ThReads Must Roll: the new, improved rolling fantasy, science fiction, speculative fiction &c. thread

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed

Because the old one got too long and Shakey couldn't load it. A sequel to rolling fantasy, science fiction, speculative fiction &c. thread

fgtbaoutit (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 13 November 2014 00:51 (six years ago) link

Hoping to report on Report On Probability A in the near future.

fgtbaoutit (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 13 November 2014 00:54 (six years ago) link

Gregory Benford: Artifact --- archaeologists uncover lethal alien thingy in Mycenean burial ground. Not brilliantly written, but interesting enough to continue with. Entertainingly, for a book written in 1985, it contains early 21st-century Greece falling apart because of a worldwide economic depression/recession

ornamental cabbage (James Morrison), Thursday, 13 November 2014 01:11 (six years ago) link

lol @ thread title

Report on Probability A - was idly thinking of re-reading that recently, I remember being p underwhelmed by its central formal conceit. I expected it to be much loopier and disorienting. In general, Aldiss is v hit or miss for me (something I've read Moorcock attribute to his needing a good editor/manager, someone to set goals/targets for him). Cryptozoic is undreadable, for example, but I consider Barefoot in the Head from just a year or two later a masterpiece.

Οὖτις, Thursday, 13 November 2014 17:20 (six years ago) link

Brian W. "Crazy Baldhead" Aldiss

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 13 November 2014 17:27 (six years ago) link

Read rep on prob a at least twice a long time ago, didn't know anything about last year at marienbad but enjoyed the formal conceit and the last few pages made me want to high five him.

thread title capitalisation and constant reminder of that dunderheaded heinlein story is gonna make me rmde to eternity.

ledge, Friday, 14 November 2014 10:03 (six years ago) link

agonising as it may be for ledge, this restart is v handy for me, as I meant to start following the previous thread after the initial poll that prompted it, and then i didn't and then it got so long that my approach of 'I must read all of it before participating' turned into hiding from the thread and not ever talking about some of my favourite strands of writing :/

Fizzles, Friday, 14 November 2014 10:41 (six years ago) link

Sorry for thread title, ledge, I did it to annoy Shakey, not you.

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 14 November 2014 11:17 (six years ago) link

You are not the only one who couldn't read prior thread, Fizzles. Was constantly using the search feature or wondering where something was only to learn it was further upthread.

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 14 November 2014 11:26 (six years ago) link

Still slogging through the last of Atwood's Maddadam trilogy. The third book is piss-weak, slow going and uninteresting, and her stylistic flaws seem to show through more and more. Because it's sci-fi there's an attempt to be, I dunno, edgy or hardboiled or something and it's about as convincing as one of your parents trying on an ill-fitting leather jacket. Bit of a shame really, becaus eI enjoyed the first two books (Oryx & Crake / Year of the Flood) immensely.

joni mitchell jarre (dog latin), Friday, 14 November 2014 11:34 (six years ago) link

I think I forgotten to say on the previous thread that another one of the best features on fantasticfiction site is it shows you the blurbs writers have done for other people's books.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 14 November 2014 14:35 (six years ago) link

Cool I'll just keep pasting in stuff from prev thread everytime somebody mentions something already discussed thoroughly, as I kept etc on prev thread its own self. Speaking of blurbs, here's a good 'un from a recent library shop score, Wandering Stars, An Anthology of Jewish Fantasy and Science Fiction, edited by Jack Dann, Introduction by Isaac Asimov:
I loved Wandering Stars, and why not? Two of the thirteen stories are from Orbit, and I would have bought seven of the rest if I had got my hands on them first. If the book had nothing else going for it, it would still be a triumph to get William Tenn to write the great story he was talking about in the fifties.--Damon Knight
(Also a blurb from Leo Rosten, who wrote The Education of Hyman Kaplan, about an immigrant who tends to take over English classes with his own versions and visions of language and lit.)

dow, Friday, 14 November 2014 15:47 (six years ago) link

Contents (some of these titles are corny, but the few stories I kinda remember from mags etc were good):

"Why Me?" by Isaac Asimov

William Tenn: "On Venus, Have We Got A Rabbi"

Avram Davidson: "The Golem"

Isaac Asimov: "Unto the Fourth Generation"

Carol Carr: "Look, You Think You've Got Troubles"

Avram Davidson: "Goslin Day"

