Monday, March 14, 2011

Pixels & Yarn

Yarn is a book that I got at Border's Going-Out-Of-Business-Sale-That-Still-Costs-More-Than-Amazon. (I was having good fantasy book withdrawal after reading The Wise Man's Fear, so I went to get a copy of Kushiel's Dart. Which I have not actually started, but since I've read it a few times already, I'm sure I will get to it eventually.)

It's a "fashionpunk" novel written by Jon Armstrong, and it was nominated for the Philip K. Dick award. Apparently it was a sequel, a fact of which I was not consciously aware when I bought it. Its style reminded me of something -- well, someone: Jeff Noon. So then I decided to reread my copy of Pixel Juice.

Both books have a surreal atmosphere, full of words that don't quite mean what you expect or have been crafted from whole cloth. Both authors have taken slang into new directions that make perfect sense with their new worlds. It's very impressive and occasionally quite disorienting.

Yarn has a world where there are saleswarriers, who carry sharpened knitting needles and have their own war language.
It has yarn that can kill you. It has a group of people whose lives revolve around corn: they tend corn, eat corn, wear corn-based clothes and eventually will recycle themselves to benefit the corn. They live in the slubs, from which our hero has escaped.

Pixel Juice is a series of stories, which are interconnected but not all the time. Some of them are completely stand-alone (or seem that way at first --
there will be minor call backs to previous stories that are so subtle you could miss them). Others are set in the world of Vurt. There are people sucking on feathers in order to dream. There's the memoirs of a junior pimp. There's the purchase of bird shoes. There are people who are allergic to letters of the alphabet.

You wouldn't want to read this sort of book all the time (well, I wouldn't, that is), but they are fascinating. Lovely wordplay.

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