Just Arrived, 3/19/10
Posted on March 19, 2010 Posted by John Scalzi 14 Comments
Some of these are actually a few days old, but, hey, dude, my house has been a shambles for the last week, okay? Okay, then:
* Sweater Quest: My Year of Knitting Dangerously, by Adrienne Martini (Free Press): When Krissy was pregnant with Athena, both she and I decided to try our hand at knitting, and very quickly thereafter both of us stopped trying our hand at knitting, because neither of us could figure it out and we were likely to use the knitting needles to stab something instead. So I have a baseline level of being impressed with knitters, because they seemingly do quite easily something I very failed at. In Sweater Quest, Martini not only knits but attempts one of knitting’s supreme challenges: A Mary Tudor sweater, the mere mention of which apparently gives knitters the sweats. The book tracks that, plus explores the world of knitting — a world which, anecdotally, has a significant overlap with science fiction geeks, considering how many of them I know who knit (Martini herself writes for SF/F outlets). As noted, I’m not a knitter and likely never will be, but I did read through this book and enjoyed it as an exploration of a well-loved yet sometimes-frustrating hobby, which I think is something everyone can identify with (I know I can). It comes out next Tuesday, so now you know what to get that knitter in your life.
* Ship Breaker, by Paolo Bacigalupi (Little, Brown): Paolo tries his hand at YA, and the resulting novel is unsurprisingly good, and full of the world-run-down-y-ness that has become his trademark. I was sent a galley of the draft for possible blurbing and indeed liked it enough to blurb it, although you’ll have to wait for May 2010 to find out precisely what I said. By that time Paolo may have picked up a Hugo nod to go with his Nebula nod for The Wind Up Girl. Not a bad year for Paolo, I’d say.
* Blood of the Demon, by Diana Rowland (Bantam): The second of Rowland’s series featuring Kara Gillian, a cop with supernatural gifts, searching for a killer who doesn’t just murder people, but eats their souls. Which is just rude, if you ask me. Diana, incidentally, is also running for South/Central Regional Representative in the current SFWA election and has my endorsement, because she would be just plain awesome in that role. So if you’re in SFWA, consider voting for her. If you’re not in SFWA, well, hey, look: A book! Which is out now.
* Not My Boy! by Rodney Peete (Hyperion): Former NFL player and current football commentator Peete’s memoir of his son’s autism and his own coming to terms with the autism and his work to connect to his son and connect him to the world. Out now.
* Fire Will Fall, by Carol Plum-Ucci (Harcourt): Prinz-winning author Plum-Ucci with the sequel to 2008’s Streams of Babel, in which four teens affected by bioterrorism try to deal with the fallout (so to speak) of their affliction while others race to find the cure. Out in May.
* Bitter Seeds, by Ian Tregellis (Tor): It’s the eve of World War II! Are the Nazis up to no good? Well, if they weren’t, they really wouldn’t be Nazis, now, would they. But what they’re up to no good with this time? Scary horrible mutant technology! And it’s up to the warlocks of Britain to stop them! I mean, obviously, right? This (clearly) fantasy-history telling of WWII will be the subject of a Big Idea in April.
* Dragonfly Falling, by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Pyr): The follow up to Empire of Black and Gold. This time two unlikely heroes have to warn their city of an encroaching menance. But will they be believed in time? Out in April.
Good for Paolo, he’s good people. What’s his new book about?
I started knitting myself last year and pleased to say I’m still at it. I’ve done a lot of dishcloths and now I’m working on a winter hat for my sister. Need some dishcloths John?
I taught myself to knit from a book when I was 12; I still have the first piece I made. I suspect it’s the kind of skill that’s easier mastered while young; I taught myself to crochet in my 20’s and that took YEARS.
I remember sitting in the bar with Paulo at a con a couple of years ago. He talked about this book. I know my kid will love it.
Will definitely have to pick up the Sweater Quest book. It looks like she’s doing a local signing at Porter Square Books, so I’ll probably go to that. Thanks for the heads up.
I noticed that you did not mention the name of the designer of the Mary Tudor sweater. It’s Alice Starmore – infamous in the knitting world for not only her amazing design work, but demanding that websites remove photos that people had posted of themselves wearing sweaters that they had knit from her designs. This was in the 1999-2001ish era. Completely out of line for US copyright law (she is based in Scotland), but it made a lot of people’s lives truly miserable. Her usenet fan-group had to change their name to avoid “infringing her trademark” and she generally became as She Who Cannot Be Named on the internet.
The really sad thing is that this was just before the explosion of knitblogs, etc. Her pulling all her books out of print over copyright infringement fears and selling only her work only in kits of combined yarn and pattern (which run $200 and up) means that there is a whole generation of young knitters who have no idea of who she is. I brought a few of her books to work to show some friends and they were blown away. But they don’t have access to her patterns, US stores don’t carry much of the Shetland yarn anymore. It’s just sad.
Hope this isn’t too OT. Just wanted to add some background on why the long term internet knitting crowd is probably double-interested in this book.
Thanks so much for the mention, John. I appreciate it.
And not to hijack the thread but: for the knitting neepery folk – Alice Starmore’s stance on copyright, etc., gets a good going over, too. It’s a fascinating topic and one that dovetails nicely with current questions about who owns what online.
I read a lot. Anything that comes to hand really. I rarely say “I’ve got to read this book” but Sweater Quest sounds like a must read.
I see that there is a kindle version. Are there illustrations etc., that aren’t rendered in the e-version? I’d hate to miss anything.
Bitter Seeds a fantasy? Certain witches believed they had prevented the invasion of Britain in World War II by letting a couple of (volunteer) old folk die of cold during a ritual aimed at Hitler in 1940.
I can’t wait for the Indian Rationalist Association to send out missionaries, though they have a big job at home.
Near as I can tell, the ebook is the same as the paper book.
Thanks Adrienne – I always thought that was a weird little corner of internet history that needed exploring. Look forward to coming to the Boston reading – will round up my knitting group as well.
Thanks Adrienne. I just pre-ordered it.
I’m a long time crocheter and band new knitter.
I’d never heard of the Mary Tudor so I did some googling… a copy of the pattern book runs $150 to $200! They are gorgeous sweaters, but not that gorgeous.
I’ll be putting Sweater Quest on my to read list.
Thanks, y’all. And I’d love to see you in Boston, Mary Arrrr. There will be prizes.
Just wanted to tell you in non-obnoxious fashion that you’ve got a minor typo at the latter end of this sentence: “So I have a baseline level of being impressed with knitters, because they seemingly do quite easily something I very failed at.” Thought you’d want to know. Thanks for keeping all of us informed of what’s good in bookland.