Robert Silverberg: "The Dybbuk of Mazel Tov IV"

Horace L. Gold: "Trouble With Water"

Pamela Sargent: "Gather Blue Roses"

Bernard Malamud: "The Jewbird"

Geo. Alec Effinger: "Paradise Lost"

Robert Sheckley: "Street of Dreams, Feet of Clay"

Isaac Bashevis Singer: Jachid and Jechidah"

Harlan Ellison: "I'm Looking For Kadah"

dow, Friday, 14 November 2014 16:00 (six years ago) link

I just looked at a full schedule of all the books on SF Gateway (presumably this is the ebook titles). It's 2599 books!
Cant remember where I found the document.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 14 November 2014 21:16 (six years ago) link

UK or US or other?

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 14 November 2014 21:39 (six years ago) link

Probably UK

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 14 November 2014 22:02 (six years ago) link

Considerably fewer in US

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 14 November 2014 22:12 (six years ago) link

Mark Sinker makes some connections (for inst., between Gothic and Futurist lit) new to me, after viewing the National Gallery's William Morris exhibition:

dow, Sunday, 16 November 2014 14:51 (six years ago) link

Thanks. Surely the friend mentioned there is an ILB poster.

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 16 November 2014 14:59 (six years ago) link

RMDE at that this thread title too, as well as the terrible screenname I had at the time. Don't know why I did it. I guess the door dilated and I just had to go through it.

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 16 November 2014 14:59 (six years ago) link

before I forget: this Brazilian writer recently died and Clute tweeted link to very appealing SFE overview of his work:

dow, Sunday, 16 November 2014 15:51 (six years ago) link

Ooh! I mean RIP but yknow

Οὖτις, Sunday, 16 November 2014 16:02 (six years ago) link

Thanks. Often hard to find something like that in translation or even not in translation. Wonder if he had anything in that Cosmos Latinos anthology? Don't seem to recognize the name.

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 16 November 2014 16:03 (six years ago) link

(xp, obv)

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 16 November 2014 16:03 (six years ago) link

okay, "Brain Transplant."

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 16 November 2014 16:05 (six years ago) link

I've only read Brain Transplant but would def read more provided stuff gets translated

Οὖτις, Sunday, 16 November 2014 16:06 (six years ago) link

Hey James, tried to reply to yr kind email, but it won't let us reply directly, and the webmail form has the worst captcha evah, I refreshed it a half-dozen times, got rejected over and over and over and over and over and over. So I'll reply here: thanks, you keep up the good posts too!

dow, Monday, 17 November 2014 02:06 (six years ago) link

has this been posted already?

Οὖτις, Monday, 17 November 2014 16:18 (six years ago) link

Laird Barron wrote a parody of the horror/weird scene, it included jabs at Mark Samuels in particular (however serious they were intended, nobody knows), there was some discussion of this at the Ligotti forum and eventually that resulted in Justin Isis writing hilarious rap battle lyrics.
Several spread across this page

Robert Adam Gilmour, Monday, 17 November 2014 23:35 (six years ago) link

The xpost link to Mark Sinker's William Morris exhibit etc is back online this afternoon. Read that before reading further, for max headroom:
When his fellow visitor/ILXor xyzzz (sic?) said it was down this morning, I told Mark, and we had this email exchange:

Mark:oh cheers, yes, the guy who hosts it (on a laptop in his spare room) sometimes has to reboot :)

me: OK, will keep in mind. I fairly recently got into Morris and those Kipling stories (if you meant "As Easy As A-B-C" and "With The Night Mail," for inst), but hadn't made the connection. Now I'm also thinking of Blade Runner's Earth, a mostly abandoned First World-as-Third World backstreet, where it rains all night in perpetual eco-ruins; also PKD's original setting, more like a slightly-future-to-us Beijing, with workers scuttling between buildings, hoping not to be singed/cancer-seeded by the invisible sun. Some later Tiptree stories too, and Mary Shelley's The Last Man, for me amazing as Frankenstein.
Probably some of Kim Stanley Robinson's later novels too, though they've gotten so long I may never know (early The Wild Shore was fine, best I recall). But I recently saw a mention of "cli-fi" as emerging trend, so we may get sick of the whole thing even before it all comes true.

