Don’t Expect Frequent Updates

Don’t blame my laziness for lack of updates. Though I’m sure it’s a contributor. Mostly it is the fact that I have two papers, a presentation, and a take home exam all due next week. With another two papers and some short presentations the following week as well. So, I’m slightly busy. Not to mention I haven’t even started to think about Christmas gifts yet (amazon.com is open 24 hours, thank God!).

I did get to spend a little time the other day trying to find some new books to read in December/January. For the most part I was using the fantastic Locus website and the website for the World Fantasy awards. I haven’t spoken much about it recently but I’ve gotten a little tired ok the generic fantasy novel and I’ve been trying really hard to find something with more adult themes and a somewhat “fresh” style. I found two books that seem to fit the bill:

Virconium, by M. John Harrison. This is an omnibus edition of several novels from the 70s and 80s set in the city of Virconium. Harrison, as I understand, is one of the forbears of China Meilville, whose work is some of the most entertaining and original stuff I’ve seen in a long time. Unlike most traditional fantasy, with it’s lengthy quests and high adventure, I’m hoping that the city setting will lend a different tone to what goes.

The Etched City, by K. J. Bishop. This is another one set in a city and the story according to the synopsis on the author’s website and at amazon.com seem to hint at a focus on the seedy underbelly of the fantasy world. The Locus review snippet on the author’s page goes so far as to compare the author’s style to the work Jorge Luis Borges; which I would consider high praise for the often marginilzed field of fantasy fiction.

Since I completed Glen Cook’s Black Company series my taste for the morally black and white world of traditional fantasy has soured (though I do still enjoy the occaisonal romp in the sentimental and romantic drivel oft called “epic fantasy”) and I have found myself far more interested in the dirt and shadows of what is often called “dark fantasy”. Both the above titles reflect this shift in taste. Anyway, class starts in 8 minutes so I better go. More later if I get a chance.

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