It’s almost one week to go until it’s the 30th anniversary of publication of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy novel by Douglas Adams. And I hope you’re excited? You are right?

What do you mean you’ve never heard of it? Sheesh call yourself a sci-fi fan and you mean to tell me that you’ve never enjoyed a pan galactic gargle blaster? You haven’t lived I can tell you.

I’ve been trying to remember what came first for me the radio series or the TV series. I really can’t remember. I do know that in whatever form I’ve never got much further in the series than what is the first two books, The Hitchhiker’s Guide and Restaurant at the End of the Universe, which covers the similar territory to the TV series.  I’ve watched the TV series many times on video tape. You remember those don’t you? Oh and the DVD is £5.98 I might have to upgrade.

Anyway, seeing as I’m in celebratory mood I’m going to read and review all five books in the original trilogy and maybe And Another Thing, which is an ‘official sequel’, if I can get hold of a copy.

I’m curious to see if it still is a classic and how far that can stretch into the series. I would cheat and get the radio play but according to Wikipedia:

The plots of the television and radio series are more or less the same as that of the first two novels, though some of the events occur in a different order and many of the details are changed. Much of parts five and six of the radio series were written by John Lloyd, but his material did not make it into the other versions of the story and is not included here. Some consider the books’ version of events to be definitive, because they are the most readily accessible and widely distributed version of the story. However, they are not the final version that Adams produced.

I could get the audio books?? But I get too distracted it’s taking me an age to progress with the enjoyable but very long Jonathan Strange Mr Norrell

So I’m going for the old fashioned way of printed paper. Though I don’t have to and I haven’t for part of H2G2 as I’ve read the iPhone version:

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A really good book in app form. The text is readable (though not adjustable), the page turn animations are well done and non intrusive, the only downside is that the archive materials reproduced in the books is a little too small to make out and so really not as enjoyable as the books. But for a reading experience. Well recommended.

The first review is up tomorrow and the rest appearing throughout the week.

Anyone got any thoughts or comments or memories they want to share? Any preferences book, TV series or radio play?

And just in case there are people out there who haven’t enjoyed The Hitchhiker’s Guide on TV here is a sample:

photocareypalmer mcauleyharris williams

These are the lovely books that have arrived at NextReading Rooms. Excluding Stairway to Hell, only The Wisdom of Dead Men actually arrived by post. I’m blaming the postal strikes. Really frustrating as two copies of The Naming of the Beasts are disappeared into depot pile limbo!

I was lucky to get smuggled Red Claw, Gardens of the Sun, and The Naming of the Beasts at the Gollancz Party.

I’m reading The Quiet War and Gardens of the Sun as a Guest Reviewer for TheBookSmugglers.

A new one for me is The Wisdom of Dead Men:

If you’re head of the Wildenstern clan, you can expect someone’ll try to kill you at some point or another. And usually when someone does, it’s a member of your own family. But, right now Berto Wildenstern, and his brother Nate, have more pressing matters on their minds …local women seem to be spontaneously combusting and no one’s quite sure why! Wild mechanical creatures, explosions, deceptions, twists and turns with a host of fantastic otherworldly characters – imagine “The Godfather” meets Philip Reeve and you have “Wisdom of Dead Men”

I’m loving the cover – it’s young adult but when does that ever matter!

Almost to the end of Stairway to Hell and it’s absurd and brilliant and is keeping me smiling. Great fun! Have that Satan!

Some great reading ahead!

Being on the other side of the country in the beautiful principality of Wales has a few disadvantages when it comes to books, all the major book publishers are based in London.

This makes attending book-related events a bit of a challenge. But when I do get to go I always come away thinking ‘wow.’ It’s happened a couple of times this year when I’ve travelled to signings performed at Forbidden Planet meeting lovely people like Kate Griffin, Mike Carey, Mark Chadbourn and James Lovegrove. And I went especially to meet the wonderful Marie Brennan – someone I could listen to all day.

So when I got an invite to the Gollancz Autumn Party I had to say yes. Though I’m still convinced it was a mix-up as I really can’t believe I was allowed to go. At its heart I’d say that it was an event celebrating a year of one of the strongest sci-fi publishers in the country and a thank you to everyone involved. It’s also a chance for a drink and a catchup with people.