Mark: Yes, Kipling’s mum was related to a famous Pre-Raphaelite in the Morris circle — his dad of course ran the Lucknow museum — and when he was boarded in England as kid (not the notorious time that became Baa Baa Black Sheep) he stayed with the De Morgans, who were also minor slebs in Arts&Crafts terms: William DM a high-end potter and tile designer (he did the fireplaces for the Titanic iirc!)

Yrs partly (Kipling's)sic-fi stories, but also the stories about ships and trains and cars — esp.the ones from the perspective of the train or ship. The ones abt cars are really intriguing: he was totally an early adopter.

me: Didn't know any of that, thanks! Will def have to read more Kipling----recently found one of his I mentioned in an anth w HG's "The Land Ironclads"---getting back into Wells, and suspect the Eloi and Morlocks might have gotten Morris (and Tolkien) going. Finally read The Lord Of The Rings, and feel like I totally/mostly get it! Specific associations re the "not allegorical, dammit!" Ring/magic can shift, but lately I think of fossil fuels as thee ancient source of modern marvels, source which must now be sacrificed to/for any chance of future lives, bearable legacy But once that ship sails off into the autumn sea, it sails, buddy. So the book is a tragedy, but fairly often experienced as a comedy, in a commedia sense: fascination of the vivid details, robustly acted out, with some mortal meat joy, and other meat conditions.

dow, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 19:08 (six years ago) link

William DM a high-end potter and tile designer (he did the fireplaces for the Titanic iirc!

De Morgan Centre looking for a foothold. (Those are Tolkien's ships, right there)

alimosina, Thursday, 20 November 2014 01:24 (six years ago) link

Just heard "Dream Weaver" on the radio. Wasn't there an sf writer named Gary Wright who had a much anthologized story about some futuristic luge called something like "Ice Slide"? "Ice Capades"? "Ice Rink" ? "Ice Mutants"? and then was never heard from again? I'll guess I'll see what Clute & Co have to say.

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 23 November 2014 20:44 (six years ago) link
"Mirror of Ice"

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 23 November 2014 20:48 (six years ago) link

Looks like some Canadian teacher assigned it to his students to adapt as a short film. Don't think it was clemenza, though.

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 23 November 2014 20:55 (six years ago) link

Can anyone tell me what on earth Science Fiction Poetry is? Poems of fantasy and horror just uses tropes of those genres but how do you achieve the conceptual framework of SF in poetry? Because without that, the tropes by themselves would just be fantasy poems or poems about radical change.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Sunday, 23 November 2014 20:56 (six years ago) link

If you have to ask you'll never know.

Tom Disch might have had something to tell you about it, but he is sadly no longer with us.

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 23 November 2014 21:00 (six years ago) link

Oh gosh, now that you mention it, I've seen poetry in science fiction mags as far back as I can remember, though I don't remember any specific poem, at least in part because I haven't read any sf mags in a long time. I do remember there being quite a range, from short light verse (limericks, even)to much more ambitious testimonials and mini-sagas(never got much space in the page sense).
I'll have to dig up some of those zines; meanwhile this looks like a good place to start:

dow, Sunday, 23 November 2014 22:22 (six years ago) link

Also notable were the infusion of a quantity of poetry into the text of Brian W Aldiss's novel Barefoot in the Head (1969)

Thinking about what Aldiss to read next, since I finished Report on Probability A , which I will give a report grade of 'A' to, and this is on my short list.

There are some poems in the anthology Sense of Wonder.

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 23 November 2014 22:51 (six years ago) link

Just came across a 1962 American printing of The Long Afternoon of Earth, AKA Hothouse; unabridged edition didn't come out in the US 'til 76.

dow, Sunday, 23 November 2014 23:37 (six years ago) link

Did you buy it? It is currently out of print. I loved the story/extract in the Silverberg SF 101 book, as mentioned on prior thread.

