Archive for April 2009
Redshift manages to squeeze 30 stories into 544 pages and one of the reasons for this is because Sarrantonio stuffs it with short disposable stories from his mates. ‘Unique Visitors’ does nothing and there is nothing you can say about it.
One final point: the Penguin sf covers presented here are neither exhaustive nor intended to be. Aesthetics are every- thing for a website called The Art of Penguin Science Fiction, and in this regard many of the later covers have little to offer. Thus they are excluded, and from 1977 to 2009 all coverage (no pun intended) ceases. For as the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein once wrote for very different reasons, “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent”.
Sarrantonio boasts that this is her first science fiction story but unfortunately what Oates has produced here is a dull and obvious re-working of ‘The Lottery’ by Shirley Jackson (right down to the inappropriately old-fashioned narrative voice). It is also much too long and starts to drag before it is even half way through.
This is the first story in the anthology that looks like it might actually be trying to follow in the footsteps of Harlan Ellison. The story is pretty standard though: a middle-aged man recounts an inexplicable event in his youth which has haunted him since. Well written but nothing more.
From time to time I get hits from people searching for information about Dark Waters of Hagwood by Robin Jarvis. This sequel to Thorn Ogres Of Hagwood was due to be published in 2005 but there has been no sign of it, despite Amazon announcing a new publication date of February 2009 at the beginning of the year. I finally decided to email Puffin about this and they have confirmed that the series has been abandoned.
A great shame as Jarvis is a wonderful writer and I had high hopes for the series. He is still writing though and if you only read one anthromorphic mouse series make it the Deptford Mice trilogy (not the Deptford trilogy).
ETA: Apparently the book is written and Puffin have announced a new publication date of 2015 (see comment below) but since this is so far off I will continue to consider the book dead for the time being.
ETA 2: It lives! The book was published in 2013 and you can read my review at Strange Horizons.
Pretty much unreadable story in which a bunch of comical grotesques sit around chatting shit with God in a private members’ club.