“The Glass Galago”
On Wednesday the third of the Gales, “The Glass Galago,” will be launching at Tor.com. (The first two Gales are “Among the Silvering Herd” and “The Ugly Woman of Castello di Putti”.) This new story takes Gale Feliachild and Garland Parrish to the Fleet itself. It’s not the first visit for either of them, obviously, but it’s their first time together. Gale learns a little more about what it was that got Garland disgraced and kicked out of the service. I hope you guys like it.
I was offline a fair bit during the holidays: didn’t eschew Facebook or Twitter, by any means, but I definitely spent more of my waking hours away from the computer. When I was working, it was often on fiction. There’s a proposal I’m pulling together for what might be my next ecofantasy novel; its working title is Tom the Liar, largely because in my head the main character shares some traits with the Hiddleston Loki. My editors have also sent some notes back on The Nature of a Pirate, so I’m keen to buckle down to revisions. I worked on setting up a spring book tour, and should be announcing dates soon. I thought about some teaching stuff and tried mightily to finish reading David Jaher’s The Witch of Lime Street: Séance, Seduction, and Houdini in the Spirit World, but didn’t quite get that done before the new year.
The holidays themselves were low-key and pleasant. There was some sleeping in, some feasting, some wonderful time spent with friends. And now it’s snowing in Toronto, and 2016 has come, and I am looking forward to a year filled with wonders and surprises.
photo by Kelly Robson
Author Fran Wilde (my review of her novel Updraft can be found here!) was kind enough to ask me about food on Stormwrack for her Book Bites feature, and nobody will be surprised to hear that I had plenty to say on that subject. Meanwhile, over at Charlie Stross’s blog, I have a piece called “Confessions of a (half-assed) news avoider“, which would be, indirectly, about how I’m doing everything in my power to protect my brain from toxins like the storm of infuriating factoids on offer, 24/7, about the U.S. Presidential race.
Next week there will be a flurry of other interviews with book bloggers like Cherry Blossoms and Maple Syrup and The Book Wars. Some of the questions were very cool indeed.
Tor.com, meanwhile, has posted their December-January fiction roster, with stories by Michael Swanwick, David Nickle, and Kim Stanley Robinson. My “The Glass Galago,” third of The Gales, will be out on January 6th.
“The Glass Galago”
On Wednesday in Saratoga Springs I got to see three variations of this spectacular cover for “The Glass Galago,” which is the third* of The Gales and which will be out in a couple months. Irene Gallo showed me this lush and beautiful Richard Anderson image, and I squealed like a little child newly in possession of all the ice cream.
*The first two Gales are Among the Silvering Herd and The Ugly Woman of Castello di Putti.
I am sitting in the hotel room in Saratoga Springs as I write this, checking my UCLA classrooms and talking with my students about what makes a person or non-human character monstrous. They’re asking: is the monstrous always just about making someone Other? Some might say any ordinary person with a defective moral compass–your classic heartless killer or other all-too-human predator– can be a monster. And in non-fiction, that scans for me. If a journalist wants to call Charles Manson a monster, I’m not going to quibble.
In fiction, my taste runs to the more than human monsters. I like for them to have a whiff of the transcendent. In the above series of stories, Gale Feliachild occasionally regards Captain Garland Parrish as monstrous, even though he’s not even remotely evil. He’s overly blessed by nature, you see: impossibly handsome, exceedingly graceful, and good at almost everything he turns his mind to. It’s just about too much. He’s good, but he can easily be jealousy-inducing. We all know people like this: coveting their good fortune makes us feel small, and it’s hard not to blame them.
The current TV version of Hannibal Lecter has an intense aestheticism and is so robustly athletic that he’s as hard to kill as The Terminator. Some of his qualities are appealing–his love is so pure!–and that makes his compulsion to kill and eat the rude all the more awful. And the fact that we can empathize with the idea of quelling the rude, neglectful and genuinely awful people we run across from time to time actually increases the effect… it invites us to consider whether we might not condone more than we should.
illustration by Richard Andersen
I’m happy to announce that Tor.com will be publishing the next novelette in The Gales series on January 6th, 2016. The story’s title is “The Glass Galago” and it’s a follow-up to “Among the Silvering Herd and “The Ugly Woman of Castello di Putti.”
In “The Glass Galago,” First Mate Garland Parrish of the sailing vessel Nightjar finally tells his employer, Gale Feliachild, what it was that got him discharged from the Fleet of Nations.
These stories are set about fifteen years before the events of Child of a Hidden Sea and A Daughter of No Nation. Some of you may have heard me characterize the pieces as the adventures of Doctor Who and her very pretty companion. I know January’s a way off (124 sleeps, to be precise!) but I hope you enjoy it.
The second uber-fun thing this week: my cousin Tee from Edmonton is in town, vacationing with her beau. We spent yesterday mooching around Kensington Market and catching up in the very moist heat of a hot summer’s day. Toronto hasn’t been overly warm or humid this summer, but this was a classic sweatbox experience. Which meant we ended up, eventually, in a pub, with icy beers in hand. Tee and I don’t know each other well… she is awesome, but there’s a seventeen-year age gap, and the last time we saw each other was at Grandma’s funeral. Needless to say, it was really terrific to strengthen the acquaintance at an event not involving death.
Third but definitely not least: Kelly and I went to a Gothic Romance Master Class session at TiFF where director Guillermo del Toro discussed and then screened a 90 minute speed version of Jane Eyre starring Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine. The movie was lacking many things, including the entire last half of the plot and almost any significant characterization of Jane herself, but del Toro’s analysis and his obvious love for gothic romance was illuminating. Kelly did a great write-up, which is here.
illustration by Richard Andersen
I am underslept this morning, and thus in no fit state to write intelligently about writing technique or craft, so instead, some bits and pieces of news:
As some of you may have seen on Facebook, I have sold a third Gale story to Stacy Hill at Tor.com. It’s called “The Glass Galago,” and it is next in the sequence that begins with “Among the Silvering Herd” and moves on to ““The Ugly Woman of Castello di Putti”.”
I saw all three instalments of the Hobbit this weekend, and I find I don’t have much to say about it. It went down better, in some ways, because I had just rewatched the extended Lord of the Rings. Of course, it also suffered in comparison, especially since both the storytelling and characterization were so much weaker. Bilbo’s play with the Arkenstone was brilliant, and nicely executed. But the Bilbo/Thurin relationship never gelled for me. The actors and direction were a bit too wooden, and as a result the emotional beats were as often miss as hit.
On the small screen and only two episodes in, I am very much enjoying Marvel’s Agent Carter.
It’s gray outside as I write this, and dense-grained snowflakes are falling swiftly from above, their descent lines barely aslant, as if there’s no breeze at all. It was chilly and windy all weekend, but I still found it more invigorating than miserable. As long as the snow itself isn’t wet, the rest seems quite bearable.