1036. Some time ago I mentioned how I was looking forward to the release of the first volume of S.M. Stirling's second Emberverse trilogy, a book entitled The Sunrise Lands. Latterly, income being what it is, there was no chance of buying a copy, we were waiting for it to come out in paperback (we like collecting paperbacks) and while I'd gotten myself on the hold list at MultCoLib, I've not moved very far up in the listings.
So it was that The Wife™ and myself were going to a place called Coffee Romance on SE Powell Blvd at 82nd Avenue–in the shopping center that contains the local Food4Less store–and found the place fairly packed.
Coffee Romance is a cool place. It's run by this Asian fellow whose name I keep forgetting and they have delicious coffee and snacks and stuff like that. They use Buckmaster Coffee (at least I think that's their brand) and have just about every flavor of syrup that exists.
Anyway, we notice that there are very few places left to sit, and somewhat suddenly this rather large, hirsute fellow with hair marginally longer than mine (and more bangs–for which I'm envious) invites us over, saying that there are two seats open across the table from him, which there are.
He's a welcoming presence. We found that we eventually started filtering into each others spaces, he and us, and he (predictably–in retrospect–named "Tiny" (seriously, if you'd seen him and we told you he called himself Tiny you'd say "well, of course he does")) happened to be reading S.M.S.'s Island In The Sea Of Time. Now, if one doesn't know, the premise begun in the novels that depend from this one is that an unexplained and inexplicable event causes the island of Nantucket, off Massachusetts, to be transported back to the year 1250BC, and how the inhabitants of Nantucket deal with having modern tools and attitudes in that year (they evolve into the center of a hegemon in the British Imperial style).
Talk eventually drifted into the Emberverse, and what it was: the flip side of the Nantucket story cycle coin–the Emberverse is the world that Nantucket left behind, one devoid of 250 years of technological advance because electricity no longer flows, internal combustion engines no longer work, anything "high-energy"–more powerful than, say, the electrical impulses that power your neurons–has been rendered suddenly inoperative.
I'm a fan of it because it takes place here–the main setting of the story (so far) has been the northern Willamette Valley. Portland becomes the center of a neofeudal tyranny, Corvallis becomes a ruthlessly-mercantile democracy, a warrior-king republic is established centered on the Eola Hills west of Salem, and greater Linn and eastern Marion Counties become the domain of a neo-Celtic "clan-ocracy" in an idealized medieval Irish style. This newest novel, The Sunrise Lands, begins as the generation who was being born or who were young children at the time of "The Change" is coming of age–most of them think of our technological times as something of legend.
I digress wildly. There will be time to write of this later. The point was, after chatting about Nantucket and the Emberverse and after I had mentioned that I was looking foward to reading TSL, Tiny mentioned that he had the book in his truck, and would I like to borrow it?
Mind you, I'd never seen this guy–interesting and affable as he was–in my life. But he's a regular at Coffee Romance, and he said that after I'd finished the book, I could leave it there and it would get back to him.
There must be something basic about our shared natures that appealed to each other on a subliminal level. It's interesting that sometimes you just know that a fellow you've never met will be a convivial sort (and, of course, that sense has its own error rate), and when that sense hits the mark, it hits it hard.
So now, thanks to Tiny, I'm reading TSL, and enjoying it muchly. If you like S.M. Stirling, and you like the Emberverse, you'll like this book, and it hints at some possible promising resolutions to the reality of the Emberverse.
And the fellow's never saw me before...and he trusts me with his book.
We love Coffee Romance, of course.
Tags: Coffee Romance, coffee house people, S.M. Stirling, Emberverse, The Sunrise Lands