Sunday, February 15, 2015

Brian Yansky

Brian Yansky is the author of Alien Invasion and Other Inconveniences and its sequel, Homicidal Aliens and Other Disappointments, as well as Wonders of the World and My Road Trip to the Pretty Girl Capital of the World. His new novel is Utopia, Iowa.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. Yansky's reply:
I’m often reading one or two books and listening to one. I read all kinds of novels—YA and adult; fantasy, SF, literary, and occasionally mystery. I’m probably most drawn to works that combine genres in satisfying and unexpected ways. I’m particularly drawn to writers who have a literary bent but wander into genre like Kate Atkinson, Elmore Leonard, Neil Gaiman, and Gabrielle Zevin—to name a few. Most recently, I finished Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel and listened to Thud by Terry Pratchett.

Station Eleven is a novel that’s both literary and dystopian. Even though the plot sounded pretty familiar--another virus comes along and nearly everyone dies --I decided to try this one because I do like a good end of the world story and I’d heard good things about it. And it was great. What Emily St. John Mandel does is take this well-traveled plot line and makes it fascinating. She’s just a very good writer. The language is so specific and so full of life and the characters are the same. The story spends about as much time in the past before the fall of civilization as the world after but this is done so smoothly that the story feels fresh. On top of everything else, she’s very good at plotting.

I love all of Terry Pratchett’s novels and Thud is another excellent one. He’s clever and his social observation is always hilarious and insightful. They’re odd books. Somehow he can make commentary on vampires and werewolves and dwarves and trolls reflect back on our world and our social failures and successes as human beings—among other things. He’s kind of brilliant that way.
Visit Brian Yansky's website.

--Marshal Zeringue