And now a little purging of the bookmarks:
- "The Romantic Underground": In which Jeff VanderMeer tells sappy stories about public transport.
- Dan Green on the failures of Christopher Hitchens's literary criticism. And on Richard Powers. I'm particularly fond of this paragraph from the latter:
To say that Powers "has always fallen short in the presentation of viscerally compelling characters" is to say only that he has attempted to exploit the possibilities of fiction in a way that doesn't rely on "viscerally compelling characters" to engage the reader's interest. He wants the reader to involve him/herself in the "intricacy" of design, to find in the tracing out of the incremental, spiralling pattern a source of interest at least as compelling as character identification, if not more so, since Powers's novels make it clear that the writer's job is not merely to tell stories and evoke characters, but to use such things as story and character to make something fresh from the form, to find the means to unite story, character, and theme with form in a way that is mutually reinforcing: character is tied to the evolving revelations of form, formal ingenuity itself embodies and discloses theme. It is said that Powers is a novelist interested in "ideas," especially scientific ideas, but even here Powers uses science--in The Time of Our Singing, quantum physics--to help construct formal patterns that, while illustrative of the ideas and their implications, are also themselves aesthetically provocative.
- Catherynne Valente: "I Am a Fantasy Writer". This has the best last line of anything I've read in a long time.
- Waggish on Samuel R. Delany's Motion of Light in Water
- "The Top Twenty Novels for Geeks" [by men]. What, girls can't write geeky books or books for geeks? Evidence against provided here and here. (I'm ignoring the question of why any of these books are geeky or for geeks. Let others debate that one...)
- Experienced writers, new bloggers: Nathan Ballingrud and Glenn Hirshberg
(via Jeff V, who is having good conversations these days with his Evil Monkey. Apparently, Jeff accused Evil Monkey of being a pheasant plucker, and Evil Monkey considers them fightin' words. [Evil Wombat: "Enough with the in-jokes already. I don't understand half of what the two of you talk about!"])