Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Catch Up

Yesterday felt very strange, the first day I didn't do anything on End of the Century in a long, long time. I spent yesterday catching up on correspondance and such, read a bit, and then today reviewed the copy-edited manuscript of the expanded Set the Seas on Fire, reviewed the page proofs on a cool thing I don't think I can mention yet, and got back up to speed on Iron Jaw and Hummingbird, which is mostly written and completely outlined, and which I'll be finishing the next few weeks. Figured out a few more cool things about The Pursuit of the Lily Stargazer in the car, stuck in traffic after picking Georgia up from school (finding a way to slot two more half-ideas from other notions into the plot, and discovering that they fit nicely).

I've been switching gears from one project to the next, which usually involves reading quite a bit in a short amount of time. So yesterday I finally had a chance to sit down and read all of Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie's Lost Girls, which was every bit as strange and transgressive as I'd anticipated. Then, inadvertently grinding my mental gears, I read Diana Wynne Jones's new novella from Firebird, The Game (I thought for sure I'd read some of Jones's stuff years ago, but looking over her list of published works, nothing is ringing a bell, which means I might have confused someone else's novel as hers), which I thought was a charming little story, sort of a mash-up of Zelazny's Amber stories with Robert Holdstock's Mythago stuff, with something of the flavor of Madeleine L'Engle. Having recognized another gap in my education, this afternoon at Half Price Books I picked up the first of Jones's Chrestomanci books, Charmed Life, and started reading it during my walk, and I'm digging it so far.

Okay, I'm off to make Georgia's dinner. Dinosaur nuggets tonight, I think.

It's too bad that you've missed Diana Wynne Jones up to this point. I just finished reading The Pinhoe Egg (2006). I love the Chrestomanci books and so many of the other one-shot books. The Hayao Miyazaki version of her Howl's Moving Castle is amazing. You also need to read her The Tough Guide To Fantasyland, required for any SF/fantasist.
I was actually looking for Howl's Moving Castle on Sunday when I found The Game, having seen and loved Miyazaki's adaptation when it came out. I'm surprised how close Charmed Life is in tone to Miyazaki's adaptation, and I'm looking forward to reading Jones's original novel. I'm familiar with The Tough Guide, but don't think I've ever read it. Jones is just down on my list of people whose names and careers I've always known, but whose work I haven't really read. I've been filling in gaps the last few years. I didn't read any Alfred Bester until a couple of years ago, read all of Cordwainer Smith last year for the first time, and just the last few months read the first few of Zelazny's Amber books for the first time (having read Nine Princes in Amber a few years ago, but not having gone any further than that). I spent a couple of months last year reading half of Moorcock's novels, and will probably spend some time later this year reading the rest, if I can find the time.

So many more books to read, so little time! (And people keep writing *new* ones! I'll never catch up...)
We read so widely and omniversely in our teens (the golden age of SF is 12, of course) but it is easy to miss plenty of gems. In New York, fan and book dealer Devra Langsam was a big booster of DWJ and got me excited about her work, despite the fact that I hadn't read much kiddylit or YA stuff since discovering the science fiction section of the library.
Oops, that should be "omnivorously" rather than "omniversely," which would imply reading from multiple universes.

Well, I do my best in that! ;)

My next remark may be in Yiddish.
I'm almost done with Charmed Life, and completely loving it. I'm heading out today to see if I can find more of her stuff at HPBs before I go on a trip to Canada this week, so I can have a good supply of paperbacks in my backpack to read on the plane. And I'm all about reading omniversely, myself!
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