My thanks to greylit for providing this link to a review of Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. It actually made me want to read the novel, but also addresses the issue of hype I was discussing just the other day and addresses it well. And, for anyone who doubts the potential efficacy of hype, I have this bit from Variety, by way of Dark Horizons, by way of grandmofhelsing:
Susanna Clarke's 800-page novel Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, which is getting a major push from its publisher, is now a hot commodity in Hollywood. New Line, Warner Bros., Dreamworks and Sony are all pursuing the film rights, according to Variety. Clarke is already penning a sequel, and the studios smell a potential franchise.
Of course, in 2002, New Line, Warner Bros., Dreamworks, and a host of other Hollywood entities "pursued" the film rights for Threshold, and that has led nowhere so far. Same with everything I've written since Threshold, and I had no "major push" from my publisher. So, with hype, your mileage may vary. Of course, it's also worth noting that I have a long history of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. And just let me say again, 'cause some folks hearing ain't so good and their reading comprehension may be even worse, I have nothing whatsoever against Susanna Clarke or this Very Large Novel.
Poppy called night before last, because her Sony Vaio died while she was in Washington D.C., and she was trying to decide whether or not to finally get a Mac and part ways with her PC past. Jennifer and I advised her as best we could. I'm a card-carrying, dyed-in-the-wool, been-this-way-since-1986, absolute frelling Macintosh evangelist, but I put all that in the back of my mind and at least tried not to be pushy. But, still, I'm happy to see she bought an iBook after all. Drad.
Yesterday, I made a large number of corrections to the existing portion of "Bradbury Weather," things Spooky and I discovered needed correcting when we read it on Sunday, and today I shall get back to work on the story. I swear. Cross my heart. I will write at least one thousand words, or I will stand (figuratively) before you all tomorrow embarrassed and ashamed. There were other things yesterday, e-mail with my agent in NYC about the contract for Daughter of Hounds, e-mail to be sure that the uncropped author's photo for The Dry Salvages had reached Mesa, Arizona in one piece (it had). That sort of stuff.
This morning, a few minutes after waking, after the aforementioned long, long dream, four lines of poetry came into my head. That hasn't happened in a while. I groggily scribbled them down before breakfast. I'll look at it later today to see if it's anything worth pursuing. If so, I suspect the poem may serve as an epilogue of sorts for To Charles Fort, With Love.
How can it be 12:30 already? It was 9:30 only a moment ago.
Here's an interesting thing. One of the criticisms that has been leveled at Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is that the film contains a number of references to World War I. Now, it's admittedly a dumb mistake. In the alternate history of the film, it would appear that WWII never occurred (if only), so the character would not think of WWI as WWI</i>. They would most likely think of it as "The Great War." This is a small but annoying thing. It's something the filmmakers could have easily gotten right. But that's not my point. My point is to draw a parallel with my own work. Recently, Subterranean Press sent out about twenty ARC (advance reading copies) of my forthcoming short novel, The Dry Salvages, to a group of my more avid readers. Now, shortly after I got my own copies of the ARC, I discovered that I'd made a really, really dumb mistake regarding relativity and travel at near lightspeed, a bad calculation, that had thrown off the chronology throughout the book. It wasn't a little thing, not as small as the WWI thing in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. It was a Really Big, Stupid Thing, and when I saw it I screamed and threw things. I'm plenty intelligent and educated enough not to have made the mistake, not to have let it wind up in the copy that went out to all the reviewers, but there it was, anyway. And still, this is not my point. My point is that not a one of the readers who were sent the ARC, who read it and commented on it online, caught the error. Nary a one. And yet there it was, staring me in the face. Why didn't they see it? It's a pretty obvious mistake, echoed throughout the book, and I know that these readers are a smart lot. So, what gives? I have a theory. It's a simple theory. No one went into the book expecting an error of such magnitude. They assumed, incorrectly, that, given my past as a scientist, all the science would be perfect. They didn't see the mistake because they were not predisposed to look for the mistake. There was not hostility or resistance between them and the book, so they sailed right past the error, unphased. It's presence did not diminish their enjoyment of the story. And this is what I want you to think about. All "art" is filled with mistakes. Perfection escapes us all. But if a tree falls in the forest, is the sound it makes relative to our desire and/or expectation to hear falling trees?
By the way, if you've not yet bought your copy of Murder of Angels, now would be a really, really good time. And I would be quite grateful. And, after all, Charles De Lint called MoA "...that rare book that gets everything right." I figure if the book sales poorly, that'll make Mr. De Lint look bad, and he's a really nice guy and very fine writer, better than I am, so we don't want that, him looking bad, I mean. So. Please. Buy the book and save Charles De Lint's reputation. Thank you.
Also, we will be beginning a new round of eBay auctions in the next day or so. The purpose this time is to raise enough cash to get Spooky a plane ticket to Fiddler's Green, so I don't have to go to Minneapolis alone, and also to allow me to get a new cell phone, because my old one, which was a trooper and had served me well since May 2001, gave up the ghost at Dragon*Con. Any remaining money will go towards the coming move, which, by the way, has been mercifully delayed until November/December. And the call for a webmaster and designer for my website is still open. I have a good candidate for a webmaster in the Netherlands, but no prospect for a designer, and I'd like to talk to a number of people before making any decisions. If you're interested, e-mail me at email@example.com .
And now, I have to brush my teeth.