It Doesn't Have To Be Right…

… it just has to sound plausible

How Soon They Forget…


Eos, an imprint of HarperCollins, is running a competition with a first prize of every book published by them during 2009. Sadly, it’s open to US residents only. This post here on the Eos blog gives details, and also names some of the authors whose books the winner can expect to receive… including “…as well as debut novels SANDMAN SLIM by Richard Kadrey…”


Surely Kadrey’s debut was 1988’s Metrophage, probably the best of the cyberpunk novels?

Not to mention his second novel, Kamikaze L’Amour (1995), or his more recent Butcher Bird, published last year by Night Shade Books.

4 thoughts on “How Soon They Forget…

  1. It figures.I read Metrophage recently as an attempt to catch up on some of the unfamiliar “classics” through the medium of the cheap 2nd hand books at convention dealers’ tables.I couldn’t actually tell you if I finished it. I’m fairly sure I didn’t. I found it trite, shallow, stylised and empty, with cardboard-cutout characters posing and posturing through stark, empty scenes reminiscent of the empty stage sets of modernist theatre (a genre of which I am significantly unfond, if this were not apparent).I think it’s in the now-more-than-a-foot-high pile of unfinished novels on my nightstand, which I am strongly considering just banishing en masse to Bookmooch as unreadable trash. Life’s too short to work on finishing a book you’re not enjoying.As is ever-more-apparently typical, what you regard as an under-rated gem, I regard as an empty piece of stylistic puff with little or no real value.Let me try to recall some of the other unfinished bits of odium in that pile, most of which I tried because so many people recommended them to me…The Third Policeman, Flann O’Brien – very slightly amusing, but too random and hallucinatory to get involved in.The Night Mayor, Kim Newman – yes yes yes all right, we get the clever pastiche thing bringing in all the references. Where’s the meat? What? There isn’t any? You mean that’s it? Oh.The City Of Iron Fish, Simon Ings (read because I much enjoyed a previous Ings work, Headlong) – oh, gods, spare me another post-apocalyptic SF/fantasy high-mythic fable-style hybrid. Please.Metrophage, Richard Calder – I think I finished this. I wish I hadn’t. As I recall, I was stuck on a night bus and had nothing else. Profoundly icky. Clever if disgusting blend of sex and horror but nothing behind the impressive facade.More later. Maybe. You make me wonder if there’s mileage in, rather than yet another “books I’ve read” or “books I’ve really liked” or “recommended reading” list – because there are far too many – I ought to do the antithesis over on my LJ: “books I’ve really roundly despised”, “books I found unfinishable”, “books I wish I hadn’t finished”, “worst recommendations from friends”, stuff like that. :¬)

  2. I’ve no idea why our taste in books is so often diametrically opposed… because there are novels we both like a lot. KSR’s, for example.Of your “pile of odium”… never read any O’Brien, The Night Mayor I found forgettable, The City of the Iron Fish was nowhere near as good as Hothead or Headlong, and… what was the Calder one? Not Metrophage – that’s Kadrey. Was it Cythera?

  3. I don’t know either! It’s an interesting mystery.Inasmuch as any pattern can be discerned… Well, it seems to me that our tastes are fairly mutually opposed on what I consider to be style-driven or style-led writing. For instance, I’d call KSR a fairly style-free writer: his prose is quite bare, declarative and descriptive, not lyrical. C.f. that classic simile, “the elevator cable rose out of the socket like an elevator cable”. That’s up there with Spandau Ballet’s “Why is it so hard to write the next line?”So you might like The 3rd Policeman, for instance.Let me think… In terms of stylists, how do you rate Jack Vance? (One of my top favourites.) Or to come up with a few others, Sir Terry, Jack Womack, Connie Willis, Dan Simmons, A A Attanasio? I rate all of them hugely.Of the less artful, Vernor Vinge, Walter Jon Williams, Larry Niven, and the twin towering Gregs, Egan and Bear?At any event: Happy new year! I hope we meet more often and attend more cons and odd gigs.

  4. Let’s see… Pratchett: not a big fan; Willis: can’t stand her twee Christmas stories; Vance: excellent; Womack: meh; Simmons: very good; Attanasio: also very good.Favourites of mine include Banks, Crowley, Gentle, Frank Herbert, Gwyneth Jones, McLeod, Mann, Paul Park, Reynolds, Shepard, Shiner, Sterling, Ian Watson and John Varley.And definitely on the cons and gigs…

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