Just so you know, I'm presently in LA for LosCon
. It's been strange so far in that I'm not seeing all the usual suspects. At World Fantasy and WisCon and Readercon etc I pretty much know I can walk into the bar or even just through the lobby and see someone I know. Not so much here. It's a new crowd (for me), so I really should get off this computer and go mingle. And I have to find John Scalzi
. He's the one that prompted me to come down for this.
I'm on a panel called "Why is Science Fiction so White?" at 3pm. Directly afterwards I'll skip over to Scalzi's Guest of Honor talk. Apparently Will Wheaton has something to do with it.
Oh, on another note. Pat Rothfuss has a post up about offering those free books in exchange for Heifer International donations
. I'm there along with many others.
Okay, gotta go...
The Father-in-Law List
Okay, here it is, the list of recommended sci-fi/fantasy books I've been trying to prepare for my father-in-law. I appreciate all the responses to my earlier query on this, and it has effected what I finally came up with. Honestly, one of the ways it effected it is that instead of recommending ONE book I realized I'd need to give him a shortlist and leave it up to him. So that's what I'm presenting here.
As I say, I did appreciate all the suggestions. The things I ended up recommending have at least little bit to do with the particular person my father-in-law is. (All good. All good.) Also, though, I was inclined to recommend titles that had a feel of tenure to them - either because they or the authors had been around for awhile. So don't think I've ignored or dissed the Abercrombie, Abraham, Lynch, Rothfuss, Ruckley contingent. I think those guys are awesome. I'm also glad to say I know most of them, and it does feel very good to be writing fantasy in amongst such promising emerging stars.
Okay, enough of that. Here are the books I think my father-in-law should consider. Are you paying attention, Laughton? Take a look at...
Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower
. Loved this one. My first Butler book. Might be a little worrying to a man whose daughter lives in far away Central California, but I swear I'll take the kids and run before it gets this bad. Promise.
Neil Gaiman, American Gods
. Neil made me feel all funny inside when I met him. Tongue-tied and silly. What can I say, though? He rocks the black leather jacket, and this book is... well, it's sort of like "A Great American Urban/Contemporary Fantasy", if such a category existed, and if it I didn't matter that a Brit wrote it.
Peter F Hamilton, Dreaming Void
. I'm actually in the middle of this right now. It's the first Hamilton I've read, so some folks may have other faves of his instead. I'm just really enjoying the smart writing, the multiple plot lines and the amazing diversity of his far future. This is a novel of both high-technology and subsistence-based worlds, all woven into the same epic tale. Kinda like an exploded version of the mix we have going on earth.
Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land
. Classic sci-fi, yeah? I could see Laughton liking this one. I do think it shows some... uh... well, dating in terms of gender roles, etc. I had a mini-argument with Pat Rothfuss on this issue. (I won, by the way, though Pat may not know that.) Still, quite a book.
Ursula K. LeGuin, The Left Hand of Darkness
. I'm sure he's read LeGuin before, but maybe not this one. I think she's absolutely great. Wrote her a gushing note awhile back, actually. Didn't hear back, but that doesn't change my affection for her work.
George RR Martin, Game of Thrones
. This one means inviting him into a big, unfinished, gigantic work. I have to mention it, though. I think Martin is tops in epic fantasy. (We're on a first name basis, you know? Hehe...)
China Mieville, Perdido Street Station
. China. Okay. Confession. I haven't actually read him. I mean to, and I will, and I can't help but want to recommend him cause this book sounds so bloody good.
Richard Morgan, Thirteen/Black Man
. Technically, Richard and I are exactly the same age. (Hence my assumption that I can call him by his first name - as with China above.) Still, he's cranked out some lean, mean books. This one isn't so lean, really, but I thought it was terribly smart. As I mentioned when I praised it before, it is a bit over-sexed. Err... But we're all grown-ups here, right?
Dan Simmons, Ilium
. So, as I mentioned before, The Terror
didn't go over that well with the prospective reader in question here. But Simmons got so much love from folks he seemed a reasonable one to include for a second try.
Neal Stephenson, Anathem
(or The Diamond Age
.) I haven't read Anathem yet, but I've loved several other Stephenson novels. I'm looking forward to this new one, and folks seem to think it's worth it.
