FF: Mythic Fiction

Roary Pokes His Nose in a Good Book

My reading this week is richly indebted to myth and folklore: Arabic, Biblical, Norse, Egyptian, and more.  Although The Valkyrie has become foundation material in its own right, as with the works by Powers, Wagner used mythic as a foundation for a story unique to his own vision.   

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.  And it’s also a great place to tell me what you’re reading. 

Recently Completed:

Declare by Tim Powers.  I’ve only read this one once, and I know a lot more now about the time period in which it is set.  The problem with secret history/alternate history as a form, is if you don’t know what’s being played with, you miss some of the fun.  This was good but had an atypically detached narrative voice that (based on a comment within the book itself) was clearly intended, but I don’t think served the material well.

In Progress:

The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers.  Audiobook.  I don’t usually read two books by the same author at the same time, but someone failed to return my print copy of this one, and finding that there was an audio was tempting.  One complaint.  Accents are important in this, as if voice pitch, and, while the reader is good, he rarely gets these right.

The Stress of Her Regard by Tim Powers.  The “secret history’ in this novel comes from a combination of events in the lives of several of the most prominent figures in English literature, including Byron, Shelley, Keats, and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.  Read this, and you’ll never read their poetry and fiction quite the same way…

The Valkyrie by Richard Wagner, translated and annotated by Frederick Paul Walter.  This new translation is lively and accessible.  Although I know the basic story, I found myself having trouble putting this down.  Illustrated both with modern line drawings and a host of archival material.

Also:

I’m debating whether or not to renew some magazine subscriptions…  I don’t seem to have time to catch up…

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