Tuesday, March 13, 2007


This week:

Silver or Gold by Emma Bull
Godmother Death by Jane Yolen
O One by Chris Roberson
My Life with the Wave by Octavio Paz

Last week:

The God of Gaps by Adrian Firth
The East by M. John Harrison
The Death of King Gongmin by Minsoo Kang
Harvey's Dream by Stephen King

Of the readings last week, the big standout was the King. "Harvey's Dream" works on so many levels, as both a genre and a literary piece. King's taunt and true observations of the human condition, played in the wife's mindscape, serve to heighten the impending sense that something is terribly wrong. The horror is devious and subtle, with the narrative always just a short step ahead of the readers. King doesn't deserve whatever flack he gets - this is simply excellent storytelling and there is much to learn in terms of technique.

The other text I enjoyed was Kang's "The Death of King Gongmin". An interestingly written piece of metafiction, the story delves into an ancient murder. Sophisticated handling of authorial/narrative layering plus the use of speculative fiction techniques creates a read that is part historical essay, part creative nonficton, part journal, part philosophy text and - with its glimpses of court life and intrigue - romance, soap opera, adventure and political thriller.

“You are write in a foreign language for foreign readers to whom all these stories are things that happened so far away, so long ago. Why are you telling the tale of an obscure king of an obscure age of an obscure country? What could you possibly hope to achieve?” the ghost of the dead king asked me in the impenetrable darkness.

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