Everything Is Nice

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

Archive for December 2008

I Want To Tell The Story Again

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It was interesting to read Jeanette Winterson’s introduction to Weight not long after reading The Stone Gods:

My work is full of Cover Versions. I like to take stories we think we know and record them differently. In the re-telling comes a new emphasis or bias, and the new arrangement of the key elements demands that fresh material be injected into the existing text.

Autobiography is not important. Authenticity is important. The writer must fire herself through the text, be the molten stuff that welds together disparate elements. I believe there is always exposure, vulnerability, in the writing process, which is not to say it is confessional or memoir. Simply, it is real.

This is described as her introduction but by the nature of what she is writing it is part of the main text. It could be equally applied to The Stone Gods and the pair form a duet of theme and execution.

Weight is part of the Canongate Myths series. I’ve found other examples from Margaret Atwood and Ali Smith – two writers I admire greatly – disappointing but Winterson’s tale succeeds far beyond the publisher’s uninspiring goal of retelling a myth in “a contemporary and memorable way”.

Written by Martin

10 December 2008 at 13:27

Posted in books, quotes

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What A Difference A Day Makes

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A couple of years ago Chris Cleave published his debut novel, Incendiary, a thriller about a terrorist attack on the Emirates Stadium. It received a major marketing push, including adverts on the tube, but, unfortunately, happened to be published on the same day as the tube bombings.

I’ve not read the novel but by all accounts calling it a thriller is slightly misleading. The publisher was clearly happy to mislead though because the cover screams thriller. Just look at the typeface. So it was with considerable surprise that I came across the new paperback edition in Borders.

It is about as radical a change in design as you can imagine. They both directly relate to the contents of the novel but emphasise completely different aspects. It continues a re-positioning seen in the recent film adaptation, the audience the marketing is trying to attract has clearly shifted from men to women. This does make sense but it is still a startling contrast.

Written by Martin

8 December 2008 at 13:10

Posted in books, design, films

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A Discussion About The Ant King And Other Stories

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When I read ‘Biographical Notes to “A Discourse on the Nature of Causality, with Air-Planes,” by Benjamin Rosenbaum’ by Benjamin Rosenbaum as part of Feeling Very Strange I said I hoped to say more about Rosenbaum’s fiction. And now I have.

A Discussion About The Ant King And Other Stories between myself, Niall Harrison, Abigail Nussbaum and Dan Hartland has just been published at Torque Control.

Written by Martin

8 December 2008 at 09:48

This Is The News

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Happy news: The euphemistically named “Autumn” edition of Vector has just arrived. It contains a bumper crop of reviews including one by me of Exotic Excusions by Anthony Nanson. Hopefully this will be available online on the Vector website early next year.

Sad news: Andrew McKie, the Telegraph’s obituaries editor and SF critic, has been made redundant. Good luck to him.

Mind-boggling news: Subterranean Press have asked Patrick of Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist fame to edit an anthology of his favourite fantasy for them. I won’t snark too hard because some profits are going to charity but that is one collection I won’t be buying.

Written by Martin

3 December 2008 at 17:16

Well Weapon

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My review of Charlie Brooker’s Dead Set has just gone live at Strange Horizons.

Written by Martin

1 December 2008 at 14:40