After five years, Lev Grossman has released the final book in his Magicians trilogy, aptly reviewed in the Sunday Timesby our own Edan Lepucki. At Slate, the Awl cofounder, Year in Reading alum and novelist Choire Sicha looks back on the series as a whole. After reading through all three entries, Choire poses a simple but hard-to-answer question: is main character Quentin truly the central figure of the books? It might also be a good time to read our interview with Grossman.
Sicha doesn’t use the words “gay” or “homosexual” in his book. He transcends these labels, not in the “universal” manner we’ve come to expect from treacly book-jacket copy written by marketers with the hope of appealing to the widest possible audience, but by telling stories in which such labels are washed away in the waves of specificity and truth that make up the days of our mostly unremarkable but precious and fragile lives. With any luck, Very Recent History will help to resurrect the gay narrative, so that we won’t need another book like this in 50 more years.
Matthew Gallaway, “Truth and Denial: On Choire Sicha’s Very Recent History”
Tuesday New Release Day
New this week: Awl co-founder Choire Sicha’s debut Very Recent History; Elizabeth Cohen’s new story collection The Hypothetical Girl; Elect H. Mouse State Judge by Nelly Reifler; The Virgins by Pamela Erens (which Erens herself wrote about for us on Friday); The Rathbones by Janice Clark; and Necessary Errors by Caleb Crain. For more on these and other upcoming titles, check out our Great 2013 Second-half Book Preview.
In the science fiction and fantasy worlds, there are acclaimed and famous and award-winning writers that aren’t really famous in the slightest. (It’s like “famous blogger” or “famous literary critic”; nobody has really heard of those jerks either.) Going deep in the world of SF creates a delightful, soothing feeling in a reading writer; it makes you forget all about what a small group of people think is the “real” world. In the SF world, when they refer to a writer as just “Egan,” they still mean Greg, not Jennifer (or, I suppose, Timothy!).
Each year, there are multiple “Best Of” collections. The Year’s Best Science Fiction, edited by Gardner Dozois, put out its 29th annual this year. The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2012 is the fourth annual. And Year’s Best SF is up to number 17, having started in 1996.
Over the last few years, as an attempt at an education, I have read nearly all of these collections.