28th April – Holiday

I’m sat in the sheepskin-lined depths of a leather-backed chair, afternoon sun warming my right arm and casting a slightly annoying glare on the laptop screen, somewhat ruining the poetic image I had going. A bird is tweeting in the right tempo to put the ‘Rolling, rolling, rolling, rawhide!’ song in my head. I am tired, I have nothing to do, and I am loving it.

The girlfriend and I are on holiday, visiting her grandparents in Copenhagen. It is a delightful place, and I would strongly recommend it to anyone and everyone. More than that, I would highly recommend a holiday every once in a while – with the summer busy-ness approaching at work, this was a very necessary break from the norm.

I haven’t done as much holiday reading as I expected to, but that usually happens. I’m not complaining – we’ve been to Copenhagen’s wonderful zoo, its brand-new aquarium, and the famed Tivoli Gardens, which I would highly recommend. But these delightful jaunts have meant that I have only really been reading in the mornings.

My poison of choice was Paolo Bacigalupi’s Pump Six and Other Stories, a collected anthology of his short fiction I picked up in the first ebook Humble Bundle (which was a seriously great bundle, by the way). I read and loved The Wind-up Girl a couple of years ago, and Pump Six… is of the same exceedingly high quality. Most of the stories explore the ethics and consequences of bioengineering, and are told with a deft hand. Many of the stories are really touching and quite sad. I’m not exactly a futurist, but I do tend to look on the optimistic side of technological developments, and these stories certainly made me stop and pause. It is not at all hard to see why they have all been nominated for so many Hugos and suchlike (he said, with unfettered professional jealousy!)

Seeing as how I’ve been inspired, and on holiday, my mind is turning back to stories. I’ve started something in my Reconstruction setting that is, frankly, a lot darker than anything I usually go for, and I’m curious to see where it goes. But I’m now thinking that I would like to do something similar to Pump Six… for The War of Nations – a themed anthology of short stories that introduces the world and my take on steampunk (the comparison to Pump Six is rather self-aggrandising, I’ll admit, but I’m nothing if not ambitious).

You may notice that this blog post was written several weeks ago. That is because I didn’t want this to be yet another ‘And now a whole new thing that I’m going to do!’ posts; I need to protect my fragile ego until I actually have something to show off.

Anyway, this is rambling a bit, and I should actually spend this delightful holiday time actually writing.