A number of stimuli have me thinking about my Ambergris novels, past, present, and future. The first was this stunningly nice Black Gate article by Matthew David Surridge about the series as a whole. It’s nice when a reader gets what you intend. (And, yes, the simpler style of Finch is intended to allow more room for the reader, in part because between the lines of the novel all of this backstory from the other books is streaming in and filling up the space.) And Bookmunch’s review of Finch, in the context of the series (some spoilers), had me feeling somewhat nostalgic, in that I realized Bookmunch has now been around for over a decade! (Definitely a reviews site to check out.)
Then there’s also the publication of the last book in the series,Finch, in the UK, which has been an interesting experience. I’m somewhat shielded from things like the Tom Holt narsty review in SFX simply by dint of the novel’s success in North America: Nebula finalist, Locus award finalist, tons of year’s best lists including the Washington Post, B&N Review, and Wall Street Journal. But it is fascinating to see a book that you feel has already been well-and-truly marinated by the public be re-marinated. Thus far, Holt excepted, it’s been a good experience, with a great reviews in Interzone, The Times, and Strange Horizons, among others. SciFiNow also really liked the book despite the sex scenes–ha!
But all of this prompted me to dip back into City of Saints, Shriek, and Finch, and to generally be quite happy with all three. You always see things you could’ve done, opportunities missed, etc., but on the other hand books like City of Saints were constantly growing and changing. Little-known fact, for example, that the Bantam City of Saints is at times very different on the line level from other versions because after I wrote Shriek I realized it didn’t totally match-up with City. The new book seemed to have the true account, so I changed City instead.
At some point, it’d be nice to have a reissue of all three novels from one publisher, in the same format and cohesive design. I think this might also bring a kind of unity to the series.
The point of all of this ramble is that I’ve had three or four ideas for new Ambergris narratives, all set in the immediate 30 to 40 years following the end of Finch.
John Finch is a recluse, word having leaked out. He’s almost a kind of living saint who rejects any adulation, and who still lives in the same war-torn hotel, while all around the factions have gotten more and more complex and intertangled. The gray caps are still there, but their supremacy has been checked by new rebel hybrids and powers, as well as the new rise of tribal power by the true original inhabitants of the area. Bliss is still part of the mix. Sintra has become a powerful leader. Bosun, driven half-mad by his brother’s memory bulb, figures in as well. Along with new characters.
Thing is, all of this is manifesting in my head as graphic novel, not as fiction. So I have no idea where it will lead, except my brain seems to be telling me once again that it wants Ambergris transformed, and to head directly into an illustrated medium, which is where it always seemed to be heading anyway.
This would be so much easier if I could myself draw worth a darn.