Derik Badman's Journal

2020-10-04 11:00

Going through the latest batch of posts to upload and realizing things I failed to mention.

I read the third of Lois Bujold McMaster's Penric & Desdemona novella series, Penric's Mission. More enjoyable than the second one, as it did more with the interactions between the two protagonists, and there were more secondary characters that were interesting and in conflict. Light, enjoyable, I've got one more from the library, we'll see if after that I am interested enough to request more of them (I think there's seven novellas total).

Started it at the shore and read more of it yesterday, Caravaggio: The Complete Works by Sebastian Schutze, a large hardcover packed with images. I no longer remember what article or essay I read that made me interested in looking at more of Caravaggio's work, but somehow it ended up with me ordering this book. The reproductions are amazing. The book is large, so full paintings get a good viewing and there are pages and pages of details of the paintings too. The text is interesting enough, better when it is analyzing the paintings and how they differ from predecessor's work, less so when it is an endless stream of old Italian names about patrons and priests and such (which is where most of the biographical info comes from). There are multiple smaller reproductions of older or contemporary (to Caravagggio) paintings of similar subjects that really give a sense of how powerfully different his work was/is. The main thing that annoys about the book is while the text and images are interspersed, they don't stay in sync for very long, so at first the text is discussing a painting on the next page or two, but as the chapter goes on the paintings get further and further away from the text discussing them. I think the designers could have done better work spacing out the text so it's easier to go back and forth between the two.

Gave up on the collection of Clark Ashton Smith I was reading. I might try a more specialized collection of his stories at some point (as I did prefer the more other/alternate world fantasy ones to the weird/horror/contemporary ones), but on the whole I found myself tiring of the overwrought language, which is even worse if one samples the prose poems and poetry (of which there is way too much in the collection).

Started rereading the Fritz Leiber "Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser" stories instead. I was rereading them awhile back and got stalled, so I started over from the beginning again. He is much more restrained in his language and descriptions than Smith or C.L. Moore (gave up on a Jirel of Joiry collection too), and the stories are less weird/horror and more fun.

Still playing Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning, mostly mindless but satisfying in some way.

I read Hugo Pratt's Mu the last of the Corto Maltese books. The story is wrapped up in myth and legend and esoterism but none of it feels like it has any meaning beyond the surface, it's just a lot of verbiage and imagery signifying nothing, used to propel a mostly non-existent plot. Pratt is great for social media, there are so many interesting panels and sequences of his art and pacing, but as a whole it just feels pointless, and not very well written. The beginning finds Corto on a ship with a whole cast of characters from previous stories, for no clear reason all together, and the dialogue awkwardly makes sure to get everyone's name mentioned. Was thinking about writing an essay about the whole series now that the translations are done, but I'm not sure. Need to think on it more.

Stalled mightily on the story I was writing. I was trying on a stream of consciousness mode for it, as a change from the more external narration of the previous stories, but I think I chose a poor time to do that in regards to how the larger timeline/plot was progressing. Might need to restart with some other method.