May. 30th, 2017

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I'm rereading Borderline in preparation for reading Phantom Pains.

(Be warned that although these are not dwelt on unnecessarily during the book, and I didn't notice any notable bad handling, the main character suffered emotional abuse and a suicide attempt before the book starts.)

I love the basic concept. The main character, struggling to cope with borderline personality disorder, is recruited by an ad-hoc agency dealing with various supernatural stuff. More like negotiating stuff than SWAT raids. I'm being deliberately vague because I like the way the main character finds out about this stuff so I want to avoid spoilers.

Writing about a character whose perceptions shift so radically is really hard. Whenever you're dealing with a main character's flawed perception, you need a balance between, narrative presents their point of view at least superficially plausibly, and yet sooner or later gives enough information that the reader can tell its skewed. But when "this person is great" and "this person is horrible" can abruptly switch places without warning, it's really hard to carry the reader along. Somehow it feels like it doesn't really "count" if the main character believes it but I don't. Borderline handles this well (although not so well I didn't notice).

The supernatural worldbuilding is also really interesting (spoilers below), although it did feel sometimes like it hadn't been fleshed out enough.

I followed the author on twitter and was really pleased when she was nominated for a Nebula.

Minor spoilers )
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This essay points out Brideshead Revisited maybe makes more sense realising its a sympathetic lovesong to dysfunctional families populating glorious excessive country houses, written not necessarily because Waugh liked them, but because he was on leave from the war, and felt (a) hungry for a larger-than-life caricature of simple naive screwed up passions that people who are not dying in a war have (b) he assumed all that would just vanish from history, not that the buildings would be carefully preserved for the public by National Trust and English Heritage.