Yes, it’s time again for Some Stuff I Have Read and Liked Recently. As always–I am not a reviewer or any sort of critic, and I’m not going to try to be one.
Ever since I heard that Nisi was not only working on a steampunk novel set in the Belgian Congo, but that she had gone and sold that novel to Tor, I’ve been eager to read this. I finally got around to it, and I highly recommend it. It’s pretty epic, really, it covers a couple decades in time, from the POVs of a wide variety of characters. Seriously, check this out if you haven’t already.
This is a nice anthology of short fiction by authors I’m already a fan of–like Charlie Jane Anders, Keffy Kehrli, and An Owomoyela–as well as authors I’m very happy to be introduced to. I’ve read way too little short fiction lately, and this was an enjoyable first step toward remedying that.
These two books were first published in the 1950s and have not always been well-regarded. In the first, the narrator is a young man devoted to drinking palm wine. The person who works tapping palms to bring him that wine dies, and the narrator goes looking for Dead’s Town so he can find the man and bring him back. In the second, a young boy is separated from his family and ends up in the bush, where he encounters lots of dangerous supernatural creatures. Both are picaresque, their plots essentially one adventure after another, and both are told in the first person in a way that feels to me very much as though these stories were meant to be read or spoken aloud. They were written in a variety of English that may take a few pages to get familiar with, but once it’s in your ear it just goes nicely and enjoyably along. I couldn’t find an ebook version, and my nearby libraries didn’t have it,so I bought a used paper copy. It may be in a library near you!
BONUS the title of the second novel in this volume may seem familiar if you’ve heard of the Brian Eno and David Byrne album of the same name. If you haven’t heard it, or heard of it, give it a listen.