don't recall it being difficult or particularly dense but it firmly hooked me on sf."

Hi Ellen, yeah, it's funny, because I read THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES for a 10th grade school assignment, and it really blew me away. A lot of imagery from that book has stayed with me.

I'm enjoying DECLARE ... it came highly recommended by quite a few friends, so I figured it was time to read it (and apparently it's still selling well, as I took the last copy from Powells.)
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Bruce
Posted on Saturday, July 17, 2004 - 02:56 pm:   

Hey Ellen,

Here's the URL you're looking for:

http://www.britishfantasysociety.org.uk/info/vote2002.htm
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Bruce
Posted on Saturday, July 17, 2004 - 02:58 pm:   

I see your and Ms Wilding's YBFH#16 is nominated as well...no surprises there! Again, kudos.
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EDatlow
Posted on Saturday, July 17, 2004 - 03:12 pm:   

Thanks Bruce. Just fyi--it's Windling. And her last as my partner in crime. The new one, out in August is with Kelly Link and Gavin Grant (sniff). I know it's going to be hard for Terri to get used to the idea of seeing someone else's name on the book.
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kjn
Posted on Saturday, July 17, 2004 - 03:16 pm:   

Just finished "The Anatomist's Apprentice" -- so far my fav of the stories I've read on scifiction :D (the other stories were great too, but this one is something that I dug a lot -- wonder if he will expand the story into a novel.)
Finishing up Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
and halfway through
Coraline By Neil Gaiman (fictionwise eBook)
and starting
Frankenstien by Mary Shelly (fictionwise eBook)

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EDatlow
Posted on Saturday, July 17, 2004 - 03:17 pm:   

Wow! The list of short fiction is huge
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kjn
Posted on Saturday, July 17, 2004 - 03:25 pm:   

yah hehehe! :-)
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Bruce
Posted on Saturday, July 17, 2004 - 03:39 pm:   

'Just fyi--it's Windling'...Ooops, I knew that, just a brain freeze :o)

Hey Ellen, can you convince Kelly Link that it's time for another collection? Can't wait!
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EDatlow
Posted on Saturday, July 17, 2004 - 03:47 pm:   

Bruce,
I'm sure as soon as she's got enough stories she'll do another. I keep trying to get her to write quicker! There's a new one in The Faery Reel.
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Bruce
Posted on Saturday, July 17, 2004 - 04:06 pm:   

With her two new ones for your anthology and a future issue of Conjunctions, I'm counting nine uncollected Link pieces...maybe late next year we'll have her new collection I'm a-hoping.
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EDatlow
Posted on Saturday, July 17, 2004 - 04:28 pm:   

kjn, I missed your pose before. I'll let Matthew know you liked his story-it's his first.
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Matthew
Posted on Saturday, July 17, 2004 - 08:58 pm:   

Currently I'm reading The Old Man by William Faulkner, Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and rereading Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake.
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EDatlow
Posted on Saturday, July 17, 2004 - 10:00 pm:   

kjn--you know I mean "post" not "pose"
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MarcL
Posted on Saturday, July 17, 2004 - 11:23 pm:   

One reason I started reading S.F. is because my mom read THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES when I was little. I still remember her reading parts of it to me, sharing her amazement: The books that read themselves aloud when you swept your fingers over them, the guns that fired little bees and killed the astronauts. As soon as I could, I started reading that stuff myself. I still have her copy, one of the Time-Life trade paperbacks, which eventually got signed by Ray Bradbury. A seminal edition for me!
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Mahesh Raj Mohan
Posted on Sunday, July 18, 2004 - 12:22 am:   

That's really cool, Marc, especially about having it signed. My Mom got me into science fiction as well. With MC, I always think of those bee-guns, too, and that freaky town the astronauts stay in.
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Cornelis Alderlieste
Posted on Sunday, July 18, 2004 - 02:35 am:   

Reading Bruce Sterling's Mirrorshades, cyberpunk anthology. Great stories! Like the Gernsbach Continuum by Gibson the most, so far.
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Mastadge
Posted on Sunday, July 18, 2004 - 06:44 am:   

Starting BILL THE GALACTIC HERO by Harry Harrison. Still working through JIMMY CORRIGAN, WAY OF THE WOLF and LE MORTE D'ARTHUR. Still working my way slowly through the stories of SECRET LIFE and MOTHER AEGYPT. And I can't wait until Kelly Link gets out a new collection. Also, I just found a bunch of my uncle's old ERB Tarzan books with the Frazetta covers, so I'm thinking of reading a couple of them and maybe PRINCESS OF MARS while I'm at it. . .
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EDatlow
Posted on Sunday, July 18, 2004 - 08:56 am:   

My mom got me into fantasy by reading me Oscar Wilde's fairy tales and because my parents had lots of books around--Bullfinch's Mythology. Also,the Iliad and Odyssey and Hawthorne, DeMaupassant, etc in those Popular Library editions
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MarcL
Posted on Sunday, July 18, 2004 - 08:52 pm:   

I started ERB with "Synthetic Men of Mars." I highly recommend it. Especially if you happen to be 11 years old.

Bill the Galactic hero was great. All that hard-nosed satiric Harrison was a huge influence on me, especially The Stainless Steel Rat books.

I'm talking about the jr. high school me, now. But that's really where it all kicks in.
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Mastadge
Posted on Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - 10:02 am:   

Anyone read Carr's THE ALIENEST? Is it any good?
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billc
Posted on Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - 11:47 am:   

On the bedside table: Song of Suzannah, by King; The Collected Jorkens Volume 1, by Lord Dunsany; Gormenghast, by Peake; Secret Life, by VanderMeer; A Bear Called Padddngton, by Michael Bond (reading aloud to my youngest); MicroSoft Access Inside Out.
Sure to usurp space there on arrival: Trujillo, by Shepard; Mother Aegypt, by Baker; The Iron Council, by Miéville; and Iron Sunrise, by Stross.
Plus (re)sampling story collections by Waldrop, Shepard, Wolfe, Swanwick, et al, on a regular basis.
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EDatlow
Posted on Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - 01:57 pm:   

Mastadge,
I read The Alienist when it came out and liked it a lot. I was disappointed by his follow up Angel of Darkness or something like that.
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GabrielM
Posted on Wednesday, July 21, 2004 - 09:45 am:   

I also liked THE ALIENIST.

Finished Liz Hand's new book. Reading JK Huysmans's PARISIAN SKETCHES (reissued by Dedalus), AJ Liebling's THE TELEPHONE BOOTH INDIAN (reissued by Luc Sante in his new "Library of Larceny" series) and MEYER BERGER'S NEW YORK (reissued by Fordham).

You could asay I'm on something of an urban kick.
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Mastadge
Posted on Wednesday, July 21, 2004 - 09:54 am:   

Oy. I had it sitting right in front of me and still spelled the title wrong. I'm borrowing ALIENIST from my aunt; I remember being interested in it when it came out ten years ago. I'd have thought it was much more recent.

I started MORTAL LOVE, but put in down in favor of some easy reading while my wisdom tooth sockets heal.
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jeff ford
Posted on Wednesday, July 21, 2004 - 10:23 am:   

I tried to read The Alienist when I was doing research on early New York for Mrs. Charbuque, but I got put off by the weight of the historical research that was so evident in it and never finished it. This kind of makes sense since Carr is a historian. I couldn't really enjoy the story completely, and this taught me something when writing my own novel. Whether readers will agree or not is another thing. Carr's book was wildly popular, so he might have been right in his approach. He, himself, seems like a good guy. I was on a political listserve that he was on for a while. He's got some really idiosyncratic ideas about politics -- some I could get with and some not, but he was always clear and engaging. I'd like to read one of his historical books.
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Mastadge
Posted on Wednesday, July 21, 2004 - 10:31 am:   

I saw some book he wrote on terrorism that I wanted to pick up, but couldn't afford.

He is or was also the editor of Modern Library's "War" series -- I first heard of him when I picked up their two-in-one edition of Sun-Tzu and Clausewitz, along with Teddy Roosevelt's Naval War of 1812 and Montcalme and Wolfe.
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Tim Pratt
Posted on Wednesday, July 21, 2004 - 04:04 pm:   

I just read Bimbos of the Death Sun, Sharyn McCrumb's mystery set at an SF convention. Fun, but I didn't like it as much as some of her other books (my favorite is Highland Laddie Gone). Now I'm reading Wodehouse's The Code of the Woosters. I have James Morrow's new collection, The Cat's Pajamas, waiting for me in the wings...
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EDatlow
Posted on Wednesday, July 21, 2004 - 10:00 pm:   

Tim, I like her Ballad Series a lot although I haven't read that one. I like the Hangman's Beautiful Daughter. Isn't The Cat's Pajamas Bradbury?
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Tim Pratt
Posted on Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 02:13 pm:   

Oddly enough, both the Bradbury and the Morrow collections are called The Cat's Pajamas. (Bradbury's is The Cat's Pajamas: Stories and Morrow's is The Cat's Pajamas and Other Stories)

I like the Ballad Series, too. I went to college in the mountains of North Carolina, where McCrumb is something of a celebrity; that's when I started reading her books.
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rick bowes
Posted on Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 02:48 pm:   

Jeff - Agree with you on Carr's the ALIENIST. Chock full of undigested information dumps. The story by him that I would love to read but can't since he hasn't written it, would be the one about his father, Lucian Carr, who was a proto-Beat at Columbia along with Burroughs Ginsberg and Kerouac. Carr's murder of his room-mate in Riverside Park in the 1940's was a great seminal event in Beat history.... Sorry I'm off-topic, this isn't the Great Un-Written Books thread.
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EDatlow
Posted on Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 04:57 pm:   

Rick,
Write the story!

Tim, I hadn't realized that--wow! So who's publishing the Morrow ? I haven't seen that one yet.
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jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 06:22 pm:   

Rick: Jeez, I never put it together that Lucian Carr was Caleb Carr's father. That would be an interesting story. Great setting, great characters and all of the idea in the air at the time. Damn, that's worth stealing.

Ellen & Tim: That Morrow book I know nothing about the contents of, but I bought a print of the cover from Picacio and that's cool as hell.
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rick bowes
Posted on Friday, July 23, 2004 - 06:16 am:   

hmmm....
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GabrielM
Posted on Friday, July 23, 2004 - 09:52 am:   

>>Jeez, I never put it together that Lucian Carr was Caleb Carr's father.


Me neither. That's very interesting.
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Tim Pratt
Posted on Friday, July 23, 2004 - 01:31 pm:   

The Morrow collection is coming from Tachyon Publications. I think it's due out soon.
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kjn
Posted on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 09:21 am:   

Nice new site design at www.datlow.com it looks good! :D
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StephenB
Posted on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 09:38 am:   

I think Ellen's hot. Just saying:-).
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Luke
Posted on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 10:02 am:   

The new site looks great, as does the new YBF&H.

Hope to see you and a few others from the board at the Mieville reading @ B&N tonight.

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EDatlow
Posted on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 08:57 pm:   

Thanks StephenB--it's an old photo though (on the front of the site) --there are more recent ones in the gallery --sans catseyes).

Luke, as you noticed I wasn't there. I went to see Forever Tango instead. Sexy dancing and great music.
how was the reading?
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Luke
Posted on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 05:21 am:   

The reading was good. That guy has got to be tired of answering questions about the "New Weird" though. Also, you will be exited to hear, we have had our first NY sighting of YBF&H. I think there were two copies on the shelf. The cover is great, as usual. My copy is on the way from Amazon.

I saw a great Tango show at Town Hall about three years ago called "Avantango." Wonderful stuff, and yeah, incredibly sexy.
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EDatlow
Posted on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 08:50 am:   

Glad to hear YBFH was around. Super!

Although I enjoyed the tango, I really love tap dancing! Can't wait for another concert of that :-)
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Richard Parks
Posted on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 09:04 am:   

Haven't been able to locate the new YB locally yet, but I'm sure it'll make it down to the provinces sometime.
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Luke
Posted on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 10:48 am:   

"Exited to hear." Oof - spelling disaster - thanks for not pointing it out to me. Consider me self reprimanded.

I'm as far as "Mr. Mendoza's Paintbrush" in last year's anthology, so hopefully I will be done by the time the new one arrives in the mail.
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mike bishop
Posted on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 04:38 am:   

It really is odd about Bradbury and Morrow having similarly titled collections out at the same time; they're very different writers, but I like and admire both. Tachyon Press is doing some good stuff, by the way. Eileen Gunn will have a collection from them (I believe -- correct me if I'm wrong), and so will Suzy McKee Charnas.

I've been reading some fairly off-trail stuff -- William Dampier's New Voyage Around the World from the late 17th century, one of Swift's inspirations for Gulliver's Travels, and a book on New World piracy from the same period called The Buccaneers of America by a Frenchman named something like Exquemelin.

I also just finished reading through most of the published ouevre of a South Carolinian poet and novelist by the name of Ron Rash. He has a fine new novel coming out called Saints at the River from Henry Holt, following another good work from the same publisher in 2002, One Foot in Eden. He writes excellent short stories as well, including those collected in The Night the New Jesus Fell to Earth(1994), which I would call his cornpone Dubliners, featuring some very funny stuff, and Casualties (2000), a more serious and more thematically complex volume. In any event, he's quite a good writer, and I recommend him highly, including his poetry, the field in which he got his start.

