Thursday, 27 March 2008

Paul Kincaid

Among the interesting things he said this evening was that what had given The Separation, by Christopher Priest, the edge over M John Harrison's Light in the Clarke Awards was the view that you would always enjoy reading the latter as the same book, but that Priest's novel was a different book every time you returned to it.

And I see what he means, and that that can be an attraction. Certainly, I love Priest's books (though I would rate The Glamour far above The Separation).

But Light continues to spill around me in umpteen different ways; Nova Swing has made it the more difficult to read it even from that (singular) point of view. I'd always thought that was the point of them.

With Harrison, I find myself going back again and again into the short stories: Egnaro and Gifco particularly enrage me. He won't agree, but I think the best work is in them and Climbers, and, of course, in The Course of the Heart. But the Viriconium fans have me outnumbered.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Dead Babies

It would be possible to imagine from the last post that I didn't rate Martin Amis. Nothing could be further from the truth. (Don't imagine either that I was being sarky about James Owen; he is a very fine writer.)

Dead Babies as an sf novel.

It's clearly a near future setting; it denies itself throughout; it's thoroughly unpleasant in a very funny way; it's George RR Martin's Sandkings with people;

Let's Go

The Weekend Starts Here

Er, let's not. And thanks for showing us why not.

It's unspeakably brilliant. It's unspeakable.

Here's Quentin...

Monday, 17 March 2008

Very exciting

At lunchtime I saw one of Britain's finest writers, whose lapidary prose is an example to us all. Here are the details of his books .

And I saw Martin Amis, too.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Ou peut-etre hier, je ne sais pas

I said I'd write about that old fraud Robbe-Grillet, since I love but deplore him. But what's to say? Here is an exercise in the way in which you can write and which can produce (Les Gommes, La Jalousie, L'annee derniere a Marienbad) shimmering effects. You can even make a case for getting other people to do it (Pour un Nouveau Roman – the "pour" always, annoyingly, rendered in English as "For" rather than "Towards" or "The Case For" or even "Onwards!"). But it was a game.

He was a nice man, and I liked him. His obit is here. But there is a very interesting piece by Paul Theroux in the TLS on Camus v Simenon. The thing is that they all took themselves seriously. A fatal error.

Thank goodness we're not French.