Gene Wolfe, The Book Of The New Sun: Volume 1: Shadow and Claw
. I saw Wolfe pick up a World Fantasy Award a couple years back in Saratoga Springs. Not for this book, but it was still well-deserved. Wonderful writer.
Roger Zelazny, Lord of Light
. And this is another star figure of sci-fi history that I haven't read. I guess I recommend it because Zelazny is on my too-read list also, and I've heard so many good things about him that he seems like a safe beat.
Okay. That's what I came up with this time. I think there's some good reading here...
Labels: Links, Other Authors, Recommendations, Shetland
HMH Places "Temporary" Halt on Acquistions
Pat Rothfuss and Heifer International
A while back Pat approached a bunch of us writer types, asking for book donations that he could then use as lures to get people donating to his favorite charity, Heifer International
. He got plenty of yesses - including one from me - and he's started to post about the books that are to be given away - and he's clearly been pulling in cash for a wonderful cause.
I'm writing this to encourage you to check it out. The first post about it can be found HERE
, although that was from two weeks ago. Subsequent posts give more info and show some of the books on offer. I just sent mine recently, but I think it'll make an appearance there in the weeks to come.
Go take a look!
Labels: Cool Friends, Links, Patrick Rothfuss
Candidat - Prix Hugo 2008
I got something cool in the mail yesterday. It's funny, because I tend to not be very impressed by symbolic gestures, awards and the like. But I'm rather moved by this...
It's the pen that the organizers of next year's Worldcon, Anticipation
, gave as a commiserating present to the non-winner finalists for the 2007 Hugos. Yes, this is a "losers" present, but damn... It's a Hugo
losers present! Are you kidding me? (I know, the John W. Campbell Award
is not, officially, a Hugo, but still, it kinda is. Yeah?)
Anyway, I wasn't able to go to Denvention, so I couldn't pick this up in the dire moments after not
winning the Campbell. Instead, they just sent it to me. I'm rather pleased. I'll make sure not to loose it.
No guarantees, but technically I do have a shot at next year's Campbell. Whether I get the nod or not I'll be there. Neil Gaiman
is the writer Guest of Honor after all. It would be silly to miss that!
Labels: Hugos, Neil Gaiman
A Reasonable Query...
I got an email recently, responded to it, and thought I might share it with you. (Yes, I verified that the sender had no issues with this - even though I'm not using his name.) Here's what he said...
I enjoyed your book on Hannibal. It was much better than most of the other fiction I have read about that time period. I am tempted to pick up your book Acacia
but have a question before I do so.
Lately, fantasy authors have not been fair to their readers. The late Robert Jordan, the once great George RR Martin, even Weis and Hickman with Dragonlance
are not being fair to their readers. I mean in the sense of how long should a series go? Jordan's first 3 or 4 books were great, but again how many 1,000 page books should you have to read before a series comes to an end? Lately, Martin's Ice and Fire
series is in the same direction... 4 books, with no end in sight.
So, my question, before I pick up your book... will you keep it at three? At some point, will you bring the story to a close in a way that respects the readers time?
Thanks, LAnd my response...
Thanks for writing. Glad you liked Pride of Carthage
, and I totally understand your complaints about never ending fantasy series. I won't comment on what other authors have done (or haven't done), but I will promise that I have every intention of respecting my readers' time and of providing closure by the end of the third book. I should explain a few things, though...
First, I think you'll find (if you do pick it up) that Acacia
has a fair amount of closure. All the major plot points and the main struggles of the book come to point of completion by the end. I worked hard to make that happen, especially because when I began the book I couldn't know that I'd get a second chance at fantasy. I was new to the genre and couldn't know how I'd be received. Also, coming from the literary side of things the notion of writing sequels wasn't anything I was particularly used to. I had to take care of business in one book. I'm glad to say that a lot of readers write me to say they're looking forward to the next Acacia
book. I'm thrilled by that. There's plenty left to explore, but there are no cliffhangers at the end.
That said, the second book, The Other Lands
, is not as self-contained. It concludes with a whole host of new threats and problems arising, all of which I'll hope to pick up and conclude in the third book. The Other Lands
is still a six hundred page manuscript, so there's plenty of adventure in those pages; it's just that the overarching conflict is bigger than one book.
