2016 UPDATES & NEWS
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Due to zero feedback and a single-digit page view statistic, I am quite encouraged to continue this for another year. If you are unfortunate enough to stumble onto this page and want questionable information and further confusions, the page of last year's 2015 Updates can be found here .

I think life can be seen in 4 age stages: 1-20, 20-40, 40-60, 60-80. Each stage requires adjustment to glean its full benefit. A lot of us try to carry over attitudes and actions from one stage to the next, and it gets us in trouble. I am currently in the final stage. It is the only one that is expandable. Anyway, I'm hoping it is. And, believe me, the requirements are implicit. Diet. Exercise. Mental stimulation. The last one is no problem for me, because, as Carrie Fisher says, “My body is my brain bag, it hauls me around to those places and in front of faces where there's something to say or see.” It is the other two where I need an attitudinal adjustment, so I can continue to "haul" around. So, instead of mustering the required discipline, I tie myself up in that gunny sack called Denial. I don't really believe in the Heaven Hotel; it's probably a case of when you dead youse done, and I'm not willing to predetermine my future on a guess. What I do believe in, however, is that life's voyage is not linear but circular. It is my revelation of reality that all things cycle back instead of pushing forward into pre-conceived notions or unassigned territory. That is what makes life harmonious with balance and grace, and, if there's a way to enjoy life, it is being in harmony with it. There is so much you'll never know, never attend. That's okay; not all things are in your sphere. But becoming frustrated, hostile, angry with the way your body de-tunes or that the world has become too complicated to follow, is not a pro-survival response. Try denial instead, and do what I do. Revert. That's right. I'm far more in tune with my fantasy age of somewhere between 48 and 58 than what my chronological stamp says. What's amazing is the effect my retro attitude has on those other two essentials. Now I want to diet and exercise so I can keep up! Somewhere in my 70s, I hope to drop back into my 20s to 40s stage. That's pretty much the complete series of Californication. And, if I make it into my 80s, it's gonna be American Graffiti all the way. Just try and stay out of jail, okay? And, if you don't think the whole enchilada is circular, explain to me the difference between pre-procreation and post-expiration.

 

 

 

 

 

01/05/2016
Kealan Patrick Burke
Done
01/06/2016
Kealan Patrick Burke
Done
01/13/2016
Caitlin R. Kiernan
Shorted
01/22/2016
James Tiptree, Jr.

Done

01/25/2016
Nick Antosca
Done
01/30/2016

 

I have decided to bail the work of Lauren Beukes altogether. And—this is a first for me and I almost don't want to admit it—I am basing this firing on Goodreads.com reviews! I started The Shining Girls but didn't get past the opening scene of The Time Creeper setting up a little girl for future slaughter. I guess I've had my fill of homicidal insanity. And, I guess I just don't like the time travel devise all that well. Except maybe Hand's Mortal Love. Broken Monsters just became collateral damage. Both these novels seem to be more sophisticated than the cartoonish Zoo City, but their premises' stretch the boundaries of agreement just a little too far for me. Supernatural-based Horror has enough problems without being used as a gimmick inside a story of human butchery Horror. I mean, isn't there enough confusion when our folkloric fiends are turned to (anti-) heroes? Or, when cashing-in authors take public domain works like Austen's Pride and Prejudice and add zombies? Fuck. Show some respect. But, hey, there's an audience I guess, disenfranchised from the past as if it was a cancelled TV sit-com. I thought the past was what we studied to learn things, not bend it to our exploitational will. I know, it's not re-writing History. It's just make believe, right? And, while I'm soapboxing, what's this crap about us winning WWII, herr Goebbels?

