The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny

Collected Roger Zelazny 1A lot of books get announced, and a lot of them don’t come out, or come out late. I have no idea whether Threshold and Power & Light, respectively the first and second volumes in NESFA Press’s six-volume The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny, will be out in February as promised. If they are, they’ll feature prominently in next month’s Books I’m looking forward to. Regardless of that, though, they’re exciting, essential books. You can’t order the books yet, but keep an eye on the NESFA site and be sure to grab ’em early. I know I will be.

Books I’m looking forward to… Part 1. January 2009

I’ve tried to do some regular features on this blog before and, to be honest, haven’t been too successful.  I think it’s mostly because I have the concentration of your average gnat, when confronted with anything too challenging or difficult or that requires me to do pretty much anything regularly.

Still, I’ve decided to have a tilt at a new regular feature.  As you all know, I work for Locus.  One of the things I do is  to provide some input to our quarterly Forthcoming Books listings.  Glancing over them this morning it occurred to me that, once per month, I could blog about books coming out in the next month that I’m looking forward to reading. This is, of course, a terrible cheat because I get review copies and so on and usually am reading several months ahead.  Still, I’m going to do it and hopefully it’ll be mildly interesting. So, here goes…

The book I was, hands down no fooling, most looking forward to in January was C.J. Cherryh’s Regenesis.  I’m an enormous fan of Cherryh’s work and was thrilled when I read a few years ago that she had committed to a big new Union/Alliance novel.  Downbelow Station is a favourite of mine – I read it seven times one year – while I loved Forty Thousand in Gehenna and Cyteen.  A direct sequel to the latter book should have been an absolute winner.  I saw the 230,000 manuscript when I was in Oakland last August and then was delighted to receive a galley of it in October. I read half of it, and got distracted.  I’m still going to buy it, and still think you should to.  Cherryh has done so much terrific work that I really think I need to go back, re-read Cyteen and then try again.

One of the reasons that I work on anthologies so much is that I love a really good one, and any anthology by Ellen Datlow is likely to be terrific.  I was lucky enough to get a copy of Ellen’s Poe, which is in-store everywhere in January, and I think it’s terrific.
A selection of original stories honouring Edgar Allan Allen Poe, it has great stories by Pat Cadigan, Kim Newman, M. Rickert, Lucius Shepard and others. It’s likely to stand amongst the year’s finest anthologies, so be sure to check it out.

I have, of course, got copies of the two previous books and have read or started them. Now a couple that I don’t have, and which I can’t wait to see. I loved, loved, loved Frances Hardinge’s second novel, Veridigris Deep.  It was a startling, delightful, captivating young adult fantasy and put her on my list of writers to read every single time they have a book out.  Well, on my birthday (January 2nd) her third novel, Gullstruck Island, is published in the UK.  I can’t wait to read it, and will probably have to order a copy from the UK so I don’t have to wait months and months to see it. In case it wasn’t clear I’m really excited about this one.

I also am very interested in getting Felix Gilman’s second novel, Gears of the City.  We share an agent and his first novel was picked out of the slush pile by the wonderful and delightful Katie Menick, who gave me a copy of his first book, Thunderer, in Calgary.  I’ve read the first couple chapters and it looks terrific, so the sequel is definitely on the ‘to get’ pile.

And that leaves Adam Roberts’ Yellow Blue Tibia.  To be honest, I’ve liked Roberts’ short fiction, but been left a bit cold by his novels.  This one sounds really interesting, though, so I’m going to get hold of a copy and check it out.  More when I see it.

Well, that’s the first instalment of Books I’m looking forward to.  Hope you liked it. I’ll be back in late January with Part 2 – February 2009.

Was that 2008?

I spent an hour or two yesterday looking back over the blog, refreshing my memory before I tackled any of the year in review tasks that await.  On a day when I had a lot of fun – the girls and I had a swim at Bayswater Waves, the family played golf and bowling on the Wii, we had dim sum and went shopping at Planet and JB Hi Fi – I found myself reading a lot about stress, ill-health and projects in various states of chassis.  Not fun.

It got me to thinking – I should talk more about what’s going on in my life that’s good and talk a lot less about projects as they’re in progress.   With that in mind, first, something positive about 2008.  It was easily my most successful year at pretty much any kind of stuff. I got my first promotion at my day job in far too many years (in truth, the only one I’ve applied for in a decade or more so that’s my fault, but still…), I won (or books I worked on won) a Ditmar, a Tin Duck, a Locus Award (!), and was nominated for the Hugo Award (!!!!).  I traveled to Denver for WorldCon and Calgary for World Fantasy.  I had an almost idyllic time at Lancelin for my mother’s 70th birthday, and then spent a lovely week in Dunsborough with the my brother-in-law and his family.  To be crass about it, I’m earning more money than ever before and am still fortunate enough to have a good day job and be reasonably successful at my editing.

On the downside: in 2008 I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and then spent five months putting weight on, I hurt my right shoulder (which still isn’t quite right), I cracked a rib which continues to bother me four months later, I got ridiculously overstressed about things like cover debates and so on, and generally handled stress and strain poorly. There were also health scares for both kids, which was pretty terrifying, but they’re both okay at the moment, which is good.

And yet…I’m optimistic about 2009.  Why? Well, firstly because my editing continues to work out.  While details have to be finalised, I’ve just sold a new book that I’m very happy about.  I have a wonderful family, who contribute to the craziness but are still the best part of everything I experience.  And I feel like I’ve had something of an epiphany when it comes to managing me and my stress etc.  If that proves true, if I can work on that, then 2009 will be much more enjoyable which is what I need.

With that in mind, I might make New Year’s resolutions, but if I don’t, I do feel like I know what I need to do to make 2009 a good year.