Derik Badman's Journal

2019-08-15 08:10

Almost at the halfway point of The Book of the Long Sun and got to one of those places where the focalizing protagonist has something happen to them mostly "off-screen" (what is the literary term for that?) that we, the reader, only hear about later via the character's report to other characters. This is similar to major elements of other of Wolfe's works: Severian in New Sun often leaves out events (slightly different because he is the narrator of his own story); Latro in his various books often leaves out information (either on purpose or because of his forgetting). The difference in this case is that Silk in Long Sun is not, as far as I can tell, the narrator of his own story (it's doesn't appear to be a book that is written as a reproduction of a diegetic narrative). In this particular scene there is a confused section of brief sentences, not totally clear, with some short dialogue, then a break, and time has passed and Silk is somewhere else, after which he recounts some information of what happened to the person with him. But, we don't have reason to believe he is necessarily being totally truthful since he thinks the person he is talking to is a spy.

This type of gap feels a little more like a trick in this book, since it is not a narration by the character. I don't believe up to this point, the narration has left any lacunae like that in the events that Silk has experienced. It feels like an inconsistency to suddenly decide to withhold a scene, but it also then gives that missing scene an exaggerated place in the story, because of that withholding. I'm curious to see how much that pays off.

Finished one of my other recent manga purchases yesterday, Ryuko vol.1 by Eldo Yoshimizu. This bills itself as a kind of sexy crime thriller and has an evocative cover (with some beautiful blue watercolor that is both a woman's long flowing hair and the lengthened shadow of her and her motorcycle), but inside it is confusing yet simplistic mess. Yoshimizu is an artist (illustration and sculpture mostly it seems) coming to manga for the first time, and that really shows. While there are a number of large illustration-like images in the book that are attractive and skillfully done, the actual pages and panels and action scenes are a mess. The art frequently has a scribbly, hatching, loose style that could be really interesting if it weren't constantly falling into murkiness (often from an overuse of dark tone), lack of clarity, and what looks like generally laziness. A number of the action scenes and settings were completely incomprehensible with a general overuse of speed lines. Characters were not always easy to differentiate or identify, and the story in general is repetitive and banal (lots of girls with father issues). This also has that ridiculous thing where while there are secondary characters prancing around in bikinis (one in a cowboy hat and boots) and clearly the book is to some extent selling itself with sexy women, when there is a completely unnecessary (to the plot) scene of the protagonist in the bath, her hair strategically covers her nudity.

A lot of hallmarks artistically of an illustrator doing a comic. I'll be skipping volume 2.