I'm James Maxey, the author of numerous novels of fantasy and science fiction. I use this site to discuss a wide range of topics, with a heavy emphasis on cranky, uninformed rants about politics and religion and other topics that polite people attempt to avoid. For anyone just wanting to read about my books, I maintain a second blog, The Prophet and the Dragon, where I keep the focus solely on my fiction. I also have a webpage where both blogs stream, with more information about all my books, at jamesmaxey.net.


Monday, March 13, 2006

Final Flight of the Blue Bee

So, I've been telling people for months now to look for the "Final Flight of the Blue Bee" in Asimov's in April. My timing was a bit off--it's on the newstands right now. If you like your superhero fantasies straight, this might not be the story for you. On the other hand, it does have a damsel in distress atop the Empire State Building. How wrong can you go with that?


rastronomicals said...

I guess there are two ways you can get into science fiction to the point where you subscribe to Asimovs: you can start off by reading the Star Trek adaptations, or you can start off by reading comics.
I'm one of the Star Trek ones. So my familiarity with the comics genre is not great. Yet when looked at broadly, the whole superhero thing has percolated through much of my reading recently.

It started when a buddy insisted that I read Alan Moore's "Watchmen." The buddy has this guarantee where if I buy something on his recomendation and it sucks he'll buy it from me, and while the guarantee was issued, I never contemplated calling it in. Funny how a comic with superheroes could succeed while being populated by characters of such deep ambivalence.

Then, right around the time I first caught "To the East A Bright Star," I began working my way through Jonathan Lethem's book of essays "The Disappointment Artist." One of the more cogent efforts in the book is a dissection of the relationship between Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, but really, the portion of his worldview that Lethem takes from comics runs throughout the book, even when he's talking about John Wayne movies.

And it seemed there might be some similarities between the way comics affected Lethem and the way they affected Maxey, if I can interpret portions of this blog correctly, and portions of Disappointment Artist.

Which is where things stood when tackled "Final Flight of the Blue Bee." I don't have a lot to compare it to, but The Watchmen seems an effortless comparison.

Both stories detail a world in which assumed order is turned upside down: the superheroes are approached with distrust and cynicism, and the reader's best chance at empathy is locked within the mind of a severely disturbed character. And even more startling (at least to this neophyte in the comics world), both works suggest that the very act of *wanting* to be a superhero is in itself the product of a disturbed mind.

At any rate, another excellent work. I've now read two James Maxey stories, and both have made quite the impression.

James Maxey said...

Thanks, Ras. For what it's worth, I still want to be a superhero, but see no reason to dispute your contention that might be the product of a disturbed mind.