I’m not a fan of short story collections, but I’m a fan of a number of authors who write one short story collection after another, so I read them anyway.
But that explains why this book went unread. I really like Joanna Russ. She’s very funny and she’s quite angry, which makes for an enjoyable reading experience.
This collection has lots of funny bits, and lots of very sf-ey bits, and I enjoyed it immensely. I read it (as I do most short story collections) while travelling, and the mixture of storytelling approaches fits that situation perfectly.
As with any other book that I like, after finishing it, I went online to buy other books by the same author that I hadn’t read yet. (This is why the backlog grows.)
Not only have I read all her books, but she died last year.
Anyway, I bought this paperback used. I like used books with marks from previous owners. Like this:
I don’t leave any marks in my book myself, though.
I bought this book at an SF auction thing at the University. I remember a bidding war broke out between me and some woman over this book.
I’m not sure why. I was just caught up in the excitement.
And then it sat on the bookshelf until now.
I used to read a lot of the Anne McCaffrey sf/fantasy stuff. She’s not a good writer or anything, but her books are… relaxing. They’re just there. Things happen. Dragons fly by. A spaceship rebels.
This isn’t a fantasy book, though. “Merlin” (he of the title) is a dog.
I mean, literally. He’s a dog.
So is this book. This books is literally a dog.
It’s an uneasy mash-up between a gothic romance book and a spy adventure book, and it fails pretty much completely in every conceivable manner. The plot is moronic and the romance is icky.
I do remember why I haven’t read this one. I thought it was a short story collection.
I hate short story collections.
No, that’s not quite true. I love short stories. It’s just that they take more energy than novels. They’re so compressed. You have to start caring about these characters in a couple of pages, and then ten pages later, they’re gone. And then you start on the next one.
It’s less than relaxing.
So I thought this was a short story collection for some reason or other, but it isn’t. Instead it’s an sf/magic realism mash-up. Sort of.
It’s quite original and fun, but it didn’t really make me want to run out and buy ten more books by Lisa Goldstein. It’s quite good. Quite. Kinda. Yes.
Do you remember back in the mid-80s where all books dealt with writers who were writing the book you were reading, or were they?
The post-modernity of this book is pretty staggering. And perhaps not in a good way. But that’s just what virtually all literature was like in 1984.
This one has not just one author, but two, and one or both of them is writing the book. So freaky! Yowza! Zzzzzz!
Oh, I guess it was fun at the time.
And reading the in-depth descriptions of Oslo in 1984 was amusing.
And look at that book design! Zing! 1984! Nothing says 1984 more than that book design.
Getting the festival of 1995 underway, I picked the book I knew absolutely the least about first.
It seemed like a pretty nice hard-ish SF novel, so why hadn’t I read it already?
Now I remember… I had bought it along with a swarm of other touchy feely SF books, and I had kinda gotten tired of reading that for a while. So it sedimented downwards.
Anyway, it turned out to be very nice. Perhaps a tad much So Much Drama for my tastes, but The Drama passed pretty quickly, and the rest of the book is quite neat.
I’ve already bought a few more books by Eleanor Arnason.