“The Glass Galago”
On Wednesday in Saratoga Springs I got to see three variations of this spectacular cover for “The Glass Galago,” which is the third* of The Gales and which will be out in a couple months. Irene Gallo showed me this lush and beautiful Richard Anderson image, and I squealed like a little child newly in possession of all the ice cream.
*The first two Gales are Among the Silvering Herd and The Ugly Woman of Castello di Putti.
I am sitting in the hotel room in Saratoga Springs as I write this, checking my UCLA classrooms and talking with my students about what makes a person or non-human character monstrous. They’re asking: is the monstrous always just about making someone Other? Some might say any ordinary person with a defective moral compass–your classic heartless killer or other all-too-human predator– can be a monster. And in non-fiction, that scans for me. If a journalist wants to call Charles Manson a monster, I’m not going to quibble.
In fiction, my taste runs to the more than human monsters. I like for them to have a whiff of the transcendent. In the above series of stories, Gale Feliachild occasionally regards Captain Garland Parrish as monstrous, even though he’s not even remotely evil. He’s overly blessed by nature, you see: impossibly handsome, exceedingly graceful, and good at almost everything he turns his mind to. It’s just about too much. He’s good, but he can easily be jealousy-inducing. We all know people like this: coveting their good fortune makes us feel small, and it’s hard not to blame them.
The current TV version of Hannibal Lecter has an intense aestheticism and is so robustly athletic that he’s as hard to kill as The Terminator. Some of his qualities are appealing–his love is so pure!–and that makes his compulsion to kill and eat the rude all the more awful. And the fact that we can empathize with the idea of quelling the rude, neglectful and genuinely awful people we run across from time to time actually increases the effect… it invites us to consider whether we might not condone more than we should.
Even as I wend my way toward Saratoga Springs and the World Fantasy Convention, Tor.com is running an excerpt from A Daughter of No Nation. This is your very first chance to get back aboard the sailing vessel Nightjar, captained as always by the impossibly upright Garland Parrish and his intrepid crew.
If you haven’t been to the world of Stormwrack before now, and this taste persuades you to try a little more, Child of a Hidden Sea is on sale for $2.99 in all the major ebook retailers. Or check out the first two of The Gales, “Among the Silvering Herd” and “The Ugly Woman of Castello di Putti.” (A third Gale story is in the works, folks–it’s called “The Glass Galago” and will be out in early 2016.)
Some of you may also remember that I ran a draw in October, for a copy of CHS or any one of my previous books. I have rolled a many-sided die (once a gamer, always a gamer) and thereby chosen a winner, but contacting her has proven tricky so I’m going to hold off on announcing a name for now.
For anyone looking to connect with me at the World Fantasy Convention, here’s my schedule as it stands now…
Thursday November 5th
Real World Nomenclature, Taboos, and Cultural Meaning
The panel discusses the thorny issue of real world terms that often bear loaded meanings and concepts being transported wholesale into Fantasy worlds. Swearing, cursing, and racial epithets can cause controversy and out-cry. Commonly accepted terms change meaning over time and become taboo. As the politics of the real world change, is there a concurrent transposition into Fantasy worlds?
A.M. Dellamonica (mod.), Didi Chanoch, Steve Erikson, Don Pizarro, Mark van Name
When Magic Meets Science
Fantasy, and the Epic in particular, have a tendency to ignore the progress of the sciences, but there are some great stories out there which tackle the issue of technological advancement in a Fantasy world. Our panel will discuss the tension between science, technology and magic, and some of the narratives that play with our notions of technological progress in a Fantasy world, from the Discworld to Malazan and to Flintlock Fantasies.
Julie Czerneda (mod.), Donald Crankshaw, A.M. Dellamonica, Chris Gerwell
Friday November 6th
Politics, Economics and Power in Fantasy worlds
Some fantasy authors give little thought to the underlying notions of power and politics that underpin the nations of their Fantasy realms, while others are only too aware of what they borrow from the world. The panel discusses the issues of politics and power dynamics in works of Fantasy that explore, explode, or subvert the norms.
Paul Park (mod.), A.M. Dellamonica, Mark van Name, Rick Wilber, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Saturday November 7th
illustration by Richard Andersen
I’m happy to announce that Tor.com will be publishing the next novelette in The Gales series on January 6th, 2016. The story’s title is “The Glass Galago” and it’s a follow-up to “Among the Silvering Herd and “The Ugly Woman of Castello di Putti.”
In “The Glass Galago,” First Mate Garland Parrish of the sailing vessel Nightjar finally tells his employer, Gale Feliachild, what it was that got him discharged from the Fleet of Nations.
These stories are set about fifteen years before the events of Child of a Hidden Sea and A Daughter of No Nation. Some of you may have heard me characterize the pieces as the adventures of Doctor Who and her very pretty companion. I know January’s a way off (124 sleeps, to be precise!) but I hope you enjoy it.
The second uber-fun thing this week: my cousin Tee from Edmonton is in town, vacationing with her beau. We spent yesterday mooching around Kensington Market and catching up in the very moist heat of a hot summer’s day. Toronto hasn’t been overly warm or humid this summer, but this was a classic sweatbox experience. Which meant we ended up, eventually, in a pub, with icy beers in hand. Tee and I don’t know each other well… she is awesome, but there’s a seventeen-year age gap, and the last time we saw each other was at Grandma’s funeral. Needless to say, it was really terrific to strengthen the acquaintance at an event not involving death.
Third but definitely not least: Kelly and I went to a Gothic Romance Master Class session at TiFF where director Guillermo del Toro discussed and then screened a 90 minute speed version of Jane Eyre starring Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine. The movie was lacking many things, including the entire last half of the plot and almost any significant characterization of Jane herself, but del Toro’s analysis and his obvious love for gothic romance was illuminating. Kelly did a great write-up, which is here.
I’m so pleased that A Daughter of No Nation is included in the Charlie Jane Anders round-up, on io9, of the most thrilling SF and Fantasy books coming out this fall. It’s in great company, with books by Jim Butcher, Steven Baxter… woah, Salmon Rushdie (wasn’t expecting that!), Nnedi Okorafor, Kameron Hurley, Ann Leckie, Tanya Huff and so so many others.
Some of those fall books are coming out in mere minutes, so this week will bring you not one but two author interviews here on my site, along with a write-up about S.M. Stirling’s The Desert and the Blade.
The next couple of weeks will be entertaining and action-packed. There will be Heroine Question interviews on Wednesdays, but I’m not sure what else the blog may hold. We’ve built a bit of downtime into the early part of the month, and chief among the things I’m looking forward to doing with that time is hitting TiFF like a movie-going anvil. Kelly and I plan to see at least 13 films. As an appetizer for that fabulous experience, we’re also going to a special event tonight, where Pacific Rim director Guillermo del Toro is introducing the 1943 adaptation of Jane Eyre as part of the Gothic Master Class he’s conducting there.
Will Orson hold his own against Toby Stephens? My assumption is no way. But I cannot wait to hear what del Toro says about the Gothic form!!