Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blogbird

There are actually no Wallace Stevens references, this time (I should have used the above title last week) but, anyway, my latest Blog Gate post is up. It’s about episodic novels or, as everyone else on the planet calls them, fix-ups.

I don’t actually say so anywhere in the Blog Gate post, but the reason why this is on my mind is that I’m in the last throes of an episodic novel, the sequel to the upcoming Blood of Ambrose, and I’m flipping out about it, a little. In part, the Blog Gate post is an attempt to talk myself down. It must have worked because my face keeps smashing into the keyboard, an infallible sign of relaxation.

About JE

James Enge is the author of the World-Fantasy-Award-nominated novel Blood of Ambrose (Pyr, April 2009). His latest book is The Wide World's End. His short fiction has appeared in Swords and Dark Magic (Harper Collins, 2010), Black Gate, the Stabby-Award-winning anthology Blackguards and elsewhere.
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16 Responses to Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blogbird

  1. peadarog says:

    An enjoyable wee post. It’s no surprise to me to see you blog about the things you’re working on. Happens even to the worst of us.

  2. jreynolds says:

    A very interesting article.

  3. newguydave says:

    If I bought a copy of your novel, would there be any chance to get it autographed? 😎

  4. burger_eater says:

    When someone else writes a fix-up, it’s an “episodic novel.” When I write a fix-up, it’s a “mosaic novel.” I think the sequel to Blood of Ambrose should be a mosaic novel, too.

    If I were pulling all my Star Smasher stories into a book-length collection, I’d order the first four chronologically, while breaking up the fifth existential one as interludes, basically glueing the pieces together with high-minded, ham-handed literary tricks, making the final act a climax of the mind (The Space King that Star Smasher has been searching for all this time is actually… himself!)

    If you think about it, any book with more than four POVs is something of a fix-up mosaic novel, since each character’s story would come out around novelette length. If each of those stories take place is disparate times or locations, the book fits even more neatly into those definitions.

    And I would love to have sign Blood of Ambrose. Where should I send it?

    • JE says:

      “Mosaic” makes sense–it’s a picture built out of pieces. “Episodic” may be too vague–lots of novels are episodic in structure (Huck Finn, Tom Jones, etc.) without being a fix-up in the Van Vogtian sense.

      I could just have one of my Golden cousins sign Blood of Ambrose for you; the postage might be a little cheaper.

      [edited for clarity]

  5. Anonymous says:

    episodic novels or, as everyone else on the planet calls them, fix-ups.

    So it’s okay for me to have been confused by “episodic”? I’d never equated it to “fix-up” before.

    –Jeff Stehman

    • JE says:

      As far as I know, I’m the only one who calls fix-ups episodic novels. I guess “fix-up” bothers me because it’s used so vaguely. People use it to describe things that are really different (series collections vs. novelized stories).

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