Tuesday, March 27, 2007


At Loose Ends

Tomorrow I leave town for Toronto and the World Horror Convention, having just returned home on Sunday night from a three day "camping" trip to Oklahoma with Georgia and the extended Roberson clan ("camping" here being more poetic than anything, since we got to bed down every night in airconditioned cabin with running water and a fridge). Georgia stayed home from preschool yesterday, getting over a bug or forest allergy gunk or similar, and tomorrow's pretty much a write-off, spent packing and getting things in order to leave town for six days, before driving to Dallas to drop Georgia off with my folks, so that Allison and I can board a plane at the crack of ass o'clock on Thursday morning to head for Toronto. So today I had to myself, to do... What? Well, I caught up on email, for one. Looked at my notes and materials for Iron Jaw and Hummingbird, which I'll be plowing into next week. Looked at my notes being about the extent of my involvement with project today, since there didn't seem much point in working up a head of steam for only a few hours work.

Instead, I went to three different bookstores looking for Diana Wynne Jones books, and came home with the second Chronicles of Chrestomanci omnibus, Howl's Moving Castle, and Deep Secret, all of which I'll be taking on the plane on Thursday, along with Margaret Cheney's Tesla: Man out of Time. I've read three of Jones's books since last week, and I'm on a serious Jones bender. I'm trying to figure out how it is I've never read her before, but glad that I've finally started. The Chrestomanci stuff is great, hitting a great many of my buttons (alternate history, parallel worlds, etc), and is really influencing the development of The Pursuit of the Lily Stargazer in unexpected ways.

Speaking of Lily Stargazer, I've just about worked out that the black hats (or at least the obvious black hats) will be Commandant Gallowglass and the crew of the Fuliginous Wraith, an airship. And at the end of the story, when Jim Taylor, Lodestar Sara Jewel, and the neuter Seer Carnadine IV escape from Gallowglass's clutches after seeing the plans for interdimensinoal conquest that the spy Aleister stole from the Flying Cathedral, I'm thinking the airship Wraith will explode quite impressively. But maybe not.

Chris -- you may want to check out something that I just read, a 2006 YA novel entitled "Larklight: A Rousing Tale of Dauntless Pluck in the Farthest Reaches of Space" by Philip Reeve (Boomsbury USA). It's set in an alternate 1851 where Sir Isaac Newton discovered an alchemical space drive (the "chemical wedding", the British have colonies throughout the solar system and Richard Francis Burton is Warlord of Mars and a British secret agent. Lots of fun, wonderfully illustrated by David Wyatt. It's nicely odd steampunky stuff.
Thanks for the tip, Stu! Actually, Larklight is sitting here on my desk in my To Read pile. I thought that Reeves's Mortal Engines was just brilliant, and really looking forward to seeing what he does in the new one.
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