Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Robert Silverberg: Gilgamesh the King

I seem to have some difficulties with my reading. The two earlier books (and some others I haven't mentioned here in the blog) I almost slogged through. This one was more fascinating, but it didn't grab me the way I hoped it would. No way I would call Gilgamesh the King a bad book, though.

Even though I have only admiration for Robert Silverberg (and have published his works in Finnish!), I have read only few novels or short stories by him. I bought the Finnish translation of Gilgamesh the King when it came out some ten years ago (and I also have the English paperback version of it, with Silverbob's signature!), but I got to read it only now. I didn't really know what goes on in the original epic, but I believe Silverberg has it nailed. This is a realistic version of Gilgamesh's story, told in an archaic, but believable manner. There are some great adventures along the way, but I found that I couldn't really concentrate, and it took my over a week to finish the book. Maybe it's the stress, the feeling I should be reading something totally different, or at least something work-related. The book got more interesting in the end, when Gilgamesh goes on a journey to find out how he could keep himself alive as long as he wants to, only to find himself. The ending has misogynous undertones, which I felt were a bit distracting. 

Nevertheless, highly recommended, not only because it's by one of the great masters of his generation. It's too bad I missed seeing him during the last year's WorldCon in Helsinki, Finland.

P.S. I can't but laugh at the joke someone (I think Denny Lien at the Fictionmags discussion group) that Gilgamesh the King beats the contest where you have to find the longest time between the original work and the sequel. (Gilgamesh the King isn't actually a sequel, though, it's more like a retelling of the original epic, but the joke is too funny not to use.)

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Urban Waite: Sometimes the Wolf

I really liked Urban Waite's first novel, The Terror of Living. It's a tough crime novel, a bit reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy, but standing still very much on its own. I haven't read Waite's second novel, The Carrion of Birds, but I happened to pick up his third novel, Sometimes the Wolf, not long ago, and now I decided to read it.

I don't know what happened. The book started out strong and well and I got the hang of it. The story about a bad cop getting out of prison possibly looking for the loot of 200,000 dollars and his son working as a sheriff in a small town felt interesting.  Then somewhere on page 150 or so I realized I didn't anymore know what was going on and what the persons were after. There had been too many days when I'd only been able to read only a few pages, and that started to show. I pushed through, since the book was well-written, but even in the end I couldn't really tell what had happened between. The ending was strong, though.

I really wanted to like this. Hell, I would've liked to know what happened in the book! I'm sure it's totally my own fault - it's been really hectic around here for some time now, and I've also done some travelling, which is never good for reading. As I said, the start of the book was really strong with interesting characters and a good plotline.

Nevertheless, next I'll pick up Waite's The Carrion of Birds. It was translated in Finnish, as was The Terror of Living, but I believe Sometimes the Wolf won't be, which is a pity.

Friday, May 04, 2018

Photo of William Campbell Gault

I once spotted a French Série noire edition of a novel by American hardboiled crime writer William Campbell Gault. As I don't speak French, I had no use for the book, but I noticed it had a photo of Gault in the back. So, here it is, with the actual cover. As the French book covers usually go, this is pretty bland.