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Monday, December 8, 2008

Fantasy Book Critic’s 2008 Review/2009 Preview — Michael Cobley


Brasyl” by
Ian McDonald, was a fabulous followup to “River of Gods”; “The Execution Channel” by Ken Macleod was a strange beast, almost as if Mr. Macleod was channelling John Brunner and Wilfred Greatorex (creator of ancient BBC drama, 1990); 2008 was also the Year Of Abercrombie in which I got to read his great First Law trilogy, complete with daring downer ending! “Language of Stones” by Rob Carter, volume 1 of his take on the Arthurian mythos set in an alternate War of the Roses; “Matter” by Iain Banks, a bravura return to form, although it ended a bit abruptly for me; non-fiction included “Planet of Slums”, an astonishing documentation of how slums and shantytowns grow; “Web Of Deceit” by Mark Curtis, some shocking home truths about Britain’s role in the world; and “How Black Was Our Sabbath” by David Tangye and Graham Wright, two members of the Black Sabbath road crew during the 70s, great reminiscences.

Also have to include a couple of games—
Bioshock, a fantastic, lushly-imagined, beautifully realised visions of an undersea city gone to wrack and ruin, with compelling narrative and characters; and Call of Juarez, a western tale complete with gunfights, dames in distress, pursuits on horseback, treasure hunts, mystic quest for the eagles feather, and some lashing, lariat-work!

And there were the
Iron Man and Hulk movies, which to my surprise turned out pretty good, the Batman ‘Dark Knight’ movie which was very good, despite the war-on-terruh subtext, and Joss Whedon’s Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog—good to see that Nathan Fillion still has it! Oh, and the Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull movie, which I really enjoyed as I wasn’t demanding too much from it. Oh yeah, also discovered the TV series, Chuck, which was fun, and CSI, the Las Vegas original, on which I am irredeemably hooked.


Getting hold of some of the stuff
Neal Asher’s been doing this year, since I’ve experienced a slight cashflow problem in recent months; the new Scott Lynch book, “The Republic of Thieves” which continues the story of Locke Lamora; the new Ken Macleod, “The Night Sessions”; getting hold of Eric Brown’s Bengal Station books; hoping and praying that Bill King finally gets an English-language deal for his non-Warhammer stuff; hoping that George RR Martin’s next ASOIAF book emerges from his laboratory of delights (!); the republication of David Wingrove's epic Chung Kuo sequence by Quercus, beginning with a newly-written prequel, “When China Comes”, due out in the autumn; the movie Inkheart, which looks interesting; praying that the Watchmen movie doesn’t make me wince, that’s my baseline requirement; far out and crazy tip for the year HAS to be the Sherlock Holmes movie with Robert Downey Jr. as the consulting detective and Jude Law as Dr. John Watson—it could work . . . and Tony Blair could end up working in a lapdance joint, but hey, stranger things. Musically, I’m waiting for the new Heaven & Hell CD, cos I am an unreconstructed heavy metal fan, er, dude; also, the new Deathstars CD, “Deathglam”.

Also, I hope that Obama, like the
Watchmen movie, doesn’t disappoint. Too much.


Seeds Of Earth”, the first part of my Humanity’s Fire space opera trilogy, steps fully-fledged onto the world stage in early March. I hope to be doing a reading or two in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and there will also be the odd competition for goodies and so forth.
Eastercon, the UK national SF convention, takes place in Bradford from April 10th to the 13th, and I shall be there, saying hello, signing anything that’ll stay put long enough, and going in search of The Perfect Curry! Also in March, I’ll be submitting volume 2, “The Orphaned Worlds”, before diving headlong into the final part, “The Ascendant Stars”.

Later in the year, I may go to
Novacon, usually held in Bentley near Walsall, which is quite a relaxed convention.


Hailing from Glasgow, Scotland, Michael Cobley writes science fiction and fantasy and is the author of several short stories (collected in Iron Mosaic) and the
Shadowkings fantasy trilogy. For more information, please visit the author’s Official Blog.

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


RedEyedGhost said...

Any word on when Seeds of Earth will be published in the US?

Robert said...

No US publisher yet, but hopefully that will change shortly...

Liviu said...

Total fun book, Seeds of Earth is very entertaining and has a "Banksian" feel to it in its inventiveness as well as the easy flow of the Seven Suns saga or the earlier but still very enjoyable Builders (Convergence) series by C. Sheffield.

A full review will come here in due course.


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