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Adam Roberts is the author of a growing number of science fiction novels, short stories, essays and other writings. This site contains not just his blog, but everything you could ever want to know about everything Adam has ever published. And more...

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The Guardian reviews Yellow Blue Tibia

By Adam Roberts | January 10, 2009
Categories: Book News

Eric Brown, The Guardian, Saturday 10 January 2009:

It's 1945. Stalin calls together a group of science fiction writers and orders them to produce a scenario of alien invasion; he perceives the American threat to be on the wane, and the Soviet state needs an enemy against which to rally. No sooner have the writers developed a scenario than Stalin demands they forget the idea on pain of death. Skip to 1986, when Konstantin Skvorecky, ex-SF novelist and world-weary alcoholic now working as a translator, is approached by an old colleague who tries to convince him that their long-forgotten scenario is in fact coming to pass: aliens appear to be invading the world. What follows is in part a droll comedy of manners parodying the fall of Soviet communism, part an intellectual inquiry into the idea of multiple quantum realities and part an attempt to discover why, despite the ubiquity of reported sightings, UFOs have never been proved to exist. As ever with Roberts, the writing is impeccable and the ideas riveting.

Even I in my most glass-half-empty 'look for the negative buried in amongst the positives' frame of mind would have to concede: that is a good review.

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9 Comments to-date;

9 Responses to “The Guardian reviews Yellow Blue Tibia”

  1. Steve Bonin Says:
    January 13th, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    Mr. Roberts,

    I eagerly await Yellow Blue Tibia. As a long-time fan, I can tell you are hitting your stride as a fine writer.

    The next question then: Do you think any of your books could be adapted into a movie? Which one(s)?

    Thanks!

    Steve

  2. Adam Roberts Says:
    January 13th, 2009 at 9:29 pm

    My answer: this one.

  3. Adam Roberts Says:
    January 13th, 2009 at 9:29 pm

    (Thanks for the kind words, by the way)

  4. Harlequin Says:
    January 14th, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    So what date can I expect to see this lining the shelves of my local* Waterstones? This had better be as good as you have been leading us to believe - if not, there shall be some severely disgruntled comments. Strongly worded, too.

    *Well, I say local, in actuality it's a twenty-minute train journey. But for you, Robert, I'm willing to sacrifice my limited time...

  5. Adam Roberts Says:
    January 17th, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Strong words always better than weak, of course, Harlequin. Though I prefer strong words of praise, naturally.

    It's out soon: 22 Jan is the release date.

  6. Harlequin Says:
    January 25th, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    Whilst I have not yet completed YBT, and so cannot offer a full opinion, I am glad to see that you have matched, if not surpassed, the falling-out-of-space style event. The marvellous and inventive ways in which you manage to construe a life-span to be extended continue to delight and amuse.

  7. Danny W. Says:
    March 4th, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    I just finished reading Yellow Blue Tibia.

    I was simultaneously delighted and irritated by so many aspects of the novel which I had told myself I would include in my own novel if I were ever to actually get around to it.

    For instance, the dialog in Jack Vance's novels has always had a translated tinge to it, where the hapless (notional) translator has struggled to find exact translations and is forced to use words and idioms with the wrong connotations. I had not noticed your name on the cover when I started reading YBT, and for much of the book I believed I was actually reading a translation from Russian (I think I was at last struck by a character referring to the literal meaning of "break fast" in Russian, which seems unlikely). I wanted to do the same thing! Do you remember the moment in "Star Wars", where two aliens are conversing in an alien language, but in the midst of their conversation we hear the English phrase "Jedi mind trick"? Do you hear as I do that the phrase is slightly "lumpy", like the Japanese "salaryman"? I wanted to fill my book with such contemplative jokes, and you have *already done it*.

    I vaguely thought, by the way, it was normally "ya tibya lyublyu", but when I looked it up the order seems to be a matter of preference.

    I was going to praise another aspect but then realized I should avoid stressing something which is not revealed until late in the work.

    In case I have not made myself clear: I loved your book, will look out for more of your books, and am consumed by envy.

  8. Atle Says:
    July 9th, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Reading YBT at the moment and I am thoroughly enjoying it. I would love to see the Cohen Brothers adapting it into a feature film.

  9. Adam Roberts Says:
    July 9th, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Thanks, Atle! Kind words indeed.

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