Saturday, January 23, 2016

Clay Griffith

Clay Griffith is half of a married couple who have written together for nearly two decades. Their credits include novels such as the Vampire Empire series (Pyr Books) and the Crown & Key trilogy (Del Rey).

Their new novel is The Geomancer.

Recently I asked Clay Griffith about what he was reading. His reply:
Cairo and Its Environs by A.O. Lamplough and R. Francis -- I love travel journals and guides from the 19th century and early 20th century. As a reader, that world seems mysterious and romantic. And as a historian who studied colonialism, they also serve as documents detailing the colonial mindset. I find journals written after WWII are often more self-consciously about the writer than the locale, and the guidebooks are formulaic and less interesting. This particular book could well be research for a future book we’re writing, but even if it isn’t, it’s a unique taste of the Cairo region at the dusk of the Grand Tour era.

The Flash by Geoff Johns, Book 1 by Geoff Johns, Scott Kolins, Angel Unzueta, et. al. -- Yes, it’s a comic book. I’ve read comics off and on throughout my life. And we’ve written comics too; I love the medium! The Flash is one of the DC heroes I’ve followed since I was a little kid. I was out of comics when these issues came out originally so now I’m catching up. My interest in the character has been reignited by the television show The Flash, and since Geoff Johns is considered one of the three or four best to work on the Flash over the character’s 75-year existence, I figured this was a good book to try. So far, it’s terrific. Imaginative. Character-driven. Not too dark. The art varies from cartoonish to realistic. It all works. Not sure it would serve as a starting point for someone completely unfamiliar with the character, but if you’ve got his speedy basics down, it’s a nice take on the Flash.

Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad – This choice is a little different because technically I’m not currently reading it. I was reading it, but I quit. I’ve quit this book several times in my life. I like Conrad. I love Heart of Darkness and enjoyed some of his longer novels such as Almayer’s Folly. But Lord Jim is a monster that has clawed and ravaged me until I ran and hid, unable to stand against its literary fury. I like Victorian and early 20th century writing, but Conrad is another level. His sentences are long, very long indeed, with commas and parenthetical phrases, not simply to further the narrative but in fact to filter the reader’s perception through multiple characters and points of view, not just within a book or a chapter or a paragraph, but within a single sentence, a sentence so full of modifiers and shifting descriptions, that it is difficult to know where the sentence began at the point when the sentence ends, if it ever does end, perhaps next page. I don’t blame Conrad for my failure. I blame myself. One day I will attack Lord Jim again. But it will not be this day.
Visit Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Geomancer.

--Marshal Zeringue