The Wonderful World of Was: September
Where Was tries really hard to focus on this newsletter, instead of his upcoming holiday.
Savour this newsletter; it’s the last edition of the Wonderful World of Was you’ll see for a while. Well, for six weeks, but that’s two weeks longer than normal. I’m off to a warmer climate between the end of September and the beginning of October. It’ll be great to be away, and as committed as I am to this newsletter, I’m not committed enough to write and send one out before I go, and I’m not going to hastily write and send one out as soon as I get back. I know you’ll miss this monthly check in, but hold strong and know that I’ll be back. I know you can do it.
Much like I was at the end of July, as August draws to a close, I’m feeling tired from what feels like non-stop writing, so the getaway will be nice. I’m certain I’ll be aching to get back into it after getting back into town, though. The month had a similar pace to it; I ended up writing close to as many words, with the difference being six hundred or so, and clocked in a few extra hours of editing.
And no, none of that writing or editing included either Till Death Do Us Party or Luminary. But more on that later…
And as this newsletter goes out into the wild, I’ll be celebrating Father’s Day. While today’s not Father’s Day everywhere in the world, it is in Australia, so to all you fathers out there, happy Father’s Day from Down Under. Especially to me.
But that’s enough waffle about me going away and celebrating Father’s Day, so let’s dive in!
I did it! I finished my short story!
Well, I tell a lie; at the time of writing, I haven’t quite finished it. But thanks to the magic of scheduling, I will have finished it by the time you get this newsletter. I’m about three quarters of the way through my last round of edits, then it’ll be time to share it to the world. Look out for The Liberation on 16 September. It’s a story set in the early days of my dystopian smartworld series, offering a glimpse at war through propaganda-coloured lenses.
As I do with all my shorts, I’ll be shamelessly pimping it via preview passages on Twitter later in the month, but because I love you, I’m shamelessly pimping the first of these right here, right now. No, I’m not offering a free book with this newsletter, I’m sharing a passage of text. That’s even better, right?
Most of the remainder of the month was spent writing book reviews. I won’t confuse matters by saying how many I wrote over the course of the month, because that number never matches what I publish. But if you mosey on over to the website, you’ll see that I published nine of them in August. I’ll get into them a little later on, but there’s more coming in September, including one that’s already up.
And I also wrote and published the second article about Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman. But rather than bore you as I was lyrical about it here, I’ll bore you as I wax lyrical about it a little later on.
All in all, despite not working on either novel, it was a fairly productive month. I wrote 32,220 words and spent 20 hours and fifteen minutes editing. Sure, I’ve done more, but I’ve also done shittonnes less. So let’s call it a win.
Planning for the Future
It’s been far too many months since I’ve actually dedicated any time to the novels, and September isn’t going to be the month I start. The holiday at the end of the month will destroy any momentum, or, more accurately, the threat of it destroying momentum is the perfect excuse for me to procrastinate for yet another month.
So, how will I be spending my September? By writing book reviews, and getting as far ahead with these as I can. Obviously, I’ll need to have some scheduled for while I’m away—never let a holiday result in a lack of content, lest your readers forget you exist—but I’m aiming to get a little further ahead.
But for the exciting news, when I return in October, I plan to start the next draft of Till Death Do Us Party. Who knows how long it’ll take me; though I’m thinking (or more accurately, hoping) most of it will be refining what’s already there. I’ll follow that up with the next draft of Luminary, which will probably take me longer, as I know that’s going to need some wholesale rewriting. Just like the last draft…
After these drafts, I’m hoping to be closer to a position where I can start releasing these things. But we’ll see…
No, I’m not going to bore you by waxing lyrical about my article about Neil Gaiman’s comic just yet. But per my plans, mentioned in that article, I made my way through all
ten eleven episodes of the first season of the Netflix adaptation.
If you haven’t watched it yet, you should definitely take a look. Originally released with ten episodes before an eleventh hit a fortnight later, it is incredibly close to the source material, capturing the stories from Preludes & Nocturnes and The Doll’s House beautifully. Various concessions have been made, including making certain characters more prominent, adding some foreshadowing, and playing with the structure, but at its essence, this is The Sandman. If you’ve read the first two volumes (and if you haven’t, why not?), virtually everything you loved from them appears in the Netflix series.
And that super-special “bonus” eleventh episode? It adapts a couple of the stories included in the third volume, Dream Country, including a beautifully animated rendition of “A Dream of a Thousand Cats”—if you’re a fan of cats, that is sixteen minutes of pure bliss.
By keeping so close to comic, though, the TV series doesn’t offer anything new, other than telling the story in a new medium. The cast is largely great, and the special effects are stunning (even if the cinematography doesn’t do anything hugely interesting). If you’re a fan, you should enjoy it; if you’re not a fan, you really ought to become one.
The Sandman (again!)
And without further ado, it is now time to wax lyrical about my second article on the blog about the comic book version of The Sandman.
