This is probably my favorite Lovecraft collection, and it's mostly because it features (almost) all the Randolph Carter stories, of which the titularThis is probably my favorite Lovecraft collection, and it's mostly because it features (almost) all the Randolph Carter stories, of which the titular novella is my favorite. Rather than horror, I would classify these stories as surrealistic fantasy - while there are horror elements, Carter is basically an action hero, and the dreamscapes though which he travels are as fascinating as they are strange....more
Not nearly as difficult to get through as Fabulous Riverboat, mostly because of the introduction of a new narrator, Jill Gulbirra, which at least getsNot nearly as difficult to get through as Fabulous Riverboat, mostly because of the introduction of a new narrator, Jill Gulbirra, which at least gets us away from the boring, embittered ranting that characterizes Farmer's Sam Clemens as a narrator. There are a number of terribly problematic things about Gulbirra, of course, just like there are incredibly problematic things about basically everything in the Riverworld books. I give Farmer credit for attempting to represent diversity in his books, as he seems well-intentioned, but his white male privilege frequently blinds him to the misogyny and racist caricatures which permeate his writing. Gulbirra's character is more of the same: she's queer, so she's ugly, man-hating, and a feminist, but her feminism is the irrational, reactionary kind that exists only in the minds of its detractors. She evolves throughout the book, and I frankly found her a breath of fresh air in a series where the only female characters with speaking roles are the sexual partners of the actual, male protagonists (none of the Twelve we've encountered thus far are women, you'll note).
That being said, this book is exactly like all the others thus far, in that it is huge sections of enormously boring, dry narration and over-exposition juxtaposed with chapters where Burton gets into exciting scraps, which are always glossed over in favor of more exposition.
I'm mostly sticking it out because I need some kind of explanation for the central mystery - I want to know who the damn Ethicals are, and I want to know who double-crossed whom, etc etc. ...more
The first book in the totally epic Night's Dawn trilogy, Reality Dysfunction opens with a few hundred pages of set-up. Character introduction after chThe first book in the totally epic Night's Dawn trilogy, Reality Dysfunction opens with a few hundred pages of set-up. Character introduction after character introduction occurs in settings which are painstakingly and lovingly described. At length. And then again. The elaborate setting of the stage is hard to get into at first, but readers willing to slug through the first half are rewarded by the execution of the ambitious plot.
Seriously, it's worth it. The Night's Dawn trilogy is arguably the best example of comprehensive worldbuilding in contemporary science fiction, a genuinely sweeping epic. ...more
This book was, more than anything else, surprising. I expected it to be another memoir about growing up queer in a religious family, and while that'sThis book was, more than anything else, surprising. I expected it to be another memoir about growing up queer in a religious family, and while that's *technically* an accurate summary, it doesn't even come close to describing the reading experience. The prose is realistically detailed, but full of poetic, surrealist asides. Winterson seems to reflect as much on the nature of storytelling - the stories we tell ourselves, and the stories others tell us - as on any of the issues she faced as a young lesbian in an evangelical family.
In some ways, her writing reminds me of Jhumpa Lahiri (The Namesake, Interpreter of Maladies) - the text might be full of deep, lovingly-drawn emotion, but the prose itself is understated and lyrical. I finished this book in twenty-four hours, and I full intend to read it again in a few weeks. There's so much depth in the writing that I think I'll only really "get it" if I read it again....more
Despite my fairly overwhelming love of Margaret Atwood, I didn't particularly enjoy Oryx and Crake, and so when I read that Year of the Flood was setDespite my fairly overwhelming love of Margaret Atwood, I didn't particularly enjoy Oryx and Crake, and so when I read that Year of the Flood was set in the same universe, my bar was set pretty low. Keep in mind that "pretty low" for Atwood is still miles above most contemporary authors.
So I was pleasantly surprised to totally love this book. The world-building is more fleshed out than in the previous book, and the pacing is very near perfect. I would read another whole book, entirely about Toby tending bees, and an entire series about the adventures of Zeb the revolutionary, that's how vivid the characters are....more
I picked this up because I loved His Dark Materials, and I thought the theological aspects of the story were really interesting. So I assumed PullmanI picked this up because I loved His Dark Materials, and I thought the theological aspects of the story were really interesting. So I assumed Pullman would be preachy but enjoyable in a book entirely about a fictionalized Jesus.
I was right.
"The Good Man..." is frequently preachy - there are giant paragraphs of unlikely extrapolation about the (future) history of the Church, the nature of God, how to make moral choices, etc. But, also as expected, the novel was engaging, the characters of Jesus and Christ three-dimensional and sympathetic. The best part, thematically, was the ongoing discussion of the role storytelling plays in the way we write history and myth. Christ's "refinements" to the story of Jesus, so that "truth can become the writer of history, not its servant" (or something very close to that phrasing) are the best parts of the book, hands down. ...more