Friday 15 January 2010

From Your Blogosphere Correspondent (15/01/10)

The trouble with the internet is that the second all the tabs you've had open for the last few days are read, closed and consigned to the great cache in the sky, an infinite number of new stories and articles appear to steal your attention anew. Truthfully, I wouldn't trade them for all the tea and free time in China.

It's been a great few days in the SF&F community, with a host of fascinating posts from professional authors and fellow bloggers alike arising to entertain the discerning reader. As seems to be fast becoming the norm around here, The Speculative Scotsman has today gathered a few of the best together for your continuing enlightenment.

First of all, if you haven't heard already, news broke earlier that there's a new Gormenghast novel in the offing. My initial reaction, of course, was somewhere between scorn and utter disbelief. Mervyn Peake has been dead for more than 40 years. The third and presumably final novel in his milestone fantasy saga, Titus Alone, was published in 1958. Over at The Wertzone, fellow Brit blogger Adam Whitehead told the tale first - so far as I can see - but I point in his direction mostly because he accompanied what could have been a dry reiteration of facts known with an insightful explanation of Peake's later life. The involvement of his devoted wife and latterly his granddaughter means that I'm a touch less nervous about Dune syndrome striking twice. But just a touch; trepidation is the word of the hour.

Meanwhile, esteemed author of The Name of the Wind Patrick Rothfuss concluded his incredibly successful 2009 campaign for the Worldbuilders charity with an interview with Peter V. Brett of The Painted Man fame. As per the tone of the last few such pieces Patrick has run, it's very much a case of two mates sat around a table full of empty pint glasses and peanuts talking about their various literary accomplishments with nothing of the smugness or arrogance successful authors often demonstrate. The mind quite boggles at the thought that Brett wrote his brilliant debut on a phone, which notion begs the question: did he or did he not use predictive text?

During a break from the editing suite of his enigmatic next feature, The Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan had time for a brief chat with The L. A. Times regarding the mysterious Inception, which if recent reports are at all accurate purports to be a sweeping tale of corporate espionage by way of dream invasion. There should be more substantial news regarding this surefire 2010 gem-in-the-making shortly; for now, Geoff Boucher's somewhat self-congratulatory piece might fill in a few blanks.

Finally for the moment, The Wall Street Journal published on Wednesday a rare article by Bas-Lad mastermind China Mieville entitled "Why The Na'vi Are Making Me Blue" in which the New Weird deity outlines his argument against CGI. Perhaps it's not as simple as that, or perhaps in thinking as much I'm giving Mieville more credit that he deserves for this quick piece; in any case, his controversial assertions rather miss the mark as far as The Speculative Scotsman is concerned. Regarding the foregrounding of SFX he makes a valid point, but it's hardly a new one. Were "the incomparable stop-motion monsters" of the Ray Harryhausen films he seems to think represent greener pastures not guilty of precisely the same effects showcasing? I'll surely devour Kraken the moment my copy arrives, but I have to disagree with Mieville on this one, and strenuously.

That's it from your blogosphere correspondant for today. Do stay tuned to the site for a review of John Hillcoat's adaptation of The Road, as well as my take on The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon and some initial thoughts about Joe Abercrombie's standalone 2009 novel Best Served Cold. There should be plenty of other literary and critical goodies besides which, but for the moment I'll be keeping them close to my chest.



  1. Predictive text only slows you up when you're typing at speed!

  2. Peter!

    An actual answer, and quick as all that. As if, reading The Painted Man last summer, I couldn't have figured out for myself whether or not you used predictive text. Sadly I can rarely resist the allure of obvious comedy.

    Loved your first novel, mate. Read a little of it to my other half while we were sat on deck chairs in the overgrown garden each with our own particular literature, and she ate it right up. Can't say that for much of the SF&F I've devoured in my time.

  3. Of course, reality must bend a bit to the weight of cleverly constructed text.

    Thanks so much.

  4. MiƩville may be right in this: if they spent about as much money for oldschool SFX as they do for creating the Na'vi and their wolrd in computer, then it might be really interesting and at least draw. Maybe he's even right insofar that a combination of both would have been better. But these are only mind games and hardly worth bothering in planning a movie project of such scope. The whole concept would have to be built around this, and computers allow plenty of freedom.