This is the first publication of Tangled Bank Press, the independent press I founded last year. Here's the blurb:
"What does evolution mean in the 21sThis is the first publication of Tangled Bank Press, the independent press I founded last year. Here's the blurb:
"What does evolution mean in the 21st century? Marking the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species, The Tangled Bank is bursting with over 100,000 words of stories, poetry, and artwork about evolution. Stories range from science ﬁction, fantasy, and horror to fairy tales and literary ﬁction.
An international line-up of more than 40 contributors includes Sean Williams, Brian Stableford, Patricia Russo, Carlos Hernandez, Christopher Green, and Bruce Boston.
Sometimes dark, sometimes whimsical, but shot through with wonder, The Tangled Bank explores the universe revealed by Darwin's insights."...more
Perversely enjoyed this 1922 precursor of epic fantasy, in spite of its many flaws. Written in mock archaic language, it draws on Norse myths so therePerversely enjoyed this 1922 precursor of epic fantasy, in spite of its many flaws. Written in mock archaic language, it draws on Norse myths so there is much pillaging and feasting. Dated (e.g. the pointless frame story, never closed), but has some memorable moments and is refreshingly amoral. The nominal heroes and villains do what they do for their own (mostly hedonistic) reasons, not because there is some grand battle between good and evil. Probably one reason many people dislike it is that the book disavows any sense of progress or linear time.
Apparently Lewis and Tolkien never warmed to Eddison (who they knew) because he didn't incorporate religion into his stories. A lot of the bizarrely mismatched names make sense when you learn that Eddison came up with the characters when he was 10, and didn't change the names when he finally wrote the book. ...more
This book, and the recent film it was made into, completely passed me by until it was given to me a week ago. It's impossible to review without refereThis book, and the recent film it was made into, completely passed me by until it was given to me a week ago. It's impossible to review without reference to the way it was written. The book describes the experience of locked-in syndrome by Jean-Dominique Bauby, a former editor-in-chief of Elle magazine. After a massive stroke reduces his body to that of a drooling baby, his only way of communicating is by blinking his left eyelid; the entire book was dictated letter by letter.
It's an easy book to praise or damn. "Triumph of the human spirit", "one of the best books of the century", "every home should have a copy" are some of the phrases used, which are inevitably dismissed by others as hyperbole in equally strong terms.
Probably part of the reason for such divergence of opinion is that Bauby is in some ways a shallow man, apparently missing being able to drive his BMW or eat French cuisine more than holding his children. There's not much of the kind of personal growth people would like to see; he goes to his grave desiring the sensual pleasures in life and expressing no regrets for his personal conduct, alluded to but never really described. (It's no secret to reveal that he died a couple of days after the book was published.)
At least he's honest. There's self-pity here, unsurprisingly, but also humour, and I never felt like I was being manipulated. The chapters (most only a couple of pages) and the paragraphs have been chiselled by the brutal transcription process into spare beauty. Yes, it's easy reading for the Oprah crowd, but it's also very fine writing. As a haiku writer, it always bothers me when slim is equated with slight. And the fact that this book was written at all is, at least in this case, reason to read it: few books will make you appreciate the ability to turn the page as much as this will. It takes less than an hour to read what took Bauby 10 months and 200,000 blinks to say.