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It's an interesting review, actually, and I do find it amusing that I'm not part of the authors who have an 'unselfconscious ‘Australianness’ ' in my writing, though McHugh is unable to explain such a quality, as would I. It's even a stranger critique to have when the stories he finds with this quality are about vampires and are compared to David Lynch. Taste is taste and all that, but I could've done with a bit more time given to that idea, I think.

Anyhow, about 'The Dreaming City' he writes,

"Ben Peek’s ‘The Dreaming City’ similarly flirts with not-quite-right American characterisation. Nonetheless, ‘The Dreaming City’ is impressive both for the Ash-esque style attempted and its ambition—to capture the essence of the city of Sydney, through a fusion of real and alternative Australian history. Ironically, while the blurring of fact and fantasy is successful, an idea of the city as a unique entity never quite (for me) emerges."

I have no idea what Ash-esque style is, either, but I assume it relates to Mary Gentle's novel, which I haven't read. I've heard only good things, though.

Link.

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deborahb
Dec. 13th, 2005 01:13 pm (UTC)
I'm more Australian than you are? It's like Backwards World.
benpeek
Dec. 13th, 2005 09:10 pm (UTC)
you're more australian in your david lynch, minus midgets and other things, way.

it was an odd comment, i think. in a way, i reckon that cause i had an american character, that makes me not australian? i've no idea. but i think i will embrace this new found freedom and write about peru.
sonanova
Dec. 13th, 2005 06:12 pm (UTC)
Any time anyone told me I wrote like so-and-so, I ran the opposite direction and refused to read it, lest my style somehow merged with theirs and I was just cast off as the "unsuccessful" version...or a copycat.

*sigh*

And today, while hacking up a paper on FOXP2 and genetics, I really wish I had a style...any style.

Maybe I should start reading Australian science fiction. At least when I move in a year or two, I'll have some idea what to expect from the other dreamers:)
benpeek
Dec. 13th, 2005 09:13 pm (UTC)
well, if he means that ASH book, i won't be reading it any time soon. it's a brick. you can crush babies with it. anyhow, if you're interested in the australian stuff, the year's best book is probably a good place to start--though his warning that the scene has a lot of amatuer stuff in it is quite correct. but check out the book and see how it goes.

why you moving down here in a year or two, anyhow?
sonanova
Dec. 13th, 2005 09:51 pm (UTC)
Cultural anthropologist, studying dreams and futurism. Workihg on my Masters now, but want to go to ANU for their pacific islands or indigenous program...
benpeek
Dec. 14th, 2005 12:50 am (UTC)
Cultural anthropologist, studying dreams and futurism.

is it as cool as it sounds?
sonanova
Dec. 14th, 2005 02:02 am (UTC)
Not yet, but it will be, I am sure of it.

And I guess it already is that cool to some: my last student just left, after a three hour talk about the topic after the study session. Sometimes just the thought of those elements can spark amazing conversations.
benpeek
Dec. 14th, 2005 04:13 am (UTC)
And I guess it already is that cool to some: my last student just left, after a three hour talk about the topic after the study session. Sometimes just the thought of those elements can spark amazing conversations.

yeah, i find that in my little creative writing teaching world, too. it's what makes teaching neat. i don't think i'd do it otherwise. but that little moment when you realise someone is just getting something out of what you showed, that's total cool.

sonanova
Dec. 14th, 2005 03:30 pm (UTC)
Well, I bet your students think of it as a bonus, having a creative writing prof who is not *gasp* afraid to write "genre" fiction. Fiction writing programs in the states are filled with teachers who only write what the other teachers want to read...and what they think they might be able to foist off on some poor student.

Somedays, a chair is just a chair....
benpeek
Dec. 14th, 2005 09:21 pm (UTC)
yeah, i've seen that round here. the genre aspect of my writing rarely comes into play, however. most students don't know what kind of things i write--and it certainly has nothing to do with what i can do for them. indeed, i mostly try to discourage them reading my stuff.
chrisbarnes
Dec. 13th, 2005 10:51 pm (UTC)
Ash is a brick, yes, but it's the best brick I've read in many years. Being favourably compared to it is a good thing, I assure you.

Interesting and thoughtful review, that one.
benpeek
Dec. 14th, 2005 12:52 am (UTC)
yeah, nice comparisons are good. i've always thought of my writing style as being kind of masculine, though--i don't know why. i'm constantly looking for ways to cut that back for female narrators.
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