I also read Karen Joy Fowler's The Jane Austen Book Club not long ago and recommend it highly, too. (Forgive me if if this one has already been discussed on the previous thread.) The quotations at the back of the novel tickled me; they seem to owe their appearance there, maybe a little, to all the quotations about whales at the beginning of Moby Dick. In any case, there's something deliberately encyclopedic about their respective subject matters -- Jane Austen and whales -- about both novels, even if no one is likely to mistake Ms. Austen for Mr. Dick.
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EDatlow
Posted on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 10:41 am:   

Mike,
I'm surprised about the dual titling and think someone should have been more aware of the issue and changed their title. Very bad for marketing.

Just finished Jonathan Carroll's new mss (which I've been editing) and it's terrific. Glass Soup, a follow-up to White Apples. Great images in it--and it continues in highly surreal mode of WA. I think we've scheduled it for next fall. And it'll have a Rafel Olbinski cover (the artist who did The Wooden Sea.
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 01:00 pm:   

I loved The Jane Austen Book Club as well. I enjoyed reading the reactions of uptight Austenphiles on Amazon as well...how dare someone lay claim to "Our Jane" in order to sell copies of her book!

Also highly amusing on Amazon is to follow the threads putting down various books (including TJABC) in order to promote something called Simon Lazarus, which has been compared favorably to all the classics of western literature (all of which, needless to say, have been found sadly lacking by comparison to Simon Lazarus).

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Rob Darnell
Posted on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 03:33 pm:   

I'm reading Dave Richard Palmer's "Summons of the Trumpet", which is a history of the Vietnam War. The book is well written and I'm enjoying it so far.
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mike bishop
Posted on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 06:09 am:   

Ellen, I liked The Wooden Sea a lot, so I'll undoubtedly, at some point at least, pick up Glass Soup. You have to love Carroll's titles, although I like White Apples, which I've seen in palpable fact (bona fide white apples, I mean), as well as I do the apparent impossibilities of a wooden sea and glass soup. When you say "we've scheduled it," by the way, who do you mean by "we"? I've got you fixed in my mind exclusively with the fiction side of SciFi.com . . .

Rob, I've got Summons of the Trumpet around here somewhere, I think, but have never read it all the way through. Your comment suggests that I should.

MarcL, funny that the Austenphiles can't handle somebody literate, knowledgeable, and funny encroaching on their territory. And I've never heard of Simon Lazarus. Is this an author or a book title or something else altogether?
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mike b.
Posted on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 06:13 am:   

Ellen, I just found out from the interview translated from the Polish that you consult for Tor. Why didn't I know that already? In any case, that's good to know.
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Mastadge
Posted on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 06:52 am:   

"When you say "we've scheduled it," by the way, who do you mean by "we"?"

Probably Tor Orb. I think in the US Orb and Vintage are the only ones publishing Carroll, and the only Vintage title of his I've seen -- Sleeping in Flame -- is coming out from Orb in a few months also.
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EDatlow
Posted on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 06:35 pm:   

Mike,
I only have two authors: Carroll and Paul McAuley. I don't have time for more as long as I've got a full time job with SCIFI.COM.

Tor publishes Carroll's front list under Tor. Trade pb reprints are published under the Orb inprint. I've been his editor on The Wooden Sea and White Apples and Glass Soup.

Mastadge, yes we've got Sleeping in Flame coming out from Orb this fall and Outside the Dog Museum coming out in a year.

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jeff ford
Posted on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 08:58 pm:   

Just read Ghost Town again by Robert Coover. It's really funny and the writing is wild -- super charged like a kid's drawing.
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Bob Urell
Posted on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 10:41 pm:   

Just finished Scott McCloud's UNDERSTANDING COMICS. While I don't, and never have, read comic books, his breakdown of the arts was pretty interesting.
I'm working my way through Carver's WILL YOU PLEASE BE QUIET, PLEASE? right now. Don't know what I think yet.
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Alan Yee
Posted on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 07:59 pm:   

I'm in the middle of reading Gwyneth Jones's WHITE QUEEN. I know its over ten years old, but it's very interesting so far. At the same time (when I get a little tired of reading one book), I've been reading various anthologies (including THE YEAR'S BEST FANTASY & HORROR #16).
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EDatlow
Posted on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 08:42 pm:   

Alan,
I hope you're enjoying #16--# 17 is just out so you have your antho reading cut out for you :-)
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EDatlow
Posted on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 06:43 pm:   

I'm in the middle of Nick Mamatas's Cthulhu on the road novel Move Under Ground and so far am loving it. Daft idea, well executed and Jack Kerouac really sounds like ole Jack. Kewl!
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Tribeless
Posted on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 07:16 pm:   

Read Greg Bear's two Darwin novels while on holiday for the last two weeks. I found the first novel a little tedious in places, but unusually, because he had me hooked on the characters by the second novel, I really enjoyed that novel (better than first) and thus the series.

It was ultimately the characters who gained my interest in the subject matter, which was well thought out and made me think (but not too hard ... I was on holiday afterall).

Darwin's Radio and Darwin's Children.
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Kathy S.
Posted on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 07:36 pm:   

Ellen -- I'm reading the same thing. It's really, really good.
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mike bishop
Posted on Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 04:12 am:   

Jeff, Coover seems highly underrated, or at least highly underread, to me, and that's a shame. The Public Burning is a great satiric deconstruction of Richard Nixon, much more thoroughgoing than Roth's pitch-perfect Our Gang. Now we need somebody to do that sort of job on the current Bush administration, which cries out -- cries out, dammit! -- for that kind of skewering.
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EDatlow
Posted on Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 08:13 am:   

I've got The Public Burning (Mike, you might have recommended it to me a few years ago) but haven't had time to read it.
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jeff ford
Posted on Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 08:18 am:   

Mike & Ellen: Some of his other stuff I really like are Pinochio in Venice, The Universal Baseball Association, John's wife and (I don't think this title is right but) A night At the Movies. His style differs in each of the books, but I'm particularly interested in what he's done in Ghost Town and the Movies collection. The way Ghost Town moves reminds me of some of the novels of Amos tutola, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, Simbi and the Satyr of the Dark Jungle, etc.
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EDatlow
Posted on Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 09:24 am:   

Pinochio in Venice --another book I had (or maybe still have in storage) that I never read. It sounded interesting.
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montmorency
Posted on Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 09:25 am:   

Finally finished Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. Might have preferred a little bit more mysticism, obscurity, or whimsy, but a very good read indeed.

Also I was fascinated by 98 Reasons for Being by Clare Dudman. Loved it more than her first Wegener's Jigsaw, though the latter was more ambitious in style. Another atmospheric novel, Amagansett by Mark Mills, was also enthrolling.

My recent finds include Andrew Crumey; loved Pfitz, but Mobius Dick was a bit mundane with the treatment of quantum physics and alternative history.
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BillH
Posted on Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 11:38 am:   

Jeff, Ellen & Mike,

Have you all seen the McSweeney's edition of Coover's "Stepmother?" It's another of his takes on fairy tales and current culture. Yes, I'm glad Jeff brought Coover up--he's definitely underrrated.

BillH.
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BillH
Posted on Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 11:41 am:   

Jeff,

You are correct, sir! The title is A Night at the Movies: or You Must Remember This. Great stuff. I really need to re-read him and my other fav: Donald Barthelme.

BillH.
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JV
Posted on Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 12:12 pm:   

Montmorency:

I love Clare Dudman's work. Am just starting 98 Reasons for Being. She's not a fantasy writer, but something in her style and her point of view make me think of fantasy without fantasy in it.

JeffV
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jeff ford
Posted on Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 01:52 pm:   

Bill: I've seen Stepmother but haven't gotten it yet. If you think it's worthwhile, I'll check it out. I also like Barthelme, especially now, after some time has gone by since I first read him back in college. I understand more what he's up to. Thanks for the tip on the Coover.
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EDatlow
Posted on Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 02:38 pm:   

Is Stepmother new or a reprint? I wish I had time to read more novels! (sigh) Only when I quit editing the YBFH.
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 04:10 pm:   

I just got my contributor's copy of YBFH#17, so I know what I'm gonna be reading for a while!
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EDatlow
Posted on Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 05:56 pm:   

Have fun with it Marc. And think of me and Kelly and Gavin toiling away this year/now to make next year's volume as juicy :-)
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BillH
Posted on Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 08:21 pm:   

Ellen,

I believe Stepmother was originally in Conjunctions: 40, then it appeared on the McSweeney's website and then in book form. Take your pick.

This informative blipvert was brought to you by the Robert Coover Appreciation Society and knitting circle. Thanks.

Bill
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Mahesh Raj Mohan
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 07:09 am:   

I just started PERDIDO STREET STATION last night, and am enjoying his use of language, especially the prologue.

MOVE UNDER GROUND looks awesome, and I will probably read it next.
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montmorency
Posted on Friday, August 20, 2004 - 08:16 pm:   

JeffV,

I picked up Dudman's books at your recommendation, and am so happy with it. She does use her pov characters superbly, as a prism or a polarizing lense, to filter through the reality.
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Mahesh
Posted on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 03:04 pm:   

I just finished Caitlin Kiernan's Murder of Angels (sequel to her first novel Silk), and it kicked all kinds of ass. I highly recommend it.
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Mastadge
Posted on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 04:08 pm:   

Silk wasn't really her first novel. . .

Im looking forward to Murder of Angels, though.
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Tribeless
Posted on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 05:05 pm:   

Just finished Poul Anderson's 'Genesis'. Found it a really clumsy and awful novel.

But, now reading S.A. Gorden's 'The Eyes of an Eagle', and am enjoying it immensely (available in eformat from Fictionwise.com).

Just goes to show how important characterisation is. Must try and find more works by this author (he/she?)
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EDatlow
Posted on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 05:51 pm:   

Just read McSweeney’s Enchanted Chamber of Astonishing Stories edited by Michael Chabon.

It's no better or worse than his first antho. There are some excellent stories by Stephen King, Peter Straub, and China Mieville, and good stories by Steve Erickson (author of Days Between Stations, etc), Joyce Carol Oates, Roddy Doyle, and Heidi Julevits.
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chance
Posted on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 06:11 pm:   

>Just read McSweeney’s Enchanted Chamber of Astonishing Stories edited by Michael Chabon.

Awww, lucky.

For myself I am reading Wake Up, Sir by Jonathan Ames
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Mahesh
Posted on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 07:30 pm:   

"Silk wasn't really her first novel. . ."

True. Which reminds me that I also want to read Five of Cups, her true first novel...

That Chabon antho sounds very cool. The Mieville story must have rocked...
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EDatlow
Posted on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 08:43 pm:   

The Mieville is really weird and I enjoyed it a lot. Not horrific though (which is what I care about when reading). I've mentioned it to Kelly & Gavin, suggesting they look at it for their half of YBFH#18.

There are some really boring stories in it as well.
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des
Posted on Sunday, September 19, 2004 - 09:42 am:   

I have started to read Philip Pullman's HIS DARK MATERIALS trilogy (which came in the BBCTV top ten of UK's *all time* favourite fiction reads).
And, so far, it's amazingly good.
With the class of Jack Vance - and that, from me, is a great compliment.
des
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EDatlow
Posted on Sunday, September 19, 2004 - 08:28 pm:   

I'd love to be able to find the time to read Pullman, Des.
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StephenB
Posted on Sunday, September 19, 2004 - 09:38 pm:   

I liked the first book, Golden Compass, when I read it awhile ago (probably in juniorhigh or maybe highschool). I haven't read the rest of the series but I should sometime. The people I know who have, have really liked it.
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Amy Sisson
Posted on Monday, September 20, 2004 - 08:42 am:   

I adore "The Golden Compass", and consider it a wonderful example of an author revealing information at just the right pace (particularly in regards to the daemons' characteristics).
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des
Posted on Monday, September 20, 2004 - 08:55 am:   

Was the first part of this trilogy called 'The Golden Compass' in USA, then? I didn't know that. It's called 'Northern Lights' in UK. I prefer 'The Golden Compass'.
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steve r
Posted on Monday, September 20, 2004 - 01:59 pm:   

don't stop at vol one - it gets better and better! (though in my opinion, unnecessarily cruel at the end, even for grown-uppies.)
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Melissa Mead
Posted on Monday, September 20, 2004 - 02:11 pm:   

I loved the first one, found the second good but shaky in spots, waited eagerly for the third-and felt let down. It degenerated into a bitter diatribe, in my opinion.
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Mastadge
Posted on Monday, September 20, 2004 - 02:13 pm:   

I think it used to be called THE GOLDEN COMPASS everywhere, and then for some reason they changed it to NORTHERN LIGHTS. Don't know why.
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StephenB
Posted on Monday, September 20, 2004 - 08:16 pm:   

I'm from Canada and we get our books from both Britain and the U.S.A.
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Martin
Posted on Tuesday, September 21, 2004 - 05:42 am:   

I think it used to be called THE GOLDEN COMPASS everywhere, and then for some reason they changed it to NORTHERN LIGHTS.

No. The Golden Compass is a better title though and in keeping with the series.
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Ahmed A. Khan
Posted on Tuesday, September 21, 2004 - 07:46 am:   

I am currently reading:

1) The Best of Analog (Tony Lewis, ed.)
2) Nebula Showcase 2000

Great stories in both books. I may be a stick-in-the-mud, but I seem to be enjoying the former a tad more than the later.

