A Tossed Salad of Replies...

Dorian E. Gray israfel at eircom.net
Tue Dec 7 16:44:35 EST 2004


...because I've been off-line since Thursday!

(Why *does* this list wait until I'm away for a few days before getting 
busy?)

Okay, for firsts...

Welcome to our newbie.  ::waves across the Atlantic at Mark::

> I notice many of you use "handles", rather than your real names, e.g.,
> Dorian E. Gray.  Is this something I should imitate?

I restrain my Hard Stare because you are new here. :-)  But this is the name 
I go by in all situations other than those that involve tax, passports, and 
other tiresome official-type things, at least until I get off my arse and do 
the deed-poll thing.  I will admit that it did start (some 17 years ago) as 
a handle, but it moved into "real life" and stuck.  The E, by the way, 
stands for Elizabeth, and I am female (and Irish).

Moving on to the book that (apparently) dare not speak its name...

Roger posted a link to a fairly hilarious critique of said book (and other 
people burbled too).

I have to admit that I have been wanting to read said book for a while. 
Not, I hasten to add, out of any delusion that it may be in any way a good 
book.  More out of that train-crash type of fascination.  What I've heard 
about it so far leads me to believe that (a) it is spectacularly badly 
written - and I like reading badly-written books sometimes, just to see if 
the authors have managed to miss any writing mistakes that they *could* have 
made; and (b) its plot is apparently a rehash of "The Holy Blood and the 
Holy Grail" - a book which amused me mightily (and was at least competently 
written).  I do not, however, wish to spend any money on this book, so must 
find someone who can lend me a copy.

Paul added to the controversy...

> I read it because of a talk Tim Powers did on writing secret histories
> at Swancon this year[1], where he said that one of the signs of a bad
> secret history is a notice at the front saying "This is all true"

...and this reminded me of Mary Gentle's "Ash: A Secret History".  But that 
book does not state outright "this is all true"; it simply gives notes and 
attachments and editorial bits that *sound* as if they are genuine - and 
it's only when you're well into the book that you realise that these notes 
and things are actually part of the story.  Which leads me back to one of 
the catch-phrases of my writers' group:  "There's no such thing as 'right' 
and 'wrong' in writing; there's only what works and what doesn't work".  Ms. 
Gentle uses the "this is true and has been suppressed" mechanism very well - 
she makes it work, probably through the subtle way she goes about it.  Mr. 
Brown, from what I hear, fails to make it work, perhaps because he hits 
readers over the head with it.

Gili then wondered about Tim Powers' work and what would be good to read of 
his.

For what it may be worth, I have three of his books.  "The Drawing of the 
Dark" was the first I bought, and I still find it the most accessible (and a 
hell of a fun read).  "The Anubis Gates" I found to require more 
brain-engagement, but still a lot of fun.  "Last Call" I found good, but 
required decided brain-engagement, and I wouldn't recommend it as a starter 
(it will also probably help, in reading this one, to have some knowledge of 
both the Tarot and the game of poker).

And now I have done, and must soon sleep.

Dorian. 

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