Now, I do know exactly where that third book ends, and, as with Acacia
, it will lead to another possible stopping point. I don't have specific plans for future Acacia
books after that. I may continue to write more in this world, but if I do it'll be because there are other stories to tell. It won't be that I'm dragging out the main story without resolution. Promise.
I don't know if that will convince you, but I hope so.
With respect for your time,
Labels: Acacia, The Other Lands
Let me say this upfront. All the images in this post came from Todd Lockwood's website
. They're all copyright Todd Lockwood. That link will take you there, and I recommend browsing the images. Good stuff. With the Holiday season around the corner, I think a quality fantasy print can make a great gift. I bought one for some of my special folks. (I also traded a book for a print. Barter rocks!)
This print was used for my friend Tobias Buckell
's novel Crystal Rain
. I promised my kids I'd post some images of Todd's prints, and this is me doing that. (Yes, my family is still hiding out in the windswept wilds of Shetland. I'm on countdown to departure day now. 25 Days!) So this is me trying to demonstrate to my kids that I know cool people...
I mentioned during my World Fantasy post that one of the people I most enjoyed talking to was the artist Todd Lockwood. He was one of the guests of honor, much in demand, but also much available, it seemed, for conversations in the bar and... well, mostly that. We talked art and careers and raising kids and... politics.
Hey, Sage. (That's my son - age seven.) You recognize this guy? Steven Colbert of The Colbert Report.
You sometimes see him on your new favorite comedy show - Daily Show With Jon Stewart
. (I have to admit, I'm not sure what it is about Stewart's comedy that my son likes so much. He's still in Scotland, where the show is popular. A few months ago I didn't think Sage was a likely candidate for political comedy. Perhaps the British environment has aged him and refined his sense of sarcasm.)
This one is became the cover os RA Salvatore's third Drizzt novel, Sojourn
, detailing his emergence to the surface world...
Anyway... Yeah. I like Todd's politics. Remember now that this was about three days before the US election. I'm happy to say that Todd was with me on Team Obama, as were most of the folks I hung out with in Calgary. Lovely moment... Todd gets called up at the World Fantasy Award Banquent to say a few words. He approaches the mike solemnly, looks around, and says a single word. "Obama..." Resounding applause.
This is the print I asked for from Todd in return for my book. It's weird. I dig it. My cats would understand, I'm sure.
Labels: Artists, Cool Friends, Covers, Links
Thanks for all the book suggestions for my father in law. I'm still cogitating on it.
The end of last week saw a new milestone in my writing career. A first. I've waited a long time for it, and I took the weekend to process that I've actually turned the corner on another stretch of my career. What's the news?...
I received the royalty statement for the period of Jan 1st to July 31st. (Yes, it takes a bloody long time to get these things - always longer than you expect.) For the first time, I've made royalties! A decent numerical figure, actually. If you've got a minute, I'll explain just what I mean...
One of the nicer things about staying in print and publishing over the years is that you increasingly can find your income coming in from diverse sources. Movie options and audio rights - handled by my agent - appear on their random schedule. But since I first signed with Doubleday back in 1999 they've held on to my world rights. This means that people in the Random House foreign rights department negotiate with foreign publishers on my behalf. They make the deals, and then they usually just bring me in to confirm that I'll accept what they think is the best offer. For this, they keep a percentage of the money the foreign publisher pays to publish the book in their country/language.
There are pros and cons to this. Many successful writers will tell you they gain a lot by having kept their foreign rights. Their agents handle them, and they likely have more say in the small details and negotiations. AND they get to keep a higher percentage of any deal that's made. Our agents always take their 15%, but if a publisher is negotiating the deal they take another 15 to 20%. So, say you have a $10,000 advance for Italian rights. An author whose agent handles those rights gets $7,500 from the deal. An author repped by his/her publisher gets $6,000. (Before taxes.) So obviously, you keep a higher percentage of your money if you hold on to your rights.
