Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Kim Stanley Robinson's THE MINISTRY FOR THE FUTURE: A Review me, but not here; it's at The Ancillary Review of Books, and you can read it here:

Poem of the Day: When people say, “we have made it through worse before”

When people say, “we have made it through worse before”

all I hear is the wind slapping against the gravestones

of those who did not make it, those who did not

survive to see the confetti fall from the sky, those who


did not live to watch the parade roll down the street.

I have grown accustomed to a lifetime of aphorisms

meant to assuage my fears, pithy sayings meant to


convey that everything ends up fine in the end. There is no

solace in rearranging language to make a different word

tell the same lie. Sometimes the moral arc of the universe


does not bend in a direction that will comfort us.

Sometimes it bends in ways we don’t expect & there are

people who fall off in the process. Please, dear reader,


do not say I am hopeless, I believe there is a better future

to fight for, I simply accept the possibility that I may not

live to see it. I have grown weary of telling myself lies


that I might one day begin to believe. We are not all left

standing after the war has ended. Some of us have

become ghosts by the time the dust has settled.


Clint Smith

America! America outraged! America broken! America martyred! But America liberated!

 A sneak preview of Biden's inaugural address in just over an hour:

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Piranesi: a Spoiler-Free Review

I just finished reading Susana Clarke's second novel, Piranesi (2020) and it is just as wonderful as her first novel, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (2004) while being so utterly unlike it that you would never guess that they were by the same author. Their only commonality is that both are distinctly British fantasy novels.  Basically, if you like good fantasy novels, pick it up & read it.


That's the long and the short of it, except that I should add that I think it's a particularly good book to go into blind.  After I finished reading it, I glanced at a few reviews, and I was very glad I hadn't done so first.  Of course, for many of you, "by the author of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell" is sale enough. The rest of you should go read Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.—Ok, I kid: I know that that latter book was not for everyone, although for a large number of people it was utterly superb. But I will say that if you generally like fantasy but were put off by Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, then probably the parts that put you off are absent from Piranesi.

Beyond that? Try to learn nothing.  The first page or two of Piranesi can be confusing, but the immediate mysteries are cleared up within another few pages. You'll be quite comfortable with them before the new mysteries, the ones you don't want spoiled, start piling up.


There's more to say about this book — a lot more — but for now, that's where I'll stop. It's great, go read it, avoid reviews.