Feb 2015. An interviewer to Richard Powers: Your characters are almost always engaged in a consuming obsession — whether it's music or genetics or compFeb 2015. An interviewer to Richard Powers: Your characters are almost always engaged in a consuming obsession — whether it's music or genetics or computer code — that basically puts them into a state of peak experience, at least in parts of your novels. I think that, as a reader, you get a kind of contact high, as you're empathizing with these characters, and it occurred to me that you're spreading the excitement of being alive, of learning something, through your novels in the exact same way you describe the spreading of genes or music or ideas within your work. Not that all art isn't supposed to work like that, in a sense, but in your case it's so perfect a mirror of itself.
That contagious enthusiasm is the main takeaway from this Kindle Single*-sized realist SF piece. With a theme that spins off from Orfeo, the novel Powers was working on at the time he published Genie, I was pretty sure what the conclusion of a story involving remarkable and complex patterns in cell DNA might be, but still enjoyed getting there. Mustard-keen, irreverent, cell biologist Anca, and her buttoned-up statistician ex boyfriend Warren are very recognizable geek personalities, with a low-drama relationship and passion for their respective subjects. She is the star of this, brimming with the under-recognised emotion of interest. (Finding out some years ago that that interest is regarded as an emotion unto itself made so much sense - this thing that's got me out of more ruts than any other. Interest is also pretty much what geek culture traditionally ran on.) And the story's Christmassy conclusion is de-schmaltzed with unseasonably sunny weather.
Some paragraphs have the sonorous tone which falls perfectly into place once you know that the author writes much of his work by dictation to well-trained speech recognition software, oral storytelling as such - but generally there's something chattier and more everyday about Genie compared with Orfeo and the previews I've read so far of his other books.
This story could seem very slight if you paid for it; it's a cute, fun bit of sciencey fluff (if relatively hard SF can be fluff) written for a subscription imprint that's since folded, and has nothing like the seriousness & complexity of a Powers novel. There are plenty of far meatier essays and interviews - Powers really ought to put out an essay collection, it would be excellent - linked, via a pointless extra click-through layer, from the author's website, most of which would be better value for your pound or two. (I'd love there to be a piece called How to Train Your Dragon Naturally Speaking... he seems to have done it better than most.)
*Currently cheaper on places other than Amazon. Though I got it free with points. ...more
Feb 2015. [4.5] I wasn't going to review this, but it just struck me that in emotional tone, this is almost the opposite of the type of love in By GraFeb 2015. [4.5] I wasn't going to review this, but it just struck me that in emotional tone, this is almost the opposite of the type of love in By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept, which I posted about earlier today. Calm and enduring and above all unafraid (including being unafraid of minor rows) - and also love. People - characters based closely on Tove Jansson and her partner - who've been together for decades and who have been shaped by this, geologically - but still very much individuals, with their own art projects and the eminently sensible arrangement of living in two flats in the same building. It's a little tougher than could simply be called sweet, because it's realler. Rare to see this kind of thing in literature; as with Ali Smith's Artful, perhaps it has something to do with lesbian writers increasingly representing themselves and their peers, where to put any relationship - even the 'everyday' sort that works, that isn't remarkable for being full of drama as are most in stories, and that's evidently not told as erotica - on the page of literary fiction, was relatively novel until recently. ...more
Huh. I had bookmarked this to read in future, having for some reason remembered it as a humorous yet gritty webcomic about pirates. But that's not whaHuh. I had bookmarked this to read in future, having for some reason remembered it as a humorous yet gritty webcomic about pirates. But that's not what it is & now not sure if it's my sort of thing. Is it funny? is the main question. Is it Shaun of the Dead the webcomic? Maybe CBA with buckets of gore if it isn't.
Free webcomics are becoming a significant bulwark in my endeavour not to buy more (e)books, but those I've read so far this year haven't been that amusing. Also, if there is a humorous yet gritty webcomic about pirates - where?...more
The first yaoi I've read. I'd heard of this webcomic before, but hadn't planned on reading it now.
But another attempt to find a childhood book whoseThe first yaoi I've read. I'd heard of this webcomic before, but hadn't planned on reading it now.
But another attempt to find a childhood book whose title I'd forgotten had led to a Deviantart drawing I found all kinds of bad and wrong, and very weird - it made Snufkin from the Moomins grown-up and good-looking. Yet I looked back several times. Hmm, I guess he can go and play with Dorothy and Wendy & co in Lost Girls, but it's still strange in a way those weren't because I hadn't realised he was human in the original, and the idea of growing up wasn't an obvious presence in the books*. (After a while I remembered, well, some of us as small children used to 'fancy' cartoon characters that look perfectly ridiculous to us now. Maybe this even had a similar origin for the artist.) Anyway, facially, that picture looks a lot like yaoi, so I figured why not read some because at least it's meant to be attractive... and Teahouse was the first result for 'yaoi webcomic'.
It's undeniably very pretty, with its detailed candy coloured neo-Victorian clothes & backgrounds, a visually immersive world. The artists' posts show how much work it was to draw. But some of the characters' faces are very similar (that's a manga thing?) and for a while I could only tell them apart by their hair. It may not feature any adult versions of well-loved children's characters, but Teahouse was still mindbending in its own way: such innocent visual cuteness telling a story that in any other format would be sordid (even those pretty Beardley drawings in Lost Girls had decadent cues) - it's set in a posh brothel rife with office politics. I didn't think it was that sexy, but it's not *unsexy* either IYSWIM.
The long text epilogues at the end - after the creators had to give up due to new jobs - emphasised the aspects I found less appealing... lashings of convoluted drama (not all of it explained in the way it would be in good novels, sometimes a bit wooden - not in that way) and not much intentional humour. If I'm going to read a formula work about gay men that's geared to readers' preferences more than to realistic/political representation, I'd like lots of camp, waspish wit please... Has anyone drawn a yaoi with Quentin Crisp-ish dialogue? This felt like it was written by teenagers who love soaps. But that's the point, isn't it?
Is it offensive if you look at a drawn character of a feminine gay man and always think, before remembering otherwise, that they're an attractive girl...? [Linneus.] Rude if it's a real person, but this isn't and there are even slight curves for goodness sake, especially when clothed. Too, too complicated. The one I thought best looking among those who 'read' visually as men was unappealingly mean [Lord Reed], but then romance writers always do that, don't they - polarised personalities? *yawn* And Claret was lovely but she never got her own story, poor thing.
I don't know how most of the conventions work in yaoi, anyway, so this review is fumbling in the dark...
*The next day I read that Tove Jansson based the character's personality on her ex-fiance, which kind of un-weirds things....more