081) Saint Cole by Noah Van Sciver, finished August 20
Noah Van Sciver is doing remarkable work right now. This story about a midtwenties screw-up derailing his life with every choice he makes is heartbreaking. Joe's not a bad guy. He's just not equipped to make good choices, and his burgeoning awareness that he's an alcoholic isn't helping.
You know when you're in an awful moment of your life, so bad the thought that hey---if only a truck would kill my boss, things would work out for me seems totally reasonable? Joe's deep into that realm. And he gets his wish. And for a moment we think, hey! yeah! That solves his problem! And then we remember...all his other problems. His deus ex machina might solve as many as two of his problems. It might make that many more. And one thing's for sure: it won't take the booze away.
The title is a fascinating choice. It reveals that the entire world we see isn't some omniscient narrator, but Joe's consciouness's filter. It starts and ends us with a sense of the holy---of pending deus---but is really no more than a cheap gag.
Where does this leave us?
With ambiguity. Life too real to be embraced. Art too powerful to be ignored.
One last comment: On one page, Van Sciver abandons the gutters and just rams the frames together, a sign of Joe's instability more subtle but just as effective as the wobbly thoughtboxes or concentric dark circles. The experimentation level is high, but it's kept entirely under control. Man knows what he's doing.
080) That A Guise, John? by Brace Pannier, finished August 19
Screenplay. MS POLICY enacted.evening
079) A Blink of the Screen by Terry Pratchett, finished DATE
less than a month
Don't get me wrong. The stuff he wrote when he was a teenager was precocious---on the par with the best student stuff of my career. But still only really worth reading from a scholarly perspective.
That his short stuff is good but not as great as his long work is true. And I suppose that's why it's not surprising that the best work in this collection is the longest: a 48-page Granny Weatherwax story.
That said, as I read on, I stopped skimming the occasional paragraph and just read the whole thing. No one made me. I was simply enjoying it.
(Final note: As a Pratchett fan, interesting to see the primordial versions of Truckers or The Long Earth.)
078) Revival Volume Four: Escape to Wisconsin by Tim Seely and Mike Norton, finished August 16
Starting in the middle is unnecessary in this day and age, but I picked this up from the library's NEW shelf and hey, why not? So I don't have a clear sense of everything that's going on, but basically: the recently dead arose and are now immortal---but only in one small Wisconsin town, and naturally everyone (worldwide) is a mix of freaked out and jealous. Add noir, add sex and violence---it all makes for a nice package. (The kid, however, is written terribly.)over two weeks
Previously in 2014 . . . . :