Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Bits and pieces

Some interesting stuff from around the blogosphere recently...

Mark Charan Newton has picked up on my comment on 'gritty' fantasy in the short interview I did over at Sam Sykes' blog (in which I stated that at times I felt the reliance on gritty realism was merely disguising a lack of creativity), and has written his own post on the matter. There's some healthy debate going on in the comments section.

George R. R. Martin has provided another update on his progress with A Dance With Dragons. Here's a snippet:

"The timeline of this monster is going to drive me mad. I know perfectly well that as soon as DANCE is published, some of you out there are going to attempt to correlate its chronology with that of A FEAST FOR CROWS, fit all the parts together to suggest an appropriate chapter order for a (hypothetical, and largely impossible) combined book, something like what the "Big Feast" might have been, before the split.

Well, good luck with that. I'm glad you're doing it, not me. With all these characters scattered over my entire world, some chapters that span hours and others many months, various journeys and voyages to account for, not to mention the demands of the dramatic chronology, an entirely different matter than the literal chronology... well, it may well make your head explode. It did mine. The DANCE timeline alone is a bitch and a half."

I think it's encouraging to note the frequency of GRRM's posts on his progress - he rarely posted on the matter before, but now he's blogging about his progress more regularly. Perhaps a sign that the end is in sight?

Tim Lebbon's been posting a few short extracts from his upcoming novel Echo City which will be released in the UK via Orbit and in the States by Bantam:

“Don’t be afraid,” Nadielle said, her voice carrying over the wet sounds from the tearing vat.

“If you say so,” Gorham muttered, and he watched one of the Baker’s creations being birthed. The vat opened, thick rips in its side spreading and allowing the thing inside to push out. Both of its arms were in the open now, grasping at the air as trying to gain purchase. Its head followed, then its body, hips and legs. It fell to the solid ground with a wet thump, screaming again as it tried to stand. Fluid spilled out around it. The air steamed and stank. The vat spewed a thick flow of afterbirth, spattering down around the emerged shape.

It lifted its head and mewled, and Gorham saw its face for the first time. It was a very human face, with an expression of startled delight at being free. It smiled, dribbling slightly, and he saw the fully formed teeth in its mouth, some of them longer and sharper than normal. The size of a big man, its hair was dark and long, matted across its shoulders and back. A human face, he thought, and he concentrated on its eyes because the rest of its body was far from human. Very far. It looked at him and smiled, and Gorham looked away.

Joe Abercrombie's conducted an interview with the artist that provided the art for the new editions of his First Law books. Given that cover art is such a hot topic these days, it's well worth a read. Here's a snippet:

"When doing your covers it had been decided that each book would have only one character, and two of them are really ugly. So I thought to myself, in the grand view of the audience and people walking through a bookstore, who is going to pick up a book that has a figure on the cover showing off his missing half rotten teeth, a deformed eye and a skinny broken body? In the fine art world that could make an interesting painting but commercially for people who are looking for an adventure story to catch their eye on a shelf? The book company is in the business of selling books and attractive characters sell."

Finally, I quite like this cover - simple but effective (admittedly it looks better in reality than on the screen).

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