November 19, 2010
Many of my favorite writers, most of whom are not prolific, as in they don’t automatically have a book or two out every year as a matter of course, have new books out this fall. I feel blessed, it’s an embarrassment of riches, and it’s incredibly frustrating because I’d like nothing better than to shut off the computer and curl up with all these books and a bottle of wine and read read read. But of course I have a rapidly approaching deadline, I’m behind on the manuscript, and going out of town again, and it’s the holidays… So I can’t drop everything to read read read.
I’ve sort of done it anyway.
Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold. The Vorkosigan saga has been my master course on how to write an ongoing series. It’s brilliant. And this is the first Vorkosigan book in eight years. I plowed through it. And. . .oh boy. As I described it to a friend, it’s 300 pages of a nice side adventure romp, and then four pages of kicking my teeth in. It’s still sinking in.
Pegasus by Robin McKinley. McKinley is probably my favorite author. Pegasus is beautiful. Heartbreaking. McKinley does this thing in many of her books where her main characters are surrounded by kind people who love them very much, which you think shouldn’t make for a very interesting story, except there’s always this terrible subtext, never stated directly, of those characters telling the main character, We love you and will protect you as long as we can, but we know we can’t do it for much longer and then you’re on your own, and our hearts are breaking. I end up sobbing through the whole book. And Pegasus does this same thing, turned up to eleven. AND THEN IT ENDS ON A CLIFFHANGER. McKinley never ends on cliffhangers! McKinley never writers sequels! Gah! What’s going on! Apparently, the second half of the story (not a sequel, she insists on her blog) will be out in 2012. Gah! (And I can already hear people saying “but you did the same thing in Voices of Dragons.” Well, no. Voices of Dragons has an ambiguous ending. There’s a complete story in there. Pegasus, not so much.)
Up next: The Bards of Bone Plain, by Patricia McKillip, which isn’t quite out yet (it’ll probably be my post-novel gift to myself), and All Clear, by Connie Willis, which is the second half of her cliffhanger book, Blackout, which was out last winter. So yes, two of my favorite authors released cliffhanger books in the same year. What’s going on here?!?!