Book review: Fevre Dream

Fevre_dreamI started to get a suspicion not long after I picked up George R R Martin’s Fevre Dream that I’d read something similar before. And it turns out that I was right – but, in my personal opinion, also very wrong. Continue reading

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Review: Avilion by Robert Holdstock

Well, part of the reason I got into the Locke Lamora readalong was to get me reading again, and thus far it seems to have worked. I recently finished a copy of Avilion – in actual fact a pre-publication proof copy, which I was lucky enough to win in one of  Anne Lyle‘s regular giveaways. Reading it was something of an experience, but I was surprised how fast I learnt to tune out the obvious typographical errors and unexpected outbursts of Courier New.

Robert Holdstock is an author I consider a major influence on me, in that he’s one of the writers whose style and worldview captures something very fundamental about how I see writing within my personal world. I first discovered his Ryhope Wood series as a teenager, and devoured the first two books (Mythago Wood and Lavondyss) as soon as I could lay hands on them. Lavondyss is the standout, in my mind – it’s visceral and powerful, and the shamanic preoccupation with masks as a magic that changes the wearer’s perception of the world is both fascinating, and a link into a mentality that’s long been lost or marginalised in Western culture. There’s an echo of Alan Garner in Holdstock’s thinking somewhere, the sort of ancient/modern fusion of thought I saw in Strandloper.

Avilion, then, is chronologically the third in the core timeline of the Ryhope Wood books, but in terms of its plot is (according to Wikipedia, at any rate) actually set between Mythago Wood and Lavondyss. It’s the first of the series that I’ve read as an adult, and I’m simultaneously convinced I need ro re-read Lavondyss, and wary of being disappointed if I read it through the mask of age I wear now.

As a reading experience, I found it flowed along with the same half-conscious dream-logic as all the Ryhope books; connections between events within Ryhope Wood are mystical and instinctual, not logical and clear. The wood itself is a character in the series, a vast and alien mind which seems to work on the same inexorable logic as the human subconscious. In Ryhope Wood, that which is most needed finds a way to become real in the form of mythagos, people brought to life by the imaginer’s mind as incarnations of a mythical archetype. But the wood has its own ideas, much like the alien planet in Solaris – and the results are rarely what the imaginer expected. In Avilion, the main character Steven spends most of the book in a slowly crumbling relationship with his mythago wife, who begins to suffer an identity crisis over the fact she may have been (re)created by her husband’s murderous brother, not by the man who gave up his life in the real world to wait for her return. Her daughter sets out to reach Avilion, the heart of the Wood itself, in the hope of changing the fate laid out for her family – but ultimately, the wood has its own agency. One of the aspect I found most endearing was Steven’s very logical and rational mind – his hopes for the future were entirely reasonable throughout, and almost always at odds with what his life inside the wood would eventually provide. I found it an affectionate comment on the typical masculine mind, which by nature or nurture is often divorced from its own more instinctive side.

Most of the book is seen through the eyes of Steven’s half-mythago son Jack, whose perspective goes hand in hand with his own mythago nature or “green” side, Haunter. Haunter’s viewpoint is eerie and complete, more so to my mind than the moments in which we’re in the point of view of Jack’s sister, who is more in touch with her mythago side than Jack. Some of those moments ring almost false in that they render the forest both facile and alien, a little too close to the magic-reason of a child – whereas in Jack and Steven’s mindsets the forest’s ominous power is amplified by its half-understood aura of purpose and will. Ultimately, Jack chooses to give up Haunter to save a life – and in that choice I see a similar theme of the male mind as defined by the conflict between rationality and instinct (“red” versus “green” as Jack’s family term it), and the ultimate inevitability of being subsumed by the rational, distancing mind.

