Archive for April, 2010

Ah, Mitchell and Webb … one of my favourite skits … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oP-rkzJ6yZw

Where’s Dr Who when you need him?


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Would someone please …

… feed that kid who plays Merlin a burger?

Am I the only one who notices this?

It’s bothering me more than the dialogue and the crappy, repetitive plots …

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I gave a happy sigh when I saw this (via the Bibliophile Stalker). Useful, sensible, no-nonsense advice. 🙂

How to read a publishing contract (5)


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Forego a pair of shoes or two and contribute to the Indigenous Literacy Project – more readers can’t be a bad thing.

The Book Buzz project aims to raise literacy levels of young children living in remote communities by recognising the need for early experience and contact with books.

You can make a genuine contribution to the life a child in a remote Indigenous community by sending a book pack which contains 12 wonderful books.

Each Book Buzz pack costs $140AUD.

How the Book Buzz project works

Book Buzz provides babies, toddlers and preschool children with access to a wonderful set of 12 early childhood books. These books were selected by a Fred Hollows Foundation literacy specialist and childrens’ book specialists from within the Book Industry.  The program was trialled in 2009 in Manyallaluk (east of the Katherine Region) and in 2010-2011 is being trialled and launched in Wilcannia and Warburton. Suzy Wilson, David Gaunt, Karen Williams and ILP ambassador Andy Griffiths attended the launch of Book Buzz at Manyallaluk’s school. Key Speaker Mavis spoke about the project in her language, and read ‘Where is the Green Sheep’ and ‘Frog’ to the kids. After Andy Griffiths’ rendition of ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ the children were hungry for more. The engagement level of the school aged children reading books in English (their second or third language) was wonderful to see; but the most encouraging sight on the day was the babies’ and toddlers fascination with the Book Buzz board books. Since then, other communities have heard about the books, and have been requesting them for their own children.

Te rest lives here http://www.worldwithoutbooks.org/BookBuzz/Index.aspx

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What is expected of you when you ‘become’ a writer? Or rather, you’re published – you’ve received an advance, got copies of your book sitting on the shelf, people are asking for your autograph, and dear old Aunt Enid has stopped muttering about you being a drain on society and isn’t it time you got yourself a real job, not to mention a husband.

Well, obviously keep writing. One book does not a career make … the next book is always required. You also, unfortunately, need to learn to ‘perform’. That means readings, book signings, interviews, talking to people in the supermarket who recognise you from your author photo and are now eyeing your choice of full fat vanilla yoghurt in a judgmental manner – okay, that may just be Aunt Enid stalking you.

And so, please master the following arts:

1. Reading aloud to an audience. Practise in private. Choose a passage that is short enough to be an easy read for you and an easy listen for an audience – 5 minutes can be a very long time. Learn to control your breathing and pace while reading aloud – if you’re getting out of breath while reading, it’s hard for people to understand you and also for them to fall into the comfortable rhythm of your voice and story.

2. Selecting a passage to read. Choose part of your book or new work where something happens – preferably not the end of the book as there’s nothing worse for a reader/new book purchaser than learning the butler did it before you’ve started reading. Make it a long enough passage that it will engage listeners and give them an idea of important characters and what’s happening to them. Finish on a high note, preferably a cliffhanging moment, so people want to know what happens and those who’ve not bought the book, will rush out and do so. Immediately.

3. Signing books. When you’re sitting at the little table set up for you at the bookshop where your reading has just taken place, trusty quill at the ready, smile at people and chat. Ask their name and if the book is for them. Do more than just sign your name – try to personalise it. Someone like Neil Gaiman will stay late, way beyond the call of the reasonable to make sure everyone who brings a book of his along to sign, gets what they came for. Take a leaf from his book.

4. Talking to the employees of the bookshop. These are the folk who will recommend your book to prospective readers. They are the ones who decide if your book is going to be face out, spine out, or have its own little book castle at the front door or near the cash register … or indeed near the toilets. Be nice. They are not excrement-kickers, they are part of your guerilla sales and marketing team. Be nice – in fact, take choclit.

5. Be polite to newbie writers. There are sure to be some in the audience, asking craft and career questions, so be supportive and sprinkle a little good karma dust around and be helpful. Of course, if it starts to look like stalking, then feel free to step away. But in general, try to be helpful in a professional, detached manner … and don’t make them look stupid even if their questions are a bit dumb – we’ve all got to start somewhere.

6. Telling anecdotes. You don’t have to be the funniest person in the room, but do try to have some amusing anecdotes about the book, what led you to write it, writing it, etc – it gives an audience a nice little insight into the creation of your work. Don’t tell long, boring, irrelevant, rambling stories that will raise snores … think about what you’re going to say before you turn up at the door of the bookshop. Don’t wing it, especially if you’re new at the game. And if you’re doing an interview (radio, tv) or a panel at a writers festival, be prepared for questions about your own work AND try to learn something about the people you’ll be on the panel with – there’s nothing worse than seeing 3 or 4 people on a panel who’ve never met, never chatted and know nothing about each other … and look completely uninterested in the process.

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Yes, I’m behind (as always – why do you look so surprised?), but below’s the list of the 2010 Locus Awards Finalists. Some great names there (very happy to see Mary Robinette Kowal there!), but what I’m really looking forward to is the showdown between Mieville’s The City & The City and VanderMeer’s Finch … I have it on good authority there will be a jelly wrestling match … what? No? Really? A slapdown in the carpark using halibut at 30 paces? No? *sigh* Okay, they will politely buy each other beer and chilli-cheese fries.

