Friday, 23 August 2019

Five Friday Fantasy Thoughts

1) My twitter was pretty much non-stop Worldcon over the last week or so, which has introduced me to new and wonderful heights of FOMO. It also meant I saw a decent amount about Jeannette Ng's acceptance speech (and congratulations to her!). Now you can agree with it. You can disagree with it. But the one thing that I think any logical being should accept is that in any award named after a person with outspoken political views, having your own political views is fair game. And the amusing thing is that I - and probably a few others - wouldn't have seen about Campbell's political views if it wasn't for the pushback against Ng's speech. I wouldn't be utterly surprised if within a few years, the exposure they just got leads to a push to get the award renamed. Some things get stronger for being attacked; I think Ng's argument is one of them. If that helps lead the community further towards being a place where people can just do their thing and be themselves without censure, then that'd be a fine thing indeed.

2) Speaking of congratulations, congratulations to Edward Cox on the release of The Song of the Sycamore. I reviewed The Relic Guild here a little ago and really liked the world he created and admired the ideas he came up with. Having just read the blurb (yes, I know, behind), it looks like that was just him getting warmed up because the idea of a possessed corpse turned into a reluctant assassin is super intriguing. Incidentally, apropos of nothing, I now know why so many of my fellow fans complain of huge TBR piles.

3) While I'm busy admiring authors - the first bits and pieces about "How To Lose The Time War" seem to be dribbling out there. I remember being excited when I first heard about it, because it sounded mind-bending and Max Gladstone is probably in my top three for "living authors I trust most to nail whatever they do". Ventureadlaxre's review made me more excited. Then I found Amal El-Mohtar had decided to write a pastiche of Hamilton's Satisfied to fit one of the characters and well, uhm, it's like Ben Franklin with a key and a kite (you see it right?). 

And now I'm less excited and more considering just writing a five star review for it sight unseen. Pretty sure that'd kill my credibility as a reviewer but hey, can't lose what you never had.

4) Continuing with the music theme - I've spent the day pretty much non-stop listening to James' Getting Away With It (All Messed Up). I think the only time I wasn't listening to it was me and my wife's in bed Hamilton sing along actually. It's driving and melancholic and the double meaning of the lyrics in terms of that celebrating that mad chaotic lifestyle and giving thanks for the fact that we can find succour from it is just what my mind needs right now. I was looking up trivia about the song and realised there was a third meaning as well - it's a simple story about a guy who saves a girl and in doing so saves himself. For some reason, the double meaning of "Daniel's saving grace" never occurred to me. Yes, I know, I am a simpleton. But I love this sort of repetition and wordplay. Obviously it's a lot harder to get it into a long novel than it is a short song, but you can do something like it. I think the best example is Joe Hill's Horns, with its numerous references to cherry in all its various meanings and connotations. I'm sure if I thought harder I could think of other such uses of word repetition to build not just recognising characters, but a sense of theme.

5) Last but not least - I literally just saw that Breaking The Glass Slipper had posted up a list of 100 underrated SFF books by authors using female pronouns. I opened it up, confident I'd be around 10 or so... I had one. One. And that, The Poppy War, is arguably pretty darn highly rated right now. It'd be higher if there'd been stuff by Kerr and Kurtz and so on as I was expecting, but the fact there's not is pretty awesome as that means so many more books for me to look at. So if anyone's looking for something to read this weekend, and they haven't been tempted by all the other things mentioned - there's got to be something there you'll like.

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