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Unfortunately, the "big boys" i.e., the academic-literary crowd that love weird tense-and-voice combinations are idiots, who love to make their work harder to understand, under the illusion that if your work can't be understood without study, people will study it.
Wrong. Volunteer readers have no obligation to study needlessly difficult work. The only people who enjoy difficulty for its own sake are elitists whose pleasure in the book derives largely from feeling superior to people who don't like reading needlessly difficult fiction.
In other words, such techniques are really a sort of initiation hazing. If you claim to admire such techniques, you're In The Club. That the club exists only in order to exclude people who choose not to waste time on the hazing rituals seems unnoticed.
Rusch is such a good storyteller that despite the hazing, despite the out-of-order storytelling, these are well worth reading. That's because Rusch is just too good a writer to surrender completely to college literary training she still fulfills the duty of the storyteller to provide vicarious memories that illuminate the lives of the readers.
What can I say? When a story has real substance and the storyteller has a powerful talent, even their bad choices can't stop readers from receiving and enjoying their fiction.
In Rusch's case, while the pieces of the story in Boneyards are told out of order, each piece is so intrinsically interesting that readers are able to hold the whole thing in memory until the puzzle is complete. The result is that I stayed up late to finish both books, and felt well rewarded for having done so.
Rusch remains one of the best sci-fi writers working today and since she's still young, or at least younger than me, I look forward to many more works from her. Especially if she stops attaching these useless literary fobs to her work and instead continues to make the stories themselves ever deeper and richer as few writers are capable of doing, but Rusch most definitely is.
I suppose most people don't know the work of the French academic painter Bouguereau (BOO-guh-ROE). But enough do, especially within the art world, that it's worth parodying.
The point with parody is that you have to be very familiar with the original work even to know that a joke is being told. When you're making fun of something unavoidable in the culture, like certain ads or corporate logos, then you can count on everybody recognizing what you're mocking.
But parodies of fairly obscure works have to be presented to people who love the original who else would recognize the source?
The website Bouguereau Remastered deals with this problem by using, as a kind of table of contents, a set of original images the Bouguereau masterworks themselves. http://www.bouguereau.net/wings/
When you click on an image, you are then taken to a series of parodies, each more outlandish than the ones before. For instance, when you click on the famous painting Douleur d'amour, which depicts a nude woman bent over a pedestal, grieving, as a baby Cupid weeps beside her, the parodies progress like this:
First, someone has Photoshopped in a baby Bacchus from another masterwork, drinking from what seems to be a jug of moonshine. Another way to deal with grief, presumably.
Then you get the woman and Cupid dressed in denims; then in a tennis outfit, so now she seems to be exhausted after winning her match (she has a medal).
The next parody has her upright, singing into a microphone; the pedestal has become an amp and speaker. Then there are two Christmas versions, with her and the baby dressed in Santa outfits.
The next has her in a snowstorm; then the pedestal becomes a clothes-drier (apparently she's waiting to get dressed until her clothes are dry). Then it's a television and she's holding a rabbit-ears antenna. Another has her grieving over a Gulf gas pump with a sign saying, "No gas today."
She is transformed into a turtle in one parody; in another, she is concentration-camp thin. Then she's a cow. Then soldiers are discovering the Cupid weeping inside a cupboard as they hold up a picture, showing that they're searching for the nude woman.
Then there are versions with cowboy outfits, or with her as a Terminator-style robot with skin covering only parts of her machinery. She's a lizard, or a flag-wrapped patriotic woman with an eagle in place of the baby.
And that's a partial list of parodies of only one of the Bouguereau originals. You can easily amuse yourself for half an hour at this site.
But the people who created these parodies must have spent far longer than that in creating them! Apparently they thought it was worth the work. And some of them are amusing enough that I think they're certainly worth the click!