Reading, not writing, and stuff

I probably shouldn’t be so delighted about this, but CJ Cherryh writes in her journal that she has finished the latest Foreigner book and is now going back to the Cyteen sequel that she started last year. I don’t know how this will work out in publishing terms – I actually think this one might be coming out from my wonderful editor Diana Gill, but I’m not sure – but if all goes well it should be out in the first half of 2008. That’s forever away, but it’s also when I’ll be taking my big break from the day job, and I can’t wait.

There are many reasons why I’ve been quiet since getting back from the US. The first would be the non-stop flu that I’ve had, which has kept me both slightly miserable and overly tired. It’s not broken yet, but pfeh to it. The second would be the head’s-down backside-up approach for The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, which I’m working on diligently right now. The other reason is I’ve just been almost comically unable to write. Don’t know why, but it’s killing my schedule. I need to get a book introduction finished (and will this weekend), and have nightmares at the the thought of going back to book reviewing. What would I say? Gah.

On that, a far too brief recommendation. While I was traveling in the US – losing pretty much a full month’s work along the way – I managed to read two novels: Ellen Kushner’s The Privilege of the Sword and John Scalzi’s The Android’s Dream.  Both deserve much more intelligent, quotable recommendations than the one’s I’m about to give them, but still…. While jetlagged, tired, depressed and miserable these two books lifted my spirits and gave me joy and delight. In many ways both of them are confections, amusements, the kind of tales you read with guilty pleasure, realising there is no homework here, only rousing adventure, quick wits and far too much fun. Kelly Link’s described Ellen’s novel as Georgette Heyer meets Dumas, and that sounds about right: D’Artagnan’s niece adventuring in the land of the seemingly dissolute and crazy. I loved Swordspoint, was slightly less enamoured of The Fall of the Kings, and loved this one. I still think her best novel is the superlative Thomas the Rhymer, but Privilege was a delight. As to Android: it was unlike The Ghost Brigades and Old Man’s War in just the right way – funnier, less Heinleinesque, and better. I liked the two earlier novels very much, and will read The Last Colony when I can, but The Android’s Dream is a peach, the perfect sci-fi summer beach read (if that makes sense).  So, many thanks to both Ellen and John. I’ll be waiting for their next novels, and you should be running out to get these.

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