More than a fart joke

Having said that, I entirely understand the reviewer’s point of “Yes, we know you can do Heinlein — but can you do you?” One of the ironies here is that the book I wrote immediately after Old Man’s WarThe Android’s Dream — is rather different tonally than Old Man’s War or Ghost Brigades; and at the very least it can’t be said to be Heinleinesque because Dear Ol’ Bob never opened a book with a chapter-long fart joke.

As I mentioned earlier, I spent some time catching up on John Scalzi. Read both Old Man’s War and The Ghost Brigades, and enjoyed them both. They’re good fun SF, and definitely show the influence of Heinlein that most reviewers have noted, and that John Scalzi acknowledges in the above quote from his blog. Well, a few days ago John emailed me the opening chapter of his next novel, The Android’s Dream, which as promised opens with a chapter long fart joke. It starts with “Dirk Moeller didn’t know if he could fart his way into a major diplomatic incident”, and then it gets really funny. I’m not going to say much more about the chapter because readers should get the chance to enjoy it themselves. I can’t really say much about the novel either, though based on one chapter I’ve seen it does move away from the whole Heinlein scenario. I do believe John’s comment that The Android’s Dream may well be “almost entirely message-free; if a science fiction novel could be described as a “popcorn book” … this would be that book.” It sounds like fun and I’m looking forward to seeing the entire book when it’s ready.

Somewhere between twenty and thirty people check in here every day. Hi! I’m not sure if there’s something you’d like more or less of by way of content, but if there’s anything you’d like to hear about, let me know through the comments field and I’ll do what I can to oblige.

Paul McAuley has a blog, and one of the first thing he’s posted is the happy news that he’s sold three new novels to Gollancz in the UK. The first novel on the contract, Cowboy Angels, is pretty much complete and will be published in the second half of 2007. Then there’s two Quiet War related novels. Given what Paul mentioned a while back on the TTAPRess message boards about wanting some old style pulp SF adventure, I’m really looking forward to these two.

New Locus

In amongst all of the running around and being overstressed, a quick note that the latest issue of Locus is shipping. I keep meaning to mention when this comes out, and keep not getting around to it. So, this time, a mention.

 For the April issue, CHARLES, Lisa, Kirsten, Tim, Karlyn, Caroline, and Amelia have put together a special YA issue, with all sorts of cool goodies.  You can see a full profile of the issue here, and you can subscribe here. I’ve been working on the magazine since 1997, and every issue has been both a challenge and really cool to do. Check this one out.

Bold as Rainbows

Every now and then a wonderful book comes along that completely fails to capture the attention of the readership it deserves. Every reader can name a book like that, and any reviewer or commentator can name a handful.

For me, the book that comes to mind when I think of books that the world should have fallen in love with is Gwyneth Jones Bold as Love. Smart, savvy, wonderfully written, it takes aim at the point where popular culture meets politics, and envisages a near future where the British union has dissolved, the climate is on the verge of collapse, mysticism is becoming ever more popular, and some kind of consensus world view is needed to avoid everything from civil ward to jihad in the British Isles. That consensus manifests itself in the person of three rockstars who become politicians and then royalty, in a story that is at first science fiction then fantasy and then maybe something else.

When the first of the Bold as Lovequintet was published some readers scoffed at the idea that rockstars could, through any means, end up running a government. That scepticism seems harder to swallow in a world where a rock star petitions governments to forgive Third World debt and stalks the corridors of power as readily as he does a concert stage.

The first and best book in the quintet, Bold as Love, was published in 2001, won the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Best Novel, and was recently published in the US for the first time by Night Shade. It’s been followed by Midnight Lamp, Castles Made of Sand, Band of Gypsys, and now Rainbow Bridge.

I’ve not yet read Rainbow Bridge, though I expect to shortly. In the meantime, you can read a sample of Gwyneth Jones’s website. And, if you’re in the States, you can order that handsome Night Shade edition as a starter.