Monday, March 06, 2006

A Potent Brew

Pearsall's Books is, as I mentioned at the weekend, now sadly defunct. Quite apart from being my gateway drug to blogging, a perhaps dubious distinction, Pearsall wrote well and was consistently interesting. His selection of the best posts from the year or so of existence is here.

Continuing in the trend of passing on what has been inflicted on me by others, Henry Farrell has a piece (may soon be archived) which uses a discussion of China Mieville's New Crobuzon novels, which I heartily recommend, as a jumping-off point for the issuing of something of a manifesto for the writing of fantasy. Although I haven't read the review of 'Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell' that he uses to represent the "consolationist" camp, it strikes me that Clarke's novel is, in a quiet way, fairly politically radical itself: the wry distance of the narrator, gently satirising the absurdities of Georgian social heirarchies, the democratisation of magic that follows Strange and Norrell's disappearance, and even the magic itself - embedded in the land, an ancient, capricious master, a kind of counterpoint to the ironic amusement of the narrator.

Chuck Klosterman's "hilarious sociobiological explanation for Led Zeppelin", first mentioned by Ian Sansom in the latest LRB, then referenced by Chris Bertram, now exposed, via a commenter, here (if you scroll down a bit to the highlighted text). There's some truth to it, if exactly how it falls under the rubric sociobiological somewhat escapes me.

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