Reading Log – March 2011

More books finished in March than in February, which is good.

#16 William Gibson – Count Zero (1986)

Hadn’t read this for years but really enjoyed the revisiting. The story still seem to stand up well, despite the passage of 25 years.

#17 Thomas King – The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative (2003)

This book comprises the 2003 Massey Lectures, broadcast on CBC Radio. As the blurb notes, ‘Native culture has deep ties to storytelling’ but is also the ‘subject of more erroneous stories’. King’s lectures explore the gaps between the Indian of fact and the constructed literary Indian. Seriously good stuff.

#18/#19 Granta 113 Best of Young Spanish Writers and Granta 114 Aliens.

Found both of these collections of writing rather disappointing for different reasons. The sameness of voice in the Spanish-language stories in translation; whether this is the writers or translators, I am not qualified to determine, but I did feel the collection was working very hard to construct a post-magical realist identity for Spanish-language writers that was just as stereotypical in its way. Aliens might have been interesting (and no, I wasn’t expecting sf) but it was too much of a grab-bag of ideas of alienation and lacked structural coherence.

#20 Peter S. Beagle – Sleight of Hand (2011)

Reviewed for Interzone 234. “One probably either loves Beagle’s writing or else finds it maybe a little old-fashioned. Beagle himself has expressed a certain distaste for much modern fantasy writing. Nonetheless, few can match him when it comes to a particular mix of the fantastic and the ordinary, with a tinge of nostalgia. As one character observes, the magic is in the telling, always.” I love Beagle’s work and this was a pleasure to read.

#21 Jonathan Strahan – Engineering Infinity (2011)

Reviewed for The Zone here. Very enjoyable collection of stories.

#22 Emily Gee – The Sentinel Mage (2011)

Also reviewed for The Zone here. I expected more given the frisson of interest I noticed on the internet but it actually came quite dangerously close to being a Mary Sue. Lovely cover, contents not so much.

#23/#24 Thomas King – Green Grass, Running Water (1993) & Truth and Bright Water (1999)

I’ve been working on King lately for the day job but even so I still get a lot of pleasure from his story-telling. Green Grass, Running Water is a gloriously sprawling tale of life, love and water rights, mixed in with Native history, creation stories and Coyote. Truth and Bright Water is more sombre; a meditation on community, sovereignty and the processes of art and craft.

#25 Ken Macleod – The Restoration Game (2010)

I’ve already written about The Restoration Game on Paper Knife, here.