Spawn of Mars
Don't worry. If you like your religion, you can keep your religion.
The Goblin Emperor
Hugo Awards 2015 - Novel by Katherine Addison
Friday, May 29, 2015 6:59 pm
I am a voter for the 2015 Hugo Awards. I am posting my thoughts about the candidate works. Be warned that spoilers abound.
Maia, the half-goblin and youngest son of the Emperor of the Elflands, banished with his mother from the court, inherits the crown when the Emperor and all other his other sons are killed in an airship accident (which was, in fact, no accident). Maia is not at all prepared and has to find his place.
To begin with, this novel passed one of my standard tests: I never cringed at the dialogue. Sometimes I cringed at what was being said, but never the way it was being said. None of it was cloying or cute. Indeed, none of the writing made me cringe. That may seem like faint praise, but it's not. Addison's style is controlled and effective. She revealed things in a sound order, with a sound pacing. Things followed one another well and I wanted to keep reading. Her fantasy world did not dazzle me and seems a bit conventional (even to me, who doesn't read much fantasy), but it worked.
Ages as Bright as Any
Michael Flynn's Eifelheim
Saturday, June 21, 2008 9:37 pm
In seeking science fiction that is neither left-wing nor Christophobic, I would have thought the worst
place to look would be in a novel about aliens crashing in a medieval German town. O! the opportunities to condemn the superstitious villainies of the Dark Ages! Beleaguered aliens — so like ourselves in their adherence to Science! — against the base and ignorant Catholicism of dim-witted villagers! Goodness me, the cliches write themselves.Eifelheim
is absolutely nothing like that. This is a work that depicts medieval Catholics with sympathy, not by supposing them to be unwashed Episcopalians who would vote Democratic if only they could, but by eschewing condescension and hatred — and, more to the point, by depicting the faithful Catholics as fully rational
A Bee Contemplates Buzzing
The Definition of High Art
Sunday, January 8, 2006 8:46 pm
Despite having been a writer for decades now and having had the unsurprising and frequent inclination, as a producer of art, to contemplate the nature of art, it was many years until I realized something that I think is very true.
Let me begin by stating the obvious: All works are not substantially equal. However much the academics might want to de-privilege the canon, there remains a qualitative difference between high art and low art. This, to be sure, is not news. If you think I am merely about to scoff at academics who overpraise hip-hop or graffiti, you would be wrong. Such academics, however much they perdure, have been adequately ridiculed already. My question is only this: Given the obvious fact that some art is high and some low, what is it, in the end, that distinguishes high from low? And my answer is this: Depth of information.
Jane Austen Tells It
Looks Like She Skipped Creative Writing 101
Sunday, October 10, 2004 7:30 pm
As I will surely say again, I object to creative-writing classes. I object to the notion that there is anything to be taught. To learn, perhaps, from accomplished example; but to be taught abstractly from contrived example?
I especially object to the notion that there are any rules of writing. Rules of language, yes, of grammar, of standard usage; but not of writing. "Rules" of writing tend only to mislead novices. The goal is good writing and, truly, good writing is discerned in the unique event. If a story works, it works. One can see patterns in good writing, I suppose; or better yet, patterns in bad writing; but the distillation of "rules" is misguided.
Let Her Love His Gift
Sunday, April 25, 2004 11:04 pm
Sometimes I say outrageous things. One such thing is: Art doesn't matter. Now, I say this out of petulance. I get annoyed by the overwrought sacralization of art. The sacralization of art is just a high-minded species of material attachment, and is only slightly less awful than the sacralization of, say, Jaguar XJ8s.