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Sunday, January 4, 2009

Fantasy Book Critic’s 2008 Review/2009 Preview — Mark Charan Newton


2008 FAVORITES:

Well, this year has been one of re-reads for me. Who'd have thought I'd actually have the time for going back on books? We seem to live in an age where we have to race through as many books as possible, and for me my reading experiences have been enhanced by digging deeper into some of my favourite books:

Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun sequence, which always blows me away with its depth and subtleties. It's such a fabulously constructed book, and made all the more easier when you read it with Google open next to you. I'm astounded by just how many layers there are to it.

Another re-read has been
China Miéville'sIron Council”—another sublime piece of hybrid-fantasy madness—which was much stronger and more potent the second time around.

In terms of mainstream fiction, there were a few other surprises for me—
Ian McEwan'sOn Chesil Beach” was a very moving novella. McEwan is a bit hit and miss for me, but this was a piece of fiction exactly the right size for what it was trying to achieve. Don DeLillo'sMao II” was a fantastic read—I'm almost never disappointed by his prose. He's possibly my favourite mainstream writer—everyone should read Underworld!

Some good graphic novels too:
Jonathan Lethem'sOmega: The Unknown” being the absolute highlight. Lethem has to be one of the coolest writers around at the moment.

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2009:

Well, I'm slobbering like a fanboy waiting for:

China Miéville'sThe City & The City”, a non-Bas-Lag novel. His books made me want to write in the first place, several years ago, so I'll be elbowing people out of the queue to buy that.

And
Robert Holdstock returns to Ryhope Wood for “Avilion”, I believe, for a sequel to “Mythago Wood”, which was one of my favourite fantasy books. It's a novel that is an actual meditation on the nature of fantasy itself, and features some sublime reworkings of English mythology. I really can't wait to go back there.

ON THE HORIZON FOR MARK CHARAN NEWTON:

In the middle of the year—ahem, Pimp My Book!—my new novel is coming out from
Tor UK / Pan Macmillan. It's called “Nights of Villjamur”, and is the start of a new epic fantasy series called Legends of the Red Sun. It's kind of weird fiction—mixing genres up, fantasy, crime, horror, sf, and was inspired by Gene Wolfe and M John Harrison's Viriconium series. I'm stupid to try to take on those writers, I know, but hopefully people will like it...

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mark Charan Newton is a twenty-seven-year old writer living in Nottingham, UK. His bibliography includes “The Reef” and the upcoming “Nights of Villjamur”. He also works for the SF and Fantasy publisher
Solaris. For more information, please visit the author’s Official Website and Official Blog.

NOTE: For more author responses, please visit Fantasy Book Critic's 2008 Review/2009 Preview index
HERE.

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