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county_lady



Joined: 21 Nov 2008
Posts: 633


Location: N Worcs.

PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 6:19 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote

Apple wrote:

Also can I just ask unrelated what is your avatar a picture of?? it looks like some kind of mutant darlek!! (no offence or anything)


Apple it is obviously a baby dalek in a knitted suit or maybe it is crocheted? Wink


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miranda



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 758


Location: over there somewhere

PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apple wrote:
Well I've missed the boat, sorry Miranda!! I've not been around for a few days or so never mind that was really good not that any of those authors meant a thing to me as I've not heard of nearly all of them. But just for the record after reading them I was drawn to C the most. That one was my favourite.

Also can I just ask unrelated what is your avatar a picture of?? it looks like some kind of mutant darlek!! (no offence or anything)


It's a knitted dalek!    Laughing   I got the pattern off the internet and have knitted five of them for various people.



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MikeAlx



Joined: 17 Nov 2008
Posts: 2105


Location: Seaford, East Sussex

PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, how amusing that A) was indeed Henry James! A bit earlier than I thought - I guessed the date of writing was 15-20 years later. I agree that on the macro-level the sentences are not well-constructed, with too many inserted clauses and some questionable logic. However, at a finer-grained level, I thought some of the words and phrases were very deliberately chosen and not characteristic of a slapdash writer - 'olive-muffled hill', or the bit about curiosity expiring on tiptoe, which is a metaphorical image worthy of a poet. I must admit that James was not much more than a guess for me (not having actually read him). I estimated the era of the prose, had a hunch that it was by an American, and put that together with James' reputation for convoluted sentences and attention to language.

I was also pleased to recognise D as the Chandler. I read it a couple of years back, the only one of his I've read, and something about the passage instantly rang a bell. It's a fun book, even though the plot is rather silly.

I've never read any Roald Dahl, and this story (C) doesn't really make me want to. That's fine, as I'm sure I'm not the intended audience!

B I didn't spot as Ballard, despite having read quite a lot of his work (though not this story). I suspect this must be a short story from the 1960s. It doesn't seem as polished as some of his later work. Knowing the concept behind the story explains some of the choices which Himadri criticises - the slippage of tense (surely intended to create a sense of temporal disorientation) and the wording of the first couple of sentences (Himadri's alternative doesn't work so well within the conceptual framework, because the fact of not knowing the exact time is unremarkable - flagged by that phrase 'of course' in Ballard's version). I agree there are too many adverbs. This is fairly typical of SF of the 1960s and 70s.

Anyway, thanks Miranda - that was fun. We should do this more often.



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miranda



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 758


Location: over there somewhere

PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Mike!  I love to do them!

The Ballard is a short story from an anthology I have.  The slippage of tense does happen all through the story and, you're right, does add to the sense of the dislocation of time in the story.  

And it was first published in 1961 and was part of the New Wave of Sci-fi.  Which was a reaction to the Campbellian 'gung ho' Sci-fi of earlier.



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TheRejectAmidHair



Joined: 19 Nov 2008
Posts: 3864


Location: Staines, Middlesex

PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was just looking through my copy of The Portrait of a Lady, and - after the first pew pages which are truy awful (has any other novel of comparable stature started with such a naff opening sentence?) the prose, though convoluted, is actually are rather elegant. Whichever page I turn to, I find beautifully constructed sentencees. But, whether through accident or by design, Miranda has given us a real stinker. I take Mike's point that some of the phrasing is very fine, but that long unpunctuated stetch in the middle really is rather poor, I think.

As for the Chandler, I do love that prose. It is individual, and instantly recognisable. I'm quite pleased I picked that as my favourite excerpt.




Last edited by TheRejectAmidHair on Sun Jun 07, 2009 9:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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miranda



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 758


Location: over there somewhere

PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing     It came down to a choice of four excerpts and I picked the one that was easiest (less boring!) to type.    TBH, I tried to read this but couldn't.  And yes, it was a bit naughty of me to pick this book especially for you.  But it wasn't just that.   There probably are very elegant setences and Henry James must be a good writer as he is still read and admired.  It's just not my kind of writing.



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Caro



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 2974


Location: Owaka, New Zealand

PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh dear I thought I had posted something here, but I suppose the interruption I had meant I inadvertently wiped it all before pressing send.

I was quite happy with all this.  I thought A was appallingly written, but I always run a mile from anyone described as even vaguely reminiscent of Henry James.  

And pleased to see C was by Roald Dalh.  I heard him described the other day as the best of all children's writers, and this passage seemed to me to not only get into a child's mind, but ensured the reader felt something of the same worries, while also holding in their heads the absurdity of all this.

And I can now put aside the thought of reading Raymond Chandler - readable enough, but nothing to get very excited about.  And I probably won't read Ballard either, though I am rather pleased to have recognised this wasn't quite realism.  

So thanks muchly for that, Miranda. One day I shall put forward a set myself.

Cheers, Caro.



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