Justina Robson’s review of Greer Gilman’s Cloud & Ashes in Strange Horizons struck a number of resonating chords for me. For one, her ambiguous feelings about reviewing echo my own. It’s not only wondering if you’re getting it right, it’s how one offhand sentence can be taken to mean something entirely more than what you intended. I, too, had my problems with Bold as Love (which you can read about here and here and here).
I also share with Robson that Gilman is undoubtedly an interesting and possibly profound writer, but it’s much too much work to appreciate it (“This brings us to the real doorstop of the collection, both in terms of page count and prose density. “A Crowd of Bone” by Greer Gillman invokes Celtic myth concerning…this is the longest story here; it is also the hardest to read… English majors who’ve ploughed through Beowulf in the original Old English may find the language fascinating. This English major found it tedious, and at one point just stopped reading it and went on to the next story. I did eventually go back to finish it, but still considered it rough going”).
Finally, I too struggle with balancing mixed feelings about books I actually like, or should like more, at certain levels, as, for instance, my review of Robson’s latest novel.