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The Sovereignties of Invention

3.36 of 5 stars 3.36  ·  rating details  ·  25 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Matthew Battles does not write stories that move, develop or unfold. He creates worlds that hiss, snap, and rattle, and decorates them with objects that brood in black, glassine silence, or crumble into dusty revelation. Characters are left to grab at scraps of reality sent whipping about them at hurricane force. Ideas "run faster than memory can sieve them from the flow," ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published May 22nd 2012 by Red Lemonade (first published September 13th 2011)
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Read 4/12/12 - 4/17/12
4 Stars - Strongly Recommended to readers who dig the odd and uncanny
Pgs: 109 (pdf)
Publisher: Red Lemonade (Releases May 2012)

Matthew Battles may be a new author to me, but he is not new to authordom. Back in 2003 he channeled his love of rare books and libraries and published Library: an Unquiet History (which has seen mixed reviews on Goodreads), a book that tours libraries from all over the world throughout all of time.

His latest, The Sovereignties of Inven
R.John Xerxes I felt that the major theme of the stories had to do with the unalterable ambiguity that accompanies all technology. More than anything else, these stories seem to deal with the imposition and extension of new modes of seeing (Camera Lucide), thinking (sovereignties), experiencing art (manuscript of belz), and most damningly the slavish attraction of the next gadget fad (the gnomon).

The fact that so many of the stories are fated and exist in a sort of disappointed space, seems inev
Joseph Formaggio
A collection of short stories that range from the striking and clever (Sovereignties of Invention, Camera Lucida, Unicorn) to absurd (Provisional Description...). Sometimes the author takes our recent technological advances a little too seriously in his stories. Camera Lucida is by far the strongest in the collection because it subtly hints at the broken relationships surrounding the story. The few gems in the collection are certainly worth it.

John Pappas

Battles draws comparisons to Borges, but it seems to be because of his subject matter, not his linguistic dexterity. A more fruitful comparison might be to Steven Millhauser. Although there is some beautiful writing here, and some interesting ideas and allegories, centered mainly around the impact of technology, the collection as a whole isn't as thrilling or as horrifying as the single Bradbury story, "The Veldt".
I have read this cover to cover twice since yesterday. This is an ARC, I'm pretty sure that I won it in a giveaway, or else it was a happy accident that it showed up in the mail.
The stories are very well written and thought provoking. I read one aloud today to a coworker and we talked about it for about 20 minutes, it was just a few pages long.
I definitely recommend checking it out.
I enjoyed these stories. There were a couple clunkers but the first three especially were right up my alley. Gloomy science fiction stories that are wordy and a little bit dense, but they paid off in ways that hit my sweet spot.
Curious, curious book. Very surprising short stories not too far off the path of events that may come to pass, or have. I gave this to my short-story-writer friend.
This is a wonderful collection of short stories that will entice you and make you think.
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Red Lemonade: Book Discussion on TNBBC 2 6 May 15, 2012 07:01AM  
Red Lemonade: Matthew Battles Book Giveaway! 1 9 Apr 11, 2012 07:38PM  
Matthew Battles is a Curatorial Fellow with metaLAB, a project of Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. He lives in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.
More about Matthew Battles...
Library: An Unquiet History Widener: Biography of a Library The Sovereignties of Invention: Three Tales of Language, Mystery, and the Mind Letter by Letter: A History of the Written Word A conturbada história das bibliotecas

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