 

02/02/2016
Paolo Bacigalupi
Done
 
02/08/2016
Patricia Ward
Shorted
 
02/15/2016
J. Robert Lennon
Done
 
03/01/2016

 

I've been reading novellas to pass the time while putting my photography show together. Ten images at the Steinway Gallery in Palomino Plaza along with three other photographers to be presented this month. Hope the show gets a better reception than these three nohellas did. The Night Cache by Andy Duncan, a story about a girl who falls for another girl named Destiny Creech, who is hooked on geocaching. It's a fun but light read of 42 pages. Then there was Terra Damnata by James Cooper. A heartfelt loss gets mixed up in a crime theme, but accelerant is: storyteller's daughter dies, rich stranger buys her corpse to put aside his dead son in their crypt, following an old traditional Chinese custom for afterlife happiness. Dad uses money to pay off gambling debts. But the bigger payoff needed, that of his guilt for not being there for his daughter and family is suicide by car crash. "He smiled; wished it well. This wretched earth"(p.74). The Architect by Brendan Connell blew off after a couple of pages because of flaunting prose. Opening paragraph: "Like pebbles cast into a gloomy mountain pond, ideas were tossed about and words rippled across the room. A pale and somewhat transcendental light came through white curtains . . .(p.3). And then there's The Stone Man by Luke Smitherd. A dyno storyline with a marble-like giant showing up on Earth and starting a straight path of devastation, crushing everything. No one/no thing can stop him. Our narrator gets the vibe from another dude and they bond to break this golem down. Gripping, but, being independently published, it lacks a professional eye to editing and is therefore overwritten to the point I found myself skipping whole paragraphs. The author's obvious enthusiasm is not en0ugh. Dead at 81/282.

 

03/15/2016
Charlie Jane Anders
Shorted
03/20/2016
Carolyn Ives Gilman
In Progress
 
         

Kauai

A week in Paradise on the dry side with our friends Art & Karen, Rudi & Sal + their 11-yr. old daughter, Onni. The Sheraton Resort and Kuhio Shores Condos put us up. Kanaloa blessed us with perfect weather. Between snorkling, Waimea shopping, and the northern Kalalau trail, I didn't get much reading done.

 

But I did finish The 37th Mandala by Marc Laidlaw, from 1996. I've decided to not do an extensive review on this very puzzling, complex, and definately off-the-wall book. It has a horror/mystery base involving the emergence and take-over of the Mandalas, which are beings/objects/crepuscular mind traps.

 

 

 
04/08/2016
Daryl Gregory
In Progress
 
04/17/2016
Glen Hirshberg
In Progress
04/30/2016
Lavie Tidhar
In Progress
05/06/2016
Fiona Barton
Done
 
05/07/2016
Thomas Pynchon
Done
 
         
     
  We have put our summer retreat to Missoula on hold, as our dog, Joey, is having a tough time of it. It all started about a week and a half ago when he threw up the most ungodly brown bile imaginable. It was Sunday. We took him to the animal hospital and they kept him overnight and did a barium/X-ray test.We got him back Monday night with no diagnosis, but a noticeable diminishing in the ability of food to leave the stomach and into the intestine. Back at our vets, an endoscopy was performed.The pylorus was inflamed and shut to a 2mm diameter.
 
05/08/2016
Sent to a different hospital—Veterinarian Specialists—for another endoscopy as prelim for surgery, it was discovered that the pylorus had slightly expanded—enough for a balloon technique to further open it to 10mm. That was Thursday, now it is Sunday. Joey is on his third day of diarrhea, supposedly due to the irritation of 3 endoscopies and the prescribed anesthesia. But he's coming around. Phew. Now let's just hope the fix holds. Btw, none of the doctors—and that's at least a half a dozen—have ever seen this condition before. And, I haven't seen a vet bill this size since Sparky's liver shunt of 2014. It was finally diagnosed as Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome with prednisone as the fix. Thanks everyone at Sunrise Pet Clinic for your followups and advice.
 
   

Isn't it about time for . . .

 

THE SUMMER READS

(thank God it's here; I was reading way too superficially. Now I have an excuse.)

