17 January 2003
...And talking of fun, last night was full of it. Fun in Sunderland, which can happen, despite the odds. Went down to Ottakar's, where the manager Steve is the chain's national SF/fantasy specialist, and a Good Thing in many ways else. He was giving a launch to Simon Morden's first novel, 'Heart', published by Razor Blade Press(for only £4.99, which seems too cheap, somehow, for a B-format paperback - weird, huh?) with a really good cover on it (despite the misprint in the blurb - and why is it that I can't look at even a short piece of text without finding a misprint? Some say it's the spirit of the age, but actually I think it's just me. Either text imbroglios itself just ahead of my reading eye, or else misprinted matter is attracted to my attention by some chemical interaction that we don't yet understand. Either way, it's a pain. I have a proofreader's mind and the soul of a copy-editor, and I want rid of 'em both...). No great crowd at the launch, but they sold out, forty copies, which is brilliant - first time I've seen a reader buy ten copies and then come back for another ten. She was buying for a reading group, which makes perfect sense, but is still impressive to observe.
And then half a dozen of us went out for the traditional Indian afterwards. Well, technically Bangladeshi - I had a hot duck dish, which as ever wasn't really hot enough. Sigh. But it was the sort of occasion I really enjoy, from first to last: focused around books without being obsessively bookish, talk that ranged from the problems of the industry (too many books by other people, not enough by me) to stuff that had nothing whatever to do with literary matters, and another newbie launched into the world. As well as 'Heart', I also bought a copy of Simon's story-cycle on CD-rom ('Thy Kingdom Come', published by Lone Wolf). And didn't think until I got home that I probably won't be able to run it in Linux. Will I have to boot up Windows, for the first time in six months? Or will I just prefer not to read the stories? Who can say?
© Chaz Brenchley 2003
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.