FF: This Is It!

Roary Considers the Problem of Keeping Warm

Prioritizing holiday stuff and writing, back and forth as the demands of one take over from the other, hasn’t left as much time for writing as I’d like.  But I’m still writing!

For those of you unfamiliar with this column, the Friday Fragments lists what I’ve read over the past week.  Most of the time I don’t include details of either short fiction (unless part of a book-length collection) or magazines.  The Fragments are not meant to be a recommendation list.  If you’re interested in a not-at-all-inclusive recommendation list, you can look on my website under Neat Stuff.

Once again, this is not a book review column.  It’s just a list with, maybe, a bit of description or a few opinions tossed in.

Recently Completed:

The Affair of the Blood-Stained Egg Cosy by James Anderson.  Published in the mid-seventies, this is both an affectionate homage to the classic detective stories of the 1930’s, and a good yarn in its own right.

Prisoner’s Base by Rex Stout.  Audiobook.  One of Archie’s attempts to prod Nero out of his typical lethargy has unexpected consequences, and Archie ends up as the client.  A good story, although sadder than many.

In Progress:

The Wood Wife by Terri Windling.  A lovely book of mythic fantasy that is also a tale about the cost of inspiration.  Despite being firmly rooted in a specific time period and a specific setting, it does not seem in the least dated.

The Tower of Nero by Rick Riordan.  Audiobook.  Apollo and Meg return to Manhattan where their journeys began.  Possibly the oddest thing about this book is the repeated mentions that only six months have gone by since the first in this series.  These kids should have seriously PTSD with what they’ve been through.  And, perhaps they do.

Also:

Holiday prep and writing haven’t left me a lot of reading time, so other than glancing at a few magazine articles and often re-reading the same paragraphs over and over, this is it!

5 Responses to “FF: This Is It!”

  1. Beverly Martin Says:

    This week I finished By Heresies Distressed (Safehold #3) by David Weber. I am still enjoying the series. Now, on to book 4!

    I also read Christmas Cake Murder (Hannah Swensen #23) by Joanne Fluke. I enjoy this cozy mystery series and its recipes.

  2. James Mendur Says:

    “Despite being firmly rooted in a specific time period and a specific setting, it does not seem in the least dated.”

    That might be a topic for a wandering at some point. What is the difference between “rooted in its time” and “dated”? I have some ideas but I’m curious about your take.

    Recently completed:
    Last night, I finished “Script Doctor” – Andrew Cartmel’s half diary / half-memoir of his time as the script editor for the final years of Doctor Who’s original run in the late 80s. It’s an interesting, if a bit disjointed, look behind the curtain of the BBC and Doctor Who from 1986 to 1988.

    Also completed my re-read of “The Iron Druid Chronicles”. While enjoyable, I have a feeling this is going to seem dated in a few years (see above).

    Next? No idea. I have several options in my overly large tsundoku. I’ll pick whatever appeals to me at the moment I decide to read something.

    • janelindskold Says:

      Off the cuff… Dated: pop culture references; references to The Event Of The Moment; over-focused clothing references, especially brand names that aren’t likely to have legs. Cute jokes based on knowing any of the above and relating them back to your work for the sake of the joke. Less likely to seem stale: cultural icons; cultural concerns of a time period; major events; major historical figures. Note: writers of alternative history often deliberately play w/these to show the difference between “their version of history” and our consensual reality.

      • James Mendur Says:

        So … using those things as integral to plot can define the era but using those for jokes and one-offs and meaningless bits of setting do not, especially if you’re wrong about what will be remembered. Two examples:

        1. A 1980 movie has a guy with a job painting large copies of record album covers for the outside of record stores, who then opens a roller disco: “Xanadu.” These are so integral to the movie that the movie really is a snapshot of that era, like movies set on passenger ships crossing an ocean.

        2. In 1995, the Zima brand was a corporate sponsor of the TV show “Babylon 5” and, as a result, there are Zima signs in the background. And people read actual newspapers that they recycle to get the next day’s paper. In a show set in 2259. Dated.

        Do I have it?

      • janelindskold Says:

        I’m not familiar with either of your examples, so I can’t say. The recycling idea is clever and might express a society where there aren’t tablet computers but, yes, I’d say example two reflects the concerns of when the program was filmed. I love Riordan’s books, but I think his references to current pop music will date the books badly for kids twenty years from now. The references to older music, that has proven it has “legs” will not.

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