Tuesday, December 17, 2013

2013 in Shit: William Gibson

Rather than going on about how I found Westfahl's book a problem not just at the level of scholarship, but but based on my perception of the current argument around canonization of speculative fictional texts, I'll simply note two things, following this link to my full review at Strange Horizons.

The first was that the book absolutely lost my charity -- which, I have since learned, was a charity not as willingly extended by others more well versed in Westfahl's work -- because, of all things, of its reading of Falstaff. There's a brief moment in William Gibson where Westfahl, just after (very seriously) attempting a recuperative reading of Case as a literal white knight, on the grounds that the text's characterization of him do not jive with his actual actions, parrots the characterization of Falstaff as an uncomplicated lout. I have no excessive love of Shakespeare, but Falstaff is an incredibly interesting, nuanced character. So fuck that.

The second is that I will have a supplementary review for today, which will go up in the morning. When I established the conditions of this year's marathon I hadn't even begun reading Hanya Yanagihara's The People in the Trees, and expected not to to avoid having to review it. But I somehow found the time, and then also somehow found the time to write about 2,000 words on it. So I hope you'll enjoy.

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