Review: End of Month Reviews #72 - December 2009 [spoilers]

Tom Russell milos_parker at
Sun Jan 31 10:52:57 PST 2010

I went with a more straightforward approach because the concept was
really in my thematic wheelhouse; the past vs. the present, the uses
of nostalgia, goofy robots, those are the sort of things that animate
my superhero fiction.

On Sun, 31 Jan 2010 00:15:24 +0000 (UTC), Saxon Brenton wrote:
> >  It's subtle, but I get the impression that his fixation with
> > becoming the Grey Gelding's new Rider is a symptom of thinking of the
> > robot as a historical artefact to be treasured as an interactive museum
> > piece rather than as a person who needs to learn how to get along in the
> > world.

I think there is a bit of that there, sure.  One of the points I was
kind of circling around (since I think in fiction it is better to
circle around a point rather than to make one) was that nostalgia is
inherently stagnant.  Nostalgia has its uses but it is limited.  It's
possible, I think, to respect the past without fetishizing it; I think
Smith (and, if you wanna get meta about it, a lot of very vocal comics
fans [and, um, writers]) do the latter.

Not to play armchair psychologist here, but there is a tendency in
those who consume cult popular culture passionately (be it comics,
television shows, video games, or anything else that is capable of
"betraying" the base and "ruining it" forever) to feel like they have
exclusive ownership of an intellectual property that they've invested
themselves in.  These works of art "belong" to them-- they don't see
them as living things (and, of course, they're not, which is where the
metaphor goes a little wobbly) but as their things, to be preserved
exactly the way they want it.

There's more than a little of Charles Kinbote in Palmer Smith, and he
latches onto and obsesses over the Gelding in precisely the same
dehumanizing way that Kinbote does to Shade and Pale Fire.  In the
end, Gelding's life as Smith perceives it is not about the Gelding but
about Smith.  He is a monster of egotism---- and how that relates to
certain fanbases, well, I think that's where I'll bow out of the

Though I should say that the things I find the most unappealing about
Palmer Smith are things I also find unappealing about myself.  Take
from that what you will.

On Jan 31, 1:45 am, Andrew Perron <pwer... at> wrote:
> I just loved the complete optimism of the story, the recognition that even
> with stupidity and politics and superficiality and fear, there's a lot to
> appreciate about living in the modern day!

Thank you.


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