The State of the Blog

“Reviewing is a social occasion, run by people staking out turf; honest intellectual discussion is something else, and nearly extinct.” — George Zebrowski

In another week, I’d write a post about that. In fact, in another week I’d write posts about all sorts of things: about Drive and what I like about it, even though Abigail makes some good points; about Greg L. Johnson’s assertion, as noted by Jonathan Strahan, that “Hard science fiction, and space opera, are styles of SF that tend to work better at lengths longer than short stories”; about Ian R. Macleod’s novella in the May F&SF, “The Master Miller’s Tale”, and about Holly Phillips’ story in the June Asimov’s, “Three Days of Rain”; about Sunshine and why it was a disappointment (although fortunately Adam Roberts has written that one for me, and it’ll appear at Strange Horizons next week); about Alan DeNiro’s three Strange Horizons stories, none of which appear in his Litblog Co-Op-picked collection, Skinny-Dipping in the Lake of the Dead; about reading Anatomy of Criticism by Northrop Frye and London Orbital by Iain Sinclair, except I haven’t got far enough in either; about The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay, which I finished weeks ago and haven’t had the time to organise my thoughts on; and about re-reading, and how we should do more of it, and what I most want to re-read (I’ve been meaning to go back to Kim Stanley Robinson’s Pacific Edge for, literally, years).

But unfortunately, I don’t have the time or energy to do any of the above at the moment. The critical-reading part of my brain is focused on getting through the Clarke shortlist, in advance of the judging meeting on May 2nd; and the rest of my brain is focused on my day job, which is going through a particularly busy period at the moment. (Not that it’s ever quiet, exactly.) So things around here will probably continue to be link-focused for a couple more weeks yet, I’m afraid.

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5 Responses to “The State of the Blog”

  1. Christopher Barzak Says:

    I was really bummed “Tetrarchs” was left out of “Skinny Dipping”. I love that story.

    Interesting Zebrowski quote, though seems a bit, well, generalized. I could point to cases where it’s true, and others where it isn’t at all.

  2. Graham Says:

    I wonder if Zebrowski also had in mind John Clute’s famously damning review of his magnum opus Macrolife, collected in Strokes?

  3. Niall Says:

    Chris: yes, “Tetrarchs” was the one I was most surprised to see missing.

    Graham: you tease. As well you know, I do not own a copy of Strokes

  4. Graham Says:

    Niall, I’ll pass you a copy next time I see you. And, to return to the topic in hand, I agree that De Niro’s collection was materially weakened by the omission of those stories – but I’ll wait for your post before diving into that topic fully. All this other stuff you have to do before posting – it’s not really important, is it? ;-)

  5. Rich Horton Says:

    Niall, I will want to see what you thought of “Three Days of Rain” … I think it’s the best story I’ve seen this year — it’s amazing. (Review in the May Locus, though I don’t say all that much.)

    Jonathan took some mild issue with Greg Johnson’s assertion that hard SF and Space Opera need to be long. I disagree wrt Hard SF, but I must say that when looking for Space Opera stories for my Space Opera “Best Of” this year I had a hard time finding short ones … I do think that Space Opera, to an extent almost by definition, does tend to demand more, well, space.

    (The two shortest stories in my book are a comedic take on the genre, and a metafictional take.)


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