Jay Lake: Writer

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[books] Recent reading: Red Seas Under Red Skies, and The Ethical Slut

Last week I finished reading Scott Lynch’s Red Seas Under Red SkiesPowells | BN ], the second of his Locke Lamora books. I really admire Scott’s writing. He combines an absolutely byzantine flair for plotting with a profound ruthlessness toward his characters which hits all my reader cookies, hard. Especially when wrapped in such lovely language. There were points in this book where I had to look away or even put it down, because I was so dreading what was about to happen next. At this point in my life, with my critic/author brain more or less permanently stuck in the “on” position, it’s a fairly rare writer who can grab hold of me so thoroughly.

Action, adventure, conspiracy, magic, antiheroes on the hoof — what more could you want of Locke and Jean? I confess about 4/5ths of the way through the book I started to wonder how he was going to wrap it all up. Well, he did. The ending might have taken up a few more pages without annoying me, but in truth, this is a minor quibble.

Anent Scott’s work, one of my favorite reader emails I ever received was regarding my own book, Trial of FlowersPowells | BN ]. The reader took me to task for writing such grubby, degrading prose and doing such awful things in that book (guilty as charged, btw), and asked me why I couldn’t write something clean and fun like Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke LamoraPowells | BN ]. Considering that in Lies people are drowned in horse piss and stuffed into barrels of ground glass, I can’t think how anyone would think it was a cleaner book than Trial.

Prior to that, I finished reading the new edition of The Ethical SlutPowells | BN ]. If you’re not familiar with the title, that’s a lifestyle/self-help/inspirational book aimed toward people engaged in open or polyamorous relationships. I will comment that at least half that book applies to anyone with an active emotional or sex life, regardless of their particular lifestyle arrangements and sexual orientation. I recommend it highly on that basis if you’re interested in exploring your boundaries or otherwise doing some hard thinking in those areas.

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