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Discovered Authors 2011

Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

Knivesout no more
Joined
Nov 11, 2003
Messages
4,044
Location
Bangalore, India
It isn't too early in the year for the indefatigable readers at Chrons to start making new discoveries, is it?

Here's my first: Enrique Vila-Matas

Here's what wikipedia has to say:

Enrique Vila-Matas (born March 31, 1948, in Barcelona) is a Spanish novelist who has had a long and outstanding literary career and is one of the most prestigious and original writers in contemporary Spanish fiction. He is the author of several award-winning books that mix different genres like metafiction and have been translated into thirty languages.
Only two of his books seem to have been translated into English so far: Bartleby & Co. and Montano's Malady. I've read the former, not a novel at all but a set of footnotes written by a man who has eased to write after the publication of his first book and is trying to trick himself back into writing by compiling a sort of essay and personal meditation on writers who have turned their back on writing, including Rimbaud and Salinger. Recommended to fans of Pessoa's The Book Of Disquiet (which is referenced at one point) and the metafiction of Calvino and Borges. In short, this may be of interest to Herr GOLLUM!

ETA: A good essay on Bartleby and Montano: http://quarterlyconversation.com/enrique-vila-matas-bartleby-c
 

Fried Egg

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2006
Messages
3,496
The only author I've "discovered" this year so far is Fred Hoyle. I really enjoyed "The Black Cloud" but I'm not sure if I should pursue anything else he wrote.
 

GOLLUM

Moderator
Joined
Mar 21, 2005
Messages
9,035
Location
Australia
It isn't too early in the year for the indefatigable readers at Chrons to start making new discoveries, is it?

Here's my first: Enrique Vila-Matas

Here's what wikipedia has to say:

Only two of his books seem to have been translated into English so far: Bartleby & Co. and Montano's Malady. I've read the former, not a novel at all but a set of footnotes written by a man who has eased to write after the publication of his first book and is trying to trick himself back into writing by compiling a sort of essay and personal meditation on writers who have turned their back on writing, including Rimbaud and Salinger. Recommended to fans of Pessoa's The Book Of Disquiet (which is referenced at one point) and the metafiction of Calvino and Borges. In short, this may be of interest to Herr GOLLUM!

ETA: A good essay on Bartleby and Montano: The Fruits of Parasitism: Unraveling Enrique Vila-Matas’s Bartleby & Co. and Montano’s Malady | Quarterly Conversation
Indeed. I have a copy of Bartelby and Co. (in addition to the Melville story) but I'm yet to read it. You've succeeded in promoting this item up the TBR pile.

Thanks for the heads up.....:)

@Fried Egg: I understand that this is regarded as Hoyle's greatest work. I have not personally read Black Cloud but it certainly has an excellent reputation. A lot of his other SF work was co-authored with his son Geoff Hoyle rather than stand-alone works per se
 

Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

Knivesout no more
Joined
Nov 11, 2003
Messages
4,044
Location
Bangalore, India
The only author I've "discovered" this year so far is Fred Hoyle. I really enjoyed "The Black Cloud" but I'm not sure if I should pursue anything else he wrote.
I read a number of Hoyle's novels when only a wee lad (pre-teen), so I don't remember that much, but I do know that The Black Cloud, October The First Is Too Late and The Incandescent Ones (a collaboration with his son) all struck me as equally good and full of striking, original ideas. He also wrote a series of SF books for children, together with his son, which were published by Ladybird. Today I am sure they would each have been about 500 pages long rather than less than 50 pages each clocks in at, but I remember them as being fun and containing some engagingly weird notions.
 

blacknorth

Stuck Inside a Cloud
Joined
Jun 14, 2009
Messages
579
The only author I've "discovered" this year so far is Fred Hoyle. I really enjoyed "The Black Cloud" but I'm not sure if I should pursue anything else he wrote.
I would very strongly urge you to read A for Andromeda, Fifth Planet, and Ossian's Ride. They are all front-rank sf, as well as being super reads.

Many of his other novels were written in collaboration with his son, Geoffrey, who seemed to fancy himself as a bit of a lothario and added only romance and soap to the books, seriously damaging them in the process.
 

Heather Myst

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2009
Messages
311
Phillip Henderson Druid's Bane and Maig's Hand. A great mix of potitics and revenge with non stop action.
 

GOLLUM

Moderator
Joined
Mar 21, 2005
Messages
9,035
Location
Australia
I would very strongly urge you to read A for Andromeda, Fifth Planet, and Ossian's Ride. They are all front-rank sf, as well as being super reads..
Given the positive repsonses so far for these works I think I'll have to check them out too....:)

Would you say that Black Cloud is the best of his novels or is it hard to say there is a one single obvious standout?
 

blacknorth

Stuck Inside a Cloud
Joined
Jun 14, 2009
Messages
579
Given the positive repsonses so far for these works I think I'll have to check them out too....:)

Would you say that Black Cloud is the best of his novels or is it hard to say there is a one single obvious standout?
The Black Cloud is probably the best place to start - it's his most famous novel and probably his most accessible, especially if you enjoy apocalyptic scenarios.

A for Andromeda was, at one time, a very famous piece of work, made by the BBC in the 60s and Italian TV in the 70s. I should add it was co-written by John Elliot. The easiest comparison to make is with Jack McDevitt's The Hercules Text: Andromeda is the prototype message from space novel, wherein scientists are instructed by code to build a beautiful female android (played by Julie Christie in the BBC series). It's a poignant and quite beautiful idea. The sequel, Andromeda Breakthrough, is much less effective.

