Monday, June 28, 2010

Readercon 21

I'm just starting to get my schedule for this years Readercon. Unfortunately, I'm only going to be able to be there for one day, Friday, July 9th. I'll have to cut out that evening to head up to Maine for the Stonecoast MFA residency. That will be great fun too, but I'm sorry it clashes with Readercon - one of my favorites cons.

Still, I'll be there for one action packed day. I have two panels with some great folks. They are as follows...

In Search of Lost Time: History and Memory in Historical and Speculative Fiction
Friday, 12:30 p.m., Salon F
Christopher M. Cevasco, Alan DeNiro, David Anthony Durham (L), Andrea Hairston, Howard Waldrop

"[I]n places like the Caribbean, West Africa and so on, we have two distinct elements. We have history which is written in books about the white people — how they came to Guadeloupe, how they colonized Guadeloupe, how they became the masters of Guadeloupe — and you have memory, which is the actual facts of the people of Guadeloupe and Martinique — the way they lived, the way they suffered, the way they enjoyed life. We are trained to rely more on our memories and the memories of people around us than on books" — Maryse Condé, explaining the genesis of her new novel Victoire: My Mother's Mother. Clearly the best historical fiction attempts to bridge the gap between these two modes of understanding by bringing the richness of memory to the rigor of history. But it's also a commonplace that history is the trade secret of speculative fiction. How is the interplay of history and memory in imaginative literature like and unlike that of historical fiction?

Why Aren't I Repeating Myself? Why?
Friday, 8:00 p.m., Salon F
with David Anthony Durham (L), Patrick O'Leary, Paul Park, Jennifer Pelland, and Michael Swanwick

Some writers hone a single approach for their entire careers, while others are much likelier to produce work that is, by their own track record, sui generis. Why are these writers driven to explore new genres, styles, themes, and structures, when most of their peers need less variety? Is it simply a product of having wide-ranging interests? Or something deeper? Since we suspect that many such writers may find the phenomenon mysterious to themselves, we encourage them to trade notes about their specific motivations for writing works that took them to new stylistic, structural and thematic territory.

That (L) means I'm the leader of both panels. An honor, I guess, although it means added preparation to the already daunting amount of stuff I need to have ready for Stonecoast. Oh well, it's nice to be wanted. They haven't announced readings and individual talks and all that stuff yet, so maybe I'll soon have more to report.

If you can make it for any of this con (it's outside of Boston, MA). It's a great one in terms of a real focus on authors, readers and the books they love. Pretty much no dressing up or Stormtroopers or anything like that. Great panels. Ideas flying like crazy. Lots of accessibility to authors. And readers!

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My Tiara... my tiara no more.

Sad to say, but today I packaged up my John W Campbell Tiara and mailed it to Jay Lake. He'll be taking it to Australia to present to the new winner - to be announced on the night in Worldcon in Melbourne. Also called AussieCon 4.

I'd love to actually be going, but I'm already traveling to Scotland around the same time with the family, so it's not really a possibility for me.

It's been a good year, though. I'll never forget that Campbell Award night. Magic. Really magic...

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

La nueva apuesta de Ediciones B por el fantástico: "Acacia"

A link for my Spanish speaking readers.

Seems like there's some serious buzz around the release of Acacia in Spain. Here's hoping it translates to great things!

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Typographical Idiosyncrasies

Geez. Ever suspect that written text rewrites itself while nobody is looking?

I recently had a few queries from Anchor as they prepare for the massmarket release of The Other Lands later this summer. Seems the copy editor found some mistakes and wanted to run them by me.

Mistakes? Now, a year after the book had been put through the editorial mill by Doubleday? Surely not!

Er... or maybe so. They produced several gems that I'll not repeat here. Happily, they won't appear in the paperback. They will live on the hardback, of course, but that's part of what makes hardbacks worth it. Little... um... typographical idiosyncrasies (that's what I call mistakes whenever I can).

I guess I can be thankful that I have a publisher that copy edits a book that's already been copy edited. Nice to have professionals involved...

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ediciones B presenta "Acacia"

It looks like Acacia is entering the world in Spanish. I just came across this announcement at A.J. El Cuarto Oscuro. La Sociedad Oculta, as well as this earlier piece on Via News 5.0.

I haven't managed to get a look at the full-sized cover yet. Clearly, Ediciones B has used the artwork from the original German cover, but I'd love to see it in detail. I'll post it here when I do, of course.

*Note - Obviously, I came up with this medium sized version of the cover. That's what it looks like...

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Monday, June 07, 2010

Nnedi and Ekaterina

Two authors. Two blurbs. I'm rather proud to point out that I had the privilege of endorsing two terrific new books.

The first one, Who Fears Death, by Nnedi Okorafor is out now.

I read this awhile ago, and was very impressed. Enough so that I wrote: "WHO FEARS DEATH is urgently topical, at times brutal, and always wholly original. It’s no surprise she’s been racking up awards. There are more to come, surely."

Yep. It's serious stuff. Don't believe me? Here's what Publishers Weekly wrote in a Starred Review:

Well-known for young adult novels (The Shadow Speaker; Zahrah the Windseeker), Okorafor sets this emotionally fraught tale in postapocalyptic Saharan Africa. The young sorceress Onyesonwu—whose name means Who fears death?—was born Ewu, bearing a mixture of her mother's features and those of the man who raped her mother and left her for dead in the desert. As Onyesonwu grows into her powers, it becomes clear that her fate is mingled with the fate of her people, the oppressed Okeke, and that to achieve her destiny, she must die. Okorafor examines a host of evils in her chillingly realistic tale—gender and racial inequality share top billing, along with female genital mutilation and complacency in the face of destructive tradition—and winds these disparate concepts together into a fantastical, magical blend of grand storytelling.

The second is The House of Discarded Dreams, by Ekaterina Sedia. Here's how I responded:

"The House of Discarded Dreams is a moody feast of the fantastic, dreamy, surreal, all rendered in visually poetic prose that reminded me of Hayao Miyazaki films. Oh, and that guy with the crazy hair was awesome! Terrific stuff. Just the right fusion of thematic depth and unbridled creativity that I’m always looking for, but rarely find."

This one isn't out until the fall, but keep it in mind...

Here's an interview with her at Dark Wolf's Fantasy Reviews.

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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

No Toro On Hobbit