Earlier this week in episode 23 of the SF Squeecast, Paul Cornell, author of London Falling, spoke about Adrift on the Sea of Rains. I must admit it still feels a bit weird to hear people talking about your book. I was pleased that Paul had picked up on some of the phrases I’d “borrowed” from transcripts of the Apollo missions – “magnificent desolation” is perhaps the most obvious example, but there are others. He had lots of nice things to say about the novella, at one point declaring it “might even be a work of genius”.
He also made a number of points I found interesting inasmuch as they were responses I had not anticipated to the story. It’s already become apparent from comments and reviews that those of a more literary bent prefer Adrift on the Sea of Rains to The Eye With Which The Universe Beholds Itself, and I’d assumed that was as much due to the ending of the former as anything else. Yet Paul Cornell described the ending of Adrift on the Sea of Rains as very much a genre ending. Before The Eye With Which The Universe Beholds Itself was published, I’d seen reviews of Adrift on the Sea of Rains which assumed the story of the second book of the Apollo Quartet followed on immediately – in other words, the story of the first novella wasn’t neatly tied up and resolved, and required more narrative. I’d always thought that constituted a “genre ending”. Science fiction likes its closure. It’s only at the more literary end of the genre that stories are not neatly resolved or explicated. At least, so I’d always believed – though there are exceptions, such as Arthur C Clarke’s Rendezvous With Rama.
Finally, for the record, the second book of the quartet, The Eye With Which The Universe Beholds Itself, is available, and has been since January this year – in limited hardback, paperback, ebook and on Kindle. I’m anticipating the third book, Then Will The Great Ocean Wash Deep Above, will be published some time in late summer – I certainly hope to have it available for the World Fantasy Convention at the end of October 2013.
Oh, and I couldn’t resist the title of this post…