Archive | September 9, 2013

Patricia Anthony (1947 – 2013)

Patricia Anthony died last month, and for whatever reason the word has only been released now.

Anthony published a number of SF books throughout the 90s that read like grimmer versions of Philip K. Dick novels: deceptively easy to read, but grueling in style or subject matter. For an example of one of these check out Brother Termite. She later drifted away from SF in disappointment and took to writing screenplays. Supposedly there are a few unpublished novels that may or may not see the light of day.

One of my favorite reads from recent years was Anthony’s Flanders, a World War 1 magic realist novel that it’s a bit like Goodbye to All That mixed with the Last Temptation of Christ.  That’s actually a rather dumb description, but the book was a delight to read. Both funny and horrifying.

“I was having a good sit-down myself, not the yellow squirt I get when the water’s bad, nor the dark goat-turd pebbles I get when the food’s not plentiful enough. No, this was a great, glorious golden cigar of a turd that felt fine and upstanding coming out, a British sort of turd. Major Dunn would have pinned a medal on it.”

Yeah, it’s a quote about poop. So what? It occurs in the middle of a book featuring trench warfare. When it happens the main character has seen some bad shit (pun intended), and the fact that he can still be pleased and make a joke about crapping hits you like a punch in the gut. You’re laughing, but there’s something more going on. You actually feel happy for the guy.

It’s a shame she’s gone.

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