There have been some lovely reviews (and sort of not reviews) of my work around this week. I am grateful for all of them! Having books which are talked about is an utterly joyful thing. Feel free to skip if any mention of my books is making you roll your eyes at this point. I promise plenty of Xena, Agatha Christie and gender politics blogging to come!
Over at Salon Futura, Cheryl Morgan says some excellent things about Power and Majesty. I was astonished to hear she was reading and reviewing it at all, since it’s not a book generally available outside Australia and New Zealand. (an email this week made me crazy happy, from a US reader who heard about me from a guest blog I wrote last year, asked his parents who were travelling through NZ to pick up a copy of P&M for me, and they did so after visiting 3 different shops to find it – how awesome is that? Luckily he liked the book, otherwise that would have been embarrassing) Cheryl calls me brave in my writing choices, and has some beautiful explanation of what my books actually do. She also provides some very grabbable quotes:
“Fans of Storm Constantine might find a lot to interest them in this collection of fashionable, sexy, dangerous misfits.”
“As fans of the Galactic Suburbia podcast might expect, it is also a feminist book. “
Publishers are always complaining that they can’t find anything new, fresh and interesting to offer their audiences, and yet this book is not available in the UK or USA. I cannot for the life of me understand why.
I always feel guilty when people overseas want to get hold of my work and can’t, at least not easily. Here’s hoping Creature Court is snapped up by one of those lovely US or UK publishers who agree with Cheryl that it should be more widely available!
A little closer to home, Random Alex has reviewed (or rather, not-reviewed) Love and Romanpunk – I’m glad she did write up her thoughts about this book, given that I dedicated it to her and all, but completely understand her hesitation to claim it as a real review. Still, at least she declares her biases! I think my favourite bit in the post is her response to what I did with Caligula in “Julia Agrippina’s Secret Family Bestiary,” which I will quote here because the other review of this book I’m going to quote from didn’t like that story at all (YES, BEN, LOOKING AT YOU):
“The first story in this collection is “Julia Agrippina’s Secret Bestiary.” It gives a potted history of the Caesar family… with added monsters. I really enjoyed Tansy’s characterisation of the various members of this crazy family. She captures an essence, I think, of the various emperors and their wives/sisters/mothers that actually rings quite true. I particularly liked that although Gaius – Caligula – is shown to be a bit nuts eventually, he’s handled much more sensitively than most other fictional representations bother. Of course. And the monsters made a bizarre sort of sense; they fit in delightfully well with the overall vibe of the story.”
Then there’s Ben Payne’s review – and all teasing aside, Ben is one of those people whom I absolutely rely on to be honest about what he likes and doesn’t like about my work. He’s also been reading me & paying attention to my short fiction for a lot longer than most people – having edited my work before he even knew me, back in the old Andromeda Spaceways days!
Which is why this bit, in particular, bowled me over:
“I have been thinking for a while about how to best sum up Love and Romanpunk. In some ways it delivered what I expected, but in others it surprised me. I expected this book to be smart, to know its history, to have a sense of fun, and some laughs, and some steamy romance. Those things are almost Tansy trademarks. And it does have all those things, but in the end, all of those things felt almost peripheral to the things I liked most about the collection.
What’s not often talked about, with Tansy’s writing, is the fact that there is a real emotional courage to her best works, a sense that she is ready to get into her gumboots and rubber gloves and muck about in the messiest, ugliest, most confusing of human emotions and relationships, and to try to find a path through them. It’s that depth of emotion, sometimes sweet, but just as often brutal and painful, that drives the best of these stories into being something a cut above the majority of works out there. The fact that they are also smart, and fun, is just the icing on the cake.”
With comments like that, I can totally forgive him for not liking my Agrippina story!
There haven’t been many reviews for The Shattered City yet, though it is interesting to note how many people are reading and reviewing P&M now that the second book is out. I have been eyeing the responses on Goodreads, though. Would it be far too self-indulgent to put up a post where people who have read Book #2 could comment about the surprisey bits without worrying about spoiling anyone?