The other major moment of synergy for me in this read was the point at which Jack meets the Iaelven, stinking and terrifying creatures clearly based on the archetype of the faerie child-stealer; the way the Iaelven are drawn has an alarming amount in common with the “elves” I created in my unfinished NaNo novel, who were called elves by the humans living alongside them because they were terrifying, and lived in the woods. Holdstock’s take on the archetype is more visceral and owes less to Native American shamanism than mine, but it’s always disconcerting to see the process of simultaneous creation in action. It’s never clear in the book whether the Iaelven are real beings  with a separate existence within the wood, or mythagos created by Steven’s family’s minds, which have come to take on a life of their own in the tale, and even in the history of their tale. This strange circularity of purpose, the ritualised acting-out of stories in the dim quest towards some unrecognised goal, is both characteristic of Holdstock and so strongly reminiscent of what I understand about human psychology that I couldn’t help adopting it as part of my own philosophy of story when I first read him –  I prefer my own stories to be driven a little more logically than Holdstock’s tend to be, but I always return to that quality of myth-like universality as a test of whether the story I’ve made will really speak to people who aren’t like me.

Overall, then, I found Avilion another lyrical, illogical, enchanting window into a world and a type of world which I very personally enjoy. I suspect that rereading these novels over time will be a pleasure; they have a plasticity to their stories that allows for a wide range of different conclusions about their real meaning, and I could see myself finding something new in them every time.

Lies of Locke Lamora, week 4

Late as usual… sorry folks, I plead real life interfering on this one, it’s been a rough week, and I apologise if my thoughts are somewhat scattershot. Here goes..!

1. In the chapter “A Curious Tale for Countess Amberglass” we learn of the tradition of the night tea in Camorr. I found that not so much fantastical as realistic – how about you?

The best thing about Scott Lynch’s writing is that the settings may be fantastical, but the people are so real you can practically smell their sweat. I think it’s entirely plausible for ladies to have tea and bitch about their men – in fact I’ve sat through a great deal of exactly that in my life. Indeed, by the age of eight or nine I was deeply familiar with the long-held family tradition of the Bitching of the Sprouts, in which the women of my mother’s clan would sit around the kitchen table on Christmas morning, dissecting an enormous heap of sprouts and their husbands. Each motley collection of unsavoury items was handled with equal dispassion and viciousness, although they usually reseved the knives for use on the sprouts. What exactly this did to a developing male psyche is hard to quantify, but I’ve never been able to cut a cross into the stem of a sprout without feeling a twinge of sympathy.

In fact at the time I read it, this particular scene made me think about the Bechdel Test; personally I think the test itself is an idea which has its limitations, but at the same time I think this book passes because Doña Salvara is there to shop a con man to the chief intelligencer. And that’s so despite the fact the situation she’s in is one in which relationships are normally the topic of the hour; she’s specifically not interested in complaining about her emotional life. She confirms this more than adequately later on, of course, but I was already pretty much settled on the issue after reading this.

The other thing that was fantastic was the cake, another wonderful instance of Lynch’s food obsession – and the painstaking description of the ingredients in its various sections by the attending servant. Although Doña Vorchenza herself is the real highlight of the scene for me; she’s definitely my favourite character in this book, possibly more so than Locke. I always love feisty old ladies, and her line about flicking the miniature alchemical lights from the cake over the balcony like schoolgirls practically had me cheerleading.

2. When Jean meets with what will become the Wicked Sisters for the first time, the meeting is described very much like how people feel when they find their true work or home. Agree? Disagree? Some of both?

Well it was inevitable, wasn’t it – we’ve seen him with them, and given that Lynch specifically mentions that these are weighted and balanced for an adolescent, they’re not “what will become the Wicked Sisters”, they’re just his first set of hatchets.  I got the impression of someone finding his medium, more than anything – finding a tool he’s really comfortable with.

3. Salt devils. Bug. Jean. The description is intense. Do you find that description a help in visualizing the scene? Do you find yourself wishing the description was occasionally – well – a little less descriptive?

