Thursday, March 20, 2014

Book Update and a Bowing to the Ancestors

 Greetings all!

Book is currently in the final processes of revision. Have some good friends reading and pointing out all the minor spelling-and-formatting problems, of which there are a fair amount. I've been reading about the tendency of self-published books to contain spelling errors and bad formatting, and want to make 'Tamrel' as flawless as possible. It's not just anal retentiveness - I understand completely how a bad typo can jettison you out of a book. When I was younger I read a huge chunk of the Dragonlance canon (no shame, Raistlin and Caramon were very formative characters for me). When Wizards of the Coast bought out TSR, suddenly all the new books were riddled with errors, at least a typo every five pages; this, combined with the fact that the world was becoming less and less interesting, led me out of my delightful crap-fantasy rut on to other frontiers. Hopefully the final version of Tamrel will be free of any error save what you think of the story, which is entirely up to you. I've done my best.

In short: if you're self-publishing be sure things are spelled right and arranged without formatting disruption. Trust me, your readers will appreciate it. To give you an idea of the errors you can expect there's a whole half-page sentence jump in my proof copy, some italics that got un-italicised, other breaks and jumps in the middle of sentences, and (taking the physical copy into consideration) pages printed too close to the spine for easy readability.

Over the last three years I've been delving into the unjustifiably dusty corners of genre fiction, and have found wealth beyond imagining. When I was younger I found it difficult, as many people do, to break through the lowest-common-denominator crust of art (though thankfully I did find Madeleine L'Engle and Ursula K. LeGuin, two very formative presences in my early psyche). Three years ago I started reading H.P. Lovecraft, and was completely devoured by The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath. More exploration followed: Theodore Sturgeon with all his lovely twists and vagaries, Michael Moorcock the Indefatigable, whose multi-dimensional breadth continues to be a dazzling inspiration, the non-Dune work of Frank Herbert, which is vivid and often feverish, raw and achingly loving. There's a whole slew of folk I know theoretically, but not practically: I've been collecting books by Dunsany and Eddison and George MacDonald. Only two weeks ago I stumbled across the existence of James Branch Cabell, and am currently reading his 1929 novel Figures of Earth. Philip K. Dick rests on the bookshelf, beckoning and cackling with maniacal revelation. I have long worshiped at the altar of Tolkien, but feel that his particular expression of the fantastic became a little too iron-clad amongst his many followers and venerants. Delving into the pre-Tolkien vein, getting back to the seminal visions of the great lost fantasists has been a overwhelming experience, and I find my mind getting blown and expanded on a daily basis. For anyone out there who loves fantasy/science fiction, go spend some time with the great sages of the craft. They love you, and they have much to teach.

And now to end with a quote, from a letter by John Keats.

"I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.......This pursued through volumes would perhaps take us no further than this, that with a great poet the sense of Beauty overcomes every other consideration, or rather obliterates all consideration."

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