81 Following

Allusion is not Illusion

You'll pry my books off my cold, dead body. By the time you shift them all I'll be flat and dessicated.

Currently reading

Winter's Tales
Karen Blixen, Isak Dinesen
Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (Penguin Classics)
Rebecca West, Christopher Hitchens
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Susanna Clarke
Already Dead
Charlie Huston
The Rings of Saturn
W.G. Sebald, Michael Hulse
Lady Audley's Secret
Mary Elizabeth Braddon, David Skilton
Unequal Protection: How Corporations Became "People" - And How You Can Fight Back
Thom Hartmann
The City, Not Long After
Pat Murphy
You Can Sketch: A Step-by-Step Guide for Absolute Beginners
Jackie Simmonds
Lonely Werewolf Girl
Martin Millar
Lord Kelvin's Machine - James P. Blaylock At first I tried to tell myself it was just me. I was reading under adverse conditions -- on a ferry, going to meet a friend I knew was upset, tired from work -- I probably just missed something. You know, that little explanation or aside that would make the action comprehensible. I went back and reread the first chapter. Nope, still didn't make sense. Well, you know, there are those authors who like to throw you into the story en medias res and then give you the backstory as they go along. That sometimes works very effectively. If the author actually gets around to filling you in, that is. And there is a backstory of sorts, it just wasn't enough to make me care about the characters or excuse the author from being totally unable to structure his book in a balanced, coherent fashion.

So there's this guy we don't know driving a carriage at night, and he gets a weird message, and then he falls asleep despite the fact that he is rushing to rescue his beloved wife from his nemesis, and they crash, and he doesn't save her. Because he is really hesitant about shooting even a very evil person who is about to kill his wife. But don't worry, you won't be upset about this poor lady getting shot in the head because there are no details and we never meet Alice or really learn anything about her, and her supposedly-brilliant-scientist husband doesn't have much more personality, either, he pretty much stumbles around being incoherent. Narbando, our villain, is even less explicable. Why does he hate our hero? Why do all the bad guys like vivisection? Why are hunchbacks so evil? We will never know, because the nemesis is hardly more present in the story than the dead wife. It pretty much is just St Ives -- oh, except that middle third of the book that is narrated by some other guy. Not the titular Lord Kelvin, he only has a walk-on. And there's a lot of staying in a bed-and-breakfast. Actually I think it was several inns, supposedly in different countries, but they all seem the same. And just when you think you are near the end of book, finally the time travel mentioned on the cover will happen. But by then you'll be sick of the bland characters and impossibly confused yet pointless events and not care.