I know that Christmas etc is supposed to be a time for relaxing and enjoying the company of the family, but I don’t enjoy relaxing and, being to a large degree a house-husband, I have a surplus of family time already. Which is to say that I was happy to get back into my work routine. So much so that I had a hugely productive week of ticking off immanent and overdue projects.
As well as doing a fair bit to prepare the Religious Studies Project for the coming year, I had a lot to do to bring two editorial projects into line – my co-edited book with Chris Cotter, “After World Religions”, and a special edited volume of Nova Religio (the journal of New and Emergent Religions) on “conspiracy theories and alternative religion”, which it occurs to me I haven’t yet blogged on. But I shall, as both must be finished by Feb 28th. I also made significant progress on two newer projects, which I shall announce as and when I have a contract, for fear of jinxing.
In terms of fiction, I wrote a fair bit on my YA novella, set in Paris and Iraq in 1919. It’s currently sitting at 18.5k, with a target of 35k-ish. But I deleted quite a bit too, so I actually wrote more than it seems… But still, I am determined to get the draft finished so I can move onto something else.
- The Mystery of Farholt – I enjoyed this quite a bit, even though I’m not much of a Fantasy fan. It seems very ‘genre’ at first, with a motley group of ‘types’ travelling across country, but don’t be fooled. It’s actually a pretty subtle character piece, and none of the characters are exactly the ‘type’ you think. There are a series of well-constructed reveals towards the end which made me want to read the next in the series, and one in particular which is a pretty clever deconstruction of the conventions of the genre. Recommended.
- Rivers of London, David Aaronovich – I enjoyed this too, although I found the tone odd. It is a police procedural with a Potteresue supernatural angle, but told in a somewhat comedic style which reminded me of Sue Townsend. So, I suppose it’s closest to Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gently novels – and that is a compliment – or Gaiman’s American Gods, which is less so. The writing is impressively effortless, and frequently funny, but punctuated with some horrific moments. But the strongest moments are character beats, and less so the plot, so I’m not sure if I’ll proceed to the other volumes in the series.