Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Back in the Saddle Again...

... though still a bit sore. *wince*

Just came from a three-day hiatus over the weekend to attend a baptism ceremony in the lovely province of Bicol . Yes, the burbling Mayon volcano was there but you can't see it from where we were (Naga City). Was sorry that I couldn't pick up a lava rock or two though nor visit the haunting ruins of Cagsawa Church.

And despite the fact that I like driving, there's something to be said about driving for 6 and a half hours on Friday night (1 a.m. to 7 a.m. though we finally got there 'round 9 because Quirino highway was pockmarked like the moon) and then 9 hours last Monday (1 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. because we took the scenic route thru Daet to avoid that blasted highway). And then there was the rain and the roaring trucks and buses intent on running you off the road and...

At least my sty cleared up by that time.

Seen in the Wild:

I don't think skinny will believe this but I actually saw another copy of Barry Hughart's hard-to-find Bridge of Birds in a secondhand bookshop. This is reportedly a classic, set in a fantastical version of ancient China, about a wise-cracking wizened old man who plays detective and his bumbling peasant side-kick.

Also, I saw a copy of Richard Matheson's collection of short stories, Shock II. Some may know Matheson for his books-turned-movies, Stir of Echoes, The Incredible Shrinking Man, Somewhere in Time and What Dreams May Come. Of course, for me, nothing beats his last-man-on-earth-full-of-vampires: I Am Legend.


skinnyblackcladdink said...

you forgot to mention I Am Legends' on-screen adaptation, The Omega Man.

re: hughart, yes, i don't believe you.

damnit. but that's ok. you're hanging onto a copy for me, right? heh.

guile said...

whoa, i didn't know matheson had short story collections.. hmm..

banzai cat said...

Of course not. Though I've heard mention that the movie is quite different from the book, which makes me leery of looking for a copy.

Don't worry about the copy; I've etched your name on it-- with a branding iron! :-D

guile: I know. I didn't know either. If you like, it's available in the Booksale branch in SM Sta Mesa.

Eldritch00 said...

Hey, I also saw that copy of Shock II in the same branch! BTW, Powerbooks Megamall has Tim Pratt's Little Gods (and the Night Shade TPB of Iain M. Banks's The Algebraist). The former's really expensive though: PhP 995 for a TPB. At least they're on sale this month...

skinnyblackcladdink said...

supposedly, they emphasized the "sci" part in "sci-fi" with the movie...but i haven't seen it either, so i can't swear by that.

still, it's supposed to be a worthy adaptation, despite being different.

pbooks sucks. i got duped into spending a ton (for me and me wallet) on books last monday coz the salesperson at powerbooks told me it was the last frickin' day of the sale, but it turns out it's a month-long thing.

(alright if i say frickin' here? sorry if not)

sucks more coz that means i should probably avoid powerbooks for the rest of the month.


banzai cat said...

eldritch: Mmm, Tim Pratt, is it? Must check that out. Fortunately, I haven't gotten a copy of Banks' Algebraist so when I saw that lovely Nightshade edition in PB Shang, I stopped myself from getting it. But just barely. ;-)

Btw, was that the same Shocks you mentioned in your journal?

skinny: Hehe as for their sale, tell me about it. I have a PB postcard telling me I could have a 30% discount and I've been calculating furiously which book I can save on.

And don't fricking worry about fricking saying fricking anything here. It's all fricking fine. :-D

Eldritch00 said...

Aha! Someone just said Powerbooks sucks. Okay, I have my own such story, although skinny's story is still more irritating than mine:

I ordered a book from them once, and they told me it was a special order and gave me a price higher than what they would sell it for. Okay, fine.

A week after I picked it up when it arrived, I saw copies of it turn up, at their usual lower-than-SRP price. It's almost as if they used me as an unwitting purchaser.

I still buy what's on their shelves, but I don't think I'll ever place any orders again.

I've liked what I've read of Pratt online, but I'm not sure if I'm picking up Little Gods for that price. (You should use your 30% for that!)

Now if it was that Rangergirl novel of his that was available on the shelves, then I would have gotten it.

