Tell Me About John Crowley

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I haven't made time for mags in recent months, just books, but really enjoyed the New Yorker's science writing, war correspondance, Emily Nussbaum's TV reviews, even Anthony Lane, who used to be such a windy twit. *Even* a lot of the fiction, in the past couple years (finally): the Science Fiction Issue, lots of Indian and African writers, also Karen Russell and several others I've talked about on the Rolling Science Fiction Fantasy Speculative etc threads, especially the old one. James Woods sometimes makes his points very convincingly, good use of quotes etc in the first few grafs, then has go on for several more pages, but he's led me to some writers I might well have missed, like Elena Ferrante (yay).

dow, Sunday, 15 February 2015 03:26 (five years ago) link

Oh and agree w James about starting with Crowley's novellas.

dow, Sunday, 15 February 2015 03:29 (five years ago) link

So far still have only read the first two stories in Novelties & Souvenirs, but looking forward to catching up to the other James and reading more, such as "Snow" and "Great Work of Time."

Up the Junction Boulevard (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 15 February 2015 03:34 (five years ago) link

I just searched for this thread because i just finished The Solitudes and am starting on Little, Big, weird to find it's just been revived separately.

Loved The Solitudes, looking forward to working through more of his writing.

Tim F, Sunday, 15 February 2015 11:00 (five years ago) link

I got into Engine Summer later in 2013 and absolutely loved it. Definitely took some perseverance for the first third or so, but really paid off in the end.

All three Crowleys I've read have been so good that I don't know why I haven't read more - perhaps I will give The Solitudes a go next.

toby, Sunday, 15 February 2015 12:22 (five years ago) link

one year passes...

OK so Beasts is awesome too. (Also the Aegypt quartet was great in the end although dragged a bit in the middle.)

toby, Tuesday, 27 September 2016 21:39 (four years ago) link

Yay! I _love_ Beasts.

I hear from this arsehole again, he's going in the river (James Morrison), Wednesday, 28 September 2016 00:43 (three years ago) link

four months pass...

Little, Big, omfg what a trip. Really captures something of a genuine childhood sense of wonder like nothing else i''ve read as an adult. Dazzling, but plenty of darkness too. And I spotted enough hidden jokes and tricks to suspect many more passed me by.

brekekekexit collapse collapse (ledge), Friday, 24 February 2017 15:07 (three years ago) link

read Aegypt tout de suite!!!

his eye is on despair-o (Jon not Jon), Friday, 24 February 2017 16:34 (three years ago) link

my friend told me Crowley has been working on a big novel about intelligent crows for years, btw

his eye is on despair-o (Jon not Jon), Friday, 24 February 2017 16:35 (three years ago) link

Ok, what? Why is crowley writing a book just for me?

I hear from this arsehole again, he's going in the river (James Morrison), Saturday, 25 February 2017 00:17 (three years ago) link

That's funny because i thought it was just for me!!!

Cognition (Remix) (Jon not Jon), Saturday, 25 February 2017 00:29 (three years ago) link

Have started on Aegypt. Just reached a moment, very early on, when things have just twisted slightly, the world of the book has become, perhaps, not quite as close to our world as I thought it was, and there's a delightful giddiness, a confusion that I'm not sure is mine (possibly) or the author's (probably not) or intrinsic to the world itself.

Also a good tip, Jon, to read this right after Little, Big. Have spotted a whole paragraph lifted from it and attributed to an entirely different, fictional, book & author. A more obvious example of the kind of games he's playing.

brekekekexit collapse collapse (ledge), Thursday, 2 March 2017 21:05 (three years ago) link

The great thing is it's been so long since I've read it that rather than proceed to love and sleep I'm gonna need to reread aegypt first. Yay!

Cognition (Remix) (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 2 March 2017 21:08 (three years ago) link

Crowley makes some remarks about two of his books in the last few minutes of this.

alimosina, Monday, 6 March 2017 19:15 (three years ago) link

Syncing problem on that, but otherwise very interesting, thanks.

Got Your Money Changes Everything (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 12 March 2017 23:17 (three years ago) link

Finished book 1 of Aegypt. I got it, I thought - all the stuff about there being another history of the world, magic was once real etc, was flim-flam, smokescreen for the real inside-out message - it's not about the world but about the world within, the time when magic was real wasn't a period in history, but childhood. But at the same time I didn't get it, it seemed like reverse alchemy: turning the gold of the promised fantasy into the lead of the real, the normal, the mundane. Then I figured it out: fantasy is fake,  fool's gold; the message in the book is the real deal and all the more alluring for it. It made me remember when I was a kid and I really did live in a world where ghosts and ufos and all manner of things were real.

