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Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come

Drowned Cities, Pyrite Redux

drowned Drowned Cities, Pyrite ReduxIn November, Sarah reviewed Drowned Cities, from her admittedly biased perspective.

At the time, she praised the thematic depth: “It … explores what it means to be human, our inescapable need to create packs — and why we have to leave them. Bacigalupi scrutinizes humanity’s tendency to act monstrously, our insistence that we are civilized even when the evidence shows otherwise… Our identities are stories we tell ourselves to explain the situations we find ourselves in.”

She also praised the characterization and world building — although at least one comment raised the question of whether the world building here stands up without prior knowledge of the world (which Sarah’s repeated reads of Ship Breaker would have provided) — the powerful metaphors that work themselves into the narrative, and the careful pacing.

She mentioned a few issues with the book: some less than perfect characterization/weak dialog and weak moments in the plot. And, per the comments, an ending that is too hopeful.

A couple months have passed (and the book has been out since May), so we’ve all had a little time to sit with it. Since it’s a title on our Pyrite* short list, we need to consider: do these flaws knock Drowned Cities out of contention? Or will its strengths carry it through? Questions, questions. Let’s start answering them in the comments!

*The Pyrite Printz, or Pyrite, is the Someday My Printz Will Come mock Printz deliberation, and should not in any way be confused with YALSA’s Michael L. Printz Award, often referred to here as the RealPrintz or Printz. Our predictions, conversations, and speculation about potential RealPrintz contenders and winners reflect only our own best guesses and are not affiliated with YALSA or the RealPrintz committee.

Drowned Cities

drowned Drowned CitiesThe Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi
Little, Brown, May, 2012
Reviewed from final copy

So you know that Ship Breaker was the winner the year I served on the RealPrintz committee, right? And I can be a mature blogger — mature enough to admit that I wonder if my affection for “my” winner skews my reading of Ship Breaker’s companion book, The Drowned Cities. I know I’m not alone: four starred reviews, nice write ups in the lots of different newspapers…this is a book that’s getting a lot of love from a lot of people. It’s about to get some more love from me. [Read more...]

It’s All About Who You Know

Prada Luggage by Marcus Troy via Flickr user o5com used under CC licensing 300x180 Its All About Who You Know

An array of baggage for every reader. ("Prada Luggage" by Marcus Troy via Flickr user o5com, used under CC.)

Last week, I was lucky enough to host Paolo Bacigalupi at my school. He addressed a crowd of mostly high school students, and he, not to put too fine a point on it, rocked. He was kinetic and energetic, brought the audience right in, and had lots of interesting things to say.

And while I could devote a whole post to the awesomeness of the visit, what I really want to talk about is a very particular brand of baggage.

Last year, Sarah and I gave some thought to baggage, and ultimately concluded that it’s all ok because the committee ameliorates the idiocy of the individual.

(Have you noticed that this is an oft sung refrain? Committee work makes you really really believe in committees working, once you’ve experienced it working and seen how astounding it can be.)

We were looking at the baggage a reader carries, which is the obvious one. But there’s also the baggage that the author brings on board.

[Read more...]