Alright, but will people please stop giving Neil Gaiman awards? Not that I think he doesn’t deserve them, but seriously, he could build a house out of the ones he’s already got … although … mmmmm, a house built out of awards you say? By Neil Gaiman? Oh, okay, give him the awards.

The top five finalists in each category of the 2010 Locus Awards have been announced. Winners will be presented during the Science Fiction Awards Weekend in Seattle WA, June 25-27, 2010. Tickets are still available.

Science Fiction Novel

  • The Empress of Mars, Kage Baker (Subterranean; Tor)
  • Steal Across the Sky, Nancy Kress (Tor)
  • Boneshaker, Cherie Priest (Tor)
  • Galileo’s Dream, Kim Stanley Robinson (HarperVoyager; Ballantine Spectra)
  • Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America, Robert Charles Wilson (Tor)
Fantasy Novel
  • The City & The City, China Miéville (Del Rey; Macmillan UK)
  • Unseen Academicals, Terry Pratchett (Harper; Doubleday UK)
  • Drood, Dan Simmons (Little, Brown)
  • Palimpsest, Catherynne M. Valente (Bantam Spectra)
  • Finch, Jeff VanderMeer (Underland)
First Novel
  • The Windup Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi (Night Shade)
  • The Manual of Detection, Jedediah Berry (Penguin)
  • Soulless, Gail Carriger (Orbit US)
  • Lamentation, Ken Scholes (Tor)
  • Norse Code, Greg van Eekhout (Ballantine Spectra)
Young-Adult Novel
  • The Hotel Under the Sand, Kage Baker (Tachyon)
  • Going Bovine, Libba Bray (Delacorte)
  • Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins (Scholastic; Scholastic UK)
  • Liar, Justine Larbalestier (Bloomsbury; Allen & Unwin Australia)
  • Leviathan, Scott Westerfeld (Simon Pulse; Simon & Schuster UK)
  • The Women of Nell Gwynne’s, Kage Baker (Subterranean)
  • “Act One”, Nancy Kress (Asimov’s 3/09)
  • “Vishnu at the Cat Circus”, Ian McDonald (Cyberabad Days)
  • Shambling Towards Hiroshima, James Morrow (Tachyon)
  • “Palimpsest”, Charles Stross (Wireless)
  • “By Moonlight”, Peter S. Beagle (We Never Talk About My Brother)
  • “It Takes Two”, Nicola Griffith (Eclipse Three)
  • “First Flight”, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor.com 8/25/09)
  • “Eros, Philia, Agape”, Rachel Swirsky (Tor.com 3/3/09)
  • “The Island”, Peter Watts (The New Space Opera 2)
Short Story
  • “The Pelican Bar”, Karen Joy Fowler (Eclipse Three)
  • “An Invocation of Incuriosity”, Neil Gaiman (Songs of the Dying Earth)
  • “Spar”, Kij Johnson (Clarkesworld 10/09)
  • “Going Deep”, James Patrick Kelly (Asimov’s 6/09)
  • “Useless Things”, Maureen F. McHugh (Eclipse Three)
  • Analog
  • Asimov’s
  • Clarkesworld
  • F&SF
  • Tor.com
  • Baen
  • Night Shade
  • Pyr
  • Subterranean
  • Tor
  • Lovecraft Unbound, Ellen Datlow, ed. (Dark Horse)
  • The New Space Opera 2, Gardner Dozois & Jonathan Strahan, eds. (Eos; HarperCollins Australia)
  • The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Sixth Annual Collection, Gardner Dozois, ed. (St. Martin’s)
  • Songs of the Dying Earth: Stories in Honor of Jack Vance, George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois, eds. (Subterranean)
  • Eclipse Three, Jonathan Strahan, ed. (Night Shade)
  • We Never Talk About My Brother, Peter S. Beagle (Tachyon)
  • Cyberabad Days, Ian McDonald (Pyr)
  • Wireless, Charles Stross (Ace, Orbit UK)
  • The Best of Gene Wolfe, Gene Wolfe (Tor); as The Very Best of Gene Wolfe (PS)
  • The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny: Volumes 1-6, Roger Zelazny (NESFA)
  • Ellen Datlow
  • Gardner Dozois
  • David G. Hartwell
  • Jonathan Strahan
  • Gordon Van Gelder
  • Stephan Martinière
  • John Picacio
  • Shaun Tan
  • Charles Vess
  • Michael Whelan
Non-fiction/Art Book
  • Powers: Secret Histories, John Berlyne (PS)
  • Spectrum 16: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, Cathy & Arnie Fenner, eds. (Underwood)
  • Cheek by Jowl, Ursula K. Le Guin (Aqueduct)
  • This is Me, Jack Vance! (Or, More Properly, This is “I”), Jack Vance (Subterranean)
  • Drawing Down the Moon: The Art of Charles Vess, Charles Vess (Dark Horse)

Fomr here http://www.locusmag.com/News/2010/04/locus-awards-finalists.html

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The Earth Gods be angry: Eyjafjallajokull kicking up a stink and a whole load of ash, courtesy of the Boston Globe – more here http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/04/more_from_eyjafjallajokull.html

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