And there were so many people there, lots of people from behind the scenes who take those many hours that a writer spends in front of keyboard and make sure it ends up with you and me. I got to put more than a few faces to twitterers and emailers.

I had a great time speaking to a few people about book-related-things. Something that’s really rare for me to do face to face. Topics included social media and books, short stories in magazines not being decrotive tea-towels, reviewing what it probably is and isn’t.

But even more excitingly was finding out some of the books and writers that are due out next year. I have to check out a few things before I spill the beans but Gollancz has an exciting start to 2010. And I’m not just saying that cause I went.

The authors did a great job of selling me their books! One I really really need to read asap.

At any party there were a few people I didn’t get chance to meet and some I wanted to spend more time with. Hopefully I will be a little less blown away if I get invited again and make a decent report next time. But I’ve got a few ideas for the blog from speaking to people including some encouraging words to bring back a few things.

So it was an amazing night. Thanks to the lovely Gollancz and all the people that I spoke to (and if I try and list them I’m going to forget too many) and if you follow me on twitter you can probably get some teases about any gossip!

I’ll let you know if any pics are up. More than a few potentially embarrassing ones were taken!

Edit:

Graeme’s report is in.

Adam’s report is also in.

Liz, who does a much better job than me of covering my night, has also got one.

James’s report includes pics (and I had to borrow one):

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James, Joe Abercrombie (bestselling author), ME! and Mark.

I’m changing the tag of posts that highlight particular books from Promo to Spotlight. The reasoning behind the Promo tag was that I wanted to promote the book simple as that. They are always books that I want to read and usually hope to sooner rather than later.

But I’ve been thinking about books in general, and what I’ve been thinking is that if I’m going to feature a book then I want it seem like something special rather than look another book. Not that I’ve ever thought that but I think that but the tag Spotlight conveys that idea better.

As you’ll see in the companion post to this one focusing on my current reading, I’m also thinking of books as part of something beyond just being an entertaining read in their own right and looking to how they fit in to the books around them.

Here I shine my spotlight on some of that books that have been arriving over the last few weeks but being a little time poor in this post I might not manage to comment too much about the part each of these could play in the constant literary conversation.

I’d be happy to converse with any of these and intend to do that with many of these if not all of some at some point.

But I’d better start with those I want to get read by the end of October.

 

dracula

 

Dracula: the Un-dead by Dacre Stoker and  Ian Holt

The official sequel to Bram Stoker’s classic novel Dracula, written by his direct descendent and endorsed by the Stoker family. The story begins in 1912, twenty-five years after the events described in the original novel. Dr. Jack Seward, now a disgraced morphine addict, hunts vampires across Europe with the help of a mysterious benefactor. Meanwhile, Quincey Harker, the grown son of Jonathan and Mina, leaves law school to pursue a career in stage at London’s famous Lyceum Theatre. The production of Dracula at the Lyceum, directed and produced by Bram Stoker, has recently lost its star. Luckily, Quincey knows how to contact the famed Hungarian actor Basarab, who agrees to take the lead role. Quincey soon discovers that the play features his parents and their former friends as characters, and seems to reveal much about the terrible secrets he’s always suspected them of harbouring. But, before he can confront them, Jonathan Harker is found murdered. The writers were able to access Bram Stoker’s hand-written notes and have included in their story characters and plot threads that had been excised by the publisher from the original printing over a century ago. Dracula is one of the most recognized fictional characters in the world, having spawned dozens of multi-media spin-offs. The Un-Dead is the first Dracula story to enjoy the full support of the Stoker estate since the original 1931 movie starring Bela Lugosi.

I didn’t have a good reaction when I heard about this at the time( and reading that post again I can understand why) but the only way of finding out if it works is to get stuck into it. Plus is it a significant release and it’ll either work or it won’t. I’ve studied and enjoyed Dracula, it’s an amazing piece of story telling and it’s always hard for any follow-up to continue the power of the original. I’m hoping that this will at least be a good story in it’s own right and I’m not going to compare it to the original? What would the point be? They are told through completely different sets of eyes with different views and use of language. I really don’t know what to think. 

