Thursday, March 16, 2006

RIP Octavia Butler

I know I'm late to the party on this one, but I only just saw the obituary in the newspaper. Anyway, this seems to be another of these months were all sorts of people whose work I like and respect dies. I remember being riveted by Butler's Xenogenesis trilogy as a teenager, and I'm ashamed to admit that I haven't bought any new SF books that aren't at least fifteen years old since Oryx and Crake was released in paperback. It just seems like all of the recent stuff looks either boringly pulpy (just how many Honor Harrington novels are there?) or so literary and high-flown that one can't remotely enjoy it (I'd like to subtitle Michel Houllebecq's latest opus Cold, Boring and Whiny Lazarus). Even my old favourites are failing to grip me: I've completely given up on Sheri S. Tepper, for instance, as everything I've read of hers that's been written since Gibbon's Decline and Fall just reads like self-pastiche to me. I did get lent Paul J. MacAuley's White Devils recently and enjoyed it, but I can't say I feel much desire to read it again.

Something about a person dying seems to send me completely into curmudgeon mode. Right, my mission for the next few weeks, should I choose to accept it, is to find some new sci-fi writers to enjoy. Suggestions, as always, greatly appreciated.