Time to Sleep – Day 16 NaBloPoMo 2017

Well, that was a ride and a half!

I’ve just submitted an 1800 word short story and 500 word exegesis for my Speculative Fiction assignment and I feel like I could sleep for a week. Unfortunately, there isn’t time for that!

Tomorrow (Friday here in the southern hemisphere) is the day I get to play music with The Superstars at Oak Tasmania, and we’re deep into preparation for a private function we’re performing at next weekend. These men and women are simply fantastic and I’m truly blessed to be able to write and perform with them ā¤

Maybe I’ll be able to post some photos next week of our performance – I always love action shots šŸ™‚

Meanwhile, there’s lots of gardening that needs doing over the weekend, a jam session at a friend’s place to go to and lots of new movies to see. I’m particularly keen to check out the Kenneth BranaghĀ Murder on the Orient Express, Killing of a Sacred Deer, Loving VincentĀ andĀ Jungle.Ā Let me know if you’ve seen any of these films, I always like to hear other people’s opinions šŸ™‚

I’ll leave you with a wonderful discovery I made in the greenhouse yesterday – the first Rocoto chilli flower for the season ā¤

A Sunday Sidestep – Day 12 NaBloPoMo 2017

I’m coming down to the pointy end of another unit of online study, so this is going to be a brief blog post today.

This unit has concentrated on genre fiction, specifically Gothic and speculative fiction and despite being behind now with weekly work, I’ve really enjoyed it enormously. Starting with Le Fanu’sĀ CarmillaĀ (1872) we moved on to Charlaine Harris’Ā Dead Until DarkĀ (2001) for a taste of contemporary American Gothic. (I honestly found it an intensely disappointing experience.)

Leaving vampire fiction, we moved on to speculative works and Jean Rhys’ stunning post-colonialĀ Wide Sargasso SeaĀ (1966), one of my favourite novels. The thread of our study, looking at how Gothic fiction was melded into more speculative themes reminded me of that other retelling of the Jane Eyre story,Ā Wild IslandĀ (2016) by Jennifer Livett, which was just as good to read the second time around.

Then, the course came to Margaret Atwood’s brilliant and disturbingĀ The Handmaid’s TaleĀ (1985) and I confess I spent way too long re-reading it and watching the recent television series. But Atwood’s prose is wonderful and I find this book inspires me both as a writer and as a feminist.

Now, in the final weeks, as I’m writing my own piece of speculative fiction, we are reading and discussing Paolo Bacigalupi’s short story “Pump Six” fromĀ Pump Six and Other StoriesĀ (2008).Ā The main threads ofĀ  Bacigalupi’s fiction are speculations on the future of humankind, based on many current and often divisive environmental and socio-political concerns. He paints a realistically grim picture of the future which I’ve found stays in my mind long after I’ve read it.Ā I’ve started but never finished his novelĀ The Windup GirlĀ (2009) and I wonder if subconsciously found it too scary. But I plan to go back and read it as soon as I’m able.

So, the rest of today I’m playing catch up with academic readings and responses, trying to add a little more to my own fiction and scoping out an accompanying exegesis. For the most part it’s been a really wonderful few months living with these works and I’d recommend all of them to you – except for the Charlaine Harris – but at least I know and can articulate why I don’t like that kind of fiction.

What do you like to read? I love to hear your thoughts and recommendations so please leave me a comment below. Take care everyone and see you tomorrow šŸ˜€

The Tourist by Robert Dickinson – a Book Review

 

This is an extended version of a review I posted on GoodreadsĀ this morning.

I purchased my copy (trade paperback) from Cracked and Spineless New & Used Books in Hobart a couple of months ago but only just got around to reading it. But that’s what the summer break is for isn’t it? Catching up on reading!Ā šŸ˜€

Have you read this book? If so, I’m interested to hear what you thought too.Ā 

 

The TouristThe Tourist by Robert Dickinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Tourist isn’t an easy book to review but it isn’t an easy book in any way, shape or form. It requires the reader to commit, pay attention and hold multiple story threads while offering a dark outlook on the future (and near future) of the human race.

And I loved it!

While this novel has sharply divided people, I really wonder what the naysayers expected with something that is clearly promoted as speculative fiction involving time travel. I can especially understand the comparisons to books like David Mitchell’sĀ Cloud AtlasĀ but I think The TouristĀ is actually easier in some respects and in many ways, far darker. As a fan of speculative and science fiction, I wasn’t put off by the time travel aspects but this is a really good thriller as well. I found myself swept along and quite invested in Spens’ story in particular very quickly.

Be warned however, this isn’t a cheerful reading experience and can be quite bleak, but Dickinson’s writing is really very good and that’s what carried me through. It isn’t the best book of 2016 but it is better than many. The ending is a little messy and feels rushed but I wonder if that was intentional, as the lines converge.

Linear storytelling is great, but sometimes I yearn for something that demands more of me than just my time and the suspension of my scepticism and disbelief.Ā The TouristĀ offers that in large doses and I found it a very immersive and well crafted ride.

View all my reviews