Sunday Morning! “They Will Drown in Their Mothers’ Tears”


Rufus F.

Rufus is an American curmudgeon in Canada. He has a PhD in History, sings in a garage rock band, and does many things. He is the author of the forthcoming book "The Paris Bureau" from Dio Press (early 2021).

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13 Responses

  1. Avatar Aaron David says:

    The thing I miss most about no longer working in bookstores is getting the feeling of literature washing over you on a daily basis. Just being steeped in it. For the last decade, I wasn’t too sad about that, as the full extent of the MFA crisis was coming to a head and many major authors I like seemed to be falling under that spell even though they should have had enough clout to get past it.

    Many of the titles you have been mentioning lately, along with the growing levels of independent publishing, give me hope that we are starting to move past that, thank god. I haven’t been to a new bookstore in ages, as there hadn’t been much to attract me, but some of the titles you are mentioning give me hope. Thanks. (My wallet doesn’t thank you, however.)

    One of the interesting things (to me at least) is that period after you finish a truly great book, but even though you had mentally qued one up for the next read, you aren’t ready for it due to the feeling unleashed by the previous book. So I find myself casting around my books, reading snippets here and there until I actually find what I need to read next. And the better the previous book, the longer it takes me to settle into a new one. So, having finished The Razors Edge a few months ago, I am now finding my self back in Mishima’s The Sea of Fertility. And at first blush, the prose seems heavy and flowery, like perfume. But, as beauty is a central theme of the books, I think this is a deliberate choice. In any case, I am enjoying it much more than the last time I started it, which seemed a slog.Report

    • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Aaron David says:

      It’s great having friends who run an independent bookstore in town because they seem to read everything they get in, in spite of doing a billion other things!

      I’m probably gonna finish up Brideshead Revisited tonight. It’s got some heavy prose and flowery language, but it’s as good as I’ve always heard.Report

      • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Rufus F. says:

        Yes, Brideshead is as good as they say. As is much of what Waugh wrote.

        When I was in books, I read probably 4 books a week. It was just natural, as you were surrounded by them, had a perfect selection and it just seemed natural to pick one up at every opportunity.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird says:

    This sounds like a vaguely horrifying nihilistic story about how “these things happen anyway”.

    That is very much My Bag. Thank you for telling me about this book!Report

    • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Jaybird says:

      That was one of the things that got me about this story. The other was the ending, which actually surprised me and made total sense. Check this one out. Don’t wait for the movie- they’ll probably muck it up anyway!Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird says:

      The Matter Of Time Travel is always, at the end, concerned with the question of “does it happen anyway”. All time travel stories (and alternate-history stories, which can be considered the aftermath of someone else’s time travel) wind up being reflections on that question.Report

  3. Another great post, Rufus and something else to add to my reading list.

    I am curious as to how you yourself would define “speculative fiction” since that term I’ve seen used rather widely?Report

    • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

      That’s what I was wondering in the article- how is it different from sci-fi? Is it less tech-oriented? Or is “speculative fiction” just a euphemism used for science fiction to gain a wider audience? I would say that the whys and hows are left largely unexplained in this novel, which could put it in the realm of “speculative fiction”… but the same is true of a number of J.G. Ballard’s early novels, which I consider sci-fi.

      Maybe it’s like the difference between porn and erotica- you know when you see it!Report

      • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Rufus F. says:

        I guess I’ve understood “speculative fiction” to have been a term that arose in response to the Golden Age of Science Fiction, in which literature about science became popular in part because it was serious about science, sometimes almost holding itself out to be an adjunct enterprise of the space program. Tomorrow’s facts today. Works that didn’t seem to be as much about science might be labeled “soft” as opposed to “hard” science fiction, which wasn’t appealing to those whose works seemed to be diminished as less serious.

        Harlan Ellison was one of the first writers I know that rejected the label as a science fiction writer in favor of speculative fiction, and I think his take was twofold: (1) his work didn’t have much of a science focus, and (2) his work had more in common with the writings of Kafka, Borges, and Poe, in whose company he wished to be categorized. So on the one hand, he was trying to broaden the field of what was possible, while trying to emphasize more sophisticated writing, often with modernist / experimental sensibilities. His anthology of what was then called new-wave science fiction writers, Dangerous Visions, included Ballard, Dick and LeGuin, who I believe Ellison would have included. My distant relative, Phillip Jose Farmer, had a story in it that was pretty much about sex.Report

  4. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    I saw Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. It was competent. That is how I feel about a lot of movies these days. They are competent. Very few are horrible but the corollary is that very few are excellent.Report

  5. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    I just found out that Hollywood is doing a remake of Force Majeure called Downhill with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell as the husband and wife. This strikes me as deeply misunderstanding the movie. Or understanding it all too well and Hollywood not being able to handle the bleakness of a European movie. The actors can play fuck-ups but they are always likeable. I don’t think you are supposed to like the couple in the original Swedish movie especially the husband. But Hollywood seems too incapable of doing a movie with truly unlikable characters (unless villains in action movies of some kind).

    This does bring up interesting issues of character and why it is incapable of doing such.Report