Ahmed
http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/fictiononline/myworks.html
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Matthew
Posted on Tuesday, September 21, 2004 - 11:51 am:   

Currently, I am reading

The Hanging Stones by Manly Wade Wellman

The Man of Bronze by Kenneth Robeson (Lester Dent)

and James Joyce's Ulysess
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StephenB
Posted on Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - 09:39 am:   

I finished Jane Eyre the other day. On the whole I liked the novel. I thought the middle section of the book was the strongest. I liked all the gothic elements, how most of the characters are fucked up and even insane, with some dark and even supernatural elements. I found both Mr. Rochester and Jane Eyre to be well drawn interesting characters. Some parts were a little slow and maybe even unnecessary. The writing was good, full of clever observations and language. I like the ideas within the context of its time. Charlette was obviously an intelligent and educated women, ahead of her time. Although some of it seems a tad too victorian for me. It is a very moralistic novel; but it is progressivly moralistic as apposed to hard lined rules moralistic. It shows how the moral dilemas of women at the time are more complex than people usually percieved. Jane Eyre must balance her love and her "moral" duty. It is kind of saying it is wrong to marry for reasons other than love and at the time that idea was probably unorthadoxed. It also follows basic christian morality, but it puts that morality in a more true and grey context. It is also a very pro-education novel. Jane Eyre is a plain not very beautiful orphan. She moves forward in life because of her education and brain; this was uncommon for a women at the time. She ends up with a rich man (who becomes redeemed) whom she loves and loves her, really because of her education.
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JV
Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2004 - 06:40 am:   

I am currently reading Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke--and savoring every word of it. There's a simultaneous mystery/wildness and a wicked sense of humor in almost every line. What a wonderful book--I'm just getting so much pleasure out of reading it.

Montmorency--Glad you like the Dudman! Tell everyone you know, since her second novel didn't get much traction in the UK...

Re the Pullman--I loved the first book, liked the second very much, and marginally liked the third. I just felt that he complicated things unduly. The most interesting aspect of the books is the girl. Thus, as the storylines become more encumbered by the third book, my interest level went down a bit. Still, lovely stuff.

JeffV
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Anne S
Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2004 - 09:27 pm:   

I read Jonathan Strange a couple of weeks ago.

It is certainly a wonderful novel, beautifully written. I appreciated her light touch and really loved the footnotes.

Also read Neal Stephenson's System of the World and enjoyed that too. Having now read the entire Baroque Cycle, I appreciate the effort that went into writing it. It is great fun despite being wordy but Stephenson, even when he is being verbous is always interesting.

I'm now re-reading Cryptonomicon and still ploughing through Proust.



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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2004 - 10:23 pm:   

I took a break from Strange & Norrell to read M. John Harrison's excellent LIGHT, but I'm coming back to it now. Peter Ackroyd's new one came into the library but I wasn't in the mood; I really loved HAWKSMOOR, CHATTERTON, and THE GREAT LONDON FIRE, but haven't been able to get into one of his novels since the earlier ones. I'd like to read his Jonathan Dee novel, but haven't found it anywhere.

I saw the manuscript of the Baroque trilogy at the Science Fiction Museum this weekend. Um...wow. I seem to recall an anecdote about Thomas Wolfe carting his manuscripts to the publisher in a wheelbarrow. That would be about what the Baroque ms. requires. It appeared to be all handwritten.

Boy did I sour on His Dark Materials by the third book. The first was unparalleled. The second...of interest partly because Pullman is very good at exploiting his cool inventions to their fullest; he did not waste the Subtle Knife. But the third, apart from the Miltonian descent, was just...hugely deflating. He turned away from the ending, if you ask me. And one whole suspenseful thread came to precisely nothing--a menace far too easily defeated. As JV says, Lyra was the most interesting aspect, and the most interesting setting was Oxford, and the farther afield it went (into parallel Oxfords and a widening cast of characters) the less interested I got. That first one, though...wow.

Still waiting desperately for the library to deliver the second half of Gene Wolfe's THE WIZARD KNIGHT...
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2004 - 10:25 pm:   

Oh, Pullman's CLOCKWORK is a very good, very frightening novella. Read it to my daughter a couple years ago and had to stop the first night at the halfway point. We both had nightmares.
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Mahesh Raj Mohan
Posted on Thursday, November 18, 2004 - 05:59 pm:   

I also just finished Jane Eyre. I really liked it; it was an intense experience. I thought, among other things, it provided a fascinating snapshot into the nature of obsession, particularly male obsession.

Now I must cast about my bookcases for another tome, until my Clarkesworld order arrives...
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Mastadge
Posted on Thursday, November 18, 2004 - 06:34 pm:   

I'm reading Arturo Perez-Reverte's THE FENCING MASTER and Goethe's FAUST. And Woolf's BETWEEN THE ACTS. Just finished Frankl's MAN'S SEARCH FOR MEANING.
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chance
Posted on Thursday, November 18, 2004 - 07:21 pm:   

I just finished Madeleine is Sleeping and The Jane Austen Book Club.

The Fox Woman is sitting on deck.
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StephenB
Posted on Friday, November 19, 2004 - 05:43 am:   

Hey Mahesh, what did you think of the end part of the novel? I felt it was a bit contrived compared to the rest.
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Bob Urell
Posted on Friday, November 19, 2004 - 08:01 am:   

Just finished The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and I've moved on to Love in the Time of Cholera, which I seem to remember having already read but I'm apparently either losing my mind or my memory so I picked it up again.
Oy.
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Mahesh Raj Mohan
Posted on Saturday, November 20, 2004 - 12:10 pm:   

Hi Steven ... I felt a little let down by the very end of it, yeah. I didn't think it needed the relatively happy ending--it was far better than that fuckwit Rochester deserved, if you ask me. I didn't think it was contrived, since it fit with the Jane Eyre's desire to find out what happened at Thornfield. The novel is apparently not Bronte's most "mature" work, so I think I'll seek out Villette or Shirley to see if she feels the need for neat resolutions in those books.

Hey, Bob, what did you think of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay? I own it, but haven't read it yet.
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StephenB
Posted on Saturday, November 20, 2004 - 04:47 pm:   

I'm more talking about the part with St. John and her other cousins. Very convenient.
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Mahesh Raj Mohan
Posted on Saturday, November 20, 2004 - 07:50 pm:   

I didn't really have a problem with that. I think a lot of nineteenth century authors used that device. Tolstoy had a lot of "convenient" occurences in War and Peace, but it was done to illustrate a theme in the book. In Jane Eyre, it reinforced the theme of isolation and family. I thought it was cleverly done, since I didn't expect the "distant relation" who inherited the money to be Jane Eyre. It also heightened the intensity of the conflict between St. John and Jane, since it was even more vital to have his approval.
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jeff ford
Posted on Saturday, November 20, 2004 - 07:56 pm:   

Mahesh: I really dug that part with the gypsy. I'd say more but I don't want to give anything away for those who didn't read Jane Eyre. I love that novel.
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Mahesh Raj Mohan
Posted on Saturday, November 20, 2004 - 08:38 pm:   

Hi, Jeff. Yeah, absolutely, that was another part that came as a surprise.

I actually thought about putting "spoiler space" when talking about the book, but thought that would be nerdy. Even for me.
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StephenB
Posted on Sunday, November 21, 2004 - 08:45 am:   

I did like the ending and I'm ok with the fact that the whole novel relies on some pretty convenient coincidences. I did like the ending , but I just felt it wasn't quite as strong as the rest of the book. I think mr Rochester is the most interesting and well written character aside from Jane Eyre. You seem to be hostile towards his character.
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StephenB
Posted on Sunday, November 21, 2004 - 08:46 am:   

I did like the ending and I'm ok with the fact that the whole novel relies on some pretty convenient coincidences. I did like the ending , but I just felt it wasn't quite as strong as the rest of the book. I think mr Rochester is the most interesting and well written character aside from Jane Eyre. You seem to be hostile towards his as a character.
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MarcL
Posted on Sunday, November 21, 2004 - 10:40 am:   

I loved the opening "Golem" sequence of Kavalier and Clay. After that, I couldn't maintain interest, started skimming, and dropped out fairly soon.

All you Jane Eyre fans: go watch Val Lewton's I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE.
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StephenB
Posted on Sunday, November 21, 2004 - 11:06 am:   

:-) You can probably tell I was pretty out of it when I wrote that last post.

I think I'd probably like Micheal Chabons anthology series... if I ever get around to it.

All you Jane Eyre fans: go watch Val Lewton's I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE.

Is it a horror movie with zombies?
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JV
Posted on Sunday, November 21, 2004 - 12:34 pm:   

Anybody read EATING MAMMALS? A novella collection. Can't remember the author, but it's supposed to be surreal/magic realism. Sounded pretty cool.

jeffV
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Mahesh Raj Mohan
Posted on Sunday, November 21, 2004 - 04:14 pm:   

Thanks for the movie rec, Marc.

Stephen: I thought he was manipulative, self-absorbed, not to mention abusive. Undeniably well-drawn, since Bronte lets him "speak for himself" without a lot of authorial intrusion, but he's a fuckwit in my book. :-)

I've begun reading Martian Time-Slip by Philip Dick. Really cool stuff.
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jeff ford
Posted on Sunday, November 21, 2004 - 05:09 pm:   

You know, I think I'm the only reader in creation who couldn't get with that Strange & Norrell book. I got a little over a hundred pages into it, but it was a struggle. It seemed really long-winded and trying way too hard to be witty in the writing. It took forever for something to happen. I will admit I was reading it out loud to my son. Maybe that made the difference, but it just never caught me up the way The Golden Compass did. Perhaps I'll try it again later. There's got to be something good there. I've not seen a bad review of it.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, November 21, 2004 - 06:43 pm:   

Jeff F,
I know several people who didn't care for Dr. Strange and Mr. Norrell. I'm very curious about it and will read it as soon as I get it back from someone who borrowed it.

MarcL,
I'm giving up on Cloud Atlas --it just isn't compelling. I read the first section, started the second and nah...no horror it it that I can tell. Also, I just read a novella that had a picareque diary and I really am not in the mood for another. So it goes back on the pile for now.
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JV
Posted on Sunday, November 21, 2004 - 06:47 pm:   

Cloud Atlas I couldn't get into. I'm going to try again.

Norrell I think is really beautiful. It's got an underlying strangeness beneath the witty exterior. Of course, I'm only 150 pages in. I don't think it's meant to be read aloud, or to be for the same audience as Golden Compass.

BTW--William Vollman's book on violence is pretty amazing so far.

JeffV
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jeff ford
Posted on Sunday, November 21, 2004 - 06:56 pm:   

Jeff: How can you tell when a book is meant to be read aloud or not? And why wouldn't it be for the same audience as people who liked The Golden Compass? Is there a well-defined audience for people who liked The Golden Compass? I bet there's a million people who liked it who definitely wouldn't like some other novel a million others who liked it did. In any event, I'll give it another try. And Ellen, I hope you enjoy it. Gotta try that Cloud Atlas soon and see what that's about.
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JV
Posted on Sunday, November 21, 2004 - 07:18 pm:   

I mean read aloud by someone other than the author. Like, to a kid. Hey--I might get another 50 pages in and it might start to suck. I'm just enjoying it. It's refreshingly free of caring what anyone thinks of it, is the feeling I get.

I don't think its the same species of novel as Golden Compass. But I enjoyed GC and I'm enjoying this, so clearly I'm disproving my own statement.

JeffV
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MarcL
Posted on Sunday, November 21, 2004 - 07:22 pm:   

There's no horror in Cloud Atlas. There are some scary bits though.

Strange & Norrell is something I keep picking up and taking in small doses. Mainly I'm not much in the mood for reading right now. (Heresy!) Can't seem to concentrate very long; my prescription is out of date, my glasses are scratched up, my myopia is worsening, I hate reading through the lower rims of my progressive lenses, and it's just freakin hard to read. Maybe I should get a pair of dedicated reading glasses or something like that. And hang them around my neck.

I've been pecking through Rising Up and Rising Down (I splurged on the full set, which was a bargain) for many months. I am a most devoted Vollmann reader, though I am far from finishing this one. Argall is the only other book of his that I have yet to finish (I have had a lot of trouble getting past the opening). You Bright and Risen Angels remains one of my all-time favorite novels. (I'm aware that some find it insufferable; it's one of those books that found me at a certain time in my life and pinned part of me there.)

Meanwhile, I picked up Wolfe's THE WIZARD and glanced at the beginning, and I think I'm in big trouble, because I can't remember who is who, and I was already confused when the first half ended. And that was a year ago.
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MarcL
Posted on Sunday, November 21, 2004 - 07:23 pm:   

Oh, yeah: I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE is Jane Eyre with zombies. Nuff, as they say, said.
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jeff ford
Posted on Sunday, November 21, 2004 - 07:36 pm:   

Refreshingly free of caring what anyone thinks of it. That's a good line, but I think you absolutely summed up for me, what the problem is. It seems overly concerned with caring what someone might think of it. Just becuase it's so mannered. But, yeah, I know how you feel. If you get one you enjoy reading, it doesn't need an explanation. You just enjoy it. I'm definitely going to give it another try. Reading it out loud might have been the problem.
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Tamar
Posted on Monday, November 22, 2004 - 04:24 am:   

I strongly recommend 'Villette' if you're looking for a Charlotte Bronte without a neat resolution. A dark masterpiece. 'Shirley' is interesting but flawed.

I'm currently reading 'The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth Century Literary Imagination.' Lots of stuff on Bronte in there that I'm really looking forward to.

