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Issue #100

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Cheryl
Posted on Sunday, December 28, 2003 - 10:42 am:   

David Brin, John Clute, Candas Jane Dorsey, Ken MacLeod, Sean McMullen, Javier Martinez, Farah
Mendlesohn, Mary Anne Mohanraj and Gary K. Wolfe have all contributed guest articles to the celebratory 100th issue of Emerald City, which is now available. You can find the online version at
http://www.emcit.com/.

In issue #100 you can find:

On SF as Literature
The Inhabitants of the Planets and the Bottom of the Sea — by Ken MacLeod
Why Science Fiction is Important… — by Candas Jane Dorsey
Strange New Horizons — by Mary Anne Mohanraj
Related Matters — Cheryl finds some follow-up reading on the Web

Interstitially
A Turn Up for the Books — by John Clute

On Reviewing
The Simple Art of Reviewing — by Gary K. Wolfe
The Critic in the Walls — by Farah Mendlesohn
Talking about SF and Fantasy — by Javier Martinez
The Soul of the Good Review — by Sean McMullen

Stocking Fillers
Banks on Booze — The Great Scottish Writer tackles the Great Scottish Drink
Making Points — Lynne Truss campaigns for better punctuation
Dear Santa — David Brin makes a Christmas wish

Fannish Stuff
Attack of the $100 Worldcon — by Kevin Standlee
The Name and Shame Game – a sorry story of Worldcon Pass Along Funds

The Usual Fare
Mystery 101 — A fantasy classic from John Crowley
Hollywood Knights — Gwyneth Jones's Rock 'n' Roll Reich comes to California
The Wicked Stepmother — Gregory McGuire provides our Christmas pantomime
War Without End — And Robert Zubrin reads the sermon
The Return of Mr. Right – John C. Wright's political extravaganza continues
Literary Aliens – Zoran Zivkovic finds other intelligent life on earth
Dreaming in Triplicate – Stepan Chapman is delightfully surreal
The Ice Cream Gumshoe – Malcolm Pryce fights crime in Aberystwyth
Interview — Cheryl Talks to Pete Crowther of PS Publishing
Yet More Hobbits — The Two Towers Extended Edition and The Return of the King cinema release
Surveying the Field — Cambridge University Press looks at Science Fiction
Nothing's Inimitable — Dave Langford takes off everything, er, I mean everyone
Short Stuff — Short fiction from Lucius Shepard and Dave Stone
Miscellany — the news section
Footnote — the end

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Cheryl
Posted on Tuesday, December 30, 2003 - 10:12 am:   

FYI there's some interesting discussion of the articles on Reviewing from Emcit #100 going on here: http://s1ngularity.blogspot.com/.
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John Thiel
Posted on Tuesday, December 30, 2003 - 05:06 pm:   

Sounds like a good issue.
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Trent
Posted on Wednesday, December 31, 2003 - 05:14 am:   

Cheryl,

I thoroughly enjoyed the issue. May it spur more serious thought about fiction and reviewing.

I should have mentioned many of your thoughts also struck a chord.

I was curious, though: you gave Wright a difficult time yet were able to go on at length about the implications of his novel. Chapman you seemed to enjoy, yet you found little to say about it. My personal feeling is, since we all have differences of opinion on how the world is run, that if a writer gets me to think beyond the page, his story's worth reading. This assumes the author hasn't erected straw men.

What are your thoughts?

Best,

Trent
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Cheryl
Posted on Wednesday, December 31, 2003 - 07:15 am:   

Well, THE PHOENIX EXULTANT and THE TROIKA are very different books. Firstly it was hard to say much about THE TROIKA without spoilers. I probably said too much as it is. Secondly there is no great political debate in THE TROIKA. It is about people (and dead people at that) not politics. It is rather easier to find lots to say about a book when it is full of political ideas.

But you are right. I would not have bothered to read PHOENIX if I didn't think that it would make me think. There are some good ideas in it. Sadly in PHOENIX, more so than in THE GOLDEN AGE, Wright does appear to be arranging everything so that events "prove" the correctness of his politics.
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Wednesday, December 31, 2003 - 07:33 am:   

Not to put too fine a point on it, but I think you really did say too much about The Troika already. I am about a quarter of a way through the book and now realise that I should not have read your review.
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JV
Posted on Wednesday, December 31, 2003 - 08:26 am:   

Yes, but I'm not sure Cheryl's interpretation is necessarily correct.

Actually, Cheryl, you could have commented on the prose, talked about the characterization, etc. Not criticizing, but it is possible.

Grand political ideas in novels can make for didactic reading.

JeffV
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Cheryl
Posted on Wednesday, December 31, 2003 - 09:17 am:   

Thanks Jeff. I wasn't sure it was right either. And of course it was not my interpretation. It came from a chap called Jeff Foster at the University of Rhode Island. You can read his review here: http://www.uri.edu/artsci/english/clf/n5_r5.html.

I certainly thought that his interpretation made sense, but it is entirely possible that it is not what Stepan intended.

As for prose and characterization, yes I could have done, but I'm not good at that. I think I can recognize good writing when I see it, but I don't think I have enough of an analytical toolkit to explain why it is good. Like I said in the Introduction, there are areas where I can improve.

I guess also there is the problem that so much that goes on in THE TROIKA is unreliable - everyone in the book lies and fantasises constantly, so it is kind of difficult to get a handle on a lot of it. But maybe that's just me making excuses.

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