Okay, so summer's off to a shakin' not stirred start. We're hangin' in Tucson on Joey's recovery. At least it's not as bad as Daniel Craig's Bond. He's the wrecking ball on the longest string of movies based on a single character in the history of cinema. But, really, how can he keep up when all his filmic peers are SuperHeros? It's a crime to see 007 so Americanized. Even Moore remained faithfully British. As Kamal Khan—villain of 1983's Octopussy—said, "Mr Bond is a very rare breed soon to be made extinct." And, it appears that time has occurred. Craig's miserable bosses' re-imagining of Bond as a younger, less sophisticated, and certainly without much urbane charm, is thankfully over. As a ladies man, Craig has the looks of a street-thug-bad-boy-heart-throb and never fit well in the Tom Ford suits he wore.(1) Bond's been hung upside down for the change in his pockets before—see Pierce Brosnan's inverted debut inside a Soviet bathroom stall—and it produced the best Bond film of the series—1995's Goldeneye. However, lightening rarely strikes twice; I see no reason to subject Bond to further electrocutions from corporate committee screenplay hacks. Even J.J. Abrams couldn't save this burnout. Let the embarrassment and pain stop. Bury James Bond so Ian Fleming can rest in peace.

1) " Unlike Connery's method of looking stronger, Craig's method is devoid of elegance and sophistication."--http://thesuitsofjamesbond.com/category/the-actors/daniel-craig/

 
         
05/16/2016
Peter Swanson
Done
 
05/24/2016
Will Elliott
In Progress
 
06/17/2016
Elizabeth Hand
In Progress
 
         
With the run to Missoula delayed by a month, the trip itself was amended to 6 days. I blasted up Arizona, making a bush camp above Page in the Escalante Staircase area around Lake Powell. Utah was a day of freeway buzzing, campgrounding it at the City of Rocks close to the Idaho border. I woke up to braying and—with my first cup of thermos coffee—I watched around 150 head of cattle move up the road and through my campsite. What a trip! Next was the Sawtooth Range for a couple of boondock camping spots, then Montana loomed as I followed the Salmon River north. The last night out was spent in a completely vacant campground—until a family of 5 squirted out of a mini-SUV and unrolled into the campsite right next to mine. It was not a great ending for a quick but glorious run through Nature's abundance and solitude. Alan and Carmen Brown from Santa Fe visited, but I missed them; however, Art and Karen from Tucson were waiting for me along with Terry and the puppers in Missoula, so great times were ahead. Sister Julie and Dave stopped by on their way to Yellowstone and we went hiking up the Rattlesnake.  
         
06/25/2016
Tana French
See Below
 
07/08/2016
Tana French
Done
 
         

4th of July wasn't exactly like the old Pine Lake fireworks wars. Subdued, but with its definite moments, like playing Cards Against Humanity and porking out on smores. Tol and Trey showed up over the weekend. Elle spent equal time with her cell phone. Liv delighted us all being her chatty self.

 

 
 
   

 

Me? Well, I'm still trying to figure out how to turn this family madness into a story. Especially since my impetus to write reviews is certainly lacking. The last 4 books all deserve raving, and, to be honest, I'll probably never get back to them. Summer's for reading not analyzing, right?

But then, there's Vorrh. As in The Vorrh, by B. Catling's debut novel, circa 2007-15, so far in style it's out of style. 75/500. Also, 2012's Penpal by Dathan Auerbach, which is childhood remembrances with a horror trope tagged on. I started skimming until page 125/238. Frantic for escape, I reached for my old standby: Science Fiction. Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee, an event from this year, was buried in babble. "Sometimes I think Visyas and I did too good a job designing formation instincts but the results can be adorable." A tame example of indecipherable prose or Futurespeak, signifying nothing other than more witless and meaningless plot entanglements ahead. 35/317

 

 
07/23/2016
Adam Roberts
In Progress
 
08/02/2016
Alexandra Oliva
Done
 
08/15/2016

 

Evensong by John Love, c. 2015, author of Faith: I just gave up on this one around page 193 of 335 pages. It's an imagined futureworld run by "Controllers" who employ a rare and enhanced group called "The Dead" They are chiefly Super Heroes with Super powers. Our hero, Anwar, is "modeled on the musculature of big cats"(p.89). The whole is political intrigue wedded with intelligent and enigmatic—but ultimately—comic book-like apotheoses. Readable, but, so what?

