First, links and whatnot:
Justin and I did our transatlantic double act on the Skiffy and Fanty Show to talk about Speculative Fiction 2012. Shaun has dubbed us a "criticabal", which is kind of fun. If you're up for an hour of hand-waving and unfounded assertions about blogging, criticism and the state of SF, you can listen to it here.
I've wrapped up The Folding Knife over on Tor.com. 19 blog posts - approximately 35,000 words on a, what, 90,000 word novel? I feel that's value for weight, if nothing else. Thanks to everyone that joined in - it was the fellow rereaders and commenters that made the whole thing so worthwhile. I have no idea what, if anything, is next. But I enjoyed my first reread experience, so, we'll see?
Another fantastic review for The Lowest Heaven, this time in the stately pages of the Financial Times. "Every contribution to this excellent anthology is of stellar quality", the FT says. And flags up a handful of tales, including those by Simon Morden, Esther Saxey, Kaaron Warren, Alastair Reynolds and Adam Roberts (whose provocative "A voyage..." has, by far, been the book's most polarising story). One of the great pleasures of editing anthologies is watching how different reviewers flag up different stories - it is good to see so many of them singled out for praise.
The giveaway of A Town Called Pandemonium is proceeding nicely - only a week to go!
Last day to vote for the David Gemmell Legend Awards. It doesn't require registration and only takes a few seconds. So hop to it. If you're eligible, today is also the last day to vote for the Hugo Awards. The internet is awash in opinions, but if you'd like a few more, here are my strategical picks for the DGLA and my imaginary ones for the Hugo.
And... enough about that. Let's get to the looting!
Harrogate used to have some fine bookstores. Now it has naught but empty shelves. It was a little crazy - we were there a week after the UK (world's?) largest crime festival, but the town's booksellers didn't seem to have the STACK O' SIGNED STUFF that I expected to find.
Fortunately, the charity shops and a rather spectacular used bookstore had plenty to keep us amused. It isn't a successful holiday unless you have to buy more luggage.
L. Ron Hubbard's Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000. Yeah, that's right. I'm hanging with the Thetans. Or not with them. Insert joke about volcanoes here. Anyway, a UK 1st in immaculate condition.
In hindsight, should this have been on the list of the "50 Essential SF Novels"? Certainly as an author, he's had more influence on SF than almost anyone else... especially if you consider the "Writers of the Future" award... Hmmm.
Ursula K. Le Guin's Rocannon's World and The Eye of the Heron. More UK first editions, in those delicious yellow Gollancz covers. The former came after the US version, the latter is a first, but the story (a very short novel) appeared elsewhere beforehand. Even with those disclaimers, really lovely finds. The shop actually had a vast collection of Le Guin's work, I snaffled these two because, well. Yellow. (Seriously - despite being kind of hideous, the old Gollancz crime and SF editions are properly iconic.)
Lewis Carroll's Sylvie and Bruno. With illustrations from Harry Furniss and a cute inscription from a previous owner. The 1898 edition. The true first was 1889, this is the 'popular edition' that used the same plates. Anne persisted in reading all the poetry out loud in a silly voice, which means I've already gotten my money's worth.
A Travis McGee Omnibus. Woohoo! A MacDonald I didn't have. Well, in this form. The 1982 Robert Hale volume, collecting The Quick Red Fox, A Deadly Shade of Gold and Bright Orange for the Shroud. Neither attractive nor particularly remarkable, I got this because, well - as noted, a MacDonald I didn't have. AND NOW I HAVE IT. (Actually, looking at Abebooks, this pretty much sits in the same price range as the Le Guin firsts. JDM collecting is so weird.)
Count Belisarius. I have a first edition of Count Belisarius, but it doesn't look like this one, which also pretends to be a first edition. There's a proper bibliography of Graves by Fred Higginson that I've always wanted and could never afford [checks Abebooks, discovers copies for $4, promptly buys one]. Er. I'll solve this mystery in 7-14 days, shall I?
Also of note: Laurent Binet's HhhH (yes, I got a copy a few weeks ago, but this was a hardcover), Nelson Algren's book of lonesome MONSTERS, "JMH" Lovegrove's The Guardians: Berserker, Georgette Heyer's The Corinthian and Dorothy Sayers' Hangman's Holiday (because Anne's DLS collection is just as obsessive as my JDM one, she's just quieter about it). Oh, and Eric Lustbader's The Ninja, which was so unbelievably bad that I left it in the B&B.