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montmorency
Posted on Monday, November 22, 2004 - 06:57 am:   

I bought Eating Mammals for its cover -- winged cat -- but haven't read it yet.

Am I the only one who loved both Cloud Atlas and Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell?
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JV
Posted on Monday, November 22, 2004 - 08:00 am:   

I'm planning on forcing myself through the first part of Cloud Atlas, because I've heard once you get going on it, it's excellent.

JeffV
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MarcL
Posted on Monday, November 22, 2004 - 10:21 am:   

I loved Cloud Atlas and I'm loving Strange & Norrell, although I'm not that far into it.

I didn't have to force myself through the opening of Cloud Atlas because I loved the style of the first couple sequences. I had to force myself through the third though.
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Mastadge
Posted on Monday, November 22, 2004 - 10:40 am:   

Strange & Norrell I was loving as I was reading it, and then I put it down for a bit because I had a lot of schoolwork, and it took me forever to get around to picking it back up. For me, it was very easy to read, quite fun, but the aftertaste isn't all that good and though I was satisfied (despite thinking it took far too long to really get moving), now I'm less satisfied and feel like it was missing something.
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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Monday, November 22, 2004 - 02:13 pm:   

Jeff Ford said:

You know, I think I'm the only reader in creation who couldn't get with that Strange & Norrell book.


I felt the same way about Minister Faust's THE COYOTE KINGS OF THE SPACE-AGE BACHELOR PAD. Though it didn't get nearly the amount of hype as STRANGE & NORRELL, I think every review of it I saw was positive and near-gushing. I, however, hated it, thought it utter dreck (for a more detailed criticism see my SF Weekly review). I haven't tried reading STRANGE & NORRELL yet, but this BACHELOR PAD thing has still got me scratching my head. To top it off, I see that Amazon recently named it one of the top ten SF books of the year. Bleh.

Jeff Vandermeer said:

I don't think [STRANGE & NORRELL is] meant to be read aloud...by someone other than the author


Audio Renaissance recently released an audiobook edition of the novel, narrated by Simon Prebble. I haven't listened to it yet, but I guess their sales figures will either back up or contradict what you say.

I'm curious to see how the footnotes are handled. In her review in F&SF, Liz Hand said the footnotes were annoying -- I wonder if audio footnotes will be more or less annoying?
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GabrielM
Posted on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 08:12 am:   

Finished JONATHAN STRANGE & MR NORRELL at three in the morning last night and happily will count myself among the enthusiasts. A wonderful reading experience. Behind the manners and the wit and the quasiAustenian style there's an underlying weirdness, even a spookiness. It comes across mostly through the footnotes, which in developing an alternative, wholly imaginary bibliography were my favorite aspect of the book. Almost Borgesian. And the ending, though unexpected, was very satisfying.

Also recently finished MP Shiel's THE PURPLE CLOUD, in the new Tartarus edition which includes all the author's additions to the original magazine texts but with the original magazine illustrations. This may be the handsomest book Tartarus has ever done. I'd previously passed on this Shiel novel because post-apocalyptic SF has never been my cup of tea, but the underlying mechanics of the plot are fantastic (even theological). A very interesting read, with a surprisingly sentimental ending.

Other than that I've been reading some Eastern European fiction in Spanish translation I've picked up on my travels recently. The stories of Slawomir Mrozek, for instance, a dark Polish fantasist - surrealist in the Kafka mode, although more obviously satirical. His anti-authoritarian political critiques are a bit heavyhanded but the rest of it is very good. I've never seen his stuff in English. And the fictionalized memoirs of Sandor Marai.

Also the Charlie Mortdecai trilogy by Kyril Bonfiglioli, which I bought in London and have just been reprinted. Very funny crime novels featuring an a rougish, epicurean London art dealer. The first one's also been reprinted in the US.
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John Klima
Posted on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 08:20 am:   

I've recently found myself more than half-way through A HANDBOOK FO AMERICAN PRAYER. This is amazing considering the amount of work I have between grad school and my job. I've been reading it as works when I have small breaks. I'm really enjoying it. It's amazing.

At home I've taken to reading CIRCUS OF THE GRAND DESIGN before I go to bed. I'm only about a 1/4 of the way into it, but I like what I've read so far. Will probably read JONATHAN STRANGE once school finished for the semester.

JK
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StephenB
Posted on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 08:48 am:   

I'm reading mrs Dalloway, and am almost done The Jaguar Hunter collection, among other things.
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JV
Posted on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 10:21 am:   

Okay, I think I can articulate what I really like about Norrell-Strange. And it's partly what GM mentioned above.

There is a *definite* strangeness to the text. It underlies everything in the book--a fey and dangerous quality. It works as a counterpoint to the sometimes fussy, mannered quality of the surface of the prose. This strangeness gravitates to the characters and the characters come alive in ways at odds with the prose. The only comparison that makes sense for me is Nabokov's Lolita, where the narrator imprisons Lolita in a web of his own perceptions, and yet the reader gets a picture of Lolita that is oddly independent of the narrator.

The effect is not that extreme, or even precisely the same effect in Norrell-Strange, but the sense of the "I" that intrudes sometimes in Norrell-Strange gives the sense of a narrator separate from the author to some extent.

I found myself at first thinking of the characters as accomplished but perhaps not fully rounded, and then not having that impression through some magic of the prose.

Now I'm just enchanted--especially by the darkness that is beginning to intrude on the book. My only worry was that I'd reach the end of the book and that it would wind up being weak thematically. Now it begins to pick up strength with every mention of the Raven King and all the attendant weirdnesses.

The footnotes are mostly wonderful. Never could resist a good footnote.

JeffV



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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 11:00 am:   

I love footnotes myself. I always get excited when I see them in a Jack Vance novel.
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Mahesh Raj Mohan
Posted on Monday, November 29, 2004 - 10:57 pm:   

I just finished two Philip K. Dick novels back-to-back, Martian Time-Slip and We Can Build You. Both of them excellent. I hadn't read one of his novels in a while, so it was good to read him again. Now I'm reading Polyphony 4 and Edward Said's Culture and Imperialism.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 08:38 am:   

I just finished The Arcanum, first novel by Thomas Wheeler with Arthur Conan Doyle, H.P. Lovecraft, Marie Laveau,and Harry Houdini as members of a secret group fighting evil. Not bad. It has some nice bits. Not terrific but an enjoyable read. I especially like Howie as a character.
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Libling
Posted on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 10:27 am:   

Besides Lucius Shepard's Handbook of American Prayer, I've been on a non-fiction kick lately:

• Devil in the White City - Erik Larson
• Shadow Divers - Robert Thurson
• Isaac's Storm - Erik Larson

I recommend all of the above, with special emphasis on Devil in the White City and Shadow Divers, the former particularly horrific.
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GabrielM
Posted on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 01:40 pm:   

Hi Ellen. Read THE ARCANUM myself a couple of months ago but have to admit I didn't really like it. The plot was interesting but it read too much like a screenplay and as the Lovecraft purist that I am the idea of this mild-mannered scientific materialist being portrayed as some sort of wild-eyed magus I found a little absurd. I also thought there was a certain laziness to the characterizations -- for instance, we're told more than once that Conan Doyle is a greater detective than his own fictional creation but you see few examples of any special deductive ability. A lot of shorthand telling and little showing, I thought.

Currently reading Emshwiller's CARMEN DOG in the reprint edition from Kelly and Gavin's Peapod Press as well as Liz Williams's BANNER OF SOULS and Garcia Marquez's new novel (more of a novella really). Also Dorothea Tanning's THE CHASM, which reminds me a bit of Angela Carter. And leafing through the various books I picked up over Thanksgiving at used bookstores in rural Connecticut, including a collection of Max Beerbohm essays and one of short stories by mystery writer Stanley Ellin (who would probably be unjustly forgotten except for the fact that Harlan Ellison champions him at every turn).
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JV
Posted on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 07:00 pm:   

Still reading and enjoying the Clarke. Also getting quite worked up about diving into the Orem Pamuk novel *Snow*.

And still reading Vollman's abridged book on violence--fascinating stuff.

In addition to Mark Bowden's very good nonfiction essay/article collection Road Work.

JeffV
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 07:40 pm:   

Gabe: I enjoyed seeing Lovecraft as a character although it doesn't seem to mesh with what I've read about him. I agree the characterizations were rather thin but I still liked the angel idea. It's also reminiscent of other books of its type--Hjorstborg's Nevermore specifically.

I've just begun Chasm myself--I got a galley of it. It's also more a novella than a novel. I only read the introductory chapter so don't have a real feel for it yet.
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GabrielM
Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 09:25 am:   

NEVERMORE I did very much enjoy, almost as much as I did FALLING ANGEL. (There's a new Hjortsberg book featuring his old SF -- have you seen it? I have a copy but haven't read it yet.)

I enjoy works featuring Lovecraft as a character myself, but I can't say I recall many where it's well-handled. (I remember a book from a few years ago called SHADOWS BEND where Lovecraft teams up with Robert E Howard to fight Cthulhu. That one was especially dreadful.) My favorite is probably Dick Lupoff's LOVECRAFT'S BOOK, which is a heck of a lot of fun, has a somewhat plausible historical basis and deals openly with Lovecraft's political leanings. Peter Cannon also did a good job in PULPTIME, bringing together Lovecraft and Sherlock Holmes.

Jeff, I picked up a copy of Vollman's abridgment myself and am looking forward to reading it.
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 09:53 am:   

I have an idea for an Indy Jones style period buddy flick (except that I hate Indy Jones), where Houdini and Lovecraft team up to track down ancient evils in Egypt, taking "Imprisoned with the Pharoahs" as the starting point.

That's it. That's my whole idea.
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 09:56 am:   

I had a long quiet morning with nothing to do this weekend, and Straub's new book, IN THE NIGHT ROOM. They went together very well. If you have the slightest inclination to read this book, then avoid reading the dust jacket, Amazon reviews, Publisher's Weaksauce review, etc., etc. They all blithely throw out a major spoiler as if it's just a minor plot twist. It's apparently the middle book of a trilogy, so read LOST BOY LOST GIRL first if you haven't already. I did like that one better, but I still found this one impossible to stop reading.
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Mike S.
Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 01:29 pm:   

Marc, there's a graphic novel called NECRONAUTS which teams up Lovecraft with AC Doyle and Houdini. To fight demons, of course. No REH, and it's not great, but it makes me chuckle every time I think about it.

On the other hand, Micah Harris' graphic novel HEAVEN'S WAR, which pits Aleister Crowley against J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Charles Williams is really good.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 07:02 pm:   

MarcL,
Thanks for the warning.
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GabrielM
Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 08:47 pm:   

Hi Mike. I thought HEAVEN'S WAR was very good as well, although somewhat overly mystical. (And I'm kind of fed up with those Merovingian conspiracy theories.) Nice endnotes.

NECRONAUTS, like FORT, was pretty cheesy.
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jeff ford
Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 09:46 pm:   

Gabe: You mentioned Falling Angel -- that's a great one.
I recently finished reading the book of stories by Byatt called The Black Book or The Little Black Book or something like that and there are some really great stories in there. "A Stone Woman" and "Raw Material" were my favorites. The latter was one of the best stories I've read in a long time.
Now I'm into a non-fiction, Marina Warner's Fantastic Metamorphoses, Other Worlds -- a book about fantastic transformation beginning with Ovid and moving forward in time. It's broken up into four sections -- Mutating, Hatching, Splitting, Doubling. Cool pictures, Bosch and the like.
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John Klima
Posted on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 06:01 am:   

Finished HANDBOOK OF AMERICAN PRAYER yesterday. Beautiful book. Really enjoyed it. If you take a pass on this book, you're really missing out on something special. Now I have CIRCUS OF THE GRAND DESIGN with me. Another great, lyrical book. I love getting lost in it story.

JK
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 08:12 am:   

I love Falling Angel and think it's much better than Nevermore.

Fantastic Metamorphoses, Other Worlds sounds great. When was it published? Is it recent?
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Bob Urell
Posted on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 08:42 am:   

Hey Klima: Handbook's great, innit? I was moved to poetry, but it was bad and somehow it managed to summon a demon from the Lower Hells, so I quit that. Probably all for the best, but the book's still good anyways....
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jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 09:20 am:   

Ellen: It came out in 02 from Oxford University Press. If you want to check it out, let me know.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 11:00 am:   

Nuts. Jeff, it's too late for me to justify reading it. One of these decades....
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StephenB
Posted on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 02:25 pm:   

I'm going to start the "Hours" now. Just finished Woolf's "Mrs. Dalloway", which I liked. Shows the complexities of a variety of people in a post war disilusioned London, in a slice of time, one afternoon. Innovative novel forsure. I'll get to "Handbook" after finals. I'm looking forward to it.
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John Klima
Posted on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 07:18 pm:   

Finished CIRCUS OF THE GRAND DESIGN tonight. Lovely book. Like I said before, it was so much fun to get lost in. I hope we get more work from Mr. Wexler soon.

Starting JONATHAN STRANGE tomorrow. (can you tell I'm done reading for classes!?)

