Thursday, 6 March 2008

Crows and Gumshoes

A Feast For Crows -- George R. R. Martin.
I love this series, and have been working at it for almost ten years. I was sent the first book as a review copy when I was at uni -- I read it, reviewed it and gave it away. It was too dark, too gory for me. But the plot kept tugging at me -- particularly the story of resourceful born survivor Arya Stark; and her bitter bastard brother Jon Snow; and the erotic tales of Daenrys, Queen across the water. I love the way character push and push at making me recoil with disgust until I can't understand why I want to read more about them.

So far this installment is going well. Jon has had a go at Samwell for whining on about being craven (good for you, Jon, I've been wanting to give fat boy a shaking since he first rolled into the story). Arya has made yet another new start in a new place, swallowing her doubts and fears in the usual way -- I'm afraid at some point she is going to have a breakdown, but who knows... There was a good slice of travelogue in this chapter, too. I'm enjoying the Damphair chapters too -- the idea of a religion that drowns and resuscitates people to baptise them is splendid.

Interzone 213
I am behind on my magazine reading, and I found this half-read in a box by my bed. There was one story still to go, and the reviews section. The Lost Xuyan Bride is a gumshoe story set in a world of a Chinese / South American empire. Aliette de Bodard must have had fun with the details -- loved the Mexica border officials in feathered regalia.

I didn't feel as if Brooks (the detective) was as trapped as he should have been into taking on this assignment. The love of his life was dead; he was a hard-up immigrant with no-where to run, but I sort of felt that there wasn't enough to force his hand. He just seemed to be going through the motions, somehow. I think perhaps he needed something more to spur him on, to make the case burn into him. Having said that, I kept reading -- I wanted the girl to be safe. And I loved the ending, and the way the resolution echoed Brooks' own sad life.

Book reviews -- saw a book I'd recommend to Katie, but the description on Amazon makes it sound like hard sci fi instead of a bodice ripper. Sigh. Plus, she's so busy these days that I don't suppose she'll want a fat epic series -- Queen of Candesce by Karl Schroeder. Also thought that Cat might appreciate the YA Dragonhaven by good old Robin McKinley.

Interview with Gary Gibson. I was struck by a para about how Gibson wrote most of his last book while forced to be off work. He talked about how Douglas Adams started his career being homeless so that he didn't have to get a 'proper' job: '...while friends who were initially as ambitious to be successful writers did the 'sensible thing' and got decent day jobs in order to support themselves: they were never heard of again.' Thank you.

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