Over at Novel Gazing Redux, Marissa Lingen says:
Sophie loves her adoptive family like crazy, but she’s still curious about her birth family. When she goes looking, things get wild very very quickly. There’s an angry birth mother who wants nothing to do with her, there’s an aunt who’s slightly more reasonable, there are people attacking the aunt, there’s transit to a watery world of ships and weird magic tech and different species of bug and bird and sea critter, with variable languages and national customs…and the variable languages and national customs matter. A lot. If you’ve ever complained about books where it was raining on such-and-such an entire planet, Dellamonica has your back.
Gardner Dozois may have had a hand in that. One of the things I remember most from Clarion West was his throwaway mention that too many writers imperfectly imagine their SF-nal settings, and that in particular they simply assume that each planet (sometimes each solar system, or galaxy!) will have one culture, one language, and one government. A lightbulb went off.
Anyway, now I have a planet with two hundred and fifty nations. Plus assorted languages, religions, official state sciences and other cultural ephemera.
Yesterday I caught you up on all my guest bloggery, and today I am posting reviews, all quite glowy and gratifying.
NPR – “What Happens when Fantasyland Doesn’t Want You?”
I was especially pleased that Paul Weimer of SF SIGNAL liked the book, because he’s been such a marvellously vocal fan:
… Sophie makes a believable and interesting protagonist. Given that she quickly learns her own foundling origins are on this world, her motivations and desire to learn more about Stormwrack rather than turn tail and forget her experience are completely believable and easy to identify with. Would I, in her place, start maxing out credit cards to obtain cameras and other equipment to document this world next door? Absolutely! Her stubbornness, her intelligence and her effusive appeal are palpable.
and Bookworm Blues says some great things, too!
And, as before, Kitten Pic!
Miriam Williams at Inky Realms liked Child of a Hidden Sea to the tune of 4.5 out of five stars, praising it for having a racially diverse cast and gay characters, and even shipping Parrish/Bram. (Pramwell? Brammish?) She also felt the book needed a map, while acknowledging my earlier note about why this was challenging. (Short answer: too much ocean, not enough land.)
The review gave a nice lift to a peculiar weekend; I had an anaphylactic reaction at immunotherapy Friday. While it wasn’t serious, it wasn’t fun either. I was at the clinic for hours, in what turned out to be a real hip-wrecker of a chair, and was left creaky and wheezy all weekend. On Saturday we took the kitties in for their second round of immunizations–they are in perfect health, and have put on another half-pound or so each.
Though CinCin has a feather allergy–did I tell you this? I feel extra smug about having plucked her out of the wild given that she’d have sneezed constantly whenever hunting or eating birdkind.
July is busy time at K’s office, so we both worked a fair amount on Sunday.
Good things abounded: we made it to the edge of Pride in time for a Stonewall reenactment and the obligatory sighting of a well-built guy dancing in sandals and a posing pouch, the Met in HD rebroadcast of Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte was delightful, and we followed that up with delicious, delicious sandwiches at Corned Beef House. We watched Austenland and I liked it–which wouldn’t have stopped me from rewriting it significantly if I was in charge of the universe–and tried out The West Wing on Netflix.
How was your weekend?
With Child of a Hidden Sea coming out in 39 days and counting, reviews are starting to appear. This morning I’m quite enchanted with this write up by Eric Raymond of the Armed and Dangerous blog. He says many good things, along with this, which is my favorite bit of not-so-positive feedback so far:
The writing is pretty good and the worldbuilding much better thought out than is usual in most fantasy; Ms. Dellamonica could write competent SF if she chose, I think. The book is slightly marred by the sort of preachiness one expects of a lesbian author these days, and there is a touch of Mary Sue in way the ultra-competent protagonist is written. But the whole is carried off with a pleasing lightness of touch and sense of fun. I’ll read the sequel.
It’d be easy to put my nose out of joint about the lesbian preachiness comment, but I am a queer environmentalist and no less prone to having Opinions, some of which leach into my writing, than any artist. It’s a well-considered and balanced review and I was especially pleased that Raymond found Sophie to be something of a grown-up:
Sophie is not some angsty teenager who spends a lot of time on denying her situation and blunders into a coming-of-age narrative…
This is an interesting stage of things: once a book is out in the world, it ceases to belong entirely to the author and editorial/production team who coaxed it into being. Everyone gets to say what your book is or isn’t after it’s gone. The process can be exciting, nerve-wracking, delightful, disappointing, and surprising by turns. There are moments of relief and surprise, and it’s tempting to second-guess yourself. There are writers who don’t read their reviews for exactly this reason. There are writers so secure they post every single review, no matter how scathing. (Jay Lake, I admire you for this as I do so many other things.)
As with everything, there’s no one-size-fits-all; you have to figure out what works for you.
And… I’ve now rewatched all of S3. The Graduation Day 1 & 2 rewatch can be found here. Next week Buffy starts college, which is uncanny timing given that September’s wafting its chilly breath all over us.
Here’s a little snippet from one of The Gales, about the island nation of Erinth, a place inspired, more than a little, by Catania:
Sindria, capital of Erinth, was a city of black marble and volcanic glass, a dark architectural foundation layered in color and light. The carved urns and stone window boxes built into the structures all burst with bougainvillea and daisies. Fruit trees nodded along the avenues, laden with oranges, lemon trees and sun-burnished golden plums.
The title of the story this comes from is “The Ugly Woman of Castello di Putti.”
As mentioned, I am posting these island snapshots because I’m giving away naming rights to one nation on the world of Stormwrack to the person who contributes the most to Clarion West in my name this summer. I will also have a draw for naming rights to a landmark, animal species, sailing vessel or city on Stormwrack. It’s your choice. Anyone who wants to qualify for that one need only donate something, even if it’s the minimum.
And you can do it in person! Just show up either at my reading at Borderlands Bookstore on Saturday June 23rd at 3:00 p.m. or at the University Bookstore in Seattle on Monday the 25th at 7:00 p.m. Give me cash and a way to contact you, and you’re in the running.
To win, you need to 1) give money; 2) tell me so and 3) give me some contact info.
Finally, links: there’s a Buffy essay up now, called “Real Vampy Love Bitches of Sunnydale“. (This is the “Lovers Walk” essay and, yes, it’s out of order. My fault, I’m pretty sure. I wrote it, but then I was travelling and sick, and Something Ate It.)