Sunday, March 13, 2005

Titan, Wizard, Demon

posted by Tim Walters @ 6:07 PM

I finished Carmen Dog on Friday. I still think Emshwiller is better at stories than novels, but that's praising with faint damns, since her stories are damn near perfect (and Small Beer Press, if you're listening, I hope a reprint of The Start of the End of It All will come soon). CD has a few perspective changes I found jarring, but other than that it's funny, deft, assuredly absurd, and absurdly assured. Highly recommended.

I had a very busy week, and when I came home Friday night I was fried to a crisp. Time for the three esses--space opera, space music, and scotch. Titan is still a highly enjoyable adventure, and the other two aren't as far below it as I remembered (especially Demon; here I may be influenced by Matt Austern's interpretation that it reflects Varley's tribulations with Hollywood). Satire isn't really Varley's forte, but I remembered Demon as being nearly unreadable, and that's not the case at all.

And I liked this bit of snark from the first few pages of Titan:
Few people gave a damn about the space program. They felt the money could be better spent on Earth, on Luna, and at the L5 colonies. Why pour money down the rat-hole of exploration when there was so much benefit to be derived from things that were established on a businesslike basis, like Earth-orbital manufacturing?
The space music was Grow by the Joint Intelligence Committee and One and Two by Touchxtone, all quite tasty and by folks I met at Different Skies 2004. The scotch was a 17-year-old Bowmore, quite tasty as well. Thanks, Chris!


At 4:32 AM, Blogger Todd T said...

Regrettably I was not too excited with TITAN, and never went on to the others. The world was certainly unique and alien, but the storyline didn't hold my attention enough - I often found myself wanting to skip 20 pages - and the characters irked me, although I didn't take notes and I can no longer tell you why.

Bowmore scotch, now, _that_ I would try the sequels for.

Not familiar with the music you mention. I only have a vague sense of what the term "space music" means. I remember playing Klaus Schulze a lot while playing TRAVELLER in college. Does that count?

At 9:22 PM, Blogger Tim Walters said...

Klaus Schulze's Timewind could serve as the type specimen for space music (the other obvious choice being Tangerine Dream's Rubycon). Space music shades into electronic new age on one side and experimental electronic music on the other, with the two above being pretty much dead center. It's great soundtrack music for reading SF.

Have you tried other Varley? The Ophiuchi Hotline (novel) and The Persistence Of Vision are both noticeably better than Titan.

At 8:45 AM, Blogger Todd T said...

Oh yes, I loved PERSISTENCE OF VISION and also BLUE CHAMPAGNE to a slightly lesser extent. STEEL BEACH is good, though not as thought-provoking as many of his short stories. THE BARBIE MURDERS was fun in a sort of Asimovian way: it uses a mystery that arises directly out of the speculative matter: on a world where everyone is an identical clone, how do you identify a murderer? (I'm using too many colons now, just to see how it feels: parentheses are a gateway punctuation). We have a copy of OPHIUCHI but I haven't gotten round to it yet. I think there are more novels that we do not yet have.

I notice now that all previous comments in a thread are visible while one composes. The original post is the only for which you need to click on a link. Odd, but serviceable enough.


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