Forced Perspectives - On Higher Powers 4

Forced Perspectives - On Higher Powers 4

(I'd looked at several of Tim Power's books before - incuding the earlier Vickery and Castine story, Alternate Routes). Since we last saw Vickery and Castine, things had not quite returned to normal. Sure, Ingrid Castine went back to work for the hush-hush transportation agency who's rogue manager had tried to kill her, and Vickery, a former secret service agent, was living a quiet life in a small home near the highway.  But both were a bit unmoored from time, able to see things that had recently happened nearby. What else could one expect of people who had literally gone…

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Higher Powers, Pt. 3

Higher Powers, Pt. 3

I know I've mentioned my love for The Drawing of the Dark by Tim Powers several times, most recently in my review of Alternate Routes. The book made a profound impact on me decades ago in middle school, and held up well as more than childhood nostalgia disorder when I read it again recently. Nevertheless, I missed a lot of the symbolism in it. For example, the connections between the events in the book and the liturgical year. Then I came across this review by Ben Espen at With Both Hands, which noted:   Written in 1979, The Drawing of the…

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Roundup

Roundup

It's been a while, and I've accumilated a few odds and ends that don't call for a full post. Hate is bad. So we are told. Of course, the same people will gladly tell us that "White Lives Don't Matter". I know, I know, they'll tell you that it's not "white lives" as in "the lives of white people," but instead "white lives" as in "lives lived as if you were white" - she even somewhat clarified it.  Leaving aside you'd think that a college professor would be aware of the implications of her choice of words, AND that if…

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On Higher Powers, Pt 2.

On Higher Powers, Pt 2.

I know I have once mentioned Tim Powers, and specifically the book of his that left an impression on me for nearly 40 years to the point of tracking it down and buying it. Drawing of the Dark was as good as remembered, possibly better and weirder - and so I bought a couple more of his books. While one of his better known works, Anubis Gates, is in my reading pile, I ended up reading a much more recent work first, the hidden-world modern fantasy Alternate Routes. Per the blurb: Something weird is happening to the Los Angeles freeways—…

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Style inNeon

Style inNeon

Alexandru Constantin recently put up two posts I'd like to tie together. The first was a review of "Neon Harvest" by Jon Mollison. Neon Harvest does something different, something cool. It’s not a true sci-fi nor a true cyberpunk. Jon takes the technological baseline of the early 80’s and stagnates it. It’s a pre-digital cyber-thriller. The heroes still use pay-phones, newspapers are still on paper, and cash is still used. Yet, colony ships take off, planets are terraformed, and the internet used to exist. I don’t want to spoil anything, because the whole concept is really…

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Style is Part of the Substance

Style is Part of the Substance

Alexandru Constantin notes that not only is much of modern fantasy shallow in substance, but it also posesses no depth of style, rendering it almost unreadable. Most of all, all three of the books had pedestrian writing that lacked any hint of style. The prose felt like early young adult, middle school grade, nothing fancier than early Animorphs, and the plot and characters felt stolen from a overwritten D&D module. But to get back twitter and the whole point of this post. I posted about giving up on most fantasy because the writing sucks. People responded, we had…

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Pop Kult

Via Castalia house, an excellent post on how pop culture is more accurately, as Brian Neimeier puts it, Pop Kult (or "Cult"). The Epistle of Captain America – The Pop Cult is Truly a Cult That said, I do think he's overlooked something: When my viewers were upset about the corporate destruction of Star Wars, calling the franchise a cultural institution, I thought it a bit hyperbolic – after all, these are just stories, and you can’t uncreate what George Lucas did. I see things better now. Star Wars is part of the religious reverence for popular franchises. When Disney…

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False Depth in Storytelling

False Depth in Storytelling

One thing I often get - most recently regarding the show "Succession" and mostly from people who don't know me that well in my circle of acquaintances - is shock that I don't like [Stephen King | Game of Thrones | Whatever piece of dross that's popular today that involves horrible people being horrible to each other ] "But you should try it out instead of dismissing it right away / after a few minutes" The answer I give echoes Alexandru Constantin's - I don't like it, why should I continue to waste time on that? "But you could…

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