Monday, 1 March 2010

Postcards from the Far Side of Scotland

So. Do you want the good news, or the bad?

Let's start with... the bad news - and work our way to a more positive place. It's not so awful, really, but I wanted to give a little advance warning to all the kind souls who've made The Speculative Scotsman one of their regular stops on the daily trip around the blogosphere. I'm afraid, readers, that as of today, I'm taking off for a week-long holiday somewhere very far away from the blog - somewhere very far away from everything, in fact. Scotland!

Calm down, now. I hear you cry: I'm in Scotland already, aren't I? Well, yes, technically, that's true. But I'm based in a part of Scotland that could, when you come right down to it, be anywhere in the world: an identikit suburban landscape with Starbucks and cinemas and wifi wherever you go. Perhaps I'm being unkind, but all the same, in a few short hours, the other half and I are heading up to the real Scotland, the highlands and islands, where men in kilts drink whisky and hunt wild haggis. Needless to say, I'm rather looking forward to the time away.

Oh! I know a lot of TSS readers are from Canada, the States and elsewhere, so to avoid any confusion, here's a quote from the Wikipedia entry relating to Scotland's number one export:

"The left legs of the wild haggis are of different length than its right legs, allowing it to run quickly around the steep mountains and hillsides which make up its natural habitat, but only in one direction. There are two varieties of haggis, one with longer left legs and the other with longer right legs... which coexist peacefully but are unable to interbreed in the wild because in order for the male of one variety to mate with a female of the other, he must turn to face in the same direction as his intended mate, causing him to lose his balance before he can mount her."

What poor wee beasties they are!

Anyway, that's the bad news. The good news is that, if everything goes to plan, you shouldn't notice much of a difference one way or the other. I've spent the last little while squirreling away enough in the way of reviews, regular features and other content - wouldn't want to give too much away - that the daily updates you've come to expect from TSS should proceed as per usual. The only difference is that I won't be around to push the big red PUBLISH button!

Instead, I'll be in a lovely cottage by the seaside, sharing a delicious single malt with the love of my life while we watch the tide roll in.

Doesn't that look just lovely?

Needless to say, a suitcase full of speculative fiction will also be accompanying me on my holiday! As far as that goes, I asked a great favour of the community last week: to decide what classic SF&F series I should take away with me.

And readers? You responded in force. My thanks for that. The runaway winner of the holiday reading poll was The Malazan Book of the Fallen, by Steven Erikson. I only have the first volume in the series at hand, but it's in my bag already, and by God, I'll do my absolute best to plough through its many pages.

Also accompanying me will be Scar Night by Alan Campbell, which is to say the beginning of The Deepgate Codex, which took second place in last week's vote. Again, no promises, but if I can find the time, I'll be reading it too - the better to report back, a week from now, with my thoughts and impressions.

Till then, ladies and gents, wish me a happy holiday. In the immortal words of Truman Burbank: in case I don't see you, good afternoon, good evening and good night!

Do be gentle with the blog in my absence.

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