This February Del Rey released the conclusion of his Vellum duology (is that the term), Ink. It's got a cover that's to die for and just received a starred review in Publishers Weekly. A lot of people weren't sure if Duncan could actually pull together everything he unleashed in the first volume, Vellum, and provide a satisfactory conclusion. But by all accounts, he has. I haven't read the book yet because of the pressure of deadlines, but Hal was kind enough to submit to my five-question walk-the-plank interrogation, the results posted below.
Because for all the orgone-powered airships, harlequin play retellings of THE BACCHAE, spring-heeled schizoid heroes, Nazi ubermensch and metafictional exploits in an alternate 30s Middle East, it’s actually a quite sensitive story about the joys and sorrows of the human condition, with a rather touching (I hope) story about loss and restoration at its core. Also it has zeppelins over Sodom.
It’s probably not the sort of book you’d take home to meet your mother, but I do think it would do OK in a cocktail party situation, witty and charming at times but serious and thoughtful when the topic of conversation demands. It may corner you and blether passionately about its mad theories on religion, but it’ll be mixing the martinis while it does so.
It might cure depression. It might just cure insomnia. At the moment we have insufficient data to go on -- the studies just haven’t been done -- but there are certainly indications that it could be useful in the treatment of chronic ennui. Any rumours that reading it will induce psychosis are completely unfounded. It’s the prequel, VELLUM, that sends you mad; and INK should, in fact, act as a cure for VELLUM-induced psychosis.
If they’ve read THE BORRIBLES by Michael de Larabeitti, they’d be quite equipped to deal with anyhing I throw at them. If they haven’t graduated from Tolkien or Lewis yet they would probably be deeply disturbed by my repeated attempts to take the banal and simplistic concept of Good-vs-Evil, smash its skull in with a hammer and drag the carcass round the gates of Troy ten times, screaming “Fuck that shit!” at the top of my lungs. They’d never recover... hopefully.
If they won’t publish my novels I’ll just change media and move into the theatre, staging my musical at the Edinburgh Fringe and aiming for a big West End smash if I can find the right director. I have the libretto written, the music in my head and a collaborator who can actually make sense of my tuneless wailing. It’s a gay punk version of the Orpheus story and I’ll do it as a puppet show if need be, so be warned. If all else fails I shall become a jakie, hanging around the park all day with a bottle of Buckfast, saying “Goany geez 10p fer a cuppa tea, mate?” to anyone who passes.