Warning: I have never taken a comparative literature course. This are merely my musings about a novel I very much enjoyed beyond the story. It’s quite possible I have completely missed Grossman’s point. It’s also possible I’m full of shit and committing intellectual masturbation. Whatever – I was bored.
To deconstruct something, literally, means to take it apart. In a literary sense, to deconstruct something means to take apart the structure and expose the assumption that things have a fixed reference point beyond themselves. I am of the opinion that The Magicians is a deconstruction of the young adult fantasy novel (almost, I’ll come back to this later). It strips down each of the components that represent the genre, exposes them, knocks them into unfamiliar shapes, and ultimately uses them to tell a narrative that’s still familiar. If Magicians is the beginnings of a deconstruction, than Lev Grossman’s sequel, The Magician King, is a reconstruction of that same paradigm.… Read the rest
I started writing this review last week, but it just wasn’t coming together like I’d hoped. With over 2,000 words written, I was approaching critical mass. You see, The Folding Knife is not an easy book to review. There’s a lot going on and it’s rather non-traditional for a fantasy novel in a lot of ways and then entirely traditional in others. It wasn’t until I ran across Lev Grossman’s article in the Wall Street Journal Monday morning that I knew how I was going to attack this post.
“Fantasy does tend to be heavily plot-driven. But plot has gotten a bad rap for the past century, ever since the Modernists (who I revere, don’t get me wrong) took apart the Victorian novel and left it lying in pieces on an old bedsheet on the garage floor. Books like “Ulysses” and “The Sound and the Fury” and “Mrs. Dalloway” shifted the emphasis away from plot onto other things: psychology; dense, layered writing; a fidelity to moment-to-moment lived experience.
… Read the rest
Germline is T.C. McCarthy’s debut novel from Orbit Books. My review can be found here and I’m calling it my favorite debut of the year so far. It’s due out in stores tomorrow July 26 and on August 1 in eBook format.
War is Oscar Wendell’s ticket to greatness. A reporter for The Stars and Stripes, he has the only one way pass to the front lines of a brutal war over natural resources buried underneath the icy, mineral rich mountains of Kazakhstan.
But war is nothing like he expected. Heavily armored soldiers battle genetically engineered troops hundreds of meters below the surface. The genetics-the germline soldiers-are the key to winning this war, but some inventions can’t be un-done. Some technologies can’t be put back in the box.
Kaz will change everything, not least Oscar himself. Hooked on a dangerous cocktail of adrenaline and drugs, Oscar doesn’t find the war, the war finds him.
… Read the rest
I’m a sucker for eBook bargains. Earlier this month I posted some great deals from Orbit and Pyr, which I’ll reiterate below along with a “few” new ones. I actually put a lot more effort into it this time around and there are a crap load of quality price-reduced offerings out there right now. All the links I’ve provided are to Kindle ordering. I have no idea if they’re being offered in other formats at the same price.
Just to emphasize, all of these titles are from major publishers in SFF and discounted from full-price by as much as $10 in some cases. Usually these reductions are for a limited time. I’ll try to do posts like this more regularly as a dedicated eReader.
Check it out!
__________________The Clockwork Rocket
, by Greg Egan ($3.99
Zendegi, by Greg Egan (Free) *New*
The Electric Church
, by Jeff Somers ($1.99
Jonathan Strange & Mr.
… Read the rest
In the year 2069, the first true Artificial Intelligence is created. Thirty years later the Class Fives are born, becoming the first fully self-aware AIs. Along with their less advanced cousins, “Fives” become known as the Nuekind. One of them is Richards, a private detective considered to be the most human of his kind. Richards is approached by the EuPol (think European Union/Interpol) to investigate the disappearance of the world’s foremost expert in Nuekind rights. Unfortunately for Richards and Klein, it appears their quarry has hidden himself in Reality Realm 36, a now defunct game world populated by AIs and thus afforded the same rights as Reality itself.
In true Angry Robot form, Reality 36 has lots of robot stuff. There are cyborgs, androids, cydroids (what?), super AIs, wussy AIs, and insane AIs. The internet is on steroids and with a little work the more powerful AIs can send themselves anywhere there’s a connection with enough bandwidth to handle them.
