So, I’ve just recovered from another bout of the Nero Wolfe Madness. I’m reading a couple of things I hope to write about soon, but for now, here are some Redeeming Qualities-adjacent links.
Jess Nevins is doing a series on io9 in which he speculates about what science fiction and fantasy novels and stories might have won Hugos if the award had been established in 1885 rather than 1953. Nevins knows a lot about science fiction, he’s got an open mind, and I think he does a really amazing job of showing what the SFF writing/reading/publishing scene was like in the 1880s. I’m not much of a sci fi reader, so I really appreciate having a rundown of what’s good and what isn’t, and familiar names pop up on Nevins’ shortlists more often that I would have thought. The Victorian Hugos series is now up to 1889.
There’s a very cool article by Jennifer L. Brady at the online journal Common-Place that discusses letters sent to Susan Warner by fans of The Wide, Wide World. As someone with fond memories of reading the book, the article gave me warm and fuzzy feelings–as well as making some interesting suggestions about the way people read sentimental novels and about 19th century fandom. It’s called “Loving The Wide, Wide World.”
This is probably the meanest book review I’ve ever read, and while I understand that it might give an aspiring author nightmares, as a reviewer I find it to be a delight. The book is The Book of Kings, by James Thackera, and the reviewer is Philip Hensher.