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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Fantasy Book Critic’s 2008 Review/2009 Preview — Robert V.S. Redick


I pride myself in being behind the curve. My favorite reads tend to be those that other people discovered anywhere from a year to a generation ago (last year it was
Peake’s Titus Groan). If people are still talking about a book after the flash and rumble of its release fades away, I imagine, there’s a better chance that it’s truly exceptional. Or perhaps I just read slowly.

In any case I read far less than usual in 2008, what with a 620-page book to write. To start with fantasy: early in the year it was “The Children’s Hospital” (cataclysmic, hilarious, hideous, astonishing) by
Chris Adrian. Shortly thereafter I treated myself to “A Game of Thrones”, my first foray into The Martin Chronicles; and Gregory Frost’s lovely, lyrical “Shadowbridge”. Then came two books by writers I’ve been lucky enough to get to know: John Crowley’s beautiful and meditative “Endless Things” and Paul Park’s brilliant concluding Romania novel, “The Hidden World”. Outside of fantasy my favorites included “Lost City Radio” by Daniel Alarcón (his first novel), “Bliss” by Peter Carey (his first, too—but in 1981) and the twisted and terrifying “Alamut” (1938) by the Slovene writer Vladimir Bartol. The latter is a bad place to learn anything about Islam, but a great place to consider what happens if you live by the assassin’s motto “Nothing is true; everything is permitted.” Some people might call all three of these books “mainstream.” Thinking back on them, the notion makes me giggle.


There are the writers I’ve been wanting to read for years (
Geoffrey Ryman, Iain M. Banks, G. Cabrera Infante), the writers I’ve learned about in the last year or two (Patrick Rothfuss, Peter V. Brett, Stephen Deas, Richard Morgan), the writers I’ve had a taste of and can’t wait to read more of (Roberto Bolaño, Orhan Pamuk, Gesualdo Bufalino), and the writers I’m just hoping will bring out another book soon (David Mitchell, Jim Shepard, Amit Chaudary). How many of these I’ll actually be able to get to will depend on what sort of speed records I break with the writing of the last book in The Chathrand Voyage trilogy.


The Red Wolf Conspiracy”, Book One of the fantasy trilogy The Chathrand Voyage, will be published in the U.S. by
Del Rey on April 29. I’ll be making appearances at Cons before and after the launch, including Vericon (Harvard, January 23-24), New York Comic Con (NYC, February 6-8), the Virginia Book Festival (Charlottesville, March 19-21) and certainly Worldcon (Montréal, August 6-10).

The other big event for me this year will be the release of Book II of the trilogy, “The Rats and the Ruling Sea”, by my U.K./Canada/Commonwealth publisher,
Gollancz, in August. Del Rey will follow a few months thereafter in the U.S. Various translations of “The Red Wolf Conspiracy” will also be out in 2009—the German, French and Spanish versions are all in the final editing stages and should be the first to appear.


Robert V.S. Redick’s first novel, “Conquistadors”, was a finalist for the 2002 AWP/Thomas Dunne Novel Award. “Uncrossed River,” a memoir of his chance encounters with the late actor River Phoenix, won the 2005 New Millennium Writings Award for nonfiction and was published in New Millennium Writings. “Palpable,” another Argentina story, was a finalist for the 2003 Glimmer Train Short Story Award. Robert is currently at work on The Chathrand Voyage fantasy trilogy. 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



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