Went to the post box on Tuesday to find a package from Shaun Tan containing the original drawing for one of the stories for Kelly Link’s new collection, Pretty Monsters, the one for “The Specialist’s Hat”, which I really love. Got home today and Sharyn had sent me the galley for the book, which looks terrific!Â Sometimes life is really quite good.
I just finished Graham Joyce’s third young adult novel, Three Ways to Snog an Alien and I loved it. I like TWOC, his first YA, and really liked Do the Creepy Thing(*), which I think has the best title. Three Ways… is just about the most English book Joyce has written. ‘Our Doogie’ lives in Conventry with his mum and dad, and is spending his time at school doing his best to just kick back, play dumb, and have fun. But, there’s this girl, Angelica, who is pretty and interesting and a bit weird looking too. He’s interested in her, but could she be an alien? Getting dating tips from datingtips.com isn’t helping either.
The strength of this book is Doogie’s character. He’s actually smart and perceptive and funny. The book is laugh out loud funny. I don’t know if it’s science fiction – it could be – but mostly what it is is terrific and engaging and one Joyce’s best books. It’s out in July and you should definitely check it out.
* The title has been changed in the US to The Exchange.Â This is a good title, I just really like the original.
So, I think I’ve developed an irrational fear. Last year, through no one’s fault (and pointing the finger at no-one), more than half of the writers who had committed to writing for Eclipse One spontaneously dropped out during the last week before the deadline. I had to get an extension to the deadline, find new writers to be involved, and so on.Â Anyway, the deadline for Eclipse Two is May 18.Â That’s not so far away. Now, I’ve bought some stories for the book and have my eye on a couple more, and a bunch of people have said they should have stories in, but I think I’m going to be edgy about this one until it’s been put to bed.
A reasonably positive review of The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume 2 over at The Fix. Obviously I like the book a bit more than the reviewer did, and I calculate the SF/F split a bit more evenly.Â As to whether readers will find it too diverse or not, time will tell. I tend to believe in the idea that there are readers who are short fiction readers first and then sf or fantasy readers second.Â I also think there are a lot of readers who happily will read both.Â Still, interesting to see another view.