Saturday, 21 July 2007


I reviewed Steph Swainston's 'The Year of Our War' not so long ago; it was a very good read but (at the time) I did wonder why technology seemed to race ahead in some areas but not in others. Well, thanks to the miracle of the internet Steph emailed me to set my mind at rest on this issue. Here's what she said...

To reply to your question,
you said: “The only issue I had was that while technology had made rapid
advances in some areas, it felt like it was deliberately held back in other
areas so as to make the war against the Insects more difficult for humanity
to win.”
Ah, maybe this is one of the Emperor’s intentions. Or maybe it is an
accidental by-product of the fact the Fourlands has immortals and an
unending war. The many factors influencing the Fourlands’ level of
technology is something I have spent a long time working out.
Their world has evolved up to date along its own lines. Everything they
have is possible with small incremental improvements – for example, weaving
machines running on waterpower. But they have had no great revolutions (no
industrial evolution) owing to the presence of the immortals and the
structure of their society which holds things back. Hacilith city teeters
on the edge of an industrial revolution but never quite completes it. The
technology of the Fourlands seems to us (but not to them, obviously) to be a
mix of ancient and modern - but this reflects the fact that its development
has followed a different path than ours. Weapons development is retarded by
its immortal custodians, fossil fuels will never be an impetus for massive
change, but other areas move on, fashions rise and fall... so why not jeans
and a broadsword?
You can read more about this industrial evolution here, fifth question down:
There is more in THE MODERN WORLD about how the Emperor and the immortals
have shaped the Fourlands and so much is changed during the book that one
has a sense of wonder about 'what next??!'

That does make things clearer in my head and I'm looking forward to getting onto 'No Present Like Time' and seeing what happens next.
The release of Tom Lloyd's new book, 'The Twilight Herald', has been moved back until August but that didn't stop the back room of the Phoenix Bar (in London) filling up with people determined to celebrate the launch anyway! I was there and hopefully not looking as drunk as I actually was. To be fair, everyone else was well into the beer (apart from Joe Abercrombie who very responsibly did not want to turn up for work the next day with a hangover!)The bar certainly looks different since people can't smoke in it anymore, you can actually see things now! Both Tom Lloyd and David Devereux had to make use of the 'al fresco' smoking facilities (a very hospitable pavement) and bore up very well under the circumstances. If you want to see my reviews of Tom, Joe and David's respective books then just click on the 'fantasy' and 'urban fantasy' labels at the side of the page.
In other news, PS Publishing have just launched their very own 'news blog' full of everything that the discerning book fan needs to know about what's going on at this award winning independent publishers. Being a big Steven Erikson fan (his 'Korbal Broach and Bauchelain' novellas are published through PS) I had a look and I think the blog is rather great. I've included a link on here (with all the others) so if you fancy finding out what's going on at PS Publishing then head on over!
As far as this blog goes, expect to see a review of Brian Keene's new book 'Dead Sea' posted in the next couple of days, it's an absolute 'must' for fans of Keene and zombie fans in general (that's me on both counts). After that? Well, you'll have to wait and see...
Have a great weekend guys!

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