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 23 November 2014 23:41 (six years ago) link

This is the abridged version I got (for 25 cents),204,203,200_.jpg

dow, Monday, 24 November 2014 00:00 (six years ago) link

in terms of thematic vibe, this cover may be more appropriate, but the UK is awesome o coures

dow, Monday, 24 November 2014 00:01 (six years ago) link

In your favorite online sf reference work I believe that book has the tag ***SEMISPOILER ALERT** "Space Elevator" **END OF SEMISPOILER ALERT

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 24 November 2014 00:28 (six years ago) link

Vandermeer has come back to one he still thinks is underappreciated. The title and author seem vaguely familiar; anybody read it?

dow, Monday, 24 November 2014 05:22 (six years ago) link

New Yorker won't let me link, but check out Laura Miller's "Fresh Hell" for clear lens view of profuse YA dystopias, and how the lit varies from Classic adult-aimed (later school-assigned). TNY's Amy Davidson later agrees with much but not all of Miller's take.

dow, Tuesday, 25 November 2014 17:40 (six years ago) link

been reading LeGuin's "A Fisherman of the Inland Sea" (they had it at the library). I took Disch to task in "The Dreams Our Stuff is Made of" for his attacks on her, and while I won't recant on that count (he was unnecessarily harsh and dismissive), she really can let her didacticism get in the way. I can think of few fiction writers that have a more keenly developed political agenda that is so readily apparent in their work. Ayn Rand obviously (lol) and Heinlein and Scott Card I suppose. But LeGuin's well to the left of those boorish blowhards, and arguably more audacious conceptually. I wonder if I should go back and re-read the Kestrel books for any political subtext I may have missed in jr high, I always liked those...

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 25 November 2014 22:17 (six years ago) link

I don't think I'll read her for a very long time unless I come across her work in anthologies. Because once Moorcock said her work was self-consciously literary and left him cold. But he was very fond of her as a person.

That really put me off and what you say here adds to that. But Wizard Of Earthsea is an attractive name so I'm not totally discouraged.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 26 November 2014 01:28 (six years ago) link

Moorcock doesn't always make the right choices...

Even people I know who don't usually like her (or science fiction in general) tend to like this

dow, Wednesday, 26 November 2014 01:40 (six years ago) link

Just started Solaris on Audible. Great so far! The voice over is above average for an audiobook too

Party With A Jagger Ban (dog latin), Tuesday, 16 February 2021 16:17 (five months ago) link

Thanks, Matt. I dipped my toe into the Baen thing and thought, if not for the politics, hate speech, & domestic terrorism threats, I love the idea of a little corner of the internet existing more or less secretly for 20+ years.

Ima Gardener (in orbit), Tuesday, 16 February 2021 16:24 (five months ago) link

the way he keeps making up universes, setting two books in them and moving on again

To be fair, I wish more writers would do this--or even just one book--rather than keeping on with the interminable series.

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Wednesday, 17 February 2021 05:37 (five months ago) link

the web site has clarified things for me, a bit. the rename confused me, as did writing a sequel 12 years later, in the middle of another trilogy. Web site does talk about books to be published in 2020 though, so there's probably been a couple more since then.

I'm can't remember whether I've read the 2nd book of the current trilogy or whether i enjoyed the 1st. reviews are very mixed.

and it appears this year's book, out August, goes all the way back to the Revelation Space universe from 2000

koogs, Wednesday, 17 February 2021 06:16 (five months ago) link

Locus on upcoming---can't tell much from v brief summaries, but this seems possibly promising, despite/incl. dumbo description of merging:

Rosson, Keith: Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons

(Meerkat Press 978-1-946154-52-1, $16.95, 206pp, formats: trade paperback, ebook, Feb 23, 2021)

Collection of 15 stories, one new, delving into notions of family, identity, indebtedness, loss, and hope, while merging literary fiction and magical realism.
Womack, Marian: The Swimmers

(Titan Books US 978-1789094213, $15.95, 352pp, formats: trade paperback, ebook, Feb 23, 2021)

Dystopian reimagining of Wide Sargasso Sea set in Andalusia. After the ravages of the Green Winter, Earth is a place of deep jungles and monstrous animals. The last of the human race is divided into surface dwellers and the people who live in the Upper Settlement, a ring perched at the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere.

dow, Wednesday, 24 February 2021 17:38 (five months ago) link
Earlier parts are linked within

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 27 February 2021 22:05 (five months ago) link

From the Wormwoodiana blog:

Coven Poetry is a new free online literature and art journal edited by E.P Jenkins ‘that seeks to give space to the innovative and experimental with a particular interest in work that is ecologically aware, that explores process as ritual, and mythology, and crafts.’

The first issue includes four images by me in my series of found art from old books: Gypsy Queen Dream Book; Secret Egypt; The White Knights; and Brood 2.

Other contributions explore witchcraft, tarot, paganism, grimoires, zombies, moon worship, Egyptian deities, spells and incantations and much more in a rich alchemical melding of ancient magic with modernist and avant-garde style.