No. I love Lynch’s descriptions – not a detail left out, but not a single excessive word left in. I forget which dead Greek beardie it was who said that a work of art is complete not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to remove – but I think this is a case in point. The fight scenes in this book make my heart race, where usually my writer’s mind is just coasting along at the back making critical observations and spoiling the fun for everyone like it normally does. I love a writer who can smack that hypercritical sensibility out of its tram tracks and really make the scene jump out and enmesh me. Lynch can; every single action scene in this was like one of the characters leaping out of the book, shoving me against the wall and demanding to know what the hell he should do next (not that I think Locke would have been very taken with some of my more instinctive responses to the thought!). One that really stands out is the second time we visit Locke and Jean’s trip to the Salvaras’ mansion and see how they take down Conte; it was picture-perfect in my head. I often have little clear sense of how a fight proceeds other than who hit who, but I could practically feel the gloomy, high-ceilinged space and the sense of vertigo as Locke and Jean look down on him beneath.  That’s another one I’m filing away in the “scenes to analyse in nauseating detail to improve your own writing” bank.

4. This section has so much action in it, it’s hard to find a place to pause. But…but.. oh, Locke. Oh, Jean. On their return to the House of Perelandro, their world is turned upside down. Did you see it coming?

In specific? No. In general? Absolutely. I remember feeling a sort of horrible satisfaction when I turned the page; I’d been realising more and more clearly that the world at the start of the book is the bubble of perfection that has to burst, and here was the fragile film exploding; that moment when something beautiful reduces to a fleck of liquid spinning towards the ground. Bug’s resistance, and his youthful foolishness, were heart-aching – it was such a clockwork of inevitability, in the way well-drawn tragedies are. All of the events in it are avoidable, and yet so inescapably natural a consequence of the characters’ natures and flaws. It left me with a strange sense of satisfaction – not at Locke and Jean’s predicament, but at the sheer power of the story turning underneath their world.  Resolution is something modern media (I’m looking at you, Hollywood) too often deprives us of in the name of sequelisation – but it’s here in no uncertain terms.

5. Tavrin Callas’s service to the House of Aza Guilla is recalled at an opportune moment, and may have something to do with saving a life or three. Do you believe Chains knew what he set in motion? Why or why not?

No, I think Chains was a competent and cautious man who prepared his Gentleman Bastards for every eventuality, including the case in which the excrement should make resounding contact with the ventilation apparatus. An eventuality they themselves failed to foresee, being as they are twenty-something and pretty much convinced of their own invulnerability. I don’t see anything mystical here, just a smart, long-sighted, thoroughly corrupt old man. We already know that at least two of the Gentleman Bastards have been sent to more than one temple; clearly, Chains planned to maximise their chances of  success if they needed to bluff.

6. As Locke and Jean prepare for Capa Raza, Dona Vorchenza’s remark that the Thorn of Camorr has never been violent – only greedy and resorting to trickery – comes to mind again. Will this pattern continue?

Insofar as it can in the context, I think. Locke’s going to have to step up to the demands of the situation at some point, and the way the situation is headed, that’s likely to be messy…

7. Does Locke Lamora or the Thorn of Camorr enter Meraggio’s Countinghouse that day? Is there a difference?

No, I think it’s Locke. There is simultaneously a huge difference and no difference between Locke and the Thorn; in one sense, the Thorn of Camorr is a folk hero with mythical powers whose reputation is not really of his own creation and Locke is merely an unusually audacious crook – but in the other, they are one and the same since it’s Locke’s extraordinary talent and chutzpah which created such exploits for the people of Camorr to embroider over their ale.

