I think it is very instructive, on a meta-level, to compare and contrast these two reviews of Legacy: one from a skiffy-minded reader, and one from a reader coming strictly out of the romance genre. (This romance reader is unduly handicapped by not having read the first volume, note). But what is especially interesting to me is which elements of the tale they draw out as central to their attention, at least enough to be worth commenting on. While I wouldn't say there is no overlap, the two reads are decidedly orthogonal. It's a not-bad sample of the sort of effect I noticed in reviews of Irresistible Forces from the two camps, when it came out back when, and which gave me so much to think about -- about half a million words of thinking-about, in fact.
The romance reader's review goes like this:
And the skiffy person's review goes like this:
Subject: (chat) Krentz/Quick/Castle
Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2007
I am now on vacation, meaning, I'm working half-days as my own secretary and wrangling a wodge of para-writing stuff -- brushing up articles for for The Vorkosigan Companion; producing with the invaluable aid of Carol Collins the new map for TSK3 & 4; arranging travel for October and more ear surgery for November; and sometime in the next few weeks/real soon now I must write two prefaces and a speech, urk. And there's another on-line interview lurking in my in-box, which I promised in a weak moment. The copy edit for TSK#3 will come back on the tide finitely soon, too. Nonetheless, to mark the transition from "working" to "vacation", I changed the picture on my desktop from wide green mountains to the one of a turquoise blue tropic sea with a tiny island sporting three palm trees. And I can now allow myself to read other books without worrying about style-leaks or other distortions upon my work-in-progress, which, besides the time-crunch, is the main reason I avoid other fiction while writing, and come off a project in a book-starved state.
My vacation reads lately, in the afternoons and evenings when my brain burns out, include the triple-headed author Jayne Ann Krentz (contemporary romance) Amanda Quick (historical romantic suspense) and Jayne Castle (futuristics). The three names are required partly because her output is huge, but mostly, I suspect, because the the different genres sell at three different sales levels, and one wouldn't want the accounts to inadvertently order Krentz books in Castle numbers.
She has nearly a twenty-year output out there now, which makes it possible to compare the evolution of her writing at different stages of her career. She only has one emotional plot, got up in different garb for the different stories. It's rather like buying a box of chocolate-covered cherries with the assurance that each will be exactly what you expect: no Crunchy Frog or Spring Surprise here. I started with the Quicks, and have only lately dipped into the other two names.
The Castles are proving quite interesting, because she's coming at the genre-blending problem from the other side of the fence as I do. Her first futuristic, Amaryllis, from 1996, had some wince-worthy moments in the world-building that could easily have been corrected by an editor with an ear for the SF genre, which she obviously didn't have, and some nice stuff with the paranormal-telepathy bits and their social implications that worked rather better. I then jumped to another much later fling, 2002's After Dark -- the world-building here was much better, which suggests the writer is learning from someone, visibly and rapidly. This is encouraging.
I suspect because of the speed at which she writes, the sort of self-teaching I do in a single volume gets spread over several; one can see her trying out her ideas in several evolving variations over several books, as if each were a first draft for the next.
Subject: (news & chat) Passage has a pub date
Date: Fri, 14 Sep 2007
Passage has a pub date...
I now have official publication dates for the mass market paperback of TSK#2: Legacy and the first hardcover release of TSK#3: Passage: both have the street date of April 22, 2008.
(Rounded to May 2008 in some listings.)
8 months, give or take.
And in other news, the completed and somewhat cleaned-up submission draft of TSK#4: Title To Be Announced Later went off to my editor. Spring of 2009, for the rest of the world. Whew! Now I'm overdue for a long break.
The first-edit run-through was mostly going through the manuscript and entering in my file all the little changes I'd marked in the margins over the previous months as the thing was slowly growing. The last chapters haven't had as much time to "cure", but they might as well be doing so sitting on the editor's desk as mine. Once the thing is shifted from my desk to hers I'm off the clock, till it comes back on the tide. Probably before year's end, but that will depend on what else is in her schedule; books with earlier pub dates will naturally take precedence.
Having used the exciting completion of the book as an excuse to put off doing all the life-maintenance stuff I didn't want to do in the first place, well, that bulwark is now removed and they're all here at once. I'm scratching away at the chores pile, between reading books I didn't write and watching DVDs. Romances, anime, and nature programming, so far. I'm so not looking for a challenge...
I do have a big trip coming up at the end of October to Columbus for the Ohioana Library bash (more on that later) and on to Saratoga Springs for World Fantasy, with a stop in between to see relatives. Since that involves flying, I can't address the ear surgery till it's done, which is another call-up-and-schedule chore sitting in my queue at present. And the 3 writing chores, 2 introductions and another interview I've promised. Still ducking them.
So far this week I've managed to call the tree guys, get the map in progress, schedule my flights for WFC, give blood, hit the library, give a friend's short story a once-over, do a few house things, and other activities now fading into the mental compost. Well, it will all work itself out in a little more time.
Now, back to BBC nature programs from Netflix. Next up: more Atlas of South America
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Last updated: October 20th 2007