Sunday, September 21, 2014

Station Eleven

Emily St. John Mandel's new novel, Station Eleven is in part a warning that, when things get really bad, the people who say that "everything happens for a reason" are to be avoided at all costs. For that reason alone it is praiseworthy.

But it is much more than that: A meditation on memory and identity. A post-apocalypse that proceeds, not through a forward march of irreversible decline, but through a web of recollection, reconstruction and redemption. A speculation on how it is that cultural artifacts survive and replicate, a syncretism of Shakespeare, celebrity gossip, micro-print-run graphic novels and Star Trek episodes coming together to remind us that "survival is insufficient". It's up there with Daniel Alarcón's At Night We Walk in Circles and Hisaki Matsuura's Triangle in competition for "best novel I've read this year," and it's by far the best one that I've read with science fictional elements. (Which means that, except in the unlikely event that I read something better in the next three months, I'll be campaigning to get it a Hugo nomination, even if that does mean trolling the incestuous SF/F "community" by insisting that it try reading something by an author who's not a regular con-goer.)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

September Stories

Today is the official release date of Phantasm Japan. If you have pre-ordered it, you should receive it soon if not already. Read it in good health, and feel free to tell me how much you loved, hated, or were indifferent to "Thirty-Eight Observations on the Nature of the Self".

Also, I will be making my second appearance in FLAPPERHOUSE later this month, with a story entitled "Cold Duck". The fine folks there seem to think that this video might make you want to buy the issue and read it in full.

It's a good thing for me that they're so clearly lacking in what most people would consider judgment and good taste.