Of Clear Waters & Shrieks

Hey, folks.  I’ve been on vacation.  Visited some places in California, like Catalina Island–which has some amazingly clear water, much to my surprise, given the rather greyish stuff sopping every other (mainland) Californian beach I’ve ever visited.  Along with visits to Knott’s Berry Farm and Universal Studios–both of which had refreshingly short wait times for attractions…it was really nice.

With that said…

Well, I obviously didn’t get any editing done. -__- (Besides, I went with my family and they would not tolerate laptops on what was supposed to be a “relaxing retreat.”)

In other news…

I am back out job-hunting and whatnot, again.  Fun stuff! (Not.)  Also, I (finally!) finished reading a novel I’ve been revisiting on and off for the longest time now, Shriek: An Afterword by Jeff VanderMeer.  As I’ve come to expect from him, it’s quite strange in content though the format in which he tells the story is unusual, as well.  A woman named Janice Shriek bittersweet-ly reflects on her and her brother Duncan’s life in the fantastical city of Ambergris, a place which apparently is periodically attacked with fungal infestations and violence employed by an underground race of shroom-people known as the gray caps.

Tell me that doesn’t sound the least bit interesting.

The format of the story didn’t really grab my attention at first.  Actually, I thought it was kinda boring during the first half.  It wasn’t really until about 5/8 into the tale that I felt things really started to pick up–and perhaps that’s because that’s when the really weird fantasy elements came into full effect (the stuff I was actually looking forward to).

In any case, Shriek is not VanderMeer’s first story set in this city, as I understand (the collection City of Saints and Madmen came before), and for some strange reason I actually started with the last book, Finch, which I liked better in comparison.  Still, it was an interesting read.

A little disturbing in parts, to be sure (certainly not a book for the kiddos out there), but interesting nevertheless.

Other than that…not much else has been going on, I’m afraid. :/

Read Any Interesting Books Lately?

Any worth recommending?  I mean, my “To Be Read” list is already ridiculously long as it is, but I’ve got the rest of my life to read all this stuff, ya know?  (However long that may be…)


11 thoughts on “Of Clear Waters & Shrieks

  1. I wish I had more to add, but I haven’t read much lately fiction wise. Hooked by Les Edgerton was a good book on beginning a story/novel, though. Beginnings are the worst for me 😉


  2. It’s been a long, long, long time since I’ve been to Catalina. Less long since I last visited Knott’s. I’ve never been to Universal Studios. The books I’ve read lately are not exactly breaking news, anymore: The Hunger Games, Elantris, and I’m currently making my way through The Name of the Wind.


    • Oh, Universal is great fun! The little guy at home might enjoy it when he gets a bit older. 🙂

      Ya know, I had started a free trial with Audible and listened to about half of Elantris. I would have finished it, but…I wasn’t up for paying a monthly fee and it’s much cheaper to just buy a used copy anyway. So maybe I’ll just buy the novel sometime and finish reading it, heh, ’cause it was pretty interesting.

      I’ve also got The Name of the Wind on my list–in fact it’s sitting in my nightstand. But holy moly, that is a ginormous book…


  3. I’ve never been to any of those places. 🙂

    I’m reading Against the Day by Thomas Pynchon. It’s 1,000+ pages long, but that’s no problem on the Kindle. 🙂 I’m only 2% into it (according to my Kindle), so it’s too early to tell if I want to recommend it.

    Before that, I read three of the John Carter novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs.


    • I’ve never heard of that first one before! I’ll have to look into it.

      John Carter, as in John Carter of Mars? I’ve only seen the movie–which, actually, I thought was pretty funny. “Virginia!”

      Are the novels any good?


      • If you’ve never read Pynchon, that’s not the one I’d recomment to start with. Inherent Vice (if you want a shorter one) or Mason & Dixon, if you want to start with the best (IMHO, though Inherent Vice is pretty terrific, too).

        Yes, I was reading the Buroughs novels (though not the one the movie was based on). They’re early 20th century pulp novels, so they’re pretty simplistic, but definiltely exciting. Lots of manly men, and Martian Princesses who pretty much constantly require rescuing (I gather Dejah Thoris was changed a bit in the movie, which I want to see). Some of the later books in the series go in some unexpected directions (within the overall framework of princess-rescuing).


      • I just watched the movie, and it’s pretty true to the Burroughs style, except for the scientist/warrior version of Dejah Thoris, and the general de-emphasis of “Southern chivalry” and related aspects of nostslgia for the Confederacy (Burroughs liked a good slave uprising, when he thought the cause was just, but the Martians have slaves and he was obviously okay with the institution in general).


        • Heh, I can see why they’d play down the Confederacy nostalgia. And I liked Dejah. She was all right by me. 🙂

          Thanks for the recommendations!


  4. I was wondering where you were.

    I’m currently reading Chung Kuo. If you put Dune, Blade Runner, and Shogun together in a blender, that’s what you got. It’s pretty amazing.


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