My contributor's copies of Wildthyme on Top arrived this morning, necessitating my answering the door to the postman in my pyjamas. (Fortunately, my summer pyjamas look enough like [a very weird person's idea of] summer daywear for this not to be too embarrassing, provided I check the status of the fly beforehand. You didn't need to know that, sorry.)
The book is very lovely indeed -- the cover looks even better in situ, and promises good things for the Big Finish New Worlds range as a professional-looking line of small-press S.F. books. I've not had time to read much of it yet, aside from Paul Magrs's wonderful but sadly brief Preface (which is really less a preface than a scene-setting vignette) -- but I'm really looking forward to seeing what the volume's other authors have made of one of my favourite fictional time-travellers.
To celebrate the book's arrival, I've updated my web page with an "Extra" that may also interest Faction Paradox fans: the proposal for "Iris Wildthyme in the City of the Saved", a novel I pitched to Big Finish back in 2001 when it seemed possible that the company would be bringing out a series of regular Iris Wildthyme novels to accompany their Bernice Summerfield line. It is, in retrospect, not enormously good, and the plot ended up being cannibalised for The Book of the War and to a lesser extent Of the City of the Saved... ...but it was my first attempt to develop the concept of the City at any length (as well as my first attempt to write professionally for Iris), and may therefore be of historical interest.
I'm aware that I may have rather over-hyped Wildthyme on Top here, by expressing my own enthusiasm (and, at times, impatience) for the project to you all. I hope I haven't engendered overly high expectations, in myself or anybody else... but stuff Harry Potter, I'm really, really looking forward to reading Iris.
(That said, I'm about halfway through Warring States now, and it's fab. Mags has a real knack for setting, conjuring up a vivid, detailed historical world. This must be so much more difficult to do than pulling a completely new setting out of one's own head, since at every stage there's the requirement to be accurate rather than to invent any old detail which happens to fit. I'm not at all sure I could manage it, so much kudos to Ms Halliday for carrying it off so effortlessly.)