In which the working title turns out not to be the real title.

There is new Iain [M.] Banks, though it's not clear if the "M" stands for "science fiction" any more. We will buy a copy, in hardcover no less, and Mr P will read it and then maybe I will. Maybe. I say this as a person who thinks Use of Weapons is just insanely good and on my list of Best SF Novels Evar. But I grow weary of "rocks fall everyone dies" endings and the protagonists being utterly unable to achieve their goals. It's so modern, this insistence on the grim, though I suppose really Consider Phlebas ought to have been enough of a clue for me on several levels.

Anyway. I'm off to fight to the death with my own story. I have 5.5 hours left of "Sunday" in which to finish and send it to the person who commissioned it, who has been more than patient. It has been mercifully cool today, so I've been able to get some thinking done.

The music for today's writing has been Where Edges Meet by James Murray. Feel free to stream it from its publisher or from last.fm while you read the story. When I manage to post it. (And I note that the track title "Outside Context Solution" is likely a Banks reference. Heh.)

Icon is relevant.
  • Current Music: Color Has Its Own Language : James Murray : Where Edges Meet
The second time I read UoW, I was suspiciously reading to see if he'd properly set up that reveal, because I was so blind-sided by it.

Yup, that's what I did too. With pretty much the same result you describe.

I've never read any Vance. Could you recommend a good starter novel?

The Wasp Factory is a great story, but I'd imagine you'd have to be pretty okay with Weirdness-In-General to groove on it. I've recced Use of Weapons over and over because it's just so good and clever and absorbing, but if I rec one of his 'gen' novels I tend to go with The Bridge or The Business, depending on my assessment of the person I'm reccing to (and their capacity for Weirdness).

I think The Bridge is my favourite 'M' free Banks. I like the ambiguity and the displacement.

But I know others who swear by the more 'real world' novels he's done, like The Crow Road and Dead Air. I think both those books are terrific, btw. But I'd probably re-read the more other-worldly stuff first.

I enjoyed Garbadale. You don't mention whether you've read it or not, so I won't comment further, beyond saying that I found it very similar to an earlier Banks novel.

Looks like the newie is gen rather than SF:


The UK release is sans 'M' and it's listed with the non-SF releases.
Jack Vance: the novella "The Moon Moth", which is much anthologized. That'll give you the flavor.

Haven't read Garbadale yet; waiting for the husband to release it to my hands. He gets first crack at some things, I get first crack at others.

The branding issues about "with M or without M" are the interesting thing about this new Banks novel, btw. It's getting the M in the US, but his UK publisher has decided to position it with his non-genre fiction, even though it has genre elements. Dunno what this means, if anything, other than that UK readers are different from US readers, and perhaps his non-genre selling power is stronger.
Thanks for the rec. I'll let you know how I get on.

From the abstract of Transition I'm guessing it falls more into the non-SF pile, but it's hard to say with Banks. He just tells good stories -- it seems to be the marketing people who want to pigeonhole everything into different 'genres'.

(I'm told by a professional in the publishing industry that the reason I'm having a hard time interesting a lit agent in my original thriller is because it's too 'cross-genre'. They can't put things in the boxes they like? They panic. When did we lose the big 'here be good stories' box?)

Actually that abstract reminds me a little of themes in The Business. Which is good, 'cause it's one of my faves.