Saturday, January 28, 2006


Just a few little things to catch up on, that are either amusing or of interest.

Rick Kleffel (Agony Column) will be heard on National Public Radio, on the national show All Thing Considered, tomorrow. If you want to hear more about SF and Fantasy on national NPR programs, visit the link and email the story to your friends using NPR's email story option at the bottom

Somebody thinks that Shriek would be good reading for a character from Lost.

My Ambergris gets name-checked in a general definition of "Ambergris." (And thus it begins...)

Catch a quick look at the rough of the City of Saints page Mark Roberts is creating for me and Bantam. (It's being re-organized quite a bit--the final will be up in February and I'll blog about it officially then.)

Rajan Khanna proves he wasn't hallucinating when he mentioned this to us in a bar the night after the KGB reading....sorry, Rajan, we believe you now.

Clark Ashton Smith lovers beware: I have written two introductions to books of his, including Out of Time and Space, forthcoming from the University of Nebraska Press. Here's a short excerpt:

I would offer that there are few writers who seem to write so wholly for themselves, who seem so enraptured in a vision only they can see that they sacrifice accessibility for that vision. Smith, it seems to me, is an outsider precisely because, in pursuit of his own gratification, he makes the reader an outsider, looking in. This is what attracts readers to Smith's writing—that voyeuristic sense of peering in on a world and worldview never meant for us—and at the same time can repel us from it. I do not believe Smith cared one way or the other about the reader, so long as he could write what he wanted to write, in the way he wanted to write it. His visions may thus be incomplete, sometimes cloudy, but they are also to readers today, ironically enough given his pulp origins, undiluted by any appreciable commercial taint.

Finally, I am reading and LOVING George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones. Yes, I know I come late to this series, but I am just so happy that the Martin of "Sandkings" and "Nightflyers," an incarnation of Martin that I really learned a lot from, has, in the heroic fantasy genre, done something quite extraordinary.



At 6:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

FYI -- the "ambergris" link appears to be a site that borrows/syndicates/appropriates content from Wikipedia.

The Wikipedia entry has more info, so they must have just used a static entry from a while back.

At 10:58 PM, Blogger Nathan said...

Glad you're joining the Martin parade, Jeff! This series is the most FUN I've had as a reader since I was a kid. He's really doing something special.

At 6:44 AM, Blogger JeffV said...


Yeah--exactly! And yet what an amazing talent it takes to make it fun. I'm re-reading descriptions in this book not because they're especially poetic, but because they're perfectly concise, perfectly imagined. And the characters are also great.

So many heroic fantasy books I read as kid I came back to as an adult and found boring or not stylistically interesting. So I'm really, really appreciative of what Martin's doing.

I'm going to have to go back and make some notes on parts because there are some very complicated things he does plotwise/scene-shifting, etc., that would be worth using.


At 11:05 AM, Blogger Kameron Hurley said...

Martin rocks.

Wait until the "big plot reveal" in book three.

He's a fantastic example of somebody who's amazing at complex plotting that stems from character. I've learned a lot from him.

At 3:06 PM, Blogger Daniel J. Linehan said...

"I'm going to have to go back and make some notes on parts because there are some very complicated things he does plotwise/scene-shifting, etc., that would be worth using."

Any chance you could make a post here along those lines too? I was fascinated with your take on John Crowley last year, and I'd love to see you do the same thing with another of my favorite writers.

At 6:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I probably will in the next month. I'm torn between blogging about Martin and reading more of him, given limited time. But I think it'll be interesting to note what he does so well.

I mean, I'd trade the latest Tom Wolfe or Franzen for Martin any day--not that that's a fair comparison, but when I say that it's because I think Martin is doing some equally complicated things in a different way, and is more successful at them.


At 5:29 AM, Anonymous Paul Jessup said...

Glad to hear it's so good. I've been on the fence for awhile- the reviews have been so mixed. Some people rave about it, others say it's the worse piece of illiterate pornographic trash they've read in awhile.

Meh. I'll pick it up next paycheck and decide for myself. I loved Sandkings, so I have hopes for it.

I too, would love to see you go through the good stuff.


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