Thursday, February 7, 2013
Saturday, January 5, 2013
A very well written, lightly fantastic story about avant gardening (see what I did there). Recommended for its unique style and character driven narrative. It's also very short.
Rebecka by Karin Tidbeck
Promising, but I didn't care for the ending. It's not a bad ending at all and my dislike of it is entirely personal.
Dormanna by Gene Wolfe (Highly Recommended)
I am a Gene Wolfe fanatic and have read quite a few of his novels and dozens of short stories. For my money, this is his most perfect story.
Useful Phrases by Gene Wolfe
Very interesting, especially when you consider this story in relation to Jorge Borges "Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis, Tertius."
Monday, August 13, 2012
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
If Savage Season is a lighthearted introduction to Hap and Leonard, Mucho Mojo is the sunday punch we never see coming. It's the declaration that, though there are some laughs, these novels aren't fucking around.
The subject matter in this novel turns from the crime/heist fare of its predecessor, to something much darker - namely pedophilia and child killing. Fortunately, Hap and Leonard retain their sense of humor and provide a much needed counterpoint to the excessive darkness of the subject matter at hand.
So, now that the formal stuff is out of the way, let's get down to the fun stuff. Mucho Mojo is packed full of the same things that made Savage Season such a fantastic read. Hap and Leonard, now past the formalities of introduction, are able to stretch out and show us what they're really all about. They feel familiar in Mojo; I find myself oddly comfortable with the notion that Leonard is a bad ass, always looking for a fight, or that Hap perpetually lets the women in his life lead him around by the, em, leash. And the interplay between the two becomes reliable without being repetitive, which can only happen in situations where the characters become so perfectly defined that they're actions make an organic sense within the context of their accumulated personality.
Is that a point of common sense in written character building? Certainly. But it's still not done nearly enough, and even less frequently does it achieve this degree of success.
It's hard to put my finger on it, but there's an undeniable charisma about the way Lansdale writes these characters. It's source is obvious, for anyone that's heard Mr. Lansdale speak - the man's got an awful lot of charisma; but it's damn impressive how well he translates it to the written word.
So, as it stands right now, the Lansdale and I experiment is a resounding success. Thus far I've read the following:
- The Complete Drive In
- Dead in the West
- Savage Season
- Mucho Mojo
- Edge of Dark Water
- (Assorted Shorts)
The Champion Mojo Storyteller is batting 1000 so far. Can he keep it up? We'll see. Two Bear Mambo is up next.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
It's hard not to envy Lansdale when you read his characters. Hap and Leonard are presented so well, in such startling detail, that you wind up liking them before you know it. Part of this might be attributed to their uniqueness - Hap being a sensitive but jaded ex-revolutionary that's a little ashamed of his time during the 1960's, and Leonard being a gay Vietnam veteran. They struck me as good old boys at first, but it's hard to not think of them as something more in the end.
As I've said, it's a little daunting just how damn good Mr. Lansdale is at creating characters. If I'm able to pull off even a fraction of the finesse shown in the character creation in this book after a comparable number of years in the game, I'd be pretty proud of myself.
As good as the characters are, they are nearly outshone by the locations. The rivers, small towns, and countryside of Texas all get star treatment. As a reader that's something of a sucker for rural locations - in particular rivers, small towns, and countryside - I can tell you that you won't find much better than Joe Lansdale in terms of descriptive environments. For a long time, I thought no one would be able to supplant Daniel Woodrell in my brain as the most evocative creator/writer of location; now he and Lansdale share that small honor.
After wrapping up Savage Season, I wasted no time purchasing Mucho Mojo. By chapter 3, it had already begun a vicious assault on my soft and sensitive parts. But that, friends, is a blog entry for a different time.
Monday, July 16, 2012
- Read Light.
- Read Nova Swing.
- Read Course of the Heart.
- Read Viriconium.
- Write me a Thank You letter.
- Accumulate $18 dollars in wealth.
- Travel to your local bookmonger.
- Give the bookmonger said wealth in exchange for a copy of Empty Space.
- Plant your ass in a chair.
- Read, friend. Read.
Sunday, July 15, 2012
"You park your car, go to the concession stand. Inside it's decorated with old horror movie posters, plastic skulls, rubber bats, and false cobwebs. And there's this thing called bloody corn that you can buy for a quarter more than the regular stuff, and it's just popcorn with a little red food coloring poured over it. You buy some and a kingsize coke to go with it, maybe some peanuts and enough candy to send a hypoglycemic to the stars.
Now you're ready. The movies begin. B-string and basement-budget pictures. A lot of them made with little more than a Kodak, some spit and a prayer. And if you've watched enough of the stuff, you develop a taste for it, kind of like learning to like sauerkraut.
Drooping mikes, bad acting, and the rutting of rubber-suited monsters who want women, not for food, but to mate with, become a genuine pleasure. You can simultaneously hoot and cringe when a monster attacks a screaming female on a beach or in the woods and you see the zipper on the back of the monster's suit winking at you like the quick, drunk smile of a cheshire cat."
- The remainder of the summer will be spent reading Lansdale's books. Thus far I've read the following:
- The Complete Drive-In
- Dead in the West
- Edge of Dark Water
- (Currently Reading) Savage Season: Hap and Leonard, Book 1
- Studying the Lansdale in his native habitat, via the following mediums:
- Youtube Videos
- DVD Extras
- Stopping in at this blog and reporting the various wisdomlets and intellitrinkets that I am able to gather from this research. In short, I shall blog about the books I read. I hesitate to call them reviews, since I don't really do that - let's instead call them opinions. Essays if I'm feeling fancy.
- To study Lansdale so intensely that I am eventually able to seamlessly take his place, living his champion mojo lifestyle as my own.
- It's actually a clever misdirection to cover the fact that I'm reading the 50 Shades of Gray books.
- Nothing special, other than a good excuse to be productive blogwise while getting to know one of the best authors in the game.