Posted in Fantasy

Cloud atlas, David Mitchell

David Mitchell (2004) The Cloud Atlas, Septre

 

 

Well, due to my Booker Read Marathon, I have not reviewed any books on this blog for quite some time.  But, this month I took a break from my Booker read, and, influenced by Jenny Colvin Reading Envy and my friends on the The Sword and Laser (goodreads) reading group,  I read this book.  I am glad that I did.

 

This book has several, seemingly unlinked or loosely linked, strands.  The segments of each strand are interspersed throughout the book.  The stories are subtly linked and the connections between the tales are uncovered throughout the work.  But, in many ways, they remain separate ‘artifacts’, retaining their own sense of uniqueness.

 

The first stream entitled “the Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing’, which reminded me of Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’ and Mieville’s ‘Moby Dick’, is the story of an explorer ‘Adam Ewing’ and  ‘Dr Henry Goose’ who meet on an island and join the crew of a ship.  You follow their journey, explore their relationships and find stories within this world.   While the second Stream ‘Letters from Zedelghem’ revolves around a failed musician/composer/human being who manages to wheedle his way into the household of a retired, hermit, composer.  Both of these are set in a Victorian world and they are written in an appropriate style.  They mirror the romantic style of the period.

 

The third strand ‘Half Lives; The first Louis Rey Mystery’ is the story of journalists, detectives, and scientists. It mirrors the writing of Noir  crime mysteries.  Once again, the writing mirrors the genres on which it is based.  But, I find this writing style irritating and therefore, for me, this was the weakest story within the work.

 

The fourth strand ‘The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish’  tells the story of a hack publisher who actually manages to publish a hit.  This strand was reminiscent of the works of Eighties/nineties authors such as Martim Amis (http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/11337.Martin_Amis) and Will Self http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13794.Will_Self .  It has a comic/farcical tone and plot. The characters, both Timothy Cavendish and other supporting players, are well drawn. The story works well as a stand alone story while contributing to the whole story arc.

 

The fifth ‘an Orison of Sonnit’, which is set in a futuristic world, centers on the experiences of a ‘soulless being’ who has been created to serve, as a sort of lifeless slave, in  a fast food restaurant   and soon learns that he can be greater than his programming.  The story portrays a chilling world in which; one sector of society has been created to serve another, in which one class oppresses the other and in which that oppression has been naturalised.

 

Another strand, ‘Sloosha’s crossin’ an’ Ev’rythin After’ involves a post apocalyptic world and an anthropologist who is visiting from another planet. This book is the hardest read.  This world has been destroyed and their civilization is very different from our own.  Their language mirrors this difference.  Words are continually abbreviated and the sentence structure differs from standard usage. But, it’s probably the most satisfying read of the book.  It raises some interesting points about civilization, identity, Cultural anthropology   and the stories that we tell ourselves in order to understand our world.

 

I liked some of the strands better than others. But, the writer seems to have  worked really hard to ensure that the language fits the setting.  I thought that the third strand was relatively weak and was tempted to skip the section. I really liked the futuristic strand ‘An Orison of Sonni’, finding that the central character was captivating.  I really liked his voice. I thought that the central ideas within this strand, i.e. Identity, and civilization were fascinating. I thought that the world, created within this strand, was chilling. I thought that the post apocalyptic strand ‘Sloosha’s Crossin’ An’ Everythin’ After’ worked really well and once again the issues addressed/the world created were fascinating and chilling.  I am not sure if this book works as a whole.  But, it is an interesting read.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

2012 Hugo Award Winners

Thanks to the Science Fiction Awards Watch » Blog Archive » 2012 Hugo Award Winners for this info.

 

(Winners will be published adjacent to their category title eg –  Best Novel (932 ballots) WINNER)

Currently (7 pm est) the nominees are:

Best Novel (932 ballots) Among Others
Among Others by Jo Walton (Tor)
A Dance With Dragons by George R. R. Martin (Bantam Spectra)
Deadline by Mira Grant (Orbit)
Embassytown by China Miéville (Macmillan / Del Rey)
Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey (Orbit)

Best Novella (473 ballots) The Man Who Bridged the Mist
Countdown by Mira Grant (Orbit)
“The Ice Owl” by Carolyn Ives Gilman (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, November/December 2011)
“Kiss Me Twice” by Mary Robinette Kowal (Asimov’s, June 2011)
“The Man Who Bridged the Mist” by Kij Johnson (Asimov’s, September/October 2011)
“The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary” by Ken Liu (Panverse 3)
Silently and Very Fast by Catherynne M. Valente (Clarkesworld / WSFA)

Best Novelette (499 ballots) Six Months, Three Days
“The Copenhagen Interpretation” by Paul Cornell (Asimov’s, July 2011)
“Fields of Gold” by Rachel Swirsky (Eclipse Four)
“Ray of Light” by Brad R. Torgersen (Analog, December 2011)
“Six Months, Three Days” by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor.com)
“What We Found” by Geoff Ryman (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, September/October 2011)

Best Short Story (593 ballots) The Paper Menagerie
“The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees” by E. Lily Yu (Clarkesworld, April 2011)
“The Homecoming” by Mike Resnick (Asimov’s, April/May 2011)
“Movement” by Nancy Fulda (Asimov’s, March 2011)
“The Paper Menagerie” by Ken Liu (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, March/April 2011)
“Shadow War of the Night Dragons: Book One: The Dead City: Prologue” by John Scalzi (Tor.com)

