Phil wrote to tell me his own tale of flammable living, which also happily ended well, and while he was at it he pointed out that according to my sidebar, I’d been reading American Gods for quite a long time now. Well, of course, he’s right to be knowing and mildly sarcastic in such an assertion – I’m a slow reader, but not that slow. Since American Gods I’ve enjoyed Schismatrix, and the His Dark Materials trilogy, and I’m currently in the very early throes of what looks like being a passionate affair with The Moor’s Last Sigh.
Schismatrix was excellent – suitably grand and epic in its sweep, and I think it’s always a Good Thing for me, an avowed Arthur C Clarke fan, to read a solar-system spacefaring sci-fi novel in which everything isn’t just fine and dandy, and in which politics is as important, if not more so, than science. Maybe it’s just a side effect of growing up and becoming cynical, but I get a kick from that these days.
I also really enjoyed His Dark Materials, but not, perhaps, as much as I thought I was going to. I think I’d over-hyped it in my own mind, and of course it is a children’s book ultimately, and as sophisticated as it is, and as readable by adults too, it was still a bit simplistic, compared to what I was hoping for/anticipating. I realise that this is entirely my own fault for having that expectation, and I don’t mean to detract from Mr Pullman’s achievement with the books, which really are very good indeed, but there it is. Still, I look forward to the days when my children read them, and we can have deep discussions about challenges to authority, and then they can steal the car keys and go shoplift some alcohol. Bless ‘em.
And as for The Moor’s Last Sigh, well, I’ve hardly started it, maybe twenty pages in, but it’s got me captivated. A little slower than The Satanic Verses, which had me in its grip from the very first paragraph, but impressive nonetheless. I am settling down for a long, slow, sumptuous, treat.