24 July 2006

Emerald City 131

Cheryl Morgan has posted the latest issue of Emerald City online, and it's a particularly fun issue, because she offers an editorial on reviewing and bribes and, within the context of a review of Charles Stross's new novel, essentialism (which ties in rather well with the Adam Roberts post at The Valve that I linked to earlier).

I often get frustrated with reviews that go off on a philosophical or political tangent based on the thematic content of a novel, but in this case I like how Cheryl handled it -- we get a sense of the book, her perception of its strengths and weaknesses, and then a mini-essay about essentialism, which makes the review itself a provocative read. Now I look forward to sitting back and watching how people respond to her ideas...

3 comments:

  1. Anyone who missed out on the backstory to Cheryl's editorial, the original comment thread is here.

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  2. Thanks, Liz. Yes: my only comment on Cheryl's editorial is that I think she's misreading what I said on the original thread - in my first comment there, for instance, I said I thought the word bribes was too loaded to provoke a useful discussion - and I'd be happy for people to read the thread itself and form their own views about what I was getting at.

    Matt, re essentialism, there's a whole other debate here to be had but I need to think some more; I just read a Germaine Greer review of James/Jan Morris's sex-change autobiography Conundrum which takes a *very* hard-line essentialist position, and I need to work out why it is that I disagree with her...

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  3. Well, you could spend a lifetime reading all of the philosophical debates related to essentialism and its kin, but one perspective I encountered recently and enjoyed (sometimes because I agreed with it, sometimes because I got angry at it and wanted to figure out why) was The Trouble with Nature by Roger Lancaster.

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