 

 

 

thebrutaltelling

The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny

In the heart of the forest, two men sit at midnight, haunted by fear of discovery. In a few hours’ time, one of them will be dead, his secrets following him to the grave… When C. I. Gamache is called to investigate a murder in a picturesque Three Pines, he finds a village in chaos. A man has been found, bludgeoned to death, and there is no sign of a weapon, a motive or even the dead man’s name. Gamache and his colleagues, Inspector Beauvoir and Agent Isabelle Lacoste, start to dig under the skin of this peaceful haven for clues. They slowly uncover a trail of stolen treasure, mysterious codes and a shameful history that begins to shed light on the victim’s identity – and point to a terrifying killer…

I need to get more crime in my diet and when I was offered to try something new – well why not try it.  Plus the idea of mysterious colds and getting under the skin of peaceful havens appeals.

articchill

Arctic Chill by Arnaldur Indridason with translaion by both Bernard Scudder and Victoria Cribb

 

On an icy January day the Reykjavik police are called to a block of flats where a body has been found in the garden: a young, dark-skinned boy, frozen to the ground in a pool of his own blood. The discovery of a stab wound in his stomach extinguishes any hope that this was a tragic accident. Erlendur and his team embark on their investigation with little to go on but the news that the boy’s Thai half-brother is missing. Is he implicated, or simply afraid for his own life? The investigation soon unearths tensions simmering beneath the surface of Iceland’s outwardly liberal, multicultural society. A teacher at the boy’s school makes no secret of his anti-immigration stance; incidents are reported between Icelandic pupils and the disaffected children of incomers; and, to confuse matters further, a suspected paedophile has been spotted in the area. Meanwhile, the boy’s murder forces Erlendur to confront the tragedy in his own past. Soon, facts are emerging from the snow-filled darkness that are more chilling even than the Arctic night.

I’ve read all the others in this series and looking forward to this one and Hypothermia, his next hardback. It’s as simple as that.

 

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ralvoid

The Temporal Void (Void Trilogy Book 2) by Peter F Hamilton

The Intersolar Commonwealth is in turmoil as the Living Dream’s deadline for launching its Pilgrimage into the Void draws closer. Not only is the Ocisen Empire fleet fast approaching on a mission of genocide, but also an internecine war has broken out between the post-human factions over the destiny of humanity.

Countering the various and increasingly desperate agents and factions is Paula Mayo, a ruthlessly single-minded investigator, beset by foes from her distant past and colleagues of dubious allegiance…but she is fast losing a race against time.

At the heart of all this is Edeard the Waterwalker, who once lived a long time ago deep inside the Void. He is the messiah of Living Dream, and visions of his life are shared by, and inspire billions of humans. It is his glorious, captivating story that is the driving force behind Living Dream’s Pilgrimage, a force that is too strong to be thwarted. As Edeard nears his final victory the true nature of the Void is finally revealed.

I finally read a Peter F Hamilton with The Dreaming Void but has it really been 2 years since I read it? Hell’s teeth. No more excuses!

thequietwar

The Quiet War by Paul McAuley

 

Twenty-third century Earth, ravaged by climate change, looks backwards to the holy ideal of a pre-industrial Eden. Political power has been grabbed by a few powerful families and their green saints. Millions of people are imprisoned in teeming cities; millions more labour on Pharaonic projects to rebuild ruined ecosystems. On the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, the Outers, descendants of refugees from Earth’s repressive regimes, have constructed a wild variety of self-sufficient cities and settlements: scientific utopias crammed with exuberant creations of the genetic arts; the last outposts of every kind of democratic tradition. The fragile detente between the Outer cities and the dynasties of Earth is threatened by the ambitions of the rising generation of Outers, who want to break free of their cosy, inward-looking pocket paradises, colonise the rest of the Solar System, and drive human evolution in a hundred new directions. On Earth, many demand pre-emptive action against the Outers before it’s too late; others want to exploit the talents of their scientists and gene wizards. Amid campaigns for peace and reconciliation, political machinations, crude displays of military might, and espionage by cunningly wrought agents, the two branches of humanity edge towards war . . .

