Apologies to Jeff

I’ve been getting some great responses to the first in Orbit’s new series of short films featuring Jeff Somers and Philip Palmer discussing their work.  The brief was for us to be entertaining, pithy, and sober; and frankly, two out of three ain’t bad!

However, mortifyingly, it seems that Jeff has reacted badly to some of the comments I made in my interview segments; missing my gentle irony, he uses the phrase ‘passive aggressive’ to describe my droll comments about his work and characters. 

Jeff – a million apologies! I abase myself.  I would never in a million years passively aggress you, or indeed anyone.  Blame the idiot film editor!  Because I can assure you that every comment I made in my interviews was positive about you, your work, and indeed your personal hygenie. (Odd that the Orbit guys raised that issue!) 

I confess that I may have slightly misunderstood the original brief. I remember being told at one point that Jeff and I were going to compare the relative merits (toughness/sexiness/kickassitude) of our two protagonists, namely the intellectually brilliant and astonishingly physically powerful Version 43, and the rather dim-witted always-getting-beaten-up Avery Cates.  I took the view that it’s better to be objective and scientific about such questions; so I took the liberty of recruiting the world authority in such matters, Dr Paul Bostock (Professor in Protagonism and Genre Conflict at the Heinlein University, Colorado) to argue, basically, that my protagonist is better than Jeff’s protagonist.

In retrospect, perhaps I was over-achieving a bit there. So once again Jeff – a million apologies! I abase myself, etc etc.

But I should make it clear to casual readers of these blogs that Jeff and I are the firmest of friends; and what’s more, I have the greatest respect for his fabulous series of novels featuring Old Limpy  Avery Cates. And I honestly believe that The Terminal State is Jeff’s finest work yet – brimming with humour, tension, brilliant one-liners, and exhilarating pay-offs to story strands and characters skilfully set up in the earlier volumes.  (If  I say Canny Orel, I hope I’m not giving too much away.)

I would go so far as to say that The Terminal State is a flawless novel, if it weren’t for the fact that it HAS ONE GREAT BIG TERRIBLE FLAW.  A ghastly error of judgement that calls into question Jeff’s suitability to be, well, anything really.

It comes in the section when Avery goes to Brussels, and samples some local beer, and decides that it is horrible.  To quote:

‘I’d fallen in hate with Brussels immediately.  The fucking sweet, flat, warm beer was just the icing on the hate cake.’

Belgian beer, horrible? That’s inconceivable! 

Okay, I accept this is a dystopian science fiction novel in a world that Jeff has created; but even so, when there are cannibals stalking the streets in Brussels, and politicians are flaying each other alive – there will still be first rate Belgian beer being brewed. Trappist monks, after all, are better equipped than anyone to cope with a post-apocalyptic scenario.

Jeff may in fact be unfamiliar with actual Belgian beer – as an American who is unaware there is a language called Dutch, he may only know about the glories of Europe from photographs.  But I’m talking about blonde beers like Leffe beer, brune beers such as Grottenbier,  the masterly Duvel; and greatest of all, Chimay.  That’s before you even get on to all the other Abbey beers (Bieres d’Abbaye) , including the gloriously named Delirium Tremens, and the various fruit beers. 

Still, I’m willing to overlook that one appalling blunder (perhaps it could be rectified in the next novel?) and, once again Jeff, apologies  for having created a protagonist far tougher and cooler than Avery Cates  inadvertently caused offence.  No worries!

Look forward to vid no. 2. Oh, and here are the covers of Jeff’s books to date:

Sharing and Bookmarking:

If you enjoyed this article, please consider bookmarking it or spreading the word via your favourite social media channel:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • Technorati
  • Tumblr
  • Posterous
  • Google Bookmarks
  • RSS

Keyword-Matched Posts:

If you enjoyed this post, you might find these others interesting:

  1. The end of Summer…
  2. SFF Song of the Week: Jeff Somers