Monday, November 30, 2009


Rob Will Review... on Paragaea

I need more readers like Robert William Berg. With a thousand like him, I could take over the world.

Berg is a freelance writer who reviews everything on his blog, Rob Will Review... (and by everything I mean books, film, music, theater, and tv). I thought that I'd linked earlier in the month to his incredibly insightful review of Here, There & Everywhere, but I appear to have just thanked him for the review on Twitter, and never gotten around to posting the link here. In paragraphs like the following, Berg gets to the heart of what I was trying to do with the novel in a way few reviewers have before him.
Underneath the larksome exterior, however, Roberson’s novel has a rather serious subtext. Although most of the time, Roxanne has a ball traipsing across the universe, she can also be a deeply lonely individual, who has sacrificed the chance at making deep, long-lasting connections with other people in favor of her extraordinary gift. While she usually is able to accept her lonesomeness as a trade-off for the remarkable life she is leading, her solitary existence affects her at unexpected times, and more so as she ages.
Last week, over the Thanksgiving holiday, Berg posted his review of Paragaea: A Planetary Romance, and in the very first paragraph identifies something about the novel that I thought in writing it was perfectly obvious, but which I don't think any other reviewer before him has ever caught (or if they caught it, never mentioned it).

About a third of the way through Chris Roberson’s Paragaea: A Planetary Romance, I realized that I was reading a new spin on L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, though instead of a turn-of-the-century, Kansas farmgirl being swept up in a twister to the magical land of Oz, our heroine is Leena, a Soviet astronaut in the 1960s who–not unlike Farscape’s John Crichton–is sucked into a portal to another world while orbiting Earth and spends the majority of the novel trying to get back home.

Baum's original The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was, in fact, one of the proximate inspirations for Paragaea, and along with Edgar Rice Burroughs' A Princess of Mars one of the two novels I read to get myself amped up to write the novel. The fact that our heroine ends up travelling with a giant cat, an artificial being, and a man who seems to have lost his emotional center is no accident.

Ultimately Berg doesn't care for Paragaea as much as he did Here, There & Everywhere, but still has kind words for it. I'm curious to see what he makes of End of the Century, now.

Always nice when someone sees behind the veil a little, isn't it?

Me, I'm impressed at your productivity. Every time I visit you seem to be writing another book :) And they're always good books too!

-Sam (s. boyd taylor/nikwdhmos)
Well, they're not all *that* good. But thanks!

And writing is just typing, when you get down to it. It's a heck of a lot easier than any job requiring heavy lifting, I've found.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by 

Blogger. Isn't yours?