Best Related Work (461 ballots) The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Third Edition
The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Third Edition edited by John Clute, David Langford, Peter Nicholls, and Graham Sleight (Gollancz)
Jar Jar Binks Must Die… and Other Observations about Science Fiction Movies by Daniel M. Kimmel (Fantastic Books)
The Steampunk Bible: An Illustrated Guide to the World of Imaginary Airships, Corsets and Goggles, Mad Scientists, and Strange Literature by Jeff VanderMeer and S. J. Chambers (Abrams Image)
Wicked Girls by Seanan McGuire
Writing Excuses, Season 6 by Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler, and Jordan Sanderson

Best Graphic Story (339 ballots) Digger 
Digger by Ursula Vernon (Sofawolf Press)
Fables Vol 15: Rose Red by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham (Vertigo)
Locke & Key Volume 4, Keys to the Kingdom written by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez (IDW)
Schlock Mercenary: Force Multiplication written and illustrated by Howard Tayler, colors by Travis Walton (The Tayler Corporation)
The Unwritten (Volume 4): Leviathan created by Mike Carey and Peter Gross. Written by Mike Carey, illustrated by Peter Gross (Vertigo)

Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form) (592 ballots) Game of Thrones (Season 1)
Captain America: The First Avenger, screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephan McFeely, directed by Joe Johnston (Marvel)
Game of Thrones (Season 1), created by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss; written by David Benioff, D. B. Weiss, Bryan Cogman, Jane Espenson, and George R. R. Martin; directed by Brian Kirk, Daniel Minahan, Tim van Patten, and Alan Taylor (HBO)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, screenplay by Steve Kloves; directed by David Yates (Warner Bros.)
Hugo, screenplay by John Logan; directed by Martin Scorsese (Paramount)
Source Code, screenplay by Ben Ripley; directed by Duncan Jones (Vendome Pictures)

Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) (512 ballots) “The Doctor’s Wife”
“The Doctor’s Wife” (Doctor Who), written by Neil Gaiman; directed by Richard Clark (BBC Wales)
The Drink Tank‘s Hugo Acceptance Speech,” Christopher J Garcia and James Bacon (Renovation)
“The Girl Who Waited” (Doctor Who), written by Tom MacRae; directed by Nick Hurran (BBC Wales)
“A Good Man Goes to War” (Doctor Who), written by Steven Moffat; directed by Peter Hoar (BBC Wales)
“Remedial Chaos Theory” (Community), written by Dan Harmon and Chris McKenna; directed by Jeff Melman (NBC)

Best Editor – Short Form (512 ballots) Sheila Williams
John Joseph Adams
Neil Clarke
Stanley Schmidt
Jonathan Strahan
Sheila Williams

Best Editor – Long Form (358 ballots) Betsy Wollheim
Lou Anders
Liz Gorinsky
Anne Lesley Groell
Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Betsy Wollheim

Best Professional Artist (399 ballots) John Picacio
Dan dos Santos
Bob Eggleton
Michael Komarck
Stephan Martiniere
John Picacio

Best Semiprozine (357 ballots) Locus
Apex Magazine edited by Catherynne M. Valente, Lynne M. Thomas, and Jason Sizemore
Interzone edited by Andy Cox
Lightspeed edited by John Joseph Adams
Locus edited by Liza Groen Trombi, Kirsten Gong-Wong, et al.
New York Review of Science Fiction edited by David G. Hartwell, Kevin J. Maroney, Kris Dikeman, and Avram Grumer

Best Fanzine (322 ballots) SF Signal
Banana Wings edited by Claire Brialey and Mark Plummer
The Drink Tank edited by James Bacon and Christopher J Garcia
File 770 edited by Mike Glyer
Journey Planet edited by James Bacon, Christopher J Garcia, et al.
SF Signal edited by John DeNardo

Best Fan Writer (360 ballots) Jim C. Hines
James Bacon
Claire Brialey
Christopher J Garcia
Jim C. Hines
Steven H Silver

Best Fan Artist (216 ballots) Maurine Starkey
Brad W. Foster
Randall Munroe
Spring Schoenhuth
Maurine Starkey
Steve Stiles
Taral Wayne

Best Fancast (326 ballots) SF Squeecast
The Coode Street Podcast, Jonathan Strahan & Gary K. Wolfe
Galactic Suburbia Podcast, Alisa Krasnostein, Alex Pierce, and Tansy Rayner Roberts (presenters) and Andrew Finch (producer)
SF Signal Podcast, John DeNardo and JP Frantz, produced by Patrick Hester
SF Squeecast, Lynne M. Thomas, Seanan McGuire, Paul Cornell, Elizabeth Bear, and Catherynne M. Valente
StarShipSofa, Tony C. Smith

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (396 ballots) E. Lily Yu
Award for the best new professional science fiction or fantasy writer of 2010 or 2011, sponsored by Dell Magazines (not a Hugo Award).
Mur Lafferty
Stina Leicht
Karen Lord *
Brad R. Torgersen *
E. Lily Yu

 

There’s some good choices here. I am really happy that ‘amongst others’ won best novel.  I am also glad that Bettsy Wollheim won the ‘Best Long form editor’