If Austin Osman Spare, William Burroughs, Mary Butts and Kathy Acker got together for a séance, the transcript could well look like this.

(Mark Valentine)
Some other links in here worth checking, as usual:

dow, Tuesday, 2 March 2021 23:07 (five months ago) link

Interview with writer and publisher (Rosarium) Bill Campbell. What interested me the most was his comment that people straight up ignore the most controversial art so it doesn't get any attention. Have to admit I'd be nervous about ordering Koontown Killing Kaper, but I'm glad his face is on the back cover (I think Tade Thompson said he read it on the train), he said he was blacklisted from lots of places for it!

Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 4 March 2021 19:37 (five months ago) link

Who Is R. A. Lafferty? And Is He the Best Sci-Fi Writer Ever?

mookieproof, Thursday, 4 March 2021 20:39 (five months ago) link

Is that a new article?

The Ballad of Mel Cooley (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 4 March 2021 20:49 (five months ago) link

03.03.2021 08:00 AM

mookieproof, Thursday, 4 March 2021 20:50 (five months ago) link

So should we then say that Rafferty is baconing?

The Ballad of Mel Cooley (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 4 March 2021 21:40 (five months ago) link

Like Barkis is willin'

The Ballad of Mel Cooley (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 4 March 2021 21:41 (five months ago) link

Lafferty is baconing, sorry

The Ballad of Mel Cooley (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 4 March 2021 22:31 (five months ago) link

Tbh thought we reached peak Lafferty a few years back.

The Ballad of Mel Cooley (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 4 March 2021 22:32 (five months ago) link

Yes when Gaiman was touting him

covidsbundlertanze op. 6 (Jon not Jon), Friday, 5 March 2021 03:15 (four months ago) link

That’s exactly what I meant, thanks.

The Ballad of Mel Cooley (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 5 March 2021 03:26 (four months ago) link

Some SNL guys and stand-up comedians too, iirc.

The Ballad of Mel Cooley (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 5 March 2021 03:35 (four months ago) link

I don’t understand why it’s necessary to overstate Lafferty’s obscurity so hard (as that latest article does)

covidsbundlertanze op. 6 (Jon not Jon), Friday, 5 March 2021 05:35 (four months ago) link

That’s why I asked when it was written, thought maybe it was an older article that popped again showing yesterday’s date.

The Ballad of Mel Cooley (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 5 March 2021 05:40 (four months ago) link

Art book here

Lee Brown Coye - Pulp Macabre

This focuses on the last years of Coye's life (late 60s to early 80s), reprinting the complete illustrations of many of the books of that era by writers/editors like Hugh B Cave, Manly Wade Wellman and Les Daniels. The writing is largely about people like Robert Weinberg, Les Daniels, Karl Edward Wagner and Stuart David Schiff trying to keep alive and sometimes bring back the contributors to Weird Tales magazine who weren't being published by August Derleth/Arkham House. Derleth had utilized Coye before he died and Coye needed these people for the kind of work he wanted to do and found a larger and maybe more sympathetic audience than he had when he was drawing for Weird Tales.

I appreciated the short biographies because I knew very little about Weinberg and Daniels. I found some of the claims a bit exaggerated (I wouldn't consider Schiff that well known in the recent past and although Coye is very morbid, a lot of the writing seems to describe something even darker than he is) but I do agree that Coye might have been the greatest artist to come out the pulps and his vision was a great deal stronger than even a lot of the most celebrated horror artists.

What I appreciate most is the very late scratchy drawings, I don't think I had seen any of these and several of them are previously unpublished. I think it might be among his best work and I'm not sure how much this was a chosen direction for him and how much it was him struggling with his ill health, it is said he needed to relearn how to draw. 75 isn't so bad an age to die but I wish he got longer to explore this scratchy look.

This is a nice addition to Arts Unknown, most of us will never find or afford A Retrospective.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 18 March 2021 20:43 (four months ago) link

Seriously considering shelling out pretty good money for all 13 volumes of the Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon. Has anyone gotten any of these? I have a bad completism bug -- if I get one, I'll have FOMO if I don't get all of them.

Motoroller Scampotron (WmC), Saturday, 20 March 2021 14:15 (four months ago) link

Ha, that's one thing I don't quite have, I know I won't read all that, it's a disincentive.