And, I thought I was ready for it. I really did. It was blustered as "a mix of satire, thriller, and serious literary work"(cover flap), and even had vanity blurbs on the cover from Stephen King & Margaret Atwood. 2015's The Blondes by Emily Schultz. The writing seemed stilted, and not about things I wanted to know. Pace-wise, it rolled out slow while our heroine Hazel talks to her bun in the oven, and, yes, she rambles on as if it's a throwaway. The apocalypse here is a bad hair day, as all female blondes—both natural and bottled—attack 'cause they got a virus in the iris. I finally just got tired and started thinking about all the other books on my "to read" list around page 160 out of 384.

 

 
08/17/2016
Blake Crouch
Done
 
09/01/2016
Ali Shaw
In Progress
 
10/05/2016

Reading-wise, I came home with the same book I started with, Bull Mountain by Brian Panowich from 2015. It's a Southern Gothic procedrual where the hill people have tossed the 'shine and are pushing more lucrative addictions like meth and speed. With generations of management,

The trip back down to Tucson took 13 days & put 3,000 miles on Yote. It was a marvelous ride, filled with serendipities & solitude, highlighted by 4 days in the Toketee campground just north of Crater Lake in the Cascades, and a wild run at Death Valley, camping on a windswept ridge 8,100 feet in altitude. With a start in late September, I saw plenty of fall color, but not too many animals except deer, squirrels, mooers. The Hell's Canyon area is gonna need sum more explorin'.

 
 

the Burroughs clan run a tight shotgun dictatorship, the only exception being brother Clayton who opted for the tin star of sheriff and the fuming hatred of his surviving brothers. Clayton is also our protagonist. The key factor—as always—is loyality to the family, and Bull Mountain does a very readable version of this gettin'-to-be, scuffed-up literary roadway.

The Fall reading list keeps doing just that: falling. I tried John Langan's House of Windows from 2009, a sluggish ghost story—in a kinda Jamesian way—but just too much rigormortis in the pages. Dead at 65/260. Then there was the astoundingly-awarded Ancillary Trilogy by Ann Leckie, of which I pounced on the first one, Ancillary Justice of 2013. I couldn't figure why my motor started missing then died on this one, but I assumed it was just non-sparked by Science Fiction right now, so I fell back to Horror with Adam Nevill's Lost Girl of 2015, although I suspect from the stilted prose style this is an earlier work written but not published until Nevill was on every ghoul's nightstand. We'll see . . . Well, my next reading session saw purple: the police had not come for him [Bowles]. He'd expected their swift arrival, preceded by distant but encroaching sirens: the ancient song that trilled the blood's memory and alarmed ne'er-do-wells into fights and flights. Or, Bowles's neighbour who had dared to brave all odds by bringing children into an old world down on its knees in the heat, and adrift upon its back in the floods, had quickly retreated through the back door of his home, struck dumb with fear and disgust at what he'd seen over the garden fence: the bush-hatted puker, the stumble-wreck killer, tripping his way to bustle through the fence's rotted planks like an animal affrighted in a pen. Sounds pretty much like college freshman English to me. But I won't give up on Adam Nevill, just this book: dead at 78/437.

Rawblood by Catriona Ward from 2015 is also down. The writing is just too dull—or I am—'cause everytime I pick up the book, I am with strangers. 101/352.

 

 
10/10/2016
Tim Lebbon
Done
 
10/25/2016
Michael Aronovitz
Done
 
11/12/2016
Lucius Shepard
Done
 
11/26/2016
Anne Billson
Done
 
12/15/2016
Dennis Etchison
In Progress
 
12/20/2016
Lily Brooks-Dalton
In Progress
 

 

 

 

 

GOODBYE 2016

 

And while we're into the Reaper's work, I'd like to pay homage to 5 of my favorite artists who died this year:

Katherine Dunn (1945-2016)

Umberto Eco (1932-2016)

David G. Hartwell (1941-2016)

Jim Harrison (1937-2016)

Richard Adams (1920-2016)

 

No more from you great storytellers is a grievous loss, but what you left in the dirt for all of us is your immortality unquestioned. Thanks, guys & gals, for your heart. You will be missed.

