shaken & stirred

welcome to my martini glass

7.24.2005

sunday hangovers

I'm trapped inside on the Hottest Day of the Year. It's just brutal out there. So, here are a few things to occupy your own trappedness if it's this hot where you are too:

Kelly's "The Great Divorce" is the currently featured One Story (also in Magic for Beginners), and true to One Story form they have an excellent little interview with her about it. Somehow I let my One Story subscription die, will have to remedy that.

Elizabeth Ward is extremely unimpressed by Ariel Dorfman and Isabel Allende's forays into young adult lit, but raves about Walter Mosley and Carol Emshwiller's. Mister Boots had slipped my mind and now I want. to. read. it. immediately. The Book World review sez:
Strange things happen in this quietly affecting fable, too, but Emshwiller is so wry and matter-of-fact about them that disbelief is not an issue. Facts are few, reflecting the narrator's limitations ("I guess you haven't been homeschooled enough about reality and science," says Mother). Bobby is 10, "the perfect age." The setting is pre-Depression desert California. Father is gone, and Mother and Bobby's sad sister knit for a living. Beyond that, it gets hazy--and interesting. Bobby meets an odd, wounded man who is also a horse, Mister Boots. Bobby might or might not be really Roberta. Father returns after Mother dies; he's a magician and a bully. Emshwiller is playing with some heavy themes here, particularly the staple sf notion of identity and gender as sleights of hand and power imbalances between both species and sexes. But she has said, "As to any 'meaning' I'm trying to get across, there isn't any"--and that is the beauty of Mister Boots . Ideas creep in as quietly as a horse watching you in the moonlight.
Speaking of YAs, I bought Pete Hautman's new one Invisible and Andrew Auseon's Funny Little Monkey (if it's anything like his blog, it'll be hilarious). I already finished the Hautman; his work is so readable and spare. I didn't love it as much as Godless, and in the end it reminded me thematically of Daniel Handler's The Basic 8, a book I adore for its flawless use of tone, among many other things. I hesitate to say too much about Invisible, because knowing too much could spoil it for you. Despite these few reservations, it's still an excellent look through the eyes of a troubled high school outcast, an unreliable narrator who is disconcertingly persuasive and likable even while doing exceedingly creepy things. I recommend it.

Please refer to Tod Goldberg as Tod Thirteen Hawks from now on. I've yet to see a reaction to The Traveler from someone inside the genre (if I'm missing these, please point to them in the comments or an email). I'm almost tempted to read it myself. I've yet to see a reaction from someone who actually hated the book, though there is a common sense of moderate self-loathing for having enjoyed reading it in many of the reactions I have seen. But, again, those were all from people who don't seem to read a ton of SF. I'm curious about how reactions from those who do will differ.

And today, Le Tour 2005 and Lance Armstrong's career in cycling have ended. Next year should be very interesting, as they say in shadowy black and white movies while ominous music plays...

2 Comments:

  • At 8:57 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    John Joseph Adams recently reviewed The Traveler in his journal.

    Cannot wait to read Mister Boots.

    PamM

     
  • At 9:21 AM , Blogger The Editor said...

    Night Shade has a whole thread for it: http://www.nightshadebooks.com/discus/messages/53/4604.html?1120964652

    JK

     

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