ememess newsletter #1.
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Welcome to the ememess newsletter, your occasional source of news from the porch of Michael Marshall Smith, Michael Marshall, and whomever else I may be. Is it "whomever" or "whoever"? Don't know. Don't really care. Anyway.

Breaking news — like when I make an especially good cup of tea — is likely to pop up on Twitter first, so you might want to follow there. This first newsletter is by way of being a test run, to check the thing's working. In the fullness of time there will be cool stuff like list-exclusive competitions and giveaways, along with subtle and yet telling hints regarding the location of the Arc of the Covenant.

So what's up?
As so often in the writing part of the year (which is basically the entire year), my life makes a Zen pebble garden look chaotic and overwrought. The main news is that a new Michael Marshall Smith book will be published in a couple of months (information below).  

EVENT: I'm going to be attending Stokercon in Long Beach CA in April, along with plucky hopefuls like Stephen Jones and George R. R. Martin. I would urge you not to come, however, as the bar will probably be crowded enough already.

RECOMMENDS: I re-watched PONTYPOOL recently, and if you fancy an eerie, intelligent and unusual little horror movie, you should do the same. I also just finished reading ALL FALL DOWN, by Cassandra Austin, which is excellent, a tight, resonant and subtly uncanny story of intertwining lives in a small Australian town in the aftermath of a bridge collapse. And if you don't know the music of Max Richter (composer for, amongst other things, the criminally-underated THE LEFTOVERS), you should fix that. Here's the short version of his eight-hour SLEEP album, very often my working soundtrack of choice at the moment. There's also a site recommend at the end of the email...
Disturbing Fact of The Week

It’s come to my attention that nobody’s sure about the etymology of the word “log”. For real.  I’ve ranted about this on Twitter already but I’m still not over the news. WTF? I’d assumed it was slam-dunk Anglo Saxon but apparently not… there’s a notion that it derives from the Old Norse lag "felled tree" (from stem of liggja "to lie," hence "a tree that lies prostrate") which to me sounds eminently plausible but apparently if you dare mention the idea in the company of real etymologists they completely lose their shit. And the word isn’t even recorded before the fourteenth century. I just don’t know what’s going on with the world any more. 
Finally, just to show that I’m a grown-up, I recently read one of the big literary novels of last year, THE NIX by Nathan Hill. When reading something like that I can’t help but be struck by the very different rules that operate across the genres. I is not literary. I is thriller/weird/whatever. And as such I’ve been encouraged to hone the start of a novel — to ensure the reader gets to action fast enough — so often that it’s become internalized. After I finish my initial draft, before anybody else in the world sees it, my first job is cutting at least 10-15 percent from the first act: and I know that if the manuscript goes over 110k in total, there will be discussions on the subject. With the Great American (and English) Novelists, however, evidently the meetings go differently — 

“Whoa, easy now, dude. Look, we love it. Okay? Seriously. Love, love, love. Jezzie is right now booking slots in the Staff Recommends shelves of every indie bookstore in the country. It’s fabulous. You’re fabulous. I mean, oh my god. The huge cast of meticulously-drawn and yet remarkably unrealistic people, the way you keep thrashing the theme through great chunks of internal narrative, the semi-endless evocation of some hipster ‘hood in an unfashionable major city — oh, and that seventy page digression on the one character’s apparently irrelevant obsession with the history of the copper mining industry in the Great Lakes region? Masterful. But seriously. There is one tiny problem. You’ve got stuff happening in the first hundred pages. Actual events, taking place. I’m assuming that’s a mistake, right? I mean, sure, it takes the heroine fifty pages to walk to the grocery market and back, lost as she is in rich and yet troubling recollections of the pebble her uncle vouchsafed to her as a child, but — that’s still stuff happening, bro. Right? Don’t give away the farm here, is all I’m saying. That kind of madcap action-movie shit should be saved for at least a few hundred pages in. No, no, I’m not saying you should move it back. I’m thinking… and I’m just spitballing here, but… why not write another hundred pages, to go before it? In which literally absolutely nothing happens at all? Could be awesome. I'm talking total Pulitzer-bait now. Just think about it, okay?”

Having said which… THE NIX is actually very, very good indeed. Not sure it would have lost much if someone had judiciously cut 10-15 percent, but the prose is superb throughout, it’s often extremely funny, there’s some great characters and a nice (albeit tiny) thread of the weird, and it ends beautifully. 
Coming on June 1st (in the UK)...
It's been a while... but a new Michael Marshall Smith novel is on the horizon. No, it's not SF — though the tone is similar, and it's the most fun I've had writing in years.

It's about Hannah Green, a young girl living a mundane existence in Northern California, who discovers that her grandfather has been friends with the Devil for the past 150 years... and now, they need her help.

NOTE: Other territories will be announced as soon I know...
Pre-order HANNAH GREEN from Amazon UK Now
Okay, that's probably enough for now. Please feel free to let me know if there's anything in particular you'd like to see in future iterations of this thing... but until then, have fun and be awesome to one another. 

Site of the Week:

Atlas Obscura

Nothing to do with me: this section is just here to recommend a website you might find interesting.

This week it's Atlas Obscura, your guide to strange and quirky places of the world... always entertaining, with a big back catalogue to lose yourself in. They've also got a book out...


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ememess · 666 Fictional Street · Santa Cruz, CA 95066 · USA

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