After a few days tickling the furry chin of controversy, here’s a perfectly legal (if not necessary) dose of reality, relating to claims made regarding the art of the Irish novelist Ciambhal O’Droningham.
Two days ago I referred to him as a purveyor of ‘erotic science-fiction’. This is not, in itself, wrong. O’Droningham’s novels rarely go twenty-five pages without at least one encounter of a sexual kind, or a long-winded comparison of inter-planetary transportation. To reduce this scribbling monk, however, to this one powerful label is, nevertheless, a crime – as it is to reduce any artist to any narrow-minded moniker (unless the person is Obo Urlach and the label is ‘worthless’).
In light of this, I should like to point out now that O’Droningham’s work very often propels itself, like a flea on speed, beyond the constraints of ‘erotic science-fiction’. Like many great novelists (and I dare-say, some smart butterflies) he simply refuses to be pinned down. Thus, while his latest work (Half-past Twelve at the Intergalactic Candy-Shop) contains more than the usual supply of feisty fourteen-breasted aliens and light-speed-jet-packs, it also features a genuinely moving analysis of infertility in the Twenty-Second Century, and a generous sprinkling of wise comments concerning the career of Marcellus II. On top of this there is, as usual, many a clever reference to Seamus O’Solly’s long-time hero St. Columban. Those who think that O’Droningham is out ‘to titillate – and nothing more’ are standing, knee-deep, in a smelly pool of foolishness. Yes, that’s right. And what’s more, your wellington boots are leaking. Leaking, I tell you, leaking!
Here endeth the lesson, for now…