Friday, 14 September 2012

A Confusion of Books

Books, it seems, are like taxis.

Or do I mean buses? You know, you wait for ages for the right one, and then three turn up at once. Buses, probably. You know where it's going, for the most part, but you don't know whether it's going to be a pleasant journey or not, whether the passengers are going to irritate you or amuse you, or how fast the author will be getting you from stop to stop...

I lost control of that simile a little...

I have a rather large pile of books to read. Make that piles. I think, maybe, approaching a hundred that I want to - and fully intend to - read. They're not in any kind of order, it pretty much depends on my mood when I finish whatever it is I'm currently reading.

But sometimes, something comes along that jumps straight out and makes me desperately want to read it, asap. It jumps straight to the front of the non-queue.

Most of the books I've read recently I've liked, but not loved (check out my goodreads feed). I know I'm a harsher critic than I used to be (yet fair, I think), but there are still books that really grab me, books that blow me away. And one of those books was Hannu Rajaniemi's Quantum Thief. I loved it, I think it may be my favourite book. Really, it had that big an impact on me. It was a joy to read as an SF fan, as a writer, and as a reader.

You can see where this is going. The Fractal Prince is the sequel to the Quantum Thief. I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of the finished book the other day. Yep, straight to the front of the queue it goes. That's what I'm reading as soon as I finish Man in the High Castle (which is really rather good).

What I was planning on doing was re-reading a bunch of old favourites (including the Quantum Thief), and seeing if they were still able to grab me like they did the first time round, to see if the harsher critic I've become still loves them. Books like Nineteen Eighty-Four and Lord of Light.

I wanted to re-read the Quantum Thief before I read the second, but, I just can't wait. I have it and I've got to read it. And then I can re-read those favourites and blog about them, as I planned, right..? But... then I heard about a new Warren Ellis book, and I managed to get a reading copy. Warren Ellis is one of my favourite comic writers (next to Grant Morrison, don't ask me to choose). He wrote some of my favourite comics of all time... Transmetropolitan, Planetary, The Authority, to name but a few. And he wrote a fantastic, very dark, very quirky little novel called Crooked Little Vein.

I am so looking forward to reading Gun Machine. But... oh... Fractal Prince comes first.

Ah, I said three turn up at once, didn't I?

Now imagine if one of your all-time favourite authors picked up one of the most interesting, charismatic and mischievous characters from a classic novel and ran with him... Think, Terry Pratchett writing Dicken's Artful Dodger, for example...