August 28, 2021

From Gerald R. Lucas

Perfectly Pleasant covid-19: day 533 | US: GA | info | act

The journey continues. I updated my posting/reading of Shelley’s “Ozymandias” over the last couple of days. I only added one source, but it’s a good one. Thanks, Harold Bloom. This is such a moody poem, and I remember Brian Cranston reading it to advertise the last half of the last season of Breaking Bad. So good. It still gives me chills.

I’m almost finished with my current novel: Becky ChambersThe Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. I like it, but there’s just something off about it. It reads like a sit-com in space. Each chapter is an episode with a minor conflict that allows it to highlight and develop a particular character and ends with the issue resolved. The worldbuilding is not bad—it’s detailed, but feels perfunctory, even cheesy, at the same time. Maybe it’s too sanguine when I want/expect the cynicism of Tiptree or the bleak optimism of Butler? Maybe the novel’s too elliptical? Maybe there’s way too much detail for a multi-species novel of galactic travel that nothing seems as developed as it should be. Like I said: I’m enjoying it, but it just feels like sit-com sci-fi that has the production values of early Red Dwarf with half the wit. Maybe it’s trying too hard? Maybe the best comment is from James Lovegrove who writes (via the WP article linked above) that it’s

“Perfectly pleasant”: Yeah that seems about right. This is Chambers’ debut novel, and for a first, it’s quite an accomplishment, really. Maybe I should just shut up and finish it.