03 January 2011

Twenty eleven, forty, twelve, one hundred

2011 will be the year I turn 40. That really doesn't seem feasible, somehow. I remember a time when I thought that any year with two nines in it sounded thrillingly futuristic.

Anyway, B. and I have spent the past week-and-a-half gadding about the country in the traditional manner, only this time with a toddler in tow to help keep things astonishingly overcomplicated. (One happy by-product of the necessary extensive disruption to said toddler's routine is that he now accepts sleeping in a cot that's across the other side of the room from our bed, rather than strapped to it, as being normal. This represents progress.)

Among the spoils of this Christmas's festive present exchange with our relatives are complete boxed sets of the incomparable and timeless Twin Peaks and the two best BBC sitcoms of the past decade, Outnumbered and The Thick of It. (OK, so that last one's technically B.'s.) Also Kim Stanley Robinson's Galileo's Dream, which sounds rather akin to James Blish's earlier biographical-novel-about-a-scientific-revolutionary-with-SF-visionary-scenes, Doctor Mirabilis.

New Year's Eve was beset and blighted by various illness afflicting B and our proposed guests, meaning that we spent the evening alone and went to bed at 10:30ish. There were far fewer fireworks let off in our immediate neighbourhood this inter-year midnight than last, which I approve of from the point of view of the environment and my sleep, though it's probably economically telling.

2011 is also the year in which the first Faction Paradox short-story anthology, A Romance in Twelve Parts, is due to be published by Obverse Books, including "A Hundred Words from a Civil War", the official sequel to my novel Of the City of the Saved.... I'm certainly looking forward to it more than I am the longevitudinal milestone I mentioned earlier. You may be too, in which case you may like to see another teaser in the form of a deleted drabble:
     A dragon hisses and snaps at its handler, tail thrashing, hungry for flesh. The hobbits are going to war against the ogres.
     The diminutive Citizens of Erbor District’s island margins have always had troubled relations with the beetle-browed giants of the uplands. These thickset Homo antecessor Citizens were once a culture of cannibals, and have gazed hungrily at their tiny Homo floresiensis neighbours since long before the collapse of invulnerability. Now they grind the hobbits’ bones to make their bread.
     In retaliation, the floresians have been domesticating the marshlands’ vicious monitor lizards.
     The dragon-handlers’ charges trudge onwards towards the foothills.
There, I've even annotated it with hyperlinks for you. Happy New Year.

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