Dec 20, 2008

To be honest, not much happening here. Well, I’m not doing much other than writing and jogging and starting into the Christmas party routine. However, I can look out of the shed window and see plenty of other people hard at work building the new kitchen. That’s a small understatement and implies that we’re just fitting a few new cupboards and a sink or something along those lines, whereas we’re actually building a new room on the back of the house to put a new kitchen into. And it’s still being built. Everyone, you see, was waiting for the steelwork, which arrived three weeks late. So after the domino effect that had on the schedule we may or may not have a working cooker for Christmas, we’ll know about two days beforehand. Should be fun. Especially as we have six people coming to stay, and more family coming round to have lunch on Christmas day. As I type the cooker is sitting there in place, but only half assembled. It arrived without a cable, which took two men several hours to go and find, so long in fact they ran out of time that day to assemble it and will be back on Friday afternoon if their other jobs don’t overrun. That’s kind of how the project’s been going with the honourable exception of the plumbers (See earlier blogs). The guys we’ve got working this time round turn up when they say they will, do what they’re supposed to, and the underfloor heating they installed works fine. They’re due back in the New Year to put in the rest of the stuff, so I’ll pass final judgement then –but so far so good.

About a fifth of The Evolutionary Void is now written. The current section, one of Inigo’s dreams, has been unusually sluggish to take shape which surprised me, but I keep thinking of extra events that should be mentioned. While this is probably a good thing for the reader, it means that I have to go back quite a lot to fit them into what’s already been written. When that happens two or three times a day it gets slightly disheartening (I don’t know why this surprises me, it is my standard working method after all, but this time round I was trying to cut down on introducing a whole load of additional ideas –just can’t help myself I guess). Not that I like deadlines, but I had given myself until Christmas Eve to finish the section, now I’ll be pushing it to reach that goal which will leave me with a nasty guilty feeling over the holiday if I don’t. It doesn’t help that the presents for the kids are both being built by myself and Mrs H this year, so as to avoid undue extravagance. That was the theory, anyway. Funny how when you buy kit-style gifts you always wind up buying a whole load of must-have extras to make them look as good as the one in the store, and then it takes forever to paint/glue/screw together. Sophie has now finished school, so all the top-secret construction has to be done in the evening when she’s in bed, so we can say goodbye to quiet time slumped in front of the telly or going down to the pub. I’m beginning to understand why Christmas is such a stressful time for some families.

Anyway, must stop sounding like Scrooge, despite the credit crunch, and a couple of friends being made redundant ‘on account of the economy’. Like most people I wasn’t expecting the recession to get this bad, I can still remember the power cuts and 3 day week of the seventies, but as I was at school then the real impact didn’t hit me. Like all sections of the economy, book sales are down, but ever the optimist I’m drawing up notes for what’s coming after the Void. It’s looking fairly certain that I’m going to try my hand at a YA science-fantasy trilogy. Then after that there will be a standalone (yes really, just the one!) SF novel in a brand new universe. Why the YA stuff? I know from a strictly commercial viewpoint that’s a nice bandwagon to jump onto right now (providing the series takes off) but I’m actually thinking of it because I’d like Sophie and Felix to be able to read something of mine before they hit their twenties. And in addition I’ve had some good responses to the dream sections in the Void trilogy. So I’ll put in a proposal to the publishers after I finish Evolutionary Void and see what happens.

On the news front, the Dreaming Void audio book has done well, so it looks like they’ll be recording Temporal as well, hopefully for release when the paperback comes out next year, and also hopefully with Toby Longworth again. I’m in the middle of signing sheets for a limited edition hardback of Reality Dysfunction for Subterranean press which should be ready for publication next year. It’s the first time the book has been available in hardback since 1996 when it came out in the UK, so I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s like. If it sells they’re hoping to do follow ons with Neutronium Alchemist and Naked God, which will be a nice way to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the trilogy. Ten years? Really?

I’ve also been invited to be Guest of Honour for Albacon http://www.albacon.org.uk/ in 2010. And I should be at the Paris Book fair next March, courtesy of Bragelonne my wonderful French publishers. After spending the last few years shying away from events it’s nice to be getting back into things again. Who knows, I might even make Aussiecon4, that’s the plan anyway.

As to the review round up: Lost series 4 was great, Mrs H and I are now seriously hooked –though we do get the DVD and watch it all in a week or so, I’m not sure I could watch one a week for half a year. Hitchcock blew it in the last quarter. Kung Fu Panda was good but not great. And Thomas and the Magic Railroad (starring of all people Peter Fonda) was just plain bad, the kids and I pulled the disc out after fifteen minutes and haven’t put it back in since, and that’s with Felix now a serious Thomas addict. Quantum of Solace was poetic justice, I now know how all my readers feel when they pick up one of my books after a break since the previous one in a series, I spent the whole film going “who was he in the last film? What were they doing before?”. And the latest CD was Hits by Joni Mitchell –I’d forgotten how good she is.

That’s it for this year. Wherever you are have a good New Year.

Season’s greetings.
Peter F. Hamilton
Rutland, December 2008

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