* So what cheer? (The name of a town in Iowa. No kidding.) Well, first off, my Tour de Lovecraft: The Tales is now available for purchase direct from Atomic Overmind in either PDF or printed copy form! Far be it from me to urge anyone to go the spendier route, but seriously, righteousfist has produced a fricking gorgeous book.
* And as if an occult hand had orchestrated it, rdansky graciously interviews me on the topic of Lovecraft and the book in the latest Five For Writing segment on his blog.
* While you read me plugging my work, you can also listen to me plug my work, on the latest episode of Brian Isikoff's 2d6 Feet in a Random Direction podcast. This one blasts straight outta ConQuest (aka Pacificon), with special guest star Sean Nittner, who just kills with his description of "My Life With Joker," a My Life With Master event he ran at said con. Plus, I was drinking just a wee bit of absinthe.
* I've recently read two sequels to books I've reviewed in this space: Red Seas Under Red Skies, the sequel to The Lies of Locke Lamora by scott_lynch, and Ha'penny, the sequel to Farthing, by papersky. Rapidly, then:
* Scott Lynch's book is even Ocean's 11-ier than his first "Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, only confidence men" novel, since Red Sails Under Red Skies involves a casino heist. And oceans, come to think of it. The voice I loved last time is still there; as is the sense of place and the salutary willingness to push the "plot" handle firmly. That said, the novel is a little more concerned with the relationship between Locke and Jean than it needs to be -- dialing things down to the Leiber level may never happen, but for example, Patrick O'Brian (speaking of oceans) managed to crank out a nice long series featuring two realistic characters without banging them off each other's psyches every five chapters -- and the prologue is just a big cheaty cheaterson. But I'm liking Lynch's world better and better, and speaking of that plot handle, there are some really nice touches in this caper flick considered as a pirate story or vice versa.
* Jo Walton's Ha'penny changes out the roman a clef Cliveden Set of her first book for an even more transparent fictionalization of the infamous Mitford sisters. The novel, a capable Frederick Forsyth-style thriller about an attempt to bomb Hitler at a performance of Hamlet in increasingly-fascist London, moves along at a steady clip, and Walton manages to vary her narrator's voice believably and interestingly: Viola Larkin is not Lucy Kahn from Farthing. (She's not Nancy Mitford, either, which is kind of a relief, actually.) Sadly, this is the installment in which poor, long-suffering Inspector Carmichael (who returns from the first novel) gets his solid gold Idiot Plot with Oak Leaf Cluster moment. It doesn't particularly help that he realizes that he was an idiot; the end result is a rather catastrophic loss of sympathy for Carmichael and of belief in Walton's world. The first is no great wound, but Walton's excellent AH worldbuilding chops deserve better.