Sean Williams

Where’s John Dorian when I need him?

posted on 19 May 2006 at 10:03 am

I’ve been flattened by a second bout of the cold that’s doing the rounds here in Adelaide (losing my voice once is bad enough; twice in two weeks just plain sucks) but the work continues and LJ-worthy items accrue as a matter of course. Here are some, in no particular order.

At last night’s meeting of the new board of the South Australian Writers’ Centre, I was honoured to be voted in as Chair for a second time. Having been off the board for a few years (I was seconded in January to fill an empty seat) it’s been really nice getting back into the swing of things. Giving back to the community is something I strongly believe in, and I hope that I can help the centre (the oldest in Australia) continue its excellent work.

Conflux ho! It’s official: I’ll be a guest at Conflux (Canberra, 9-12 June). Proposed program items include the world-premiere reading of “The Soap Bubble: A Space Opera” with an all-star cast, an interview with Sir Arthur C Clarke, and other goodies. If you’re coming, keep an eye on the web site. If you’re not, change your mind and join the party!

Sometimes made-up words take on a life of their own. A “glast” puts in a pivotal appearance in the final Books of the Cataclysm (The Hanging Mountains and The Devoured Earth). It’s also the name of a space telescope due to be launched in 2007. Whoops and, well, whatever. 🙂

The Crooked Letter received a “spankingly good review” (to quote the legendary Steve Savile) from Rob H Bedford at SFF World. Here’s the link, and below are my favourite bits. I love this review for three reasons: (1) I always wanted to start a book by killing off a main character then following what happened to him afterwards, and Rob tips his hat to that. (2) Rob also recognises the fact that The Crooked Letter is as much a horror novel as fantasy novel influenced by apocalyptic SF, which no other reviewer (iirc) has mentioned. (3) He says such nice things in general!

“In The Crooked Letter, Sean Williams explores the nature of life, death, and reality. Big subjects, but with the precision of an archaeological expert, Williams is more than up to the task. There is a lot to admire in Williams epic fantasy, the wide range of global religions and myths of which, his afterlife is comprised, to the characterization of the protagonists. The story has the mythic resonance of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman and American Gods, the dark fantasy/horror one might associate with something like Stephen King’s Dark Tower saga, the multiple universes/realities of Moorcock’s Eternal Champion mythos, and the strange, weird creatures one might associate with China Miéville’s Bas-lag novels. Williams imagined world is equal part those novels which preceded his, but fortunately, there is enough newness to both the approach and vision to make this the work of a singular vision. … When I first opened the book, I was expecting an epic fantasy. While the scope of the novel and range of characters lends itself to such a description, pigeon-holing the book in such a category does a disservice to the book and to Williams. On every page, it becomes very evident that Williams is playing with a different set of rules. The darkness of the events, as well as the tone of the book elicited more of a horror feel for me, as I continued to follow Seth and Hadrian’s plight. … In a year that is proving to be an interesting and enjoyable one for Fantasy and Science Fiction, Williams’s The Crooked Letter is near the top of my list as the year approaches the half-way mark.”

With that, I’m off to take some drugs. Bleurgh.