1. Cecelia Holland managed to put me off Ursula K Le Guin’s Lavinia with one paragraph of praise:
Most of the time, Le Guin is vivifying a seamless, sacred, blessed time which may never have existed but which we all fervently long to believe in: the morning of the world, when the whole of nature was suffused with spirit, and people lived in reverence to it. The details of sacrifice and rite and oracle are lovingly described not for their own sake but because they reveal the deep sense of oneness with the world that supported and uplifted the ancients.
Speak for yourself: not only do I not believe in any such time, I do not fervently long to believe in it. (And if anything, I’m a bit sceptical of people who do.) If Holland’s review had said something like, “Le Guin manages to make us long for a time which may never have existed …” then I might have still been interested. But if the book doesn’t do that work, then it’s not for me, I’m afraid.
2. It’s a forthcoming books issue! Highlights from the UK section that I didn’t already know about:
Ketos, Little Brown UK/Orbit, Aug 2008 (tp)
[I had no idea his next book was coming out so soon.]
Ascent of Demons, Orion/Gollancz, Oct 2008 (hc, tp)
Kraken, Macmillan/Tor UK, Nov 2008 (hc)
[I can’t imagine what this is about.]
Above the Snowline, Orion/Gollancz, Nov 2008 (hc, tp)
[Time to get around to reading The Modern World, then.]
On other books, Ian MacLeod’s Song of Time is now listed (a) as a June book, sigh and (b) as being by Ken MacLeod; and I’m intrigued by this, which I think is a tie-in to this, but doesn’t seem to be being promoted as such.
3. You may want to shield your eyes for this bit, particularly if you thought the cover for the US edition of Halting State wasn’t up to much.
Astonishing, isn’t it?