An eclectic bit of bookery

It’s been a while since I closed the various “book stuff” tabs, so let’s take a run through those, shall we?

  • I came to this by the Lord Dunsany connection, but I don’t think you need to be on that page at all to enjoy H. E. Gowers’ HASCHISCH HALLUCINATIONS, posted over at the blog of master-designer-and-artist-of-the-eldritch John Coulthart.
  • I’ve been enjoying Charlie Stross‘ series of posts on books he will not write. All of them have been interesting, and several have made me a bit sad I won’t get to read the books, but this one is the most interesting of the bunch, d’apres moi.
  • I don’t normally enjoy reading reviews in any sense except that of building anticipation for some of the works reviewed, but I positively enjoyed reading Ellen Spitz’s review of the Grimm Reader on its own merits. Look at this prose:

    Not quite like ancient myths, which use nymphs and satyrs to explain recurring natural phenomena; nor like fables, whose timeless moral lessons are parlayed through the escapades of animal characters; nor like legends, which exude the pungent aromas of one particular locale and its history, fairy tales are stories spun into gold at the wooden wheel of a miller’s daughter: stories made to summon wonder, horror, enchantment—and not necessarily anything more. Uncanny in the purest sense of the word, which is to say, both bizarre and familiar at once, they are meant to be told, not read, and they truly possess an inexhaustible power. Children hold on tight, turn pale, close their eyes, and beg for more.

  • Last week I probably read two dozen posts or articles discussing the recent death of literary agent Ralph M. Vicinanza, who was apparently the agent to a good portion of the true luminaries of the F/SF world. Many were touching, but none quite so much as Walter Jon Williams’. It’s not long, but it’s kind of what I imagine an agent who was good at his job, and also a decent human being, would want to see written.
  • On a much more upbeat note, THERE’S A NEW BORDERLANDS BOOK! I have no idea how this will sell generally, the original being very much a product of its time, but it doesn’t have to sell to me cold–I’m pretty deeply invested in my memories of the earlier books. I’ll be curious to see if the setting has stayed where it was, culturally speaking, or if it’s moved with the intervening years into something that’s more on the border of now.
  • I’ve mentioned before that one of the exceptions to my “not really enjoying reviews for themselves” thing is Jo Walton’s body of work writing reviews at Tor.com. I always enjoy these, partly because they are well written and partly (I suspect) because Jo’s tastes seem to align closely with my own. Consequently I was delighted to see her take on Lisa Goldstein’s first adult novel: The Dream Years. Man, I loved that book–I came to it a bit later, when Goldstein had a decent backlist, and after reading The Dream Years I tore through them all (even the pseudonymous ones). I might have mentioned that before. Check out the review, then if it tickles your fancy at all check out the book–it’s great. Hell, I’m excited right now thinking about the fact that she (finally) has a new book coming out soon.
  • While we’re speaking of Jo’s reviews, I would be remiss if I didn’t note that she’s doing a book-by-book reread of Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin books. I love those things–I think I last mentioned them in a general writeup of good historical fiction. So far I’ve only seen a specific writeup on the first book, but in addition to the fun of reading the writeup, it also pointed me here, where I can see detailed maps of all the sailing in each of the books. Man I love the Internet sometimes.
  • Sometimes when you read a story, you can just tell that the author is “not losing a bet” (maybe with himself).
  • Another favourite author here at Homo Sum is Hal Duncan, perhaps as much for his blog as for his fiction. Papaveria Press has just put out a tiny-but-lovely edition of his Lucifer Cantos–which same poems are available free to read on the web, but without the same physical object appeal of course. The photos online look lovely, and I’ve snatched up a copy. I just can’t resist Lucifer, apparently.

..and that’s not even half the book stuff windows, but it’s enough for tonight.

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One Response to “An eclectic bit of bookery”

  1. Tom Horn says:

    Thanks very much for your kind words and links to my mapping project (I am it’s creator). I am really enjoying Jo’s writeups on the series as well. My only problem is that she is going to catch up with my mapping progress very quickly. I am currently slowly working my way through the Ionian Mission, so it won’t be long.

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