Comics Creators

What non-comics are you reading these days?


The funny thing about The DaVinci Code is that it wasn’t an immediate hit. Barnes & Noble had heavily bought into the book somehow. If I remember correctly, they had some sort of financial stake in it beyond just selling it in their stores. It took months to over a year for the book to take off in which time they were sending our small store cases upon case of the book. We would put out full tables, endcaps and floorstacks of the book not selling a whole lot of it. We would send cases back to the warehouse only to have them show right back up. Then, something happened and it really caught on.

I read a couple of his books. They get to be a bit formulaic but are decently enjoyable. To me, he’s somewhere between Michael Crichton and Brad Meltzer.


Crichton was a good idea man, not much when it came to actual literary values. He could sure write page-turners, though! Meltzer is much better, although his ideas come from the concepts and action rather than extreme character development. (Not so much in The Escape Artist, Brad’s new one, where the character is center stage.) James Patterson is rather in the same group. But we can go to Conan Doyle or Agatha Christie and see most murder/thriller/spy genre stories have just enough character to drive the plot. As long as Clancy’s books were, and with some change in Ryan’s overall arc, there really was very little character development nor change.

Can’t have changing characters. Bad for sequels.


His name is so untypical (but look who’s talking) that I first read his name as a weird spelling of Cain- Kayne West.


And to some extent that can be enough, depending on what you want to get out of a book. I haven’t read much Crichton but I remember really enjoying The Lost World when I read it as it came out, and it’s the ideas from that book that stuck with me (rather than any particular passage of writing).

The sheer number of adaptations Crichton has seen of his work shows that he has a knack for finding ideas and concepts that capture people’s imaginations. And that can be enough to be a huge success as a writer - you don’t necessarily have to be a great writer in literary terms.


Critchon was a decent writer. Some of his later books were fairly weak but There’s some really gripping writing in a lot of his early ones. I’d rank him above most airport thriller authors.


I read his posthumously-released Pirate Latitudes. Ooof! I prefer to remember him via his 1990s work.


Wasn’t that the one that was only a rough first draft? I was under the impression they brought someone in to finish it.


According to Wiki, the manuscript for Pirate Latitudes was found on one of Crichton’s computers after his death; judging from the book I read, it was probably published “as is” with little or no polishing or editing.

Another book, Micro, was one third written when he died, with a complete outline. The book was completed by author Richard Preston and published in 2011.


Which helps us understand why Terry Pratchett ordered his hard drives to be destroyed.


Crichton, for me, is pretty consistently insightful, even when he’s being wildly speculative. There’s plenty I haven’t read, but I enjoyed reading him as a teenager and then again in recent years. That’s a good measure of how well he holds up.


Started reading Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle this morning because my soul is as foul as burning cat fur.


I went through a big Vonnegut period a few years ago, after falling in love with his writing. A big part of reading for me is that sense of directly connecting with the mind of the author, and Vonnegut’s books have such a strong voice in that way.


I have mixed feelings about Vonnegut but Cat’s Cradle is probably my favorite of his works.


Modern Swahili Grammar


Anyone seen any news or announcements on William Gibson’s new book? It’s listed on Amazon as being published at the end of the year but it was previously listed as being published at the end of last year.


I know he had to do some extensive rewrites, because the present-day section was originally going to be set in the “real” world, with people from the future trying to interfere with Hillary Clinton’s presidency. Could be there’s been knock-on effects from that, so to speak.


Interesting. Is this going to follow his usual pattern and be a part of a trilogy with Peripheral?


I can’t remember if it’s in the same world as The Peripheral, but it shares a lot of thematic similarities with it and Archangel for sure.


I’ll be honest. While I still enjoyed them (because they were Gibson), I was a bit disappointed with both Peripheral and Archangel. Part of that may be because I so enjoyed the Blue Ant Trilogy.


I really enjoyed the non-sprawl stories in Burning Chrome, and I feel The Peripheral and Archangel were a return to that side of his work, especially the weirder pieces like Hinterlands and The Belonging Kind