Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Sarah Canary

Karen Joy Fowler is an interesting writer. She launched her career in the science-fiction and fantasy field, earning some serious cred for co-founding the James Tiptree award with Pat Murphy along the way. Now she primarily writes literary novels (yes literature is a genre), or at least she ably disguising works of fantasy as such.

Sarah Canary is a perfect example of this sort of slipstream approach to writing. Fowler acknowledges this as well in the Q & A in the back of my copy. She says the title character could just as easily be an alien as the mental patient she is taken for throughout the book.

And as an aside, I'm greatly looking forward to her turn as guest of honor at this year's Readercon.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Joe R. Lansdale

Joe Lansdale is probably the closest thing around nowadays to a classic pulp writer. He's able to bounce around seamlessly between genres while never losing his distinctive East Texan voice. This week I read two by him.

Sunset and Sawdust was a great western tinged mystery that started during a cyclone and ended in a plague of locusts. Then there was Conan and the Songs of the Dead, a fairly faithful to Robert E. Howard graphic novel illustrated by the great Tim Truman.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Choke

I'm not sure exactly why I like Chuck Palahniuk's novels as much as I do. Nearly every time I finish reading one I feel a certain amount of disgust for the entire human race. Choke is no exception to this. The protagonist spends the novel sexual addiction meetings to meet women and routinely pretends to choke to death in order to find sympathetic Samaritans he can later take advantage of. He also thinks he might be the Messiah. Yet he still comes across as sympathetic somehow, and the reading of the book just feels cathartic.

Next up, Sunset and Sawdust by one of my favorites, Joe R. Lansdale

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Cathy's Book

I finished Cathy's Book by Sean Stewart today. Overall I was a bit disappointed with it. The interactive features added an interesting level of immersiveness to the story, but the story itself just wasn't that interesting, and Stewart can certainly write better.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Vonnegut

Finished listening to Breakfast of Champions today, which was far more meta fictional than I had expected it to be (Kurt Vonnegut writes himself into the story, presents himself to one of his characters as the creator, and breaks a toe in a bar brawl). Next up for the car is Chuck Palahniuk's Choke, someday I'll get back to more cheerful books for the ride to work.

I also read through the penultimate collection of Brian K. Vaughan's Y the Last Man, which seems to be heading for a promising conclusion. Not my favorite book by Vaughan (that would be Ex Machina), but still a great comic.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Cathy's Book

Started reading Cathy's Book by Sean Stewart today, after having picked it up at MLA two weeks ago. It's a so-so YA mystery/thriller at heart, but is noteworthy for being the basis of an alternate reality game.

I'm not entirely sure what the best way to read it is, whether to read the book portion straight through before tackling the interactive features, or if I should attempt to do both things at once. One of the key features appears to be the voice mail of the protagonist (the phone number is on the cover), but I need the passkey to unlock it, which has so far eluded me. So at this point I'm inclined toward reading the book, taking lots of notes, and then playing through the game.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Hooray for long car rides!

I finished listening to A Fine and Private Place by (and read by) Peter S. Beagle. It was a flat out beautiful novel and a very sweet love story to boot. It was even profound on quite a few occasions.

Now for a complete change of pace, I'm moving on to a reading of Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut, read by Stanley Tucci. I'm about half way through the thing and it's a riot, albeit an exceptionally cynical one.

Over the weekend I also finished reading Mike Carey and John Bolton's latest graphic novel, God Save the Queen. The artwork was beautiful and the story was well written, but I think I've reached my limit on Vertigo books featuring Titania. I get the evil fairies idea already, it's time to move on. That being said, I do love Mike Carey a great deal, Crossing Midnight is rapidly becoming one of my favorite monthly titles, and I can't wait for his movie and his first novel to both be released later this year.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear

I finally finished this monster today. It was just a flat out enjoyable book, madly inventive in the best possible way, plus there were minipirates. It probably could have used to be a little shorter, but Moers seems to just have a runaway imagination. The story was never anything less than wildly creative at any given moment, and he apparently had enough left over ideas for a pseudo-sequel, Rumo and his Miraculous Adventures.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Conference return


I'm back from MLA at last, and I'm taking the opportunity to write while the reference desk is quiet.

The conference was wonderful, I particularly enjoyed having the opportunity to meet Gail Simone, Terry Moore, and Sean Stewart (pictures later). I bought books by all of them, got them signed, and read the two Simone ones (Villains United and Secret Six).

Thanks to the long drive to Sturbridge I also finished listening to the Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, and began listening to a recording of A Fine and Private Place by Peter S. Beagle (read by him as well).

All in all a great week.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Back next week

I'm off to this year's MLA conference in Sturbridge (with a quick stop to a Jonathan Coulton concert tonight). I'll be back with regular updates next week.