Sunday, June 27, 2010
By Jeff Vandermeer.
Once again I wander off the plantation with a weird fantasy novel described on the cover as "fungal noir" and "Steampunk delerium". Its another crime story. This time in a city covered in fungus. The bad guys are mushrooms. But that's not what put me off at first. It was the writing. Which featured altogether too many sentence fragments. As in.
Finch sat up. Couldn't see it. Just heard its breathing. Which was worse.
Drove me nuts. Until eventually the story picked up some steam. Began using less. Of that sort of thing. Or I stopped. Noticing it so much.
The city BTW is called Ambergris and appears in several of Vandermeer's books. the word sounded familiar so I did Wiki search:
Ambergris (Ambra grisea, Ambre gris, ambergrease, or grey amber) is a solid, waxy, flammable substance of a dull gray or blackish color produced in the digestive system of and regurgitated by sperm whales.
Freshly produced ambergris has a marine, fecal odor. However, as it ages, it acquires a sweet, earthy scent commonly likened to the fragrance of rubbing alcohol without the vaporous chemical astringency. The principal historical use of ambergris was as a fixative in perfumery, though it has now been largely displaced by synthetics.