1.) Why when an author has huge success with their first book is there second novel so routinely badly reviewed?
Two of my favorite novels are The Autograph Man by: Zadie Smith (and, why fault Smith for so wonderfully going away from the intergenerational saganess of White Teeth—which don’t get me wrong is a lovely book, funny and beautiful, and was adapted delightfully by the BBC—to try something really quite different.) and the amazing The Little Friend by: Donna Tartt. The Little Friend is a gorgeous book. Did I identify with it because the main character was so perfectly constructed out of things I too love (any little girl obsessed with Shackleton and Houdini has to be close to my heart)? Yes, absolutely, but I also found it to be so perfectly constructed that it made me want to cry.
2.) When will there be a really good (i.e, actually enjoyable to read and not completely full of scholarly dryness) academic book done on subterranean fantasy?
In particular I want something that covers the Subway fantastic of recent years: King Rat by: China Mieville, Neverwhere by: Neil Gaiman, the Hungarian film Kontroll (trust me I can make a very excellent argument as to why this great film fits into subterranean fantasy), etc. If there is such a book, let me know about it…Or, if there are any subterranean fantasy novels that I should check out, I am all ears (and wouldn’t that be something frightening? A person/ creature who was all ears? It could hear EVERYTHING!!)
3.) And speaking of China Mieville (which apparently I am never not doing): why is the man so amazing?
His books are each so distinct and so well created. How can someone go from a children’s fantasy novel (UnLunDun) to a truly glorious mash-up of noir and fabulism (The City and the City) to an excellent sci-fi dissection of truth and language (Embassytown) and on and on and I haven’t even mentioned quite a few books here?
4.) In the vein of UnLunDun, why am I so fascinated by stories of contemporary people who end up falling into fantastic worlds and why am I equally fascinated by the ways in which these types of books diverge?
There’s the person who is taking/ falls into a completely separate world in the vein of Alice in Wonderland, the Oz books, Peter Pan, UnLunDun, etc and then there are the ones where the protagonist learns of worlds that exist within our own such as the Harry Potter series and I could argue that Stardust fits into this category versus the other. I think my fascination probably stems back to an early fascination with fairy tales that were centered on children stolen away to the land of fairy, etc. Or, perhaps, on my over watching of Return to Oz (one of the greatest literary adaptations to film. Ever. I will fight people on this one, if I must).
5.) And perhaps the most important question: Why am I rambling on about these things and letting them fill up my head?
This is actually the simplest to answer and in just two words: MFA applications.