A New Day Yesterday

Okay. New Year’s Resolutions and all that. Promises to oneself. Promises we don’t generally manage to keep. Mine this year? To post a blog – however small – every day this year, charting what happens with the re-issue, oh, and a few other matters besides.

It’s just turned two on this laziest of days, and Sue and our youngest, Francesca, are just heading “Up West”, as they say – to the West End to shop. To trade their gift vouchers into things. More stuff to find room for in our already over-crowded little Domain.

Later on I’ll be watching the football – Man City playing up at Sunderland…a crucial game for both teams – but first my new year’s musings.

2012 is, I feel, going to be a critical one for the globalization project on this planet. If, in adversity, nation after nation start placing tariffs against imports and not maintaining the open door policy we’ve all (generally) followed for the past decade, then we’re all going to be stuffed. Even as it is, it’s going to be a rough ride, and a lot of people are going to suffer.

China, particularly, is the one to watch for signs of things beginning to fall apart. Now I hope that they don’t. I hope that the scenario I spelled out in part two of SON OF HEAVEN never becomes a reality, but these past twelve months have seen the possibility grow. There are - as the Sunday Times for today points out – “cracks in the wall”, and even the Chinese know that there are only two likely outcomes, a soft landing or a hard one, and we’re praying it’s the former. If it ain’t, then we’re in for a truly dark time, because momentum will have been lost for the world economy, alongside trust and optimism. If we don’t sort this out we’re in for a decade of trouble and a huge swing to the right. Our very liberalism depends on us getting this right in the next few years. So yeah… 2012’s going to be critical. With a capital C.

Sue and I have been watching box sets again. This time it was the wonderful Danish murder/thriller, The Killing… parts one (20 episodes) and two (10 episodes). They are both great TV and if you haven’t seen them yet, do so. Just before Christmas, Sue and I sat until gone two in the morning to see the ending of part two – watching the last seven episodes one after another.

The program depends a great deal on its central character, female cop Sarah Lund, whose sheer determination to follow every last lead is amazing. I love her. And I love her winter jumpers! There’s something almost Sherlock Holmesian about her. The way she puts things together in her head is incredible, and great (dramatically) to watch.

I’ve also been adding lots of stuff to my “library” on my kindle. What kind of stuff? Well, let me list it for you –

G A Henty (39 novels)

Sherlock Holmes (2 collections – covering everything Conan Doyle wrote)

Robert Jordan (Wheel Of Time 6 and 7)

Robert Silverberg (8 books – 5 of them short story collections)

Thomas Hardy (6 novels)

4 SF titles (Including Pavane)

3 classics (inc the complete Dostoevsky, the complete Dickens and the complete Mrs Gaskell)

4 miscellaneous titles, including two comedians’ biographies

4 more SF titles for the SF workshop I’m putting together

George Eliot (5 novels)

D H Lawrence (7 volumes)

Chung Kuo – first two prequels

Walter Jon Williams (2 novels)

Asimov’s SF magazine

Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine

I’ll be adding more – especially from the freebie listings – but I am enjoying having this handy little machine and have begun to wonder how I survived without it. It’s bloody wonderful.

To be added? Dune and Dune Messiah, maybe. The complete Turgenev. The complete Chekhov. Doris Lessing’s Canopus In Argos. Richard Cowper’s Corlay trilogy. Works by Tolstoy, Kafka, and a few others.

One of my favourite Heinlein novels is BEYOND THIS HORIZON, only it’s not (yet) available as an ebook. Indeed, what’s very evident is that a lot of good writers (and their agents and publishers) have yet to understand that they can make money from their books, if only they were available. It reminds me of the situation when CDs took over from vinyl and tape. Of just how limited the range of products was at first. But also how slow a lot of people were in catching up with the situation.

Okay. The Manchester City game is about to kick off, so I’ll come back to this when it’s over – approximately two hours from now.

And who could believe it! With the game at 0-0 and twenty seconds to go, Sunderland went up field and scored – their Korean player, Ji – with just four seconds on the clock. The leaders (City) had outplayed them totally, but there it is, three out of Arsenal’s four major competitors beaten over this New Year period. Bring it on…

Okay. Will blog again in the morning and try and keep the momentum. SON OF HEAVEN is still way out ahead in the SF Books Best SF Book of the Year poll, with who knows long before the voting ends. I’m also three quarters of the way through G A Henty’s book on Frederick The Great. A good read. I’m amazed no one has ever made films of his historical novels. It’s a formula, sure, but it works, and Henty knows how to use history as a backdrop. Try one sometime.

Happy New Year everyone!

David Wingrove        Sunday 1 January 2012