Sunday, August 24, 2008

Watching the Authors

Down to the last chapter of 'The Missing'. I've had my sweep through and a made a few subtle changes. I'll have a call with Maureen later this week, make further changes before printing the entire novel off and reading it as a reader. I want to try and put myself in the position of someone picking the book up off the shelf for the first time and reading it for enjoyment. At the same time it will be read by the chief editor at Libros where further changes can be made.


The book festival is now up and running and I was able to see Jasper Fforde read from his new work which is set in a world where colour is a key indicator to your position in life and society. Like all Fforde books the concept sounds alien and completely off kilter but no doubt he'll pull off something unique and funny and tight. If you have never read any of his books pick one up, he's as funny as Pratchett and as clever as Adams. Well worth reading.

Also got to see John Connolly, who was amusing and seemed more at ease speaking to large crowds than when I saw him two years ago. He speaks and reads so fast that he can fit into half an hour what most authors drivel on about for at least two. He read from a work in progress which is a new Charlie Parker novel out next year called 'The Lovers'. It's sound like the supernatural elements have been upped in the new book, which is good because it was something I missed in the last.

I'm off to see Alan Campbell tomorrow which I'm looking forward to.

Outside of the Book festival we saw Jimmy Carr, who was quick and clever and funny and immensely rude in all of the right places.


Finished 'The Secret History of Moscow', which is a subterranean fiction work set in Russia where creatures of fable, old Gods and characters from history exist below Moscow. Its from the point of view of Galina who's younger sister turns into a jackdaw and flies away whilst giving birth. Trying to track her sister down she meets with several strange individuals all who suffer from the dislocation of living in modern Russia in a big city that is crime and prejudice ridden.
The book has very much of a Russian feel to it, reading like Tolstoy (thankfully not as long) with plenty of wit. The subterranean world does not feel as fleshed at as the city above but Ekaterina Sedia has an inventive and playful mind and is able to pull on the history of her country and its myths.

'Nevada' is strange and funny and shocking and clever all at the same time. I only heard of Steve Gerber just after he died earlier this year when I discovered he was the creator of Howard the Duck, a character I remember from a film which involved aliens, comedy and inter species love (not something that seemed strange when I was about 10 years old).
This comic book was realised back in 1999 and I picked it up via the excellent book swapping site 'Read it, Swap it', based on Gerber's name. It revolves around an exotic dancer in Las Vegas, her pet ostrich Bolero, time and dimension travel, daemons and cosmic answers. It's a great read and worth picking up, I'll definitely be searching out more of Gerber's work on the back of it.

'Ocean' by Warren Ellis is a straight forward action comic set in space where coffins from an alien race have been discovered in the ice below Europa. It's about corporate greed and the inherent violence of the human species. Great art work by Chris Sprouse and Karl Story.

My final read this week is 'The Vinyl Underground - Watching the Detectives' which is a spin on Hellblazer but with a modern cool edge. It's good and I think it could grow into something very good but at the moment it doesn't have the skill or self awareness of Hellblazer.


Read this week:
The Secret History of Moscow by Ekaterina Sedia
The Vinyl Underground - Watching the Detectives by Si Spencer
Ocean by Warren Ellis
Nevada by Steve Gerber

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