December 15, 2004
Sean Stewart, who I've talked about before, is easily one of my favorite authors. Between Mark Lanegan's, "Resurrection Song," and Stewart's book, "Resurrection Man," you could find why I stole the name for this site.
A friend once asked if it bothered me that the site had a name that conjured up religious imagery and that it might actually work against me. His point was that it might be seen as another religious site, and that perhaps blog readers would be put off by that connection.
The answer, of course, was no. I don't mind the religious connection; although it's an irregular topic, it is central to my life. The song and the book both only touch on religion, being far more interested in exploring both family and self.
Lanegan sings in a quiet moan about the loss of direction in a song that feels as untethered and floating as it's subject, he sings about not being able to go home and being lost. It's more a cautionary tale, and a glance at the ghosts in the past, with one spiny moment of clarity: "better keep your heart strong, little friend."
Stewart's book, beginning with a man named Dante finding his own corpse, is a great book to read to that soundtrack. Unfortunately, I've lost my copy of the book so this desire I have to read it will go unfilled until I take possession of the used copy I just ordered on Amazon.
What do I find so compelling about him? It would be hard to read most of his work without having some strong response. The response isn't always positive, but with such striking imagery and jolting, blunt statements, my responses have always been strong.
Like it or not, how can you find that anything but intriguing? It may be maddening, and it may make you want to respond to the accusation, but it doesn't leave you feeling passive.
So, hopefully before Christmas I'll be able to read the book again. Or maybe I'll just start off by reading Mockingbird again. These are the first paragraphs of the book:
I'll say this for Mr. Stewart: the man knows how to drag me into a story and keep me reading right up 'til the end. While I didn't enjoy two of his books (Clouds End, and The Night Watch) I can heartily recommend the rest of his catalog. Resurrection Song is well worth tracking down, A Perfect Circle may be his best, Nobody's Son is brilliant, Galveston is exceptional, and Mockingbird certainly deserved its good reviews.
The problem with Sean Stewart's work, as much as it is a problem, is that it still occupies genre territory (fantasy and science fiction, to be specific), but it's written in as contemporary literature. The market for this kind of work is unfortunately limited.
In the hopes of encouraging him to write more books, I would also encourage any of you who enjoy speculative fiction in all it's forms to go out and give one of his books a chance. After I finished A Perfect Circle, I loaned it to the g-phrase. When she was done with it, I loaned it to a close friend at work. She, in turn, has loaned it in succession to her boyfriend, her best friend, a former co-worker, and it has somehow landed in the hands of her best friend's ex-husband.
The book has an impressive power to transcend genre lines and be read by people who wouldn't be caught dead with a Heinlein novel, for instance. And if I might be so bold, the book is even better when accompanied by Mark Lanegan's Field Songs.
I'm just sayin'...
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