JK
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MarcL
Posted on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 11:50 pm:   

Dunno how I came to this, but I find myself finally reading OUT OF THE SILENT PLANET. It's like a weird pickled food you avoided like death when you were a kid, but 30 years later your tongue starts tingling and you think, "You know, I could really go for some of that now." I'm finding it quite enjoyable. I loved the Narnia books, read them myself many times, read them again to my oldest daughter when she was little, but these never grabbed me...maybe because they concerned a 40ish scholar. Huh...maybe that's why I can get into them all of a sudden...
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Melissa Mead
Posted on Friday, December 03, 2004 - 03:34 am:   

Hm-that makes me wonder if I should give That Hideous Strength another try. I liked the first 2 books in the trilogy, but the 3rd lost me.
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Forrest
Posted on Friday, December 03, 2004 - 02:53 pm:   

I'm in the middle of Pynchon's MASON & DIXON. It will likely be the first Pynchon book that I read cover to cover. It's marvelous, if a bit long. A fantastical tale marketed as a historical piece of literary experimentalism. It's fantasy - trust me.
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Teresa Cochran
Posted on Friday, December 03, 2004 - 07:51 pm:   

Now reading de Lint's _Greenmantle_, sort of a mix of mafia intrigue and fey magic in the Ontario bush ... very fun. Also _Mountain Magic_ by Eric Flint, Ryk E. Spoor, et al, the et al being the stories of Henry Kuttner and Manly Wade wellman, David drake's _Old Nathan_ stories, depending which medium (electronic or paper) you happen to find the book to be readable. :-) all this right up my alley. Folklore, SF, magic.

Teresa
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Matthew
Posted on Saturday, December 04, 2004 - 11:45 am:   

Currently reading Some Will Not Die by Algis Budrys, Ulyses by James Joyce, and the current issue of F&SF.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, December 04, 2004 - 05:58 pm:   

Off to Florida tomorrow for six days and although I planned to take the Susanna Clarke with me think what I should do is take all my New Yorkers, New Yorks, and Publishers Weeklies instead --also plan to take some photocopies of stories on my short list for YBFH#1 to see if I can make some decisions.

I'll see what else I've room for.
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GabrielM
Posted on Saturday, December 04, 2004 - 10:00 pm:   

JeffF -- Was "Raw Material" the one about the creative writing instructor? That was a good one, real dark irony and very funny in parts. I loved POSSESSION but hadn't read any Byatt in years. What made me buy this one, I admit, was the pretty packaging, I can be a sucker for that kind of thing. It was a very good collection all around, I still sometimes think about the "wyrm" in the first story.
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jeff ford
Posted on Saturday, December 04, 2004 - 10:43 pm:   

Gabe: Yeah, Raw Material was the Creative Writing one, which I thought was just beautifully written and, dunderhead that I am, I really didn't get it until about two hours after I'd finished it. Then the whole thing struck. That is some wicked irony. "A Stone Woman" is just a remarkable piece of writing the way she captures the transformation.I'm not a big Byatt fan, but I also read Possession and Angels and Insects, both of which kept me interested. I thought I read that there was another volume of fantastic stories along the line. The one with the wyrm, you're right, isn't as impressive a story, but I think back about it also.
Hey, I wanted to ask you, how's the new Garcia-Marquez novel? Do you know when it will be out in English?
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GabrielM
Posted on Sunday, December 05, 2004 - 08:08 pm:   

Jeff, the new Garcia Marquez book is called MEMORIAS DE MIS PUTAS TRISTES, which translates as "Memories of my Sad Whores". It's a 100 page novella about a 90 year old whoremonger who falls in love with a 14 year old girl he's paying to deflower. It's had a mixed reception in South America, and in the context of his work as a whole it's probably a pretty minor piece, but I enjoyed it. Surprisingly sentimental, in the good sense of the word, and funny. I assume it'll be translated into English in due course, it's only been out in Spanish a few weeks. And it should be substantially easier to translate than his autobiography. I have no idea if Grossman will do it or someone else.
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jeff ford
Posted on Sunday, December 05, 2004 - 08:41 pm:   

Gabe: Thanks for the run down on it.
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MarcL
Posted on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 10:19 pm:   

How is the autobiography? It's the first Garcia Marquez I didn't rush out to read.

Today I found a copy of I AM CHARLOTTE SIMMONS at the library, along with THE CHRONOLITHS, and meanwhile I'm nearing the end of OUT OF THE SILENT PLANET (and just reading MAGICIAN'S NEPHEW to my youngest, who has refused to read any Narnia books but is now hooked on this one). So it looks like NORRELL & STRANGE are going to remain on the back burner a bit longer!

There's something about ol' C.S. Lewis, the clarity and color of the visionary writing, which I am enjoying a great deal. Pullman puts him down, perhaps properly in some respects (for stuffy moralism, out of control Crusader imagery), and some of the Narnia books become rather tedious; but he still does this...this thing...conjuring worlds...which is eternally amazing. And Pullman huffs and puffs quite a lot in the third Lyra book, and is hardly immune to criticism himself.
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GabrielM
Posted on Tuesday, December 07, 2004 - 08:10 pm:   

I thought the GGM autobiography was wonderful. It's only a first volume though.
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jeff ford
Posted on Tuesday, December 07, 2004 - 08:40 pm:   

Marc: I second Gabe. I thought it was really fine as well.
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, December 07, 2004 - 11:23 pm:   

Ok! I'm sunk, though. I just started Tom Wolfe's I AM CHARLOTTE SIMMONS, and what should show up but a copy of Gene Wolfe's hefty THE WIZARD? Fortunately, the games I'm playing right now are either frustrating as hell or not terribly compelling.
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GabrielM
Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2004 - 09:19 am:   

JeffF, I was in the bookstore picking up Michael Dirda's new book of essays and saw a paperback version of the Marina Warner book you mentioned. Beautiful illustrations and I got hooked when I started reading it in the store, so I bought that as well. I'd been thinking about transformations recently on account of finishing Emshwiller's CARMEN DOG, in which animals start to turn into women and viceversa. I'd always thought Emshwiller was better as a short story writer than novelist (I must be the only person who thought THE MOUNT was tedious but would have made a great short story), but this was very good and very funny, in a sly satirical way. Sort of Candide meets Animal Farm, with a feminist slant. I'm now curious to track down LEDOYT, her "Western".

I need to read those Gene Wolfe books myself. That, Lucius Shepard's novel, CLOUD ATLAS and THE NEBULY COAT. That's my reading list for the rest of the year although I'm sure I'll get sidetracked. Currently reading Tamar Yellen's forthcoming novel, which I'm enjoying but which was a sidetrack from whatever else I should have been reading.
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jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, December 09, 2004 - 11:49 am:   

Gabe: I want to live somewhere where there's a bookstore in which I might find something like the Warner book.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, December 09, 2004 - 02:13 pm:   

I'm in Florida catching up with Publishers Weekly and my New York Magazines. Also, Vanity Fair, which had an interesting excerpt about the uncovering of the Jayson Blair debacle at the New York Times. It almost makes me want to read the book (if I had time)--it sounds like a great story of detection.

I'm still hoping to start the Susanna Clarke --maybe tonight.
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MarcL
Posted on Friday, December 10, 2004 - 12:08 am:   

I'm stressed. 100+ pages into I AM CHARLOTTE SIMMONS, enjoying it, with THE WIZARD sitting there waiting for me, and in comes Kem Nunn's TIJUANA STRAITS. Nunn's biker/surfer novels are great and I've been waiting for this book a long time. These are all library books.
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2004 - 12:26 am:   

Nunn won.
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JV
Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2004 - 08:31 am:   

I've finished the Clarke--Norrell/Strange. I have some reservations about it, but did really enjoy it. I think my reservations mainly have to do with the middle of the book, wherein we, as readers, are waiting around for Strange to uncover what we have already been told by the author (to be general enough to avoid giving away the plot).

I can also see Jeff Ford's point about the mannered prose. The mannered prose works to Clarke's advantage throughout most of the book, in terms of there being a delightful intentional dissonance between the prose and the awful events often occurring the text. But at the end, when Clarke wants us to be very involved in the characters and caught up with them emotionally, that distance does deny the reader a little bit of intimacy with the characters.

That said, it is a very enjoyable read, even if I felt as if at one remove from it at times.

JeffV
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Tim Akers
Posted on Wednesday, December 15, 2004 - 06:56 am:   

Just finished Westerfeld's The Risen Empire, and starting Womack's Ambient series.
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jeff ford
Posted on Wednesday, December 15, 2004 - 07:15 am:   

Here's an interesting one -- Greek Fire, Poison Arrows & Scorpion Bombs: Biological and Chemical Warfare in the Ancient World. Well written and excellent in its detail. Goes to show you these ancients were as conniving and dangerous as we are. Also continuously reminds you that when people start talking about morality in relation to war -- it's always bullshit. Check this one out -- they'd super heat big piles of sand and then catapult them out over the oncoming troops and as the sand rained down it would melt the opposing army's skin off. How about a scorpion bomb -- I'd hate to be the guy who had to make them.
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, December 15, 2004 - 03:58 pm:   

Horrible ingenuity in warfare techniques comes young. As a kid, battling on the hillsides behind our houses in LA, the tide of battle frequently turned on the introduction of some new atrocity. Relatively harmless dirtclod wars ended up in shedding of blood and tears when it was discovered that certain clods contained large rocks. And lemons plucked from an overhanging tree made fine grenades, but were far more effective in dispelling enemies if they were first dipped in dogshit.
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MarcL
Posted on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 12:03 am:   

I'm finally getting into Gene Wolfe's THE WIZARD. I'm still pretty lost, after a year away from the first book, but...it's excellent.

Oh, and Tom Wolfe's I AM CHARLOTTE SIMMONS, sucks. I read nearly 200 pages, with my suspension of disbelief taking larger hits all the time: the genius geek who thinks of his dick as a "dong"...and heaps scorn on players of "Playstation 3." Sorry. This geek would pride himself on his mastery of the more arcane PS3 titles; and since when was "dong" common usage among college kids? When he veered into territory I was familiar with, it was obvious to see where he was way off; and that bled over into my perception of the rest of the book. The clincher was a line I happened to see near the end. Something like, "I didn't do anything, Charlotte, except remind you who you really are." This line capped my growing feeling that the characters were all basically caricatures ripped off from bad TV shows. Oh. And then he's got a line about a pizza parlor proprietor: "He was like a caricature of a pizza parlor owner." Um, sorry. At the point you're describing your own character as a caricature, it IS a caricature. I loved the attempt at irony! Anyway, I got tired of the old fart's weary recreation of hedonistic college life. It may well be that a bunch of the bathroom conversations were transcribed from real life, but extrapolating from research doesn't necessarily make the rest of it honest or compelling. It was just painfully obvious how Wolfe had stacked the deck before dealing it out.
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MarcL
Posted on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 12:02 pm:   

Here was another bit I found that made me scream. His geeky pizza delivery boy character has to deliver pizzas. Wolfe goes to great lengths to explain that he is carrying 8 pizza flats, and then states that the stack went higher than his head. I figure a pizza flat is 2 inches tall; that makes a 16 inch stack. What are the proportions of said pizza delivery boy, if the distance from his wrist to the top of his head is less than 16 inches? Even being generous and giving a 3 inch height to each pizza box, I can't picture this. Damon Knight would have had a field day with this book.
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Kelly Shaw
Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 07:53 am:   

I'm over half-way through Wolfe's The Wizard. And, thinking back to the first 200 pages or so, I can relate to MarcL's sentiments about being lost after a year away from The Knight. However, Wolfe's genius is slowly revealed – just stick with it and you will be rewarded. I can't wait to get to the end and see the truth about Mani (the cat), Gylf (the dog), and Uri and Baki (the two aelfs) revealed. And I love the way – though I didn't at first – The Wizard has become just as much Poug's book as the Knight was Able's. Poug, like Able, thinks himself a knight before he actually is, and such self belief leads to heroic actions.

Anyway, a very rewarding read, definitely deserving of re-reading when (if) The Wizard Knight is released in one volume.

Kelly Shaw
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JV
Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 08:10 am:   

I thought at first while reading The Knight that I was reading Wolfe-lite. Or his weird attempt at a young adult's story. But then I began to live in the moment of what was going on and I really am enjoying it. It doesn't really have the elements I love Wolfe for, but it has other, new elements that I like almost as much or as much.

But, please, you're getting remarkably close to providing spoilers! And I'm only through half of the first book!

JeffV
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montmorency
Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 09:15 am:   

It'll be available in one volume as The Wizard Knight next summer in the UK.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0575077093/
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GabrielM
Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 12:20 pm:   

JeffV, did you ever finish the Vollmann RISING UP... book? I'm currently checking out EXPELLED FROM EDEN, the new Vollmann reader.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 01:50 pm:   

I just bought Vollman's Rising UP...who knows when I'll ever get to it but it looked interesting. Also the 9/11 report.
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JV
Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 02:03 pm:   

Gabriel:

I'm savoring the Vollman. I read about 20 to 30 pages a night.

Jeff
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 03:49 pm:   

Is there anything original in EXPELLED FROM EDEN? As far as I know I have all his works, unless it was one of the extremely limited editions that only appeared in cast-iron covers or something like that.
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 04:00 pm:   

I see that Larry McCaffrey is being somewhat active again, as co-editor on the Vollmann Reader. Last time I heard from him, he was working on a cool concept anthology: COVERS BY CARVER (or something like that). The idea was to get a bunch of writers to rewrite, or do covers, of all the stories in WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT LOVE. (I did a version of "Viewfinder.") Not sure why it never got past the concept stage; I think he had Tess Gallagher's permission. This was a cool idea that someone should revisit.
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Mahesh Raj Mohan
Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 06:30 pm:   

I've been reading books by folks who you've probably never heard of. First Viator (that Shepard kid's got a real future in the biz!) then Veniss Underground (ditto this VanderMeer person!) and now Neon Lotus (Laidlaw will rot your brain! In a good way!)

