inasmuch as it concerns Book Reviews:
I read a lot and I have opinions.
this fictionette got distracted by an audiobook, sorry
- 997 words (if poetry, lines) long
It's ridiculously late, but it's out now: "Mala's Desert Muse," your Friday Fictionette for the second week of December 2015. That link will take you to a brief excerpt of the fictionette, followed by links to download the full-length piece if you're already a subscriber, and links to become a subscriber if you're not one yet and would like to be.
The weekend was extremely full of roller derby, what with the two-day clinic down at the Glitterdome. I learned a lot! It was awesome! And I had no energy for just about anything else all weekend except visiting some friends on the way home from Denver. They were nice visits. They are very nice friends who don't mind me arriving somewhat sweaty and also vague from exhaustion.
I took advantage of the long-ish drive to begin listening to an audiobook of Uprooted by Naomi Novik. Then I just sort of kept listening through my post-derby bath and on my way to sleep. I'm midway through Chapter 15 as of last night. The Overdrive download chops it up into "parts" that don't actually correspond with chapter headings; I've listened through Part 7. I have had people describe this book to me as "another take on Beauty and the Beast," which I suppose is accurate insofar as it goes. It doesn't go nearly far enough. I'm also hearing very strong echoes of "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" (Goethe, not Disney--or, if Disney, Fantasia, not Nicolas Cage) only not so much the plot thereof as the premise and emotional conflict therein. But there's a lot more going on in Novik's novel than in either tale. I am hooked. I'm desperately looking forward to Part 8 tonight at bedtime.
I downloaded the audiobook, by the way, from the Viggle Store. It is the second thing I've purchased from Viggle, the first being an ebook of Dreams of Shreds and Tatters. (I'm about two-thirds through reading it. It's OK. It could be better. But I do appreciate me some King in Yellow fan fiction.) I've finally gotten the hang of using Viggle efficiently. It involves clicking on bonus ads during my writing stints, playing the Viggle Football game, and using the resources made available by this web site here. (Ssh! Don't tell.) By the time I've listened through all of Uprooted I will probably have enough points to purchase some other wonderful thing. In fact I'm only about 2,000 points away from downloading this wonderful thing, the link to which I include mainly to remind me that I'm interested in purchasing it.
someday i'll be taking the blame for someone else's productivity loss
This is another one of those unfortunate weeks where the Friday Fictionette will have to be a Weekend Fictionette. I could blame yesterday's scrimmage, which was fantastic but left me exhausted enough to use "roller derby recovery" as an excuse to sleep late the next day. I could blame that, but I won't, because that's not the problem. The problem was, when I finally got up, I rolled over, grabbed my library copy of The Bone Clocks, and didn't put it down again until I'd reached the end.
My problem is, I have very little self-discipline around books.
Now, this weekend is a weekend containing no less than eight hours of roller derby doings and a good friend's birthday party, so I'm going to have to be clever about eking out enough time to get the fictionette up while we can still sort of kind of call it December: Week 2. Clever and also somewhat strict with myself. (Alas. It is no fun whatsoever to be strict with myself.) But not so strict that I don't let myself get enough sleep, because, well, roller derby. Athletes need sleep!
But at least I finished the library book, so that temptation is behind me.
The Bone Clocks is by David Mitchell, who also wrote that Cloud Atlas whose movie adaptation everyone was raving about not so long ago. In this book, he's created a huge sort of puzzle box that solves itself for you slowly, piece by piece, over the course of one woman's lifetime. In many ways it felt like a more mature and nuanced version of what Sheri Tepper was trying to do with Beauty. It's got a very similar story structure--at least, superficially so--and it voices very similar concerns. But it strikes a much more convincing balance between "Some things are just wrong, mmkay?" and "It's always more complicated than you think." And when it was over I not only cried a little at the end, but I found myself more prone to crying over other things, both happy and sad, for some time after I'd closed the book. It was as though the book stayed not so much in my conscious thoughts as in my emotional circuitry, magnifying everything else I felt for the rest of the afternoon.
It's either science fiction or fantasy depending on your point of view. Maybe a little of both. It has a science fictional tendency towards exploring future outcomes of present day action. It has a fantastical approach to psionic powers, reincarnation, and the afterlife. It has a terribly realistic viewpoint on disasters both past and present, but it never quite robs the reader of hope. It dangles what feel like hundreds of loose threads over the course of the story, and all but I think two of them get woven back into a satisfying resulotion. (One of those unresolved threads is a real humdinger, though, I gotta say. [ROT13]Pevfcva'f zheqre jnf fhccbfrq gb znxr gur cbrzf trg angvbany nggragvba, ohg gurl ner va snpg arire zragvbarq ntnva.[/ROT13] This bugs. But by the end of the book I wasn't thinking about that. I didn't actually think about it until hours after I'd finished, because everything else about the book was so good.)
It wouldn't be fair to give me all of the blame for my unfortunate binge-reading. I think Mitchell has to shoulder some of the responsibility. He wrote a book that was very, very hard to put down. I'm going to have to wait some time before checking out Cloud Atlas. Purely out of self-defense, you understand. Can't afford to have days like this every day.