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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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Clute on YBT

By Adam Roberts | May 8, 2009
Categories: Book News

I've been positively Cluted: one of the highest honours in genre.

The world portrayed in Yellow Blue Tibia is an illimitable palimpsest of versions of the world, just like all the SF stories ever written heaped one upon another; the world is a Book (on page 251, Roberts says as much, says that Yellow Blue Tibia is the book in which Yellow Blue Tibia happens); if we are lucky (as Skvorecky eventually is), we adhere to a page of the world that allows us to llive, but if we are less fortunate we reality-shift (as Skvorecky did until he fixes on one place) through the tissue-thin but innumerable Thought Experiments of the Prestidigitator, who may be UFOs this time.

It is (I feel awkward saying this, because it happens to be a positive review of my novel) an unusually good, if spoiler-high, piece of writing. As one of the commenters, 'dlomax', puts it: 'Yet another luminous review, Mr. Clute. Now, what about another novel yourself? I'll read this new Adam Roberts, but I'd rather be reading a follow-up to Appleseed...' This old Adam Roberts agrees.

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2 Comments to-date;

2 Responses to “Clute on YBT”

  1. Mike Says:
    May 13th, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    Oh my! Mr. Roberts, I have never written to you before and never posted on your website, but I simply could not ignore this post. It seems tremendously backwards to me that you should feel especially honoured to be reviewed positively by John Clute. It actually shocked me--shocked me!--to see you apparently so excited by a positive review from Clute. I mean no disrespect to John Clute when I say that it is he who should value praise from you.

    I am really mystified as to how someone could hope for another Appleseed rather than another Adam Roberts novel. Appleseed was almost unintelligible. Totally baffling. Baffling in a somewhat "pretty" way, granted, but more baffling than anything else. As I near the end of Swiftly, I find that I am more convinced than ever that you are the greatest living talent in speculative fiction. I don't have the technical background to describe in Clute-ian terms what I like best about your work. I am not a literary critic. It is frustrating to me to be unable to praise your novels as articulately and expertly as I would like. All I can say is that, to me, your novels have the wonderfully astute characterization and dramatically satisfying plots of Dickens combined with a uniquely malleable voice. Every novel is so different from the others! And yet, at their cores, they all read like 18th and 19th century novels. They skillfully follow conventions, which to me is more artful and more interesting than tossing convention out the window in the name of postmodernism, as I think Clute has done in Appleseed.

    I read Gulliver's Travels just so I would be able to more fully appreciate Swiftly. I did it because I knew I would be rewarded for it in reading Swiftly, and I have been. I cannot think of a previous case in which I read a book specifically to prepare for reading another book. Your novels command that kind of respect.

    Thank you for many years of wonderful reads. I look forward to many more.

  2. Adam Roberts Says:
    May 18th, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Mike -- thank you very much! Your praise, in fact, rather knocks me over. I'm delighted you think so highly of what I do.

    Don't be too harsh on Clute, though: I still think Appleseed an unjustly neglected piece of work.