Friday, December 28, 2007

Wait, Are You Telling Me The Internet Is Interactive?

So. Well. Huh.

Apparently my recent post about Ha'penny, by Jo Walton, was read by the author herself. And then blogged. I noticed because of an insane bump in my blog stats on December 26. You don't go from the loyal 5-8 readers I have (hi, Linden! hi, Lynne!) to the 102 who came to visit me without wondering how exactly THAT happens.

So after I stopped screaming and crawled out from under the kitchen table, I started to think about what was in the post and pray that, even if I disappointed Ms. Walton, that at least I hadn't embarrassed myself. I mean, on the off chance that Stephen King finds his way here someday, I stand by my declaration that he needs a more aggressive editor. But I have been known to say things that are rather less thoughtful and more impassioned than is truly necessary.

I'm not going to backpedal, because I said what I think about the book. The ending depressed me--I was invested in the conspiracy, and who wouldn't be invested in killing Hitler? The ending depressed me so much, I woke up the next morning and felt depressed when I thought of the book again. I even felt extra-depressed when reading Exodus later, because I kept forgetting that we won World War II. But I don't think I can claim that writing a depressing book is a failure, even if I am a five-year-old child when it comes to happy endings.

I'd like to reiterate how much I adored Farthing. You should really read it, and I'm not saying this because Jo Walton knows my URL. Tooth and Claw was fabulous, too--a spot-on perfect, excellent, marvelous novel--practically Jane Austen with dragons. And, even more, I am indescribably excited to learn that there is going to be a third book in the Small Change series (her name for it, also called Still Life with Fascists), in which I absolutely insist that Carmichael be redeemed. It is possible that, after reading the third book, I'll be okay with Ha'penny as a second act.

I hope it doesn't sound wishy-washy coming back to this. I throw this blog out into the void (Hi, Kris! Hi, Becky!), and I feel like this situation calls for more precision. And for a big shout-out to Jo Walton, who's going to be the Guest of Honor at the 2009 annual meeting of the New England Science Fiction Association here in Boston. Maybe I'll show up to shake her hand--if she'll have me.


Kris said...

You is teh famous!!! I think I'm proud!
I'll tell you how Giraffe ends, but only if you don't enlarge my booklist at lunch. Wait, that's not really likely--I guess I'll be nice and tell you anyway :)

Jo Walton said...

Sorry I embarrassed you. I ego-google. I'm surprised 102 people bothered to look, but I suppose it's a quiet time of year.

I wanted to link to your post because, as I said, what you said is pretty much what I expected all the reviews to say -- Viola isn't as nice as Lucy, this is very depressing, and I've seen this world already. I've been quite surprised that a lot of people seem to like it. I wasn't offended at all.

I ego-google because I'm interested to see people's real reactions. If you ever think I'm going senile or need editing, please go ahead and say so. (I'm not saying I'd necessarily do anything about it. But I'd think about it.) I tend to consider bad reviews are reviews that didn't understand the book, (T&C got some of those!) not ones like yours.

Oh, and I am well aware that Ha'Penny is depressing. I tried to put in a glimmer of hope -- you should have seen the first version! And I disagree with the people on my journal who said "it's Act 2, cope". Books have to stand alone -- well, maybe book 5 of a 7 part epic doesn't, but these three are supposed to.

Anyway, Half a Crown has a nicer narrator (Elvira Royston, aged 18) and a mostly hopeful if not happy ending. That's if I made it work, which I do not guarantee.

Jo Walton