Saturday, July 26, 2014

Vindication via Vance

Apparently, I'm a heathen for not being 100% enthused about this little read the first time I picked it up.

I am happy to report that I have since learned a few very important personal lessons:

(a) Don't try to hit up new-to-me authors of Appendix N - especially when going at it from a research point - at 3:00AM, particularly when expected to be functioning in another 5 hours. Hey, knowing my own limits is good.

(b) Do try to allot a time & location for perusal of such material that will allow uninterrupted reading. Seriously -- I got a maximum of 3 pages in before each new interruption every time I picked the thing up. (And it's an older book that hadn't been particularly loved or cared for; bits of pages flaked off at each touch. I was afraid it was going to disintegrate before I could finish it.) Toward the end of the story, I did growl more than once at those who would bug me, demanding to be left alone.

(c) Don't bother writing about it until it's finished. I daresay my "Brothers J" were tempted to disown me -- Judge Jim in particular.

So... Now that it's been fully digested...


It's not just the genre, but the style of writing.

My primary exposure to Appendix N in the past has been Lovecraftian. His works are more...ethereal, intangible. And gawdawfully wordy. (Caveat: Does not mean I don't enjoy it, but man, I gotta be in the mood to jump in there.) Once this one got rolling, I can see how a periodical re-read may be in order (if this copy survives being handled that much). The dark despair was present, but as more of an undertone than an overriding arc. I think my favorite part about Vance's writing is that not every new concept has to be explained immediately upon introduction. Syrup sacs, for instance, were mentioned half a dozen times before their function was described. Rather than frustrating, I found the earlier mentions leading to something I wanted to discover at the rate it was unfolding. And y'know, I'm intrigued to see if each of his pieces are created in a similar fashion.

I can also see the interest in studying his works and learning from them, as a new entry into the field. (Autobiography, anyone?)

No real time for away-from-desk time between here & Indy, so I'll hit some Vance on audio while I work next week. Hoping to soak in as much as possible, priming my brain for the craziness that is sure to explode at Gen Con (and "Doug Kon", the unofficial after-hours gaming that's becoming eerily official).

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