"Tales of Pain and Wonder
CAITLÍN R. KIERNAN. Subterranean, $35 (345p) ISBN 978-1-59606-144-6
Each story in this "definitive" third edition of Kiernan's loosely linked collection stands alone as a visceral slice of life. While "Anamorphosis" and "To This Water" rely on the overdone menaces of pedophilia and rape, "Bela's Plot" establishes a delicate balance between the romance of decay and deliberately undercutting characters' gothic pretensions. "Glass Coffin," "Salammbô," "Salmagundi," "...Between the Gargoyle Trees" and the previously unpublished "Salammbô Redux" relate the history of sisters Salmagundi and Salammbô Desvernine and their disturbed and disturbing extended family. "Paedomorphosis" and "Rats Live on No Evil Star" approach closest to classic horror, driven by revulsion and fear of the alien, while in "Estate," a human terrorizes a supernatural creature, and "San Andreas" relies on pure human nature for its shuddery effect. Together, the impact of these stories is stunning: glancing collisions between psychics, runaways, junkies, artists and whores (who, as in Kiernan's Silk, function as a loose alternative to a family) add up to a portrait of something broken and beautiful. (Mar.)"
I love that line..."something broken and beautiful." That's really all I have ever been trying to say, in my fiction. Something broken and beautiful. Oh, and I do agree that dark fiction relies too heavily on the "overdone menaces of pedophilia and rape," but hey, I'm cutting myself some slack, as I wrote those stories way back in 1994, almost fourteen years ago.
The "space balloon" dream returned night before last, or, more accurately, yesterday morning. Not this morning, though. Anyway, as I did not make a proper journal entry yesterday, many of the details have been forgotten. I was lying in the upper berth again, and the orange man was talking. I do recall that he said, "Nothing like what they think," more than once, and that, later, I was standing in the corridor, watching the glittering Indian Ocean far below, and someone standing near me was talking about Stalin, the Politburo, and the "Great Purge." There was more, but I didn't write it down, and it now seems lost to me, which is probably for the best.
There have been some movies. Saturday night, Byron came by, and after dinner at the Vortex at L5P, the three of us watched Jeff Broadstreet's Night of the Living Dead 3D (2006). Of course, we watched it in 2D, as it was the DVD, and that's fine, cause I think 3D is a dumb gimmick, and given that I have only one functioinal eye, I can't see it, anyway. Sort of fun, in a campy sort of way. But I suspect had it not been for Sid Haig as a shovel-weilding mortician, I might not have found anything much to redeem it.
Last night, we watched the entirety of Greg Yaitanes' adaptation of Children of Dune (2003) mini-series, which originally aired on the SF Channel and is actually an adaptation of both Herbert's Dune Messiah and Children of Dune. I was very pleasantly surprised. Despite various departures from the novels and uneven SFX, I found the film thoroughly enjoyable and true to the feel and spirit of the novels, which is far more than can be said for the Lynch adaptation of Dune (1984) — and I say that as an admirer of pretty much everything else Lynch has ever done. Children of Dune benefited from a couple of excellent casting decisions, most notably Alice Krige as Jessica Atreides and Daniela Amavia as Alia.
I think that's about it for now. I'll toss in some Second Life stuff tomorrow, maybe some more screencaps (since those seem to have been a hit), maybe links to some of the transcripts from our Dune roleplay. The latter seems most relevant, as I did have a hand in writing them. But right now, I must find coffee.
Oh. and thanks to the lomer, who wrote, regarding JediMa Katscher's homophobia, "You should warn the homophobes, 'every time you make a homophobic comment: a straight girl goes bi.'" Oh, indeed. Though, "...a straight girl goes lesbian" might carry more threat.