Brian Ruckley's News & Views

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Last Post Before Christmas

1. I have been answering questions over at Pat's Fantasy Hotlist.

2. Winterbirth has made it to the far side of the world (i.e. Australia) and judging by this and by this, it might get a slightly warmer reception than the England cricket team, if nothing else. (EDIT: the first of those links no longer connects with the relevant review. But it was a rave. Really. It said everyone should immediately go and buy Winterbirth. At least, that's how I choose to remember the sense of it...)

3. This last week, for the first time in what feels like ages, it has been neither wet nor windy nor cloudy hereabouts, which meant it was actually possible to enjoy a stroll in the great outdoors. England has evidently been submerged beneath an ocean of inconvenient fog, but here:


Nice. Have a good Christmas, everybody.

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

300 plus More Odds & Ends

The prologue of Winterbirth borrows from a famous bit of ancient Greek history, which is also the subject of what for some people is probably the most eagerly-awaited movie in a while. I imagine most folk who are into this kind of thing will already have seen this, but just in case anyone's missed it ... [wait, wait, health warning first: you should probably steer clear of the upcoming link if you're allergic to testosterone] ... here's where to find the trailer for 300.

It's indisputable evidence of Hollywood's ability to make carnage look eye-wateringly cool these days, and of the extent to which comics have got their hooks into the movie industry in the last decade or so. There's an interesting frame-by-frame comparison of the movie and the source comic here. I never actually read the original, but it's evident that just as with the last adaptation of his work - Sin City - Frank Miller's vision is going to make it onto the silver screen in a pretty undiluted form.

One last addition to the Gazetteer for 2006: a little snippet of lore about the absent Gods, with the catchy title 'The Sevenfold Catechism'.

And as it's the time of year for looking back, I was amongst a whole heap of people who contributed to a big 'Best of 2006' thing for the Forbidden Planet blog. One of those exercises where as soon as you've sent it off you think 'damn. forgot such-and-such, should've mentioned that.' As I didn't have anything sensible to say about comics, I arbitrarily invented my own category of 'Favourite YouTube video of 2006', and nominated this: OK GO - Here it Goes Again.

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Odds & Ends

There's a very friendly review of Winterbirth over at Pat's Fantasy Hotlist. If all goes according to plan, I should be doing an interview for that site soon, too.

A PS to my last post about Interzone: I discover (via the excellent UK SF Book News) that there's an ambitious newcomer on the UK sf/f/h short fiction scene: Hub Magazine. While idly poking about their website, I further discover that they have a competition in their first issue, in which they seem to be giving away copies of Winterbirth. Now if that doesn't tempt the masses into subscribing nothing will. Maybe. Or not. Anyway, quite aside from their excellent taste in competition prizes, any new fish in the small pond of UK genre magazines is to be welcomed.

Plus: Looks like another European sale of the Godless World trilogy is sorted out, this time for the Czech Republic. Hooray.

And finally: I'm looking forward to this. Rumour has it, it's pretty good once it gets going.

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Interzone

Twenty-two years elapsed between the publication of these two issues (#s 9 and 207, the first I ever bought and the most recent) of INTERZONE, Britain's leading sf short story magazine. In fact, next year is Interzone's 25th anniversary. That kind of longevity, given the nature of the UK short fiction market, is a frankly astounding achievement. Much of the credit belongs to David Pringle, who was a key player in the magazine's creation and, from the late 80s on, its sole editor and driving force, and to Andy Cox who took over the reins a couple of years ago and re-invented it (perhaps even saved it) for the 21st century.

#s 206 and 207 are the first issues I've read cover to cover in a while, and they're good enough to make me think I should get a subscription again, having let my last one lapse years ago. I'd almost forgotten how much I like a good short story mag - there's a particular kind of uncertain, optimistic anticipation, since you never know quite what you're going to find inside, and somehow reading a magazine always feels to me like a more participatory experience than reading a book. Anyone who likes their sf varied, well-written and nicely presented (not to mention accompanied by some good non-fiction) should give at least one issue of INTERZONE a try.

That illegible list of contributors on the cover of #9, by the way: Brian Aldiss, JG Ballard, Thomas M Disch, M John Harrison. Wow. Those were the days.

I bought my Interzones from Transreal Fiction (doing my bit to support my local independent bookseller and all that) which gives me a tenuous but convenient excuse to mention the signed copies thing. I didn't imagine there'd be any particular interest in getting my autograph on copies of Winterbirth, which just goes to show how little I know (fortunately, I'm sufficiently accustomed to being proved wrong that it came as a mere surprise rather than some kind of terrible shock). There's still just about time to join in. Contact Transreal - details on their website - and they'll willingly sell you a signed (and dedicated, if you like) copy: the perfect Xmas present, since it not only makes the giver and receiver happy but also me and the guy who runs Transreal. Everybody wins!

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

Desktop for December

Can't beat a new desktop pic for freshening up a stale computer, so the backdrop for my writing efforts this month will be:


A tinkered-with image of the very cool roof of the Royal Museum, part of the National Museum of Scotland. I'm sure you really wanted to know that.

EDIT to add: there's something very pleasingly organic about the structure - makes me think of a skeletal whale's ribcage, or the (upside down) rotted keel of an ancient boat some king was buried in ...