I’m slowly getting back into sci-fi, and from the revelation above probably a bit too slowly.  But The Quiet War and Mr McAuley are considered on the side of hard sci-fi. I’ve promised a review for the booksmugglers along with its sequel. Will let you know when it’s up :)

 

amberville

Amberville by Tim Davys

 

Eric Bear thinks he has escaped his violent past, but when crime boss Nicholas Dove threatens Eric’s beloved wife Emma Rabbit, Eric has no choice but to do what he asks: find a way to remove Dove’s name from the Death List. Problem is, no one knows if the Death List really exists. Nevertheless, Eric gathers his old team together – sadistic male prostitute Sam Gazelle, sweet but dangerous Tom-Tom Crow, and wily Snake Marek – and they set off to find the elusive list. What Eric learns will forever change the way he thinks about his life, his family, and his town.

Apparently the blurb is highly off putting so I’ve made it my challenge to read this one as the next thing I start and see what I think. It had a great review on Fantasy Book Critic.

prettymonsters

 

Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link

Blending fairytale, fantasy, horror, myth and mischief in a delicious cocktail, Kelly Link creates a world like no other, where ghosts of girlfriends past rub up against Scrabble-loving grandmothers with terrifying magic handbags, wizards sit alongside morbid babysitters, and we encounter a people-eating monster who claims to have a sense of humour. With more than a pinch of macabre humour, this is writing to come back from the dead for.

A short story mistress and it has a most amazing cover.

 

******

But if none of those end up taking your fancy there is always these.

 

 

wellalwayshaveparis

We’ll Always Have Paris by Ray Bradbury

From one of the greatest living literary imaginations and the celebrated author of FAHRENHEIT 451 comes a collection of never-before-published effortlessly beautiful tales. Recently described in The Times as ‘the uncrowned poet laureate of science fiction’ Ray Bradbury has won numerous awards including a Pulitzer Prize special citation in 2007 and an Emmy. In this new volume of never-before-published stories, follow a space shuttle crew as they voyage sixty million miles from home, discover what happens when a writer ‘with the future’s eye’ believes his friend to be writing stories aboard a UFO, and listen in on a couple talking themselves backwards through time to the moment when they first held hands. This entertaining and gripping collection is a treasure trove of Bradbury gems — eerie and strange, nostalgic and bittersweet, searching and speculative — to delight readers of all ages.

If there an award for the most published short story collections I think Ray Bradbury would win hands down. He’s not an author I’ve ever been able to get into. Maybe this one will capture me?

 

oscarsbooks

 

Oscar’s Books: A Journey Through the Library of Oscar Wilde by Thomas Wright

An entirely new kind of biography, "Oscar’s Books" explores the personality of Oscar Wilde through his reading. For Wilde, as for many people, reading could be as powerful and transformative an experience as falling in love. He referred to the volumes that radically altered his vision of the world as his ‘golden books’; he gave books as gifts – often as part of his seduction campaigns of young men; and sometimes he literally ate books, tearing off corners of paper and chewing them as he read. Wilde’s beloved book collection was sold at the time of his trials to pay creditors and legal costs. Thomas Wright, in the course of his intensive researches, has hunted down many of the missing volumes which contain revealing markings and personal annotations, never previously examined.

I’d hate for someone to go through my library and use that as a basis for a biography of me plus they’d have a job getting anything from my volumes as I never write in a book or  if I can help it damage the spine.

 

howardsendisonthelanding

 

Howards End is on the Landing: A year of reading from home by Susan Hill

Early one autumn afternoon in pursuit of an elusive book on her shelves, Susan Hill encountered dozens of others that she had never read, or forgotten she owned, or wanted to read for a second time. The discovery inspired her to embark on a year-long voyage through her books, forsaking new purchases in order to get to know her own collection again. A book which is left on a shelf for a decade is a dead thing, but it is also a chrysalis, packed with the potential to burst into new life. Wandering through her house that day, Hill’s eyes were opened to how much of that life was stored in her home, neglected for years. Howard’s End is on the Landing charts the journey of one of the nation’s most accomplished authors as she revisits the conversations, libraries and bookshelves of the past that have informed a lifetime of reading and writing.