I will say that I absolutely loved the Meraggio’s scene from start to finish; for me it was one of the key moments in the book. This was Locke stripped bare, deprived of all his mechanisms and supporters, relying on what it is that makes him Locke. And that, I think, is the first time in the book that we really see his true nature in the flesh. We’ve been told about it all along, told what an astonishing crook both the young and adult Lockes are, but we’ve never yet seen him operate without a vast array of props and supporting cast. The moment that really made me produce unmanly shrieks and torture the springs of my malodorous leather sofa was when the first thing we see him try is the cautious, conservative, minimal approach – exactly what Chains would have taught him to trust – and it doesn’t work out. It’s uninspired – the stakes at Meraggio’s are huge and the people are watchful. Caution is no competition, here. The game has changed. But Locke is stubborn – a true Camorri, perhaps; he persists, tries again, and stumbles on the one vital connection that makes his true gift fire. The con he constructs is so spectacular as to be unthinkable – and that is precisely what makes it credible to the victims. Insight, colossal chutzpah, and intimate knowledge of the people and the situation; Meraggio is clever and cautious, but the chaos in Camorr’s underworld is the unknown factor Locke puts to the perfect use. I really can’t describe how utterly satisfying I found that whole scene – take the rules away, shake Locke’s whole golden world to its foundations, and watch him bootstrap his criminal career from nothing, using only what he carries in his mind. Fantastic.

Lies of Locke Lamora readalong: week 3

1. This section is where we finally get to sneak a peek at the magic in The Gentleman Bastards books. From what we read, what are your initial impressions of the magic Lynch is using? Is there any way that Locke and Company would be able to get around the Bondsmage’s powers?

I really, really like the way we encounter the magic here. I’m used to reading high fantasy, where the magic is usually seen from the user’s point of view and it’s all about how awesome it is to be able to do that – but this is magic from the worm’s-eye view, seen from Locke’s totally insightless position as the hapless victim, and it’s briliantly described. I love the imediacy of Lynch’s writing, the way you can feel the heat on your skin and taste the food; but the real treat for me in this book is feeling the fantastical elements so clearly too. I think that’s a tip I’m going to add to my library in the effort to improve my own writing. “Show, don’t tell” is an old saw for writers, but showing like that in fantasy is almost an obligation in order to do justice to the setting.

In terms of the actual question… as a veteran nerd hag (like a fag hag, but with geeks) I’m well aware of the received wisdom that magic is a game-breaker – any very powerful magical character will terminally unbalance a roleplaying game’s combat system because the thing about magic is it isn’t fair. I don’t think it can be got out of in terms of the power imbalance it creates – because let’s face it, Locke has just been pretty unceremoniously informed that he is not as big as he thinks he is any more. How Locke does get out of it, if he does, will be the interesting part…

 

2. Not a question, but an area for rampant speculation: If you want to take a stab at who you think the Grey King might be, feel free to do it here.

I haven’t got a bentley. Nofa king idea. Waiting to see. Although this is still a fantasy novel so the idea that he’s just some random vicious opportunist seems far-fetched, he’s probably got some connection to the plot so tortured it’s worthy of a Shakespeare comedy. Honestly I’m not that bothered about it at this stage, I just want to carry on with the ride 🙂

 

2.5 (since 2 wasn’t really a question) Anyone see the Nazca thing coming? Anyone? Do you think there are more crazy turns like this in store for the book? Would you like to speculate about them here? (yes, yes you would)

I found the Nazca thing kind of… “Oh.” She was an interesting character with a lot of potential and I would have liked to see how the Locke-and-Nazca plotline played out. It’s nice to know Lynch doesn’t shy away from killing off a character to keep the tension credible, it’s just a shame it had to be one of the more interesting ones so far. It does make me think that by the end we’re not likely to have a complete complement of Gentleman Bastards any more, though… no protagonist has as awesome a life as Locke does at the start of the book without getting *really* kicked in the teeth later on. At this point in the read I was looking forward with a sort of masochistic fascination to finding out exactly how hard…

 

3. When Locke says “Nice bird, arsehole,” I lose it. EVERY TIME. And not just because I have the UK version of the book and the word arsehole is funnier than asshole. Have there been any other places in the books so far where you found yourself laughing out loud, or giggling like a crazy person on the subway?

