Skip to main content

Occasional Media Consumption: Swordheart, by T. Kingfisher.



I'm not sure how to say what I want to say without saying it wrong.

I don't think I have been this excited for a new author's work since I was in the rapid process of discovering and then chewing through the back catalog of C.J. Cherryh, who at that point had just published Foreigner and grabbed me by my whiskers and screamed (metaphorically) "Look! Here is an author whose style of prose and choice of character speaks directly and entirely to you!" Or that moment in my high school years when I stumbled upon Melissa Scott's Trouble and Her Friends and I suddenly knew, with a certainty that has still not yet left me, that I wanted to be a part of the future (and the culture) of technology. And yet that's not fair, because T. Kingfisher, nee Ursula Vernon, is her own writer, her own voice, her own authorial person, and doesn't deserve to be compared to others. 

To say that Kingfisher's prose style and choice of genre (which is to say, a particularly dark and comedic bent take on various well-worn fantasy tropes and story types) fills the void that was left when Terry Pratchett died is unfair both to Pratchett (and his daughter, a brilliant author and collaborator in her own right) and to Kingfisher, whose approaches and technical craft are worlds apart from Pratchett. And yet, there is a particular thread, a particular viewpoint, a particular (and very-difficult-to-do-correctly) approach to finding the humanity and the heart and the humor even in some pretty terrible and trying and difficult moments in a story, which have not, and arguably cannot, been privy to any but those very few names in the rolls of authors of genre fiction. Pratchett, Gaiman, Adams. You can tell an Adams story by the absurdism. You can tell a Gaiman story by the gentle darkness. You can tell a Pratchett story by the puns. And you can tell a Kingfisher story by the utterly plausible, utterly mundane, utterly hilarious humanity present in the narrative. 

I'm glad I was able to read this new novel by T. Kingfisher. It's hilarious. It's moving. It's utterly charming. It's about a magic sword and a widow and a lawyer and arguably, it's a Road Movie of a novel (though it's mostly this one little chunk of road that they go back and forth on...several times). You will not be disappointed if you buy it and read it. But I will admit that I'm a little sad that I finished it, because it means I have to wait for the next one. 

And I will wait. Ever so patiently. Waiting. With patience. For the next one. Whenever it's ready. 

You should buy it, and then we can talk about it, and maybe help each other to tide ourselves over. 

Comments

  1. Not sure if it's the same for you, but I thought I found that same tone / perspective / whatever in a book (series? At least two, I believe) about a company of mercenary orcs. By Erik Something, or Something Erikson. Maybe. Been a while, don't know what else he's written, but if you want to exercise your Google-fu... Recommended, as JerryP would have said.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

What I Did This Weekend, And Why It Mattered

A while ago some friends of mine pointed out to me online that they were involved in a kickstarter that was live, so I went to check it out. And it was a kickstarter for a gaming convention in the Bay Area in October, and a whole bunch of people that I cared a bunch about were going to be involved and wanted it to succeed. And I was a bit flush that month, so I said 'fuck it' and I backed the kickstarter and that got me a ticket to BigBadCon 2018.

And so I had a ticket, and I made reservations, and bought a plane ticket, and everything was looking up. And then I broke my foot. And now I was mobility-limited. And then my mom died. And I had to go out of town and deal with all of that basically the week before the con, which included taking a bunch of unpaid time off from work. And I thought really seriously about not going, but then I was like: no, there are cool people there that you haven't seen in literal-years. And you've already spent the money. So I said 'fuck…

JoCoCruise: Remembering the Feeling

We drove up to Seattle, because there are no direct flights from Portland to Fort Lauderdale, but there are from Seattle to FLL. Here's the tricky bit: the nonstop Alaska flight from SEA to FLL is a redeye. It arrives at 6AM local time in Florida. Programming note: this was not a great idea.


I'm just too old to do redeyes; I can't sleep and I can't go without sleep and this makes me very, very cranky. Our next trip out to Fort Lauderdale will have to be done differently, for sure. The flight had several mechanical difficulties which resulted in us not taking off for more than two hours, including 90 minutes sitting on the tarmac at the gate while they double-checked everything to make sure things weren't going to break. That was actually fine with me; the longer we waited to take off, the later we landed. (I have a whole bit in my talk about Support about five nines and moving parts and the 737 so I'll spare you the repeat and let you watch it yourself here.) M…