The Tomes of San Francisco

So I did a bit of book shopping whilst is SF at the wonderful Borderlands. If you happen to be near enough to shop there at any time please do so. Empty your wallet in support of our much needed specialist genre stores, and get great books in return!

On the flight out I read the mildly disappointing first Harry Potter. Yes, it was fun and frothy. But bottom line it is the story of a boy whose problem is that he is both ordinary and poor, with the soultion being he is actualy rich and the single most special boy in the world. Those of us who grew up ordinary and poor, only to discover we were actualy ordinary and poor say boo! Down with potter!

From Borderlands I purchased The Fantasy Writer’s Apprentice, collecting the stories of Jeffrey Ford. Wonderful, wonderful and wonderful. I also have waiting to be read Conjunctions 39: The New Fabulists. I have already read many of the stories, but am keen to read the critical pieces Clute and Wolfe. And Her Smoke Rose Up Forever the best of James Tiptree Jnr. I like Tiptree, she represents my ideal of ‘science fiction’ better than any other writer except Philip K Dick, but I gave away the last collection of hers I had before reading it all. Also picked up an issue of Shimmer featuring a story by fellow Clarionite Gra Linnaea, which is yet to be read.

At various other bookshops I also purchased a translation of Sophocles’ The Cure at Troy by Seamus Heaney, A Short History of Myth by Karen Armstrong and only because a brief reading annoyed me so much, The Informers by Brett Easton Ellis, which annoyed me no less in a fuller reading. Note to Mr Ellis: if writing multiple POV’s in first person, at least try to distinguish the voices.


Published by Damien Walter

Writer and storyteller. Contributor to The Guardian, Independent, BBC, Wired, Buzzfeed and Aeon magazine. Special forces librarian (retired). Teaches the Rhetoric of Story to over 35,000 students worldwide.

5 thoughts on “The Tomes of San Francisco

  1. The Informers is the only Ellis book that’s left me cold. Have you read ‘Lunar Park’ though? It’s a very weird book, reminiscent of Stephen King, and really shouldn’t work a quarter as well as it does.


  2. I’ll admit The Informers is my only experience of BEE. I found some elements of his writing breathtaking, until the one trick he was using wore thin. I might try Lunar Park o your recommendation though.


  3. I’ll be very interested to hear what you think of the Heaney. I tend to push his stuff on everyone, as I think he’s generally brilliant, but that’s one of my favorites of his, and he was kind enough to give me feedback on a law review article I wrote on it.



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