by wjw on September 24, 2010

I am soooo preening now.

I just read Russel Letson’s review of The Green Leopard Plague.

The nine stories in Walter Jon Williams’ The Green Leopard Plague cover a decade’s worth of his work and display a mastery of genre possibilities and a considerable range of emotional effects. In one of the authorial afterwords, Williams describes an ambitious writing program he set for himself early on: to produce a story of a future ‘‘in which everything went right’’ and one in which ‘‘everything went wrong,’’ as well as a mystery/thriller, a first-contact story, a comedy of manners, and a hard-boiled mystery. He worked his way through the list, and this volume shows that it wasn’t a once-through project – he makes a habit of variety while maintaining an unmistakable writerly personality.

I love to watch writers take on the challenge of the everything-went-right future, and variations on it dominate this collection. It is not a trivial matter to find drama on the far side of the pleasanter versions of the extreme future, the Singularity, or the post-human era – utopias are famously boring as stories – but there certainly remain questions about the meaning of life when it is indefinitely prolonged, when all conceivable material needs have been met, when one’s mental and emotional furniture can be rearranged at will, when nearly all possibilities are available at zero or only moderate cost. This is the territory covered by three (or maybe four) entries from the College of Mystery cycle, stories that shares themes and motifs with work by Greg Egan, Wil McCarthy, and Karl Schroeder, among others . . .

((Skipping reviews of individual stories, in which I am also compared to Fred Pohl, Robert Silverberg, and JD Salinger.))

. . . a ‘‘seasoned writer’’ is what we see when Williams takes on just about any form or tradition. There aren’t many writers in our field (or any other) who perform at this level of excellence in so many different kinds of story, and one wishes for market conditions that would allow him to keep exercising his gifts in as many genres as possible. Meanwhile, we have him in science fiction. Lucky us.

Can I just remark that I have no objection to being compared to Pohl, Silverberg, Egan, and/or the other fine writers herein mentioned?

Naturally you’ll want to buy a copy of this ASAP.

And as for those “market conditions that [will] allow [me] to keep exercising [my] gifts?”  Yeah, let’s hope so.

Ralf The Dog September 24, 2010 at 9:16 am

Great review, I just wish more readers could understand your work. Half the population may be below average, but 90% of people are morons who only want the same worldview presented again and again. Anything that takes people out of their prepackaged comfort zone tends to bomb, “I don’t understand, this is nothing like Star Trek, How could he do this to us?” Perhaps you could make some money writing a reality show? (I know that “Who wants to fart like a millionaire” is looking for new writers.)

If you must let this great review go to your head, use it to motivate yourself to write even more great books,


Oz September 24, 2010 at 10:52 am

Well, well, well. Someone got it right. Go you. This is very much worth crowing about.

Foxessa September 24, 2010 at 10:47 pm

Very, very, very VERY NICE!

But it is not so nice that I must re-register any time a remark from moi is to be made. 🙁

Love, C.

wjw September 25, 2010 at 7:36 pm

But Foxessa, that’s what I have to do on =your= blog!

DensityDuck September 28, 2010 at 9:43 pm

What’s a “green leopad”?

And you have to register to post here? What’ve I been doing all this time, then?

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