It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.
I once (somewhere on Goodreads) observed that a lot of what is usually labelled Science Fiction is really Engineering Fiction. There are rare examples of Mathematics Fiction (e.g. Flatland, Abbott or Eon, Greg Bear). There's a lot of Physics Fiction and Biology Fiction. Le Guin wrote Anthropolgy Fiction. Imagine my surprise when recently in Ballard's autobiography he said that he favoured Psychology Fiction. This struck me as the perfect pithy description of what Ballard was doing most of the time in his short stories.
This collection has many interesting and surprising stories and the odd few that are actually predictable if you know his work fairly well. Many of the most memorable have the common setting of Vermillion Sands, a fading, no longer fashionable beach resort for the rich and famous that exists - somewhere. It's not quite our Earth, but not apparently an alien world, despite the flying rays that seem like they replace the gulls of most seashores. In fact it's the embodiment of a mood - a mood so effectively evoked that after reading several stories, I was able to guess we were back there from just the first paragraph of one story, confirmed in the next. This impressed upon me the level of writing skill on display.
Well, there's still a similarly brick-sized second volume to look forward to!
Lysistrata persuades the others to join the strike. Meanwhile, the older women have occupied the Acropolis and locked out the men.
Landscape: Wuthering Heights by Sylvia Plath was the best example. Must get to her poetry in toto...
Of the memebers of the dynasty I like Jan Breughel the Younger the best so far. There's a Vinckboom reproduced here (never heard of him before) that I liked a lot, too. They both focus more on landscape than the other dynasty members.
For the cat-lovers amongst us, I give, My Cat Jeoffrey:
So, the new teen kid protagonist is nowhere near as interesting as Valkyrie, who is now 25, but teen protagonists are apparently mandatory in YA books. Fortunately, in this volume, most of the focus is on Valkyrie. And if you have no idea who I'm talking about, don't start here - go back to the beginning when Valkyrie discovered magic, aged 12, in the very first book.
I thought the two Canalettos were potentially confusing but this family has so many painters in it that a family tree is needed to understand their relationships to each other. Thankfully one is provided in this book!
First chapter was Animals. 2nd is Weather. Use his own "Wind" which is amazing and Dickinson's "Like rain is sounded..." which is almost as brilliant as examples, amongst others. Suggests using a specific memory or detailed imagining as the basis, rather than trying to take on a generalised catagory.
Same problem as the previous volume: Omen just isn't that interesting. It's a lot more fun to be around Valkyrie and Skulduggery - but apparently one MUST have a teenage protagonist involved.
What more can I say about Peter Brown? I love his work and this catalogue has many delightful paintings reproduced in it. Brown's interest in reflections in rain soaked flagstones is strongly represented. There's only one snow painting - must have been a mild winter.
The House of Fame
Frustratingly unfinished! Don't trust reputation or rumour - it may be completely false - but said in a very pretty way with fun imagery and references to The Aenied and The Divine Comedy. Perhaps my favourite part is when the dreamer is carried by the eagle to the House of Fame, high in the sky and he has the good sense to be terrified.