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Posts tagged ‘The Tiger’s Wife’

The Dervish House

A couple of posts ago I was talking big about returning to regular posting, something I managed for all of about a week before everything fell in a hole again. I’m not going to make any more rash promises for the moment, simply because I’m still caught in the perfect storm of work and external commitments that has made blogging difficult since the end of last year. But I will try and make sure I do a bit better than I have in recent weeks.

In the meantime, I’ve got a few things happening around the traps. Over at The Spectator’s Book Blog I’ve got a long piece on Ian McDonald’s The Dervish House, which despite being passed over for the Arthur C. Clarke Award in favour of Lauren Beukes’ rather fab Zoo City won the BSFA Award for Best Novel last week and is shortlisted for the Hugo Award for Best Novel. As I say in the piece it’s a travesty a writer of McDonald’s talents isn’t better known outside SF circles, especially given how little separates his work from that of writers such as Richard Powers and David Mitchell, so if you don’t know him I really do recommend checking the book (and indeed the review) out.

Elsewhere I’ve posted my review of Téa Obreht’s The Tiger’s Wife to the Writing page, something I promised to do weeks ago. Obreht is in Sydney for Sydney Writers’ Festival in a few weeks, and the book is both good and interesting, so take a moment to check it out if you get a chance.

And finally if you’re in Sydney you’ve got two chances to hear me gasbagging on in the next couple of weeks (and then about a thousand once the Festival begins, but I’ll do a separate post about that soon).

The first is on this week’s episode of TVS Channel 44’s Shelf Life, which features an interview with me about reviewing and writing online. I’ve not seen it, and the first screening was actually last night, but the show is on air three more times this week: today (Wednesday) at 1:30pm, Friday at 8:00am and Saturday at 12:30pm. If you don’t get Channel 44 or you’re outside Sydney you can stream the show from the TVS website.

And if that’s not enough I’ll be appearing alongside P.M. Newton, Kirsten Tranter and Sophie Hamley as part of When Genres Attack at Shearer’s Bookshop in Leichhardt at 7:30pm on Friday 13 May, a session devoted to exploring what it is that fascinates each of us about genre television and fiction, and to asking some questions about how we think and talk about genre, and how that’s changing as the cultural landscape changes.

And yes, I’ll be back later this week. At least I hope I will.

The Last Werewolf

Just a quick note to say I’ve got a number of reviews in publications that are just hitting the newstands.

The first is of Glen Duncan’s slick, sexy reworking of late-capitalist lycanthropy, The Last Werewolf, which you’ll find in today’s Weekend Australian. I’ve long thought Duncan was a writer who deserved a wider audience, and I suspect The Last Werewolf may be the book to do that for him: certainly he brings a panache and intelligence to the material which lends it real distinction.

Meanwhile in the land of Fairfax I’ve got a review of wunderkind-of-the-week Téa Orbreht’s debut, The Tiger’s Wife in this morning’s Sydney Morning Herald (it’s not online yet, but if it doesn’t turn up by Monday I’ll post it on my Writing page). If you haven’t heard of Obreht yet I’m sure you will soon (if you’re in Australia she’s actually a guest at Sydney Writers’ Festival, the program for which was released on Thursday). Whether The Tiger’s Wife lives up to the hype seems to me to be an open question. It’s good, and Orbreht is enormously poised and polished for her age, but it’s also less innovative than the buzz makes it out to be, owing quite a lot to both the magical realists of the 1980s and more contemporary fantasy and horror writers such as Kelly Link, Margo Lanagan and Neil Gaiman (it’s actually rather interesting to speculate which of the two traditions she’s drawing upon).

As well as the Duncan and Obreht reviews I’ve got a long piece about Annie Proulx’s Bird Cloud in the April Australian Book Review. It’s not online either, which would be a pity except that it gives me an opportunity to mention that ABR have just launched their new online edition, which not only allows subscribers to choose between digital and print subscriptions, but also grants access to ABR’s extensive backlist and other, online-only features. It’s a pretty amazing resource and very worth checking out.

And finally I’d be remiss if I didn’t direct you to Rjurik Davidson’s excellent essay about New Wave SF in the most recent Overland, which I read about ten minutes after publishing my last post. Davidson is of course the author of the justly-praised short story collection The Library of Forgotten Books but he’s also an astute and talented critic, and even if you’re not familiar with the writers lumped together under the somewhat misleading term who make up SF’s “New Wave”, it’s well worth a read (not least because the new China Mieville, Embassytown, is in many ways an extended homage to Silverberg and Aldiss).