Slow down!Â First 2009 book dropped through the mail slot today.Â Is it next year already?
Just heard that Andy Duncan’s “Unique Chicken Goes in Reverse” is up for the Shirley Jackson Award, which is terrific news. Check out the list of finalists!Â It’s presented in July, and I’ve got my fingers crossed for Andy.
A quick note on Eclipse Two: it’s a long, long, long way from together at the moment (panics. settles.) , but the open reading period is finally over. I’ve now read, considered and responded to every single submission that I saw.Â If you’ve not heard back from me, please drop me an email so I can see what happened. You should have.
I’ve done it before, but not here in a long time. Turn the iPod on, set it to shuffle, and what comes up:
- Suicide Blonde, The Weepies (Say I Am You)
- The Second Time Around, Dusty Springfield (Dusty in London)
- Wrapped Up in Books, Belle & Sebastian (Dear Catastrophe Waitress)
- Hello, It’s Me, Todd Rundgren (The Very Best of Todd Rundgren)
- How Does It Feel To Be Back, Hall & Oates (The Ultimate Hall & Oates)
Weird about The Weepies coming up, but that’s random for you…
I don’t know how long it is since I posted about new music – a long time – and the last new thing I loved was The Weepies Say I Am You.Â It’s a beautiful record, so when I heard that a new one, Hideaway, was out in the US I got pretty excited.Â I sampled it on their website and put an order in with Amazon. Now I wait.Â Am I listening to anything else? Hmm. Because I’ve been feeling stressed and worn down a lot lately, I’ve been looking for something soothing and relaxing.Â Shelby Lynne’s new cd, Just a Little Lovin, is remarkably civilised.Â Apart from that, I’ve been turning back to early Van Morrison and John Martyn, both of which always seem to be remarkably restorative.
I’m reading Richard Morgan’s new novel, The Steel Remains, at the moment.Â I dipped into his first novel, Altered Carbon, but honestly never took to it.Â Not entirely sure why.Â Anyway,Â the galley for Morgan’s book showed up a couple weeks ago and I was ready to toss it on the pile and focus on something else when I thought I’d take a peek. He’s very popular, and given that the book is an honest to goodness swords and sorcery novel, it seemed a big change for him. I read a page, then a chapter, and now I’m completely hooked.Â What’s it like? Hmm.Â A little like Poul Anderson’s The Broken Sword re-written by David Morell. It’s a traditional gritty swords and sorcery novel, with a bit of harsh language and graphic description thrown in.Â It’s strength is its plot engine.Â Pick it up and you’ll forget about the hype that comes with it (something I always react poorly to) and the silly names that seem native to a lot of fantasy, and will find yourself sucked into a genuinely gripping story.Â Not sure how it’ll finish or whether the book’s completely successful, but so far so good.Â Would it make me read his SF? I don’t think know. Would I buy another fantasy from him? Absolutely.