Well, I'm back.
We'll have a proper catch up tomorrow, once I've had a chance to find my feet - get talking about the reading I did and didn't do while I was away, all that. For the moment, I wanted to point you all in the direction of the latest extract to hit Pan Macmillan's site. It's for none other than Kraken, China Mieville's hugely anticipated - and not just by me - forthcoming dark fantasy. Here's a quick sample to whet your appetitite:
The sea is full of saints. You know that? You know that: you’re a big boy.
The sea’s full of saints and it’s been full of saints for years. Since longer than anything. Saints were there before there were even gods. They were waiting for them, and they’re still there now.
Saints eat fish and shellfish. Some of them catch jellyfish and some of them eat rubbish. Some saints eat anything they can find. They hide under rocks; they turn themselves inside out; they spit up spirals. There’s nothing saints don’t do.
Make this shape with your hands. Like that. Move your fingers. There, you made a saint. Look out, here comes another one! Now they’re fighting! Yours won.
There aren’t any big corkscrew saints any more, but there are still ones like sacks and ones like coils, and ones like robes with flapping sleeves. What’s your favourite saint? I’ll tell you mine. But wait a minute, first, do you know what it is makes them all saints? They’re all a holy family, they’re all cousins. Of each other, and of . . . you know what else they’re cousins of?
That’s right. Of gods.
Alright now. Who was it made you? You know what to say.
Who made you?
Between this and Guy Gavriel Kay's incredible Under Heaven, tell me this isn't a great time to be reading speculative fiction.