In Which Our Heroine Considers the Midichlorians of the Field

23 September 2004

Yesterday: migraine. Blech. At least I got migraine sleep out of it (migraine sleep is the best, seriously). Feel much better about my prospects of progress on the book after some migraine sleep.

I read Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife yesterday and enjoyed it immensely. Several years ago, I would have decided that it was not science fiction. Now I think it's just not very good at being science fiction, but because it's very good at being a love story or the story of a family, I don't have to care about that part if I don't want to.

The distinction, to my way of thinking, is how well the speculative conceit was explored or handled or integrated. In this case, I didn't buy the "medical" explanation offered. It was somewhat similar to midichlorians for me: better to let things just happen than to hang an explanation on them that made less sense in context than the thing itself. "Why did you put the grocery shopping off until tomorrow?" "Oh, it was because of the magnetic resonances." "I...see." "They made my telomeres too active." "Do you even know what those words mean?" "Uhhh...." I also didn't buy the way things tied together for the story, how convenient the involuntary time travel was, how it "affected" the main character's job but did not lose him his job. (Designated Librarian Friends, tell me: how good a librarian would you have to be to get away with running around the stacks naked fairly regularly?)

But it wasn't about those things, it was about (as the title so neatly implies) the time traveler's wife, and her story was good. So I could sail on past the rest.

I'm still picking (very very slowly) at The White Death, and I've just barely started Tony Daniel's Superluminal. I enjoyed Metaplanetary a couple of years ago, and this is the sequel to it. I wanted something skiffy through and through after The Time Traveler's Wife, much though I enjoyed it, and this promises to be that. It's from my oversized pile of hardbacks, the remains of lots of plane trips and a couple of illnesses. Eventually I'll get to The Confusion (just now that The System of the World is coming out, of course), but that is a hardback among hardbacks, and it will have to wait a bit longer.

And a bit longer than that, because instead of sitting down to read, I'm going to work on the book. Go figure.

Back to Novel Gazing.

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