Side-note to my previous post: when my review copy of Bones of the Old Ones arrived, I was pleased to discover that the top blurb on the inside jacket cover was actually mine, quoted from my review of Jones’ previous novel. Though I’m not mentioned by name, I immediately recognized my Green Man Review coverage from early 2011. I didn’t actually see it until after I’d finished the book, when I idly checked out some of the jacket copy.
I probably shouldn’t have been surprised since I had already seen I was the leading blurb on the Amazon page for this latest title (and a longer quotation from that same review is also on the Amazon page of the original book in question). But it’s cool to have it on paper in a book I actually held in hand.
Since I frequently receive advanced reading copies, it is possible, if my reviews are published early enough, to end up on the jacket cover of a first edition, though what’s more likely to happen is for praise for one book to end up on the jacket of a later book, as was the case here. It’s simply good luck that I signed up to cover this one late enough that I received a finished book, blurbing my earlier review, rather than an ARC which would probably have included no jacket copy.
My first time being blurbed? One of Neal Asher’s Polity novels, probably about eight years ago. But I never actually held a finished copy of the book.
Novels with fantasy settings breaking the Anglo-Saxon mould (like, say, Lian Hearn’s feudal Japan-inspired Otori series), are a rare pleasure if they’re done well. And Howard Andrew Jones’ ancient Arabian adventure series fits the bill.
My full review ran today in the Winnipeg Free Press.
Yes, I’ve been doing some (mostly) holiday-related writing, lately, as my day job has slowed down just a little bit this month. I hope to do a few more posts at Care2 before New Year’s, should the opportunity present itself.
If we were simply looking at Marlowe or Holmes in a genre pastiche, I’d say add it to the pile (though it may well be an excellent pile), but Arsène Lupin as a quantum criminal? That’s a new one on me.
You may recall that I’ve covered both this novel and its sequel during the last few months. Last week my editor, Cat, asked for a write-up on the series-in-progress as a whole. You can read it at the Green Man main page (for the moment), or go directly to my post here.
Beautifully Geeky Book Sculptures: I wish I were a librarian so I could blow the budget on some of these. (For display purposes only — cannot be checked out.)
The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe: Howard Andrew Jones: His newest book comes out today, and my review will probably run this Saturday. A pretty interesting new writer you may want to check out.
In fact, one of my earliest interests in journalism (as opposed to fiction writing, an earlier predilection) was my high school subscription to the Official US Playstation Magazine while I was in high school. It occurred to me that these guys (and the odd girl) were having a lot of fun. I had visions of 12-hour gaming sessions followed by marathon feats of writing just under deadline. I would have loved an internship at that magazine office.
I don’t game as much as I used to, simply because it’s too much of a time-suck and I have trouble fitting it in. But I’ll always be a gamer, old-school, eighties style (though I keep up with the industry and don’t just play on NES emulators all the time). And I still take the odd review title, which you’ll have seen if you check in here regularly. So allow me to share some of the stuff I’ve been playing in some of the cracks in my work schedule these days.
Growlanser IV for the PSP, part of a series but very much a stand-alone from what I can tell. A very tough, deep, and rewarding tactical RPG. I put it down after I did my review a couple months ago, and picked it back up this weekend when I didn’t feel like reading or doing anything resembling work during my downtime.
Kingdom Rush, which I very nearly beat tonight, narrowly failing to take down the final boss at the end of a grueling final level. It’s a tower defense deal in the vein of Crystal Defenders, one of the best I’ve played (I’ve played quite a bit in the genre over the last couple years since I’ve discovered it), and it’s free to play online (with optional premium content). I saw it recommended elsewhere and have had a few late nights with it since starting it a few weeks ago.
Older titles: I picked up a cheap copy of Metroid: Other M back in the summer, started playing it one day, and haven’t gotten back to it for a few months. But I think I’ll find time over Christmas for a proper playthrough. I also have picked up Mirror’s Edge a couple times recently, just to play a level or two for fun, on a regular story mode playthrough. No OCDing over time trials or anything like that. Just enjoying the atmosphere and narrative.
This game really does need a sequel. I suspect it may end up like Beyond Good & Evil. We’ll wait 10 years before we see anything because it’s a little too smart to bring in the big bucks like some of the juggernaut, by-the-numbers franchises. So long as it’s worth the wait.
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell to be BBC Miniseries: At nearly 1000 pages, Susanna Clarke’s faux-Victorian alternate-history fantasy novel required a certain degree of stamina. Not everyone is willing to read the equivalent of a full-length novel while waiting for the story to get properly started, so a series might be quite nice for those who gave up before page 250.
I have book reviews due this forthcoming Tuesday (the 4th) and Wednesday (the 5th), for two different publications. But I`ve also been finding bits of time here and there to work on some non-review titles. I`m listening to an audiobook of Cory Doctorow`s For the Win, which is, as always, enlightening. Somehow his fiction packs so much information about politics, technology, and culture, it competes with non-fiction for its educational content.
Speaking of, I`m also reading How Mathematics Happened: The First 50, 000 Years, by Peter Rudman. Not the first book I`ve read about the history of math, and probably not the last. It`s pretty good, and I`m learning something new with each page. I`m also enjoying the “fun questions“ peppered throughout the text. As the go-to book on the subject, I think I would still give Tobias Dantzig`s classic, Number, the nod. But I`m happy I picked this one up.
Lastly, I`m working on Asimov`s robot stories, via his Robot Visions collection. It`s the last of his major series I hadn`t gotten around to reading yet.
As far as writing goes, I have the aforementioned reviews, I`ve agreed on deadlines for two posts for Care2, I`m writing a little something up for Green Man, and that takes me to the end of the week (it`s a busy week). After that, I think what I`d like to do is work on a couple of essays I`ve previously pitched to AE, and put together a pitch or two for a local magazine I`ve been in touch with. Those are things I`ll give myself `til the end of the month for, since there are no impending deadlines attached, and, hey, it`s holiday time. I want to relax at least a little.
As the follow-up to [Hannu Rajaniemi's] much-lauded 2010 debut, The Quantum Thief, this sophomore effort had a lot to live up to. By and large, it delivers.
Find out how in my Free Press review.