Like the man said ... a newsful week, but I don't seem to be able to cram it all together under some kind of logical or meaningful heading, and I don't have the time or energy to break it into lots of wee mini-posts. So here I am, just kinda news-vomiting all over the place. Normal service will be resumed ... well, probably when I've finished all the guest posts I've signed up to do.
Which probably counts as news in itself, right? In the last stretch of the marathon towards Giant Thief's release, I've been out meeting and greeting and signing on for things like guest blogs that in the cold light of day sound like an awful lot of work but hey, it'll all come good no doubt, and in the meantime, my first Giant Thief-related interview's up. As a big fan of Lewis Caroll, headware and books, it seems appropriate that it should be with The Mad Hatter's Bookshelf and Book Review.
Meanwhile, on the reviews front, SFX seem to approve of Giant Thief. They say that "...the breathless pace brings to mind the Pirates of the Caribbean movies - Damasco resembles a landlocked, literary version of Jack Sparrow, cracking wise while dodging guards or jumping off walls..." (I think the unspoken implication here is that it brings to mind the good Pirates of the Caribbean movies) and "it's incessant, but you're never bored and the prose is witty, plus there's no intrusive info-dumping employed to give the world its depth and authenticity." And they give it 3 1/2 of 5, which on the SFX scale makes Giant Thief only a touch less great than Troll Hunter, one of my favourite films of last year. I'm calling that a win.
Almost even more exciting, though, I've received my first bad review. And it's really, really bad! Thanks to Dan Franklin at Libris Leonis for catapulting me over that scary first-bad-review hurdle in style. Dan comments, "All in all, Giant Thief is an incredibly disappointing book; with some interesting ideas, Tallerman has written a book that is boring and characterless, conspiring to throw us out of the action repeatedly and with menace aforethought*, and characters who don't stand up to scrutiny." In what little defense I can muster, I should point out that what Dan describes early on as "huge plotholes" seem to stem from him not realising Damasco doesn't have a certain object in his posession, let alone know what it does, for about two thirds of the book. Other than that, he may very well have a point.
At least I can draw a little comfort from the fact that Bards and Sages Quarterly have picked up my story A Stare From the Darkness. I had a flash piece in Bards and Sages way back in October 2010, and was impressed enough to want to hang out there again, so it's nice to have the opportunity. As for A Stare ... well, asides from the ghost stories I've done, it's about as close as I'll ever get to writing straight-up gothic horror. But, y'know ... with a twist...
Finally, some non-me related news. Although I guess it is a bit, since it involves me, if only as a viewpoint character to narrate the stuff that isn't to do with me and ... so, anyway, I was lucky enough to get an invite to the launch of Alison Littlewood's debut A Cold Season on Thursday. It was plenty fun, with free wine (my preferred vintage!) and nibbles at a bar in Leeds and then a reading by Alison at Waterstones, followed by some questions and an equal number of answers, and then a signing - at which point I picked up a copy and realised I was listed amongst the folks thanked in the back. Which was a lovely moment, and probably not entirely justified, since my only contribution has been to routinely enjoy Alison's excellent short fiction since we were introduced a few years back.
Still, like I say, lovely - and perhaps fortuitous, given that review up there (not the SFX one, obviously.) For A Cold Season's just been picked up for the Richard and Judy Book Club, and I have a feeling Ali's about to become all sorts of famous...
* I'm not one hundred percent sure what this means, but it sounds really bad.