“Nice bird” is, quite definitely, the standout Locke moment in the book. If I tried to quote every piece of dialogue that had me cackling and spouting bits of the book at my flatmate I’d be here all night, but it’s always the banter between the Bastards that does it. Although I think my favourite moment between them is the “Liar – liar – BASTARD!” ritual they have before they pull off a job; it’s not laugh-out-loud funny, but in a way it’s very touching – the perfect encapsulation of the bond they share. The point later on [SPOILER ALERT!!] where they run this little ritual and are interrupted by the Falconer asking them if they’ve lost their minds, though, that really is hilarious. 🙂

 

4. By the end of this reading section, have your opinions changed about how clever the Bastards are? Do you still feel like they’re “cleverer than all the rest?” Or have they been decidedly outplayed by the Grey King and his Bondsmage?

I didn’t think they were “cleverer than all the rest” to start with. I thought they were a cool bunch of guys, but also young, arrogant and a little more satisfied with their own talent than prudence would suggest. It had to hit a brick wall sometime, and what a wall Lynch found for it to hit.

I think they’ve been dropped into this over their heads. Chains wasn’t indoctrinating them into the long and wide view of politics and the machinery of state; he was shaping them up to con Camorri nobles out of cash. The Grey King seems to have some bigger idea than mere financial gain, and the Gentleman Bastards couldn’t have been expected to see that coming.

 

5. I imagine that you’ve probably read ahead, since this was a huge cliffhanger of an ending for the “present” storyline, but I’ll ask this anyway: Where do you see the story going from here, now that the Grey King is thought to be dead?

I think the Grey King’s “death” is likely to be intentional and part of his wider plan. It’s too neat to be a coincidence that the apparent removal of the threat will make Capa Barsavi relax; and that will lay him open to further attacks – quite possibly, to being murdered himself. It’s all getting very Godfather right now…

 

6. What do you think of the characters Scott Lynch has given us so far? Are they believable? Real? Fleshed out? If not, what are they lacking?

I’m finding them interesting. Locke is definitely a person in his own right, not just a window into the book for the reader’s benefit; I’m enjoying the rounding-out of Jean, as well, the chubby merchant’s son with a bad enough temper to mould him into a threat. I almost regret not seeing more of Don and Doña Salvara’s relationship, since they seem interesting, and Doña Salvara has the potntial to be a fascinating woman given her gift for alchemical engineering. I’d like to see her given more screen time. But I will say that my absolute favourite character in the book is Doña Vorchenza. If I hadn’t read ahead I wouldn’t have met her yet, so I won’t spoiler too hard just yet 🙂

 

7. Now that you’ve seen how clever Chains is about his “apprenticeships,” why do you think he’s doing all of this? Does he have an endgame in sight? Is there a goal he wants them to achieve, or is it something more emotional like revenge?

I honestly don’t know. There’s been a mention that Chains isn’t around any more – we don’t know how or when he died, or if he gave the Bastards any indication of his bigger plan before he did, but I’m not sure he necessarily did have a big idea. The Right People of Camorr aren’t really portrayed as grand schemers, just petty thieves making a living – maybe Chains just saw a different opportunity to cash in. Maybe he had a plan but died unexpectedly, before he could reveal it; maybe he’s bitter about losing out in the creation of the Secret Peace and wants to change things. Who knows. I’ll be interested to see if we find out.

Alan Garner has an announcement to make…

Wow.

So Alan Garner is planning to finish the Weirdstone of Brisingamen trilogy, fifty years on. Weirdstone and its sequel, The Moon of Gomrath, were childhood favourites of mine – reading the final book as an adult is going to be a real experience. The last one of his books I read was Strandloper, which I found beautiful, instinctively comprehensible and blissfully confusing in equal measure; I haven’t read Thursbitch, which is mentioned in the article, but am starting to think I should. Sense of place and the fragility of particular moments in time is always important to me; it was the thing that really made the Stone Book Quartet sing for me, and it sounds from the Guardian’s summary as if Thursbitch is full of it.

