I finished reading The Sympathizer last night, and really enjoyed it. Calling it a crime novel is a bit of a stretch, but an argument can be made for it, and I can see either side of the argument, frankly. As I said before, it was interesting to read about the Vietnam War from the perspective of an actual Vietnamese-American, and I feel like Viet Thanh Nguyen did a really excellent job of showing how one could become a Communist back in the days when the small country was torn to shreds by war; and wind up playing a double–sometimes triple–game. I have Nguyen’s short story collection The Refugees; I am looking forward to reading some of his short fiction. And I have landed on James M. Cain’s The Cocktail Waitress as my next read. I am rather excited about it, as I love Cain.
I was in a mood yesterday; not really sure what triggered it, but am more than willing to blame it on heavy weather. It’s pretty much been raining every day and night this week; today I can see sunshine outside my windows through the condensation, and as such the humidity has been unbearable and that does affect me, even when I take a Claritin, as I did yesterday. I got home last night and we watched this week’s episode of The Handmaid’s Tale, which gets more and more viscerally disturbing from week to week. It’s very hard to watch–I can’t imagine how women watch it, frankly–and sometimes so much so that I pick up my phone and scroll through Twitter and Facebook until I can look at the television again. I’ve not read a lot of dystopian fiction, nor seen a lot of dystopian films (I’ve never read nor watched The Hunger Games, or any of the really popular young adult dystopian novels, outside of Chuck Wendig’s Under the Empyrean Sky, and I never read the other two books in that trilogy), pretty much limiting myself to Stephen King’s The Stand, and the Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome film (I’ve not watched any of the other Mad Max movies), and Harlan Ellison’s story “A Boy and His Dog”, along with the film. I’ve had, over the years, ideas for dystopian fiction novels of my own–I am often influenced by books, movies, and television programs that I enjoy; so after watching Thunderdome and reading “A Boy and His Dog” in a short period of time, my mind naturally moved to an idea for a book/story about a dystopian future where a young woman is competing in a cross country car race, across the blighted wreckage of the Great Plains (which sounds kind of Hunger Games-ish, doesn’t it?), which I called “Fox on the Run”–the drivers are called ‘foxes’ and the people trying to catch and wreck them, take them out of the race, are called “hounds”–which I’ve toyed with over the years but never did anything with. In the early 1990’s, I came up with another dystopian idea, in which fundamentalists have taken over the US government, the country had splintered into pieces, some of them at war with each other, and how the fundamentalists have started rounding up ‘indesirables’–gays, lesbians, transgender, mixed race, etc.–and putting them in ‘work camps,’ but there’s an ‘underground railroad’ of sorts to help the undesirables get out. That one was called There Comes a Tide, which was a direct result of the horror of the AIDS epidemic and the callous federal response to it. When hysterics–and this was actually happening, for those of you who don’t remember or weren’t there–were calling for quarantining gay men (and just how and when and where? Yup, concentration camps), it wasn’t hard to imagine that such a thing could actually happen. (That time was so scary, and so incredibly frustrating.) I also have yet another idea, one I’ve actually started writing, but haven’t gotten far with, and over time I’ve come to realize there’s a way to link all these stories together into a trilogy…but not sure I am the right person to write such a trilogy.
But it’s something I think about, from time to time–usually when I am trying not to work on whatever I am currently working on, which is when I usually get my best ideas for other projects, natch. Isn’t that always the way? So, of course, as I work on the revisions, all I can think about is the next Scotty book–and once I actually start writing THAT, I’ll start thinking about something else. I would love to get Crescent City Charade finished by the end of the summer, so I could go on to write Muscles this fall…but we’ll see how everything shakes out.
I’m absolutely delighted that today is Friday, of course. I am hoping to get to see Wonder Woman this weekend; if Paul doesn’t want to go I may just go by myself. On the other hand, maybe I should use that as a reward: if I get as far as I would like to in my revisions, I can go see Wonder Woman.
Okay, back to the spice mines.
Here’s a Friday hunk to get your weekend started: