10 July 2004

New Fiction

I'm not going to explain yet why I was reading two hefty fantasy books at the same time. I'll wait till I finish the second one (which I actually started first), as it's more relevant.
  1. Rats and Gargoyles by Mary Gentle. I've been curious about Gentle's fiction since I first read an essay she wrote called "Gargoyles, Architecture and Devices, Or: Why write science fiction as if it wasn't?" (very much recommended reading). Rats and Gargoyles is a dense book that's not for the faint of heart. If you're sick of elves and dragons and barbarians in northern wastes, then you might want to check this out. Heat, five directions, giant sentient rats, a College of Crime and alchemical architecture . . . that's what you'll find, among other things. The writing is rich and somewhat dense, but I didn't find that it impeded my reading at all (some very lush writing, like Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Umberto Eco, slows me right down, though I love it just the same). And this book (nearly 500 pages long) has got to have the longest climax--the best-sustained suspense--in any book I've ever read. I was sure things were coming to a head when I was barely more that halfway through. I will be looking for more of Gentle's work.
  2. The Slippery Slope by Lemony Snicket (aka Daniel Handler). And now for something completely different . . . I still haven't managed to snag my own copy of this book, volume 10 (of a projected 13, I believe) of A Series of Unfortunate Events (should one italicize series titles, I wonder? I'll have to look that up), so when it finally turned up at the library, I grabbed it. I love these books. On the surface they're somewhat silly kids' stories, but Handler packs in a lot of stuff that kids won't get, but adults will (kind of reminds me of some The Simpsons episodes I've seen). Anyway, the story progresses. The characters seem to be slowly drawing closer to some answers, but those unfortunate events keep happening. The more of these books I read, the more I am convinced that Mr Handler, alias Snicket, is Up To Something.

So that brings me up to date on fiction. Phew. Next up I've got another YA, and then some non-genre fiction. Or maybe it's genre, but it's about "real life" whatever that means. I have three of them lined up in my stack from the library. Onward . . .

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