The Ballad of Mel Cooley (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 20 March 2021 14:32 (four months ago) link

I have heard that some of the earliest volumes are a bit rougher. I do have a similar bug but I'm more wary now because I am making my way through a few complete works collections and it's often a drag unless they have a small body of work or they have a reputation for always being interesting. I tend to find that even a lot of the greats are disappointing 2/3 of the time.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 20 March 2021 18:21 (four months ago) link

Yes, I think somebody even had a rule to that effect, can’t quite remember who.

The Ballad of Mel Cooley (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 20 March 2021 18:24 (four months ago) link


Motoroller Scampotron (WmC), Saturday, 20 March 2021 18:39 (four months ago) link

Microcosmic lol.

Anyway came here to say that as the Great Threadroller I am well aware that this thread is on ILB and concerns the written word but wanted to mention that I have recently been binge watching Babylon 5 which is really hitting the spot, lots of multi-year multi-season arcs that really pay off, really good writing and characters, but as far as I can tell only two other ILX0rs are fans and one of them just went into a borad beef-induced space-time anomaly. The thread is here Babylon 5, barely running along like a poorly crewed generation spaceship, and contains some super spoilers so don’t click on the hidden text!

It Is Dangerous to Meme Inside (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 28 March 2021 15:01 (four months ago) link

i saw it and enjoyed it at the time and have all the dvds (although i can only see 1, 2, 3 on the shelves). and a lot of the daytime stuff that's been keeping me going has finished now, so i might have some capacity.

koogs, Sunday, 28 March 2021 15:12 (four months ago) link

I watched it at the time, not religiously but enough to remember g'kar and londo, and to notice andreas katsulas when he popped up on st:tng. Don't have the dvds or hbo access or much time to spare.

Ignore the neighsayers: grow a lemon tree (ledge), Sunday, 28 March 2021 19:09 (four months ago) link

been watching ‘counterpart’ — two ten-episode seasons of sci-fi/thrillerdom from a couple years back featuring j.k. simmons; quite like it so far

it’s set in berlin and has a vibe not unlike that of dave hutchinson’s ‘fractured europe’ series

mookieproof, Monday, 29 March 2021 00:22 (four months ago) link

jk simmons is a delight. and in counterpart you get two for the price of one!

the vaccine subplot ended up being pretty fuckin prescient

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Monday, 29 March 2021 08:38 (four months ago) link

read n.k. jemison's 'the city we became', in which five people become the living avatars of the five boroughs of nyc and must band together to fight evil

fast-paced, a bit too rah-rah-greatest-city-in-the-world, and almost hilariously Not Subtle -- in some ways it's practically a book-length revenge fantasy. unclear how it's supposed to become a trilogy

mookieproof, Monday, 29 March 2021 21:02 (four months ago) link

loooool mean! I found it so easy to love and enter into! Also fuck Staten Island for real for real.

Ima Gardener (in orbit), Monday, 29 March 2021 21:05 (four months ago) link

i'd never read any jemisin before that and i found it very compulsively readable. i agree about the rah-rah stuff, which was extreme to the point that i hesitated to recommend it to a friend who's an avid sci-fi/fantasy reader but doesn't live in nyc, but as a native ny-er i was cool with it lol

voodoo chili, Monday, 29 March 2021 21:15 (four months ago) link

vc, read all the Jemision, seriously.

Ima Gardener (in orbit), Monday, 29 March 2021 21:25 (four months ago) link

i didn't say i disliked it! and the revelation of the Evil's origins was neat, if not enough so to make me actually read lovecraft.

but, you know, rip wu-tang

yeah i would recommend the broken earth series

mookieproof, Monday, 29 March 2021 21:35 (four months ago) link

on my list. if it's like city we became, i'll probably tear through them

voodoo chili, Tuesday, 30 March 2021 17:00 (four months ago) link

SP Somtow - Vampire Junction

I first heard of Somtow and this book in the additional recommendations at the back of Horror: 100 Best Books, his name stood out but so did the word "Junction", which is nothing like the words generally used in vampire titles. This is his most famous book (considered by many to be an early splatterpunk book), not his best, I've only read 4 of his books but the Inquestor series is on a higher plane.

Timmy Valentine is a 2000 year old vampire stuck with the body of a 12 year old boy, now he's an extremely successful pop star. We frequently visit previous eras of his life and the various characters connected to him. Jungian archetypes are central to the story and the more it gets into them, the more hallucinatory the story is. Vampires can change form based on the fears and desires of the people who see them and somehow Valentine's home has same ability.

