Thursday, March 31, 2011

Malazan Re-read of the Fallen - MOI, Ch. 3&4

Amanda and Bill are up to chapters 3&4 on their re-read of Memories of Ice, here:
Ha, this book is just so much fun to read. *grins* I adore sentences like those where Tool reveals he used the flat of his blade to defeat Thurule, and Mok turns slowly to regard him. I love it where we find that Anomander Rake is demanded to take his place as the Seventh of the Segulah. There are so many bits of this book that make me thrill to read it. The confusion of Gardens of the Moon has faded; the readjustment of changing continents and conflicts is removed; Memories of Ice is just all out fun so far.
Also, Tor is soliciting any questions you may have for Steven Erikson about Deadhouse Gates, here:
The procedure is somewhat the same as it was when Gardens of the Moon and Night of Knives were wrapped up. Post your questions (or questions) to Steven in the below comments. We’ll collect and sort them all on Monday morning and send them off to Steven for answers.
And that's everything.  I'm almost done my re-read of Midnight Tides, and have decided it is one of my very favourite Malazan novels.  Perhaps it's the fact that there are really only two story spaces, making it easier to follow; perhaps it's that the plot has a really strong axis of forward motion (the Edur and Letheri are on a collision course), or perhaps it's just that I so love Tehol and Bugg?  Maybe all of those things.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Malazan Re-read of the Fallen - MOI, Ch. 2&3

Amanda and Bill are discussing chapters 2 & 3 of Memories of Ice over on the Tor site:
Oho, now this I love... Who immediately assumed, on seeing the name Corporal Picker, that this was a male soldier? I confess I did—and then had that turned on its head and ended up feeling a little ashamed of the fact my assumption was about a male soldier! Erikson does this brilliantly. I cannot think of very many female characters in his novels who are characterised by the fact that they ARE female. Felisin probably comes the closest, and even with her it is more about the ills that are carried out against her because she is female. Her being female is crucial to her storyline, but the point never over-laboured.
 Memories of Ice is my favourite book, not only of this series, but of all time, so it's much fun to follow along with this re-read.  It's like a refresher course on why I love this novel so much.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Malazan Re-read of the Fallen - Memories of Ice

Amanda and Bill (over at Tor) are continuing their Malazan Re-read of the Fallen and are now up to Book 3: Memories of Ice:

I’m so, so, so glad to see the return of Toc the Younger—I was really beginning to enjoy reading about him in GotM when he was so abruptly removed from proceedings. How scary must it be to wake in a place you don’t know, after days or weeks have passed, with no real knowledge of what must have happened? Consequently, Toc’s pragmatism and admonitions to himself to think like a soldier and ensure his survivial shows a rare man indeed.
I am also pleased to see Tool again—the unique, deadpan humour of this character is very rewarding. Toc and Tool have been effectively used by Erikson here to bring the reader up to speed on various events—such as the death of Lorn, the fact that the Malazan Empire failed to take Darujhistan.
Memories of Ice is one of the best books I've ever read, and my favourite book in the series (currently; Book 10 is sitting here waiting for me to gather the courage to dive in, but it would have to be some kind of wonderful to supplant MOI in my favour) and I just re-read it last year so am excited to see the details that Amanda and Bill elaborate on.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

When Publishing Goes Awry - Bitter Seeds

In Arpil 2010 Ian Tregillis' alternate history novel Bitter Seeds was published.  The many fans of the book are wondering where the sequel is, and it turns out, so is Ian Tregillis:

I've been trying to figure out how to write this post for a couple of weeks. 
There are two reasons for the difficulty.  First and foremost, this topic makes me feel helpless, and furious, and very very depressed.  Second, I've been dithering over how much of this I can talk about in public.  The very last thing I'd ever want to do is sound like a disgruntled troublemaker. 
I suppose my agent and I might have considered changing editors when the topic first came up in February, 2009.  But hindsight is always 20/20.  I had no intention of breaking with my current editor, whose body of work I greatly respect and admire.   But if I had known this would cost us so much time, I would have done it then.
The full post is here (look down the page for 'Milkweed Update'), and it's a very interesting read, but a depressing one; proof that publishing a critically and financially successful first novel is no guarantee of a smooth process from that point forward.


Monday, March 14, 2011

The Cold Commands - Finished!

Richard Morgan reports on his blog that he has completed the first draft (he uses the phrase rough cut, which I've never heard applied to a book) of his new book The Cold Commands:

Of course, this is all slightly deceptive.  There’s actually a fair bit of work still to be done.  The rough cut goes out to Simon Spanton at Gollancz tomorrow, and I now have to back up and read the whole manuscript through from scratch, trying to form some kind of overall impression of where we’ve been and what we’ve ended up with.  There’ll be tweaking, there’ll be proofing, there’ll be polish to layer on – less at the front end than the back, since the earliest sections have been buffed smooth with a couple of years of constant revisiting and revising as the story inched its way forward.  The back end, though, is probably still altogether too cask-strength rough and ready in places.  Will need tempering.
 He also provides a list of the music he listened to while writing the novel; almost none of which I've heard of.  When did I stop listening to music with lyrics?


Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Game Of Thrones - Full Trailer

I can't really be objective about this kind of thing - stone, wood, rain, swords - so let me just say this: April 17 :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Dance With Dragons - July 12 2011

George R.R. Martin has confirmed here a solid release date for A Dance With Dragons:
Yes, I know.  You've all seen publication dates before: dates in 2007, 2008, 2009.  None of those were ever hard dates, however.  Most of them... well, call it wishful thinking, boundless optimism, cockeyed dreams, honest mistakes, whatever you like.

This date is different.   This date is real.

Barring tsunamis, general strikes, world wars, or asteroid strikes, you will have the novel in your hands on July 12.  I hope you like it.

(For what it's worth, the book's a monster.  Think A STORM OF SWORDS.)

The dragons are coming.  Prepare to dance.

And hey... thanks for waiting. 
Like many fans of the series I thought Book 4 of lesser quality than it's predecessors but that doesn't mean I'm not hopping from foot to foot anticipating Book 5 :)


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Unsolving The City

BLDBLOG has an interview with China Miéville in which he talks about the use of architecture in his novels:
For a long time, I couldn’t get the narrative. I had the setting reasonably clear in my head and, then, once I got that, a lot of things followed. For example, I knew that I didn’t want to make it narrowly, allegorically reductive, in any kind of lumpen way. I didn’t want to make one city heavy-handedly Eastern and one Western, or one capitalist and one communist, or any kind of nonsense like that. I wanted to make them both feel combined and uneven and real and full-blooded. I spent a long time working on the cities and trying to make them feel plausible and half-remembered, as if they were uneasily not quite familiar rather than radically strange. 
China is an author whose work has always possessed a startling imagination and insight, and that is reflected in this lengthy and fascinating interview.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Battle of Towton

The Economist has run an article discussing the site of a medieval battle that took place in Towton, Northern England, and all that can be learned from the skeletons being unearthed:
Towton 25 suffered eight wounds to his head that day. The precise order can be worked out from the direction of fractures on his skull: when bone breaks, the cracks veer towards existing areas of weakness. The first five blows were delivered by a bladed weapon to the left-hand side of his head, presumably by a right-handed opponent standing in front of him. None is likely to have been lethal.
Some interesting stuff there for those involved with writing sword battles.