Thursday, May 12, 2005

To Be Reviewed, Forthwith

For about two years now, I've been wanting to read City of Saints and Madmen, by Jeff VanderMeer. Normally, I would just go to Amazon (or the above linked publisher) and try to find the earliest hardback edition, and dig in. The problem is, their are several editions, some out of print, others almost so, all with different amounts of material between the covers. See, the book is a collection of interrelated short stories and novellas, to which the author keeps adding new stories. Which is great but hard for me to get ahold of when there's no definitive edition. Well, back in March, on his blog, Mr. VanderMeer announced that Tor had just released what he assured us in comments was the definitive edition. In the UK. It won't be out here in the US until Spring '06. So, I had resigned myself to having to wait a whole nother year to read what, by now has been blown up in my imagination as a compelling mystery. Who are the gray caps? What's the deal with that squid?

Then, about two weeks ago, Mr. VanderMeer posted on his blog a link to the website of Clair Weaver, who is handling publicity of the UK release of the book. I followed the link, more out of curiosity to see what a publicists website would look like than anything, and was surprised to find, at the bottom of the page, an email link that said in quiet, understated British fashion, that if we'd like to receive a review copy of the book, just send her an email. So I did.

I said that I was a librarian who reviewed books on his blog and often made unsolicited recommendations to passing strangers, who often ran away, glancing nervously over their shoulder at the strange man dressed all in black throwing books at them. Or something to that effect.

I figured, at worst, I'd be ignored as just some schmuck with a blog. At best, I'd receive a free copy of a much desired book, and from the UK, no less. I received a n email message the following day, thanking me for my interest and letting me know that the book would be mailed out to me shortly. In fact, in arrived here in Savannah the day before I did.

And now that I'm done with Grad School, I have the time to sit back and read a lengthy volume of strange, interrelated stories and write a review about it here. Watch this space.


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