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Posts tagged ‘Zoo City’

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.

Castaways, Menageries and Horses

Apologies for the extended break in transmission, which is attributable to too much travel, too much work and a week in bed with some kind of virus. Since I’m still trying to get the edits on Black Friday done and finish a story for a collection that will be out later this year, as well as trying to catch up on all the work that didn’t get done while I was away and sick, things might stay a little quiet around here for a few weeks. But I’ll definitely be getting a few things up, in particular a piece on Wayne Levin’s gorgeous new book, Akule, which I reread over the weekend, and is simply amazing.

In the meantime, you might want to check out my review of Carol Birch’s Jamrach’s Menagerie, which appeared in The Weekend Australian on Saturday. I have to confess to not having read Birch before, but there’s a lot to like in this one (not surprisingly it’s recently turned up on the longlist for this year’s Orange Prize), not least the way it manages to eschew the fairly prosaic mode of much historical fiction in favour of something much more vivid and particular. Spookily it’s also a riff on the wreck of the Whaleship Essex, a story I was complaining was following me around just the other day.

Further afield Faber have uploaded a terrific recording of Willy Vlautin reading a new story based on the characters from Lean on Pete, which comes complete with music by Richmond Fontaine. And if you’re looking for reading matter I can thoroughly recommend both Lauren Beukes’ Arthur C. Clarke Award shortlisted Zoo City (urban fantasy, set in South Africa, with gangsters, guns and muti), which is both very stylish and a lot of fun (you can read the first chapter online) and China Mieville’s new one, Embassytown, which is out soon (I’m reviewing it, so I can’t say much beyond it’s one of the best things I’ve read in quite a while). Again the first chapter is available online.

And finally, I know it’s been out for a while, but this track from The Duke and the King’s new one, Long Live the Duke and the King, still rocks my world.