Monday, November 20, 2006


Maybe I should never have started on Robin Hobb. I know that hence, every book she writes, I will buy. (Except the latest trilogy, for reasons I shall not deign to explain.). Ship of Magic is heady stuff. Especially given the nautical theme, which I thought I might not have gotten into.

Well, anyway. My prospectus for the rest of the holidays:

Excession Iain M Banks
The Warrior Prophet R Scott Bakker
The Mad Ship, Ship of Destiny Robin Hobb
Lies of Locke Lamora Scott Lynch
Spin Robert Charles Wilson

The Farseer and Tawny Man trilogies, well, I'll leave that for later. Much later.

What makes a book good, anyway? There are different answers for different types of readers. There are those who read for enjoyment. There are others who read for knowledge, or cartharsis, or obligation, or for the sake of emulation. A book must have conflict, a raison d'etre for existence. It must have an artistic purpose; whether to express a philosophy, or construct a mythos, or even for the sake of pure entertainment itself. Literature is to be appreciated, and to a lesser degree, critiqued. With introspection of a text comes greater understanding of its agenda, but removes some of its sheen. To analyse too much is to strip away the suspension of disbelief. To provoke literary appreciation of its artistic merits one must reject appreciation of story and world. Sometimes the best way to enjoy literature is to sit down and be carried where the author wishes to take you, to take a passive role in the unfolding of craft and story. To scrutinize in terms of happening, and not the voice of the author speaking in between the lines. Of course, literary analysis is necessary and is part of the author's agenda, but it is usually a secondary one, especially when it comes to speculative fiction. Literature is a canvas, and while we may appreciate the form and function, we are first and foremost admirers of shape and colour, of the apparent, of the simple and the obvious. And that's why I prefer realist art.

I may start another story blog. It shall be inspired by EVE Online. It shall detail the life of a gallivanting ship pilot as he tours a strife ridden galaxy. If there is time, that is.

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