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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Ramblings About Fiction

I think my reading has slowed somewhat of late. Unless you count thesis-related reading. I just finished Gene Wolfe's "Castle of the Otter," which is his reflections on writing The Book of the New Sun. Part of it (Castle, not New Sun) were very interesting, other parts kind of go under "file for the future if I ever want to take up writing fiction." Wolfe is an excellent writer, perhaps the best active storyteller I've encountered. It's a good day when I find one of his works at Half Price Books. I am currently hoping to get my hands on the second part of The Book of the Long Sun, and would like to read The Book of the Short Sun if I can find a copy with cover art which won't raise my wife's blood temperature.

The other thing I've read recently is a young adult fiction work, the first part of the Chesterton Chronicles: The Tripods Attack! The premise of this book is that it is set in an alternative timeline at the turn of the century, and so is something of a steampunk work, featuring a young Chesterton as the hero. My thought on this one is that it is unfortunately one of those young adult/children's books which really may be enjoyable by children and young adults, but which I found harder to enjoy. Its problems are first that it borrows a little too much from other stories, including Chesterton's stories.

Making Father Brown a character was ok, but then including Flambeau as his godson was a bit too much of a stretch. Ditto to including Dr. Rasnom (from C.S. Lewis' space trilogy) and specifically stating that he somehow has traveled to Mars along with the "Special Branch" operative Dr. Weston. It was just a little too over the top as far as character-use. The story itself is a bit of a blend of War of the Worlds (and H.G. Wells is a major character in this one, which I guess makes sense given that he was Chesterton's real-life friend) with John Christopher's Tripods trilogy, and  C.S. Lewis' space trilogy (in particular That Hideous Strength). However, it came off as a little too hammy for my tastes.

In other sci-fi news, it would appear that John C. Wright has some new works out, and that one of them is free today and tomorrow.

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