NEW, LESS-BULSHITTY NUMBERING SYSTEM!18. Emporium
, Adam Johnson (2002)19. Contagion
, Brian Evenson (2000)TWO COLLECTIONS THAT WERE OKAY, BUT FELL SHORT IN VARIOUS WAYS.
In his early thirties(?), Brian Evenson
was young when he wrote this, and it shows. What could have been perfectly good trash fiction instead falters under a healthy dose of pretension: pretension toward literariness, pretension toward continental philosophy (ugh). This was a letdown, as he is well-respected in small, university-bred 'speculative' fiction circles. Unfortunately, this might have more to do with the meddling of his former employer, religious baddies from Brigham Young University, who threatened to fire him over his violent work. I remain hopeful: two stories were truly good, and bear revisiting.Adam Johnson
is an interesting study, as he would go on to to edit himself for length and boringness and learn, generally, to perfect the kind of bland and inoffensive literary narrative
that wins prizes -- grabbing himself -- unbelievably -- a Pulitzer in 2013. This, I fear, might be the clearest example of what people mean by the workshop story
: vanilla narratives, over-reliant on sense impressions
as they are mandated in school, varnished by a fussy style that almost holds everything together, but not quite. It's hard to dislike Johnson. These stories are almost there. His first novel, Parasites Like Us, was almost there. (A great beginning and end, flat-lined by a long middle that just meanders in what it thinks a good novel should do). I'll still take a crack at his prize-winner.
Edited by noob - 6/1/14 at 3:19am