Almost done with Polyphony 4, too.
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jeff ford
Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 06:55 pm:   

Mahesh: I'm off from teaching now, so I've been reading up a a storm. The first one I went through was Viator -- from that first monster sentence (I use the word "monster" in the best possible sense) onward, it is a treat for someone who appreciates good writing, subtle suspense, trippiness.
Today I reread Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Garcia-Marquez -- really brilliant and perfectly executed.
Starting on the new Alice Munro collection tonight and also reading a new one by Zoran.
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GabrielM
Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 09:18 pm:   

Re EXPELLED FROM EDEN -- from reading McCaffery's intro I know there's definitely new material but am not entirely sure what it is.

Even if you have the material the book's worth reading just for McCaffery's unabashedly fawning intro, which is pretty hysterical -- I like Vollmann, but still, it's been a long time since I read anything so over the top.

Sample:

"He's America's most crazed, suicidal, romantic visionary since Poe and Melville, and a scientifically oriented empiricist in the Naturalist lineage of Zola and Frank Norris."

"Part sinner indelibly stained by the mark of Cain, Vollmann is also part saint who in Christ-like fashion embraces everyman and everywoman, lays his hands upon their scars, and forgives their sins."

"...the most widely and deeply read person I've ever met..."

"protective, chivalric, spiritually motivated and suffused with lust -- a white knight with a perpetual hard-on"

"Rimbaud, then, but also...Rambo."

No, I didn't make that last one up. And those quotes are all from A SINGLE PAGE in the intro. And it goes on this way for an additional 22 pages.

(By the way, is MarcL Marc Laidlaw? If so, you're mentioned in a couple of the intro's footnotes, although as "Mark" Laidlaw.)
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Jonathan
Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 09:43 pm:   

I have a what is everyone reading-related question, that follows on from a comment of Jeff's. How many people actually get to re-read stuff? I don't think I've re-read anything - other than stories to go into anthologies I'm editing - in years. I miss it, but I don't have time.
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 09:57 pm:   

Yes, MarcL is MLaidlaw. Larry is a fun guy. That comes through in his prose I suppose.

Jeff: I think Garcia Marquez is at his best in his novelettes. LEAF STORM is one of my favorites, but so is CHRONICLE OF A DEATH FORETOLD.

Jonathan: I hardly ever get to reread anything. I know I really should, just to deepen my understand, but there are always too many things I haven't even read the first time. I have a feeling that when I finish Wolfe's THE WIZARD, I should turn around and read the whole thing through again, both books. But I know I won't. I used to re-read DREAM QUEST OF UNKNOWN KADATH annually; I made a sort of ritual out of it (I've read about all of HPL's major work repeatedly, and gotten more out of it each time). I've read CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY a couple dozen times probably. A few of PKD's books I've read a few times. MOBY DICK twice. Lately I've read a lot of kids' books twice, partly because I've read them separately to both of my kids. But other than that...I hardly ever.
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jeff ford
Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 10:14 pm:   

Marc: I like the shorter ones by Garcia Marquez more too -- also the one about the shipwrecked sailor. Love and other Demons is a short novel, and I think that one's his best.

Jonathan: I reread things all the time -- mostly stories. There are stories by Singer or Kipling I must have read three dozen times. Novels too but not as often and not as many times. Stories I really like, I have to reread over and over until I figure out how the effects are gotten. I'm a slow study, so it takes a lot of rereads.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 10:19 pm:   

I used to reread books I loved when I was younger but barely since I've gotten into the biz of reading for a living.

As a teenage and college student I read and reread Hesse's Steppenwolf and read The Man Who Was Thursday by Chesterton a number of times. Also Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass in various editions: with the Tenniel illos and the Moser illos. I used to reread Gorey's work sometimes.

Now all I reread are stories when I'm reading for YBFH or when I'm reading and editing for SCIFICTION. :-)
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Mahesh Raj Mohan
Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 11:08 pm:   

Jeff: I definitely agree about Viator. It has some really lovely, wending sentences. I loved the subtlety ... and that ending ... damn.

Jonathan: I don't re-read entire novels often (last one was A Game of Thrones) but I'll re-read parts of favorite books. If a short story sinks its teeth into me, I also have to re-read it many times, too.
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John Klima
Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 06:12 am:   

Jonathan: This last year I reread all five Harry Potter books before the third movie came out. And a few years ago I reread the Black Company books before I let myself read SOLDIERS LIVE (just to refresh myself on the series). But other than that, I don't reread stuff. I used to all the time when I was in High School and younger.

Currently halfway through STRANGE & NORRELL and enjoying it immensely, although I caught myself skimming last night as I was trying to resolve a scene and still get off my train at my stop!

JK
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Cornelis Alderlieste
Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 07:12 am:   

I'm reading WaenSinne 3. A collection of Dutch short fantastic fiction: http://members.chello.nl/~r.straten3/waen/WS.html
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Kelly Shaw
Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 07:50 am:   

It's nice to have an excuse to read a favorite book – though, one certainly shouldn't need an excuse. I've enjoyed reading Glen Hirshberg's The Two Sams (modern ghost stories that send shivers down my spine) the past two Halloweens. And last winter it was a pleasure – quite an expensive pleasure – to re-read Neil Gaiman's "Author Preferred Edition" of American Gods. Any revision or update of a favorite book is definite grounds for a re-reading. And I look forward to re-reading Jeff Vandermeer's Ambergris tales before Shriek comes out.

Kelly Shaw
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JV
Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 08:11 am:   

I've re-read Pale Fire by Nabokov about five times. I periodically re-read Nabokov's collected stories because it's like re-reading the same creative writing how-to book at different times in your development as a writer--you get something different out of it each time. I've re-read a lot of Carter's short stories, and have read the Whittemore books three times. Also re-read the Barry Hughart books because I'd read them so long ago I'd forgotten them, and re-read the The Circus of Dr. Lao recently. Re-read Stand on Zanzibar recently, too.

When I was a kid, I'd re-read all the time. Swallows and Amazons was one of my favorite books. I re-read that one about eight times. Ditto Lord of the Rings. Back then, it was like I was starting on a long, exciting journey all over again. Not much time for that these days.

I've also re-read Ulysses about seven times. (Okay, so that's a joke.)

And, about once every six months, I pull out Gravity's Rainbow, read the first 20 pages and can't get any further.

JeffV

PS Looking forward to Viator!
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StephenB
Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 09:06 am:   

Same deal with me, concerning Gravity's Rainbow, although I haven't picked it up for a long time since I bought it. Has anyone finished it?

I read The Hours a little while ago and I thought it was well written and had some really thoughtfull passages... but overall I thought it wasn't as good as Mrs. Dalloway (the story it's based on), even though it's more accessable and modern. I think many would disagree.

I read Finnegans Wake last night -- or was it just a dream? Still, I can't say I've read it 7 times yet.:-)

I'm looking forward to Viator too, but I may read Handbook of American Prayer and some other stuff first.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 10:11 am:   

Never finished Gravity's Rainbow although I tried to read it twice.

Read Lolita a couple of times. The first time, I think I was too young. The second time, about five years ago, it devastated me and I saw it as the tragedy it is--for Lolita, whose life is ruined a result of her encounter with Humbert Humbert and Silky (was that his name?)
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des
Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 12:35 pm:   

I've never finished 'Gravity's Rainbow', either, despite trying a few times!
I do recall however getting through 'Dhalgren' by Samuel R Delany many years ago and enjoying it. Spent a couple of years 30 years apart reading Proust twice. 'The Recognitions' by William Gaddis is also another tortuous but rewarding read.
I'm currently reading 'Author Unknown' by Don Foster.
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des
Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 01:01 pm:   

Actually, just realised, the Don Foster book ties in with Pynchon, because he actually investigates Pynchon writing as "Wanda Tinasky"
des
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Melissa Mead
Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 02:47 pm:   

Just finished Elizabeth Moon's The Speed of Dark.
Wow-what a book!
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AnnaT
Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 03:51 pm:   

This has been my year for epics.
Favourite is 'Tirant lo Blanc', the Catalan chivalry and adventure ramble that inspired Cervantes. Somehow 'Don Quixote' never worked for me, but I love Tirant. It has the weirdness of motivation that I find irresistible in 'The Nibelungenlied'. My Penguin edition of N is wonderfully readable, down to the excellent footnotes being easily accessible on the same page. Both books surprised me with their comments on the unfair lot of women.
Wu Ch'eng-En's 'Monkey', another Penguin edition, was something that makes me smile, just thinking about it. It has all the elements of a good road novel, so I would think that if it didn't sound obscure, it wouldn't be. Although there is much that I found unintentially funny in Tirant, Monkey *is* in many ways, a satire, and a great one.
Another in the more personal journey category, just finished, 'All about H. Hatterr' by G.V. Desani, first pub in 1948, and then revised and repub'd in 1970. Always compared to Joyce, but I wish folks wouldn't pair them. Desani is an original, and for the use of language alone, this is a joy. But the satire of India, the perpetual seeking for truth, the fixation on gurus, is spot on, and still as fresh as it was written. People tend to either love or hate Hatterr. I love it, though I can't stand Joyce.

On other notes, enjoying immensely Calvino's 'Italian Fairy Tales', several of which bear a surprising resemblance to ones in Andrew Lang's 'Green Fairy Book'. This book (Harcourt) is so physically beautiful that I feel a pang of self-indulgent guilt every time I open it.

As for 'Lolita', interesting to read the comments here. Makes me wonder if there is truly any such thing as what a book or story *is*.
I always thought of Lolita as the greatest satire written in English in the twentieth century. A tragedy? I never saw Lolita as a victim any more than Humbert. So I'm curious to know what 'Lolita' will morph into the next time I read it, as no book stays the same to us any more than we are never-changing. Tolkien, I once devoured, and now can't read at all. It feels like a loss, so hopefully one day when I again meet Tolkien on the page, an old friend will greet me again, and because I am changed, Tolkien's words will 'change', too.
And oh, yes. I must tell you about a new (thankfully cheap) little annotated 'Alice...' and 'Through the Looking Glass'. Penguin's Centenary Edition, edited by Hugh Haughton. Really interesting notes in the back.
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jeff ford
Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 04:10 pm:   

Anna: I dig that Monkey too.
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AnnaT
Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2004 - 01:57 pm:   

Jeff: If you like Monkey, too, I must ask. What drew you to it? It isn't obscure, I see, but has been commercialized, though I don't know to what extent. I think I'm really out of touch with popular culture here on this.
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jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2004 - 05:33 pm:   

Anna: Quite a few years ago I got into reading the Frank Buck versions of the Ramayana and Mahabarata and I don't know if these are considered good translations or not, but I really enjoyed them. Hanuman shows up in those stories as well, and I read somewhere that Wu Cheng En's Monkey was an attempt to link Indian and Chinese Buddhism. The character of the monkey was very appealing to me and the plot was wild as were the plots of the two other works I mentioned. I remember at the time my first son was very little and I was reading him Curious George books, and the plots of those monkey stories were as hard to predict as the plot of Wu Cheng En. I'd been aware of the Waley translation since graduate school and I think I even gave it a go back then but didn't get far. Later, when I got caught up in the asian myths, I enjoyed it more.
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Mahesh Raj Mohan
Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2004 - 06:46 pm:   

Jeff: Buck's translation of The Mahabharat is considered a good overview, but he took some license with some plot points (which can be forgiven, since the source material is frickin' huge).

I'm interested in checking out the Desani novel, thanks for pointing it out, Anna.

P.S. Neon Lotus is, thus far, kickass.
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MarcL
Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2004 - 09:42 pm:   

Thanks, Mahesh...hope it doesn't let you down. Although if it does, there's not much I can do about that at this point!

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Mastadge
Posted on Friday, December 24, 2004 - 10:29 am:   

Currently reading Imre Kertész's Kaddish for an Unborn Child. Small book, but very painful to read.
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Mahesh Raj Mohan
Posted on Friday, December 24, 2004 - 04:07 pm:   

That's a good point, Marc, but I have yet to be disappointed by your fiction.
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AnnaT
Posted on Saturday, December 25, 2004 - 02:36 am:   

Thanks, Jeff and Mahesh, for getting me through a consternation blockage that has stumped me to the point that I have been trying for about the last two years, to read the Ramayana and Mahabarata online http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/dutt/
and a few other places. I was intimidated by the various arguments over translation quality, style, and inclusion, but I've been having as much fun with this method as eating a feast in a public toilet. You've inspired me to want to curl up with them as books that I can feast upon, if only I knew what to get. Would you still choose what you enjoyed, Jeff? Or, both of you, any other recommendations as to translations?
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Mahesh Raj Mohan
Posted on Saturday, December 25, 2004 - 02:46 pm:   

Hi Anna,

As near as I can tell ... the translation by Kisari Mohan Ganguli is the best available, and it's available at the same place at the Dutt text you linked (so you probably know about it):

http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m01/index.htm

I'm going to start reading a little bit of it every day.

