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Books...

Oh yeah, and I have recently finished these most excellent and highly recommended books:

The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt. Sometimes Byatt does it for me, sometimes she don't. This is her best (and most accessible) book since Possession. It's brutal and grim and lovely and haunting and horrible and eerie and wonderful.

Lavinia by Ursula K. LeGuin. A sorta-retelling of the Aeneid (Aeneas fleeing the wreckage of Troy and eventually founding Rome) from a woman's point of view. Often classics redone from female POV books are silly or pointless or full of powerlessness pretending to be empowered. This book really does evoke the distant past and bring a fresh perspective, and a deep sadness, to a very old story.

Johannes Cabal Necromancer by Jonathan Howard. Clever and inventive story of a scientist who sells his soul to the devil and then decides he wants it back. Satan is willing to do a return--if the scientist will trade him 100 souls. What's the best way to gather 100 souls? With a carnival, of course. Author said he was inspired by Bradbury's Dark Carnival and it shows--in a very good way.

The Girl Who Played With Fire by Steig Larson. I liked this one better than the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. More Lisbeth and less journalistic twaddle. Lisbeth Salander is definitely a heroine for the ages, a Nini Mo for the 21th century.

Yr. obt. svt.,

Y.S. Wilce

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Working...

Still drafting away, this time on the final. I've been doing a ton of research and reconsidering, so plot is getting juicier by the minute and so are the characters! I've been so absorbed that I haven't been able to spare any energy for blogging--and my apologies to those who commented and then probably gave up long ago on ever getting a response from me. Mea culpa, particularly since I am painfully pleased to hear from readers--FLORA'S DARE has long since vanished without a trace from bookstores, and I was beginning to think that no one but me and my grandmother had actually read it. How lovely to hear the contrary!

I've been doing research on bears. (The reason behind this will be clear later.)

Here's a very cool video I found of a bear getting a swimming lesson.

I particularly like the way in which he gets into the pool just as a human would.

Yr obt svt.

Y.S. Wilce


Me, out and aboot on the Internets.

Just returned from Califa (and Elsewhere) to find a few new pieces re: moi on the internet.

My interview for the Nebula Awards has posted on the Nebula website. Read me expound upon questions both metaphysical and trivial!

And over at SF Signal, I put in my two cents as to the Best Bad Guys in Genre...As I pondered my answer to that question, I realized that IMHO there really are no truly well-done bad guys in traditional fantasy. It's all unspeakable evil (Lovecraft) or unknowable evil (Sauron) or petty evil (your average dark lord). To really get good evil guys you have to go horror (paging Randall Flagg/Bob Gray/The Overlook Hotel) or to what the hoity-toitys call literary fiction (Humbert? Humbert?). In fact, as I pondered this question is occurred to me that while many many traditional fantasies are all about the battle for good and evil, oft-times the good is boring and the bad banal. Of course, I guess I'm thinking of the word-cube fantasies here, or maybe just Tolkien-y wannabes.

In other parts of my life, I am really enjoying parts of this season of TRUE BLOOD. It's a silly show, and has a tendency to really blow as far as the genre elements go (perhaps the writers figure since they are making up the supernatural crap it doesn't matter if there's no logic to it?) but some of the dialogue is great, and I am totally adoring Jason Stackhouse, who has to be one of the most appealing morons to ever be presented on the tiny screen. He is dumber than a sack of hair, but his heart is so good...I tried to read the books and couldn't get by the awful prose, but the tv show is good clean dirty fun, and I recommend it for a pop-corn entertainment.

In yet other parts of my world, I finally finished the rough draft of FLORA'S FURY. Whew. Glad that is over. It was a challenge wrapping up stuff, but not too tightly, and as I got closer and closer to the end, I started thinking....hmmm...I hate to leave Flora here, I wonder if there might be another book. Maybe. But first things first, getting this one off my plate. I think it turned out well, if rough. After two books, it's hard to come up with new stuff, but I think I did, and def. moved Flora out of her comfort zone. Plus, if you think Flora screwed up before...well...wait till you hear what bone-headed trouble she gets into this time...

