I'm meeting for the first time this eminent doctor whose field crosses into mine:
"Ah, C.! I'm so glad to meet you, I've heard so much about you.
- So glad to meet you too, Dr Y.
- And what are you reading at the moment?
- Oh, scifi as usual."
There is a moment of blind panic in her eyes and she doesn't say a word for a few seconds. I think I've been suddenly hit by a magical power because I can hear all her thoughts: "Did C. say 'scifi'? Is it really C.? But I was told C. had an agrégation in Modern Literature!"
She dismisses what I've just said with a blink and, barely skipping a beat, goes on to explain to me that she is currently reading Anna Karenina and loving it while I am silently howling with laughter...
You have to imagine Azzie and C. lounging on a sofa, a cup of tea in their hands, a big TV screen in a corner of the cozy room and bookshelves in another, both deep in a conversation that actually began years ago and that will probably go on for many years to come. Come on, step closer: you're welcome and there's still room on the sofa...
I've been faithfully following the Arthur C. Clarke Award for years, mainly because I often agree that their winner was worthy. It may not be the best reason to do it, but it's also a sure way for me to discover new authors, new novels that I know in advance that I'll like.
The contrary is also true: sometimes, after having read a novel that has been shortlisted, I wonder why the heck did that book ever arrived on that shortlist.
But I always make a point of reading the shortlist and last year I even reviewed three of them (Children of Time, The Book of Phoenix and Arcadia, which were, in my opinion, the most interesting novels on it).
So it's always with some trepidation that I wait for the submission list first, then the shortlist.
And hurray, the submission list has been published today! It may not be a longlist, but there are always novels worth discovering on it that won't make it to the shortlist.
Here are a few thoughts, short reviews and predictions...
It all began when Leigh and C. embarked on a complete re-read of Terry Pratchett's Discworld (speak his name). After having been fans for decades, we knew what to expect from a Sir Terry's novel: wit, a thought challenging story, great characters and no chapters.
But when we read again The Colour of Magic (and it was the first time we were re-reading it in years), the chapters jarred a bit. When, after months of reading, we reached Going Postal, the chapters were back, and since we had gone for about 20 books without, it seemed even more shocking and, along with Ian, we wondered how much chapters influenced our reading.
"While we were reading" is an irregular feature about reading science-fiction and fantasy. Nothing fancy, come as you are.
It is also home to all the Subjective Chaos Kind of Awards announcements.