“The state is not one entity. It is changing. And when it changes, it’s good for everyone. The people you could help us stop are tru
Rating: 4* of five
“The state is not one entity. It is changing. And when it changes, it’s good for everyone. The people you could help us stop are truly hurting others. And the ones being hurt know nothing of what was done to your family. Will you hold the actions of a few against them? Should more families suffer because yours did?”
And so Ruthanna Emrys casts the first stone in the civil war we fight among our many ill-taught unlearned people. The tale continues in Winter Tide, which I am reading at present.
Read it here, free, on Tor.com's generously stocked omnium gatherum. You don't need to know a single thing about the Cthulhu mythos to get the gist, and you need only a general appreciation for good writing to enhance the experience of dipping your toes into the Mythos vastly.
The eighty-nine enigmas on her dresser had cracked open at their crowns, the smoke and gleam emptied out of them. The shells sat
Rating: 3.75* of five
The eighty-nine enigmas on her dresser had cracked open at their crowns, the smoke and gleam emptied out of them. The shells sat hollow and transparent in a scatter of shards. She was not altogether surprised. Something strange and beautiful had been waiting, just as she was, for the hour of departure to arrive.
Winona Li will never believe she can fit in. Winona Li will always carry the weight of life's compromises in a wad around her neck. Winona Li, for a brief moment, creates value and beauty and makes a lasting contribution to the world by eviscerating and drying the beautiful dead birds thrown up onto the sidewalks of a small-town museum.
And in searching for a home, she rams her sadness against the adamantine walls of human beings' indifference.
A writer to watch out for. A woman with good, surprising storytelling instincts. More soon, please, Tor.com....more
A 19th-century jeu d'esprit by a British journalist who aspired to serious novelisthood. He wasn't successful, since the reading pubRating: 2* of five
A 19th-century jeu d'esprit by a British journalist who aspired to serious novelisthood. He wasn't successful, since the reading public preferred his light and frothy humour to his somewhat po-faced The Giant's Robe.
Unlike Thorne Smith, whose Prohibition-era supernatural comedies featuring Olympians boozing it up around Manhattan and wicked-humored idols switching the spirits of a battling man and wife still amuse, Anstey's madcap silliness hasn't retained much appeal. And then there's the just frankly GAWDAWFUL 1964 film of this book. Clearly the seeds of 1965's I Dream of Jeannie were sown here. The film stars Tony Randall as Major Nelson, who is an architect who liberates the genie (Burl Ives! How different from Barbara Eden can you get!) from the bottle and hijinks ensue.
This little Project Gutenberg freebie took about two hours to read. There's nothing challenging about it. There wasn't, for me at least, anything terribly memorable about it either. I completely own to the fact that it could simply be my sense of humor is stuck in a sand-trap somewhere, but my smiles while reading this little marvy more closely resembled gas-pain grimaces, and my widely opened mouth while watching its movie emitted more unspellable sounds of revolted amazement than laughs.
Peter May cut his storytelling teeth in Scottish television, creating two prime time drama series and script-editing a third. He is very clearly Scottish, choosing an unfamiliar and unforgiving setting for this series: The Hebrides, no less than Ann Cleeves's more famous Shetlands TV and book series, is globally known for its distilled essence of Scottishness. No smart author who wasn't Scottish would dare to do this.
But the problem is that the Hebrides form an atmospheric backdrop for a personal saga of surpassing ordinariness. The gross-out food-gathering antics of the Hebrideans in The Blackhouse aren't integral to the murder, they're the handy means for it. The Lewis Man came off better than The Blackhouse because it was a universal plot far more compelling than the first one, but again the Hebrides could as easily have been the Balearics or the Cyclades.
Now, at the end of the trail, we're confronted with a murder that frankly makes no sense, a murder that makes all the sense in the world, a death that's explained in as bloodless (in the bad sense) a way as any in detective fiction, and a hit that my shoulders have been hunched in anticipation of since the middle of The Lewis Man.
I'm not one for book reports, so go read the synopsis and some more spoilery reviews to glean some insights into which might be what. I'm here to tell you that this wasn't a satisfying three-book read. But, the Gotcha! Gang is now crouched above their keyboards waiting to snort in derision, you read them! Yep. I did. I got the series from Quercus and, even though it takes me forever to get around to reviews these days, I still honor my commitments.
The end result of my reading isn't the sense of time wasted so much as time misused. The author has storytelling chops. He deploys the expected tropes in the usual order and does so against the background of a culturally unique place without, as Cleeves does, allowing us a deeper-than-guidebook sense of the ways and means of these isolated folks. I would be howling to the stars about these books if I'd felt the crimes had originated organically in Hebridean soil. The author's ability to make a story one wants to follow isn't in question. The main character is a homecoming middle-aged ball of grief and rage, so that's familiar. He isn't anyone we haven't met before, but he's well developed enough for that not to be a major concern.
In the end, I'm not sure what to tell you. If Scotland is a fascination of yours and you're a murder-mystery addict, ie if you're me, yeah sure read away. Don't expect a peak experience. If you're a tartan noir person, and why the hell wouldn't you be?, these will occupy summer beach hours adequately. Even refreshingly, given that there isn't a single warm day in any of the texts....more