I am currently getting ready to tackle the last two rounds of corrections of the third book in the Citlalli series, and one of the things that entails is going over books one and two one more time to ensure continuity. The problem is that rereading them is incredibly frustrating, as I keep finding things I would like to change, but have no choice but to leave as they are. Yes, on a rational level I know, the fact that I can’t help but to feel that the earlier books are missing something is a good sign, I know it shows that I have grown since then, and so on… but I still cringe when I read them, I just can’t help it. Here’s hoping that when I go over book three a year from now, I won’t find it as cringe-worthy… or maybe I should hope that I will.
Remember how on my recap of 2013 I mentioned that I had one book being revised? Well, that one is the third book of the Citlalli series and, if everything goes according to plan, it should be out in the last week of July/first week of August!
I have to say that the fact that it is in a readable form and with a possible release data clearly established is a relief because that is one that did give me quite a bit of trouble. In fact it is nowhere near what I thought it would be when I first started toying with the idea a few eons ago!
Oh, and i case you were wondering, chances are that Citlalli is going to be a tetralogy… or maybe it would be more accurate to describe is as a trilogy with a twist.
Yay, I finally managed to get the third book of Citlalli into some semblance of a readable form… of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t have half a dozen rounds of corrections to look forward to, but for the time being I’m aiming for a late July, early August.
That’s a little later than I would have liked, but nowhere near as late as I had feared it would be.
Today I all but finished the second book in the Citlalli series… or at least I think I did. I will go over it once more in a month or two, but so far it looks like I’m on track to release that one by the end of May or the beginning of June. Now on to book three!
I just finished reading Terry Pratchett’s Dodger, and over all I have to say that I really enjoyed it. No, it was not the most original story I’ve ever read, but it was amusing and engaging, and in that regard it certainly deserves a five stars rating. I also like seeing Terry Pratchett stretch beyond the familiar confines of the Discworld.
In this particular instance he tackles the Victorian period with an interesting cast of characters and an entertaining adventure. As several of his other works this one can also be seen as a coming of age story, one that is full of literary references… and if anything it is when we come to those references that we run into a bit of an issue. Continue reading Dodging the past
I just finished reading China Miéville’s Un Lun Dun and over all I have to say that I really liked it. Sure, at times I found it a little too childish, but then again kids are the intended audience. In fact the biggest problem I may have had to do with the fact that this book came too highly recommended. Funny how often that turns into a problem when someone recommends a book. What I mean is that I was expecting to be completely blown away so somehow that ‘I really liked it’ seems mild… and it also leaves me wondering whether or not a less enthusiastic recommendation would have led me to enjoy it more (or if it would have caused me to send it to the pile of books I intend to read ‘someday’).
So to begin with let me say that I had never read anything by China Miéville before, but I had come across a review that described Un Lun Dun as a cross between Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere and Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Seeing how those are two of my all time favorites I couldn’t resist. The thing is that while the influence of both of these works is apparent throughout the book, I find it lacking some of their depth, and it also has a far more explicit message that at times is a little too ‘in your face’ for comfort, a fact that marks a pretty stark difference.
On a more positive note, I liked the characters and some of the concepts. I loved Hemi and how Deeba grew up as the plot unfolded, I liked the concepts of the unchosen one, the utterlings and the unGun… and how can you go wrong with a book with a reference to A Wasp in a Wig? (and if you are wondering what this wasp in a wig thing happens to be, you can find it here). Anyway, while some points did come across as a little too overdrawn for my liking, I realize I am not part of the book’s target audience, so that may be a problem that has more to do with my own perspective than with the book itself.
In other words, even though this review is coming across as a little too negative for my liking, I wouldn’t hesitate to give this book a four stars rating. As I said, I definitely enjoyed it and I would most definitely recommend it, just don’t go in expecting to fall in love with it… who knows, maybe if you don’t expect to fall in love with it you actually will!
I just finished reading Diana Wynne Jones’s Archer’s Goon. Over all it was a pleasant read, and the story was well told, though there is one spot in the middle that comes across as a little heavy-handed (one of those instances in which the author seems to have gone to such lengths to ensure that an unexpected twist comes as a surprise that it doesn’t quite seem to fit in the story as a whole). The one thing that stayed with me, however, was not so much the plot as the concept of the Everything-But drawer. That is one of those concepts that describe an everyday reality that is so plain and ever-present that when you come across it for the first time you find yourself wondering how come you’d never heard of it before. The everything-but drawer –of which I suspect there is at least one example in each and every house as a matter of law– is that drawer in which you can find everything… except whatever it is that you are actually looking for. Continue reading Everything-But
A fair warning, this is going to be a really bizarre post that probably won’t seem to make much sense, at least not at first glance. How bizarre? Well, it deals with two series of books written by American women that depict the lives of girls around the age of sixteen. One of the series begins when the leading character is that age, the other basically ends at that point; one of these series looks forward, the other looks back; one is autobiographical (or something like it), the other one is not… and time-wise the distance between the publication date for the last book in the first of these series and the release of the first book of the second one is less than seventy years. These similarities and differences make for an interesting chance to analyze how we see ourselves, how we see the world around us, where we come from and where we are going. So what are these two series? Well, the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder and The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, of course. Continue reading Out of the Past, Into the Future
A few months ago I decided to sit down and read Harry Potter from beginning to end. Seeing how those books have been analyzed to death, and then some, I won’t go into too many details, but I was reminded of one thing that has been bugging me since I first came across the first book. Throughout the series we have Lord Voldermort as the ruthless supervillain, doing everything within his power to kill our noble hero… and yet in book one he squandered what was the most obvious chance he had to get rid of the brat once and for all by being, out of all things, too freaking decent. What I mean is that when Harry and Hermione come to Snape’s challenge they are confronted with a number of flasks, each containing a different potion. One of these allows you to go forward, one allows you to go back, two are harmless and three are downright deadly… so why didn’t Quirrell just rearrange the bottles so that by solving the riddle Harry and Hermione would just have ended up poisoning themselves? Any ideas?
Okay, so in these past few days I have been spending too much time reading and too little time blogging about it. In fact since my last post I finished The Long Earth (a Pratchett/Baxter collaboration) and The Homeward Bounders (by Diana Wynne Jones). Both books are worth reading and, against all odds, they make for an interesting combination since, in spite of their rather obvious differences, they do share a number of common elements, starting with the fact that both deal with the subject of parallel worlds. Sure, one deals mostly with what the sudden availability of a countless number of Earths would mean for human society as a whole while the other is a fantasy novel that deals with the adventures of a group of kids who become pawns in a sort of cosmic game that spans a multitude of worlds, but at least there is a common element that can serve as a connecting point, while painting two completely different pictures.
The problem is that while these two books do make a good ‘double feature’ analyzing them together isn’t easy. Continue reading A Stroll Across the Multiverse