Touching Base

I can’t always be reviewing anthologies, you know. I do have other matters to occupy my attention. Here’s a snapshot of some of those matters.

What I’m reading:

As usual, I’ve several books going at once. My life is compartmentalized. Each compartment is assigned a different book. The more leisurely, evening book is a collection of gothic novels: The Castle of Otranto; Vathek; and Nightmare Abbey. I’m nearly finished with Vathek. I”m enjoying Vathek, it is amusing. Frankly, however, the joke is growing stale. I think it might have worked better for me in a shorter format.

The audio book for my commute is The Three-Body Problem. I’m accustomed to this particular style and pacing, especially in science-fiction. But the novelty of it is carrying me past some of the more turgid sections. There is a fundamentally alien worldview woven into the assumptions of the book that I find interesting, even when off-putting. This probably won’t be one I’d recommend, but so far at least, I consider it worthwhile. I’m a trifle surprised that the Chinese government allowed publication of this book, given the rather damning first chapter dealing with the Cultural Revolution. But, admittedly, I’m not privy to the shifting currents of what the CCP censors consider reactionary. 

My lunch book is another Lin Carter anthology: Golden Cities, Far. Given the contents’ role as feeder streams flowing into the river that is Swords-and-Sorcery, it complements the gothic romances I’m reading. The material is hit-and-miss, at least for my modern sensibilities. Your ancient Egyptian, or Twelfth-Century reader, or so forth, doubtless held different expectations for his entertainment.

I’m still — slowly — re-reading A Shortened History of England. It remains an impressive labor of scholarship, while maintaining an approachable, engaging writing style. Any of you history buffs who haven’t yet read this might want to pick up a copy.

On deck is another of L. Sprague de Camp’s anthologies, The Fantastic Swordsmen. Also, The Once and Future King. And more books are on the way.

Meanwhile, I’m still writing. I put a novel outline on hiatus because of an urge to write a short story. It has been some years since I worked in that format. I’m curious to see what I come up with. So far I’m enjoying the process.

Upcoming books? I assume I’ll have one or more books out this year. I’m consulting with Aethon Books regarding cover art, so we’re still at an early stage. I’ll let you know once I receive more concrete information regarding release date(s.) In the meantime, if you’ve the desire to sample some of my work, why not try Under Strange Suns, my homage to ERB and John Carter of Mars? Or, browse here.

Happy reading.