Saturday, April 21, 2007

KSR's Next

Stan reveals in a Locus interview that he's working on another historical novel ...
I've sold a book about the birth of science called The Galileans. It will have a science fiction element, but a strongly historical narrative as well. I researched the subject when I was writing The Years of Rice and Salt, which includes an alternative scientific revolution. Having done that, I thought, 'Well, what actually happened is fascinating.' So this new book is constellated about the figure of Galileo. Because he was famously put on trial by the Pope, he's still a good way to discuss the relationship between science and religion, and how those two can be reconciled (or not).
He also recommends a historical novelist I've never heard of: Cecelia Holland. If he thinks she's one of our greatest novelists, I'm intrigued.

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Manny, The Myth, The Legend

When I asked his teammate David Ortiz, himself a borderline folk hero, how he would describe Ramirez, he replied, “As a crazy motherf----r.” Then he pointed at my notebook and said, “You can write it down just like that: ‘David Ortiz says Manny is a crazy motherf----r.’ That guy, he’s in his own world, on his own planet. Totally different human being than everyone else.” Ortiz is not alone in emphasizing that Ramirez’s originality resonates at the level of species. Another teammate, Julian Tavarez, recently told a reporter from the Boston Herald, “There’s a bunch of humans out here, but to Manny, he’s the only human.”

From the New Yorker.

Authentic Pop

The Monkees not authentic enough for you? What is?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Top 100

The Telegraph lists the Top 100 books since 1982.

I can only comment on the ones I've read, pardon the formatting:
  1. Historian, The Kostova, Elizabeth Little, Brown 2005 [I can't believe this. I almost didn't finish this book, it was so bad. Two word review: pedestrian, bloodless.]
  2. Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, The Haddon, Mark Random House 2004 [Worthy.]
  3. Da Vinci Code, The Brown, Dan Transworld 2003 [A good read, but one of the 100?]
  4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Rowling, J.K. Bloomsbury 1997 [I'm OK with this.]
  5. High Fidelity Hornby, Nick Penguin 1995 [OK]
  6. Suitable Boy, A Seth,Vikram Orion 1994 [Yes. I wouldn't have bothered linking the list if this hadn't been on it.]
  7. Miss Smilla's Feeling For Snow Hoeg, Peter HarperCollins 1992 [Yeah, so I'm noticing that lots of the ones I read were made into movies. Great book, good movie.]
  8. English Patient Ondaatje, Michael Macmillan 1992 [I'm thinking of Elaine at the movie theater, unable to bear the overwrought drama. I actually liked both the book and the movie, but I get the attitude.]
  9. LA Confidential Ellroy, James Random House 1990 [Ellroy was on one of those shows on the Biography Channel, or Court TV, one of those things, talking about his mother's murder, his investigation of it, etc. It was kind of creepy how he talked about is feelings about his mother and how he's written about it. Very odd character, that one. Great novel though.]
  10. Remains Of The Day Ishiguro, Kazuo Faber 1989 [I stand by this.]
  11. Bonfire Of The Vanities, The Wolfe, Tom Macmillan 1987 [I wouldn't have included this one.]
  12. Watchmen Moore, Alan Titan 1987 [Yeah.]
  13. Perfume Suskind, Patrick Penguin 1985 [Definitely.]
  14. Handmaid's Tale Atwood, Margaret Random House 1985 [OK]
  15. Love In The Time Of Cholera Marquez, Gabriel Garcia Penguin 1985 [Absolutely.]
  16. Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Kundera, Milan Faber 1984 [Yep.]
  17. Neuromancer Gibson, William HarperCollins 1984 [Zzzzzzz. So many better sci-fi novels to choose from. I guess this is where I'll rant about how there is not a single KSR book on this list. Idiots. This over "The Years of Rice and Salt"?!?!? Over the "The Gold Coast"?! Ugh.]
  18. Money Amis, Martin Random House 1984 [Yep.]
  19. Name of the Rose, The Eco, Umberto Random House 1983 [Ironically, or not, I just finished Krugman's "The Great Unraveling" and was looking for a book I haven't read in a while to reread and "The Name of the Rose" wound up getting pulled off the shelf.]
I'm a little discouraged by the 19% read rate. More discouraged that the literati apparently think so little of Stan Robinson's novels. I mean, fine, if you were put off by the science and pacing of the Mars books, I don't get it, but lots of people were so, I can see how those could be overlooked. But they slogged through Gibson's overrated prose and liked that better? Better than a half-dozen or so of Stan's books that were better than at least half the 19 listed above? I just don't get it.
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