Fifth Planet is, to my mind, the best of his collaborations with his son - a visit by scientists to a planet wandering through our solar system. The planet seems abandoned, but all is not as it seems; it ends brilliantly. The novel's major drawback is unsympathetic characterisation, probably as a result of Geoffrey Hoyle trying to write the characters as happening or hip. Which they're not.

Ossian's Ride is my personal favourite. It's a fusion of John Buchan style chase and Invasion of the BodySnatchers. An English graduate is sent by the UK Foreign Office to Ireland to investigate the real reasons behind the country's sudden affluence, due entirely to a mysterious company known as The Industrial Corporation of Eire. This novel is utterly beautiful and surprisingly topical in its themes - I wouldn't want to say too much about it because I wouldn't want to ruin it for anyone.

I have found Hoyle's later novels to be of much less interest, though October the First is too Late has some very good things in it, especially when various parts of Earth's past history start popping up all over the planet. :)
 

GOLLUM

Moderator
Joined
Mar 21, 2005
Messages
9,035
Location
Australia
The Black Cloud is probably the best place to start - it's his most famous novel and probably his most accessible, especially if you enjoy apocalyptic scenarios.

A for Andromeda was, at one time, a very famous piece of work, made by the BBC in the 60s and Italian TV in the 70s. I should add it was co-written by John Elliot. The easiest comparison to make is with Jack McDevitt's The Hercules Text: Andromeda is the prototype message from space novel, wherein scientists are instructed by code to build a beautiful female android (played by Julie Christie in the BBC series). It's a poignant and quite beautiful idea. The sequel, Andromeda Breakthrough, is much less effective.

Fifth Planet is, to my mind, the best of his collaborations with his son - a visit by scientists to a planet wandering through our solar system. The planet seems abandoned, but all is not as it seems; it ends brilliantly. The novel's major drawback is unsympathetic characterisation, probably as a result of Geoffrey Hoyle trying to write the characters as happening or hip. Which they're not.

Ossian's Ride is my personal favourite. It's a fusion of John Buchan style chase and Invasion of the BodySnatchers. An English graduate is sent by the UK Foreign Office to Ireland to investigate the real reasons behind the country's sudden affluence, due entirely to a mysterious company known as The Industrial Corporation of Eire. This novel is utterly beautiful and surprisingly topical in its themes - I wouldn't want to say too much about it because I wouldn't want to ruin it for anyone.

I have found Hoyle's later novels to be of much less interest, though October the First is too Late has some very good things in it, especially when various parts of Earth's past history start popping up all over the planet. :)
Thank you for that excellent summary. Much appreicated.

I think I am going to get a copy of The Black Cloud this weekend now.

Cheers.
 

Jennifer Kirk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2010
Messages
66
Location
Insert vaguely witty comment here
I think I've been really bad and read too little. In my defence, I have been busy and have been away most weekends working, and spent the bits in between writing one book and editing two others.

I did re-discover Tom Clancy, of all people, and am thoroughly enjoying the book 'Red Storm Rising' - a definite genius book.

The only other book I have touched that hasn't been my own has been 'Noah's Rocket' by Tony Frais after doing a signing with him. It seems pretty good from what I've flicked through, but I'm still waiting for my nephew to finish reading it.

Robert Heinlein books are now looming at me menacingly from the bookshelf for throwing away any hard SF cred I may or may not have previously had.
 

Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

Knivesout no more
Joined
Nov 11, 2003
Messages
4,044
Location
Bangalore, India
Caitlin R. Kiernan. Neil Gaiman can be a remarkably bad judge of the actual worth of work created by people he is associated with (Bill Willingham for instance), so I avoided Kiernan's work on the strength of his enthusiasm for it for quite a while. Endorsements from the likes of Poppy Z. Brite didn't help either, but then again Brite is enthusiastic about Ligotti and with the Lovecraftian comparisons springing up lately, I thought I'd begin at the beginning and try Kiernan's first novel, Silk. Although it had elements of goth-culture cool that I found off-putting at first, I was soon thrown into a disturbing, dark and very original narrative in which it was hard to tell where the different kinds of terror Kiernan weaves together - personal, existential and supernatural - shade off from each other. Kiernan skirts close to the conventional Kingly horror novel with its thriller-like drive at times, but she avoids the disappointingly neat endings King all too often descends to. There were things in this novel that still didn't work for me, but I am willing to take it as an excellent first novel from a writer whose subsequent work I am assured only gets better.
 

Fried Egg

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2006
Messages
3,496
I've just discovered Joe Haldeman after reading "Forever War" and I thought it was excellent; I really like his style. I'll definitely be wanting to read more by him.
 

Rane Longfox

Red Rane
Joined
Jul 30, 2004
Messages
2,651
Ben Aaronovitch. Rivers of London is great fun. Kind of like a British Dresden Files, in a very good way! And thankfully not at all like "If Harry Potter grew up and joined the Fuzz" as Diana Gabaldon claims on the front cover *shudder*.
 

drosdelnoch

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2006
Messages
131
Depends what you're after, I really enjoyed Ben's Rivers of London. You've also got a new one by Emily Gee (The Sentinel Mage) and also Helen Lowe releasing shortly with Heir of Night.
 

UltraCulture

wun wabbit
Joined
Mar 5, 2007
Messages
253
This might make some people go "Whaaaaat" but I'm reading my first PKD novel,The Game Players of Titan and I must say I'm thoroughly impressed.:)
 

Connavar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2007
Messages
8,411
This might make some people go "Whaaaaat" but I'm reading my first PKD novel,The Game Players of Titan and I must say I'm thoroughly impressed.:)
Hehe i just got The Game Players of Titan from the library. Not near my first PKD but i know its not seen among his best works. So if you like it look closer into what his fans think are the best books. Not because its weaker but he did many strong novels.

His best ones are serious SF at their best imho.
 
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