Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Ant Nests, Lemons and Peaches

Finished Scar Night yesterday. Looking forward to the next one - it's part one, don't you know. Alan Campbell pulled the whole book off, as far I'm concerned, even with the airships and angels, and he did something I totally respect, he gave the ant nest of his world a damn good kick. People have compared this novel with the work of Mervyn Peake, and you can see the influence, but I actually think it does the book a disservice*. Campbell's style is much more direct, he isn't as wordy and his characters not nearly as eccentric (and they're a little sweeter), which is good, these things serve the book he has written very well indeed. This is an adventure story and a very good one**; you all don't want to turn those folk who hate Peake off. Peake wouldn't have written this book, would have been incapable of writing this book, as say a lemon is incapable of becoming a peach; it just isn't his bag.

Things have been quiet on the old blog front, but that's good, when it's quiet, it usually means I'm writing, or thinking, deeply, usually about how nice peaches are, and lemon meringue pie, yeah, I sure love lemon meringue pie. But there's plenty of other fine grade bloggery to engage with – my two personal favourites are the blogs of Ben Peek and Tansy Rayner Roberts. Two writers that are not only excellent and thoughtful bloggers, but who've been writing some wonderful fiction of late – which isn't to say that they weren't before, but I find myself looking forward to reading their fiction, you know, actually putting time aside for it, maybe going out and getting a coffee and sitting down and reading their stuff.

I'm a slow writer, so when I actually find myself writing in blocks of hours rather than the usual bits on the train or bits after I've done the washing up, I don't like to trip it up. And I've also decided that I don't like talking about it much, the process, which really is rather dull. Writing's false starts, and chewing and re-chewing words, and bloggery is all optimism and doom, and I'm not that fond of the whole writer's journey kind of thing, it's more - for me at any rate - you jiggle your head, the words pop out, usually not fast enough and usually the wrong ones, and then you do it again, after discarding the previous words - because they weren't lemony enough.

Talking of doom. Go out and buy Scar Night and get your fill of a city suspended by huge chains over an abyss that may or may not contain a corpse hungry god. It ain't Peake, but, like I said, that's a good thing.

*And, the bookseller in me loves comparing author x to author y. Hell, I don't know why, maybe it's just from all those years of people asking me "so who are they like?"

**Even if there is one scene where the characters just run around a lot, and for a moment, I could feel the writer there thinking, now where the fuck do I go from here?

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