Showing posts from November, 2015

Zachary Thomas Dodson - Bridging historical, western, and dystopian SF settings as it moves between storylines, this steampunk cyborg of a novel flits between genre expectations. As it moves among several modes of writing, from love letters to a 19th century novel to bureaucratic conversation transcriptions, its representation on the page shifts to suit the form

Zachary Thomas Dodson, Bats of the Republic: An Illuminated Novel, Doubleday, 2015.

With plotlines set in multiple centuries, Dodson’s “illuminated novel” brings together the historical and the futuristic, all the while working with an array of storytelling techniques.

Bats of the Republic is an illuminated novel of adventure, featuring hand-drawn maps and natural history illustrations, subversive pamphlets and science-fictional diagrams, and even a nineteenth-century novel-within-a-novel—an intrigue wrapped in innovative design.
In 1843, fragile naturalist Zadock Thomas must leave his beloved in Chicago to deliver a secret letter to an infamous general on the front lines of the war over Texas. The fate of the volatile republic, along with Zadock’s future, depends on his mission. When a cloud of bats leads him off the trail, he happens upon something impossible...
     Three hundred years later, the world has collapsed and the remnants of humanity c…

Aashish Kaul - The precisely realized yet dreamlike settings of Aashish Kaul's stories, the fastidious, melancholy sensibility of their no-longer-young narrators, lead us directly into the territory of late modernism, of Borges and Beckett and Nabokov

Aashish Kaul, The Queen's Play, Roundfire Books, 2015.
read it at Google Books

In ​the second age of the world, a time of prehistory, a time of myth, Mandodari, queen of the demon king Ravana, invents chess to carve out a role for herself in a world where male, martial virtues are paramount. As a chess player, she can play at warfare; as queen, she can be the most potent warrior on the battlefield. The ​Queen's Play attempts to ​write the origin of chess into the narrative​ cycles​ of ​the​ Ramayana, one of the two formative epics of ancient India.​The cursory mention ​of a chess-like game in the Ramayana lore ​offer​s​ interesting parallels and openings between the game and the themes of the epic poem. ​At the centre of it is a queen​, ​first entering and then growing from strength to strength to become the most powerful piece on the board, ​inventing a game which closely parallels the epic battle taking place not far from the royal palace, a battle which she is not permitted t…

Justin Limoli - a perfect example of a Poets Theater recent subgenre, Poetics Theater.Nevertheless, Limoli’s play bleeds out from the context of this genre, only to reanimate beyond all genre, as a work of art, irreducible

Justin Limoli,Bloodletting in Minor Scales [A Canvas in Arms.]. Plays Inverse, 2015.Preview

A mother attempts suicide and fails. Life goes on, but as her family picks up the pieces, gratitude mixes with sadness & anger at the attempted departure. In this dream-like play in verse, blood becomes a character, hearts are fed to the stage, and Dialogue delivers a monologue as Justin tries to determine whether he can truly forgive or forget what has been done.

"What a gorgeous, intense, original work. As the feral offspring of Samuel Beckett and Jack Spicer, and as his glorious, sincerely hilarious self, Justin Limoli navigates territories of love, family, and survival, and approaches the realms of verse and drama (tender, wise, absurd) with his powerful first book, Bloodletting in Minor Scales [A Canvas in Arms.]. This book is pivotal, a suspenseful exploitation of a single life-changing event and the surprises that hide in the psyche. It is as much about inventing form as abiding…