13 June 2006

Getting the Links Out


  1. I've got my copy pre-ordered, mostly because of some of the writers in it that I love.

    But I have to ask- what is the big deal with M. Rickert? I think I must be missing something. I went and read a few more of her stories after being disapointed with The Harrowing and I still don't see what the big deal is.

    I just don't lover her work- it's ok. It's good. But not something I would rave about, and the prose feels sloppy to me. What am I missing?

  2. there's really not a dud in the bunch.

    I don't know if I'd go quite that far, but it's certainly got an extremely good hit rate, and the Ricker story is one of my favourites by her, now, I think.

    I'm trying to write a review of the book; and specifically trying to write a meaningful review that doesn't just come down to "I agree with David Moles." Ah well.

    (Oh, and there's also a Vector blog.)

  3. I've written more fully about Rickert's work here, here, and here, but in general I'd say what has most impressed me is the complexity of the narratives, the openness to ambiguity within them, which, when it works, creates a rich reading experience (at least for me). I don't think it always works, and I do worry that some of her recent material is, for whatever reason, moving more toward ordinary storytelling (the last story of hers I read in F&SF began very well, I thought, and then was scuttled by an ending that tied things up too neatly). In her best stories, the prose is not sloppy at all, but it can feel that way if you're only looking at one of the levels of the story -- every sentence does have a purpose, every word a function, but the purposes and functions are often toward different goals. Even her least successful stories (and "The Harrowing" isn't one that did a lot for me, though I did enjoy it on a second reading more than a first) seem to be the product of an assured and thoughtful writer, so I jump at the chance to read any new ones, because compared to most of what's out there, even sub-par Rickert at least offers something to think about, because she seldom does anything in a predictable way. People will have different levels of appreciation for it, of course, and if what you're primarily looking for is just a fun read, "a good story", then she's probably not a writer who'll do a lot for you. (I'm not saying you are, Paul, just that that's probably the biggest group of readers who wouldn't be likely to connect to her writing.)

  4. I meant to mention the Vector blog in the main post. Stupid me. There's a Vector blog. It's got all the things you'd expect from a blog connected to Vector, hence it's a Vector blog...

    As for duds, I tend to think of them as stories that don't work at all, and though I definitely prefer some of the tales in the book to others, and were I to have been the editor it would have been vastly different (as it would have been had anybody else been the editor, 'cuz that's how anthologies work), nonetheless, unless I've repressed a memory of one of them, all of the stories had at least some sort of spark of life in them for me.


  5. the openness to ambiguity within them, which, when it works, creates a rich reading experience (at least for me).

    Y'know- that's only something I've recently begun to appreaciate in works (ambiguity). Most of it due to reading Wizard/Knight, and having a sudden epiphiny of "Ah-ha!". It was one of those defining moments as a reader- that completely changes the way you read works and appreciate them.

    Until then, ambiguity just turned me off.

    I think I'll go back and reread Cold Fires. Might be able to appreciate it now.

  6. Thanks for the tip about Feeling Very Strange. Now commences the long wait for the book to appear in UK bookshelves.

    I'm not a big fan of subgenre labels normaly but the idea of slipstream (not a new one really just a new label) is a worthy one.