Friday, February 02, 2024

Comic Cuts - 2 February 2024

February hasn't been a good month so far, and we're only one day in. On Wednesday we noticed a leak under the kitchen sink, so I have spent this morning (I'm writing this Thursday afternoon) trying to fix it. Unfortunately, it isn't a blockage, as I'd hoped (because that means unblocking it makes the problem go away). Rather, the seal has perished, so now, if you pour a bowl of water into the sink, it weighs the (horizontal) plastic pipe down just enough for water to leak from where it joins the other (vertical) plastic pipe. No amount of tightening has resolved the problem.

This means we'll be seeing the useless plumber our landlady uses, who took four attempts in recent months to fit a new bath tap. It's working OK (as of this moment) but still needs a part fitted... and he busted the panel at the side of the bath, which hasn't been addressed. I'm filled with dread about letting him loose on the kitchen sink!

And today saw my proofs arrive with one slight flaw: there was a sticky mess on the back cover of one of them. It looks like somone accidentally stuck some packaging tape on the book and tried to peel it off, but left the sticky bit of the tape behind. But it can't be that because there's some stickiness to the front cover as well. To damage both covers you'd need to be Frank Spencer, wallowing in a big tub of packaging tapes, or maybe having a gun fight using packaging tape dispensers.

It makes the book unsaleable. I can't even send it out to a reviewer, so it will have to be replaced... causing more work... pushing back my schedule... delaying work on other things...

You can understand why I'm frustrated. I'd had quite a fun week up until then I spent two and a half days recording something for release in the coming weeks (it's part of a little promotion package I'm trying to put together for when Beyond the Void comes out). I had to work around the roadworks outside. The gas pipe fitters have returned after disappearing last year before they reached us. It had something to do with shutting down the junction and needing traffic lights and I'm still not sure whether we'll be getting new gas pipes this time around or whether we'll have to wait for a third visit from the same company just to do the last two or three houses along our road.

I'm also looking forward to this (Thursday) evening as we're going out to a book launch for the new James Henry novel, The Winter Visitor, a spin-off from the Nick Lowry series set in and around Colchester. This one is set in February 1991, a year or so before I moved to Colchester to make editing Comic World easier.

I'm rattling through a bunch of novels so that I can write up the author for my next Forgotten Authors collection. So far I've read four of five that I intend to read in full; I'll skip-read a couple of others that I read forty-or-so years ago in an effort to speed things up. I'm amazed at how much I read in January, I finished one book that I was reading for pleasure (rather than work) and started another, which I'm a third of the way through already. My for pleasure reading has been very limited in recent years, sometimes as few as four or five books a year.

Not like my younger days when I could race through a book in half a day, leaving time to read another. Dhalgren (an unheard of 879 pages) took three days, and that was only because we were child-minding during the summer holidays. Nowadays, I'm actually put off by the length of some novels, because 500-600 pages means a committment of many months, and I doubt I'd get twice the pleasure compared to reading a 300 pager. No, I'm happy to read two shorter books and leave the likes of Peter F. Hamilton and Neal Stephenson -- two authors whose early novels I very much enjoyed -- for my retirement.

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