User Profile


Joined 3 years, 2 months ago

I'm just starting to read again, children permitting

This link opens in a pop-up window

phooky's books

To Read

Currently Reading

reviewed The fabulous riverboat by Philip José Farmer (A Berkley Medallion book)

Philip José Farmer: The fabulous riverboat (1973, Berkley) 4 stars

The Fabulous Riverboat is a science fiction novel by American writer Philip José Farmer, the …

Decidedly unfabulous

1 star

Content warning spoilers and unwelcome frankness

Raymond Roussel: Locus Solus (Paperback, 1988, Riverrun Press) 5 stars

Based, like the earlier Impressions of Africa, on uniquely eccentric principles of composition, this book …

Welp. That was significantly more bonkers than I was expecting, and my Bonkers Expectations were high. Do you like nested stories? Are you a fan of proto-science and mystical hoohaw? How do you feel about alternative dentistry? If you can answer any of these questions, respond in the form of an essay, seal it with beeswax in a brine-filled pickle jar, and launch it into the freaking sun, and then maybe pick up a copy of Locus Solus. Just buckle up for a bunch of random reductive and racist "exoticism" along the way, because this was written by a European guy in the first half of the twentieth century, and fucking of course. Recommended with a huge, sweaty asterisk, of the Vonnegut persuasion.

Mike Duncan: Hero of Two Worlds (Hardcover, 2021, PublicAffairs) 5 stars

An object lesson in trying to be a fixed point in a fluid environment. Mike Duncan does a wonderful job of researching and presenting his story, but the "podcast voice" writing style is a bit jarring.

Best WTF: Jefferson offered to make Lafayette governor of the Louisiana territory. As my spouse put it, "strong token French friend vibes".

Lewis Carroll, Helen Oxenbury: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland 4 stars

Welcome back to a Wonderland that is as astonishingly new as it is joyously familiar. …

Usually a fan of Oxenbury, but perhaps Tenniel has eaten my brain

3 stars

Look, illustrating Alice is hard. You're laboring in the shadow of Tenniel, and the comparison is going to be made. You can lean into the Tenniel iconography and add your own spin to it, as Disney did, or you can fight it tooth and nail. That's what Oxenbury's doing here, but she's working so hard to be Not Tenniel that she's forgetting to have any fun with it. Thus we have a Cheshire Cat that somehow "grins" without showing any teeth, playing-card people who just look like they're wearing playing cards, and weirdly sterile environments that seem terrified to include any imagery that isn't explicitly detailed in the text. Characters often float along with minimal background. Their expressions seem muted. If anything, it feels like Oxenbury is trying to bring a sort of naturalism to her illustrations here, which is, frankly, kind of a bonkers way of going about illustrating …