THE EMPIRE OF ICE CREAM
by Jeffrey Ford
When I was growing up, there was a rule about giving me books at Christmas. You could give me all the books you wanted, but I wasn't allowed to unwrap them until all my other presents were opened. Mainly because the minute I had a new book in front of me, I'd sit in the corner and read it, much to the annoyance of my family, who wanted me to get on with opening the rest of my presents so they could get on with their lives.
I got several wonderful books for Christmas this year, but with a stack of reading to do for the Borderlands Writing Boot Camp and an issue of MIRROR'S EDGE to knock out in record time, I had to exercise a frightening amount of self control.
To my credit (I'd like to think) I managed to finish my work with only a few minor stumbles, which included reading the first stories in both Stephen King's new collection JUST AFTER SUNSET and Jeffrey Ford's EMPIRE OF ICE CREAM. What can I say, I needed to read something that I didn't have to write critique notes on, just for a little while.
Now that I've marked up a stack of Boot Camp stories and started in on the next issue of ME, I can finally devour some of these books that have been patiently waiting for me on my nightstand. First up, the aforementioned EMPIRE OF ICE CREAM, a gift from my friend Dan Waters, author of GENERATION DEAD and the upcoming KISS OF LIFE (Just go an buy GD, already! And while you're at it, preorder KISS OF LIFE. I've read the Advanced Readers Copy, and it's good. Very, very good. But more on that in a later post).
I'm pretty sure Dan and I are the product of an accident with faulty birth control and a time machine. We think too much alike not to be related in some sort of strange cosmic way. Case in point, our taste in reading material. I can't count the number of times I've called to tell him about some new writer I'd discovered and been knocked over with, only to find that Dan already knows about them and loves them as much as I do.
All which leads me to Jeffrey Ford and EMPIRE OF ICE CREAM. Dan sent it to me out of the blue for Christmas, after I'd told him that Ford sounded like our kind of author -- literary but magical in a unique way that very few authors can pull off.
Yeah, Dan's already read him and loved him.
And it's good. Unbelievably good. A collection of magical, amazing stories that I wish I'd written and am glad to have gotten a chance to read. And if the stories weren't enough, there's also a cover by the always brilliant John Picacio, who is one of the few artists I'll buy a book for, just for the cover. John's actually the guy who first told me about this book. He swore up and down that Ford was the greatest writer out there and that I'd love him.
Yeah, he was right. I really loved this book. Thanks, John. Thanks, Dan. Now I have to go and find a new writer to recommend to Dan. One of these days, I'll find somebody good he hasn't read, yet.