Quick weekend update

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(yes, lest you wonder why I’m online so early: I’ve taken my Friday afternoon off, and am currently in a train, headed for a weekend break. Ah, holidays…)

So, what’s up. Not been doing much: writing Master of the House of Darts pretty much wiped me out; so I took a 2-3-week post-novel break, wherein I did nothing much but read Agatha Christie novels. Which, incidentally, are wonderful things. Very relaxing–purely intellectual puzzles with very little violence. I hadn’t appreciated till now the need for a quiet space, and if you’d told me a few years ago that I was going to read Christie for fun and relaxation I’d have laughed at you. But there’s something infinitely soothing about her books–partly, I guess, because they’re about an idealised bygone time that cannot possibly concern me except in the remotest of senses; and partly because they’re puzzles more than thrillers, which means there is little stress and little incentive to GET THE ENDING NOW. Now I know where my tendency for dialogue-and-interviews-as-plot comes from…

I also read Elizabeth Bear’s Dust, the first volume of her Jacob’s Ladder trilogy, and fell in love all over again. It’s a blend of Arthurian mythos, Zelazny’s Amber, and Bear’s awesomely lyrical and mythic language. Think backstabbing family politics, on a generation ship. With swords and knights and angels, except everything is slightly askew, and there’s a peculiar weight to having all that mythology–a generation ship is pretty much a self-contained universe, and it’s interesting to see how the inhabitants are shaped by their ancestors’ belief systems and foibles (in many ways, it also reminded me of Zelazny’s Lord of Light, which also has SF with mythic tropes, the tropes having been set by the original colonists/passengers in order to establish a system by which they could profit). Very good, with cool characters. I thought two of them were under-used; but then I got my copy of Chill aka book 2, and I saw they were going to be the protagonists in that book. What more could a girl ask for? 🙂

Next up is revising MHD, and starting up work on the next project, on which I have very vague ideas–thinking of a Chinese/Vietnamese generation tale on a space station, but it’s all very nebulous. Before I commit to any plot, I need to reread Dream of Red Mansions, which I intend to use as my model for this. Should be interesting.

Cooking-wise, not much–it was a decidedly Vietnamese week, with phở, green mango salad (gotta work on the salad dressing though), and xá xíu (what can I say, I had 1.1 kg of pork, a big oven dish, and rather too much time on my hands. Good thing the thing freezes easily. Also, the H likes xá xíu). I really need to get down with the caramel recipe and work out how not to fail dismally at it, but the week was rather too busy for that…

2 comments

  1. Agatha Christie makes for oddly wonderful comfort reading! When times are tough, I re-read all my Christie and Dick Francis novels.

  2. I actually haven’t read any Dick Francis (couldn’t get into him), but I’m certainly enjoying the Agatha Christies very much.

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