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Reviews, Reviews.

a trio of reviews for leviathan four: cities.

1.

from affinity8:

"The strongest stories in the collection are Ben Peek's "The Dreaming City," Jay Lake's "The Soul Bottles" and "The Wizard of Wardenclyffe" by Ursula Pflug...

"The Dreaming City" was particularly fascinating for the way it mixed fact and fiction while exploring the aboriginal fight for Sydney, Australia. The shifts in time and place were a little jarring at first but worked well, and I like how Peek portrayed the aboriginal hero Pemulwy (even when he's stabbing Englishwomen) and incorporated Mark Twain, who visited Sydney on one of his many travels. I too have been to Sydney, and Peek's writing reminded me of the harbor quite well. The ending didn't work for me, but that was a common problem I had with this collection."

2.

from mastage:

""The Dreaming City" by Ben Peek is almost a great story. A story of Mark Twain dreaming in Sydney Harbour's dream, it's a wonderful Australian story that had me wondering just how much of it had actually happened, and left me wanting more than ever to visit Australia. The reason the story doesn't quite achieve greatness is that, as one of its characters once said, "The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug," and it seems that in this story there were a lot of almost right words, keeping sentences that should have been fantastic merely workmanlike. Still, a highly recommended story."

3.

and matt cheney at sfsite.com:

""The City of God" gives way to "The Dreaming City" of Ben Peek, where Australian history alternates with myth and Mark Twain learns about the plight of Aboriginal people. It sounds ridiculous in summary, but it's actually marvelous, and Peek cunningly mixes fact and imagination. The ending may be a bit of a sermon, but the impulse to sermonize was one Twain himself knew well."

EDIT:

a fourth review, dropped in the user comments by by nihilistic_kid (who organised galleys in return for reviews).

4.

kldwriter:

"In Ben Peek’s 'The Dreaming City', Mark Twain endures a mini-Inferno so as to witness Sydney, Australia’s colonial past through the eyes of his guide, a long dead aborigine. This story does much with the concept of a town ‘heart’ and how this heart – for good or ill – may come into being and silently alter those within its sphere of influence."


which is all just cool.

(and i think, right here, in this one book, with these comments and others i've listed, i've had more said about this story than i have for my complete body of work over the last nine years of selling fiction. which is fair enough, in hindsight, and since i think the story is actually one of my better ones, and represents more of what i'm about and capable of these days, i'm quite pleased.)

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Comments

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ashamel
Nov. 30th, 2004 09:26 pm (UTC)
Very cool indeed.

Now I just have to wait till it turns up here (and get a moment to read it, sad to say)

It must be said that talking about short stories always seems a bit odd, since they're just... short. You really need a critical mass of them to start drawing any conclusions.
benpeek
Nov. 30th, 2004 09:30 pm (UTC)
i like talking about short stories. they're about the same as a half hour tv episode, so you know, you can talk about them in the same way, which is often a very relaxed, did i enjoy or not kind of way.

of course, the problem is finding people who have read the same short bit as you. a bit unlike the telly, that is.
ashamel
Nov. 30th, 2004 09:33 pm (UTC)
I can never find people who watch the same TV as me, so maybe you are right...
benpeek
Nov. 30th, 2004 10:12 pm (UTC)
i watch very little tv, myself, but i can always find someone who has been watching south park.
ashamel
Nov. 30th, 2004 10:15 pm (UTC)
I watch At the Movies...

Other than that it's DVD stuff like Dead Like Me and Kingdom Hospital.
ashamel
Dec. 1st, 2004 04:02 am (UTC)
Back on topic, I think what I was trying to say was that it's hard to talk about short stories to those who hadn't already read them (preview, review or just conversationally). There's only so much discussion of plot or theme or style you can cover before undermining the original.
benpeek
Dec. 1st, 2004 04:51 am (UTC)
true, but isn't that the case for just about everything?
nihilistic_kid
Nov. 30th, 2004 09:54 pm (UTC)
Here's another one...
benpeek
Nov. 30th, 2004 10:11 pm (UTC)
Re: Here's another one...
cool beans.
ceret
Dec. 1st, 2004 07:21 pm (UTC)
Unless you're Norma Khouri, all press is good press. But good press is especially good press.

Yay! Well done. This sounds like exactly the sort of thing I love to read. Must try to snaffle a copy somewhere.
benpeek
Dec. 1st, 2004 08:23 pm (UTC)
when people do talk about my stuff, it's usually in a good (or interesting) way. which is what i like, the fact that people are open to it, y'know? if they find faults, fair enough, but i few fiction (my fiction, at least) as a form of communication with people. maybe that's how all people see their work, but for a time, it wasn't how i saw mine.

anyhow, i actually think you might like the whole anthology. it's got some nice experimental stuff in it, by all accounts.
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