Thing is that not all authors have books that are going to be attractive to a foreign market, and not all agents have the overseas contacts to make those deals happen. My agency, ICM, does very much have those contacts, but by the time I signed with them I'd already agreed (unagented) to the basic aspects of my contract for Gabriel's Story
and Walk Through Darkness
. I'd signed away the foreign rights to Doubleday, and at the time it didn't much matter. Those books did not attract foreign interest (except for WTD
selling in Portuguese, go figure...) Basically, though, I got a slightly higher advance because Dday had the rights, and since they weren't really selling anyway that all seemed appropriate. And, true enough, in the years since these two books have just about earned out the amount I got in advance for them. They haven't earned royalties over that amount yet, but all in all the accounting was pretty spot-on. That's a winning situation, really, because many, many books never earn out their advance. This doesn't mean the publisher can't still make money off the books; it does mean that the author may not see money in addition that agreed upon advance amount.
When it came time to negotiate for Pride of Carthage
and "another novel" I was in a little bit of a Catch-22. I wanted foreign rights back, sure, but I also wanted as large an advance as I could get. I couldn't know if I'd ever break into the world market anyway, so I signed for those books, let Dday keep the rights, and took what looked like a lovely check at the time. (It was a good advance.) Of course, this time around foreign publishers jumped on the book. Transworld bought it in the UK about two months after I'd signed with Dday - and, no, I hadn't written the book yet. You see, those first two novels proved to them I could write. They just wouldn't bite until the topic of my book looked more commercial. Other foreign language sales followed, and Dday began to recoup the money they had paid me in the advance. They KEEP the money from these sales until the money brought in pays back the advance they gave me. Only after that point do they start to need to think about cutting me royalty checks.
BUT... Pride of Carthage
and what became Acacia
were accounted together. Each book had a price tag attached to it, but when the revenues for the first book reached the point at which you could say that book was earning royalties the royalties didn't actually come to me. Instead, they started to pay toward the moneys advanced on the second book. About a year ago, Pride of Carthage
had earned more in royalties than I'd been paid in the advance, but Acacia
was hot off the presses, and just at the beginning of its earning cycle. So, no royalties.
Until now. Yes, friends, the revenue from Acacia
has finally pushed the combined income from both books beyond the amount of the advance. From now on, every six months I can feel pretty confident I'll be getting a check in the mail. I'll never know exactly how much, but it'll be something. And that's an income my family had not seen up until this point. Lovely.
Oh, and I should mention that the only reason I earned out was because of foreign sales. Yep. On Pride of Carthage
well more than half my income was from overseas. Acacia
looks similar so far. Do I wish ICM handled those foreign rights for me? Sure, it would've meant quite a bit more cash at this point - if they'd made the same sales Random House set up. Who can know if that would have happened? And who can say that Dday would have published me as well as they have without them knowing they had all the rights to exploit? And how would I have kept my family afloat if I'd hadn't taken the money offered when it was offered? Ah, so many questions...
What's done is done, and I can't say I'd do any of it differently. What matters now is what comes next. New deals to make. New books to write! You can believe I've got some schemes in mind on how to make the best of what's to come. The fact that I'm now a royalty-earning author makes it that little bit easier...
Labels: International Bestsellerdom, The Biz
I Need Suggestions...
A little help here, please. Yesterday my father in law asked me for a recommendation of a good sci-fi or fantasy book. He's heading to New Zealand for Christmas (to enjoy the summering sun with his other daughter's family) and he fancies reading a big book, something to get lost in. No, I can't recommend anything of mine, cause he's read all of them. (I'd like to think, actually, that Acacia
sort of planted the seed for this query.)
Some context first. My father is Scottish, a Shetlander who lives in that lovely wee cottage I've posted photos of so often. This one...
Yes, it's bloody isolated, but it's isolated in a good way. Inside, it's filled with books and art and letters and photos from his far-flung family. He reads really widely, and is looking for something to rival Dune
... See my dilemma? How do you rival Dune
? I can't point him toward an OK book. It can't be light on substance. It's got to be a gem.
The weird thing is that as enthusiastic a proponent of the genre(s) as I am, I'm having a hard time settling on a book. I keep thinking of ones I love, but then there's always something that makes me think twice about it. Hence, this call for suggestions.
So, on my shortlist so far are...Kindred,
by Octavia ButlerAmerican Gods
, by Neil Gaiman
A Game of Thrones
, by GRRMThe Diamond Age
, by Neal Stephenson
Is it one of these I should go with, or something else I'm not thinking of right now?...
