October Short Fiction Reviews

Oct 10, 20:11 by IROSF
Thread for the discussion of short stories or Bluejack's Reviews.

The article is here.
Oct 11, 10:46 by Jetse de Vries
Klima mentions that this is an unusual issue of Electric Velocipede in that it has already sold out.


Indeed, but John's made the contents of EV9 available online here: Electric Velocipede.

I can't say whether the story that prompted such a run on the issue (The Chiaroscurist) is representative of Duncan's work, but I must confess it didn't strike me much, one way or the other: a late Middle Ages / early Renaissance story with elves for aristocrats and hobben as Jews (think gnomes [as in Gnomes of Zurich? ouch!] instead of hobbits), all of which is entirely beside the point. The actual story has very little to do with that, and everything to do with a brash young artist finding himself in the maturing of his craft.


Niall Harrison thought something along similar lines. However, I think there's much more to it, so check out this link to Niall's review and my comments.

Also, the author -- Hal Duncan -- seems to agree with my analysis, as witnessed in his blog.

Just FYI.
Oct 11, 11:14 by Bluejack
Hmm. Well. I didn't do an in-depth review of the story because my reading of it didn't invigorate me the way some of the other stories did, and that, of course, is an entirely subjective thing. Not just the interaction between myself and the text, but the occasion and circumstances of my reading, etc. etc.

I must say that reading Duncan's blog entry on the topic is less than inspiring: the grandiosity of his nihilism/anti-nihilism is in stark contrast to the insightful maturity suggested by "The Chiaroscurist" -- but I don't demand that artists speak intelligently about their own material, only that the material itself stand on its own.

With regard to the "God is Dead" motif, sure, it's there, as it's there for everyone who matures out of their first, primitive view of the world -- and that applies to Christians as well as atheists. I didn't take that as the whole message, but only one aspect of the artist finding himself.

As for the Caravaggio parallel, I think I preferred Wendy Shaffer's take on him in "Portrait of an Unidentified Angel" which appeared in Realms of Fantasy, April 2004.
Oct 11, 13:42 by Bluejack
Apparently I was not clear in the article... the cover illustration of InterZone does not appear in Electric Velocipede! I was just imagining that the illustration would fit very well as a visualization of the story "Glass Braids" ... I am going to update the article to reflect that clarity.

Also, since Electric Velocipede is all online now due to the fact that they sold out, I'll put links to the stories in the table.
Oct 12, 10:03 by Jason Stoddard
Thank you for the very in-depth and thoughtful review of Panacea (Sci Fiction).

I think your points about the benefits of hindsight are well-taken; defining another path besides ours is difficult. I am sure there are other paths, but I believed that the need (in this world) for more open means of communication far outweighed (our world's), hence there would be more effort towards twisting computing to that function.

I also struggled with who to put as the counterpart to Grace (who I feel to be the real hero of the story), and actually considered Woz and Jobs. I had to conclude that Bill would be the only one privileged enough to see the things he did. And, although he might be comfortably ensconced within the power structure of this world, I don't think this precludes him wanting to reach the very top, or doing so by pretending to care for the masses. Perhaps I didn't emphasize his boorish qualities enough.

Again, thank you. I'm always interested in honest feedback.

Jason
   

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