Monday, June 24, 2013

#3 out of 40 — Hanging out at the Tropics

The Los Angeles Review of Books published my review of The Very Best of Barry N. Malzberg today. I enjoyed the heck out of writing it, and hope that it will give prospective readers of his work a detailed sense of it, while providing even long-time aficionados (I have the names of all seven of you right here) with a few interesting nuggets. If you do take a gander, I'd love to hear your feedback, there or here.

Today I finished reading the YA novel Tempest, Julie Cross' debut. I picked it up for a number of reasons: I want to learn more about YA fiction, I'm interested in first novels and, perhaps most important of all, it's a time travel yarn through and through, and I have a weakness for time travel. On the whole I found it enjoyable. It started with much promise, and I was kind of startled by the author's daring use of time travel--numerous jumps, detailed rules that showed the ways in which time travel here differs from what we're used to, etc., all nicely couched in action and character development. I also liked the cast of characters and their relationships, but in the end, I just wasn't unable to connect with them as deeply as I would have liked. I also felt that the final fifth or so got a little bogged down in an over-abundance of timelines, realities and exposition. So, perhaps a bit of reach-exceeding-grasp going on, but fun nonetheless. And it made me continue to think about first-person vs. third-person in YA (a subject that came up recently, for example, in a review of Emilie and the Hollow World, a YA I liked less than Tempest).

By the way, ever heard about John Keely? Fascinating hoax artist (less glamorously, read rogue) who managed to make a living by conning investors for nearly three decades with his bogus perpetual motion machines and plausible-sounding physics crackpottery. If I'm ever in Windsor, Vermont, I'd love to check out his "Etheric Force Machine." 

In other non-events today, I started writing another new short story, and did some brainstorming with my girlfriend on non-fiction pieces related to sf. Plenty entertaining to generate titles so politically incorrect they'll never see the light of day.

After a hearty evening run, we walked to a nearby restaurant, and I snapped this picture of a pink band in the sky:

This picture is just an excuse to post a song I've been listening to lately, linked to the sunset by only the most tenuous wisp of melancholia:

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