This piece was written and copyrighted by musician-writer Paul Brandon and published by us several years ago but it seemed appropriate to publish it yet again in this long, hot August we are having.
It's kind of odd sitting here, trying to write something about autumn, when the temperature outside is kicking on towards 90 degrees and the flowers and shrubs are just beginning to show their spring colours. Even after ten years, the reversal of seasons here in Australia still throws me. I guess it always will.
For me, August will forever be school holidays; riding bikes through silent and still woodlands, fishing, mischief and those English evenings that just drift away casually into darkness. September was always a terrible time -- the return to school. Then there's October. I miss the slight nip of winter, teasingly biting at bare arms in the late afternoon, and the incredible smell of the autumn bonfires, the clearing away the piles of leaves that just can't fit onto the mulch pile. Unfortunately here, very few trees lose their leaves over the so-called winter (though I do have a lovely Tasmanian myrtle to the front of the house that does an admirable impression of a beech hanger with it's shift from green, through red to gold). And of course any sort of combustion is highly frowned upon.
October in Brisbane brings with it warnings. Sudden days where the temperature can flash up to nearly 100, before dropping back down to a more respectable 45 or so, always making me think that this year, the summer won't be quite so hot. But of course it always is. There are the bright colours and smells, unlike the muted pastel browns and greens of England,the return of the koels, the cuckoos with the most unbelievably eerie night calls, and let's not forget my old friends the possums, out looking for nooks they can slip into unobserved.
So for a time at least, I'm going to pretend that it is indeed autumn here, that I don't have a fan blowing on me and it's not piercingly blue outside. I'm going to pretend that yes, perhaps the trails and episodes of this last year can indeed be cast off, and thatif I can hold on long enough, winter will pass.
The following is something I was noodling with when I was back home earlier this year. Originally it started life as a simple little piece for a cameo reading, then shifted into a song for the band, and once again (as seems typical with anything I write) it changed its mind and decided it might like resting here for a time.
Safe journeys all, and save me a nice glass of Greene King ale!
Most of the lands where the Green Man Building is located are late into a hot summer. None of our reviewers summoned up the energy for a large number of reviews this time round, but they've made up for it in quality.
Our Featured Review this issue is Kelley Caspari's review of the audiobook version of Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Kelley says, 'If you've never heard Good Omens, you should. Whether or not you give a damn about theology or metaphysics, I prophesy you'll find yourself chuckling often -- or, like me, barking -- as Martin Jarvis and these two well loved masters poke fun at everything most people hold dear and bring you to the brink of Armageddon.' Kelley nets an Excellence in Writing Award for her review.
On the other hand, she struggled to find anything good to say about The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman, and the best she could come up with was, 'Now, I am sure that there are thousands of people out there who will love this book and think that I'm insane.' Faith earns herself a Grinch Award for this review.
Denise Dutton also has two offerings for us this time round. First she examined Dick and Jane and Vampires, a 'mashup' of classical literature by Laura Marchesani. Denise's detailed and literate analysis of this book can be summarized this way: 'See Dick. See Dick run. See Jane. See Jane play. See . . . Vampire? See reviewer take interest. See book fail on all counts. See reviewer cry.'
Denise likes Go, Mutants!' by Larry Doyle much better. 'Go, Mutants! has aliens, monsters, giant insects, zombies, science run amok, high school romance -- what's not to love? Uh, nothing. This book is about as perfect as it gets when it comes to sheer entertainment value.' Find out more thisaway.
Cat Eldridge also spent some time with an audiobook for us. He says of Simon R. Green's Hawk & Fisher -- Number One (AKA No Haven for the Guilty) that it is 'better far as an audio work' than it is in print, for all sorts of reasons. See his explanation here.
Our next review is of Ilona Andrews' Bayou Moon. Gereg Jones Muller isn't a big fan. He says, 'Think Twilight crossed with Bordertown. If that thought makes you wince, you're starting to get the picture. Welcome to the Edge. In fact, so far as I'm concerned . . . you're more than welcome to it.' Gereg earns himself a Grinch Award for his frank review.
Robert M. Tilendis is, however, a fan of Connie Willis and considers her a brilliant satirist. He was ready to love Blackout, and he did for so for the first --'close to brilliant' -- half. Then he realized that, 'this is not the kind of story that can sustain itself for almost five hundred pages,' and found it a great pity indeed.
Fortunately for Robert, he also reviewed Five Odd Honors by Jane Lindskold this outing. He calls it, 'one of the more enjoyable books I've read recently.' Find out why here.
Finally, Leona Wisoker read Ivan and Marya, an ebook from Anna Kashina, for us. She loved the opening, but was disappointed by the work as a whole. 'There's a sense of real potential in this novel, held back by a tendency to stay superficial and aloofly mysterious rather than seriously digging in to the characters and issues presented. Compared to the promise shown in the first few pages, the bulk of Ivan and Marya fell disappointingly flat for me.'
That's all for this time, folks. Join us again in September. The leaves won't be turning yet, and indeed it will still be winter in the farthest south parts of the Building's grounds, but it will be time for a new crop of reviews.
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Kage Baker (1952 to 2010)
J.R.R. Tolkien (1892 to 1973)
Kage Baker reading her
A reading from Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn
Elizabeth Bear reads The Chains that You Refuse
Black 47's 'Liverpool Fantasy'
An excerpt from Paul Brandon's The Wild Reel novel
Emma Bull and Will Shetterly's The War for The Oaks movie trailer
Nicholas Burbridge's 'Open House'
Cats Laughing's 'For It All'
Charles de Lint performing his 'Sam's Song'
Charles de Lint -- Some thoughts on his fiction
Gaelic Storm's 'Kiss Me'
Christopher Golden's 'The Deal'
The opening chapter of The Weaver and The Factory Maid, the first novel in Deborah Grabien's Haunted Ballad series.
An excerpt from Deborah Grabien's Rock & Roll Never Forgets -- A JP Kinkaid Mystery
'The Winter Queen Reel' (played by Roger Landres), composed in honour of Jane Yolen
Chuck Lipsig on 'Star of Munster' variations
McDermott's 2 Hours' 'Fox on the Run'
An excerpt from James Stoddard's 'The High House'
Tinker's Own performing 'The Tinker's Black Kettle', a jig by Charles de Lint from The Little Country
Vagabond Opera's 'Marlehe'
A Vasen tune for your enjoyment
Cathrynne Valente's 'The Surgeon's Wife'
Cathrynne Valente reading a selection titled 'The Tea Maid and The Tailor' from The Orphan's Tales Haunted Ballad
Robin Williamson's 'Five Denials on Merlin's Grave'
Uploaded 21 August 2010 6:20pm PST LLS
Archived 4th September, 2010 5:08 pm Pacific