In between all the last minute gift giving and the exhausting rotation of visits to friends and relatives, however, this past Christmas has also been a particularly productive one. After all of a week's worth of thinking, and latterly even a bit of planning, The Speculative Scotsman finally launched.
I've been meaning to chime in with the blogosphere for some time now, and the community surrounding speculative fiction in all its forms is nearly unrivalled across all the highways and byways of the internet, where there's a forum for every last ridiculous thing you can imagine and at least one daft fan to fill its pages. TSS aspires to greater things, of course. It need not be your one-stop shop for every sliver of knowledge and commentary about all your particular interests, but it will be reliable, it will be informative, and it will, I hope, be above all else entertaining.
So. With Christmas officially in the can for another twelve months, now that I've got time to think, I thought - I did - that it might be time to go through a select few of the more thoughtful gifts given to The Speculative Scotsman on the day of the baby Jesus.
The haul began with a pair of books my significantly prettier other half had spent weeks thinking about, one I'd hardly heard of and another that I'd seen a few times and thought little more about. The first, Boneshaker by Cherie Priest, has to be among the most original gifts I've received in my entire adult life. Grungy, fast-paced steampunk hasn't been my thing in the past, yet I devoured Boneshaker in a period not exceeding 48 hours - a rarity for a notoriously slow reader such as myself. It wasn't, perhaps, the best novel I've ever read, but I can hardly stress how much fun it was.
You'll be seeing a review of the first part of Cherie Priest's The Clockwork Century cycle later in the week, and shortly after that, there should be an article - certainly a Quick Book, if not something more substantial - about the other literary gift the girlfriend gave me: The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, author of The Shadow of the Wind, which I enjoyed an unrighteous amount.
Thus far, this second novel has been an excellent read, although I'm a little worried that I can already see the shock ending coming. Perhaps I should have a little more faith; it's the right time of year for it, after all. I seem to recall Pat from the Fantasy Hotlist rather admiring it, and his is a straightforward opinion I value highly. Here's hoping, then, that there's more to The Angel's Game than a predictable twist...
This past month, winter has slipped its malicious fingers into just about every aspect of life here in the UK. There's sheet ice on the smaller roads, and the government's reserves of salt and grit are already spread so thinly that they can only afford to cover the main thoroughfares. Unreliable at the best of times, it's no surprise that the post has been something of a headache, but yesterday, a cautious mailman finally arrived with the two Guy Gavriel Kay books I'd ordered directly after reading Tigana and loving it so much.
Quite the literary haul, if I may say so. Certainly there'll be mention of several of these pieces of speculative fiction on the site in the coming weeks and months. For now, however, let's rest easy that the Santa man has returned to his conspicuous Arctic hideout, sated by the blood of children everywhere.