Saw PONYO last week. It was cute. Not his best, but entertaining none-the-less. Also saw the preview for WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, which may actually be the greatest kids movie since I dunno, WIZARD OF OZ, maybe, but the preview had been edited to make it look totally stupid.

Oh, I am reading WICKED GENTLEMEN by Ginn Hale. It's a little slashy, which I didn't expect, but don't mind, and I think the world building--a kind of weird Neo-19th century city with demons and really hot military inquisitors, like if the Salvation Army was actually trying to salvate you--is quite good. I'm enjoying it, and frankly, I don't enjoy much fantasy anymore. There is a same of a sameness to so much out there--and not just genre either--tons of good stuff, but just good stuff. Very little that seems to me to be really outstanding. So these days I mostly just read the Financial Times. I am captivated by the adventures of  Tyler Brule, his mother and his boyfriend, as they jet from one part of the world to another, spreading style and heaping scorn on British Airways and other legacy air carriers.

That's all I got. Between the book and my delicious teacup human master, there's not much room for anything else.

Yr. obt. svt.,

Y.S. Wilce

p.s. Is anyone going to World Fantasy? We'll be on the West Coast and probably will pop in one day, to show off Teacup Human and see friends...if you wish to be one of those friends, please let me know so we can coordinate!
 


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Tiptree Honours!

Once again, Flora has won a Tiptree Honour--this time for FLORA'S DARE.

And once again, I'm ticked shocking pink. The Tiptree is an award close to my heart. Not only is it funded via baked goods (yum), and the award comes with a tiara (woo!) but it's for books that deal with gender, and those who know me know that the study of gender is close to my heart and a topic to which I tend to blather on about at great tedium. I have lot alot about gender construction in Califa and written accordingly, and think of the Flora books as really being about gender (not Califian gender expectations, but our own gender expectations), but hardly anyone seems to have noticed--other than the Tiptree panel.

I suppose it's good to fly under the radar on a topic that can turn people off quite easily but still, sometimes one likes one's (hopefully) subtlety to be recognized, and hence, my delight in the Tiptree Honour. One day I hope to be delighted in being more than just honoured...! Gives me a reason to write to...

Yr. obt. svt.,

Y.S. Wilce


 


Darling Jim

Reading Darling Jim by Christian Moerk.

A real page-turner involving wolves, Irish bards, biker chicks, geeky postmen and murder. If I had to high concept it, I'd say it was Little Red Riding Hood(s) meets The Wild One(s) meets Murder.

A lot of books are labeled "a modern faery tale" but this one really is, and like all faery tales it's dark,  and disturbing, and very enthralling.

Yr. obt. svt.,

Y.S . Wilce

Hello Pirate!

Alestorm: Pirate heavy metal.

*Swoon*

Yr. obt. svt.,

Y.S. Wilce

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Kindling...

Article yesterday in the NYT about the Kindle...while there may be some legitimate debates about how Kindle will change publishing--and some of those changes maybe not so much the better for authors--the NYT hand-wringing seemed to be mostly over the fact that books on Kindle can't be used as status signifiers (tho' the Kindle itself, of course, it somewhat a status signifier since it ain't cheap)...after all, how will people know you are so cool and read Melville or Sartre if there's no book cover to inform them of such? It's true that as far as being used as a wing-book, the Kindle is useless...but...full disclosure:

Devilman got me a Kindle and it's pretty cool. Actually, Devilman got US a Kindle, and although I was skeptical at first, he's now not been able to pry it out of my hot little hands. I'm pretty smitten. Now, I wouldn't want to read every book on the Kindle, and I wouldn't buy a book on the Kindle that I had any expectation of wanting to add to my library, but for a swift read it's pretty sweet how you can download a book in seconds from wherever you are and begin reading instantly.  This has caused me to buy books that I might not have otherwise, based on the instant gratification principle. If I had to write the title down and go to the bookstore I might have lost interest in the book before I even got out the front door.

