A great interview with writer David Hambling!
David Hambling is an author and science/technology journalist based in South London. He writes for New Scientist magazine, The Economist, WIRED, Popular Mechanics, The Guardian newspaper and others. 2018 will see the release of “Master of Chaos”, fourth in the Harry Stubbs series of Mythos adventures, as well as the nonfiction “We: Robot – The robots that are changing the world” …both of them are pretty scary.
InThe Elder Ice, Harry, a former heavyweight boxer and sometime debt collector now working for a legal firm, is on the trail of a valuable legacy left by Ernest Shackleton (a real-life polar explorer from Norwood). Shackleton died in 1922 leaving huge debts, and also hints of a valuable find; Harry is looking for the reality behind those hints.
The Elder Ice is a novella, and a taster for the rest of the series. It is succeeded by Broken Meats, Alien…
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My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I went into this book pretty excited. The premise sounded like a lot of fun, and I liked Mamatas’ The Damned Highway. Unfortunately, this was a 3 star book for various reasons that only managed to get its fourth star from me because I did find myself regularly compelled to continue turning the page just for the murder mystery plot.
Unlike other reviewers, I mostly enjoyed the protagonist, Colleen Danzig. The parts that bothered me revolved around the victim’s point of view. Originally, those chapters were very entertaining and promised a very Lovecraftian answers. I felt that the story never delivered on those answers.
Once again, the murder mystery plot was very good, and felt like an homage to Poirot or Sherlock.
What Mamatas did, and what I think makes me uncomfortable enough to lose enjoyment during this novel, was write a novel aimed at the very specific audience of the Lovecraft crowd, and then use that sniper focus to shine a jaded mirror on that very same crowd, all while stating very plainly in that reflection that they are all whiney and opinionated enough that if they complained there would be no validity to their man-baby cries. My question is why someone would pick a target audience to write to and then insult it.
The answer, that I suspect, was that Mamatas was going for realism, but from the point of view of a fan who was tired of his fandom’s more negative people. If you’re a fan of Ghostbusters, Star Wars, or just about any series that’s been rebooted or sequeled in the last few years, than you’ve probably experienced similar feelings. You want to enjoy the medium, but when you go online, have a conversation with someone, go onto a Facebook group, or actually go to a CON than you’ll run into so many people that are adamantly argumentative about things you thought were just fun.
You can see this also in Mamatas’ mention of the Indie Author crowd. He brings up how getting found doesn’t mean anything other than a few more bucks and maybe a movie deal that won’t ever happen. How everyone with a pen makes an anthology or a publishing house. He complains from the perspective of someone who’s tired of hearing everyone else complain.
And he gets kind of mean about it.
I get it, there are a ton of stereotypes regarding the fans of Lovecraft, and honestly, I’ve never attended more than one convention-styled event, in a guy’s basement, filled with some of the stereotypes described in his book. The problem was that this book comes across as an angry “letter to the editor” about the fandom, his dislike of the conventions, and the people that he’s been stuck at his author booths talking to. As if he wrote this on a grumpier day in his career.
The last page of the book, the Acknowledgements, even states “First I must thank Jeremy Lassen, whose desire for one more Mythos novel from me inspired this book. He will never ask again, clearly.” And then he ends it with “As it turns out, writing a novel is a lonely business.”
Wow, that’s just bleak as Hell.
But the plot for the murder mystery was great. There’s a great story in this book and for that alone I think this novel deserved praise. Mamatas obviously wanted to put forth a good story.
It’s just unfortunate that his good story got mired in his hate letter to his fans.
Happy New Year!
I graduated college on December 22, 2007. On December 31, 2007, I uprooted my entire life in New York and was putting a key into my new apartment in Marion, Iowa by January 1st, 2008.
To commemorate my decade anniversary as an Iowan, I dug up old Facebook posts.
A lot has happened since these old posts. A lot. As I enter into 2018, I can’t help but be excited for what life will throw at me in the next decade. I’m happier now than I have been in my entire life and am married to the most wonderful person I have ever met. Iowa has brought me happiness this last 10 years. I’m so excited for it to continue.
To be entirely honest, my writing has suffered since October. NaNoWriMo wasn’t anywhere near the success that it usually is for me. My only real excuse is distraction and blogging (you’re welcome, by the way), which is it’s own distraction.
That being said, I haven’t stopped planning out writing projects and thought I would give an update on those and where they are with proposed completion dates. Nothing like a deadline to give you something else to feel guilty about ignoring. Of course, the goal is to get these done way before their deadlines. But…best laid plans of mice and men, yadda yadda…
- Satan’s Salesman: Deadline 12/25/2017
This book has taken me a long time to write, and I’m finally nearing the end of it. I think the slowness of my writing this story has been entirely due to already knowing where it ends and how much of it is very close to real work that I’ve done (not selling souls, but selling in general). I’ve hashed it all out with multiple people, I’ve talked it up and ironed it all out, and the story is done as far as my notes are concerned. I just need to sit down and finish it. Another 10-20k words and that should do it. Aiming to finish this one by Christmas.
- Super Secret Mythos Project: Deadline 03/30/2018
Not a lot that I can say about this right now. It was born out of a collaborative discussion with friends/fellow mythos buffs. We’ve drawn parameters, we’ve set the schedule, and now we’re bringing it home. Stay tuned and prepare for awesome Lovecraftian writing!
- Andrew Doran Book 3: Deadline ASAP, but 04/26/2018 (I’m racing the birth of my first child with this one)
I started Andrew Doran Book 3 a while ago and was serializing it on the blog Shoggoth.net. I reread those first two chapters and wasn’t entirely excited about the direction it was headed. I’m going to re-use a lot of what’s in them, but changes are necessary. Book 3 will follow Andrew and Nancy as they hunt for the Book of Eibon. Most importantly, I’m super excited to be diving back into Andrew Doran’s head.
- The Multiverse Protection Bureau: Deadline 08/30/2018 (never had a kid before, all dates after Andrew Doran are subject to adjustment)
I had this idea about a month ago and fell in love with it almost immediately. The idea is pretty simple, X-files/Men in Black, but with Parallel worlds. The idea is to have fun playing with the science fiction concept, while also being able to play in multiple genres. It’s a series that will entirely be fun to write as well as an exercise in genre hopping while staying safely within science fiction. This will be a series.
- Broken Nights Spin-Off: Deadline 2018
If you haven’t read Broken Nights: Strange Worlds, than you haven’t met Coven yet. Well, she’s a kickass witch who is home to the souls of her entire coven. One person, 8 witches, all in one body. And she’s too kickass to be a cameo in Jason Night’s story. So I’m bringing her to her own book with my brother’s blessing.
- Broken Nights Book 3: Deadline 2018
Mike is writing notes RIGHT NOW… Right, Mike? Right…?