Friday, April 19, 2002

The Years of Rice and Salt is Brilliant

Reminder to self: there's more than just sports radio on the dial. I barely listen to NPR anymore and missed this interview with Kim Stanley Robinson, which I also can't get to play on my pc here at work. Grrrrrr.

I just finished reading Robinson's newest, The Years of Rice and Salt and hope to have a review here shortly. I'll probably reread it first, but I can tell you not to wait for my review ... just get it and read it. The reviews and descriptions of it I've seen so far really don't do it justice by making it sound like a tedious 'What if?' novel about the Black Plague wiping out European civilization. (Salon's Laura Ellis does a fair job here / David Dalgleish's review at January Magazine is actually quite good.) Robinson's after a something more like a Grand Unified Theory of History; his ability to weave that into a story about two souls reincarnating through history without degenerating into New Age twaffle is pretty remarkable.

I'm pretty sure I've got the germ of an essay stewing about the role sports (lacrosse in TYoRaS, softball and ping-pong in The Gold Coast...) play in Robinson's novels that I can plug into Sports Takes or possibly submit for m.a.d.'s consideration over at PopMatters. That's just me thinking aloud, as it were. We'll see if it actually happens.

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