What do cats think about when they wake up in the morning? More importantly, what do they think we think about? I have a story coming out in a few days that will offer my answer, but I really want to know what the rest of you think.
What’s the best long book you’ve read? What’s your favourite? Remembrance of Things Past is always toward the top of any list I make, though The Lord of the Rings and Ulysses are up there as well.
What’s the best short book you’ve read? Something that is too long to be a story, but short enough to be read in a day or two? I’m a fan of Passing by Nella Larsen, Call Me Joe (most likely the uncredited inspiration for Avatar) by Poul Anderson, and The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet by Stephen King. Oh, and The Willows, by Algernon Blackwood. It’s a damn creepy story in its own right, but if you’re a long distance hiker like I am, it has a few special bad places set aside just for you.
Have an awesome weekend, everyone. If you’ve done anything bookish this weekend, from reading something amazing to talking to other writers to just getting purposely lost in a library, leave a comment. I would love to hear it.
Today’s story is more a character exploration than a full story, somewhere between a vignette and flash fiction. The seed came from a prompt on the excellent Reddit writing forum, Writing Prompts, though I have yet to read any of the other submissions to that prompt. (I will once this hits the streets.)
Coming up in the next week or two is my next foray into Southern Gothic. About a year ago I read a tweet on an agent’s wish list that said she’d love to see a YA Southern Gothic novel. It’s taken a long time for that spark to truly ignite, but my next few stories will be my way of fanning the flames. I always have considered William Faulkner and Eudora Welty to be two of my influences, so it wasn’t too difficult to encourage my Muse to focus her efforts in that direction for a little while. And my sword and sorcery novella, featuring, in the role of brawny manly-man Nordic ultra warrior hero, an overweight teenage black American girl who was taught to scrap and survive by a friend of the family, is about ready for public consumption as well. I’m somewhat excited about that one; that novella forced its way out of my head in just over four days, and now that I’ve cleaned the blood and brains off of it and made it somewhat sensible, I’m eager to go back to her world and write some more.
Story 9/ 52: Note To Self —
Signore Davide Mana is a paleontologist and author in Torino, Italia who blogs over at Karavansara. A half-year ago, he discovered my rather hagiographic essay about Sword and Sorcery over at Way Too Fantasy, somehow thought it was interesting, and told me that he had a Sword and Sorcery novella up of his own. At the time I think one of my biggest complaints about it was that it ended. Thankfully, he wrote a second part, and it is just as engrossing and entertaining as the first one was. If anything, the prose is a little tighter and the suspense sharper, though neither one of those things were exactly problems in the first part.
BIAS ALERT: I love novellas… they are perhaps my favourite form of fiction. Stories like these, however, are why I like them. They are long enough to really dig into the characters and the setting, but not so long that you’re committed for days or even weeks. Especially in the realms of Sword-and-Sorcery and Adventure, I prefer these good long tales over novels. They seem to be of the length that your war buddy would tell over a long night of drinking at the tavern, not so long that he has to keep coming back to the story over and over.
I recommend this for anyone who likes quality Sword-and-Sorcery and those who miss the Fafhrd and Grey Mouser as much as I do. The artwork may be a little off, but really, there is not much else I can say to critique the book. Amongst the things I really like is the fact that it’s set in the classic Roman world, and not the generic Western-Europe-Vague-Mideval-Setting-with-Inscrutable-Middle-East-off-the-Edge-of-the-Map that most S&S (or even High Fantasy) novels take place in. I’m looking forward to a new one. Four of Five stars.
Lair of the White Ape (amazon.com link)