Saturday, January 24, 2009

Just What The Hell Is Wrong With Me?

I mean really. What's it take to satisfy me?

I'm talking about books here and how I'm seeing in myself that most insipid of characters; the ungrateful reader.

I've just finished Dead Reign by T.A. Pratt. I love these books. The debut, Blood Engines, and its followup, Poison Sleep both sucked me in immediately and Dead Reign didn't disappoint in the least. There's a fourth book announced for Spring 2009.

All of these books follow the exploits of Marla Mason, Head Sorcerer for the town of Felport. As the series progresses, Marla continues to be a "kick all their asses and sort 'em out later" type, but she's also becoming much more three dimensional; conflicted, but willing to do what needs to be done at the moment; able put her feelings aside and confront her demons on her own time. Her list of supporting characters are also becoming more real...not just spear carriers in the chorus. They have their own strengths and weaknesses, and while you see them mostly through a lens of loyalty (or disloyalty) to Marla, you also begin to see that they all have their own motivating agendas as well.

This is as it should be. I love it when I already know a character and I get to see what's new in their lives as well as getting backstory filled in along the way. The fact is, I'd feel abandoned if Pratt's next novel wasn't about Marla. Her story isn't finished, dammit and I want to know more. (Side note: I know, to a large degree, authors get stuck with whatever cover art they get, but I really like the covers on this series. Marla comes off as not exactly plain, but certainly as real. I likes me my share of Amazons and Valkyries as much as the next guy, but Marla looks like she ought to.)

So, what's my problem? I want more. Yes, more Marla, but also some completely new stuff. Like many authors, I like Pratt's writing style and Marla just isn't enough. I want new characters in new settings in new worlds...and I want them now. There it is: I'm just another damned ingrate.

So, to Mr. Pratt, I have this message. Stop all that damned sleeping and eating and going shopping and crap. No clubbing for you. Your family can be satisfied with a quick email on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Stay in your damned office and keep writing. With a little diligence on your part, you could not only keep up your output of Marla stories; I'd bet you could get another two or three series started up.

You write 'em and I'll keep buying ' And BTW, if you're wasting time reading this...stop it right now and get back to work. (As the joke about Hell goes..."Coffee break's over! Back on your heads!")


Oh, BTW #2: I'm starting Half A Crown by Jo Walton next. This one promises to be the third and final installment in the Small Change series, set in 1940's and 50's and positing a world where Hitler was appeased and WWII never happened. This is another author and series worth your time and I'm looking forward to the latest installment. And I'll be looking forward to whatever world she comes up with next. In fact, I'll probably go back and read some of her previous stuff that I missed before. (Note: For some reason, I've had trouble finding her stuff in brick and mortar bookstores and I've had to chase down each book on Amazon or the like. She's not exactly obscure, so somebody should do something about that.)

Correction: Imagine my surprise to get to the second paragraph and discover that we've moved all the way up to 1960. WooHoo!


Jeff Hentosz said...

Since it's not clear in your rant I'll ask: you know that T.A. Pratt is Tim Pratt, right? And that he has a novel called The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl, and short story collections including the great Hart & Boot & Other Stories, and that he has a journal here with a buttload of free reads, and that he is an editor and layout artist at Locus so has more important things to do than dance to your jig?

Just wondering.

And if you knew all that, did you know that Marla herself has a Twitter feed?

Nathan said...

Yes Jeff,

I knew all (or much) of that...and I'll thank you to keep logic out of the equation ya rat-bastard!

Jeff Hentosz said...

Oh, cool. I've never been called a "rat-bastard" before by a real New Yorker!


Eric said...

Oh, please. Whine, whine, whine. At least you're not a GRRM fan. We've been waiting for the fifth Song Of Ice And Fire for years and years and years, now. The last one came out in '05, and it was purportedly just the first half of a book that was already finished but for some editing, so book six would be "next year" maybe, but noooooooo.

I'll bet your guy's book actually comes out in 2009, Spring, Summer or Fall. So quit yer bitchin'.

Eric said...

Oh, hey, Wikipedia says ASOIAF book five might come out in November 2009 and Amazon's been taking pre-orders since this past December. And maybe I'll shit a helper-monkey who can clean floors.

::wanders away grumbling and cursing under his breath::

Nathan said...


I've read a little of GRRM, but it never really caught my attention.

I'm also reasonably glad that I eventually gave up on Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time novels. Word has it that Brandon Sanderson will be finishing the final book, but since I gave up around the fifth(?), seventh(?) one?...who knows if I'll ever bother to catch up.

Nathan said...

And can I rent your helper-monkey? (If your process is the only way to get my own, I'll make do with borrowing.)

Random Michelle K said...

I like Jo Walton.

Read the first book in the alt history series, but have held off reading the second book. So don't tell me anything else.

I like her series that has the woman on the front. Uh... Shit. I don't remember. But I liked it a lot. Sulien was the main characters name, and the cover was awesome because she looked like she could *actually go into battle*.

neurondoc said...

I bought Dead Reign yesterday, because of this post. The bookstore didn't have the first 2 books, so I bought this one. I haven't started it yet...

Tim Pratt said...

They say you should always leave 'em wanting more...

If it's any consolation, I recently sent my agent a couple of novels to submit, one an adult literary fantasy, one a science-fantasy adventure for younger readers. With luck they'll see print eventually. And I've got stories upcoming in Interzone and Subterranean later this year, with a few more pieces in circulation. I'm doing my best -- thanks for reading!

Nathan said...

Holy Crap!

I don't know why I'm the least bit surprised that if I mention someone by name, they may show up and comment...but I'm surprised, nonetheless.

Author Comments! How cool is that?

Tania said...

Tim, you're a pretty class act.

Eric, the only good place to get info on GRRM is from the man himself -

The prospects are grim.