I finished the first draft of the second Clamp School Paranormal Investigators novel at 2 a.m. this past Tuesday (or, Monday, as it feels, as I had not hit the sack when I hit "save" for the last time on the file). It's due a week from today, so I should be able to give it a couple of reads by then, tweak it, rewrite where I can. The same day will be my last day in the Oni office, as what was to be my last day is both a Monday and a holiday--should have checked that ahead of time. I plan to--or at least jokingly plan to--load up on sake and spend the weekend drunk on my floor with a stack of DVDs. I firmly believe in relaxing before moving on. (As opposed to this weekend, where I have to watch a couple of things to finish off the next "Can You Picture That?" due on Tuesday.)
I won't be writing about the passing of my editorial career in this forum. My blog has never really been the place for that anyway (enough of that at the Oni forum). I have a long interview due, as mentioned before, and that will be my last word for quite a while.
Speaking of, the second Comic Book Idol starts soon. Read about it here. I am not a judge this year, but I will be involved as a writer contributing to the assignments. My judging last year, you may recall, led to myself and Patrick Scherberger collaborating on this.
I finished reading Nancy Mitford's Love In A Cold Climate yesterday. I got off the morning bus with ten pages to go, and had to sit down at the bus bench and kill it off. I was too close.
I loved it, but not as much as The Pursuit of Love. A lot of that was down to their being no character to compare with Linda. The narrator of both volumes, Fanny, still has an enticing voice, but her subjects, the coldly glamorous Polly and the overbearing fop Cedric, just don't have the same appeal. Once again, it's Fanny I'm really wanting to fawn over. There is a simple directness to her, and yet the feeling that there is much more that we have yet to discover--especially suggested by her insights and mode of expressing them. She is unassuming and people protest her own efforts to play down her charm, and I can’t help but want the mirror to be turned around on her. (This apparently does happen in the next book, Don't Tell Alfred.)
I am already into my next reading assignment: the advance reading copy of A Gentlemen's Game: A Queen & Country Novel by Greg Rucka, to be published by Bantam in October. As most of your probably know, Queen & Country is an espionage comic series that Greg publishes through Oni. So, I am excited to dig into it as both a fan of Greg's and as someone who has seen the characters flourish from their earliest stages.
So far, only 40 or so pages in, it's already some of Greg's tightest prose, certainly the best since my favorite of his books, Shooting At Midnight. His work is efficient and economical without losing a sense of fancy for language. Working with British characters has allowed Greg to have a little more fun with his approach, getting his typing fingers all tangled in the intricacies and cleverness of that culture’s approach to words (though, at times, maybe too much: should I really have to go look up a word that means "stamp collecting"?).
If the prose itself remains this much of a pleasure, the quality of the plot itself--a terrorist threat in London that the Minders have to put a stop to--is going to be a moot point if A Gentlemen's Game is this crisp throughout. With Rucka, though, I think there is always a point of no return with his books, somewhere about a quarter in where everything takes off, and they become impossible to put down.
The new PJ Harvey Uh Huh Her isn't an easy listen. It's sparse and rough, like Rid of Me, but with the same loose approach to song structure as Is This Desire?. It's a different sort of album, one that requires a little work on the part of the listener, and though I can't honestly say how much I love it yet, the fact that I want to put the work into it that Polly Jean asks of me, that speaks volumes.
Current Soundtrack: Low, Murderer EP; Ash, Meltdown