Labels: Family Stuff, Recommendations, Shetland
I can't help it. I'm just in a linky sort of mood. And things keep coming in... This one is on the family front. My wife (knitwear designer Gudrun Johnston
) just had a pattern published in Twist Collective
. That link goes to a picture of the sweater on a model. It does kinda blow my mind that Gudrun not only knits things like this, but she designs (and writes the patterns) for them. Cool...
Labels: Family Stuff, Links
I'll do something other than just post links to interviews and reviews soon, but I've got another one first. Joseph Mallozzi has kindly featured me on his uber-popular webblog. Acacia
was the November fantasy book club pick. They discussed it. (I looked away - just in case.) But afterwards the participants sent me some questions. I happily answered them, sent them back and Joe just published them.You can read them here.
He's got an old photo of me and friend from the Netherlands on there as well...
Labels: Acacia, Interviews, Links
World Fantasy 2008
Nice photo, huh? Calgary looks lovely. Thing is, I spent five days there and I didn't see anything like those mountains. Not from ground level. Not from the sixteenth floor. What's that about? Were the mountains really there hanging behind some haze like here in Fresno, or was this thing photoshopped, or did I managed to just always be facing the wrong way? I may never know. Anyway...
This time last week I was still at the World Fantasy Conference in Calgary. I should probably say a word or two about it before too much time passes. It was, as ever, a wonderful con. World Fantasy was my favorite last year, and I think it will be so again. Some other cons have great panels (Readercon and WisCon come to mind), but it's hard to beat the combination of panels with so many professional writers, agents, editors in the mix. There are great numbers of fans, too, but there's definitely a professional feel to it. I didn't do any business there myself, but I know some that did. (I won't say anything specific, but some careers were advanced over those few days...)
I arrived aware that a lot of the folks I'd hung out with most last year weren't going to be at this one (think Pat Rothfuss, James Patrick Kelly, Kelly Link and the Angry Black Woman, for example), but I figured I'd still connect with some old friends and make some new ones. That, fortunately, is just what happened. Now, I didn't take a camera, so I don't have photos to verify the accuracy of all the namedropping I'm about to do. You'll have to trust me, and I'll just have to pinch images from elsewhere...
The first night I was happy to reconnect with Mary Robinette Kowal
, Lou Anders
, Jetse De Vries
, John Picacio
(these last two guys I first met at the Elf Fantasy Fair in the Netherlands) and to meet Paul Cornell
(of Dr. Who fame), Marjorie Liu
and Diana Rowland
Day Two I went to plenty panels and readings, and by the end of it I was hanging out with George RR Martin
(he'd read Pride of Carthage
since last we met!), Steven Erikson
(and lovely wife, who kept saying things to intentionally embarrass me), Daniel Abraham
(I went to his reading; he came to mine in return; kinda nicely reciprocal), Dave Keck and my British editor, Simon Taylor. Did I say "hanging out"? I did, didn't I? And I mean it. Strange but true, these folks seem like... well, like friends. I guess that's part of the con magic.
By Day Three I was starting to get fuzzy on some things. At some point in here I got chatting with Todd Lockwood
. He was the artist guest of honor, and I'd enjoyed watching his slide show of his work. Didn't really expect to talk to him, but then he ended up joining me at a table with others, and next thing you know we're talking about raising kids and art and politics. (Yeah, he's an Obama man.) Great time. Actually, it seems weird that I ended up talking as much as I did with one of the GOH, but so it was...
My conversation with Garth Nix
was pretty short, but it was awesome. I'm a fan of his. His The Abhorsen Trilogy
is wonderful, and I've enjoyed the several Keys to the Kingdom
books that I've read. I'd accosted him last year in Saratoga Springs, and been very pleased that he'd already heard of Acacia
. This year, though, it got better. He'd actually read and enjoyed Acacia
! He even invited me to go surfing in Australia! (Okay, pause... that last bit might be a... lie. Getting carried away. He did read Acacia
, though - I swear.) Needless to say, I was very pleased.
