Devon Monk’s “Dead Iron: The Age of Steam, Book 1”

Dead Iron by Devon Monk My rating: 3 of 5 stars Devon Monk’s Dead Iron: The Age of Steam is a mash-up urban fantasy-meets-steampunk-meets western. Set in a 19th century Oregon small town facing change as the rail comes closer, Dead Iron is a satisfactorily well-written but by-the-numbers example of how steampunk ought to be written. In Monk’s formulation, the veil between […]

Nicholson Baker, House Of Holes

Nicholson Baker writes three kinds of books: non-fiction, literary fiction, and porn. It’s odd that although he’s known for the phone-sex masterpiece Vox, the only thing I’d ever read by him was The Anthologist, a wonky first-person slow-moving story about a poetry writer and editor with a near-fatal case of writer’s block. It’s well-written and has a solid […]

Writing in the key of grey: James Salter’s “Dusk and other Stories”

I’ve been reading James Salter’s Dusk and Other Stories, a collection of short stories from Salter’s long career as a contributor to high contemporary fiction. This is literature of the “literature genre,” the genre which insists its not a genre at all, but the sine qua non of writing, as if they were artist of the […]

Review: Jeanette Winterson, The Stone Gods

So, I’ve finished reading The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson, and my reactions are mixed, to say the least.  My primary reaction was one of intense sadness: she really does believe that she’s braving new territory.  She is completely unaware that she’s hacking through a jungle right next to a long, well-trodden road and the […]

Review: Iain Banks Matter

After two long weeks of reading in fits and starts, I have finally finished Iain M. Banks’ latest SF novel, The Culture Novel Matter. And although it was unquestionably an excellent space opera novel with all the glorious wordplay, unbelievably vast and imaginative settings, and inevitable tightening of the plot screws that are the hallmarks […]

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