Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Novelette by Adam-Troy Castro
"Whenever hostile novelists encounter one another in unclaimed territory, the author of the most cutting witticism is awarded dominance."
Adam-Troy Castro needs to find some unclaimed territory and start an empire. This story is my favorite in some time and I'm not sure what the noise I made at the last sentence was, but I'm going to call it a guffaw. A bunch of arrogant human novelists are sent to an alien planet of pretentious, asshatted literary critics who spend a year ripping their best work to pieces. The hero strikes back. So the plot isn't that complex, but it is funny. There are a few sections of writing that seem a bit hackneyed but I choose to believe they are there deliberately for comedic effect, they work much better than they would work if written by the sort of writer who did these things indeliberately. The author's thoughts on literary criticism and the sort of wankery that goes on in college English departments mirrors my own, but I'll resist getting into my feelings on James Joyce and the thousand theses written on him every year. I was amazed at how fast the pages of this story flew by. Four pretentious critics out of five.