Everything Is Nice

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

Archive for October 23rd, 2008

‘You Have Never Been Here’ by M Rickert

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I read this immediately after finishing Falling Man and it has that same sort of rhetorical, inward, yearning style. Unfortunately Rickert doesn’t have the same level of control as DeLillo. This is one of the few stories in the collection I can happily accept as slipstream but it falls victim to the problems that Kelly and Kessel identify as occassionally besetting the style: a tendency to “idle noodling”, to “uncommited allusions”. Idle noodling is too harsh for this story but it is certainly unsatisfying.

Quality: **
Slipperiness: ****

Part of Feeling Very Strange

Written by Martin

23 October 2008 at 18:58

Argumentum Ad Verecundiam

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I went to see John Clute be interviewed by Andrew McKie for the BSFA last night. It was a very interesting interview, I scored a copy of Michael Swanwick’s The Dragons Of Babel (as reviewed by Clute here) and I learnt three important things:

1) McKie has grown an alarming new beard

2) Appleseed was originally conceived as an Elite spinoff novel!

3) Clute thinks the concept of mundane SF is “inherently wacko”.

Written by Martin

23 October 2008 at 18:43

‘The Rose In Twelve Petals’ by Theodora Goss

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I was ready to castigate ‘Twelve Petals’ for just being another alt history too – which it is – but it blends this with the fairytale of Sleeping Beauty to some effect. It is still a fairytale though and it would be nice to think there is more to slipstream than ironic folklore.

Quality: ***

Part of Feeling Very Strange

Written by Martin

23 October 2008 at 18:12

The Ideal Falling Motion Of A Body

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It hit her hard when she first saw it, the day after, in the newspaper. The man headlong, the towers behind him. The mass of the towers filled the frame of the picture. The man falling, the towers continuous, she thought, behind him. The enormous soaring lines, the vertical column stripes. The man with blood on his shirt, she thought, or burn marks, and the effect of the columns behind him, the composition, she thought, darker stripes for the nearer tower, the north, lighter for the other, and the mass, the immensity of it all, and the man set set almost precisely between the rows of darker and lighter stripes. Headlong, free fall, she thought, and this picture burnt a hole in her mind and heart, dear God, he was a falling angel and his beauty was horrific.

Don DeLillo, Falling Man, 2007

DeLillo’s character is discussing Richard Drew’s infamous photo from which the novel takes its name. It is the obvious cover for the book but at the same time it is not the sort of image that you can slap text over and use a sales pitch. Instead the publishers have used a photo by Katy Day Weisberger which takes the opposite approach, moving back, rising up, relegating the Twin Towers themselves to the back cover. It is an equally fitting companion to the work DeLillo has produced. (The UK paperback cover also removes the clever but perhaps ill-judged typographical trick from the original cover.)

Written by Martin

23 October 2008 at 17:57