Friday, August 11, 2006

A Surprise Review

Wasps at the Speed of Sound has been out for about a year and a half now, so it came as something of a shock when Phyllis Gotlieb emailed me the other day to congratulate me on the excellent review the book recieved in the new issue of the New York Review of Science Fiction. I now have the review (written by one F. Brett Cox) in front of me, and it isn't too bad. Some choice quotes:

...many of you may not know there's a man named Derryl Murphy up in Canada who's been publishing ambitious stories of serious intent for over ten years now...

...Most, if not all, of the situations in these stories offer easy opportunities for the sort of melodrama and sentimentality that is the pitfall of many an sf writer who wants to make a Grand Statement about the Cosmic Significance of the Heartfelt Conflicts of his or her Flesh and Blood Characters. To his considerable credit, Murphy largely avoids these traps. His prose is straightforward; his characters are recognizable, flawed human beings (and the occasional alien) who never insult the reader by wearing their guts on their sleeves; his situations, horrific as they are, speak for themselves - all very good things...

...The two best stories in the book, "Day's Hunt" and "The History of Photography," are the most effectively paced, and also the most relentlessly angry and disappointed...

...Ultimately, though, Murphy is to be congratulated for giving us [and here it actually says U.S. - someone did a group replace, U.S. for us. Silly] a book of stories that are about important things but are not in the least self-important...

All isn't sweetness and light, of course. he has some problems with my pacing and balance in some stories. A fair cop, perhaps.

In the meantime, a review on Amazon of YBSF includes this pithy statement about "Mayfly:"
Mayfly, by Peter Watts and Derryl Murphy. Zzzzz.

Swelled head? No problem.

Looks like the reviewer should have taken a nap at some point instead of zoning out over a good story like "Mayfly."
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