Thursday, 31 January 2013

My Reading Year 2013 Part Two: Science Fiction is Dead

This year I read just 16 books of prose. It’s a pretty disappointing number; well down on my usual efforts. I think the most books I’ve read in a year is 32, so it’s half of that, but I generally manage about 25. I haven’t had much time for writing, either. I’ve written no fiction but I did write four reviews, which I suppose is more than in either of the last couple of years.

As mentioned in part 1, it’s mostly because of my new job and the house move: if didn’t do as much reading or writing as I’d have liked, it’s because I was busily occupied on the business of getting on with life and moving on. But because I was distracted, my reading felt a bit random and purposeless this year.

I finished off my series on Necronomicon: The Best Weird Fiction of H P Lovecraft, and gradually lost interest in the early 20th century popular gothic. Instead I got a dose of the real thing. when I found a copy of The Great Beast: The Life and Magic of Aleister Crowley by John Symonds in the basement of my new house. I read a bit of fantasy including the low fantasy novel Bringing Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel while watching the alt-historical drama A Game of Thrones on DVD, and then read World Fantasy Award winner Osama by Lavie Tidhar.

Late in the year, this now infamous review by Paul Kincaid made me ponder my own relationship to the genre because I don’t read a lot of prose SF and fantasy in comparison to my younger days and I’ve been wondering why that might be. While I’ve only just begun to investigate the question, starting with my series on Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot, the early diagnosis isn’t encouraging. As far as I can tell, science fiction is dead.

NOTE: This is really long, maybe my longest post yet. You have been warned. 

Thursday, 24 January 2013

My Reading Year 2013 Part One: The Year I Stopped Reading Comics

No more of this!
And so another busy year hurries into the past without even having the good manners to kiss us goodbye. This one has been busier than usual for me and so has seemed to pass quicker than ever. I’ve moved house and been busy with renovations, and had my first year in a new job. These haven’t left a lot of time for some of my usual pursuits but I’ve had a lot of fun and discovered a whole new talent for painting and decorating.

In amongst it all I’ve still found room for reading and blogging from time to time. I finished off my H P Lovecraft series and wrote series on MarvelEssential Warlock and I, Robot. I wrote a few reviews and read a few reviews elsewhere on blogs and review sites here and there on the internet. It all made me wonder where the genre was heading and while I’m not sure if I read widely enough any more to be entitled to an opinion on the matter, when I started thinking about it I couldn’t help but come to the conclusion that science fiction is dead.

But that’s all coming next week!

This got quite long, so I’ve decided to split it in two, one part on comics and one on prose. This is the part about comics. I’m going to talk about 80s Marvel vs DC, a new take on Ghost Rider, and how The Invisibles and Ex Machina showed me the benefits of reading comics in trade paperback and convinced me to give up pamphlets.

If any of these topics are of interest to you, read on!

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Happy Birthday, David (2013) - Where Are We Now?

I look through the window and what do I see? Holy cow, a new David Bowie single! I'm sure I'm just one of an army of bloggers embedding this one today.

It sounds a bit sad to me.

It doesn't have the immediate 'holy shit!' of something like Suffragette City or Heroes, but it's pleasingly mellow. Is it good or bad? I think Bowie's a bit beyond good and bad. A new song after 10 years from such an iconic artist becomes part of a narrative that eclipses questions or good or bad.

That's the down side of being an icon.