I’ve published my second look back at the books, which largely comprise the second act of the story, collected in volumes four to seven. If you haven’t read it yet, click here to read it; and if you have read it, feel free to read it again. It’s a long one, even longer than the initial part, thanks largely to there being four volumes to discuss, rather than just one.
I won’t go on and on about this here, other than to reiterate that this is one of the greatest comic books of all time, and throughout its run, one of the greatest fantasies of all time. It’s a series I absolutely adore, and through these articles, I share my thoughts about why I adore them. And who knows, maybe it’ll entice a few of you to pick these books up, and adore them yourselves.
With this being the first Sunday of the month, it follows the first Saturday of the month. Which means my Saturday Snippets have been live for a whole day. Which also means I’m going to use some of this precious real estate to give you a link and plead with you to click it.
As they do each month, they provide a little glimpse into my works in progress. All of August’s snippets are from the current Till Death Do Us Party draft. Some will make the final cut, others won’t, while many will be different in the final, published book. I have ten of them this month, so check them out. Please.
Oh, and like last month, I also made a mood board. I’m mentioning it here, because it’s not worth its own heading, but Luminary needs a little love too, you know. Click here to check it out.
Only Murders in the Building
Season two wrapped up a couple of weeks ago, and it was full of the same punchy humour, wonderful characters and laugh out loud performances as the first season. And naturally, there’s another murder mystery at its centre. The mystery was less predictable than the first season, which was a nice bonus, and the show struck a darker tone with the story being told, with a little more heart to it. It’s a bonus that comes with a sophomore outing to Hulu’s highest rated series.
If you haven’t watched it yet, you should, if only because it may be the last thing you see Steve Martin in.
Cover Reveals! Or Not
Over on Twitter, I posted a couple of mock covers for Till Death Do Us Party and Luminary as Penguin Classics. Figure I’d just leave them here.
House of the Dragon
Now Only Murders in the Building is done and I’ve seen The Sandman’s first season, what am I going to watch? I have a couple of episodes of What We Do in the Shadows left, and The Rings of Power will be out by the time you read this (but not the time I’m writing it).
There’s always House of the Dragon, which, from the first episode, is more Game of Thrones. Which is exactly the takeaway the showrunners want the viewer to have, as the episode oscillated between ugly violence and sex scenes. But if sex and violence aren’t enough to clue the reader in, the (admittedly quite pretty) new version of the theme, appearances by the ancestors of all your favourite—and dead!—Game of Thrones characters, and the prophecy about the impending “Song of Ice and Fire” are.
I’ll keep watching. It’s more Game of Thrones, after all.
As I mentioned earlier, I posted no less than nine book reviews in September. If you’re looking for a book to read, or if your “to be read” pile (that you refuse to admit is really your pile of shame) is looking a bit small, why not consider any of these books?
There’s some science fiction, some fantasy, and there’s some horror, with each of these books striking their own tone, so surely there’s something up your alley. Keep an eye out for more reviews, I’m publishing at least one a week!
In the order of their reviews, because sorting them by name, author or preference takes too much work, please allow me to introduce you to:
The Elevator at the Brink of Infinity by Michael James
Falling Through the Weaving by Leia Talon
Dragons in the Weaving by Leia Talon
Ash by Mark Jonathan Runte
Gathering of the Four by A.E. Bennett
Wolf at the Door by Joel McKay
Virtual Insanity by Kevin Klehr
A Dream of Death and Magic by Sarina Langer
A Different Life--What If? by Joyce Reynolds-Ward
Naturally, I’m not reading enough books, I’m also anxiously awaiting the release of Luda by Grant Morrison.
When their Luda was announced, my excitement was palpable. By the time this newsletter’s out, this book will only be a few short days from arriving and I can’t wait. A story full of sex, drugs, the occult and drag queens, it promises to be quite the read. I’ve preordered it, and scored wallpapers for my computer and phone, as well as a letter from Grant Morrison themselves, so I can pretend we’re close personal friends. Or penpals, at least.
As big a fan of Neil Gaiman as I am (if all the Sandman talk hasn’t clued you in by now), Grant Morrison is my all-time favourite author in any medium. It’s perhaps an inevitability that I’ll write about their works under Inspirations on the website at some point, whether it be The Invisibles, Animal Man, All-Star Superman, or perhaps, their seminal Batman run—my favourite author writing my favourite character was a true sight to behold—or one of their many other works. With most of their work coming from comics, and a nonfiction book about superheroes under their belt, Luda is their debut novel, and I’ll no doubt share my thoughts here.
And while you’re reading this on Substack (unless you’re reading on email or the iPhone app, but the link will still work), why not check out Morrison’s wonderful Substack newsletter, Xanaduum. Be sure to tell them I sent you—then maybe they’ll know I exist.
So, What’s Next?
I’m on holiday, baby!
But other than that, I’ll be reviewing some more books, a few of which you’ll be seeing next month, as well as the third part of my Sandman series. You’ll also have an all-new story to read. Stay tuned to the website; hopefully it’ll tide you over through the excruciating wait for the next edition of The Wonderful World of Was.
That’s a Wrap
And here endeth the September newsletter. See you in six weeks!