I really can’t wait to read this. I hope it won’t disappoint me.

Lies of Locke Lamora readalong: week 1

Week 1 of the Lies of Locke Lamora readalong is now up, and here are the questions!

1. If this is your first time reading The Lies of Locke Lamora, what do you think of it so far? If this is a re-read for you, how does the book stand up to rereading?

It’s my first time. I found the book instantly engaging and very easy to get into; it’s full of big, enjoyable characters, the dialogue is hilarious, and there’s plenty of drama and fun in the plotline without the cliffhangers feeling like a soap-opera. I’m also really enjoying the camaraderie between the Gentleman Bastards – I’m a sucker for some good male bonding and Lynch does it perfectly, all understated affection and perverse humour.

2. At last count, I found three time lines: Locke as as a 20-something adult, Locke meeting Father Chains for the first time, and Locke as a younger child in Shades Hill. How are you doing with the Flashback within a flashback style of introducing characters and the world?

I’m fine with that. I like a bit of complexity in my books, and I always enjoy character development that’s done by showing pivotal moments in people’s lives and how they react to them; interwoven timelines often provide some very illuminating comparisons when they’re used in that way, in fact they’re a trick I like to use myself precisely because of that. I also think the stories-within-stories model fits very well in a book about a chameleonic con artist – people within people, scams within scams.

3. Speaking of the world, what do you think of Camorr and Lynch’s world building?

It’s interesting. I’ll be fascinated to see whether the elderglass becomes relevant to the plot at any point, or whether it will just stay a mystery for background colour and depth. I do like Lynch’s inclusion of alchemy, which at present is feeling like a cross between chemistry, genetic engineering and magic; it’s brilliantly Renaissance in feel while at the same time inextricably fantastical. For me I’d say that’s the one element that’s tying the world together, since it provides an intuitive link between the apparently incidental alien-relics backdrop and the human and social side of Lynch’s world.

As far as the people and society go, as a lifelong fantasy fan the society of Camorr very much feels like home territory for me – nobles and rogues, foreigners based on recognisable national stereotypes, all rattling-good-yarn type stuff. But it’s intelligently and lucidly done – Lynch’s descriptive style is gorgeous, clear as a bell – and in any case I’d say it’s necessary to make Locke’s confidence tricks accessible to the reader. It would be hard to be carried along with the mischievous glee of pulling the wool over someone if you couldn’t so readily picture the characters Locke is creating and the people he’s fooling with them.

A certain element of pantomime is inevitable if you’re writing about this kind of thing, I think; con tricks are based on trust, trust is based on social interactions, and social interactions are really, really hard to understate in prose fiction if they’re completely alien to the reader. (Unless you’re Ursula le Guin, but who is). I already find the precise descriptions of social niceties like bowing and hand gestures a little intrusive; if I was having to plough through an explanation of why every character Locke tries it on with has their particular emotional reaction, I suspect the book would already have taken a flying lesson across the room. As it is, I can rely on a lifetime of accumulated understanding about my own world, but acknowledge that rulebreaking is OK because the serial numbers are filed off…

4. Father Chains and the death offering. . . quite the code of honor for thieves, isn’t it? What kind of person do you think Chains is going to mold Locke into?

I’m not quite sure how this question is relevant given that the Locke-as-adult timeline is actually showing us that simultaneously. All I have to do if I want to find out is wait and see..!

