Monday, February 28, 2011

Douglas Adams Still Dead. To Be Continued...

For Christmas this year I got (actually bought for myself) a cheap copy of the latest installment in the Hitchhiker's Guide series. "But wait," I said to myself, "didn't Douglas Adams already shuffle off this mortal coil?"

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: Supposedly he's just on some island in the south Pacific, quite dead and dreaming. I might be confusing him with someone else.

Real answer: Eoin Colfer, Author of the Artemis Fowl series, was given permission to take the Hitchhiker's guide and run with it. This apparently happened in late 2009 and leaves me wondering why nobody told me. I'd feel a little foolish actually reviewing a book that's been out for over a year, but suffice it to say that "And Another Thing"  is actually pretty spot on in tone and humor. My one major complaint is that it ends on a cliffhanger. Adams had said that the fifth book in the series, "Mostly Harmless" ended pretty bleakly and that he wanted to do another one. I was hoping for closure, not continuation.

It's weird to think of another author picking up where one left off. If "And Another Thing" is any indication, it apparently can be done pretty well. But I admit I was hesitant to pick it up even at a discount. Part of it was the notion that a thing is on sale for much lower than its initial price, it must not be any good. But mostly there was that little petulant voice in my head (somewhere around the nose I think) that was whining "This is not really a Hitchhiker's Guide book."

Not to be morbid, but even now I stop and think about what it's going to be like when Terry Pratchett (bless the man) can no longer write. There was a keen sense of disappointment when I got to the end of Monstrous Regiment and realized that (at that time) there was no more Discworld. And looking forward, it's bitter to think that that world will someday lose its vitality. You'd think I'd be more eager to just up and grab whatever material my favorite authors are putting out there, even if they aren't really.

I suppose there's always that chance you're going to be disappointed, and it's hard to weight that against the opportunity to have more of any one thing.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Rock You Like a Hurricane?

Good evening, dear reader. You might have stumbled across this blog from just about anywhere, but wherever you hail from, thanks for stopping by. It was getting lonely in here. This is my personal writing blog, where I'll be hinting at whatever projects I'm working on and pointing you towards those few stories I've let through the airlock. And maybe just musing from time to time on the relation between an author and his work.

I've been at this writing thing for just shy of two years now. It's funny to see patterns emerge in your writing that either confirm or deny what you know (or thought you knew) about yourself. For instance, looking back on the stories I've put together over the past few years, my protagonists tend to be alone, either by choice or by circumstance. I don't know that I've ever written a story where a main character's relationship to another character doesn't seem somehow superficial, at least to start. And villains? I don't know that I've ever written a story with one. Obstacles tend to be amorphous and vague. Horrors are faceless and indifferent. Maybe I've read Lovecraft and/or Kafka a little too frequently. Then again, maybe I've read them because I recognize a view that I hold.

I mean, when did I get so bleak?

Some of the nerdier of you might recognize the header on this page as a quote belonging to a Firefly episode. That ep, "Objects in Space" ends with its talkative antagonist adrift in space, alone, nothing but blackness and little pinprick stars for literally hundreds of thousands of miles. What are his last (as far as we can tell) words? "Well, here I am."  Not that I identify too closely with a space sociopath, but I think that phrase pretty well sums things up.

Here you are.