The Steep Approach to Linkadale

3 thoughts on “The Steep Approach to Linkadale

  1. Thr ‘Conversational Reading’ blog nails it, I think: Wood has coined this phrase ‘hysterical realism’ (which means, roughly, big sprawly postmodern novels) as the ne plus ultra of what is wrong with contemporary writing. He’s a Modernist at heart; he likes Mann and Proust and James and so on. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course. Postmodern fiction is too playful to engage his genuine sympathies as a reader, but not playful enough (or too stenuously done) to entertain him as a jeu d’espirit. De gustibus, I suppose. Personally I think he’s dead wrong; and this review shows him trying really really hard to avoid admitting that Against the Day is a stone cold masterpiece; he can’t admit that (although that’s clearly what the book is) because that would invalidate his general critical perspective.

  2. In his essay on Gene Wolf, Michael Swanwick writes “you should be aware that I have a long history of creating clever theories that turn out to be wrong, so take this one with a grain of salt.” Swanwick is writing about a particular theory of his about Wolfe’s writing, but he could just as easily be talking about his own fiction. It occurs to me that that “take this one with a grain of salt” attitude sums up a lot of the best modern sf, slipstream, new weird, interstitial, whatever you want to call it these days. Sf as the tall tale, with a wink to the reader.

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