They also had a hardcover of Ramsey Campbell's latest novel. I would have picked it up if it were supernatural, but it's not, so I think I'll just wait for it on paperback, if ever.

(Which is not to say his non-supernatural work is bad, by the way, though I've only read one. I just prefer his supernatural novels.)

I would love to further support Night Shade, but I'm afraid I've gotten the Orbit editions of Banks's work, so I'll be matching my stock. They also had it in that edition.

(And there's an old edition of Against a Dark Background in BookSale Cubao...against the wall, horizontally with some non-fiction titles.)

The Shocks that was mentioned in my LJ was volume three. If you see that, let me know. That Irishman Peter has had no luck finding a copy in Dublin.

Kitty Litter said...

Ack! I think I visit your blog to drool and to shame myself into buying more books. These days all I read are, well, things to proof and copyedit. Lovely irony-now that I work for a newspaper I don't read the papers; does that happen to you too?

Your blog is evolving into a juicy book review. Any chance of lowbrow stuff appearing here? ;)

skinnyblackcladdink said...

hey bc. just thought i'd point you and your lurkers/fellow blogfiends to an investigation i just now started. it's at


and to anyone snickering out there, i'm actually quite serious about this.

thanks much!

banzai cat said...

eldritch: Heh. We are all consumer cattle to them.

Something similar happened to me with FullyBooked except that I didn't really order something; rather, they just included a number of the book I was looking for in their next shipment. That's not so bad, is it? Except that no one told me about it and I only found out when I saw the books on their shelves already. Sheesh.

On Pratt, I already have his Ranger Girl on hand so I guess one book's a good way to try a writer, right? On the other hand, my books on Banks' Culture is mostly the old Bantam Spectra paperback so I figure anything goes for non-Culture. (Geez, what to justify!)

Lastly, I'll keep an eye out for the Shocks III. ;-)

kitty: Lady, we're so low-brow, we can mop the floor when we nod our heads! :-D

Seriously, am actually feeling guilty haven't been doing enough book reviews lately. Though of course am more liable to review a genre book than a lit one: am sure everyone knows that. ;-)

skinny: Am actually getting worried about that. Hrmmm...

Eldritch00 said...

Speaking of book reviews, I'm pretty guilty of just gushing over what I read (or talking about covers and stuff) without offering any sort of critical insight into the text itself.

Did you tell Fully Booked that you were looking for that book, and they didn't tell you? That's not as bad, I guess, though it's rather fortunate that the copies didn't run out before you were able to check the shelves.

I know reading online is really anathema to you, but I'll place this link here anyway! But you're right, since you've got Pratt's novel on hand, that's as good a way as any to try him out.

Which of Banks's work do you already have?

And thanks for keeping an eye out for Shocks III.

If you saw my reply to your LJ comment, there are a couple of Le Carre novels I'm hunting for, by the way, and yes, once again, I'm looking for a specific edition. (But let me know if any copies turn up.)

banzai cat said...

eldritch: That's actually one thing I want to improve on my book reviews. You know, make it more than a "it's good/it's bad" kinda review. Unfortunately, I've never taken a lit class in my life so I just have to make realizations about the book on my own. *sigh*

(For incisive book reviews, check out jp's stuff. He's pretty good at it.)

As for Fully-Booked, the funny thing is that nobody else was buying the stuff so am free to take my time. Unfortunately, they're missing a book in the series and so have put off getting it first. That and am not sure if I should continue collecting it. But that's a post for another day.

On Banks, I've read two (Use of Weapons and Against a Dark Background) and have two others to-be read (Excession and Look to Windward). I'm trying for a uniform look so am holding out for the Bantam Spectra instead of buying the British editions.

On the other hand, I actually remember seeing The Honorable Schoolboy but not the edition you're looking for. Sorry but the Intarnet's been acting up again in LJ-land such that it thinks am a bloody spammer. Will try later. :-P

Eldritch00 said...

BC: Your reviews are definitely not just the "it's good/it's bad" variety! We can't all be John Clute, after all, but don't underestimate yours.

And yes, JP's reviews make my mind reel (in a good way, of course).

What book was that (in your Fully Booked story) anyway?

