First day of the month = new issue of Locus. Fresh off the epub press and into my android phone. I’d already browsed a fair amount of it by the time I arrived at work, which is great. Yay, for modern things!
I’ve got a soft spot for Locus. It has a certain style of review, and a sense of design that started off feeling conservative and, if it has modernised at all, it’s been at a glacial pace. But it’s always been a decent connection to what goes on in the business of genre publishing and I mostly enjoy reading it. I used to be a regular subscriber, but the slowness of the overseas mail, the tininess of the type and the fact that it took an hour or two max to read before being discarded on the growing pile of frowsy-looking pulpage made me question my commitment. What it really needed was an e-edition. And not a second too soon, they’ve now launched it. So, I’m back on board.
One of the regular features of Locus that I always enjoyed the most was their annual review of books, where their columnists look back on their favourite books and stories of the previous year and draw up a list of recommended reading that I’ve always taken to be a reasonable barometer of what’s good and what’s happening. So, it was with some surprise that I looked down the various story categories and saw not one story by my absolute favourite writer of the moment – Nina Allan. Sure, she’s mentioned in dispatches and Interzone itself was said to have had a strong year (although only two stories, both by Jim Hawkins, made any of their lists), which makes it all the more baffling to me not to see her name on there somewhere.
I don’t know. I’ve already admitted on this blog that I didn’t read much at all last year, but I did read some, and in endeavouring to catch up on what *is* on the Locus list, it just makes me feel somewhat out of step. I rate Allan’s work higher than most of the currently touted (and recommended) newer writers on the scene. Her touch is defter and her stories less reliant on tidy craftedness and literary heredity than they are on pure instinct. For me an Allan story is immediately identifiable, and there really aren’t that many new writers you can say that about.
None, of which is a complaint – Locus rightly precede their list with disclaimers about how it’s arrived at, and it’s as valid a process as any. I just feel either I’m missing something, or the rest of the world is.