Ray Davies–One More Time

The sound quality on this is crap, but “One More Time” from Ray Davies’ new CD Working Man’s Cafe is one of my all-time favorite songs from the man, including his days with The Kinks. I’ve listened to this song so many times–it’s absolutely timeless and beautiful. I think it compares favorably with classics like “Waterloo Sunset”. Just amazing.

The whole CD is great, though. A couple of filler tracks, but most all of it is great.

This isn’t a proper review because I’m working on a long essay about Davies and The Kinks and how, throughout my life, they’ve been not only my favorite band but also one of the biggest influences on me as a person and a writer.

Maybe The Stones and The Beatles were bigger, but give me the squabbling, working-class Muswell Hillbillies Ray and Dave any day of the week. I just found their music to always be more personal to me.

Jeff

Michael Moorcock–SFWA Grand Master

This couldn’t have happened to a nicer person. In my experience, Mike Moorcock is simply the kindest, most giving writer I’ve ever had the honor of meeting. He understands fully the meaning of “paying it back” and does so without a trace of ego.

One of the best things I’ve ever seen in my life was in his house in Texas–one of his awards statues. Propping up a table.

Jeff

Oy…and Arizona!

This flu ain’t abating. Bloggin’ may be slow for a few days, chillins. Also Ann and I are goin to Tucson, Arizona, this weekend. I’m giving the keynote speech at the Arizona Convocation, a gathering of librarians who every year talk about how they’re going to celebrate the state’s upcoming centennial. We’re also doing a workshop with them called “The Secret Life of Arizona.” It’s not open to the public, but we will be doing a radio program or two, and catching up with some of our Clarion students from the summer!

Assuming I’m not in some kind of flu coma by then!

Jeffrog the Hallucinatin’

P.S. I’m really behind on all snail mail because of zee sickness. Contest winners, expect your books next week. Very sorry for the delay.

Steampunk Issue #4: How Ann and I Work Together

I was in a hurry, so I kinda mentioned Steampunk Magazine 4 was out, but didn’t go into further detail. I’ve now taken a closer look, and it’s pretty darn interesting. Definitely unique. You should buy it!

As for the interview with me and Ann, the interviewer asked a question we hadn’t ever been asked before, and I’m reproducing it here because of that fact.

Jeff

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Library Journal Gives Starred Review to New Weird

“Highly recommended” they say in their starred review (scroll down). So, that means a starred review in Publishers Weekly and LJ, a positive review in Booklist, and Kirkus just interviewed us about the anthology for an upcoming issue. Also, there’s a ton of amazing stuff that’s going to happen in the next two or three weeks that I can’t really talk about until it happens. Next week, after we get back from Tucson, I’ll do a post collecting all of the reviews. I think the only mixed review thus far is the rather snarky one in Locus.

jeff

Amazon Report on SC Book Festival

As I say in my Amazon report:

I can honestly say that it was one of the best-run festivals I’ve ever seen, and that we were made to feel like royalty the whole time. Which is not to say that at other events we’ve stepped off the plane and been instantly kneecapped by the organizers, but you could tell that the people running this festival really took pride in getting the details right. Not only that, they also really enjoyed themselves, which rubbed off on the participants.

Blue War–Review at SF Weekly

Sometimes you wind up being disappointed in a writer you usually really enjoy. Such is the case with Jeffrey Thomas’ Blue War, which I found muddled.

An excerpt:

Stake does, of course, have his charms as a character, including his connection to a lineage going back to every hardboiled detective in the history of literature. However, his relationship with Thi Gonh not only isn’t convincing as written, it takes up too much space in the novel. The fragmented English spoken by the Vietnamese-like Gonh includes lines like “Sometimes his milk come out before his baby go inside my baby” (in discussing her horrible husband). It also stretches the imagination that Gonh, a celebrated and deadly sniper, would be as simple as portrayed by Thomas. Worse, the reader doesn’t believe for a moment that Gonh would allow her husband to abuse her. A similar problem dogs the portrait of the scientist Pattaya, who addresses everyone as “cutie” and in general gives the reader no indication she is anything other than a bubblehead. The effect of these decisions is to slow down a novel that needs speed and action to be fully successful.

Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations on Romania…Not So Good

We eagerly awaited chef and globe-trotter Anthony Bourdain’s show on Romania…only to be very disappointed. In addition to spending over ten minutes just hanging out in a ghastly Vlad the Impaler tourist joint–a terrible waste of time given how much we saw of worth in Romania when we were there–Bourdain also let that Russian guy who previously showed him, well, Russia, and a Central Asian country return to guide him through Romania. Why Bourdain would do this is beyond me. He could easily have found any number of Romanians who could have shown him stuff beyond Dracula’s Castle. Not to mention, the Russian acted like a lout the whole show. Anyway, given what a good time we had in Romania and how weak this episode is, we suffered through it, but we weren’t happy. It’s strange, because we think his episode on the Mexican-U.S. border was a classic, and several others have also seemed much more “authentic” than this one. It’s making us re-evaluate our opinion of some of his other shows. Ah well.

Jeff

The Church Completes Work on Shriek Music

Some weeks it’s an embarrassment of riches. I just heard from The Church that they’re in post-production on the music cycle based on my novel, Shriek: An Afterword. They’ve added lyrics and everything, according to Steve Kilbey’s blog entry about it. I’m majorly psyched. This means the Shriek music will be available with the limited edition in CD form, and I believe The Church will at some point release it online.

From Steve’s blog:

tim and i had such a blast
we locked in our intentions
we secured a modus operandi
and we nailed it
using passages from the book
i sang screamed whispered pleaded ranted and raved
over the top of the churches roiling boiling music
guitars flutter and float and shake and shudder
we added some strings and leslied piano
tim jumps in shadowing my voice perfectly