Skip to main content

The Circle Completed

I finished "The Circle" (by Dave Eggers) yesterday, and boy was I impressed. It's a simple story, and for the most part it's told with style but minimal flourish. Although billed as a technothriller by some, it struck me as a coming-of-age story. Maybe Harry Potter and the Search Engine?

I'm going to have a tough time describing what really clicked for me about this story without delving into spoilers but I think I can describe quickly two things that any writer might be interested in.

First off, the use of comedy to sell the horrific is extremely well-done here. Eggers had any number of set-pieces relying on a slow, almost imperceptible drift towards absurdity. The bit with the ever expanding number of screens May (the novel's protagonist) uses was understated but hysterically funny. The novel straddles present and near-future, but the jokes help humanize the situation and ground the story in something approachable and relatable. Although many of the developments of the story are very tense and exciting, the essential satire of the book keeps that part of the story under wraps until it is too urgent and perilous to ignore.

The second thing is the masterful use of foreshadowing. Very little is wasted in May's journey. Even diversions like May's interest in Kayaking and encounters with the scruffy denizens of the Frisco Bay play incredibly important roles in the later sections of the book. Eggers uses imagery such as transparent sharks and circular trips to reinforce the themes of the book, always returning to an element introduced earlier again or even a third time to see how the imagery plays out.

***

Today's episode of "Agent Shield and Spaceman" starts Part Two of the web serial, catching up with three of the Section Starfire agents in the wake of the confrontation at Thulewaite's ranch. Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy!



Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

"The Yuru-chara of Hector, NY" is now available!

My new story, "The Yuru-chara of Hector, NY," is now available in the current issue of the Electric Spec magazine. I'm very proud that this story is getting published at Electic Spec for the simple reason I've been reading the magazine for years, dreaming of the day I might get a story published there. Well, it's finally happened.

The story of "Yuru-chara" is pretty simple: a young girl wakes up to discover that her old virtual friend, a seven-foot-tall yellow monster named Tama Bell, has come to life. While navigating through waves of other virtual creatures released through a world-wide hack, the young heroine tries to come to grips with her responsibility to her forgotten friend and the losses inherent to growing up.

I hope that you enjoy my story and that you give the other stories a try. They're awesome!

Thank you for your continued support.

New Story Acceptance!

As mentioned last week, I do have a bit of happy news to share. I am excited to announce that my story, "The Yuru-chara of Hector, NY," will appear in the next issue of the Electric Spec Magazine at the end of the month. I am tremendously excited about this for a few reasons:
Electric Spec is simply awesome. I've been reading this magazine for awhile and never been disappointed by a single story. To have one of my stories selected is beyond humbling. I can only give an earnest thank you to Lesley L. Smith for choosing the story.I love this story dearly. It has one of my favorite protagonists and shows in the clearest way I've managed where I'd like to go with my fiction. Electric Spec also gave me the chance to reflect on this story and its meaning in a guest blog which I am sharing below. Without being spoilery, this blog expresses some of what resonates about "The Yuru-chara of Hector, NY," with me. Guest Blog at Electric SpecAt the moment, I think the…

Solemn Treasures

In Gilead, the transcendent novel by Marilynn Robinson, a 76 year old man confronts his impending mortality and the sense he cannot provide for his young son after he is gone. He had not expected to meet his son's mother in the twilight of his life, not expected to have a son. If he had, he tells his son in a lengthy letter forming the substance of Robinson's novel, he might have set something by for him. Some sort of savings or investment. It pains him to think that when he is gone, all that he can leave are a few words.

What words.

As mentioned in a previous post, I set myself on the task (is that really the right word here? maybe endeavor would be better) to read as many of the 'great novels' of this young century as I could. After reading Hillary Mantel's "Wolf Hall-" which was also fantastic by the way - I made my way to Gilead. One of the many quietly strange things about this novel is that it's actually the second novel from Robinson. Her first…