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Gibson Defended. Too Many Chicks. Gemmell the Best?
CINESCAPE'S weekly book column answers reader's questions and comments
By Chris Wyatt
April 11, 2003
Welcome to book notes. Some of you were a little bit upset by the last column when we posted a quote from a reader named Paltro who mentioned that he felt the famed Cyberpunk author William Gibson's new novel PATTERN RECOGNITION
was proof that the "once great" writer had gone "...soft [and]... lost his voice." Remember: this controversial comment came from a reader, not from CINESCAPE. Other readers had plenty to say on the subject...
William Gibson defended
"You people are ungrateful morons," D.A. Allen cheerfully writes. "William Gibson made one of the greatest contributions to SF of the last half of the 20th century. NEUROMANCER
changed everything. MONA LISA OVERDRIVE
is the high water mark of science fiction. He is an artist, and he will never 'loose his voice.' You people are the problem, not Gibson."
You people? Who the hell are "you people"?
Snowcasher was also upset, but thankfully more polite. S/he writes: "I think it's unfortunate that PATTERN RECOGNITION
has to be compared to NEUROMANCER
. These are two different novels. They were written by the author at two very different times in his life. RECOGNITION
is a good book. It shouldn't have to live in the shadow of the work that came before. Gibson hasn't lost his voice, he's exploring new voices. We should let this author explore in his writing, and not be trapped by the past."
Good point. But a reader who asked to have his name withheld would like to take it a little further. He says, "Dude, anyone who doesn't like PATTERN RECOGNITION
, or who doesn't think the book is bad-ass enough, just don't get it, or isn't thinking about it enough. It's more external, but it's just as hard-core as the other stuff."
[Well, Paltro. For good or for ill, you've got people talking. If you want to respond to any of this, just drop me a line and I promise to include it.]
Many of you wrote in about this, and I'm sorry I can't include more comments, but to go to the other side of the argument here's JPL. "The comments of last week were spot on," he writes. "Gibson has lost it. He lost it three books ago. He gave it to THE MATRIX
and now THE MATRIX
is doing it. Let Gibson go."
This is clearly a very derisive issue. What do the rest of you think? Write in and let us know. CWyatt@cinescape.com
Girls, Girls, Girls!!!
Now on to comments for our reader Eileen. First off, Eileen many readers wrote in to let you know that Peter David's has told them that the BEING HUMAN
sequel is to be expected this Fall. But your comment about too many women POV novels spawned some energetic e-mails.
For those just tuning in, Eileen wrote, "Could we get a few more male-oriented novels out there? I'm so tired of smart/cool/outcast/wounded girls who can always kick someone's ass!"
PeaceKeeper21 says, "She's right. I'm all for women's lib, but the woman-versus-the-world theme is so easy, and simple. If a fantasy author doesn't want to work too hard, they just throw in the young, hot feminist thing."
Charlie Milter agrees (kind of). He says, .."Epic fantasy is about war. And the tradition of war is a male tradition-- not a female tradition. Let's let the boys out to play." Charlie, you might have missed Eileen's point...
On the other side of the argument, LittleNell writes, "Come on, Eileen. Don't be a traitor to the cause! In fiction we can read stories where women are the strong heroes. And that's a good thing, because the powers that be don't let it happen in the real world very often."
Let's hear more about this issue, or any other. Drop us a line at: CWyatt@cinescape.com
We close with a suggestion from our reader Travis Clarke who says, "David Gemmell... is probably the best fantasy author alive. He has a new book called WHITE WOLF
, which is excellent. He does nuts and bolts hard fantasy, some romance, but not 'ROMANCE'
, and lots of violence. Virtue based fantasy. Great stuff."
What else are you guys reading these days? What have you liked and want to share? What have you hated? Spill the beans to: CWyatt@cinescape.com
Until next week, Happy reading!
Book Notes is our weekly Books column.