This is very much set in the modern world (or the early 80s) with all the cultural references, videogames, famous brands and preposterous merchandise. Vampire films are often referenced and I think one scene was a nod to Stephen King's Salem's Lot. Somtow's classical music background is used even more extensively than in Inquestor.

The best scenes have an incredible energy, I really like the way it developed the archetypes concept, it's frequently funny. Stephen Miles is such an odd character.

Some complaints: the writing is not quite as refined as the other Somtow books I've read. As much as he executes his imagery very well (and he can do this brilliantly), there's still lots of scenes that I think needed more fleshing out and description, because so many things that seem ripe for a juicy description just pass by without conjuring much of a vivid picture or just land awkwardly (a scar that moves like a worm), Inquestor didn't have this problem often. It isn't a long book but I think quite a lot of scenes of relatively ordinary stuff could have been trimmed a bit (especially the vampire hunters getting supplies).
I don't think Somtow aims for realistic dialogue but some choices are just head scratching. This particularly in the chauffeur scenes that are told only in dialogue, it doesn't work very well, the scenes (as I say above) could have had more impact if they were more conventionally fleshed out and the characters describe what they see at such length that I wasn't sure if their dialogue was to be taken as completely literal.
Why couldn't Valentine escape the wooden cage? What does an "irish face" look like? Why does the shoshone mother let the children out so easily? In what way did Brian being with her resemble what his awful brother was doing?

But all in all it's an admirably ambitious, frequently fun and violently energetic novel with lots of fractured, hallucinatory images. I'm looking forward to the sequels but more excited about getting to many of his other books.
Just a warning: Somtow can be disarmingly light hearted and earnest before he plunges you into taboos and extreme horror, Valentine (remember he has the body of a 12 year old boy) has sex with a handful of adults, is raped and butchered and lives through and repeatedly dies in the holocaust. Enjoy!

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 31 March 2021 20:29 (four months ago) link

ok so i finally cracked open exhalation by ted chiang and that first story (merchant and the alchemist’s gate)...holy shit

voodoo chili, Thursday, 8 April 2021 03:37 (three months ago) link


Computers I can live with, I even dried them in the oven (ledge), Thursday, 8 April 2021 07:31 (three months ago) link

That was the first story of his I read. Still my favourite tbh. So good.

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Thursday, 8 April 2021 07:34 (three months ago) link

All of his stories are great but yeah that one's special.

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 8 April 2021 09:28 (three months ago) link

He can do no wrong

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Thursday, 8 April 2021 22:38 (three months ago) link

Am reading Broken Stars, an anthology of Chinese SF/F. Not that I want the same old western pabulum but a lot of the stories are a bit too reliant on knowledge of Chinese history and culture (others here might get more out of them!) The best one so far is enjoyable with only a broad grasp, it's an alternate history story where time goes forward as usual but historical events are reversed - Gorbachev gets elected president of Russia and creates the USSR, China moves from a market to a planned economy. At one point our hero travels to America where he sees the sequel to Star Wars episodes I-III: episode IV A New Hope. He bemoans the basic story and amateurish effects, blaming the downturn in the US economy.

Computers I can live with, I even dried them in the oven (ledge), Sunday, 11 April 2021 18:41 (three months ago) link

Yeah, like I said upthread, I was disappointed in a lot of those---but the title story is amazing, and will check some of them again (although already did a fair amount of re-reading the first time through).

dow, Sunday, 11 April 2021 20:10 (three months ago) link

Found your post in among the other 5000, maybe time for a new thread. Agree with you on the editorial/lecturing aspect, and the "wtf oh well" nature of many the stories (for me including the title story, the magical realism/horror vibe just didn't do it for me) - though in my experience that's par for the course for almost any sf anthology. I abandoned the 'connecticut yankee' story after just a few pages.

Computers I can live with, I even dried them in the oven (ledge), Sunday, 11 April 2021 20:43 (three months ago) link

If you want to be the next ThReadroller, feel free and go ahead, you have my blessing.

It Is Dangerous to Meme Inside (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 11 April 2021 21:28 (three months ago) link


It Is Dangerous to Meme Inside (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 11 April 2021 21:28 (three months ago) link

You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.