...Then my plan to save time has worked. I need to make an early start of it today, so I'm posting tonight. Wait, that doesn't make sense -- you're reading this about nine hours after I wrote it.
Posting about what? How about Lionel Shriver? I finished her novel The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047 several weeks ago and found it rewarding reading, a close-up look into the abyss of economic collapse through the lens of several generations of an extended family. Generally well-written and ultimately humane; Shriver has one visible seam typical of mainstream writers doing speculative fiction -- but it's a forgivable one, no worse than anything you might find in Vonnegut. She is a storyteller, her prose usually effortless, her plotting not quite invisible but deft enough.
Having read one Shriver novel, when The New Republic showed up at the used-book store, I didn't hesitate. This one, too, is a kind of spec-fic, seeing as how it's set in a part of Portugal that does not, in fact, exist. It's a story about journalism, terrorism, and just how far bored or desperate men might go. By turns funny and profound, with an interesting ending. I liked it.
Shriver is an outsider's outsider and her perspective is rarely predictable. If you read Rand and Vonnegut, R. A. Lafferty and Avram Davidson, you might enjoy her work.
5 months ago