I've actually finished book 2 as well, I don't have as clear an idea of it but the opening section with Pierce's childhood is astonishing. 

brekekekexit collapse collapse (ledge), Saturday, 18 March 2017 18:48 (three years ago) link

argh i need to reread so bad.

Actually, after reading your post, I realized that my original encounter went like this:

buy Love & Sleep at random at some store when it had just come out in hardback, having read Little, Big a few years prior

read first 50 to 75 pages of Love & Sleep and have my mind completely fucking lit up by it

realize it's book 2 of a series, go get Aegypt at used store right away

read Aegypt and have my mind completely fucking lit up by it

go into my weird 'this book is gonna be so good I have to wait til the perfect time to start it' mode wrt Love & Sleep

[20 years pass in which I think about Aegypt constantly but do not restart Love & Sleep]

chip n dale recuse rangers (Jon not Jon), Friday, 24 March 2017 14:52 (three years ago) link

eight months pass...

the passage about The Storm in Engine Summer is one of the most beautiful attempts to mythologize our current age that I've ever read

Milton Parker, Thursday, 21 December 2017 22:22 (two years ago) link

His novel about intelligent crows is finally out. Really looking forward to getting it.

Exciting. Wish I'd written my sketchy half-baked thoughts about the Aegpyt series while they were fresh. That's right, half baked and fresh. iirc 3 was a bit of a struggle at times, 4 took a left turn away from some of the earlier ideas in favour of a tonal realism and a redemption for Pierce which, to me, felt quite satisfying. Perhaps unlikely i'll read them again but there is more than enough I only half glimpsed or half understood to justify it. Aegpyt is a big place, Mr Shadrach, a man could lose himself in Aegypt. Anyway I will catch up with all his other works at some point.

Here comes the phantom menace (ledge), Saturday, 23 December 2017 13:06 (two years ago) link

Have I really never posted in this? John Crowley is the best writer in SF.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Saturday, 23 December 2017 16:03 (two years ago) link

John Crowley is the best writer in SF

This (obviously) sounds provocative, but I can't think of anyone better.

the passage about The Storm in Engine Summer is one of the most beautiful attempts to mythologize our current age that I've ever read

Yes! I just reread Engine Summer as a holiday treat. I wondered if having read it 5 years ago I remembered too much to enjoy it as much this time around, but if anything I liked it even more knowing some of what was coming.

3 was a bit of a struggle at times, 4 took a left turn away from some of the earlier ideas in favour of a tonal realism and a redemption for Pierce which, to me, felt quite satisfying

That fits my memory; my notes for 3 say " I found this really dragged for quite a while, but then suddenly I ended up reading the last 2/3rds of the book in under 48 hours", while for 4 I wrote "A real pleasure, after the relative slog of the previous volumes - breezed through it in (essentially) a day while ill, just luxuriating in it - a big payoff in enjoyment from the investment in the previous volumes, if not any big revelation in terms of content."

toby, Saturday, 30 December 2017 17:36 (two years ago) link

two months pass...

...the collapsed ruins of a rustic gazebo where once old men had gathered to play cards and checkers and talk about how bad the world had grown.

Roberto Spiralli, Tuesday, 20 March 2018 18:04 (two years ago) link


as the crows around me grows (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 20 March 2018 18:12 (two years ago) link

Should be ilx description, posted over the gates.
I still agree with James B. about starting w novellas; that's still as far as I've gotten.Novelty: Four Stories, from the late 80s, is the one I read, though still want to check this-century Novelties & Souvenirs: Collected Short Fiction.

dow, Tuesday, 20 March 2018 21:39 (two years ago) link

one month passes...

Ka is great.

toby, Monday, 7 May 2018 20:05 (two years ago) link

Did you see the youtube interview I posted with him in the speculative fiction thread?

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 12 May 2018 15:42 (two years ago) link

Was that the geeks guide to the galaxy podcast? I'd bookmarked that from somewhere on ilx a while back and saved it for after reading the book - in fact I listened to it a couple of days ago. It was pretty interesting although a bit sad that it sounds like his books haven't been selling so well.

toby, Sunday, 13 May 2018 14:22 (two years ago) link

That's the one.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Sunday, 13 May 2018 14:34 (two years ago) link

Thanks for posting it!

toby, Sunday, 13 May 2018 16:30 (two years ago) link

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