And even though it's highly abridged, I liked the PBS miniseries on the Mahabharat by Peter Brook. It was neato.
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jeff ford
Posted on Saturday, December 25, 2004 - 03:23 pm:   

Anna: For my purposes the Buck was fine. From what I understand, like Mahesh said, the full works are enormous. I believe a lot of the excess is repetition and invocations, etc. For an even more brief, but I thought very enjoyable, look at these myths, there's the book KA by Robert Calasso (I think this is his name). There's something about these works, though, that really engages the imagination. I was always excited when reading them followed very well even though there are a lot of characters and the transitions are very sudden. The sudden transitions may have to do with the abbreviated nature of the ones I've looked at. Best of luck on reading the entirety of them.
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AnnaT
Posted on Saturday, December 25, 2004 - 05:33 pm:   

Thanks! Mahesh, this does help very much, and so does your take on them, Jeff.

On Hatterr, Mahesh, I'm very interested to know what your thoughts are about it, if you get a copy. It seems to be perpetually out of print. I got mine through Abebooks.
And somehow, your words "I'm going to start reading a little bit of it every day" add something extra to my own resolution. It's nice, this companionship of solitary reading. Ganguli has such a nice style, too.
You both might also be interested in one of my favourite characters, the Khoja, specifically "Tales of Nasr-ed-din Khoja" translated by Henry D. Barnham, Nisbet, London 1923 (now due to come out again)
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0936347694/qid=1104024505/sr=1-2/r ef=sr_1_2/102-4785408-4042555?v=glance&s=books. This wise fool of Turkey is one of the world's greats, I believe, and though Barnham doesn't have a speck of the charm of Ganguli (or possibly Buck), he is good enough that the stories themselves are gems. This fool goes by many names and he isn't confined to Turkey. I featured him in my first "edition" on my site, because I like him so. See
http://www.azer.com/aiweb/categories/magazine/43_folder/43_articles/43_molla.htm l
Seeing that the stories are about 600 years old, the timelessness of them sometimes suprises, as in the mother-in-law joke that is the core of one of the stories.
I came upon the Nasr-ed-din tales in Claudia Roden's masterpiece "A Book of Middle Eastern Food", now "A New Book of Middle Eastern Food" (Penguin). She larded the book with the Khoja stories by Barnham, as well as much other fascinating cultural information. I highly recommend this enthralling book, whether you cook or not.
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MarcL
Posted on Sunday, December 26, 2004 - 12:20 am:   

"There's something about these works, though, that really engages the imagination." This reminded me for some reason of GARGANTUA AND PANTAGRUEL. Some of the most amazing scenes of sheer fantasy in literature, but somehow it's not something that crops up in lists of all-time best works of fantasy.
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AnnaT
Posted on Sunday, December 26, 2004 - 01:26 am:   

Marc, Yes!
Gutenberg has the Urquhart and Motteux translation with Dore's illustrations here.
http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/1/2/0/1200/1200-h/p1.htm
Wonderful that you brought this up.
You might like then (well, I think it's gloriously funny and imaginative) Daudet's 'Tartarin de Tarascon', also available in English on Gutenberg here:
http://www.gutenberg.org/catalog/world/results
Thanks for bringing Gargantua and Pantagruel up. It *should* be in all-time best lists.
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AnnaT
Posted on Sunday, December 26, 2004 - 01:29 am:   

sorry."Tartarin de Tarascon" on Gutenberg is here:
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/10687
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jeff ford
Posted on Sunday, December 26, 2004 - 05:37 am:   

Anna: I had a great Dover edition of these Dore illustrations for Rableis and lent it out long ago and lost it. Thanks so much for pointing to these pages. It's great seeing them again.
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JV
Posted on Sunday, December 26, 2004 - 06:23 am:   

Mahesh:

I read those epics, Ramayana, etc., in the most refined version available to me as a child: Indian comics. I've got a set of about 40 from back then, ragged and torn, that set my childhood imagination on fire. I can't even imagine reading the *actual* texts, because my memory of them is so inextricable interwoven with the images from the comic books.

Just finished Viator last night. I loved so much of it that I'm doubting my own dissatisfaction with the ending.

JeffV
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MarcL
Posted on Sunday, December 26, 2004 - 10:48 am:   

Anna, thanks for the link--the illustrations are great and I've never seen them before. One of the bits that really held in my memory, and which could easily be excerpted in some anthology of fantastic literature, is the Frozen Sea section in Book 4, where they sail into the zone of frozen sounds. It's very Phantom Tollbooth. And I think I must have read G&P back to back with TRISTRAM SHANDY, because thoughts of one lead to the other, and there is a book I really want to read again. (Somehow, someone somewhere is making it into a movie right now.)
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AnnaT
Posted on Monday, December 27, 2004 - 01:22 am:   

JeffF, Marc, this has been fantastic fun. Dover, Jeff. What a *great* publisher. And I can't stop thinking of what you read to your son, and how exciting it would have been for him. In this week's "New Statesman", there's a piece by Rachel Cusk on children's literature, titled "Walk on the Wild Side", in which she says about the present state of children's lit (about which I know zilch), "It is a sort of suburbia, this place: a formless domain ruled by the twin diktats that everything should be convenient and nothing should be threatening. . . .I have often questioned the wisdom of damping down children at day's end with such suffocating wads of reassurance: they tend to struggle and strain to reconnect with their natural bent for anarchy. Childhood, after all, is not an ending, but rather a state full of pootent curiosity."
Anyway, here's a link to Dover's present Dore illustration collections, including G&P.
http://store.yahoo.com/doverpublications/0486236560.html
And, JeffV, Your comics set my imagination on fire, too!
Is this what you have?
http://www.askasia.org/adult_free_zone/virtual_gallery/exhibitions/
and/or perhaps these?
https://secure.fw2.com/ramayana/books&comics.html
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AnnaT
Posted on Monday, December 27, 2004 - 01:27 am:   

ur, while "pootent curiosity" is curiouser than "potent curiosity", the latter is the correct quote.
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Mahesh Raj Mohan
Posted on Monday, December 27, 2004 - 02:33 pm:   

Anna: I'll keep searching for the Haterr book 'til I find it. It will also be nice to know you're reading the epic, too!

Jeff: I've also read those comics, and I agree, that they're pretty cool. Good, colorful art, too, as I recall.

Marc: It's funny, because I've been thinking of buying Tristram Shandy lately; I've been reading bits of it when I've been at Powells lately.
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MarcL
Posted on Monday, December 27, 2004 - 03:14 pm:   

Tristram Shandy is one of the many books I avoided when I was supposed to read it. I think it was a number of fond references to it by Jim Blaylock that finally made me seek it out. It's an incredibly funny, weird, mindbending, "modern" book. And hugely imitated even today. Books like (another great favorite) Barth's THE SOTWEED FACTOR and some recent Pynchon (MASON & DIXON) and even Neal Stephenson owe a fair bit to its influence, in terms of language and comic timing--although none come close to it in terms of structure.
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Alan Yee
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 02:57 pm:   

It looks like this thread could use some reviving...

I'm about 100 pages or so into The Vampire Lestat by one of my new favorite authors (I can't pick just one), Anne Rice. I read Interview with the Vampire about three or four months ago, then I saw the movie, which was pretty close to the book. Then again, it was probably close to the book because Anne Rice wrote the screenplay:~]

Do any other teenagers hang out here on the writers/SF discussion boards (I'm 13)? It would just be nice to know. Some teens have been on Dora's discussion board, but I'm wondering if any other teens are like me (I feel so strange, being obsessed with writing and SF at 13).
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MarcL
Posted on Saturday, January 01, 2005 - 02:06 am:   

"(I feel so strange, being obsessed with writing and SF at 13)"

Hahah!

Join the club. Well. The club I was in 30 years ago.

The feelings you are experiencing are perfectly normal.
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Melissa Mead
Posted on Saturday, January 01, 2005 - 06:05 am:   

I remember driving everyone around me nuts when I was 13, asking them to read my 27-page "novel."
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JV
Posted on Saturday, January 01, 2005 - 11:46 am:   

I'm about 400 pages into China's Iron Council and loving it. Really great writing, excellent choices structurally, and compelling characters. Not to mention, great monsters.

JeffV
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Mahesh Raj Mohan
Posted on Sunday, January 02, 2005 - 10:57 pm:   

Hey welcome, Alan ... I'm a teen no longer, but I was about your age when I got into SF and writing.

Jeff, good to know about IRON COUNCIL; I got it as a Christmas present, and will probably read it next.

P.S. Halfway through NEON LOTUS, and it's still badass.
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MarcL
Posted on Sunday, January 02, 2005 - 11:20 pm:   

Wolfe's WIZARD is kicking my ass. I am spending 75% of my time totally lost; I can't tell Pouk from Toug and Sir This from Sir That. This is not, I think Wolfe's fault entirely. It's partly the fault of Tor for splitting the book in two and publishing the halves a year apart, and partly mine for not wanting to wait a year to read the first half. I am missing almost everything of subtlety in the book. I may just have to put this aside for now, wait a while, and then try to read the whole thing in one go at some point in the future.

Out of frustration, I've been shifting over into PERELANDRA (a month after reading OUT OF THE SILENT PLANET, I am still haunted by many of its images), and THE ANCHOR BOOK OF NEW AMERICAN SHORT STORIES (ed., Ben Marcus), which has divulged a few delights so far. Any collection with Matthew Derby and George Saunders in it is bound to turn me on to a few other writers I'd like. So far I have really loved Wells Tower's absolutely awesome "Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned" and "Gentleman's Agreement" by Mark Richards, which reminded me strongly of a more hallucinatory version of Hemingway's neat "A Day's Wait" (the story about the boy who thinks he's going to die because he's mixed up Centigrade and Fahrenheit on the thermometer). I started skimming Mary Caponegro's "The Father's Blessing" but it turned so damn weird and funny that it pulled me back in. One of my favorite books is THE PENGUIN BOOK OF MODERN BRITISH SHORT STORIES (ed., Malcolm Bradbury); so I have high hopes for this.

Just ordered Jack Vance's latest, LURULU, from the library. And I see that Redmond O'Hanlon's TRAWLER is finally due on American shores in the next week or so.
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GabrielM
Posted on Monday, January 03, 2005 - 08:27 am:   

>>Tristram Shandy is one of the many books I avoided when I was supposed to read it.


That's one of my New Year's resolutions, to finally read the book. Re Barth and Sterne, I was just browsing through Anthony Burgess's NINETY-NINE NOVELS, which collects page-long essays on his favorite novels in English since 1939, and in discussing Barth's GILES GOAT-BOY he mentions that it has the sort of "whimsical fantasticality" best exemplified by the Sterne novel. Then again, I've always had a little trouble getting through Barth.

Over the weekend read J Meade Falkner's THE NEBULY COAT, which was great fun, and the follow up Michael Chabon antology of McSweeney's Amazing Stories, which (with a couple of exceptions) most certainly wasn't.
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jeff ford
Posted on Monday, January 03, 2005 - 08:34 am:   

Gabe, knowing you, you're going to love the Sterne. Barth is nowhere near as interesting as Sterne. Whereas Shandy is really ingenious, Barth, in all his work, always struck me as someone who was trying really hard to be really ingenious, but instead was just mildly boring.
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MarcL
Posted on Monday, January 03, 2005 - 09:51 am:   

I couldn't bear GILES GOAT-BOY, but I loved THE SOT WEED FACTOR--it's not experimental, just fun and funny. (I also really liked his very grim, slim and straightforward THE END OF THE ROAD, which hovers in my mind somewhere with PKD's books of the same period, and (for some reason) Exley's A FAN'S NOTES. I believe both Barth and Dick were consuming tremendous quantities of pharmaceutical speed while writing these books; might explain something. On the other hand, while Barth tended toward fewer puffier books, Dick tended toward more and sparer titles.

I just discovered yesterday that the late Jerry Orbach played the role of Fred Exley in a movie version of A FAN'S NOTES (1972).
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, January 03, 2005 - 12:46 pm:   

I enjoyed the first third or so of GILES GOAT BOY and hated the rest--which is par for the course of me and messianic novels. I loathe them. Never tried any other Barth after that.
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JV
Posted on Tuesday, January 04, 2005 - 10:21 am:   

MarcL:

I only waited a week between finishing Knight and starting Wizard and I was lost, too!

Re Iron Council--just finished it. It's rather moving by the end. Despite one too many battle scenes and an unnecessary three-page epilogue, I thought it was by far the best-written of his books, and my personal favorite. Really, really enjoyed it.

Hey--one book from 2004 has gotten lost, I think: Brian Evenson's startlingly good collection The Wavering Knife (horrific, black humor, Kafkaesque, etc.). Definitely should be on some year's best lists. Also Day's The Circus in Winter collection, although it's less overtly fantastical.

JeffV
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, January 04, 2005 - 10:34 am:   

JeffV,
Damn damn damn. I didn't know about the Evenson collection til you mentioned it. I've emailed him to ask him to get me any originals NOW.
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JV
Posted on Tuesday, January 04, 2005 - 10:54 am:   

I know, Ellen! I forgot all about it because it came out so early in the year. If Bookslut hadn't run a review of it today, I wouldn't have remembered it.

There's one story called, I think, "Prophets," in it that if it's an original deserves a good long look. Definitely horror, but satirical as well.

