Meta-SF: "Wolves" by Simon Ings

Wolves - Simon Ings

Published January, 2014


“The last time we tried to have sex, Mandy wore her hands.”


I am late to the party: “Wolves” was published more than a year ago. I very much enjoy books on a personal level: when I set out to write a positive review like the one you’re about to read, what I’m really doing is trying to express that feeling in objective terms using my own Close Reading lens. In other words, I try to translate fruition into appreciation, not always successful, I know.


What have we got here? Despite all the literary trappings, SF no doubt about it. No cultural and geographical references on the horizon. I’ve seen this attempted and it’s no mean feat.  When successful what do we get? SF of a superior kind, and that so elusive and difficult magical atmosphere.


“Her face, glassed and reconfigured, trembles over a forked mouthful of celeriac salad, and for a second the illusion – that her face might simply slide off the bone – acquires a ghastly realism. It is all I can do not to reach out to hold it in place.”


What makes a text SF? I’ve been writing about this in a lot of my essays. Looking at the quote above taken from Ing’s novel, what can I say about it? Are we reading something from a SFional context, or is the author trying just to use a metaphor for something still absent and elusive? I'll dare state here my own definition of SF: "SF is everything meaning the weird shit, weird in the sense of the world depicted in the text...


Hop on my blog should you so wish to read the rest.


SF = Speculative Fiction