Everything Is Nice

Beating the nice nice nice thing to death (with fluffy pillows)

Archive for October 7th, 2008

‘The God Of Dark Laughter’ by Michael Chabon

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And, once again, precisely zero slipstream on display. This story would be more at home in Chabon’s own anthology, McSweeney’s Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales. In fact this is what the whole anthology (so far) resembles, down to the overlapping list of contributors.

‘The God Of Dark Laughter’ is a fun story enlivened as always by Chabon’s wit but it is very much RUMIR *. Ho hum.

Quality: ***

* Yes, this is my new favourite word, what of it?

Part of Feeling Very Strange

Written by Martin

7 October 2008 at 22:48

‘Lieserl’ by Karen Joy Fowler

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This is what I guess you would call speculative biography. (Not that it isn’t all.) Seven pages of nothing. Niall Harrison would have it that:

Despite being set in 1902, the story re-creates its chosen historical moment as seen from the vantage point of its writing. The narrator is clearly a modern woman who knows that Einstein is standing on the brink of the twentieth century, and imagines what it might be like for him to (metaphorically) look down, and what kind of vertigo he might experience.

If I am unimpressed with the idea that slipstream is about stories that make the reader feel very strange I am even less impressed with the idea that it is about stories that don’t make the reader feel very strange but are about Einstein having a bit of a turn.

Quality: *
Slipperiness: *

As an aside Fowler is mentioned in Rosenbaum’s story under the bizarro world pseudonym of Karen Despair Robinson. I am unsure who Howi Qomr Faukota is though.

Part of Feeling Very Strange

Written by Martin

7 October 2008 at 16:29

‘The Little Magic Shop’ by Bruce Sterling

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The inclusion of a story by Sterling himself is interesting because in his orginal article he says:

I offer this list as a public service to slipstream’s authors and readers. I don’t count myself in these ranks. I enjoy some slipstream, but much of it is simply not to my taste. This doesn’t mean that it is “bad,” merely that it is different. In my opinion, this work is definitely not SF, and is essentially alien to what I consider SF’s intrinsic virtues.

As it turns out ‘The Little Magic Shop’ is not slipstream in any shape or form. Nor is it a particularly good story. It is a fairy tale told in the modern style in which a young man buys a immortality potion and then everything proceeds unexcitingly from there.

The irony is that Sterling did write one great work of slipstream: Zeitgeist. It certainly isn’t representative of his career, it isn’t even really representative of the Leggy Starlitz stories. To include him in the anthology at all and for this story specifically is baffling.

Quality: **

Part of Feeling Very Strange

Written by Martin

7 October 2008 at 13:12