Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur, March 2008
I slacked off on posting this until mid-April, if
anyone cares about why it's out of sequence.
- Joss Whedon, Fray
- Comic book. Mmm, candy.
- Simon Oliver & c., Exterminators,
vol. 1: Bug Brothers
- Comic book mind candy. LA low-lives hold the line against the forces of
chaos, embodied by vermin and large corporations. A bit of a come-down for the
perhaps, but I'll be reading the others.
McDonald, The Outback Stars
- Aussies in space, after a never-quite-spelled-out ecological collapse on
Earth, with mysterious ancient alien artifacts and naval-procedural elements.
- Warren Ellis et al., Apparat: The Singles Collection
- Four "issues" from four
different otherwise-nonexistent comic
books, each imagining a different line of descent from early twentieth-century
pulp fiction to sequential graphic story-telling, without the invention of the
superhero genre. Angel Stomp Future revisits the future-shock and
technology-driven social liquification of Ellis's
glorious Transmetropolitan; it's more deliberately shocking
that Transmet (which is saying something), but not as good (which
says little). (That sentence also applies, mutatis mutandis, to
Frank Ironwine is a detective/cop story, almost a dry run for the
continuing) Fell. Quit
City descends from aviator stories (by way of confrontation with
personal, and perhaps I should add metaphorical, demons);
Simon Spector from old detective serials like The
Shadow. They're all not just clever exercises in genre bending and
para-literary archaeology, but also well-told and well-drawn tales.
- Update: see also Aetheric Mechanics.
- Margaret Maron, Southern
Discomfort and Shooting at Loons
- Sequels to Bootlegger's
Daughter. Continues in a light-hearted, quirky-semi-rural-stories
vein, which ought to clash with the fact that they're really stories about
poverty, attempted rape and multiple homicide (Discomfort), and
the collapse of traditional livelihoods and the values they supported
(Loons), but, somehow, doesn't.
Rickman, The Fabric of Sin
- Latest in his Merrily Watkins series of "procedural ghost story" mysteries.
A haunted house story, involving family feuds, the fiction of M. R. James, and
people with obsessions about the Templars. Less of a supernatural element here
than usual, everything is satisfactorily explicable as people being either
creepy or creeped out. (Previous
installments: here, here,
Higher and Deeper, Chapter 3: Scooped
- If the idea of a comic strip about the travails of geeks in graduate school
appeals to you, then you are probably already
reading Ph.D. Comics, but should buy
this anyway, as a contribution to the fund for the support of cartooning
roboticists. If, on the other hand, that sounds dreadful, reading this would
probably only confirm your darkest suspicions about the lumpentechnocracy.
- A. E. Stallings, Hapax:
- Highly formal (sonnets!) but also very good poems, many with
classical themes, ranging in tone from the funny ("XII Klassikal Lymnaeryx")
and the drily amusing ("Dead Language Lesson") to the darker "old standards" of
transience and loss
Hunting") — or amusement and sentiment, as in "Last Will".
The "Antiblurb" on the back cover may give some idea of the contents:
This is not necessary. This is neither
Some other poems are available
and there's a version of "Recitative" (not in this collection)
illustrated by R. Kikuo Johnson.
Crucial nor salvation. It is no hymn
To harmonize the choirs of seraphim,
Nor any generation's bold bellwether
Leading the flock, no iridescent feather
Dropped from the Muse's wing. It does not limn,
Or speak in tongues, or voice the mute, or dim
Outmoded theories with its fireworks. Rather
This is flawed and mortal, and its stains
Bear the evidence of taking pains.
It did not have to happen, won't illumine
The smirch of history, the future's omen.
Necessity is merely what sustains —
It's what we do not need that makes us human.
Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur;
Scientifiction and Fantastica;
The Commonwealth of Letters
Posted at March 31, 2008 23:59 | permanent link