The Story and the Truth

Reviewing Pains

In Books, science fiction on April 26, 2010 at 9:50 am

My review of this year’s Arthur C Clarke Award shortlist begins at Strange Horizons today. The second and concluding part, in which I pick my preferred winner, will go online on Wednesday.

Even more difficult than that decision, was the one – made in today’s installment – to exclude Adam Roberts’s Yellow Blue Tibia from the running. I enjoyed it greatly and think highly of it and its author – and start his new novel this week with more excitement than I have for the next work of any of the other shortlisted authors. But I have a kink for unity – not, naturally, the same thing as completeness – and, well … go read the review.

And on Wednesday, Part Two will make things ever clearer. He says.

  1. V. interesting piece.

    You’re quite right to exclude me if ‘unity’ is your criterion. I have a deeprooted suspicion of unity (it’s not, I agree, the same thing as completeness), which seems to me — increasingly, as I get older — oppressive and pernicious in almost all its incarnations.

  2. The thing is, Adam, part of me suspects you’re right – and that you should add ‘dishonest’ to that list of adjectives. But the kink remains: what struck me reading the shortlist was how well, or not, each novel supported itself, or spread its weight evenly across its various surfaces. I’m still not sure I’m right about YBT – of the six novels, it is the one which most troubles my final reading of the shortlist.

    Anyway. As I promise Mr Hubble in the comments to Review Part The First, more thoughts along these lines in tomorrow’s installment. Thanks for reading so far…

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