Monday, December 31, 2007

The Last Post... well for the year at least.

Here we are folks the year almost at an end, big projects up ahead: Lamplighter's release imminent, Book 3 to finish, further books to ponder and plan (see how Book 2 is received first, shall we...), get that Half-Continent map up and running at last - a bit of a theme with a couple of posts ago, things to do, planning ahead, getting my scattered brain in some appearance of order.

Might try rambling about something else.

Something I find is when I am not working on MBT and Half-Continent things I can get very excited about the prospect of my next session of labours, yet when it comes time to make good on all that enthusiasm I become suddenly all reluctant and gloomy and "won't-worky" - as my mother used to call it. Here I have been all enthusiastic and making short notes and getting ready to dive in deeper then when that time comes mope mope, is it all worth it? What am I doing, blah blah blah...

Anyone else go through this?

Anyways, may I just say HAPPY NEW YEAR; may this new one be most excellent for us all.

Friday, December 28, 2007

I have no idea what to entitle this...

Winter was asking:
"...can we submit sketches for the character studies? Or will it all be text?"

A most excellent idea. Indeed, the thought did cross my mind to have illustrations of your characters. It should work so why don't we give it a bash. Send your picture of your character to and I shall see what I can do to include them the featured profile.

Lawrence ponders:

"I'm wondering what, if any, fantasy films which have been adapted from books you've enjoyed, and which ones you think fell short of their source material."

Hmm, I sense dangerous waters ahead. I have to say of the few adaptions I have seen not very many at all come up to snuff (IMHO - this is all to be taken simply as my own perspective). Some are very fine to look at and are so thoroughly done.

For example, I am thinking of Mr Jackson's fine go at LOTR - my own response to Mr Tolkien's work was and is so strong I was never going to be 100% satisfied with any adaption. I own all three extended versions of the films and just LOVE the hours of behind the scenes documentaries (as an illustrator it is my deep wish to be involved in such a process); I love the passion and earnest hard work of the whole team of folks who made the films and had I not known what love they had for the text and the work I would like the films as much as I do. LOTR is just to unwieldy to make in a more pure form and would probably appeal to far fewer folks (just us die-hards).

The Narnia series is promising to be wonderfully thorough - much simpler stories to adapt; the battle at the end of Lion,Witch, Wardrobe is astounding - that pause in the sound just as the armies are about to clash sublime.

The Conan films are not anywhere near the texts.

H.P.Lovcraft adaptions always turn into shlocky nonsense, and so far from the grim and serious tensions of the text.

I have to humbly admit the most horrendous crime that I got into Harry P only after seeing the first three films and began reading from there. Having confessed that I find the films adequate precis and very expertly done but the books hold more as they almost always will.

There is much more - I am sure I am making some huge oversight, missing something, but this response is not exhaustive.

Of spec-fic the one adaption that has actually improved my sense of the book is David Lynch's Dune - superb, new visions, improved understanding, a complete work in deep respect to the text and abridged so thoughtfully. 10/10.

Another would be a non-fantasy (if I may): Peter Weir's Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, a perfect coagulation of all that is brilliant about Mr O'Brian's astounding set of books - I did not mind its very loose adaption at all, it caught the very soul of the text and distilled it beautifully. The Extras DVD is very insightful too.

In a perfect world I would very very very much want to have Mr Weir do a version of MBT - or for it to have a vibe more like Master and Commander rather than say the Dungeons & Dragons films, more honest and low-key, not the smash-bash-treat-the-audience-like-they-have-no-subtlety that is the norm; music scores that are in the background not out in front demanding and dictating audience reaction - string quartets not full orchestras (a much more Half-Continent sound anyway), big "empty" audio spaces, fights filled with the drama of the sounds of combat rather than overwhelming musical stridence (sic), fulgars fighting with flickers and flashes of electricity like a subway train not great arcs of lightning spraying all over the place, etc etc etc... You can see that I have thought about this a bit.

Anyway, I had always said to myself I would not put up too much of my opinions of others work and here I am doing just that. You tricked me into it Lawrence, dang it.

What are other people's thoughts?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Thing!

It has been a most excellent year and I thank you all who have put your thoughts here and entered into the dialogue - a very healthy and helpful thing from my point of view, and I hope for you too.

The posting of the preview chapter seems to have gone down alright - I was a little worried there that I had done the wrong thing by putting it up - and I cannot wait until April/May and onwards either, the full story at last! ...not some mean glimpse.

Next year's to-do list (isn't there a blog about these thing somewhere..?)
1. Answer questions about how Book 3 is going, movie deal$, and on the possible autobiographical nature of MBT.
2. Periodically feature one of your most excellent and revelatory character studies in the profile section.
3. Say something clever about the two polls currently up (of which the general opinion is pretty clear).
4. Start some new polls - and ask you all for any ideas regard this.
5. Do some more word challenges.
6. Not sure what else but it will come to me...

...oh, and write Book 3 (probably optional).

