News and Housekeeping

It’s been pretty quiet around here lately, in case anyone has noticed. I’ve been busy on a super-secret writing project that may soon see the light of day. Meanwhile, I’ve been so focused on this that I’ve put my other project, the guide to Mid-Mitten Cycling, on hold (there’ll be snow on the ground for another four months at least, so I figure no rush there). I really don’t know how other writers do all their blog posts, tweets, and other social media stuff while also writing and carrying on with the rest of their lives.

To show I haven’t absolutely dropped off the face of the earth, here are a couple of recent bits:

I had a nice exchange with Hild author Nicola Griffith about “politically correct” (or what I like to call “polite”) speech, which she kindly put on her blog. You can find it here. This was in response to another of her posts on insulting language, here.

photo of Hild paperback
Hild in the Wild (actually at Schuler Books in Okemos)

In other news related to one of my favorite books of the year, Hild is now out in paperback. If you’ve been waiting to pay less for your physical copy (which is far better than the ebook edition), now’s your chance. It’s a handsome book well worth adding to your dead-trees library. (My review is here.)

I did one other small writery thing this fall, which was to write a fanfictional alternate ending to Katharine Grant’s excellent (but disappointingly concluded) novel,  Sedition, and posted it over on Archive of Our Own. More on that in a separate blog post. (The fact that I didn’t post something about it at the time shows that I’m either lazy with this blogging thing, or hyper-focused on writing.)

Deirdre continues to get a steady trickle of readers on and AO3. I recently received a blush-inducing review on the former site, which you can read here. (No, no money changed hands with that reviewer.)

Finally, in news that makes my flesh crawl, over the last couple of days, one or more people have found my post on The Last of Us using the search terms “fanfiction Last of Us Ellie rape” and “Last of Us Joel Ellie naked”. (For those unfamiliar with the game and who didn’t read that post: Joel is in his fifties and Ellie is 14.) WTF is wrong with these people? (And if you happen to be one of those who used these search terms, please go away; you’re a disgusting human being and I don’t want you here.) Meanwhile, the post continues to get a few hits a day, and I’ve been alternately fearful of and gearing up for the day when GamerGaters discover it and start a boycott campaign aimed at all my advertisers (ha ha, GamerGaters, I have no advertisers, so there!).

With all that out of the way, back to my super-secret writer’s bunker.


Book Review – Hild: A Novel

Hild coverHild: A Novel
Nicola Griffith
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013
560 pp; $27.00

I haven’t read much historical fiction, but I imagine writers in this genre might get so focused on making the past real that they forget to make it strange, to make it art. Nicola Griffith’s Hild: A Novel avoids that trap, making seventh-century England simultaneously so vivid and so dreamlike that I didn’t want to leave it, even after 500-plus pages. Even now, having finished it a second time (and wow, double post-novel depression!), I find it difficult to express my admiration for this book. Perhaps I should just quote Emily L. Hauser (@emilylhauser on Twitter) and be done: “Good lord, that was a book. A gobsmacking, wonderful book.”

Count me among the gobsmacked, and Neal Stephenson, too, who said that Hild feels like the classic on which Beowulf, the legends of King Arthur, The Lord of the Rings, and Game of Thrones are based. That and the other glowing blurbs on the book’s back cover are closer to the truth than some of the other reserved-but-appreciative reviews the book received in print periodicals.