Currently Reading: The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Completed)

The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Completed) by David Madden.

When I finished up the incomplete Edwin Drood by Dickens earlier this year Fraggle found this volume, as I had asked for any suggestions for more reading.

I have just started in on Part II, which is where Dickens left off when he died. So far, Madden seems to be doing his best to keep the voice and style of Dickens and is doing a very adequate job. It is looking very promising 🙂

Currently Reading & Quote: Shirley


; and that gift of poetry – the most divine bestowed on man –
~Shirley, Chapter XII

Gag me with a spoon, please! While I realize that historically speaking Poetry has had a pre-eminent place in literature, that does not in and of itself make it better than prose. Mankind does not, with the rare exceptions of intellectual snobs and idiots, speak in poetry but in prose. It is an artificial construct that completely relies on the extremely subjective tastes of the times. Other than that, I’m enjoy this novel. Well, except when Charlotte Bronte writes whole pages in french and doesn’t bother to translate it.

The above is a picture of the typical “beatnik”. It is what I imagine Alex and Fraggle to look like if they were beatniks in real life.. Heaven help them 😉

Currently Reading & Cover Love: Capital Murder

Capital Murder

Ahhhh, another Arcane Casebook story. I’d read these for the covers alone but thankfully Willis tells a good story too. I thought about saving this large version of the cover for my Cover Love section for next month’s Roundup but I couldn’t hold on that long. So here you go! 🙂

Storywise, Capital Murder seems to be chugging right along with all the previous installments.

Currently Reading: Menace of the Monster

Whereas I complained like someone was killing my firstborn about the introduction to each story in Menace of the Machine, here I am finding it non-objectionable. Maybe because they’re shorter and the editor seems to be strictly talking about the history of the story instead of interjecting his political views into it?

Whatever the reason, this is on track as a 4star read. Keeping my fingers crossed this literary train doesn’t get derailed.

Currently Reading & Quote: The League of Frightened Men

I do read books, but I never yet got any real satisfaction out of one; I always have a feeling there’s nothing alive about it, it’s all dead and gone, what’s the use, you might as well try to enjoy yourself on a picnic in a graveyard.
~ Chapter 1 (Archie Goodwin)

It’s tough to tell if Rex Stout is having fun with his characters and being ironic, or something else. I can’t imagine any other reason, but then, I can’t imagine anyone thinking they can make an actual living from writing books either. A Mystery, in a mystery book no less! (for the record, that was me being ironic)

Currently Reading & Quote: The Periodic Table

Part of the appeal of the periodic table derives from the individual nature of the elements such as their colours or how they feel to the touch. Much interest also lies in their names. The chemist and concentration camp survivor Primo Levi wrote a much-acclaimed book called simply The Periodic Table in which each chapter is named after an element. The book is mostly about his relations and acquaintances, but each anecdote is motivated by Levi’s love of a particular element. The neurologist and author Oliver Sacks wrote a book called Uncle Tungsten in which he tells of his fascination with the elements, with chemistry, and in particular with the periodic table. More recently, two popular books on the elements have been written by Sam Kean and Hugh Aldersey-Williams. I think it is fair to say that the appeal of the elements in the public imagination has now truly arrived.
~chapter 1

The bolding is mine. I would like a show of hands of everyone who thinks about the periodic table or even imagines it?

No one? Really? Yeah, me neither.

Until Jason Bourne or John Wick use the periodic table to kung fu fight their way out of an armoured fortress, I think it is safe to say that that the periodic table HAS NOT entered the public imagination. In all seriousness, where do eggheads like this even come up with ideas like that? They make us Magic the Gathering (former) players seem like well adjusted hunks of burning love.

Considering that is from Chapter One, I have a feeling this is going to be another Out of Touch with Reality and the Common Man book, sigh.

Currently Reading: Requiem for Medusa

I have chosen the Tyrus Rechs trilogy for my next Galaxy’s Edge read. I believe the official designation is “Galaxy’s Edge: Tyrus Rechs: Contracts & Terminations“. Phhhtttt, who’s going to remember ALL that? I’m shortening it to Galaxy’s Edge: Tyrus Rechs. SO MUCH EASIER!!!

I’m about 25% in and am almost literally dancing and bouncing around with happiness. This is awesome! I am so happy to not be disappointed.

Currently Reading & Quote: Drood

I had some vague idea that this book, Drood by Dan Simmons, was going to be some sort of finishing up of the incomplete Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens. The following quote quickly disabused me of that idea!

Wilkie Collins is the narrator here (and for the entire book), the famous author of The Moonstone.

I privately approached Frederick Chapman of the publishers Chapman and Hall and suggested to him that I could complete The Mystery of Edwin Drood for them if they so chose. I let them know that while no notes for the remainder of the book were in existence—and it was true that none of Dickens’s usual marginal notes and outlines on blue paper have ever come to light for the unfinished portions of Drood—Dickens had taken me (and me alone) into his confidence before the end. I—and I alone—could finish the writing of the entire second half of The Mystery of Edwin Drood for only a nominal fee and equal credit as author (just as the co-authorship of our earlier collaborations had been registered).

Chapman’s response totally surprised me. The publisher was furious. He let me know that no man in England, no matter how gifted the writer might be or might think he was—and he implied that he did not think me all that gifted—could ever fill the shoes of Charles Dickens, even if I had a hundred completed outlines in my pocket. “Better that the world never knows who killed Edwin Drood—or indeed, if Edwin Drood is dead,” he wrote me, “—than a lesser mind pick up the Master’s fallen pen.”

I thought that last metaphor very garbled and grotesque indeed.

It is a good thing this is a fictional account or I’d be mighty pissed at that arrogant ass hat of a publisher. No author is above their works. The book is the thing, the author a secondary concern. If only Wilkie Collins HAD finished The Mystery of Edwin Drood! I’d be a much happier camper right now. Instead, now I’m just seeing red because of an imaginary conversation!