May you all travel safely and find joy this Christmas and New Year; if i could I'd have you over at my new pad for a party (a very sober and serious party where we'd discuss heavy ideas and solve the worlds ills - in theory). I might squeeze in another post or two before the end of all things 2007, but either way, take care - it is a better planet knowing you all exist.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A very sneaky preview indeed... Chapter 1 of LAMPLIGHTER!

Just in time for Christmas I bring you... the first chapter of MBT 2 Lamplighter, ready for you to download from...


My word, I sure hope you all like it - consider it a Christmas present.

Merry Jesusbirthday (as I like to call it) and may it be a brilliant new year for everyone of you. I am being very UP here - might need to include a few bah-humbugs next post.

Friday, December 14, 2007

UK Cover for Book 2

Here is the front cover of the UK Edition of Lamplighter. Lovely, lovely, lovely; I am liking it a whole lot - it has a wonderful flavour all of its own. Your thoughts?

Go here to see the US and ANZ covers if you have not glimpsed them before or just want a refresher.

And please keep the answers to these questions coming - I cannot enthuse enough about how great the answers have been . If you want to read other people's most excellent ideas, for now check the comments here, here and here.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

SA Great 2007 Rising Stars

Not too long ago I was honoured with an inclusion in the SA (South Australia) Great 2007 Rising Stars program. It included a whole range of younger folks: business people, scienticians, athletes, teachers, inventors and other clever clogs all from this home state of mine. It was truly an honour to be included, though I felt inferior to the rest - but whatever.

They produced a magazine to go with the award and here is my interview therein - just for those who might be interested. The kinds of questions asked made for slightly different answers from some of the other interviews already linked. Check it out if you dare.

On an unusual note, there was a birthdate cutoff to be eligible to be a Rising Star and this little duck only made it by about two weeks. Phew! Not as young as I look it seems.

Probably a bit too much of my-own-trumpet-tooting going on here - I will get to Lawrence's question soon... honest!

Speaking of which, please keep the answers to these questions coming - I cannot enthuse enough about how great the answers have been . (If you want to read other people's most excellent ideas, for now check the comments here, here and here. Should I stop this project now? Am I flogging it too much perhaps?)

Monday, December 10, 2007

The origin of a word

I received an email query recently from a certain Beverley McKay:

"I have just finished reading Monster Blood Tattoo and have a question I was hoping you could answer for me… Could you tell me from where you derived the name you gave to the Imperial language?"
I can certainly answer that question for you. It was a few years ago now but the word was derived from two things: firstly, that I like the sound - the "vibe" if you like - of the word Latin and wanted to keep this intact some how; secondly the people who speak this language (a conglomeration of the Patris and Dido's faithful followers) style themselves the Tutelarchs (loosely the "teacher-rulers"). Consequently, I simply joined the "tut" (said 'tyoot') of Tutelarch and the "in" of Latin and so was formed Tutin. (This was my emailed reply, actually)

So, now both she and you know.

Also, regarding giantfan's inquiry into those who study the weather in the Half-Continent. Well, they are not particular folks like we have meteorologists in our own world, though certainly some natural philosophers have more than a passing interest in the movements of winds and rains. Barometers exist too, of course, for telling whether conditions are remaining fair or turning foul.

I will get to Lawrence's question about the auto-biographical nature of MBT soon.

Speaking of Lawrence, you should head on over to Lil' Chief Records and have a listen to the tunes on his jukebox. After that you need to go check out Coz's tunes, Rabbit Weather.

And while you listening to the sweet music, please please try your hand at answering these questions. I tell you truly, my sense of the H-c is so expanding just knowing and thinking of these independent lives moving about it, characters of other people's imagination dwelling therein - it is almost like these inventions of yours have become autonomous entities in my imaginings.

Totally unexpected and so very very "cool"!

Friday, December 07, 2007

A galley - I have the proof.

Yesterday I received from Tim Travaglini - my US publisher-man - what in the US publishing industry is called a galley (here in Oz we called them ubers, or somesuch - not sure why, probably an acronym) of Book 2, Lamplighter. This galley is what most folks would call an uncorrected proof. Indeed, that is what it says clearly on the front: "UNCORRECTED PROOF NOT FOR RESALE"... and uncorrected it is: I am still working with Mr Travaglini to make the final adjustments for the US edition.

But the best bit is that a galley is actually an early, paperback version of the book! Yipee! It looks very nifty, I near took it to bed with me as some kind of blankey... and talk about thick! Now I reckon it is not seemly to judge a book by its weight, but deep inside some part of me cannot help but go "HURRAH! Look how dense it is! " - 730 odd pages with all things included. "Did I write that? It looks just like a bought one," I marvel to myself much more than I did with Foundling, but too much self-congratulation is not a good thing so I stop.

Just to note, there is a little treat in Book 2 for many of the brave souls who have contributed to this blog with their comments. Speaking of which, thank you very much to those who dared to answer my questions last post, your entries were brilliant. In fact they have helped greatly in expanding my sense of people moving about independently in the Half-Continent, doing their thing apart from any narrative. It would be great if others would give them a go too.

And as requested today for breakfast I had Apricot Fruity Bix[TM].