Tor.com has a new feature called That Was Awesome: Writers on Writing and the inaugural post is one by me, on Jack Womack’s uber-fantastic coming of age diary, Random Acts of Senseless Violence
. The essay is called: Surprise, Fear, and an almost Fanatical Devotion to the Womack.
Meanwhile in Sunnydale, season seven needed a catchy refrain, and has chosen blogs/2013/11/buffy-the-vampire-slayer-rewatch-did-you-turn-this-ladys-ex-into-a-giant-worm-monster”>From Beneath You, It Devours.” Won’t that make a great theme for Dawn’s first prom?
I have two new essays up on Tor this week. The Buffy rewatch is up to “Lessons.” (Meanwhile, I have only just finished submitting the essay on “Help,” and I see I gave them very similar titles. Sigh.)
I also had the great good fortune to get an advance peek at Nicola Griffith’s fantastic new novel Hild, and to write the following review.
Hild’s story begins when she is three and her father is poisoned. Her mother, Breguswith, moves their household to Edwin’s court for safety. Mom immediately begins some high-end scheming. She has already laid the groundwork for Hild to have a very special place within the court, because when she was pregnant, she revealed a vision that predicted Hild would be “the light of the world.”
Hild is out now and I can’t recommend it enough. If you buy one book in hardcover this week, let it be this one. Go! Read! Enjoy!
Last week was full of petty frustrations and upheavals, nothing huge, but enough to put a glower on my face, from time to time, and shadow my attention to the many things, big and small, that were lovely and delightful about the week.
Some of the things that were, at times, overshadowed by the grump: The launch for Priscilla Uppal’s new book Projection: Encounters With My Runaway Mother was really fun, and the book is, in part, about movies. Each chapter is named for a film: it starts with Blade Runner and there’s a Throw Momma from the Train chapter. Very promising!
On Saturday we went with Linda Carson to check out Hop Day before making and devouring a delicious fall feast together.
Here’s one of the Hop Day attendees confronting a painting I really liked; it’s called Orphan:
I finished a story, and am quite pleased with it. The construction dudes seem to be on the verge of finishing our courtyard, and have not only turned on the water feature but have added gorgeous blue lights to it. And Bird TV is back on the air–the sparrows have found our suet feeder and the cats are wildly attentive.
Even the iO7 upgrade offered a bit of fun and entertainment.
It’s been quite chilly in the mornings for a couple now, on the order of six or seven degrees when we leave the house at 7:30. Breezy, too. It’s easy to forget how windy Vancouver isn’t. I’ve broken out the tights and sweaters and am happy to see them. Summer having been so much warmer here, it feels like a long time since I saw the stuff.
Tonight we are headed to a book launch with Michelle; she’s got a friend named Priscilla Uppal who has a book out, Projection: Encounters With My Runaway Mother. It’s at a bar called No One Writes to the Colonel, which somehow sounds like a place where they check your cool at the door before deciding whether to let you in. Though I see it’s also a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novella.
Our move from Vancouver had just started to build up a little momentum this spring when I sold Claude Lalumiere my story “Faces of Gemini” for the Super Stories of Heroes and Villains anthology, and even though I’ve been reposting Claude’s interviews and articles about the book, which contains stories by George R.R. Martin, Camille Alexa and Jonathan Lethem, among others, I’d entirely forgotten to let you all know.
“Faces of Gemini” initially appeared in Girls Who Bite Back: Witches, Mutants, Slayers and Freaks. It’s about being dumped, and picking up the pieces. Plus, also, super heroes and villains!
Here’s a snip:
Gemini nodded, not trusting herself to speak. The horde had thundered into Stanley Park at dawn, killing everyone they found. The barbarians’ weapons had been primitive, but pitted against a scattering of unarmed joggers, tourists and kids, they had done plenty of damage. Dozens of civilians had been murdered before Crucible had arrived to contain the threat.
“So…” Leela said. “Bad guys gone now?”
The book will be out in September.
I’m thinking of trying out The Summer of Dead Toys. Anyone read it?
Kelly and I went to a book launch for Ryan North’s Choose Your Own Adventure Hamlet graphic novel, To Be or Not To Be on Monday. It was a massive event–the signing was happening outside a pub, and across the street, people were getting their pictures taken in quasi-Elizabethan dress. At some point a three-man theater troupe did a fifteen-minute version of Hamlet which was pretty hilarious.
(It was odd, too, because the other play we’ve been to since arriving here was also a literary adaptation where a couple people played all the roles, this time of Pride and Prejudice.)
The last week or so has held a pleasing mix of delights: I am poking away on two short stories at once. I am not sure where either of them is going, but that’s part of the fun. I am back at the mentoring gig as of yesterday and am so glad to have resumed that part of my life and routine. My current Creating Universes students are chatty and engaged, passionate about SF books, and a thoroughgoing delight. I had lunch with Peter Watts yesterday, have hung out with my sister a couple times, and am looking forward to the next ChiZine reading at Augusta House.
There has been lots of yoga, and there will be more tonight.
The coming weekend is a long weekend, just as it is in B.C., and we’re going to check out the Simcoe Day festivities at Fort York, for no better reason than that it’s a ten minute walk from our place.
Happy August, everyone!
Kelly and I went to our first SF community event Wednesday night, a ChiSeries reading featuring Guy Gavriel Kay, E.L. Chen, Jim Munroe and Leon Rooke. The monthly readings are held at The Augusta House, a pub conveniently near our place, and we met a few people I’ve known for years in a cyberspace way (I tend to forget that some of these friends of mine are people I’ve never actually looked in the face.)
One of the night’s unexpected delights was hearing the music of Kari Maaren. She is an amazing filk lyricist (Badger and Fearless, I suspect you will heart her bigtime, if you don’t already). Her The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy song, “43,” made me howl with laughter. And there’s this:
We slipped out at about nine-thirty, so very late by our ridiculous up-at-dawn standards, and walked home. It felt as though it might have been the first time–in almost a month!–that we’ve been out after dark. The pubs were just getting lively, filling up with crowds of people keen to watch hockey and socialize.
It was a warm and humid night, full of sights and cheer, an altogether magical walk.
I have probably mentioned this before, but when I was a tween, the Scholastic Book Order club was pretty much the highlight of my school existence. Every month they’d send out a two page book catalog, printed on newsprint, and I would pore over it, trying to figure out which two or three books I would order.
The next phase involved the wheedling of cash from my mother. I can remember very specifically the feeling of walking to school with the actual form clutched in my hand. It about the size of a postcard and printed on newsprint, and I would wrap it around the quarters and dimes with which I was going to pay for the treasure.
Until the recent move-related cull, I still had a few of those books: Ann Rivkin’s Mystery of Disaster Island, and The Forgotten Door by Alexander Key, to name two.
One of the Scholastic books I didn’t retain into adulthood was a biography of Nellie Bly, and it was absolutely one of my favorites. Nellie was an intrepid girl reporter who worked for Joseph Pulitzer, and the book told about how she went undercover at an insane asylum for women–writing an expose on its cruelties–before capping off her career with a ’round the world race to prove that Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days trip was a possible thing.
Another magazine sent a competing reporter, so halfway around the journey she found out she was in a race with Elizabeth Bisland.
So. Not long ago my good friend Keph posted about Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around the World on Facebook and I immediately grabbed it up. It is as gratifying and intriguing as I expected. Nellie and Elizabeth were remarkably different women whose lives had intriguing similarities: they bumped up against the same feminist issues in very different ways.
On a barely-relevant note – I am now living within blocks of the Scholastic building. This is, for me, rather like living on the front lawn of the Taj Mahal or the Vatican.