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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Fantasy Book Critic’s 2008 Review/2009 Preview — Mark J. Ferrari


2008 FAVORITES:

Well . . . I promised Robert I’d have this to him by the end of January—and in accord with my signature punctuality when it comes to correspondence of all kinds—here I am . . . showing up in mid-February after the barn has burned and all the horses have fled. Ah, Robert . . . the patience of Joby, you have.

2008 was a crazier and crazier year, culminating in a so-far even crazier 2009, and I had shockingly little time to read (or eat or sleep . . . which may have had something to do with living in a rental room overlooking the back yard of Delta Chi Fraternity in Seattle’s U District, but that’s all history now too, and another story anyhow). There were a few books, however, enticing and imminently readable enough to find me last year—and this—in spite of everything. At the top of that sadly brief list were three books:

1)The Graveyard Book” by
Neil Gaiman. I found this one of the most lyrical things I’ve ever read, amazingly credible, frequently moving, and ultimately uplifting. No mean feat for a book about a toddler raised to young adulthood by dead people in a graveyard after the ‘senseless’ mass murder of his family. This book made me want to try harder at making my own life more lyrical, credible, and uplifting. Thanks Mr. Gaiman! I needed that!

2)Territory” by
Emma Bull. I don’t like Westerns as a rule—but I loved this one! The writing is beautiful, and these were frontier cowboys and china-men, and plucky ‘schoolmarm’ types I not only believed, but cared about, tangled up in a kind of frontier magic I found all the more delightfully mysterious and credible for the ways in which Ms. Bull left the ‘mechanics’ of that magic often vividly but never fully illuminated. As with “The Graveyard Book”, I found the way her story ended very satisfying. It ‘wound up’ very decisively, yet left so many ‘other threads’ hanging that the tale just kept going on in my head when I had read the last page and closed the cover. That’s the kind of read I like.

3)A Shadow in Summer” by
Daniel Abraham. Beautifully written, full not only of characters I believed completely and cared about, but of a world and its cultures that were at once fully comprehensible and yet authentically otherworldly. Beautiful devices like the ‘hand and posture’ language constantly used by his characters in tandem with verbal communication made all exchanges both richer and more enjoyably ‘foreign’ for me. My ‘current penance’ has not allowed me time to read the second and third books in this quartet yet, but I am certainly looking forward to it as soon as there is again some rest for the wicked in these parts.

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2009:

As for what I am hoping to read in 2009—besides the rest of Abraham’s quartet, I hope to get back to
George R.R. Martin’s continuing Song of Ice and Fire series. And of course, I await the next Harry Potter book . . . there IS another Harry Potter book coming—isn’t there? Surely you jest...

ON THE HORZION FOR MARK J. FERRARI:

As for Robert’s inquiry about what’s next from me, I am working merrily away on a new novel. Rumors you may have heard last year about a fantasy trilogy turned out to be as unfounded as those of my death. That project has been postponed indefinitely. The novel I am working on now is a single volume, stand alone urban fantasy not related in any way to “The Book of Joby”. Its working title is “Twice,” and it’s the absolutely secular story of a man who may or may not have been beaten to death by a troll in an alleyway on the evening of his 50th birthday—and is granted an unwitting, and somewhat poorly conceived ‘dying wish.’ It’s going well, proving a lot of fun to write, and I hope to have it finished by Summer’s end at latest, when I will, of course, take it straight to
Tor. What happens after that—and when—is in the hands of wiser heads than mine. If you’re coming to Norewescon, however, I’ll be reading from it there, in case you’re curious.

Here’s to a 2009 full of more reading, more writing, more great novels to choose from, and more punctual correspondence from yours truly.

Sincerely, (within reason),

Mark Ferrari

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

For seventeen years, Mark Ferrari made his living doing freelance illustration for such clients as Lucasfilm and Lucas Arts Games, Industrial Light & Magic, Electronic Arts, Chaosium Games, Amaze Entertainment, Tor, Ace, New American Library, The Science Fiction Book Club, and many others. “The Book of Joby” is his first novel. For more information, please visit the author’s
Official Website.

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

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