This though I can really see myself doing. It might have to wait until I’m retired though or when I move to an island with no power or internet or tv!

 

letthemcomethrough

Let Them Come Through by Neil Forsyth

Nick Santini would have made a good living as a medium if his manager wasn’t a theif and he didn’t operate in a world of endless corruption. With a TV show cancelled in murky circumstances, a crew member dead on his tour and the police and his past fast catching up with him, Santini is a man on the edge. The medium’s job is to lie and lie well and only Santini’s talent can save him while his life steadily unravels. Neil Forsyth’s novel is a darkly comic investigation of celebrity, illusion, and the lower strata of this world and the next.

I’m a sucker for these type of programmes. I can’t watch them very often as I either get too emotionally connected or I start shouting at the telly. Will be interesting to see what Forsyth does with the concept.

stairwaytohell

Stairway to Hell by Charlie Williams

Something very strange has been happening in Warchester, and local pub singer Rik Suntan is about to have his doors of perception blown wide open. It seems that during the 1970s, Jimmy Page’s experiments with the occult wandered into the art of soulshifting – namely, swapping the souls of celebrity rivals with those of newly born babies in the Warchester maternity ward. Obviously this news is a tad hard to swallow, and Rik’s got other problems on his plate – his regular slot doing Cliff Richard covers at the local nightclub is axed, and his girlfriend’s dumped him for a ginger bloke. But not nearly as jaw-dropping as finding out he’s the reincarnation of David Bowie..

I loved the description of flies in the opening pages of this one. Charlie Williams I’ve been meaning to read for ages, ever since I picked up his debut for a £1 in Hay-on-Wye.

 

thedeathofbunnymunro

The Death of Bunny Munro  by Nick Cave

The Death of Bunny Munro recounts the last journey of a salesman in search of a soul. Following the suicide of his wife, Bunny, a door-to-door salesman and lothario, takes his son on a trip along the south coast of England. He is about to discover that his days are numbered. With a daring hellride of a plot The Death of Bunny Munro is also a modern morality tale of sorts, a stylish, furious, funny, truthful and tender account of one man’s descent and judgement. The novel is full of the linguistic verve that has made Cave one of the world’s most respected lyricists. It is his first novel since the publication of his critically acclaimed debut And the Ass Saw the Angel twenty years ago.

Lots of great press around this one and a brilliant iPhone app that you can try for free. You have to love that cover!

 

thedarkestroom

The Darkest Room by Johan Theorin

‘For several hours I believed that my daughter had drowned and my wife as alive, when in fact the reverse was true’. It is bitter mid-winter when Katrine and Joakim Westin move with their children into the old manor house at Eel
Point on the Swedish
island of Oland. But their new home is no remote idyll. Just days later, Katrine is found drowned off the rocks nearby. While Joakim struggles to keep his sanity, Tilda Davidsson – a young policewoman fresh out of college- becomes convinced that Katrine was murdered. Then, on Christmas Eve, a blizzard hits Eel Point. Isolated by the snow, Joakim does not know that visitors – as unwelcome as they are terrifying – are making their way towards him. For this is the darkest night of the year, and the night when the living meet the dead.

I read Echoes from the Dead and loved it. And this seems to notch up the pressure a bit.

 

9781906727031 

The Osiris Ritual by George Mann

Death stalks London and the newspapers proclaim that a mummy’s curse has been unleashed. Sir Maurice Newbury, Gentleman Investigator for the Crown, is drawn into a web of occult intrigue as he attempts to solve the murders. And he soon finds himself on the trail of a rogue agent – a man who died to be reborn as a living weapon. Newbury’s able assistant, Miss Veronica Hobbes, has her own mystery to unravel. Girls are going missing from a magician’s theatre show. But what appears to be a straightforward investigation puts Miss Hobbes in mortal danger. Can Newbury save his assistant, solve the riddle of the mummy’s curse, capture the deadly man-machine – and stop the terrifying Osiris Ritual from reaching its infernal culmination? The second "Newbury & Hobbes" adventure is a thrilling mystery featuring rooftop chases, swordfights, an exhilarating steampunk car chase, and a race through the London Underground. If you enjoyed "The Affinity Bridge", you will love "The Osiris Ritual". This special slipcased edition features a jacketed hardback edition with two exclusive short stories, plus vintage adverts and gold embossed casing, in a laminated slip case combined with a folded poster for ‘The Mysterious Alfonso’ and an embossed printed invitation to the Mummy Unveiling Party at Lord Winthrop’s house.

