Getting sorted – the end of it for now…

Well, we didn’t win, we didn’t lose – I prefer to think we drew in the mighty battle that is “Merton Way vs. books”. On Saturday I was up early-ish and headed off to IKEA to pick up some extra bookshelves to fit into one of the bookcases, and then picked up my brother who had agreed to help with the sorting etc again.  I think we put our heads down and started at around 11am.  After a short break for lunch we pushed through to around 6pm when it became clear we either needed to reach an accommodation or push through till midnight again, and then most likely face more work on Sunday.

I’ll be honest: with an aching back and shoulders I couldn’t face it, so I suggested we ignore for now the seven or eight cartons of hardcovers that needed to be sorted which were sitting in my office and that we not integrate the front room books with the office books.  What this means is that we now have A-Z hardcovers up to about 2000 in our lounge room and A-Z hardcovers from 2001 to the present in my office, with all of the paperbacks fully sorted, along with some boxes that still need dealing with some time soon-ish. This is not ideal, but it is a lot better.  There is neatness and order on the shelves, and my office is coming out of its eighteen-month long state of chaos that started when we emptied our front room and turned it into a lounge.  True: not all of the books are out, and they’re not all integrated. Next time for that.

The hurriedly announced sale of books happened yesterday and some friends came over and relieved of us a small number of books (thank you Alisa, Nick and Amanda) and a large number of galleys (thank you Russ and Liz!). Today we will hopefully see a few more go. After that I need to find boxes for probably two bookcases full of books until our preferred second-hand dealer comes back from holidays in mid-June to relieve of us of them. We might even be able to get them into a family member’s garage for a while. Anything to keep them out of my office.

And  now? Well, having lived with this for three days I now look forward to editing work increasing significantly this week before a return to work next Monday.

Getting sorted

I hate domestic upheaval.  A lot. When I was single I preferred, and mostly achieved, domestic organisation. Then in 1997 I went to live in the United States. Everything I owned was boxed and stored for twelve months. When I returned some of it was  unpacked, but a lot of books weren’t. I got married in early 1999. This was a GOOD thing. My wonderful wife, Marianne, sent an entire ship full of stuff to Australia which was promptly unloaded into the garage of our rental unit at the time.  It then went into the store room of the first house we rented late, when we first heard we were having a baby, and then into the room of doom when we moved again.  In late 2002 we bought the house we now live in and it all went into the enormous room at the front of our house. For six years.

A sensible couple would, after three years of living together, have merged their possessions and culled the excess. We did not. Things were boxed; they went into what is now the lovely lounge in our front room. And during all this time, from 1999 to 2002 I was book reviewing. Free books rained down upon me in a way they no longer do.  From 2002 till now the arrival of review copies has slowly tapered off, offset somewhat by Marianne and I continuing to buy books.  Those books have gone into cupboards, on top of shelves, anywhere they could. They have not, since probably mid-2002 been integrated and Marianne’s books have never been fully integrated with mine. Now, we did do something of a cull of the books last year, around June. These all went to a friend who was starting up a second-hand book business, but we didn’t attempt organisation or anything like it, and there were still fifteen cartons of books stacked in the corner of my office (I will post photos later).

Well, yesterday at around 9am, filled with fear, Marianne and I commenced culling the book collection and organising it. We went through the six large book cases in the front lounge room, the four large book cases in the family room (two are full of kids’ stuff), the seven large book cases in my office, the two small ones in our bedroom, and the fifteen boxes in my office too.  My brother came over to join us at around 7pm last night. By the time he left we had located all of the ‘A’ format mass market paperbacks, sorted them into alphabetical order, re-culled them, and then shelved them. We need to get some more shelving this morning, but that part is done. Today we’ll head over to IKEA for the  additional shelves, then we need to integrate the hardcovers, re-cull them, and re-shelve them. This is made both easier and harder because about half of the hardcovers (mostly my old collection) are all alphabetised and shelved.  We need to get all the others together, sort and alphabetise them, cull them, then integrate and shelve them.  Yay.

To say this has been painful is an understatement.  Just a day after the house was cleaned and we had the ‘appearance’ of order, we have relative chaos.  We’re going to have chaos for at least another day or so.  By Monday, though, we should have all of the books sorted, ordered and culled.  We have friends coming over Sunday afternoon who might want to buy some of the books. After that they get boxed and stored until our second-hand bookshop friend has another look (that won’t be till June, though).

Oh, and the copy-edited manuscript of an anthology arrived in my email needing checking just this morning, I have a batch of Locus editing to do, and there’s taxes too. I guess holidays are over.