JeffV
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, January 04, 2005 - 11:47 am:   

Hopefully I have the correct email address for him (it didn't bounce yet, so that's a good sign) and he'll get it to me (if it's original).
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GabrielM
Posted on Tuesday, January 04, 2005 - 10:38 pm:   

I believe WAVERING KNIFE had only one original story, "Stockwell". The rest had appeared in journals, except for "Prophets" which had come out previously as a chapbook.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 08:10 am:   

Thanks, Gabe.
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MarcL
Posted on Saturday, January 08, 2005 - 09:59 pm:   

Has anyone read the novels of William Gay? After reading "The Paperhanger" in the Anchor Book of New American Short Stories, I ordered his novel The Long Home from the library. Tonight I came across another of his books at Borders, read the first page, was riveted. It starts with a quote from Cormac McCarthy (I think from Child of God), which sets the tone, then a bulldozer digging up a jar full of bones. He is marketed as "dark and violent Southern Gothic," which is as good a label as any. Anyway, I started salivating. Book bore a blurb from another of my heroes, Barry Hannah (Geronimo Rex). Looks like good stuff.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, January 08, 2005 - 11:12 pm:   

Marc,
One of his books was highly recommended to me and I think I bought it--if so, it's buried someplace around the apt. :-0
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Rick Kleffel
Posted on Sunday, January 09, 2005 - 05:32 am:   

It might have been me who recommended William Gay. I happened on 'The Long Home' in a Ziesing catalogue many years ago when it first came out, and I really enjoyed it. It's almost like a long-lost Lovecraftian novel from William Faulkner. It's fairly dark and creepy around the edges. 'Provinces of Night' has a similar feel, but it's shot through with humor.

For readers who don't have time to fit a novel in their schedule, look for his short story collection, 'i hate to see that evening sun go down'. It's utterly brilliant, every story. 'The Paperhanger' is included in this collection,but 'Those Deep Elm Brown's Ferry Blues' was the standout story for me. The title story is wonderful as well. The collection often creepy, surreal and damn the prose is wonderful. Quite reminiscent as well of Flannery O'Connor, and lives up the comparison.

He recently co-edited an anthology from Macadam and Cage titled 'The Alumni Grill', worth seeking out. He's working on another novel, but if you read any of his novels, you'll know that it takes him a while to write them. They have a sort of hand-crafted feel. FWIW, I have reviews of all his stuff on my site, but since you can get most of it remaindered, it's well worth picking up. I'd highly suggest the collection as you can get a taste of his work without having to invest the time in reading a novel. Chances are you'll want to read a novel after reading a couple of the short stories.
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MarcL
Posted on Sunday, January 09, 2005 - 12:59 pm:   

"Provinces of Night" must be the one I looked at last night and I have no qualms about getting into his novels directly. The library has all his books. My only problem is finding enough time to read all the stuff on my stack right now. (I abandoned THE WIZARD, but there's LURULU, the rest of the Anchor collection, the rest of PERELANDRA, and THE LONG HOME just came into the library.)
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MarcL
Posted on Sunday, January 09, 2005 - 01:00 pm:   

Rick, I saw your interview with Kemm Nunn...it sent me scurrying for TIJUANA STRAITS. Great stuff!
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E Thomas
Posted on Monday, January 10, 2005 - 01:00 am:   

Alan Yee: Do any other teenagers hang out here on the writers/SF discussion boards (I'm 13)? It would just be nice to know.

There are some others, although a lot of the posters on this forum and others like the Asimov's forum etc. are now moving into either their late teens or early twenties (I'm turning twenty-two). I'm not sure about the lurkers. But it is about time for the next wave of fresh blood to discover that there are people online who like talking about this stuff as well as reading it!

As for what I'm reading, it has been fairly flat this term so far. I've read & skimmed several SF literary criticism books and read some of Milton's early poems for a class. "Pure" pleasure reading is on a back burner for now (although Milton can be quite brilliant & is funnier than I remembered him).
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MarcL
Posted on Monday, January 10, 2005 - 09:56 am:   

I always pictured blind Milton just rambling on, "Hm, now, let's wrap up with a bit about Adam and Eve tottering out of Eden...just a little glimpse in the rearview mirror as it were, something-something-something, work solitary in there. Wake me when it's done." And his Daughter thinking a moment and then jotting down, "The World was all before them, where to choose Thir place of rest, and Providence thir guide: They hand in hand with wandring steps and slow, Through EDEN took thir solitarie way. THE END"
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JV
Posted on Monday, January 10, 2005 - 11:38 am:   

Finished the Norrell/Strange (did I already say) and thought it sagged in the middle. In the end, I liked it but didn't particularly love it.

On the other hand, now 250 pages into Cloud Atlas and loving it. The first 50 pages were tough, but ultimately intriguing, and it's just getting better and better.

JeffV
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GabrielM
Posted on Monday, January 10, 2005 - 12:47 pm:   

I'm curious to read the Anchor collection, it seems pretty interesting. (I assume it's the one Ben Marcus edited.) Speaking of whom, over the weekend I read David Ohle's experimental SFnal novel MOTORMAN, which has been reprinted with an intro by Marcus. If you've read Marcus himself or Matthew Derby or George Saunders (but especially Derby) you can do a little literary lineage tracing and sort of see where they're all coming from.

I'm now looking to read Ohle's sequel, AGE OF SINATRA, which came out last year, thirty years after MOTORMAN. In reviewing it for Bookforum, Shelley Jackson wrote, "If a book can reek, rot, ooze, swell, burst, flake, and fester, The Age of Sinatra is that book." Goody!
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MarcL
Posted on Monday, January 10, 2005 - 06:00 pm:   

Goody indeed!

Yeah, it's the Marcus anthology. And I loved SUPER FLAT TIMES, and there can't ever be enough Saunders stories to appease me. So I will look into Ohle.
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GabrielM
Posted on Monday, January 10, 2005 - 08:02 pm:   

Here's the link to the full review from Shelley of the two books:

http://www.bookforum.com/archive/Oct_04/jackson.html
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John Klima
Posted on Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 06:25 am:   

Just started Cory Doctorow's DOWN & OUT IN THE MAGIC KINGDOM this morning, and I'm already 100 pages into it. (OK, I have an hour train ride, so that helps) Really enjoying it; I'm totally sucked into its world. I'll read EASTERN STANDARD TRIBE next. After that, I'm not sure what to read next. There are so many books I own that I have not read yet.

Any suggestions?

JK
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 09:25 am:   

Jack Vance's latest, LURULU, was a quick and enjoyable read. I laughed a lot; there are some grim bits; it's not the best Vance ever, but it's far far far better than no more Vance. Viewpoint shifts around quite a bit between various characters, which I don't remember being an aspect of PORTS OF CALL. It's bittersweet and wistful and I recommend it.
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JV
Posted on Friday, January 21, 2005 - 06:57 am:   

I've finished and quite loved Mitchell's The Cloud Atlas. With each new book I finish, oddly, the Clarke seems...I dunno, worse and worse in comparison.

I also *loved* Philip Roth's The Plot Against America. Brilliant writing, characterization, etc.

In addition, I've read most of the Margo Lanagan Black Juice collection. I think, with all due respect, that those who are raving about it are hyping it up too much. But it is good, and there are some stand-out stories. The one Ellen's taken for her year's best is a corker.

But, the biggest surprise to me has been Leena Krohn's Tainaron: Mail From Another City from Prime Books. An *amazing* short novel composed of letters home by an anonymous narrator visiting a far-off city populated by talking insects. Sounds insane, but it's Kafkaesque and poignant and strange and, more importantly, the translation from the Finnish is nearly pitch-perfect.

Currently reading a**hole by Hilton Obenzinger, an interesting experiment published by Soft Skull Press. I'm enjoying it so far.

JeffV
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MarcL
Posted on Friday, January 21, 2005 - 09:27 am:   

CLOUD ATLAS continues to expand in my mind long after I've finished reading it. I'm going to Hawaii next week, and I can't think of it without thinking of the Hawaiian sections of the novel.

Carl Hiaasen's latest, SKINNY DIP, is a lot of fun.

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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Friday, January 21, 2005 - 02:50 pm:   

Sounds like when I have a chance I've have to get back to Cloud Atlas.

Jeff, I agree that Margo Lanagan's collection is good and that the story I've taken for YBFH is the standout. I hope she doesn't get overhyped in the US when the collection is published this spring. I'd like to read her earlier collection to compare.

She's the tutor who comes in this week and I'll be meeting her tonight at the Aurealis Awards.
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JV
Posted on Friday, January 21, 2005 - 04:31 pm:   

Ellen:
Yeah--that is a heck of a story. I like that she just throws you in here, and then fills in just enough backstory through dialogue to make things clear. Those opening pages are especially jolting, in a good way.

Re Cloud Atlas--I didn't really get into it until 75 pages in. Took a real effort, but then became effortless.

JeffV
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, January 22, 2005 - 05:51 am:   

It just won the Aurealis award for best short YA story and the Golden Aurealis, "best in show" for short story.
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Neal Stanifer
Posted on Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - 02:51 pm:   

Just attended Lucius Shepard's reading at Octavia Books here in New Orleans, so now I'm reading Two Trains Running. A Handbook of American Prayer is next, after which I'll get back to reading George R. R. Martin's Song of Fire and Ice series.
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Kelly Shaw
Posted on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 06:20 am:   

I was wondering if anyone has finished The Wizard yet? Any thoughts on its greatness, or lack thereof?

I had taken a hiatus from the book at the 300 page mark (to read a forthcoming afterword), and am now getting back into it. I like it, but it is a difficult book to love; though I love its vison and its metaphysics, Wofe's storytelling, and his inability to reveal plot points until the latest possible moment, can be infuriating.

Every respected genre critic, from Gary K. Wolfe to Bill Sheehan to Emerald City, has embraced this book as a bonnified masterpiece. It may be, but it is also imperfect, which I'm beginning to think may be blasphemous to say about Wolfe (though, to be fair, Sheehan does passingly crticize the book in his final paragraph).

Is it wrong to question the perfection of Wolfe's writing?
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JV
Posted on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 07:46 am:   

No, not wrong at all. I liked The Knight much more than the Wizard. Not everything Wolfe writes is going to be a masterpiece. I think a lot of people are jumping on the bandwagon for these books because they are a lot easier to get into than his previous volumes. I much prefer Fifth Head of Cerberus and the first two volumes of the Severian books to Knight/Wizard. I still do think The Knight is one of the best books of the year. I also think, though, that the quest structure, with it's kind of day-to-day plodding begins to get wearisome in the second book. I realize that Tor split up The Wizard Knight into two volumes for financial reasons, but I think it also turned out to be wise from a reader point of view, because it just goes on and on and on...you need the break between reading volume one and volume two.

JeffV
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Kelly Shaw
Posted on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 09:08 am:   

Thanks Jeff. I'm really glad to hear that you think The Knight is a greater achievement. It seems a much more focused, tighter book, and Sir Able, as a youth coming of age inside of a man, seems much more interesting than the almost benign hero Able has become in The Wizard. The Wizard, while certainly a good book, doesn't deserve to share a spot next to The Knight on the year's best list.

Of course, when the Wizard Knight is read as a whole in the following years, I may end up eating my words.
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StephenB
Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 05:26 am:   

I finished reading The Catcher in the Rye. I've also been reading a bunch of short stories from various collections, magazines, and anthologies. I like to have one novel on the go, while always reading short stories. Catcher's good, the obvious strength is the unique voice of the narrator Holden. This is a book I was going to read as a teenager, but my sister lost the copy we had and then I didn't get around to it.

Still haven't gotten to Handbook.
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StephenB
Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 05:28 am:   

The ending wasn't as good as I'd expected though...
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Tim Akers
Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 09:16 am:   

Funny, I just started The Book of the New Sun over the weekend. First Wolfe I've ever read, and I'm really enjoying it so far. I'm going to alternate between Wolfe and Womack for a little while here.
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, February 01, 2005 - 10:46 pm:   

I loved The Knight and couldn't finish The Wizard. I refuse to take all the blame. I think of it as one long book that fell apart somewhere around the middle.

Just got back from Hawaii (Big Island), which made me want to read CLOUD ATLAS again...at least the central section. I'm going to seek out Dan Simmons' FIRES IN EDEN, actually; I need to supplement my vacation with a strong dose of fiction.

I read about half of STRANGE & NORRELL on the plane, and I'm really loving it. Clarke's touch seems exactly right; she has an awesome eye for inventive detail. I feel I have witnessed actual magic nearly every time something magical has occurred.

I have to take a little break from it to reread Leiber's OUR LADY OF DARKNESS for an assignment...
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Kelly Shaw
Posted on Friday, February 04, 2005 - 09:04 am:   

I just finished The Portrait of Mrs. Charbuque. Its lyrical, tightly written, first-person narration completely tranported me into the magical world of 1893 New York, and accessably into the artistic mind and process. Amazing!

Being this book is from 2002, I suppose my praise is coming a day late and a dollar short. At a taut 300 pages, Charbuque was the perfect antidote to the bloated trudgery of The Wizard.

Now I can hardly wait for The Girl in the Glass House this summer.
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steveberman
Posted on Wednesday, February 09, 2005 - 08:54 am:   

Hmm, I suppose the only novel-length fiction of late I have read was Holly Black's VALIANT... I snuch a peek at it before it's summer 05 release.
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S.A. Gorden
Posted on Monday, October 31, 2005 - 12:56 pm:   

Tribeless:

Was doing a Google search and found your nice post about Eyes of an Eagle. Thank you. I have 5 other novels out and will have 2 more ebooks out before Christmas. One of the new books is a sequel to Buck Rogers. There were only 2 original BR stories published and this was written as a match to the first two in style and period. I have a website with chapter samples and even second rights short stories. Just type my full name in a good search engine, like Google, and you can find it.

I hope you will like my other stories.

S.A.

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