Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Cliche straight from the Swanwick

"From Babel's Fall'n Glory We Fled," a story by Michael Swanwick, podcast by Escape Pod and Sarah Tolbert, at first filled me with shame. So many SF clichés were assembled that I felt like an abject dork for having ever tolerated any of them. Was it time to give up and start buying lady magazines?

"Imagine a jeweled mountain, slender as an icicle, rising out of the steam jungles and disappearing into the dazzling pearl-grey skies of Gehenna."

Piss off!

The formulaic, fetishistically-explained Gibson+Niven gizmos, the quasi-puppeteer, the kooky AI narrator, the pedantic xenoanthropological footnotes, the ridiculous alien voice, the cataclysm, the artefact, the jungle . . . if I hadn't had flour on my hands, I wouldn't have kept listening, but I'm glad I did because Tolbert and Swanwick both hit their strides and it becomes an utterly elevated and beautiful work, something which executes some very agile and suggestive meditation on cliché itself. I feel I can't say much more without spoiling it. Check it deep!

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