06 May 2010

Amiable Self-Deprecation

My reading taste revolves primarily around fantasy, science fiction, manga and mysteries. Although I was a wider reader when younger, it's a rare thing now for me to stray outside my genres. One exception is Saki, whose short stories simply work for me - particulaly 'Sredni Vashtar'.

Another is Bill Bryson, who came to me via my sister. Travelogues. I have almost all his books now, but have not branched out to other travelogues.

So why does Bryson work? No doubt the mixture of sharp dissection and affection, but I think there's also something Andy Warhol-ish about Bryson's writing - a celebration of the things we see every day and take for granted, which we see anew through his eyes.

He does make me want to write science fiction, to produce a Bill Bryson of the Thirtieth Century, returning to his home planet after a few decades away, and marvelling at the Thirtieth Century version of cup-holders. A near-plotless ramble complaining about how no-one drives any more, but merely teleports everywhere.

I have too many ideas.

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