Thursday, May 7, 2009

Bye to Harry

Work has taken over more of my life than usual. I'm thinking about it at home which cuts into my Madison time. Advancement of the week: I realized two characters needed to be combined into one. It made me consider the way support characters help the lead characters achieve their goals. This is not always obvious during early drafts. Sometimes you need six months and a glass of wine to see it. More in a minute.

Firstly, though, Harry. This week I read a book about addiction, called, what else, Addiction, One Patient, One Doctor, One Year. It was pretty good, though the guy is in love with his profession and not nearly curious enough about his patients. After that, I read an Earl Emerson single title which deserves a post of its own. I'm a big EE fan, especially the genre stuff. I've never met EE but the worst thing that could happen is that EE might find out a fan, me, doesn't like his most recent. Let's just say he's not being well-served by his career choices. When all this was done and I'd hurled Earl, there was Harry Turtledove. I finished it. Here are a couple of observations:

Weapons in a PA world. He is very thorough in his research, painstaking about the function and use of guns. I appreciate this.

Visualization. He's got a very good eye for buildings, rubble, and vehicles. So much of PA is imagining what these things look like after 1, 20, 130 years. The other part is imagining how people adapt and rebuild. He's good at this.

Bored out of my mind. Yet. . . everything is spelled out in big letters in this story. There is no real conflict, I was never afraid for these characters. Then there is the small matter of an over-determined father-daughter relationship. Could almost be a little creepy.

Uninformed reader. I was looking for a photo of Harry so I could stick pins in it. There's no photo on the jacket. That's when I discovered the words "Young Adult" in the blurb. It explains so much—the dull conversation, the weird focus on muskets, the way he hammered every point as if there might be a test later. I get it, he was writing down. I take back all the nasty things I said about the guy. It's a fine YA novel. It's funny, it presents some good ideas. It's not Cormac McCarthy scary.

Why does knowing it is a YA novel suddenly make all my earlier complaints meaningless? YA could be something else. It could be Snowcrash. Any age, any speed, any gender.

Had I the world enough and time, I'd demonstrate my new trick, courtesy of Edittorrent. It's really cool.

No comments:

Post a Comment