And then there were lots of people I saw in various settings: Nathalie Mallet
(who was kind enough to come to my reading), Alaya Dawn Johnson
and Doselle Young
(with whom I commiserated about being black at a fantasy con - oh, we got hard, ya'll, you don't even know!), Kay Kenyon
(who is very refined, and a lovely person to banquet with, and has lovely looking books that I want to read), Daryl Gregory
(who was on my other elbow at the banquet, very good to talk to. I'll be checking out his book), Jay Lake
(ah, Jay Lake... the first time we met one of us was drunk, while the other was only mildly inebriated and the combination wasn't always good... I won't say which was which, but in any event we've become more and more friendly since), Carrie Vaughn
(who I wish I'd talked to more as she was very friendly and fun) and Derryl Murphy
(a Canadian in his element). I know there were other folks too, but my brain gets a bit like swiss cheese at cons, full of holes.
On a number of occasions I was approached by people that seemed to be resuming some earlier conversation with me. I had no idea who they were or what they were talking about. Figured it must have been my fault, though, so I managed to bluff. Then came the time after a panel that Minister Faust was on... An older white gentleman approached me, complimenting me on the panel. I graciously pointed out that I had not, in fact, been on the panel. It was the other
black guy in the room that had been. Not sure he believed me. Later that night, speaking with Docel and Alaya we realized (or re
-realized, since this is a known phenomena) that the same thing had been happening to all of us. We'd each been approached by people that were sure we were somebody else - one of the small number of black people attending such events. We didn't have to look anything like our doppelgangers, by the way. Not body type or complexion or hair or clothing style or facial features. Nope. Just being recognizably black seemed to be enough.
My point: just cause you think
you spoke to any one particular black person at a con doesn't mean you really did. Might want to check the name tag. Something to consider...
People I should have talked to but didn't... Two obvious ones come to mind. I went out of my way to hear Minister Faust
talk on several occasions, but I never stuck around long enough to actually say hello. I should have. He's a wonderful reader, very amusing writer, and generally an insightful, completely engaging person. Silly me.
Second on the list is Tad Williams
. I was elbow to elbow with him on several occasions. He always seemed happy, full of humor and openness, but somehow I didn't break the barrier. Should have. Confession: there's only one reason I didn't, and that's that I haven't actually read him. I'd like to. I plan to. But I haven't yet. Considering that he's sold so many books and was at the con in a prominent roll I just... oh, had a high school moment when a silly bit of trepidation got in the way. Oh, well, next time.
I'm thinking that's about all I have to offer at the moment. There were great panels, yes. A lovely art show. Readings galore. But I guess what I always remember most is spending time with other people that write for a living, people whose work I admire or want to learn more about. At a con I get to be a writer and a fan both. That's nice.
Labels: Cons, Other Authors, The Biz
Akacien: Hotet Fran Norr
Tomorrow I'll post about World Fantasy
. I promise. Takes a while after such things to get your feet back under you, especially when the four freaky con days are followed by a national election of particular interest.
For today, I'd like to just point toward a new arrival in the Durham household - the Swedish edition of Acacia
. It's published by Norstedts, and it's actually pretty cool looking. Here tis...
Labels: Acacia, Foreign Editions
I don't know what to say, so I won't try to say too much.
I just saw this excerpt from Obama's acceptance speech over on The Swivet
. Couldn't help but quote it here...If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.
It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.
It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled — Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of red states and blue states; we are, and always will be, the United States of America.
Wonderful. I'm a happy man today, in so, so many ways. Now, if I could just get my eyes to stop doing this strange watering thing. It's downright embarrassing...
Labels: Random Ruminations
I Just Voted!
Man, was that easy! My sympathies to you if you have a long wait or other troubles, but my voting experience was a breeze. I just walked a few block on a lovely, breezy, cool but sunny Fresno morning. Arrived to find a line of, oh... three people. Got my ballot in about three minutes. Walked out of there about ten minutes later. I got to vote for my prez and to strike a blow at a discriminatory initiative. Felt nice.
How did it go for you?
Labels: Random Ruminations
I'm post dating this. Just got back online and saw this photo of my kids heading out to their Halloween celebration. Geez. They look awesome. Sorry to have missed this one. Christmas. Christmas...
My witch daughter and Viking son...
Labels: Family Stuff, Shetland