One time I saw this thing on the internet and it was a guy on a bike and the words said ‘lyf is short, be a racist’. Obviously I have decided to apply these words into my daily life, which is why I have chosen to listen to something called Bombay Gun Runners.
1Q84, a no longer new novel by beloved Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami, is the story of Aomame, a feminist vigilante assassin who uses her seductive wiles to kill deserving if unsuspecting men in service of an aging widow with an ex Japanese special forces soldier as her bodyguard. Along with her childhood love, Tengo, Aomame is pulled into a parallel universe in which she must oppose a secretive cult in service of a strange race of alien fae. Aomame becomes embroiled in an attempt to stop these shadowy, possibly demonic figures by assassinating the leader of said cult, who is also molesting his daughter. Meanwhile, Tengo wanders through a surreal, shadowy Japan, trying to find Aomame and return safely to their original reality.
It is impossible to express from the above (accurate) summary how absolutely mind-numblingly boring this books is. You would not believe it. I don’t really believe it, and I read it. It is so insanely boring that one might almost see some spark of genius in Murakami’s ability to entirely denude potentially exciting scenes, like murdering a cultist or having sex with a changeling ingenue, into an experience akin to reading a stereo manual. Let me be clear; I like boring books. I prefer boring books, mostly, to interesting books--but I cannot stand to be lied to. “This is not a bacon cheeseburger!” I want to yell. “This is salmon, and it’s raw in the middle!” At one point, presumably as a meta-reference to the reader’s own misery, Aomame sits in a room for a very long time and reads À la recherche du temps perdu. I would urge you to follow her example, rather than mine. Come to that, I would recommend you let someone drop Proust’s unannotated work on your big toe, rather than tackle 1Q84.
'The Green Thing' originally aired September 28, 1950 on 2000 Plus. You can listen along here.
Thoughts Before Listening
There are so many green things in our world today. That in itself makes this radio drama potentially very exciting. Does it really tho? Obviously it doesn’t. Actually I just went for the one with the most boring title. So here we go.
Six recent reads across time, space, and genres: Maggie Stiefvater's All The Crooked Saints, E.J. Swift's Paris Adrift, Georgette Heyer's The Talisman Ring, Jason Rekulak's The Impossible Fortress, Eva Ibbotson's The Dragonfly Pool, and Karen McManus' One of Us is Lying.
I'd say I loved them all unequivocally, but, well, then I'd be lying too.
"Ghost with a Knife" from CBS Radio Mystery Theatre, originally aired on Dec. 16, 1977. Listen along here.
Thoughts Before Listening
I am going to listen to something called Ghost with a Knife because ghosts are scary and knives are scary so this should be scary as heck, right? I DON’T KNOW! I GUESS!! Now here are some questions regarding this radio drama, raised by Illustrious Acquaintance and an assortment of friends who would be very offended to hear me refer to them as friends (WE COULD BE FRIENDS THO JUST SAYING)
Her books feature gorgeous settings, icy protagonists; batshit worlds and beautiful words. Strange plots and great prose... welcome to the Weird!
We're participating in the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off. You can learn more about what this means (and how the finalists are doing) here. And follow the various stages of our process here.
I think I'm going to follow up in a week or two with a wibbly 'WHAT I LEARNED' post, and talk about my SPFBO experience(s) a bit more as a whole [UPDATE: Nyah.]. It has been a lot of fun, very enlightening - I've read a lots that covered the whole spectrum of quality - and learned a fair amount about what I think constitutes 'good'. Which is no bad thing. And, unlike previous judging or slush-reading experiences, I can wang about this all I want. So, in the next couple weeks, I might take advantage of that.
But, for now, here are this year's ten finalists, in no particular order, with my - somewhat arbitrary - scores. Thanks again for all the writers, readers, judges and administrator (singular!) for participating, and please check out the other judges for other perspectives!
To my mind there are really only two kinds of novels, badly written and well written. Beyond that, you cannot categorize… ‘Storyteller’ is an old and honorable title and I’d like to lay claim to it.
Mary Stewart (1916 - 2014) is a British novelist, known for her significant contributions to multiple genres. She was of the most prominent - and critically-acclaimed - creators of the romantic thriller. Stewart then went on to write the Merlin trilogy, a best-selling blend of history and fantasy.
I promised myself I’d keep this review spoiler-free. Though frankly, at this point I’m not even sure why; if the opening weekend box-office take is anything to go by, pretty much everyone in the Western world has seen this film. Hell, I bet even those aliens buzzing fighter pilots over the Pacific have seen it.
The age where your creativity and the ability to realise said creativity meets must be somewhere in your 30s.
I know this because the rolling wave of nostalgia in TV and film has now firmly hit the 80s and doesn’t look like it’s going to be moving on for a while.