Friday, January 11, 2013

The Rise of Ransom City

Following up his Half Made World, Gilman does so in unpredictable style. Or maybe predictably unpredictable as Gears of the City his follow-up to Thunderer went totally postmodern. Here following Jeff Vandermeer’s Shriek: an Afterword and he presents a memoir that is edited by another, a mix of Nabokov’s unreliable narrator and Borge’s faux non-fiction with a healthy dose of Mark Twain’s picaresque wit. This is also one the most aggrieved skewering of Horatio Alger since Nathaniel West’s Cool Million. With references to Twain, Alger, and the continuing quasi-western milieu obviously this is fantasy novel with its eyes set on American myths. Some would argue that the style would keep much of action distanced from the reader, but I found this an interesting literary gambit that paid off more so than Vandermeer’s similar book. Gilman remains one of the most fascinating of contemporary fantasy writers to me. Where will he go next? I’m interested. On a side note how did he get Gordon Lish to blurb this? Weird. On another side note, is there a revival of the Western going on right now?

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