Songs of the Dying Earth – signature worry?

Just read this comment at Wertzone bout possible photocopied signatures in the limited editions of the Songs of the Dying Earth:

“I have carefully examined the signature pages under very bright light and a strong magnifying glass. The signatures don’t look like the result of ink flowing from actual pens in my opinion. And the signatures that superficially look like they were signed with a classic blue ink ballpoint pen left absolutely no impressions in the paper. Even a light touch with a ballpoint compresses the paper a little.”

I really hope this isn’t the case. I have been waiting ages for my copy and it would be real disappointment if the signatures are not ‘real’!

Current Writing Plans

Currently I am planning to do a short story or two featuring the back story of some of my main characters from Hell has its Demons. I am still doing quite a bit of background research for the novel, and this takes some time, and I keep feeling the urge to get some writing done. But I think the problem would be if I went off and wrote about other characters and setting I might start losing the focus on my main project. Also writing some shorts about the same characters might help flesh them out and be a good work out for getting the right style for the novel.

I’m partly inspired to do this by the short stories of Susanna Clark in Ladies of Grace Adieu. These very much use the same style and setting as her novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norell.

So if it worked for her, it can’t be such a bad idea! Although I am rather concerned that it took her ten years to do all her background research. Sometimes I feel that it might take me at least that long!

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Iain Banks, Booker Prizes and Science Fiction

I have listened to eight episodes of Transition so far. It’s quite good, but not as good as some of his best work like The Bridge or Matter. What is clear though, is that, no matter what his publishers might say, this is science fiction. Time travel, alternate realities – completely science fiction.

Which probably means he’s got even less chance of a Booker nomination if his mainstream stuff is going more speculative. There seems to have been a bit of a debate recently about the dearth of SF on the Booker list – see Kim Stanley Robinson’s comments, and the report in the latest Ansible. I had a look at the rules for the Booker and it seems that each publisher can only submit two books per imprint. Which I suppose means that if a large publisher has a specific SF imprint it could submit two books, but on the whole is going to mean they submit books that are ‘Booker’ books – i.e. safe, worthy historical novels that fit with the establishment, rather than anything different, radical, or interesting.

I’m guessing that the US equivalent of the Booker is the Pullitzer. I think it’s interesting that as well as being more interesting in general, ‘mainstream’ US literary culture can also consider SF stories such as Cormac McCarthy’s The Road for it’s top award.

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