Boy, do I feel like a fool. There I am praising Cacophony and saying how I look forward to reading what Kevin Smith did next, and then I get this. I praised Cacophony for its lightness of tone; Widening Gyre is too light. I praised Cacophony for having an actual ending; Widening Gyre stops with an immense cliffhanger and, three years later, there’s been no resolution.
But these problems are two heads of the same beast. The lightness is there to give a sense of security, before the twist comes along and blows everything wide open. And that twist is really what the book has going for it. [continue]
I’ve mentioned before how Doctor Who spin-off media (books, audio, etc) suffers from the fact that it has to somewhat cosy up to main continuity. It can’t introduce anything too grand, for fear of it being swept aside. Shada, having its beginnings as an unaired TV story, doesn’t quite suffer from this problem.
I watched the patched together TV version of Shada before reading this, and I wouldn’t recommend it. Largely, what went unfilmed were the more difficult shots. Instead of exciting action sequences and daring feats of genius from the Doctor, you’re left with a few sentences of explanation from Tom Baker’s narration. [continue]
Why do I keep writing in the first person? It’s almost becoming a disease.
Maybe it’s because I give myself so little time and space. There’s no room for anything to grow. So the only option I’m left with is a character already fully developed.
Yes, I was talking about myself. Don’t laugh.
And what does this even help, anyway? I know I can write. I don’t need practice at that. Spurting out these short little things won’t help my storycraft. It won’t help to come up with enough ideas to fill out an entire novel. It won’t help me to create something someone else might want to read. [continue]
“You didn’t turn it off?”
“I thought you were going to …” Dan gave me one of his looks. He did that a lot. I’m pretty sure he practiced them in the mirror while I was out. I knew full well how proud he was of what he could do. “What does it matter, anyway? We’re still doing fine.”
“Well, for a start, it’s making this a hell of a lot more difficult than it should be. But regardless of that, it’s the fact that — once again — you haven’t done something I’ve asked of you.”
“You really think now is the time to go into this?”
Dan shifted position, all the better to glare at me, it seemed. [continue]
I will admit that I wasn’t anticipating this as much as the first Parasol Protectorate Abroad book (which is sadly still a long way off). Mainly because of the latter’s closer ties to Gail’s previous series. But I really shouldn’t have doubted that Gail would deliver something else great.
The Finishing School series is set in the same universe as the Parasol Protectorate books, but about thirty years earlier. It’s also a Young Adult book (but what does that matter?). What this combination gives us is a focus on younger characters (including some younger versions of certain PP characters) and a glimpse of the roots of Gail’s steampunk world. [continue]
It’s a little weird to watch someone sleep, isn’t it? No matter how involved you are with them and how intimate you have been, it will always be weird. They’re lying unconscious and you’re just watching them. Almost the definition of creepy.
But she looked like an angel. It disgusts me to say that, but it’s true. She looked practically divine. Laying there, her chest moving slowly. I don’t know how long I watched for. I could have lost hours.
But the phone call snapped me out of it. It was lucky that I’d set it to vibrate, but the buzzing still seemed so loud in the quiet of her bedroom. [continue]
Names are difficult. I still don’t have a reliable process for generating them. Sometimes they just appear, fully formed, but mostly they don’t. Mostly it’s sleepless nights and racking of brains.
Though maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. It’s a bother, that’s all.
And what’s in a name, anyway? Do they really have to mean something? Do they have to matter? They are the first port of call. Short but all-encompassing. They must be everything at once. Somehow.
They are paradoxes. Difficult and easy at the same time. Murder up until that moment. That moment where it all comes together and it all starts to look so simple in hindsight. [continue]
Sometimes your stupidity astounds me. Your sheer inability to remember simple instructions, let alone follow them. I truly believe that, if your ineptitude could be made gaseous, it could easily be weaponised with devastating effect.
You are a black hole for sense. Your misunderstanding of concepts drags down others. You not only suck the fun out of things, but the efficiency, competence, and clarity. You are a leech for knowledge, except you don’t feed. It merely runs through you and into the void that you would call a mind if you could somehow be led down such a path.
That bitter taste in your mouth is not from the endless tea you consume, but failure. [continue]
Another random grab from the library (I’m really running out of stuff to read from there that isn’t a random part of a series). Thanks to following Jamie McKelvie on Twitter, I’m quite interested in grabbing the current run of Young Avengers when a collection comes out. So, as he’s a feature of the new team, I thought I’d check out Marvel Boy’s origins.
This book is a mixed bag. While it certainly springs forth from the same well of genius as some of Morrison’s best work, it stumbles. Not least because it doesn’t feel like Morrison’s concepts and ideas are given enough room to grow. [continue]
I looked at the thing I held in my hands and I was disgusted with it. All the time and effort I had put into it seemed so wasted. The end product was bordering on horrendous. It was just so utterly pointless. What had I been thinking?
But I’d done it, hadn’t I? I had knuckled down and put the damn effort in, and I had something to show at the end of it all. So what if I didn’t like what that result was? So what if it wasn’t as good as I had imagined it would be? So what if it hadn’t lived up to its potential? [continue]