Wednesday 14th September, a blue and sunny September day between the tails of the Atlantic gales, a slight cool breeze, the tangled autumn garden full of spiders, opportunistic tomatoes smothering the rosemary bush, and bully teazels making goldfinch food (that's their story) in the cottage garden patch.
Finally, finally the summer without a summer may have been debriefed, although I'm still booked this Friday morning to courier Gabriel's suit and good white shirt up to London for a lunchtime concert with Marianne (soprano) at Regent Hall, Oxford Street, Friday 16th 1pm. Come along if you like, it's free entry. The Walton songs (lyrics by Edith Sitwell) and the Debussy songs are my favourites, the Debussy so beautiful.
I've been reading The Twelve Planets' latest selections, and enjoying them very much, starting with Deborah Biancotti: police procedural with a sinister undertow of the weird, progressing through Tansy Rayner Roberts (Romanpunk), Lucy Sussex (Thief of Lives), and Sue Iles (Nightside). These collections, just four stories in a slim paperback, are an excellent idea, a tasting menu of Australasian female genre writers. Romanpunk has an intriguing twist on the noble vampire and mortal girlfriend* story (see, these vampires are really Lamia, they're Roman in origin, and very well connected, but they find the C21 street has its uses). Ever wondered why pretty-boy Caligula was such an unmitigated horror in private life? Or why Nero was finally forced to kill his mother? Refreshingly, unlike Buffy, the mortal girlfriend is not allergic to education and actually has a life... Lucy Sussex I can safely say needs no introduction: I loved her beautiful story about modern and ancient Babylon, "Alchemy". Sue Iles has created a daunting, yet not hopeless day after tomorrow Western Australia; linked stories all set in the same moment, the moment, for various characters, when you realise that climate change has won, and civilisation is not coming back. So you stop mourning, and you move on... Made me wish there was a novel.
Someone said, recently, the Finnish sf community gives me hope for the future of the genre... These Australians give me hope for the future of female, and even feminist, writers in sf.
Saw The Guard, don't think it was a patch on In Bruges, a gem of a movie. My two Irish companions were better pleased, but we were agreed on uneven as a final verdict. I'd have added annoyingly self-satisfied; there, I did. Also saw Amoldovar's The Skin I Live In, and then a week later, Les Yeux Sans Visage, (warning, spoilers if you follow the link, but if you read my blog you don't care about spoilers, do you?); the original version, which I've been wanting to see for years, only lovefilm would never send it to me... Thanks to the Duke's cunning timing I did actually enjoy the Amoldovar (a late Amoldovar, rather over-fed: and you could hear the great man thinking, damn it, I love Les Yeux, I long to remake it, to praise it, to enshrine it in my own work, shot by shot and almost frame by frame, but I am going to shove transgender surgery in here anyway. I know It's stupid, but it's my favourite thing and I don't care!. My god, what a difference. Les Yeux Sans Visage is wonderful, so stylish, so truly full of pity and terror too.
Getting back to the long-delayed novel. Accepting no more invitations or commissions certainly not until after Katcon, a wild weekend by the North Sea in March, how could I resist? People say they don't like winter, they hate grey November, January and February are the slough of despond. Couldn't disagree more. Summer summer summer, always some kind of hell.