Sunday, July 16, 2017


I'm close to finishing Edgar Pangborn's Davy now. It was a fairly big deal when it came out in 1964, nominated for the Hugo award. It's a post-apocalyptic novel, picaresque, about coming of age in rebellion against a rigidly backward community. In premise it seems very similar to Russell Hoban's Riddley Walker. Pangborn even includes American city-states that bear corrupt variants of their pre-apocalypse names, as Hoban would later do with English cities. (Both authors were American, though.)

Pangborn's novel came first. But while it's easier to penetrate, I don't think it's as successful as Hoban's later would be. Riddley Walker is mythic, and reads like it could be produced by a primitive society of the future. Davy sounds a little too much like the product of a council of Hume scholars.

In other news related to science fiction, I approve. I don't really know Whittaker's work very well, but I suppose I have time to learn.


susan said...

It was just a few years ago that I read Riddley Walker again and enjoyed it as much as the other times. For some odd reason, though, I nver did come across Davy. Perhaps it's one I should give a try - just for the sake of comparison.

You've probably had a chance to check out Jodie Whittaker by now so anything I might tell you is likely old news. We first saw her in a movie called 'Venus' made about ten years ago with the marvelous Peter O'Toole. Not a bad matchup for a girl's first big film. Then we saw her as a cast member of the TV show Broadchurch (that also stars David Tennant). It's hard to judge her performance in that show as the whole thing is more misery porn than mystery. It's popular, though, which just goes to show you never know about folks. I do think she'll be a good doctor - not that we watch any of them..

Ben said...

Davy has its moments. Like I said, though, it never really catches fire in the way Riddley Walker does. It might just be that Pangborn was going after something else.

Peter O'Toole, like the still-with-us Michael Caine, was able to make the bad movies he did for money more enjoyable for his presence. Also like Caine he was unstoppable when given a good script. So costarring with him is a good start for any actress, and Venus looks like it could be good. Attack the Block might be fun too.

I think I know the kind of thing you mean when you say "misery porn."