Weekly Churn 001: Television and Tattoos

Yonge Dundas Square

Ahoy! Welcome to the Weekly Churn, a regular series of posts about what I’ve been reading, watching, and thinking about over the previous week. This is sort of my response to the whole newsletter phenomenon, but mostly it’s about getting me back into a headspace where writing is a habit rather than an event. So here goes. The big news for this week is that Tim Maughan’s book Infinite Detail finally dropped. I’ve been a fan of Tim’s work for quite some time—somebody recommended Paintwork, his self-published collection of short fiction, and I was hooked right from page one. It took Infinite Detail almost a year longer to come out than expected, but it’s well worth the wait. I’ve been re-reading Bragi Ólafsson’s work as prep for my review of Narrator, his latest book to be translated into English, but I was so excited about Tim’s novel that I set… Continue Reading

Infinite Detail, by Tim Maughan

Infinite Detail cover

It’s rare for me to be as excited about a new release as I am about Tim Maughan’s excellent debut novel, Infinite Detail. I don’t recall exactly who put me on to Maughan’s work—someone on Twitter, surely, as that’s where I’ve gotten most of my book news and recommendations for close to a decade now—but I read Paintwork in 2016 and felt like I’d finally found the kind of science fiction I’d been looking for, and which the genre seemed determined not to give me. For those who haven’t encountered Maughan’s fiction before I’d probably say that it combines William Gibson’s remarkable ability to see right to the heart of now with the politics and analysis of someone like Adam Greenfield and the weird narrative prototyping of design fiction, although that doesn’t seem quite right. Jay Owens might call it kitchen sink dystopia, which applies to much of his short… Continue Reading

Company Town, by Madeline Ashby

Company Town, by Madeline Ashby

For her third novel, futurist Madeline Ashby has taken a break from her excellent Machine Dynasty series with the standalone novel Company Town. Set in the near future on New Arcadia, an oil-rig-turned-city somewhere off the coast of Atlantic Canada, it follows Go Jung-hwa, a young, cynical bodyguard for the United Sex Workers of Canada, and one of New Arcadia’s few citizens who has not been subject to genetic engineering or received implants of any kind. When the family run-company Lynch Ltd. buys New Arcadia, she finds herself offered the job of protecting Joel Lynch, youngest member of the Lynch family and heir apparent, who has been receiving death threats. Not long after taking the job, someone starts murdering people from Hwa’s former life. Company Town blends themes, genres, and concepts for some extremely successful world-building. Ashby gives us a frontier-town noir thriller that features social progress in attitudes about… Continue Reading