21 January, 2010

Causing coldness, because someone doesn't know their Bible stories

That would be David Marshall, reviewing Jonathan's Eclipse 2:
We then come to a story by Margo Lanagan called “Night of the Firstlings”. There seems to be quite a stir amongst the tastesetters with many influential voices hailing her as the best thing to come out of Australia since ostrich meat was exported as a leaner and safer alternative to beef. Frankly, having now read four or five of her short stories, I remain unconvinced. This outing is a post-apocalypse tale of a diminishing group trying to stay ahead of plague and floods. I find it uninvolving. I did not care whether any of them survived. Equally, Nancy Kress’ story of a group of people trapped in a hospital elevator left me cold.
*firmly squashes further snarking*


Blogger Cat Sparks said...

Geez -- even I picked which Bible story you were riffing on! Loved it too, by the way.

21 January, 2010 16:02  
Blogger Greg G said...

Why ostrich meat?

21 January, 2010 16:07  
Blogger Misrule said...

Because someone not only doesn't know their bible, they don't know their fauna. Or their continents.

21 January, 2010 16:18  
Blogger Among Amid While said...

Cat: I know - what are they teaching them at school these days?

Greg G and Misrule: I think he's talking about farmed ostriches, which we have farmed here for ages. I don't where they're hiding them, but there are ostriches everywhere! Also a feral ostrich population.

21 January, 2010 16:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greg G and Misrule did not like the taste of ostrich because, never having eaten the meat before, they did not know what it was supposed to taste like.

Nonsense, right?

Anyone can have an opinion on a matter of taste on the merits.

As to classifying the story as "post-apocalypse", there is a standard list of tropes from 'a' for "alien invasion" to 'z' for "zoetrope" or "wheel of life" stories (which ought to exist to describe the découpage and structural experimentation of William Burroughs, Italo Calvino, et al.) and I have never seen "Biblical revisionism" in there — particularly because, with so many Christian literalists out there armed with guns, I prefer not to refer to the possibility of someone traducing Bible stories.

24 January, 2010 16:16  
Blogger Greg G said...

Hi Margo

I knew it was a reference to farmed ostrich, but it was still a very odd choice to refer to it as an identifiably Australian export as ostrich farming started in South Africa and is practiced in both the US and UK as well as here. I'm still pretty sure he either meant emu or thought ostriches are from Australia.

24 January, 2010 16:25  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Greg G

Some thirty years or so ago, ostrich farming was introduced to the UK as the next get-rich-quick scheme. Allowing for the fallibility of memory, I recall the primary promoters as being Australian and their insistence on comparing the meat favourably with beef. For that reason, I associate the promotion and sale of farmed ostrich meat with Australia.

In writing the review of Eclipse Two, I confess to having forgotten that the ostrich is an African bird. Next time, I will stick to the tried-and-trusted reference to sliced bread for my primitive attempts at humour.


24 January, 2010 18:29  

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