I guess an obvious companion set of posts to Books I’m looking forward to… is something on what I’m reading right now. This is the kind of thing I probably won’t stick with, but who knows? Right now I’m going through a phase of starting a lot of books and not finishing them. For some reason, around the 100 page mark, I just fade out and lose interest. I think it says more about me than it does about the book in question, though who knows? For instance, I started Charles de Lint’s The Mystery of Grace a couple weeks ago. I like de Lint’s work and was delighted to see that he wasn’t writing about Newford in his new novel. The book starts well, but I got distracted. Same for Cherryh’s Regenesis which, admittedly, is heavier going. I got to around page 250 on that. Anyway, I’m not going into too much detail on what’s wrong with things here and, in some instances, will just report that I’m reading a book because that seems appropriate.
First up, I’m reading Sharyn November’s third ‘Firebirds’ anthology, Firebirds Soaring. Like it’s predecessors it’s a mixed SF/F anthology aimed pretty much at the YA market and features writers who contribute to the Firebirds publishing imprint along with others. I’m reading it for my year’s best, and it includes very good stories by Margo Lanagan, Ellen Klages, Louise Marley and Jo Walton. I still have about five stories or so to finish, but I think it’s a very good book. It’s out in March.
On the plane home from Calgary in November I flicked through Felix Gilman’s Thunderer. It’s a fantasy, his first, and, as I mentioned below, was recommended by Katie Menick who told me it’s terrific. I believe Katie, so it’s currently sitting in my office on my desk. I’ve read the opening chapter, which is intriguing. If all goes well, I hope to really get into it over the next week or two.
I’m also thumbing through James Enge’s first novel, Blood of Ambrose. I’m going to talk about this more when I get to the April instalment of Books I’m looking forward to…. I have all sorts of conflicts of interest recommending it. It’s edited by my good friend and collaborator Lou Anders and Enge has written a terrific short for Lou and my anthology, Conquering Swords, but I am interested to see what he’s done with the novel. It has the same lead character as the one in his Conquering Swords story so I’m intrigued.
And finally, the postman yesterday brought me a galley of China Mieville’s new novel, The City and the City. I started reading this on my Sony Reader last week and am about four chapters into it. I know China would prefer that details about the book don’t get out yet, so I’ll just say it has a much cleaner, tighter style than his previous novels, and that it’s a new stand-alone. It also, as you’d imagine from the title, focusses on his love of cities and is reminiscent of his short story “Reports of Certain Events in London” (from McSweeney’s). I’m not going to say much more till closer to its June publication, but it looks very good so far.