As for Banks, fantastic! Use of Weapons and The Player of Games seem to be the fan favorites of the Culture novels. Those are the ones I don't have (well, I'm also lacking the rather strange Inversions). I almost got them in A Different Bookstore Greenhills, but when I came back, someone bought them all except for the ones I already have: Consider Phlebas and Excession.

I also have The State of the Art and Look to Windward. I just got that last one from my girlfriend's trip to Singapore so it's unread at the moment, but the other three are all good, especially Excession and the collection.

As for The Honourable Schoolboy, I may just have to settle for whatever edition I can find. After all my Le Carres are a smorgasbord set anyway (and yeah, I'll be posting pictures of those, too).

banzai cat said...

Hehe thanks. It was a book by Chaz Brenchley, Shadow of the King's Tower, or something like that.

Funny enough, my Look to Windward is a different edition from my other Bantam Spectra books as well as being hardbound but this is fine as supposedly this book is his latest Culture.

As for le Carre, please do so I can figure out which books you already have. ;-)

Eldritch00 said...

Chaz Brenchley...another writer I've read about but haven't actually read.

A hardcover of Look to Windward! Wow! Was it the UK edition from Orbit or the US edition from Simon and Schuster? And where did you find it?! You're right that it's his latest Culture novel. Some say that it reads as if it will be the last, though I think Banks never actually said it was going to be.

*chuckles* About Le Carre, yes, I'll post the covers soon, though for now, the only ones I'm looking for are The Honourable Schoolboy and Smiley's People. The others I don't have can wait until I whittle down what I do already own! Thanks for the help during the hunt!

banzai cat said...

Really? Banks' last? I actually found it during NBS' spate of hardbound books sale. I think it's the US edition (Tor?). Funny enough, my collection is limited to the Bantam Spectra paperback editions but since it was his latest, I figured this was okay.

On the other hand, Brenchley is primarily a fantasy writer from the UK though I haven't really read his stuff yet. I wanted to check out his book after seeing the 2nd book on FB shelves when they first opened.

P.S. I know Tim Lebbon has come out with a fantasy series but I was wondering how his horror writing rates?

Eldritch00 said...

I don't think it's his last, and Banks did say he'll return to the Culture universe someday, but as far as I remember, he's going to be doing non-Culture SF for a while. A few fans of his have also described Look to Windward as having a feel that's rather elegiac, too.

I've only read one Lebbon novel called Face, and while that was pretty good, his shorts and novellas are waaaaay better.

I recently read a four-novella collection called Fears Unnamed, and that was a wonderful sampler of his horror fiction.

I've also read some other stories of his in various anthologies here and there, and while there hasn't been a lot, I haven't been disappointed. I'm still itching to order the two Night Shade collections he has so far.

banzai cat said...

Huh. Which reminds me that I still have a long way to go before I finish Banks' Culture books.

On the other hand, your assessment of Lebbon's book doesn't bode well of his fantasy one, methinks.

But that reminds me, when you buy the small-press collections, how much do you normally spend? Am thinking of getting a couple, including Joe Hill's award-winning one. (Yep, Stephen King's kid.) Have you read any of his stuff?

Eldritch00 said...

I hope that when you get around to reading more of the Culture novels, you end up enjoying them more and more just as I do.

I'm not sure about Lebbon's fantasy works at all--it's not really my genre, so my interest is really more in his horror fiction. A lot of people seem to like it a lot though.

I've been wanting to get Joe Hill's collection, too, and Subterranean's coming out with a novel of his. (Has it really been confirmed that he's Stephen King's kid?) I've read a story or two, and he does seem like a writer worth checking out.

I get my small-press titles from Amazon.Com--paying my Mum who pays my Aunt who orders them and has them sent to her in Glendale until they accumulate with other stuff to send in a balikbayan box.

That's my long-winded way of saying that I pay the discounted Amazon.Com rates, converted according to the current peso-dollar exchange rate.

I haven't actually ordered some through Booktopia yet, though I'm planning to, especially the ones that aren't available on Amazon.Com. As it is, most of what I have are from Night Shade and Subterranean.