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Has anyone read/heard of Sarah Monette?
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 14 May, 2020 08:10PM
I just stumbled on a short story collection of hers, Somewhere Beneath Those Waves Was Her Home.

I'm not sure what to make of her works.

She's probably about 40, I'd guess, and besides a very fertile capability for creating slipstream realities, there seem to be elements of steampunk, unconventional sexuality, and her stylistic control and narrative abilities are both modern and still quite satisfying.

Not sure how I came across her. I suspect that I was reading an anthology, perhaps The Slipstream Anthology, and read a story by her that impressed me enough to find her works in the public library. Then I forgot all about her.

Later, in looking at my To Read list on the library website, I saw her collection, thought "What the heck?" and checked it out.

It is actually quite a ride.

Anyway, if anyone has any opinions, I'd appreciate hearing them.

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

Re: Has anyone read/heard of Sarah Monette?
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 15 May, 2020 10:45AM
Sorry. The only time her existence has penetrated my consciousness is when her novel THE GOBLIN EMPEROR was nominated for a Hugo Award, but lost to THE THREE BODY PROBLEM, back in 2015, during the Sad Puppies controversy. But I've read nothing by her. Does any of her work count as weird horror?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 15 May 20 | 11:12AM by Platypus.

Re: Has anyone read/heard of Sarah Monette?
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 15 May, 2020 12:09PM
Below...

Platypus Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Sorry. The only time her existence has penetrated
> my consciousness is when her novel THE GOBLIN
> EMPEROR was nominated for a Hugo Award, but lost
> to THE THREE BODY PROBLEM, back in 2015, during
> the Sad Puppies controversy.

With a name like that, I have to ask about the controversy.
There's just no getting around it... ;^)

> But I've read
> nothing by her. Does any of her work count as
> weird horror?

I'm not sure I can make a definitive determination, since I don't really nuance my categorizations of what I read for enjoyment. But I'll try.

First, as a far as what looks to be her personal approach, it's all over the place, but seldom is she unbelievable or *overtly* commercial. She is clearly in the sub-genre "slipstream" some of the time in that she matter of factly presents a bend of the familiar with unexpected background information. For example she may present a setting that appears to be in the near future, but in which Imperial China is a major world power.

Then she'll have a story in which a major facet is the existence of ifrits. These will reside in the sub-basement of a sort of punk/transgender night club called Electric Squidland, with the sub-basement being "Members Only" and bearing the name "Neon Cthulu".

There are legitimate ghost stories with the traditional mechanisms--perhaps explained in idiosyncratic depth, but largely consistent with what the reader has come to expect from ghost stories.

She seems to do well when writing from a feminine/feminist/occultist POV, and presents a credible POV as a gay or transgender individual of either biological sex, at least so far as a conventional person like myself can tell. She handles a male POV less convincingly.

She flirts with social issues but never actually succumbs to overt proselytizing.

At times, there's a sort of unclean feeling that one gets from reading Clive Barker (a distaseful shock jock, in my opinion) sometimes, and yet at others she's closer to Dunsany. Not word choice, but the evoked reader response. Like some of Lovecraft is similar to Dunsany.

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

Re: Has anyone read/heard of Sarah Monette?
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 16 May, 2020 03:26AM
Sawfish Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Platypus Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Sorry. The only time her existence has
> penetrated
> > my consciousness is when her novel THE GOBLIN
> > EMPEROR was nominated for a Hugo Award, but
> lost
> > to THE THREE BODY PROBLEM, back in 2015, during
> > the Sad Puppies controversy.
>
> With a name like that, I have to ask about the
> controversy.
> There's just no getting around it... ;^)

Ugh. Where to begin? In order to have a truly informed opinion, I would have to dig a lot deeper into the controversy, than I care to do, and read a whole lot of Hugo nominees (whether from the Puppies' slate, or from their opponents) that I am just not interested in reading. But I'll give you my uninformed impressions, for whatever they are worth.

The hype about the Hugo awards is that the nominees, and ultimately the winners, are chosen by ordinary fans. In actuality, this was and is a joke. The supposed fan-democracy is in fact an easily-corrupted vote-buying system, where behind-the-scenes coordination by publishing insiders, and perhaps others, can easily rig the supposedly-democratic process. The reality, I guess, is that the Hugo awards are more-or-less like any other annual award - a means for the publishing industry to promote whatever it is they wish to promote. Maybe the wise thing would be to just shrug and accept that.

But the "Sad Puppies" had other ideas. The "Sad Puppies" were a coalition of more-or-less conservative sci-fi fans and/or promoters who were dissatisfied that the Hugo awards had drifted, in their view, rather far to the left. The idea was that ordinary fan just wanted to read enjoyable sci-fi, but the Hugos were more interested in preaching various progressive agendas. This is why the "puppies" were "sad" - or at least that was the idea. So the "Puppies" began a publicly organized campaign, perfectly legitimate in the context of the supposedly-democratic Hugo rules as far as I could tell, to influence the nomination process by nominating their own slate.

The Sad Puppies' choice of slate may or may not have been influenced by the interests of one or more minor publishing companies that were outside the mainstream, and were using the Sad Puppies' as a means of self promotion.

The Puppies' tactics achieved limited success, in that they actually managed to get a few items on their slate nominated. Or (as I guess) the public promotion of the "Sad Puppies" slate managed (to a limited extent) to overwhelm the behind-the-scenes manipulation. Best as I could see, the titles they managed to nominate were rather mediocre, based on the one or two that I took a peek at, but whether they were an improvement over the alternatives was more than I can say.

But who really expects literary merit to emerge from a political process, regardless of how democratic or undemocratic the process is? True classics require time to achieve the recognition they deserve.

Anyhow, the limited success of the Puppies promoted a huge backlash against them, by outraged leftists, publishing insiders and perhaps other forces. The smear campaign against them, accusing them of everything under the sun (racism and what-have-you), was, in my opinion, quite vile, and full of hypocrisy and double standards. If you google "Sad Puppies" you can get a fair taste of the usual sort of thing that is said about them. The Sad Puppies' campaign petered on for 2 or 3 years before deciding that it just was not worth the headache. Last I heard, they had given up the ghost, and the Hugo awards are once again Puppy-free. Which perhaps is for the best; or at least, no skin off my nose, since I likely will not read the nominees or winners in any event.



Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 16 May 20 | 04:23AM by Platypus.

Re: Has anyone read/heard of Sarah Monette?
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 16 May, 2020 07:29PM
This was a very interesting insight.

Thanks.

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

Re: Has anyone read/heard of Sarah Monette?
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 17 May, 2020 02:54PM
Thanks, Platypus. My opinion on this topic is worth very little, but, for what it may be worth, you sound about right.



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