Busy times. Several cons attended and, last night, finally finished a troubled first draft of the third and final Warrior Stone novel. Given me a lot of trouble, has this one, and almost seemed it didn't want to be written. So, a little time on my hands, and a few moments for a blog update. First of all, FantasyCon last weekend (23rd Sept). FCon was my second ever con a very long time ago. It was a magnificent experience, not diminished by the fact that my partner and I were new friends with some of the organisers, and it felt very inclusive and wonderous. Sadly, immediately after, a group of people within the BFS tried a very dirty, very nasty smear campaign against the then Chair (my friend). As is usual with these things, all the accusations appear in 72-point bold. When all the accusations were proven to be unfounded, the apology was written in 6-pt feint. A few nasty experience. We went the next year, but found it a bitter and cliquey affair. This year, for some reason, we decided to give it another go. The organisers were different and the location promised interesting diversions if the Con itself proved uninspiring. Sadly, it didn't work for me. FCon has become less of a convention and more of a trade fair. The lack of inclusion felt worse than ever, and this year both I and a friend got accosted and harangued for no clearly definable reason. I'm sure the organisers put a lot of work in, and I'm happy for those who enjoyed it, but I wont be making any more appearances at a FantasyCon. On a lighter note, a few days with light duties means I'll hopefully get around to writing a few new reviews of some exceptional books that have recently crossed my path. One will certainly be 'The Girl With all the Gifts' by M R Carey, and I believe Mr Ruins (Michael John Grist) and A Star Curiously Singing (Kerry Nietz) will all be getting mentions. Also, we have BristolCon looming ever closer to the horizon. Watch out for more news on that too.
I am most monumentally proud and happy to announce the publication date of my new novel,and to share the cover with you. Amunet will be published by Kristell Ink, and launched at BristolCon on October 29th We are also announcing a free-to-enter competition to wind a hardback copy, signed by myself and the cover artist, Ken Dawson Simply follow this link to http://eepurl.com/b_XpVX Can't thank Kristell Ink enough for their support and this wonderful opportunity. Amunet is a gritty blend of urban fantasy and steampunk; fast paced action for all readers
Bit of a ramble today. One of the downsides of being a writer, or an editor (although saying you are one usually implies you are also the other), is that it is very difficult to 'switch off' when you read. Apart from that initial creative eruption as you lay down the first draft of a novel, every time you pick it up after that, you are looking for errors. So, by extension, when you pick up someone else's book, you do the same. It can make something you used to enjoy suddenly become toxic and unreadable. This may be why I don't read my old favourites as much as I used to. For some reason - I think mainly because my wife asked to read it again - I recently picked up the Belgariad, by David Eddings. I first encountered this author in my early teens and its no exaggeration to say he changed my life. Eddings wrote fantasy in a way nobody had ever done before; approachable and free flowing, not like the high-Tolkenian stodge most people were churning out. Anyhow, after much deliberation, and because we were on holidays and the books I had taken with me weren't engaging me, I picked up the first volume. It wasn't until I was starting the fourth volume I realised that something was wrong, and it took me some time to analyse exactly what it was. When I figured it out, it came as something of a revelation, but not realy a surprise. There were no errors. Not one. Now I figured I must just have my rose tinted reading specs on, so I put some real effort into looking for anything I could pick at. Still nothing. Not an awkward phrase, nary an echo, nah-ah on the typo. The damn books were perfect. Which surprised me. So much of what I read today, even by big six houses and very widely known authors, keeps kicking me out of the 'fictive world' of the novel by stuff most people would overlook - but as I writer I can'. And here was Eddings, absolutely clean. Part of me suspects thats why I fell in love with the Eddings (as his wife Leigh was always involved but rarely credited). Think I may have to extend the experiment to see if the same is true of any of my other first loves. I feel an urge coming on to read Magician, by Raymond E Feist.
