This is Not the Best Post in the World, it’s a Tribute!

Ok. Glad I got that out of my system (If that title went right over your head listen to this and then try again. See what I’m getting to here?). Anyway, in all seriousness, I’ve been reading Nick Hornby’s Juliet, Naked. And because of it, I was inspired to write ‘The best post in the world!’

It began with a scene from my past which I felt mirrored the message of the book, then continued with an artfully crafted thesis discrediting that message and finally concluded with a glorious refutation of my previous arguments in favor of the opinion that everyone on the face of the planet should read Juliet, Naked!

I know, I know. It’s ok. Take a deep breath and no I don’t mind if you light up a cigarette. That post would have been one hell of a ride. Definitely worthy of a cigarette. But I digress.

Why Didn’t I write ‘The Best Post in the World!’

To be honest, because I was scared. You never can be too careful with bits of your past. You can dole them out but you really can’t control how people will react to them. And besides, even though I’m telling the story, it really is only MY side of things. No third person omniscient in real life. I certainly could have misinterpreted the events, not been privy to certain information regarding decisions that were made, or in general I could be making part of it up anyway. Memory is a very fickle thing. With all of that in mind, I had to forgo ‘The Best Post in the World’. Instead, you have this tribute.

A tribute that without the production value of the former work may feel something like Tucker Crowe’s second release of Juliet . . . perhaps a bit Naked? But though naked, I hope it will still provide the reader with a perception of Hornby’s work and answer a most important question . . .

The Question!

Why, if ‘The Best Post in the World’ (and by that name I mean me) had so many negative things to say about the book, why continue on with it at all? Why not simply throw in the towel and read something else?

Well, this is a truly difficult thing to say and I am tempted to jump into another swarm of litrical acrobatics (yes, I just invented a word and coined a phrase, both of which I believe perfectly describe the lengths I’m willing to go to avoid telling you why I enjoyed this book so damn much) so that I may never have to give an excuse for enjoying this book.

Because the truth is, I can’t articulate why I had to know how it ended. In general I found the two (perhaps three) main characters completely hopeless. I’m not sure I could spend a drink at the bar with them let alone 12hrs on a plane (2 X 4.5hr flights to San Diego & Back + layovers = The time it took me to read this book), but I did. Their lives seemed almost too unique to be relatable but not fantastic enough to warrant envy or awe or . . . whatever else. They still felt real however.  It wasn’t a stretch to believe that each of the events were actually taking place.

And to witness them; I could hear myself saying “Ahh yes. If I were inspired by such passion as they are I would accomplish similar feats of excited mundanity (I’m just making up all sorts of words today).” The kicker is, that you also feel as if they are going through the motions just like you. That they are breaking into an almost-celebrity’s house to use the loo because they really will cause a scene otherwise.

Perhaps that is why the book is so enticing to read. They’re building expectations while losing faith in idols. Whether the idol is a semi famous rock star, or a relationship, or a calling is almost irrelevant. It’s more about how these characters change, and the way they feel as they’re doing it. There is also a good amount of what I’m assuming is Nick Hornby’s signature wit (the only other thing I’ve read of his is Everyone’s Reading Bastard).

Anyway, as previous paragraphs have explained, despite how much I hated the characters in this book, I loved them too. I needed to know what happens. And while I feel like there is a big way in which I could/should be disappointed, I’m not.

But I guess you’ll have to make up your own damn mind.

Bye for now!

Short Fiction Review: The Way of Cross & Dragon!

Oh man. Another doozy from George R. R. Martin. This week’s short fiction review is about his The Way of Cross & Dragon. At least this one wasn’t completely revolting (I found Meathouse Man pretty disgusting but still worth reading). However, it was certainly another ‘Thinker’. I suppose that is good. Why read if you don’t want to think?

So what did this story make me think about?  A couple things really:

1) People really shit on the Catholic Church

In my mind I want Damien to look like one of these guys!

In my mind I want Damien to look like one of these guys!

I suppose I’m just tired of this motif. There is no doubt in my mind that the One True Interstellar Catholic Church is supposed to revert us back to a period in the Catholic Church’s history, probably the late 1100’s and early 1200’s (really it’s the Inquisitors that give it away). And even though this story is supposed to take place in the future, it feels like we are in the past. It also feels like any form of organized religion is fake or inauthentic, and that belief is for fools. That it is simply constructed to distract us from the harsh and terrible world we live in, or to control the dimwitted masses. I’m kind of over that twist. I’d like to see the Church catch a break once in a while.

Of course I could be misinterpreting the setting. I’m open to suggestions. AKA please comment.

2) Entropy: Really interesting way to look at the world

Entropy is 100% my favorite theme in Sci-Fi and Fantasy literature. Not so much from the everything breaks down and nothing lasts perspective. That’s pretty depressing and not a whole lot of fun. More from the perspective that things must be torn down to be built up. That the universe is constantly changing and from the ruins of something that once was, something else will be. Pretty dramatic stuff right?

The Way of Cross & Dragon seems to frame entropy as a contradiction. After listening to a huge speech about how everything eventually breaks down, the main character seems to be stuck in a seemingly everlasting cycle which will continue on forever. Pursuit of truth is the only true constant.

Is it possible that she's better looking as a brunette?

Is it possible that she’s better looking as a brunette?

3) This story has to be the precursor to GoT

Also, this Judas Iscariot fellow (at least the way he is constructed in The Way of Cross & Dragon) seems to resemble Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones an awful lot. Actually, the only difference I can see is that Judas is a dude. Anyway, I haven’t been reading GoT but I’ve been trying to keep up with the HBO series. Obviously, now I’m going to start looking for any type of biblical references in her character (although at present they are eluding me) as the story progresses. Maybe I’ll find something, maybe not.

Again, if you already know of some of these please comment.

And finally:

4) I think this is as happy as an ending gets for George R.R. Martin

I’m really starting to feel like George R.R. Martin just doesn’t do happy. I sincerely hope that he’s more cheerful in person than some of his writing. This is the second short fiction piece I’ve read by this author and for the second time I’ve need to put it down and go do something else to distract myself. He gets heavy and he does it quickly too.

Anyway, reading back over this post again, it would seem that I didn’t enjoy The Way of Cross & Dragon. That isn’t true. I did enjoy it and would certainly recommend it to anyone reading this post. I really liked the juxtaposition of elements in the story which were supposed to represent Entropy, with those elements which were supposed to represent Immortality. Order from chaos, chaos from order, etc. I think he could have pushed a little harder on in the setting. The inauthentic church motive seems a little tired to me, but this story was written back in the 80’s so maybe it was a fresher idea in that time. I think that’s all for now. If I find any good GoT tidbits relating to this story I’ll be sure to add them. Or maybe just do another post.