Monday, 14 January 2013

in the post...

Last week Tor sent me a reprint of Julian May's first book in the 'Saga of the Exiles' series. It was a wonderful blast from the past. I remember reading this over twenty years ago. It was a birthday when I was at college - and it was one of those birthdays when everyone I knew bought me a book that i didn't know - each, seemingly, in a different genre. My friend Suzi bought me this Julian May novel (in the old lilac and blue cover - all wispy and very new-agey). I remember loving this book - which is, basically, about a disparate group of 22nd century misfits electing to use a time machine on a one-way trip to the past, just before the ice age, where they think they'll find a simpler age to live in.

I adored that first volume, and have no idea why i never went on to read the next three in the series. Or the four-decker series that precedes (?) it. It was very exciting, to see the uniform and dramatic-looking covers that Tor have given the whole set. They look grand and epic and very collectible. I think for me, back then, it was a case of letting too long lapse before I thought about reading volume 2. That's the problem with grand, epic series for me - if too long goes by I start to think that i need to go back and reread the first to get back into the swing. (Though, actually, that's hardly ever really true. After writing a sequence of my own, I know that there are all sorts of ways of bringing returning readers back into the fold and up to speed.)

Anyhow - after twenty years I *did* think i'd need to revisit 'The Multi-Coloured Land' first, and that's what I found myself doing on Sunday. It's serendipity, because it can be seen as a part of my 'Twenty Years Ago' reading marathon (in which i revisit books i read in the early 90s that somehow formed my tastes...) Straight away i'm plunged into this splintered narrative with its huge cast - and all of them moving inexorably towards the moment when they travel into the distant past - and the revelation of the very surprising things they find there...

I'm very excited to be going back into this saga (actually, plunging through a portal into the past is a perfect metaphor in itself for rediscovering a novel series you love...) Also - this science fiction mood of mine in recent days has also led me to discover the Gollancz Gateway of E-book reprints. Which I'm sure i will go on about in the days to come. Suffice to say I'm looking at spending more time in various perplexing futures / pasts / alternatives and various gateways...

Lots of my recent reading since the New Year I'm still to catch you up on. Hopefully I'll let you know what i've been up to in the next few days. How are you anyway? What have you been reading..?


  1. Paul,

    I was thinking about this series recently; I would suggest it well worth reading the whole set even if some of the plot twists are fairly obvious.

    I remember see Ms May at a convention in the 80s though never spoke to her.

    You've reminded me to check out the Gollancz portal again as well,

    Thank You

  2. Tony, I think i'll read further in the series than i did last time! Thoroughly enjoying rereading the first book.