JOHN MEANEY

6.1.07




THE MAN FROM TRANSATLANTIS....

...or I was confused, in search of an identity, until I came to terms with my transatlantic tendencies...

The primary setting of Bone Song, coming very soon in March, is a dark Gothamesque city called Tristopolis. Beneath a perpetually dark-purple sky, the skyscraper towers rise hundreds of storeys above the streets where purple cabs move. Gargoyles move among those towers.

Elevators are powered by imprisoned wraiths. All energy from the city comes from the reactor piles in which are stacked the bones of the dead, where necroflux builds up in resonant cavities and the overlaid agonies of the bones' memories are a small price to pay for civilization... Maybe.

And I've also described the book as L.A. Confidential with zombies, which it is, kind of. Or maybe a lot.

So it's the kind of book that lends itself to a transatlantic style, which suits me greatly. Having just corrected the galleys for the Gollancz edition, I am hugely pleased with the look'n'feel of the book. That's all polished and nicely put to bed, so you'll be reading it soon!

Still, the book uses turns of phrase that might be perfectly evocative to a Brit, but mean little on the other side of the pond. So I've done a US translation for my new publishers there, Bantam. (I've been published by Bantam before, but that was the UK company. Confused? That's fine.) Anything that doesn't ring true, it'll be my fault.

And 'storeys' becomes 'stories' in the States, 'span' becomes 'spun', and don't get me started on 'realize'... Actually the real differences are phrases like 'wind up' in the sense of winding up a person, and 'cracker' applied to a gorgeous woman, and... oh, you know. Like that.

The German translation isn't anything to do with me, though. I speak the language well enough so that I can travel in Germany without having to lapse into English, but translating my own book is beyond me. The book is called Tristopolis (German publishers never translate book titles verbatim), and the cover is great, don't you think?

I spent a while in Zurich during November. They speak German, in the same sense that Glaswegians speak English. I like Switzerland. Where else would you see guys with long hair and ear-rings, dressed in camouflage and carrying automatic rifles while standing on a station platform, waiting for a train? (That wasn't this trip, but one of my previous adventures.)

Speaking of travelling, I also had a nice time in New York for a couple of weeks back in October/November time. Remiss in my blogging, have I told you about Halloween in a karaoke bar off Broadway with a bunch of Random House editors? And Hal Duncan singing David Bowie?

I also took a trip down to Austin, TX, to take in World Fantasy, at which I had another nice time and got to meet up with my bro, Colm, who travelled across the desert on his Harley to rendezvous with me.

The unofficial city motto is: Keep Austin Weird. I liked what I saw of the place. I didn't get to see the vast colony of bats that rises every night... That'll be another trip.

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