February 2023 Reads
AUSTIN OSMAN SPARE: THE LIFE AND LEGEND OF LONDON’S LOST ARTIST by Phil Baker
Fun stuff, but 80% of artist biographies are basically “stayed home, drew” so the interesting bits are on the periphery. That periphery here involves occultists, the world wars, the end of one world, the start of a new, and the rise and fall of art movements. Reading about art magazines from the early 1900s is similar to reading about feuds in any zine scene except involving WB Yeats and George Bernard Shaw. And then there are the wizard fights in 1950s London in which everyone is taking some nonsense completely seriously. It’s a fun read even if it’s mostly a downward spiral about people over-thinking having a wank.
TO WRITE AS IF ALREADY DEAD by Kate Zambreno.
An autofiction novel far from my usual wheel house. It’s a novel about not writing a novel, friendships after friendship, and pandemics after pandemics. I liked it but felt like a stranger exploring an unfamiliar genre landscape. Not sure how much of this I could read in a row. Also, modern philosophers should all be forced to wear clown clothes.
LEECH by Hiron Ennes
This read like Gormenghast/Fifth Head of Cerberus narrated by a surgeon who happens to be John Carpenter’s The Thing. (The world of the story has universal health care but all the doctors are infected hosts for the Thing keeping tabs on the world, which I thought a neat idea.) Some gory body horror scenes as you’d expect. CWs abound: infestation, bodily autonomy, abuse of multiple sorts, a gory birth scene, dogs survive but children don’t. It’s a horror novel. I liked it!
OPERATION SOLSTICE RAIN by Kai Tave (Massif Press)
I remain impressed by the modules made for the Lancer TTRPG. This one is an introductory adventure where the players get caught-up in a diplomatic mission gone bad. I am not much of a fan of military SF, but Lancer could make me one. Not that I would ever run a game, but play? Certainly a definite maybe.