Monday, June 28, 2010

Still waiting to hear back about "Clockworks." I'm expecting to hear this week.

Sent "The Dearness of Bodies in Motion" to Glimmertrain for its June contest. I'm quite pleased with that story.

Over the weekend, I finished the short novel Roadside Picnic, by the Strugatsky brothers, late science-fiction-writing siblings. The translation was awful, loaded with weak verbs and redundancies, and the PDF itself was riddled with errors. Some terrific speculative and spooky elements in this tale of a future earth that's been "visited" by aliens who left behind, well, stuff--like interplanetary travelers who stopped to have a "roadside picnic" and didn't clean up their trash. The story is less concerned with the facts of this visitation than with the "stalkers" who make a living by sneaking into these forbidden zones and steal items for the black market. The logistics of the story are nonsense: people creep in and out at will, despite supposed oversight by the government; decades have gone by since the "event," but no one even has good overhead images of the layout of this particular zone; there's little sense of what effect this has had on the larger world. Too much is left off stage or to the imagination. What's there is fun, if undeveloped, and the ending isn't prepared for well.

I'm one-third of the way into Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth. Amazingly, our travelers still haven't set foot below the surface of our world. That's frustrating, but otherwise the story is excellent, entertainingly told and, as with all Verne, careful (and overelaborated in spots) in its details.

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