June 13th, 2009


June Books 6) Fables vol 11: War and Pieces, by Bill Willingham

I've been enjoying the first few Fables volumes, but skipped ahead to the latest because it is one of the Hugo nominees for Best Graphic Story. It is rather fun: starts with a vignette of the relationship between Little Boy Blue and Rose Red, then Cinderella's daring rescue of Pinocchio, then most of it is the war between the good guys led by Prince Charming (using machine guns and bombs) and the bad guys led by their mastermind Collapse ) (who restrict themselves to magic, and therefore Collapse )). I did feel a lack of moral ambiguity on either side - the good guys are all good, the bad guys all committed to their cause; I suppose it is a fairy tale, but Willingham's interpretation of the characters is so sophisticated in other ways that I was disappointed in this respect. (I know that Rose Red at least has a more ambiguous past, in one of the previous volumes, but there's no mention of that here.)

I'm glad, as I said before, that this Hugo category has been introduced for this year, and I hope it returns.

June Books 7) What It Is We Do When We Read Science Fiction, by Paul Kincaid

This is another Hugo nominee in the Best Related Book category, a collection of Paul Kincaid's excellent essays and talks about sf. I particularly enjoyed the first quarter of the book, which includes the title essay and some fascinating analysis of various sf encyclopedias, Year's Bests, and the influence of Conrad's Heart of Darkness on the genre. There are substantial sections on two authors, Christopher Priest and Gene Wolfe, and also essays on various British sf writers, and writers from elsewhere (including an excellent piece on Borges). There is a surgical dissection of Haldeman's Forever Free, which I would point out as a great justification by example of writing negative reviews (in case anyone thinks such justification is necessary). I admit that I skimmed the chapters on books or writers which I don't know so well, but it is all entertaining and insightful, as you would expect. Strongly recommended, if you can actually get hold of it.

Introducing the_book_game

Some of you know of the Book Game. It has the following rules:
Each game is run by one person, and is made up of a number of identical rounds (usually 5)

Each round, the person who's running the game picks a book, and tells everyone else the author, title and some description of the book (I usually use the blurb on the back and an extract from the text). A fixed amount of time passes, during which the players write and submit a plausible first line. Then all the first lines, together with the real one, are published and the players have to guess which is the real one. A point for guessing correctly, a point for someone guessing yours. At the end of the game, the player with most points wins.
Over at the LJ community dedicated to this, which rejoices in the name of the_book_game, I am moderating the next round. Feel free to come and join in.