Just a quick post. I shall be at Skegness on Sunday, plying my trade at their very own and first Comic con, orgaised by the wonderful people who bought you EM-Con. Great trip out for a Sunday, and I believe there may still be door tickets available (check the site for details on that, at http://skegnesscomiccon.com/tickets/
I shall be on table 3, right next to the inimitable Crafty Miss Kitty, purveyor of fine jewellery and stuffed things made of yarn.
Well this is a first. I’m writing a review
for a book before I’ve even finished it. I’m currently audiobooking The Devil’s Detective by Simon Kurt
Unsworth. I was drawn to it because I recognised the name from Facebook and
could have sworn at some point we had been ‘friends’, so having a social media
presence obviously works, folks. Apparently.
When I read the description, I was even more intrigued. Hell is no longer a
place of fire and brimstone torment, but has become the epitome of the worst of
modern life; an eternity of waiting in limbo, only to be en-corporated (and yes
I did spell that right) in a hell of drudgery and oppression, fear of the
Demons who still wreak terrible violence on humans at the slightest
provocation. Nobody knows what their sins were, only that they are being
punished. Death sends the soul back to limbo, and the worst torment of all is
that there is a hope, just the slightest sliver of lottery-rare hope, that you
might be pardoned and elevated to Heaven.
And then come the new murders. Killings so
dreadful, so horrific, that the soul is ripped from the body and consumed – but
by what nobody knows. Not even Thomas Fool, the Devil’s Detective, and head of
the Information Department.
Right from the opening words, this tale
grips. From the opening description of the new Hell, the subtly ordinary yet
disquieting ways of tormenting sinners, and the parallels with societies run by
capitalist, brutal overlords the reader is drawn in to a world of remarkable
richness, simultaneously unexpected yet familiar. I was very forcefully
reminded of the first time I audiobooked The
City and The City, by China Mieville.
If I had to throw any flies into the
ointment, there is one character I felt the narrator had got wrong, and the
tone used grated on my nerves and ears. I was left perhaps inappropriately
pleased when the character was killed, which is why I haven’t named him, her, or
Through Unsworth’s characters, the sense of
hopelessness, of fear, or desperately trying not to get noticed, soaks in to
you. The constant terror of showing any enjoyment, lest it is taken away, nor
loathing, lest it be heaped upon you, grinds the characters down. Punishment is
crafty and cruel. But, grind at the end of a worm and eventually, it will turn,
and we find that Elevation is not the only source of hope in Hell.
I am not looking forward to finishing this
book, and I only have about 2 hours to go. On the other hand, I can then try
out another of Unsworth’s novels, although I believe there is another volume in this series. Silver linings are where you find them, I
That sound s a bit precriptive. Could be Sunday evening, or even Saturday evening if you're not a party person and cant be tempted by Ant or Dec. I was flicking through my kindle, through a bunch of new e-books, and having a disappointing time of it (three books in a row I had not managed to get past the first couple of pages). Then it felt like I'd take a dive into a refreshing, sparkling sea off the coast of some medittereanean beach... OK, so I'm stretching the metaphor. I'm trying to say the contrast was almost shocking. Folks who have read my reviews before will know I rarely say much about the story. I dont get the kind of reviews that precis the book for you and tell you about all the charcters. I mean, then whats the point of reading it? I'm much more about style, about the way the book is engineered. This is a gem. You know instantly that its going to be an easy read, you may even pause for a moment to make a mug of something and grab a packet of biscuits. You know this one is going to be a long ride, probably a single sitting. Now that I think about it, I believe the last time I got 'that' feeling was when I opened up the first volume of The Belgariad, by David Eddings. It's accessible and open and could be used as the definition for 'easy read'. That's not to say its simplistic. Characters grow quickly, and the descriptive passages are intense without being laboured. There are always one or two characters in any book that don't seem to flesh out, but given this is the first novella in a series (currently of three), I have my suspicions they may be being saved for something else. One of the things that intregues me about the setting is I cant decide if its an emerging technology, or a declined one. Kate Coe, like myself, seems to enjoy mashing tech and magic, and here it really works well. Looking forward to the second volume. And the third. Find it here on Amazon