I bought the limited edition of this one to join The Affinity Bridge on the shelves love the characters and this one comes with two more short stories, which was a bigger reason for buying it than the limited edition itself.

Though it does feel a bit like juggling. I’ve been stupid and been dipping into several books that I’ve been meaning to get to for a while and one or two brand new ones.

This is a break in my usual routine of keeping two books going at the same time so that I can swap between them and if I’m not in the mood for one hopefully I’m in the mood for another but some how this usual pattern has been corrupted and I’m having an interesting time juggling everything.

I think it’s partly because I thought I might like to do some ‘Opening Chapters’ posts and with that in mind read the opening to a few, and then a couple more and now I’m on a mission to either post about them in part or or in full.

I thought you might like some thoughts and a glance at how I’m finding them so far.

Firstly I’m reading Iron Angel, the sequel to the debut Scar Night, I’m reading the paperback, and I have the final book, God of Clocks, waiting, so this one has taken a while to get to.

ironangel.jpgIron Angel is a bit of a different beast from Campbell’s first one. Now that’s we’re both settled into the world he’s created the opening shows that there is more than one got to worry about. I’m having great fun with the character John Anchor – his name says a lot when you know the his as a rope attached to him. I’m also a little sad about Dill but Campell has taken his tale to the next level.

It’s on the Summer Reads 2009 list, which I’ll admit was amazingly over ambitious has been an interesting challenge, though I think I’m going to have to admit that the Summer is over.

There is a strange synergy that seems to happen in my reading. I get books that aren’t covering the same thing but have an affinity to each other.

One big them that I have thre books exploring a similar time period through the lives of four extraordinary women.

missy Missy by Chris Hannah presents Missy, a nineteen-year-old flash-girl and opium user as she heads for a boom down in the 1862 American West. I’ve reached page 51. I’m not that caught up in her story, actually to be more accurate I’ve never been that excited by Westerns but I think I have to keep on going as Simon A  on Bookgeeks had this to say about it,

While Dol is not always easy to like, she is impossible not to admire, and her eventual epiphany, and the redemption that is promises, is a satisfying end to a very impressive debut novel.

themistressofnothing_thumb.jpgLeaving American and moving to Egypt but still around the 1860s we have The Mistress of Nothing by Kate Pullinger where Missy is a raucous character Sally a lady’s maid is more subdued but then she is in the service of Lady Duff Gordon. Another revelation is promised though this time unlike Missy, Sally discovers freedom but this is a luxury a maid can ill afford. Again 52 pages – there is something that that point where you decide if a book has grabbed you or not.  I’m not grabbed enough that if I put it I need to pick it up again but I do find the relationship between Lady Gordon and Sally fascinating and would like to see how the tale ends.

apropereducationforgirls_thumb.jpgThe final one is A Proper Education for Girls by Elaine di Rollo. It is set in 1950s and features the twins Lillian and Alice. Lilian has been banished to India and Alice is left behind in England as a strange curator to their fathers growing and eclectic collection which fills the huge family mansion. And she’s also alone with her father’s bizarre and hair raising schemes. This again deals with freedom but this time we see it from two completely different paths. Now this one I’m on page 114 of, and I think it’s the madness of the whole thing that’s driving me on.

At a minimum I have a feeling that I’ll easily and happily finish A Proper Education for Girls and Iron Angel and we’ll see if I can spend some more time in the company of Sally and Missy.

To celebrate the release of the paperback of The Temporal Void by Peter F. Hamilton on the 2nd October PanMacmillan are going to release a video interview with the man himself taking place on the 24th of September.

So do have a question about the Void trilogy, or any of the rest of his work, life or career that you’d would to pose to him? Please leave a comment and I’ll collate them and pass them on. I’ll put up the video when it’s ready.


