Best Books of 2004

minnow at minnow at
Sat Jan 29 08:42:35 EST 2005

Paul wrote:

>Biggest Disappointment:
>'Ash: A Secret History' by Mary Gentle
>"The True State of Affairs" by Diana Wynne Jones
>Like 'Ash', the story itself is great, but the frame let it down. I
>ended up being incredibly frustrated because we never learn the story
>of how the protagonist ended up in this place; I realise that it's
>extraneous to the story actually being told, but if it's so extraneous
>as all that, why make it part of the story at all?

I too didn't think this was great, but then I don't think DWJ is at her
best in the short-story field, and nor does she! apparently they are as
much work as a full-length book but nothing like as much fun to do because
there isn't room to expand on the bits the author herself finds interesting
and unexpected.

What I thought about this one was that it showed all the signs of having
started out to be a book and then run out of puff.  I got the same feeling
about "Everard's Ride".  Each of them feels like the first draft of a book
that stopped working, taken out of the drawer at a later date because
someone wanted a short story for some special purpose (as it might be a
convention guest-of-honour spot), and tidied up so they could be used.
That would be why they're incomplete: because they always were incomplete,
and DWJ herself discovered that she didn't know what happened in the end
and so never wrote it.

Does that make sense?


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