Posts Tagged ‘china mieville’

The delightful John DeNardo at SF Signal asked a few people to pick and choose for their dream anthology, citing what you’d choose and why. The answers were so big, they had to split the post in two.

Mine is here, as is that of Nancy Kress (hallowed be her name), Violet Malan and other interesting folk.

Part Two is here.


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So, Kaaron Warren and I had our joint book launch Friday last at WorldCon. It was awesome.

Publisher Russell B. Farr wore his kilt and mix’n’match gym boots, Kaaron had a lovely grey frock, and I was pleased that I had changed my mind and wore something a bit better than the jeans and Darth Vader t-shirt I was planning on.

We had a great crowd – made more impressive by the fact that we were scheduled against a China Miéville panel – the purchasing-signing line was loooooong and in the end they had to kick us out of the room to make way for the next session. We, of course, had something Dr M didn’t – a metric buttload of Haigh’s choclit frogs :-). And thanks to Jack Dann who, Gods love him, popped back and forth between a panel he was on and our launch.

By end-of-con, both The Girl with No Hands and Other Stories and Dead Sea Fruit had sold out, much to Russell’s (and our) unmitigated delight. Huge thanks to everyone who bought the books, to Lisa Hannett who did my lovely cover, to Russell for being such an awesome publisher and to Kaaron for graciously sharing the launch with a newbie.

Weirdness: signing things. Trying not to make spelling mistakes whilst signing and carrying on conversations at the same time. Trying to write something meaningful – I failed. Man, dunno how Neil Gaiman does it!

Photos have been snurched from Bob Dobson (#2) and Jason Nahrung (#1 and #4) as my camera gave up the ghost at the beginning of the launch – of course it did! But #3 is mine, taken in the millisecond before camera-crash.

#1 Russell B Farr

#2 Kaaron & I

#3 Moi & Lisa

#4 Russ & kilt

And this one snurched from Flinthart: Kaaron, moi and Lisa.

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Yesterday also included a sybaritic book-buying binge. One of the books purchased is Dr Miéville’s Kraken. You want to know why he’s so damned good? His opening lines:

“The sea is full of saints. You know that? You know that: you’re a big boy.”

It’s an awesome opening: it invites the reader in. It tells them a secret, but also co-opts the reader – even if the reader doesn’t know the sea if full of saints, s/he doesn’t want to admit it, right? To admit it would be to put oneself on the outside and to risk being given no more secrets. And we all love secrets.

This opening creates a kind of intimacy, a strange warm welcoming that makes the reader want to go on … to find out more … “Well, of course the sea is full of saints,” we say and nod sagely. And we keep reading because we want to know more.

Dr M, rocking the kasbah once more.

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Kim Newman is an amazing writer of both fiction and non-fiction as well as a commentator on all things horror, fantasy and science fiction’ish. He’s an expert on Dracula and his bloodsucking kin, a scriptwriter, a director and, let’s face it, a dandy of awesome sartorial heft. 

His awards include, but are not restricted to, a Bram Stoker, an International Horror Guild Award, a British Fantasy Award, a British Science Fiction Award. If you haven’t read Red Reign, or The Man from the Diogenes Club, or The Secret Files of the Diogenes Club … or indeed anything he’s written, then kindly go and correct this omission forthwith. Off you go, we’ll wait.

Okay, now they’ve gone … here are the stray questions Mr Newman was kind enough to answer.

1. Christopher Lee: best screen vampire ever – discuss.
He’s in my top five, with Max Schreck, Delphine Seyrig, Lina Leandersson and Mariclare Costello.

2. Anno Dracula came from …
A footnote in an extended essay on turn of the century apocalyptic literature I wrote for a course called Late Victorian Revolt at the University of Sussex in 1979.

3. A story can always be improved by the removal of …
Excess words. Except sometimes, when prolixity is the point.

4. The best Hammer Horror Heroine was …
Angharad Rees in Hands of the Ripper. And, having worked with her, she’s just as lovely in person and didn’t stick hatpins into anyone. Unlike some other scream queens.

5. Donuts or danishes?
Ah, we call them doughnuts here. My favoured pastry is Pains aux Raisins*, which I get from the cafe on the corner in Islington. I understand the cafe gets them from Belgium.

His official website is here.

* There is no truth to the rumour that he keeps China Miéville at bay with the raisins. Okay, I started the rumour.

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China Miéville continues to distinguish himself by writing stuff that is good …very good … come to think of it, that’s probably why he also continues to win awards. His short story collection, Looking for Jake, will blow your socks off (so carry spare socks) and The City & The City confounded expectations – something his books always do in a good way.

In return for my (spurious) promise of a tofu-based pastry item, he answers my random questions with random answers in between writing more genius stuff, hating raisins and using microwave ovens for nefarious and novel purposes.

1. If I wasn’t a writer I would be …

… a melancholy jurisprude. 

2. All novels could do with 32% more …

… or less.

3. I know a book/story is done when …

… the microwave pings.

4. The book(s) I wish I’d written is …

… about 20% finished.

5. Donuts (or doughnuts) or danishes?

Danishes, preferably cinnamon, and on condition that they don’t contain the abominations known as raisins.

For those of you not familiar with his work (and I cannot imagine who you might be), here is the brief guide to the œuvre. The Scar will infect you with a desire to swashbuckle. His latest work is Kraken and it should in no way be judged on the grounds of Liam Neeson’s heinous line in the recent version of Clash of the Titans. If for no other reason, Un Lun Dun should be read for the extreme librarians. And Iron Council = flesh gollum – what more do you need? For the more cerebral among ye, there is his PhD-thesis-made-book, Between Equal Rights. And lest we forget, the one that started it all, King Rat. I’ll stop talking now.

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… of a migraine and I’m over it … days 1-2 were low level annoying throbbing pain behind the eyes … day 3 was OMG-give-me-painkillers-or-take-off-my-head-please agony … days 4-5 are back to low level aching … I just want it to go away … and so, a lolcat in lieu of actual content until my brain and eyes stop trying to kill me. Should be writing something, but just can’t. Meh. Just call me “Fluffy”.

Oh and btw, tomorrow’s drive-by is China Miéville – he thinks raisins are abominations.

funny pictures of cats with captions

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Avatar = “wow-porn”

China Miéville on Avatar (aka Pocahontas in Blue) and its ilk … which was fun and visually spectacular (hell, I saw it twice), but let’s be honest: filled with narrative fail and in need of a good edit.

Why the Na’vi Are Making Me Blue (Essay)

There’s a bumper crop of science-fiction wow-porn either currently or recently in movie theaters. We have James Cameron’s majestically tottering blue gelflings in “Avatar”; the truculent Kirk in “Star Trek”; fight-y robots in Michael Bay’s “Transformers” franchise; and the refugee insects of “District 9,” plus their rather splendid floating mothership.

The rest lives here http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2010/01/13/why-the-navi-are-making-me-blue-essay/

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