OK this is so big I had to post it here as well as on the Love You Like Suicide page.
Umm, guys! Charles de Lint reviewed the Cometbus issue (I am trying very hard not to explode into expletives).
Charles de Lint– only one of the most magnificent, dexterous, and moving writers out there, the master of urban fantasy, winner of the World Fantasy Award. I met him last summer and fangirled all over him. I was so nervous to meet the man who informed my writing, and also my teen world, and fired my imagination while I was growing up in Ottawa where many of his Newford books are set. Here’s the review, which by the way appears in the Jan/Feb issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction
Now, where’s my fainting couch?
Love You Like Suicide, by Jo Treggiari, CometBus Issue 55 1/2, 2013, $3.
Chapbook (also available as an ebook published by Fierce Ink Press)
Something that’s bugged me for a while with this current fixation the publishing field has with dystopias is how dystopias get glamorized. Sure, the world is pretty much in ruins, but, hey, isn’t it cool? Wouldn’t it be great to live after civilization has collapsed?
I honestly thought the whole dystopian trend was going to go away after a few years but it’s only getting stronger. (The same thing happened with vampires a while back. I thought that would fade away, too, and you can see how right I was. There’s a reason nobody comes to me looking for predictions on future trends in the field.)
But getting back to dystopias—I think this glamorization started with how street and punk culture has been depicted in genre fiction. The trouble is, with many of those books and stories, nothing convinces me that the author really understands what it would be like living on the street, or being a punk, or scrabbling to stay alive in a ruined world.
If they did, they wouldn’t romanticize it the way they do.
All those authors would do well to read this novella from Jo Treggiari (the author of Ashes, Ashes—yes, another dystopian novel, but I haven’t read it yet, so my jury’s out on it). Love You Like Suicide isn’t a piece of genre writing. Turns out it’s not even fiction. But it is one of the most raw, honestly told, harrowing things I’ve read in a long time.
Set in San Francisco’s punk scene in the 1980s, it tells the story of the author’s nihilistic life as an addict, living in squats, making art, all the while living and breathing music.
It’s not pretty. It’s not happy. The author herself isn’t sure why she’s part of that scene. She just knows she doesn’t fit anywhere else.
And that’s why she, and those like her, are there. They don’t fit anywhere. They’re wired differently—and that’s what so many of those other authors I mentioned above don’t get. They have the trappings in their writing, sometimes they even get a bit of the tone, but they don’t understand the raw pain that underlies being so disaffected.
Except it’s not only pain. There’s tenderness there as well. A desire to create…something. Of themselves, or maybe through some form of art. But the poverty, the drugs, the darkness, grinds them down until they walk around like junkie ghosts.
It’s a real-world dystopia and it’s not glamorous.
Love You Like Suicide is easily one of the best things I’ve read all year, and I hope to hell that Ashes, Ashes is even remotely as good.