 

I read less this year—about 35 books, probably. My literary interests remained about the same while splitting up the genres. I think 2016 will be looked back upon as the Year of the Overwhelm. I seem to be surrounded by too much of everything, except funding. I own 4 cars. I have 12 cameras. There are 5 computers in my house sucking bandwidth. I oil my 1 gun every 12 months. My 1 wife feeds 2 dogs. I oversee 2 live-in houses and 3 rentals. I manage 17 bank accounts. Personal possessions are outrageously abundant and need to be curtailed, especially books. The library has over 3500 entries. That's an increase of 300 books in the last two years. Even if I stopped buying, I would not have the time to read what I own. So, I shrug my shoulders and say, "and this is a problem? I should feel fortunate to have such trouble!" My take-to-giving ratio is so far out of balance I'll never see "null" again. I am aware of atonement, just not strong enough to initiate equivalence before my time arrives.

My summer trips yielded an abundance of images. Again, I've gotten ahead of myself in the Silver Links Repository and am filling out 2017 already!

 

 

But before we get to the major awards, a new recognition has been set forth:

 

THE CRAWFORD CONFERRALS

(a simple salute for simple-minded readers like myself)

 

Best read novel of the Year: The Water Knife

Best read surprise of the Year: Good Morning, Midnight

 

This year's Honored Mentionables:

The Widow

(rising just enough above its "bestseller blockbuster" hype)

The Last One

(do "Reality Shows" make, alter, or disguise reality?)

 

 

A discovered live Author of the Year: Carolyn Ives Gilman

Another discovered live Author of the Year: Jonathan Aycliffe aka Daniel Easterman aka Denis M. MacEoin

 

Summarizing 2016 with regards to fantasist literature is probably best illustrated by the major award winners for best novel. None of which I have read at this time.

The Nebula was won by Naomi Novik for Uprooted.

The Hugo was won by  N. K. Jemisin for The Fifth Season

The World Fantasy Award was won by Anna Smaill for The Chimes

The International Horror Guild Award was discontinued in 2008, but we still have the Stoker, which was staked out by Paul Tremblay for A Head Full of Ghosts, and Nicole Cushing for Mr. Suicide, for 1st Novel Award.

Across the pond, The British Fantasy award now splits in two for the novel category, with Rawblood, by Catriona Ward winning the August Derleth (horror) award and Uprooted, by Naomi Novik taking the Robert Holdstock (fantasy) award. The House of Shattered Wings, Aliette de Bodard broke the summit stick over her knee for the British Science Fiction award while also snapping Three Cups of Brief, by Starlight into a winning, short story crampon. The Arthur C. Clarke award went to Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky .

The John W. Campbell crown fell on Radiomen, by Eleanor Lerman. PBOs were distinguished with a win to Ramez Naam for Apex to wrap up the Philip K. Dick Award, with special citation to Archangel,  Marguerite Reed. The James Tiptree Jr. award saw another tie, this time between Pat Schmatz for Lizard Radio and Eugene Fischer for The New Mother.  Okay, there's also the Shirley Jackson Award which went to Experimental Film by Gemma Files, this year's novel choice, with the half-novel (Novella) to Wylding Hall, by Elizabeth Hand.

And lastly, The Locus Awards passed out plaques for Best SciFi Novel to Ann Leckie's Ancillary Mercy , Best Fantasy Novel to Uprooted by Naomi Novik, and Best 1st Novel to The Grace of Kings, by Ken Liu. The Novella was tossed to Alastair Reynolds for Slow Bullets.

Congrats to Ms. Novik for putting 3 awards on her mantel this year.  

 

 

HELLO TO 2017 !!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© copyright 2010 by Larry Crawford

updated 01/02/2014