The wizard knight

For those of you who don’t read the comments attached to the blog, Niall points out the happy news that Gollancz will be publishing Gene Wolfe’s The Wizard Knight as a single-volume hardcover in August 05. I’m guessing this is one of Jo’s decisions, so way to go Jo! And thanks for the head’s up to Niall.

My birthday has always been jinxed…

My birthday has always been jinxed. I can remember the year I turned seven when my cowboy outfit turned out to be a cowgirl suit, or the year when we went fishing and my father managed to bury the family car axle-deep in beach sand about twenty metres from the encroaching tide (it was harder than it sounds – he was good driver).

While these, and several other events, were amusing they led to a certain reluctance on my behalf to celebrate my ‘special day’, which is probably why I have no recollection at all of 16th, 18th, or 21st birthday parties (the only reason I know I had a 30th was because I held it in my brother’s apartment while he was on the other side of the continent).

This in turn fed into my problems with Christmas. Since time immemorial my family have patiently asked me what I would like for birthday or Christmas, and from time immemorial I have responded “I don’t know” and tried to duck the question. I think it’s partly because I don’t want to think about it, and partly that its harder to come up with appropriate things once you’ve achieved a certain level of disposable income.

Still, setting aside years of problems, I thought I’d try to mention some times quietly here, and leave it in my loved ones hands to do as they would. Now, I am setting aside unreasonable and expensive potential gifts like new computers, 60gb photo ipods, desks, bookcases, cd racks and such – all of which are needed at home – and am instead focussing on more reasonable things. So, here, if you happen to be related to me by blood or marriage are some ideas:

The Polysyllabic Spree, Nick Hornby
Unexpected Magic : Collected Stories, Diana Wynne Jones

Any of the five recent Elton John SACD remasters (Elton John; Madman Across the Water; Tumbleweed Connection; Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy; or Honky Chateau)
The Essential Cheap Trick by Cheap Trick

other stuff
A bottle of 10 or 15 year-old Laphroig
A day off
The extended dvd set of Return of the King

I remember my mother saying, of wishing, ‘if “ifs” and “ands” were pots and pans’, which basically addressed the uselessness of idle wishing, but if unrealistic things were possible I’d also love to spend part of Christmas reading Kelly’s Magic for Beginners, Gwyneth’s Band of Gypsies, Howard’s Hearts of Whiteness and C.Js Destroyer. More realistically, I hope to spend lots of time with friends and family, and to maybe finish the projects that are on hand. That would be swell.

Those who will understand will understand

A mailing list that I’m on just yesterday began to discuss the forthcoming film adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy into a series of films by director Chris Weitz (director of About a Boy and American Pie) and New Line Cinema. I expressed some disappointment that Wietz had reportedly sacked screenwriter Tom Stoppard because he preferred to direct from his own script (this has been widely blogged about – apologies for lack of cross references), and was even more dismayed to read this article at the the Times, which discusses the need to remove God from the films of the series to appease Bush’s America. Apparently, according to Weitz, “those who will understand, will understand”. I do, but I don’t.