Well, what a busy week that was!
First of all, congratulations to all this year’s Hugo winners – some damn fine work being recognised, there!
There was also a bit of Angry Robot-related stuff happening around the net over the weekend.
First up, a catch-up with Dark Fiction Review, who have been running an Angry Robot Special this past week, to celebrate our new titles in the UK and US/Canada.
Triumff is a corking yarn which will make the stoniest-hearted soul giggle, wince and snort. Recommended.
DFR: How do you balance that level of commitment and output with technicalities like the need to eat and sleep?
DA: There is the long standing gag about me having lots of clones working at an infinite number of typewriters. And of course that’s true.
The simple answer is that I love writing. I am very lucky to be able to do for a living something I would want to be doing anyway. I spend a lot of my time doing it, and therefore produce a lot. I won’t pretend it’s never hard work, or don’t have bad days when I wish I could be doing something else, but I’m betting those are less common and easier to get past than most people’s bad work days. I also believe I work better if I’m pushed. The more stuff I’ve got to do, the faster and better I’ll do it. Work expands to fill the time available otherwise. If I get a good head of steam up, I produce better stuff: quality rises with productivity. Like I said, lucky.
With The Crown of the Blood, I was very much taken with the idea of two concepts. The first is the Hellenistic notion of ‘pothos’, a word only ever used in descriptions of Alexander. It entails constant restlessness, a desire to achieve that can never be satisfied, but more than that it has connotations with a destiny to do great things (which in Alexander’s case turned into megalomania and delusions of divinity). The second idea, introduced to me by a friend, is that of the ‘conqueror alien’; that many of the greatest leaders in history have come from outside the central sphere of the power they will come to command. Phillip and Alexander were Macedonian, not Greek; Napoleon was Corsican, nor French; Hitler was Austrian, not German. So these formed in me the idea of a man who feels an incredible sense of purpose, a hunger for greatness, but his position outside the main sphere of power prevents him from achieving this. Thus was born the concept of General Ullsaard, the main character and the driving force behind the narrative.
DFR: You have a strange relationship with your axe, somewhat co-dependent: are we going to learn more about the weapon and your history together as the series develops?
Kell: You’re asking some personal questions there, lass. I don’t take none too kindly to folk prying into my personal life, including that bastard Remic. So I’ll just say this; by the end of Remic’s third chronicles, Vampire Warlords, all will be revealed and finished off nicely.
A few nice reviews have crept in over the weekend, too. Over at Cherrylog Road, we’re told that:
The pacing is crisp and the characters are worthy of our interest. The writing is muscular and cinematic. Harvey’s use of a familiar collection of tropes is smart and fun. It’s like watching a sax player I’ve never heard before spin an old standard like Autumn Leaves in a new direction.
The Road to Bedlam is a rich, detailed and impressive sequel to one of the best novels of 2009 with a gripping plot, superb characterisation and is such an effortless joy to read. If you have read Sixty One Nails you just have to get this, and for those of you who haven’t read Sixty One Nails, what are you waiting for, buy them both!
The Crown of the Blood should really have a warning sticker on the front (Angry Robots take note) it’s one of those books that are almost impossible to put down, so much so that you find yourself unconsciously continuing to (try to) read after geeting up to make a brew / go to work / go to bed (delete as applicable and don’t try this at home kids). The novel also stands out with a very strong opening scene and excellent end, with a genuinely unexpected twist.
and finally (for now), over at the excellent Salon Futura, Lauren Beukes is interviewed (video).