I will say, though, that the whole tone of the book speaks the lighter side of roguery. We’ve got a disreputable but tacitly approved-of thieves’ god, a mentor who describes himself as a “crooked old poser” and a child saved from a fate worse than death by the fact his notional owner is driven more by greed than malice; this is in the social comedy ballpark, not the violent, nasty and dark one. Plus, the young Locke is painted as a child with a strong sense of social justice, even if his background, natural talents and methodology are a wee tad suspect – I’ve read a few things over time about how to make a crooked or roguish main character appealing, and a Robin Hood archetype is an excellent way to do that, so that would be my prediction for his adult self.

5. It’s been a while since I read this, and I’d forgotten how much of the beginning of the book is pure set up, for the characters, the plot, and the world. Generally speaking, do you prefer set up and world building done this way, or do you prefer to be thrown into the deep end with what’s happening?

Good question. As a writer, unless I can see a ready way to combine action and exposition fluidly, my natural tendency is to world-build first and start the action later. However, having had the pleasure John Ayliff‘s commentary on some of my work, it’s possible I err on the side of caution there and ought to think more about getting things started quicker. To be fair, John is a hard sci-fi writer with a background in the games industry, which puts him approximately 180 degrees around the circle of speculative fiction from me – high fantasy is the lit-fic of the speculative spectrum anyway, and I’d put myself at the lower end of the pretentious bracket even within that. But even I read back over my own first drafts and wonder how the hell I fitted that much verbiage in. Usually rapidly followed by an editing run in which I remove everything that smacks of me trying to expound the world to my own satisfaction before I can describe it to a reader.

6. If you’ve already started attempting to pick the pockets of your family members (or even thought about it!) raise your hand.

I’m about as subtle as Terry Pratchett’s legendary half-brick in a sock, so I’ll stick to playing rogues in D&D campaigns where success rests on a die roll, thankyou. Not to mention that I dread to think what I’d find in the pockets of a family like mine…

Readalong: The Lies of Locke Lamora

I don’t read nearly as much as I used to, or indeed nearly enough in general. As a teenager I used to habitually inhale science fiction and fantasy novels in a day – I don’t really know what happened to that. Lack of time, perhaps – the million trivia of adult life that erode your free time like an army of earnest, flesh-eating hamsters.

Or then again perhaps it was acquiring a half-dozen other hobbies that I never touch either. Every time I think about picking up a book, all my other neglected pastimes writhe and thrash in the murk at the back of my mind, paralysing me with guilt. I wind up chaining myself to the eternal procrastination wheel that is the Internet purely in the attempt to avoid the sad-eyed “feed me” stares of five unfinished knitting projects, a warpless loom, an untouched box of art supplies and an entire chest of drawers full of miscellaneous stuff for beading, tablet weaving, lucet cord making, cardcraft and gods alone know what else. To say nothing of the stash of sewing fabrics I have. Of course what I ought to do is flog off the whole mountainous mess on Ebay and focus on what’s important. But then where would I find the time to write the listings? I have so much… Facebook to read…

So in the spirit of getting me started, and because it’s a book that ties in to one of the main characters in my Great Languishing Unedited NaNo Novel, I’ve signed myself up to a readalong of Scott Lynch’s ‘The Lies of Locke Lamora’. The book’s been divided into sections, and at the end of each section all the participants will be posting a list of discussion questions, answering the questions ourselves, and encouraging discussion in comments.

I’m actually reading it for the first time, rather than re-reading in anticipation of the release of the next book in the sequence. As I mentioned before I have a Great Languishing Unedited NaNo Novel, and Quint, one of the principal characters in it, is very much a rogue. As he stands he has a backstory which provides motivation for plenty of misdemeanours, but not much in the way of actual onscreen bastardry on the grounds I couldn’t really think up anything convincing for him to abuse. Lies of Locke Lamora has popped up in nearly every discussion of rogue and trickster characters I’ve taken part in; so if I’m aiming to understand and flesh out Quint then it’s probably a good idea to start with a tour of some classic examples of the type. 

My copy of Lies has arrived in good time, and the first batch of questions will be posted on the 8th, so until then…  

… ooh, I’ve got a Facebook message…