A Book Cover and a Few Other Things for Later
Over the last few years, I’ve been walking quite a lot, mostly along the edge of the sea.
For this, several reasons, but principally because the edges of things are the most exciting places. All these diligent hikes, which often involve a lot of scrambling along, getting soaked by the rain, blown about by the wind and scuffed by the sun, are not just about getting out in the fresh (sometimes very fresh) air.
They are all about entelechy. If, as Michelangelo is purported to have said, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it”, then in every landscape there is embedded a narrative.
So, every hike is not only pretty decent exercise, it is about finding the ley lines of story, the alignments of scale, detail, the juxtapositions of elements, the sub-titling of light and atmosphere, that turn a landscape into an account. Somewhere Hidden somewhere, around a headland or over a hill, are the elements of myth and story. And in every landscape, there is always just the right spot from which to see that view.
Landscapes inevitably remind me of paintings. So, each excursion is a treble one, an energetic hike, a brief glimpse of Story and a stroll through a virtual gallery. Solitary walks can be done in good company.
But, if I’ve piqued your curiosity at all, then I have to apologize. What with the current day job, long hours and simply so much to do, it will have to wait the space of a newsletter or two until I can give the subject the time it deserves. (A classic case of pique and run.)
Thus, as the saying goes, watch this space, especially as we’ve just been in New Zealand’s deep south, where the landscape is wild and most inspiring.
BURNT ICE, by Steve Wheeler is the first in an unassumingly ambitious science fiction series A FURY OF ACES just published by HarperCollinsPublishers Australia. I took on the cover commission because Steve also has a current day job and long hours, and thought, well, if he can write an entire novel in his spare time, I would put on a sad show if I can’t find the time to do a painting for it.
And, of course, a welcome opportunity to try my hand at science-fiction, not a genre I have had a lot of occasions to explore.
It’s a great book, and no, this is NOT just bit of unabashed PR for a friend; it really is good. Like science-fiction is supposed to be, it’s full of unexpected and original concepts; like science fiction often fails to do, the crypto-tech jargon doesn’t have you scratching your head wondering what it means or rummaging through the glossary. (Besides, you really don’t feel like putting down the book for the time it takes to look things up.)
Burnt Ice compares to the series Firefly and the movie Serenity, while situated in a very different universe. It eschews all the currently fashionable tendencies (retro-this and steampunk-that) and relies on solid and very likeable characters, a suitably twisted plot, and just plain old good story-telling. (Okay, I concede, there are creepy aliens. LOTS of creepy aliens. WITH tentacles.) If you’re a card-holding sci-fi aficionado, you’ll love it, if you’re new to science fiction, this could well be the introduction you’ve been waiting for.
As for the ICE in the title, it’s got little to do with H20, but you can find that out for yourselves. (I’m guessing ACES has little to do with card games as well…)
There’s a Facebook page with reviews and such.
Amazon has the Kindle edition.
Or, you can get a real book, with pages, a cover, and so on, directly from the publishers: Burnt Ice.
Steve will be launching BURNT ICE at the Weta Cave in Miramar on Saturday April 14th from noon until 2 pm. A celebration of the book will take place at Wellington Whitcoulls on Lambton Quay (formerly Borders) at 7pm on 1st May. If you’re after signed copies, those are the dates. (For you overseas folks, patience – if the books get the reception they deserve, Steve should become a fixture of sci-fi conventions the world over.)