discussions genre stuff

Recent Reads

The Iron Dragon’s Daughter, by Michael Swanwick. A Cracking little read, this one, bonkers and brave and brash. Totally slaps anyone who suspects ‘gritty’ fantasy is a new thing. This book doesn’t shy away from adult language and themes (war, racism, sexism), and has a pleasing mish-mash of aesthetics, from the gentle veneer of the fae, to the harsh industrial landscape – all mixed with a spot of college antics and sex. Quite likely a deliberate attempt to upset some section of the genre readership – which you’ve got to love, right?

The Man Who Was Thursday, by G. K. Chesterton. A very eccentric metaphysical romp, where the narrative and dialogue is almost entirely a soapbox for philosophy and religion, thoughts on good and evil, spot the anarchist and whatnot. A little underwhelming, but I still enjoyed it. (Would love to have seen Calvino write this novel.)

Next up, American Gods, by Neil Gaiman. I’m actually about a hundred pages in, and rather seduced by its beautiful madness.

By Mark Newton

Born in 1981, live in the UK. I write about strange things.

13 replies on “Recent Reads”

How were you introduced to Chesterton? He’s more or less a forgotten literary genius, but he’s experiencing something of a renaissance. The Man Who Was Thursday is one of my favorite novels. Reads as though Ian Fleming and Kafka sat down, did acid, and wrote a surreal thriller.

American Gods is another favorite of mine. Enjoy!

Aishwarya – everyone has a list o’ shame.

Jonathan – I’ve heard a few people praise the audiobook so perhaps I should investigate.

Alex – definitely worth a re-read.

Drew – he’d been on my reading list for some time, but only recently made it to the top. I’m interested enough to read more – which would you suggest people read next?

Jared – yeah, I think I’ll always have a soft spot for books that say ‘No’ to whatever is comforting. It’s even more pertinent these days.

Phillip – I’ve not, no. My reading pile is huge at the moment, and for some reason, I never really like that much comedy in my fiction.

I wouldn’t classify it as comedy though I realise I’m alone in this. The books strikes me as a rather dark spy novel told from the perspective of a man with a wicked sense of humour…is that comedy? I think not.

I must be “some section of the genre readership” because I couldn’t enjoy the Swanwick book (or at least the second half). I felt like I was missing some necessary neurochemical enhancement.

The audiobook is a nice format for American Gods. (Another book which fell apart for me at the end.)

Phillip: Comedy and darkness are, occasionally, interchangeable, I suspect.

Kat: Two books that didn’t work? You’re a hard lady to please.

Bryce: Yeah – Chesterton’s style is admirable in how it leaves you with a chuckle.

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