Monday, 31 May 2010

All Tomorrow's Parties

So what to do, what to do?

Sometimes I can kind of autopilot through a week's worth of blog posts, with a couple of news articles here and my thoughts on them there - look, Guillermo del Toro's off The Hobbit, maybe Peter Jackson will ditch Tintin 2 to takes his rightful place - an edition of The BoSS and a few reviews to break up all the current events razzmatazz. And some weeks I have to, just to keep up the pace. These next few weeks, though... not so much. I've been beavering away behind the scenes, reading till my eyes bled and writing about what I've read till I had no choice but to call Specsavers and casually inquire about a plan for bionic optics.

So what's on the drawing board for the next wee while? Well, since you ask, in a few days I'll be posting reviews of The Leaping by Tom Fletcher, and Stories: All-New Tales, the ubiquitous and needless to say rather lovely anthology edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio. You can read the first story from the collection, the excellent "Blood" by Roddy Doyle, over on The Times' website for free - I'd urge you to do so - and my take on one of the highlights of the anthology, Neil Gaiman's "The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains," over on NextRead, as part of Gav's late, great short story month.

Next week, meanwhile, is going to be Mark Charan Newton week. Serious face: it is. I'll be reviewing both of The Legends of the Red Sun books as well as giving away a signed proof copy of Nights of Villjamur - not to mention interviewing the gent himself. I'm trading emails with Mark as I write this, in fact, and I think it's safe to say that he's got a lot of interesting - perhaps even provocative - things to say. You wouldn't think it of the internet troublemaker extraordinaire, would you? He even disagrees about that!

Mark will also be stopping by to post a little write-up of his own, on some of the literature, genre and otherwise, that were an inspiration to him during the writing of what critics have called the breakthrough fantasy series of 2009. It promises to be an exciting week, and I hope you'll all join me in welcoming Mark to The Speculative Scotsman. He was an early supporter of the site - calling TSS "a lesson to bloggers," as I recall - and I'm a huge fan of the man and his fiction in return. It's going to be a privilege having him on these here pages, I have no doubt. I might even design a little banner in his honour!

So that's this week, and next week. The week after that, reviews of both Twelve and Thirteen Years Later by Jasper Kent will kick off a bit of a celebration and/or public pillorying of vampires.

Which you might think is more than enough forward planning for the moment, but I can hardly help myself: I'm already thinking ahead. If you've browsed through The BoSS of late, you'll already know what an incredible selection of books and proofs I've received recently, and I'm very much looking forward to the chance to devote myself to them just as soon as possible. Stone Springs by Stephen Baxter, Far North by Marcel Theroux, The Dervish House by Ian McDonald... the list goes on.

Trouble is: The Passage - which I got a copy of months in advance of its publication date - is rather creeping up on me. It promises to be among the most important new releases of 2010, and I'd love to weigh in with my opinion on this speculative heavyweight in a timely fashion. Trouble is, it's a massive book, and however many reviews you see here on TSS, when it comes right down to it, I'm a fairly slow reader. And I have to be honest here. However significant Justin Cronin's tome is, at just shy of 1000 pages, it's either going to be that or three other books; not necessarily the three I've mentioned, of course.

So what should I do? Go dark for a bit, the better to cover one massive, and potentially massively important book, or keep the show on the road as per usual. Help me out here, guys.

For whatever it's worth, here's the very stylish book trailer for The Passage to help you make up your minds:



  1. Well, I'd like to see your take on The Passage, because it looks really interesting, but I've followed the BoSS the past few weeks and there are tons of interesting books on there I'd like to hear about. So it's a tough choice.
    Still, I think that I'd say go for the Passage cause that's a title I probably wouldn't pick up (and actually buy) on my own and most of the other titles are lol Does that help at all?

  2. Could you maybe read The Passage slowly, interspersed with, say, one other book and a movie review a week? Or would that ruin your enjoyment?

  3. @Mieneke - It does indeed. Good to know there's actual, tangible interest in The Passage at all. Sometimes it can be difficult to see through such huge hype to whether or not there's any actual appetite for the thing of the receiving end of all that big pimpin'.

    @Celine - I... well, I could, yeah, but as evidenced in today's blog post, I'm always thinking ahead, thinking of the next thing, and I know myself well enough to be sure that if I put this behemoth of a book down for long enough to read something else, the chances are, however awesome it is (or is not; I've heard both sides), I'll struggle to return to it. I make no excuses for this madness: it's a curious quirk of mine. Really, it comes down to The Passage, from start to finish, or three other books.

    There does seem to be a lot of interest in it, though. I'm bordering on the former option at the moment...

  4. Go The Passage. I mean, why not? But then I love the big tomes, in particular the MBoTF series so I might be biased ;-)

  5. I know exactly what you're saying! I'm enjoying The Whisperers, but my reading schedule is so broken at the moment and so stop/start that it's hard to keep going back once I've put it down ( and, as you already know, The Whisperers is no tome!)

    What if you read The Passage all in one go, but review each section as you go along (I've only read one review and it was a very good one - it's the first in a trilogy apparently!! (2 exclamation marks for 'wow. A 750 page 1st part of a trilogy! And they tell us fat books are dead)

  6. Personally I'd advise you pick up The Passage and read the first page. If you want to keep reading, do. If it hasn't hooked you in during that brief passage (ho ho ho) then go for the other three.