The unusually clear and sunny weather (which would have been nice to see back in July and August) has been producing some rather spectacular apocalyptic sunsets.
I’m pretty sure that if I had a better grasp of how exposure compensation is supposed to be used, this shot (and the others I took on the same day) might be even more impressive …. but they still look pretty funky, IMHO, even if it’s because Mother Nature did all the really hard work for me.
Writing about music
Those of you who plough through the daily link dumps on VCTB cannot have failed to notice the huge backlog of reviews that were published this week. This week has seen me writing some pieces for The Dreaded Press (including some polish work on an interview with Arnaud Rebotini of French techno/rock/industrial band Black Strobe), as well as my assignments elsewhere.
But things have been comparatively calm, enabling a week of deck-clearing and getting other things sorted out; having no live shows to cover has made that easier, though I did go to the aptly-named Waster on Wednesday night, a local event where friends of mine were performing as both DJs and bands. After the way I felt Thursday morning, it’s not something I’ll be doing too often, I think. I just can’t bounce back from a midweek booze-up the way I could five years ago.
Writing about books
Well, the Brasyl piece still isn’t finished, but it’s far closer than it was, and probably only needs a few hours of pruning and buffing before I’m ready to send it off as a first draft. The problem has been one of excess, in that there’s so much to talk about in the novel that even with a wordcount of over 2000 it’s almost impossible to say everything that needs saying. For example, there’s enough material on the theme of identity in there to write a full-blown critical essay (which I am vaguely considering attempting).
So I’m going for a compromise with the review by cataloguing the broader themes with a few examples, and trying to sketch out how they interconnect. Trying to do a synopsis would be even more challenging, in some respects, and would certainly do the book a disservice. But anyway, that should be nailed and mailed by Sunday; then it’ll just be the rewrites … 🙂
But hey, I have actually had some book reviews published this week! Those of you who get Interzone may have noticed my review of Karl Schroeder’s Queen Of Candesce (which I can’t recommend highly enough as the best compromise possible between hard sf and a good intriguing adventure story, with steampunk nuggets on the side).
Also live just a few hours ago is my review of Human Is? – A Philip K Dick Reader at SF Site … I tried a different approach to reviewing with that piece, so any feedback would be more than welcome.
Other writing malarkey
There has been some, but that’s all I can say right now. I know, I’m such a tease.
Books and magazines seen
The Orbit gang seem to be on a major publicity offensive at the moment – either that, or a lot of parcels were held up by the local wing of the Post Office, which makes Communist Russia look like an efficient and well-oiled machine by comparison.*
In addition to a glut of fantasy doorsteps and vampire-detective-sex marathons, yesterday’s arrival of Matter, Iain M Banks’ new Culture novel, has made me the envy of a number of fellow sfnal blogospherists.
I feel a trifle guilty about boasting, naturally. But in this instance, the overwhelming OMG!! factor means that I’m not going to castigate myself too much. By the way, I’m already about ninety pages in, and it’s safe to say that Culture fans are not going to be disappointed in any way whatsoever.
A brace of magazines has appeared also; the latest Interzone (#213), as mentioned above, and the latest Apex Digest – yet another mag that I’d entirely forgotten I had a pending subscription for. So, a pleasant surprise there … finding time to read it may be quite a challenge, however.
After learning my lesson last week, I shall not be embedding any foolish snark in this final section of FPB. **
Probably the only exciting thing to happen this week occurred this afternoon – I managed to get a ticket to see My Bloody Valentine play one of their reunion shows next summer!
I thought I’d missed the boat, as they only announced one London show which had already sold out when I tried this morning. But apparently demand was so high that they announced two more dates immediately, which enabled yours truly to get a ticket to see a band he never got the chance to see when he was a teenager.
If you’re at the June 21st show at the Camden Roundhouse next year, I’ll be easy to spot – I’ll be the shabby hippy wearing earplugs and crying with joy in a seat on the front row.
So, there’s your weekly dose of Paul Raven – I hope you enjoyed the buzz, and that the comedown doesn’t linger. I’m off to fetch The Subcontinental Repast Of The Week’s Fifth Day, (as is customary) before doing the Friday Free Fiction round-up at Futurismic and trundling out to the pub (as is also customary).
So enjoy your weekend, boys and girls. Hasta luego.
[* – Paraphrased email conversation between me and one of my editors:
Ed: So when did this week’s package turn up?
PR: Friday morning.
Ed: WTF! I posted that first class at lunchtime on Monday.
PR: Yeah, that figures. I told you everything was back to normal.
I’m not knocking posties per se, but the service provided by the company they work for is a bloody sham.]
[** – Speaking of which – Paul: yes, I know I’ve not yet provided 1000 words on the letter ‘i’ yet, but I’ve been busy. When you get a job that involves more than spending hours a day scouring eBay for dead drum machines, I will permit you to castigate me for failing to reach unpaid deadlines which were instigated by my own flippancy. Not that I think you’ll ever wait for my permission, but hey. We know how this friendship has always worked, why break the chain now?]