Tuesday, August 7, 2012                                                        Dreadful Joy

Binge Reading

Audiobook cover art by Matthew Attard
This summer has opened new horizons for me. In May, I posted samples from my novels at Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX), and now four of those titles are in production with four different narrators!

I’ve never heard my fiction read aloud before. In future posts, I’d like to write about the creative parallax between the written and spoken versions of stories. And I hope to offer audio file excerpts so you can hear what I mean.

Wattpad is the most encompassing new horizon in my creative life this summer. My fantasy novel The Dark Shore appears there, available in its entirety:

A previous post mentions that I’m wonder wandering at Wattpad, reading a wide array of science fiction and fantasy works posted there. Wattpad provides the full gamut of text art, poetry and fiction, amateur and professional. The experience is multivocal zaniness!

As a teen, I reveled in this zaniness: I spent summers binge reading sf/fantasy and enjoyed jumping among different authors and feeling I moved through alternate realities. I recall simultaneously reading Samuel Delany’s Einstein Intersection, Roger Zelazny’s Lord of Light, Robert Silverberg’s Thorns, John Brunner’s Stand on Zanzibar and a slew of fanzines jammed with amateur writing.

Wattpad reminds me of the fanzine scene from my adolescence, and it’s nostalgic to binge read a dozen amateur sf/fantasy epics. I intend to comment on some of those authors in posts-to-come.

To keep my bingeing well-balanced, I’m reading three accomplished science fiction writers. Leo got me started on this summer’s quest for great sf when, earlier in the year, he showed me David Marusek’s Counting Heads, a novel that “flickers us into the 22nd century in a fast paced narrative of cascading tech extrapolations” (to quote my own review).

That’s the novel that got me to ask, “How do we tell good science fiction from bad?” My answer: “By the rhapsody of language and scientific ideas.” The three recently published authors I’m reading now write with musical fluency about some extreme scientific memes: Neal Stephenson’s Anathem explores and explodes the human brain as a quantum computer; Ted Chiang’s The Lifecycle of Software Objects undertakes the education of artificial intelligence; and Robert Charles Wilson’s Spin extrapolates time dilation on a global scale.

If my head doesn’t explode from all this reading, I'll record my thoughts on traveling among these alternate realities. And in the virtual reality of cyberspace I can do so in alternate realms: Goodreads, Shelfari, LibraryThing.

I’ve posted at all three but haven’t spent much time at any one. If you’re familiar with these “book cataloguing sites,” I’d love to hear your thoughts — from one bingeing bookworm to another.

2 Comments:

Blogger peter lewis said...

Have you read any greg egan ? Diaspora and schilds ladder stand out for me . Ian mcdonalds `necropolis`
Its interesting our readings have overlapped so much !
I know you can kill with compliments ,but really your right up there and beyond !
Good scifi has ideas ,conceptual stretching and for me the taste of something `different` however badly written . A E van Vogt and his `general semantics ` really got me thinking as a lad.
Imao much scifi is `today ` written in a supposedly future setting ..yawn.

December 13, 2016 at 6:11 AM  
Blogger A. A. Attanasio said...

All good science fiction challenges the idea of who we are, awakens conscience to a larger reality, and inspires our uncertain heart among the mysteries of creation. I think that's why we like the same authors - and tolerate those who have lost themselves in the story and forgot the craft.

December 13, 2016 at 10:09 AM  

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