Taking a deep breath and resisting the urge to explain in great detail why both of these comments might be a little silly, it seems to me that they also highlight a key challenge facing SF and Fantasy publishers. Anybody who knows SF and Fantasy knows that both genres incorporate an extraordinary variety of writers; a diversity that stretches the meaning of genre itself, if the term is to be applied. A significant number of people unfamiliar with SF and Fantasy, however, are inclined to make sweeping generalizations about them. It’s not a coincidence, of course, that these generalizations invariably attempt to identify a problem with genre fiction.

link: Aren’t we a little tired of this? – The Publisher Files

I thought I’d repeat my comment here:

The trouble is that sci-fi and fantasy and all the works that fall over that side of the literary divide can never be taken seriously as they are set in a childish fantasy world that has little bearing on reality. And hence have no bearing or the adult world and can not reflect upon reality or enhance humanity with it’s views on the human experience.

It’s hard to escape that as a view – it’s not mine but it’s logical enough argument that spending so much time reading about fantastical worlds that are so far removed from there here and now could be seen as a childish activity.

This of course totally misses the fact that some of the best SF&F put humans in extreme situations and explore how we adapt, grow, change and give a way of reflecting on the hear and now by taking us away from the mundane and everyday.

But there is a big literature and genre divide and it’s not to do with prejudice but the whole way that both sides tell their stories, where they linger and what they end up revealing.

And this is coming from someone that will happily read both sides of the divide and gets different things from both.

The trouble with the above is that both reviewers can no longer cope with flights of fancy and allow their inner child and their imaginations to just enjoy seeing the world differently. Something they probably haven’t done see they watched cartoons.

And the difference I guess between Sf&F fans and those that don’t enjoy it is that we allow are imaginations the scope to see the world and humanity through different lenses and those that feel that they are too grown up to do it?


 

51rWOd3dWNL

The cover says it all, ‘Continuing from Stealing Light’ (well it does on the final cover copy), so I’m going to have be careful what I say. About the first book I said,

I have a feeling that Gibson is going to be a quick rising star in sci-fi. He has the level of knowledge and skill to construct a story, he can twists these ideas around a cast of well conceptualised and constructed characters – human and non-human. And anyone who makes me want to find out what happens next is always going to get my vote.

I know what you’re thinking, does he manage it?

We start from almost exactly where the last book finished and Gibson notches up the pressure on Dakota and Corso straight away and in the process we get to meet a new race, the Bandati, who I can only think of as humanoid flies.

As the ending of Stealing Light opens up the possibilities and expands the Universe it’s good to see that Gibson has plan in mind and the two warring factions that make up two Bandati Hives have a vital role in how Nova War plays out. He keeps up the tension by keeping Dakota and Corso apart and in some ways opposing each other when they each end up working with the opposite Hives.

What I did find amazing was the Emissaries, the race that are equal to the Shoal in terms of advancement though they challenging them for control of the Universe.

And it’s this control that the Nova War hinges on and Dakota’s abilities that are central to how events could unfold. But for all this big picture stuff humanity again shows that it is only interested in guarding its own small pieces of power. Though that comes later and in a surprising way.

In fact the whole book is packed with surprises. Take the Trader and the measures which he will take in order to follow the Dreamers, what he does for self-preservation and how far his influence extends is almost religious devotion.

I did have a slight niggle with humanities involvement and their connection to events but this is a continuation of the ideas that came from Stealing Light and that was something that didn’t fit right for me then either. That though could be to do with my own thoughts about what they would or wouldn’t do rather than any real problems with the events themselves.

Dakota has the biggest journey of all, and it’s fascinating how she changes and how Gibson is able to keep it in realms that are understandable and also daring in scope.

If you haven’t read Stealing Light and enjoy science fiction your missing out big time. And Nova War only cements the fact that Gibson has a devious imagination, a sense of bigger picture and a more twists than a corkscrew.

I can’t wait to see what he’s going to do to Dakota next and what he’s going to make her suffer next.

That’s the tagline on twitter – #danwho and it’s not because they’ve never heard of Dan Brown. I think the problem is that there can’t be any person that knows a little about books that hasn’t heard of him.

It is what it is.

Well I for one am very excited by it not matter what my fellows on Twitter think.

For me DAN IS THE MAN! And that’s all I’m saying!