I particularly like reading the newspapers on the Kindle. We used to take the NYT, the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal, but we only ever read the FT weekend edition, and the newsprint did add up. It seemed as though I was always carrying scads of paper to the recycling, or stumbling over pilesin the living room. Now, we are paper free, and don't have to deal with spreading out huge pages on the breakfast table or the living room. Plus, I tend to do most of my reading now whilst satisfying the voracious appetite of the Captain and his grabby hands make books and newspapers problematic. But I can easily hold the Kindle out of his reach and turn the page with one hand, and that works great. You don't get the easy browsing function you do with the physical paper, and the Kindle editions don't have the entire content of the paper edition but it's good enough for casual reading.

A couple of drawbacks: firstly, the Kindle ain't cheap, as mentioned before. I'm sure the price will come down and by the time Captain Jenks is old enough to read Gogol he'll probably wonder why anyone would read books printed on paper, oh those silly old folks. By then, maybe they'll be giving Kindles out in cereal boxes. (I am ancient enough to remember when digital watches cost over $100 bucks and were giant clunky things; you could order them out of the Sears catalog--if you were rich!). But right now it's an investment.

Another drawback: you lose the lovely physical quality of a book. No graphics, and if the book had pictures in it, usually they are ommited from the Kindle edition. I just finished GO DOWN TOGETHER, a bio of Bonnie and Clyde (what absolute pathetic losers--so sad), and I would have liked pictures to go with my text. Luckily, google pics provided illustrations but that's not the same as flipping to the middle of the book. Plus, no cover art, or interesting fonts, etc. Just stripped down utilitarian text. For those of us who like books as objects, that's a drag. But as I said, if I really want to keep a book, then I'll buy it for real.

Last drawback--which could be a MAJOR one for those of us with no self-control. To buy books you set up an automatic account. This means when you click buy on the Kindle, the credit card information is already in the system--which makes book buying SEEM easy and almost FREE. If you aren't careful, you can rack up some serious charges quickly just by hitting BUY BUY BUY. This may be great for the publishers and impulse buying but can get you into fiscal hot water rather quickly. Like with donuts, one must learn to exercise restraint.

However, over-all I am pretty happy to be Kindling...

Yr. obt. svt.,

Y.S. Wilce




Norton!

Woo! Last night, FLORA'S DARE won the Andre Norton Award...

Thrilled, excited, stunned, amazed, wah-wah, all of those things. Sad that I wasn't there to woo in person, but the Amazing snurri did the honours for me, and even sent me a text pic of the thing itself. It was hard to see details on the small screen, but still it looked grand!

But I am sad that Snurri's SUPERPOWERS did not win the Nebula for Best Novel.  It's a great novel, and he's a great writer, and I am very very sure that this Nebula nomination will be the first of many nominations for many different awards.

I was in bed when the news came through; the Captain has been restless at night recently and as soon as he hits the rack I do too, as I know I might be up again soon enough. Of course, I am delighted to win, but I'd also like to exert my new found award winning power  (yah right!) to remind everyone of the other Norton nominees, worthy books all. Viz.,
I am also super happy that John Kessel's "Pride and Prometheus" won the Nebula for Best Novelette. I read this story in draft form the year I went to Sycamore Hill; to describe it as a mash up of FRANKENSTEIN and PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (what if Victor Frankensteins had been a pal of Mr. Darcy?) is accurate, but the story is oh so much more. It is worth seeking out.

It's unspeakably gratifying to be honoured by one's peers in this fashion, of course, and hopefully the unspeakable gratification will give my current writing a bit of a boost. I'm still hacking away at FLORA'S FURY. I had to ditch the first 35K words that I spent three months working on and start over again--off to the wrong start--and now feel back into the scheme of things, but juggling a baby and a book ain't no joke, as I have discovered.

But that's tomorrow. Today is woot!

Yr. obt. svt.,

Y.S. Wilce


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I see the morons at Arizona Fish and Wildlife managed to kill the last remaining jaguar in the U.S.

Ain't that grand? 

Yr. obt. svt.,

Y.S. Wilce
 


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