Schedule for 2010, or why I was slow to return your call…

I owe you all a lot of posts. There are awards nods to acknowledge, cover sneak peeks to post and such, and I think that my time on holidays is re-energising me to the point where that’s going to happen, and soon.  However, for the moment a brief sketch of my year. I was updating my bibliography page this morning to reflect sopme new information, and thought you might like to see what my projected 2010 is like.  I should probably add that my 2011 and 2012 schedules are going to be much more, um, relaxed.

2010 – Anthologies etc.

  1. The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume 4, Night Shade Books, March 2010, tpb
  2. Special issue of Subterranean Online, Subterranean Press, April 2010
  3. Swords and Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery, (with Lou Anders), HarperCollins Publishers, New York July 2010, tpb; Subterranean Press, July 2010, Ltd ed. hc
  4. Legends of Australian Fantasy, (with Jack Dann), HarperCollins Publishers Australia, Sydney, July 2010, tpb
  5. Wings of Fire, (with Marianne S. Jablon), Night Shade Books, July 2010
  6. Godlike Machines, The Science Fiction Book Club, New York, August 2010, hc
  7. Phantasmagoria and Madness: Tales from the Steampunk Century, (with Bill Shafer), Subterranean Press, 2010
  8. Eclipse Four, Night Shade Books, October 2010

2010 – Author collections edited.

  1. Mirror Kingdoms: The Best of Peter S. Beagle, Subterranean Press, March 2010, hc
  2. The Best of Fritz Leiber, (with Charles N. Brown), Night Shade Books, April 2010, hc
  3. The Green Leopard Plague and Other Stories, Walter Jon Williams, Night Shade Books, April 2010, hc
  4. Hard Luck Diggings: The Early Jack Vance, (with Terry Dowling), Subterranean Press, June 2010, hc
  5. The Best of Kim Stanley Robinson, Kim Stanley Robinson, Night Shade Books, August 2010, hc
  6. The Best of Larry Niven, Subterranean Press, 2010, hc
  7. The Best of Joe Haldeman, Subterranean Press, December 2010, hc

Back from the South

I’m still a little dazed.  Last Tuesday we headed down to Dunsborough for our first annual actual family holiday. Marianne, Jessica (9), Sophie (8), five iPods and a buttload of crap, all aimed at making sure we rested and relaxed.

And we did.  The accommodation was exactly right – kudos to Marianne for that – so we really only needed to relax and enjoy. We ate takeaway, went down a cave, up a lighthouse, swam in a freezingly cold swimming pool frequented by the local duck population, wandered up to the local bakery some mornings for almond croissants, down to the beach to watch winter take hold on some staggeringly beautiful mornings and evenings (Geographe Bay is stunning), and reconnected as a family away from the dominating influence of the online world.

Did I get away from work? No! Of course not. It’s too soon for that.  Wednesday afternoon I ducked onto the internet for 10 minutes, which allowed me to resolve an unknown editing crisis, Thursday I spent 10 minutes going over a book contract, and even went in search of a payphone so I could buy us plane tickets for Melbourne and WorldCon (we’re booked!).  But I didn’t do much. I did less.  And I felt refreshed for it.  I even read a novel (for fun!).

It was ridiculous that it took me days to unwind to the point where I could. The first two days I picked books up and put them down, fiddled, and I even listed to a third of Terry Pratchett’s Wintersmith as an audiobook, but by Friday I was relaxed enough to pick up Guy Gavriel Kay’s staggeringly good UNDER HEAVEN – a historical fantasy set in 8th Century China – and when I did I adored it.  Kay is a wonderful, wonderful writer and this is his best book.  For three days I simply drank it down, and was sad to get to the end of it.  I was given a proof by my dear friend Theresa at HarperCollins, but will be making a point of buying a final copy because it’s so awesome.

We got home on Tuesday afternoon to a beautifully clean house (thanks mum!) and have spent the last couple days spinning our wheels, playing with friends and not quite getting ready for back to school (and work). The girls are back at school next Tuesday and I’m off till the end of the month. I’ll pick up the editing in earnest next week, but for now I’m happy to putter.  There’s taxes to finish, two books to work on, but also some gardening to do and we might even take on the ‘book problem’.

One odd thing is that I’ve been toying with the idea of podcasting. There’s no doubt in my mind this has to do with my close encounters with both Tony C. Smith and with the Galactic Suburbia triumvirate, but it could be fun. I’m not up to date with the mechanics of it, and I’m not sure I really want to host something, but if I could get some Locus chums to chat about SF, with maybe a few guests, it could be swell. Yes?