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Hounding
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I just finished reading Daughter of Hounds by Caitlín R. Kiernan. It's probably the best novel I've read all year, and is certainly my favorite. It's a sequel of sorts to Threshold and (more directly) Low Red Moon, and ties in to some of Kiernan's other stuff as well, but it stands alone quite well, and wouldn't be a bad place to begin if you're unfamiliar with Kiernan's work. I think it's her best novel yet, full of breathtakingly cool characters and scenes and ideas. I'll be writing an actual review later, but the novel's not out until January, so the review won't appear for a few months. I'm sure I'll remind you all to read it again when it's actually been published. Kiernan's Alabaster is my favorite collection of the year so far, and Daughter of Hounds is my favorite novel... I think her work is just getting better and better.

***

Today was lovely, apart from the bit where our car key bent in the ignition and had to be gently teased out, leaving us with a car and a broken key, parked at a train station. Relatively undaunted, Heather and caught the train into the city and had lunch at the nice crepe place with Scott and Lynne. Passion fruit mimosas and crepes -- a world of yum. After we ate we had an hour before the reading, so we went to Blondie's Bar and drank some more in the cool air-conditioned vastness there (the weather was beautiful, but hot). Thus moderately sloshed, we headed to Borderlands, where I acquitted myself about as well as could be expected at the Twenty Epics reading, declaiming the first few scenes of "Cup and Table". Susan read Chris Rowe's story and a bit of Meghan McCarron's, and then Marcus Ewert read his "Choose Your Own Epic Adventure", with the audience choosing which paths to follow (not surprisingly, being a San Francisco crowd, they chose to be an intersexed character pursuing a life of crime...). I thought it was a lot of fun, and signed a few things, and chatted, and all was well. Scott and Lynne were kind enough to drive us back across the bay to home, where we got our other car key, and then they drove us to the train station to rescue our car. In between, they met our kitten, Freybug. They are giants among humans, those two. It's good to have such good friends.

***

Yesterday was quite fine, too. Heather and I did our usual amble down to the lake, got breakfast, and visited the Farmer's Market, then went up to Berkeley to sell a load of used books (we sold about twenty and only bought about five, so it's still an improvement!). The weather was gorgeous, so we strolled around, went to the Hallowe'en store and the game store, where I bought a chess set. I've been getting interested in the game again after a hiatus of some years, and couldn't find my old set anywhere. I'm not good at chess, not at all, but I enjoy playing it a lot. Me and D. used to play it all the time when we were housemates. Heather's not a big chess fan, but she's willing to indulge me with the occasional game, and I can be content with that.

***

I was saddened to hear about Charles L. Grant's death. I never met him, but his Oxrun Station stories made a real impression on me back in the '90s. In college I used to go to the used bookstore in Boone, which had a really big horror section, and buy cheap paperbacks, most from the horror boom of the '80s. I read a lot of lousy horror back then, of course, but I also discovered some really wonderful writers, and Grant was among them. Gems like Hour of the Oxrun Dead kept me coming back for more. I'll be writing an obituary for him tomorrow morning. It's not much, I know, but I'll give him the best send-off I can. My condolences to his family.



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