… Read the rest
I first read A Game of Thrones when I was a 16 year old high school student. My mother had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and who couldn’t use a little escapism at a time like that? A Clash of Kings was already on the shelves by then and I blew through them both. My mom recovered and I fell in love with a genre that would become a huge part of my life.
I remember my second year in college waiting eagerly for A Storm of Swords. Like any college kid I was still finding my way. I hated where I was living and was searching for some direction. I bought the hardcover on release day at the Barnes and Noble down the street. To this day, hundreds of book later – I have yet to be more blown away.
By the time A Feast for Crows was released I was an adult working in Washington DC.… Read the rest
Lev Grossman’s The Magicians has engendered no small amount of vitriol since its release two years ago. I’m not sure there’s been a more divisive book released in recent memory. Most of the negative comments seem to hover around the the novel’s bleakness and the notion that it’s extremely derivative. Strangely enough, that’s why I like it. Grossman has taken the young adult fantasy genre, poked it with a stick, and then told a darkly beautiful coming of age story within that framework.
Quentin Coldwater is a brilliant and depressed high school senior. He’s secretly obsessed with a series of fantasy novels he read as a kid, about the adventures of five children in a magical land called Fillory. Compared to Fillory, everything else is listless. As it turns out, Quentin is one of the few born with a talent for magic and is chosen to become a student at a prestigious (just ask them!) magical university in upstate New York, where he receives a rigorous education in sorcery.… Read the rest
My re-read is complete as of Saturday afternoon – three days ahead of the release for A Dance with Dragons. I immediately logged on to Amazon and pre-order Dance on my Kindle. It will be delivered at 12:01 AM on Tuesday (I hope). I may power through 100 pages or so before going to bed. Showing up to work with dark circles under my eyes is always a win.
A Feast for Crows was better than I remembered in some ways, and worse in others. The narrative is paced so slowly and jumps into so many different points of view that it never gets great pace. Some suggestions about reading each POV in order makes some sense. Reading Arya or Brienne chapters all in a row would probably alleviate some of the difficulties with the books structure. In any case, I read it as it was intended.
As I’ve completed my re-read of each of Martin’s books I’ve posted a few major thoughts from each about what I found interesting.… Read the rest
Wow. Before I go any further into this review I want to be up front that I don’t really feel qualified to review or judge this novel until I read it a second time. Nevertheless, I’m going to give it my best go. Please consider this more of a “first impressions” review that some kind of detailed analysis.
(Edit: After finishing the review, this has got be the longest “first impressions” post ever. Oh well, my blog, my run on incoherent thoughts.)
I finished Germline
over the Fourth of July weekend. More accurately, I sat down with it Saturday morning and didn’t even get up to eat until I finished it. It stunned me. The novel’s blurb doesn’t begin to encompass everything it has to offer. I don’t think Orbit Books is trying to mislead anyone, but a few words can’t capture everything T.C. McCarthy is trying to do. This is not, I repeat not, a military science fiction novel in the tradition of Honor Harrington
(Weber) or even the more recent Old Man’s War
(Scalzi).… Read the rest
As I was nodding off last night to the thundering pops of at home fireworks outside my window (northeast D.C. thinks the 4th of July lasts for a week), I couldn’t get Disney’s Beauty and the Beast out of my head. Beautiful Belle is trapped in the Beast’s castle and held against her will. During her imprisonment Belle comes to see the Beast for what he is and not what he looks like. He’s smart, gentle, and compassionate. Outside the castle, Belle’s suitor – Gaston – plots to “rescue” her. In truth, Gaston is a blowhard who only wants to free Belle to pump up his own ego.
After twenty minutes or so of pondering, I realized that I couldn’t get Beauty and the Beast out of my head because I’d just read it. Only Beast was a vampire in a book called The Greyfriar by Clay and Susan Griffith. Of course the realization came at the same time my neighbor set off a screamer, so my epiphany was accompanied by me falling out of bed – not terribly impressive.… Read the rest