Mike’s Prattle

Miscellaneous

Books Received; Lucius Shepard – “Black Coral;” “A Traveler’s Tale;” “The Storming of Annie Kinsale;” etc.

Posted by Mike on June 30, 2006

Some stragglers have come in, including a couple gifts from a friend: 

  • C. L. Moore – Jirel of Joiry
  • Michael Swanwick – Tales of Old Earth
  • Don DeLillo – Underworld
  • Isabel Allende – House of the Spirits
  • Vladimir Nabokov- Invitation to a Beheading
  • Edward Whittemore – Jericho Mosaic
  • Terry Carr, ed. – Universe 16

Reading a lot lately, especially now I’m caught up with Deadwood and not in the mood for TV lately. Been still going through Shepard’s work in chronological order. Both “Black Coral” and “A Traveler’s Tale” are both set in the same milieu, an island off the coast of Salvador that has an unusual spiritual heritage. In “Black Coral” an American on the island is offered an opportunity to smoke black coral, a plant with unusual hallucinogenic (?) properties that puts him on a trajectory with the principles behind the island. These principles are further explored in “A Traveler’s Tale” through a different protagonist. Both are in his World Fantasy Award winning The Jaguar Hunter. I found “Annie Kinsale” in an anthology entitled Strange Dreams, it’s uncollected by Shepard himself, a mystical/romantic encounter between an Irish witch and a Chilean soldier, that rings of a merger between Celtic myth and Marquez-like magical realism.

I’m on the home stretch of Christopher Priest’s “The Prestige,” the World Fantasy Award winner in 1996, which is a brilliant piece of work and preventing me from getting back to a lot of other stuff at the moment, including House Hook and Iain Bank’s Consider Phlebas.

All else is quiet, although I recently stocked the cabinet with a few fine single malts including Aberlour A’Bunadh, Bowmore 17, and Caol Isla 18. Not rye or bourbon but definitely inspired by Deadwood nonetheless.

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