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Posts Tagged ‘jack dann’

Bed the size of a football field

Nature = galah

Nature = private beach thingy

And so, the retreat. The Edge writers group took off for its annual retreat. We subbed writing stuff, we spent a chunk of one day group critting, then the next day everyone had individual crits with our tutors du jour – or in this case, tutors de l’année. Then the next few days are spent writing, percolating, editing, eating, drinking, talking, etc. In our case, there were also canoe-related activities … which brings me to our tutors: this year’s tutors of awe were Jack Dann and Robert Shearman – and we also had a special guest appearance by the inimitable Sean Williams. The natural link between tutors and canoes? Shearman had to be rescued from one by Dann. And Deb, whose injury is documented below. Shearman’s rep as Britain’s Greatest Writer is intact … however, he did have to hand over his medallion from the Cambridge Rowing Eleven … it was promptly given to Jack in reward for his work as lifeguard.

The location was sourced by Kate and Rob and was awesome to the power of rad  – and it shall continue to remain undisclosed coz, quite frankly, I don’t want just anyone finding their way up there :-).

Last known photo of Robert Shearman

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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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The Girl with No Hands and Other Stories has been launch! Huzzah! As has Kaaron Warren’s Dead Sea Fruit. Thanks to everyone who came along, bought a book, listened, ate Haigh’s choclit frawgs, etc! Thanks to Russell and Liz at Ticonderoga for everything and to Lisa Hannett for the glorious cover and to Kaaron for being such a lovely author with whom to share a launch :-). Pics to follow!

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Some say ‘legendary’ just isn’t strong enough a word. Some say the man’s a myth, because no one, but no one could be like Jack Dann. The man who gave us The Memory Cathedral, Promised Land, and The Rebel, is also an unrepentant editor of anthologies such as the World Fantasy award-winning Dreaming Downunder, Dreaming Again, Legends of Australian Fantasy, Gathering the Bones (with frequent partner in crime Gardner Dozois) … I could go on, but why bother? Isn’t it already obvious that this man is not only a legend and very real, but also another over-achiever?

If you ever get a chance to hear him talk, then listen carefully. Hey, what do you know? He will be at WorldCon in Melbourne next week …

1. I first knew I was a writer when …
… in 1971 I wrote the regrettable sentence “A fused mass of beryllium fled from Deneb”, which was, probably just as regrettably, published in Worlds of If.

2. The line or story I most regret writing is …
… aha, see above; but, alas, there are so many lines: one, which Joe Haldeman (he should grow a pimple on his nose!) pointed out to me at a Guilford Writers Conference (again in the 1970’s). I had written a certain infelicitous sentence in a story called “I’m with You in Rockland”, which described a sex scene in which an unfortunate woman’s breasts fell on her lover’s chest.  Ah well, removable breasts. What can I say, except I’ve learned to proofread my stories.

3. The book I most enjoyed writing is…
… always and forever it seems: the book I’m currently working on.

4. The anthology is alive and well: discuss:
Well, it’s been alive since I’ve been in the business, never particularly well, except perhaps during a period when Roger Elwood was selling enormous quantities of anthologies to every publisher extant it seemed. However, most of the anthologies weren’t really very good (except when he collaborated with other writers), and they glutted the market, didn’t sell particularly well, and for a while no publisher would go near anthologies. But writers made a few bucks for a while.

Writers don’t usually make much money writing short fiction, unless a story gets optioned for film or television; but writers–myself included–love the short forms, and =stories= have always been alive and well. I should also say that anthologists don’t usually make a lot of money editing anthologies-it’s a labor of love.

I think the best time for anthologies was during the experimental “New Wave” period of the 1970’s when Damon Knight, Bob Silverberg, and Terry Carr were editing anthology series such as Orbit, New Dimensions, and Universe.

I edit anthologies because I love putting together stories and working with other writers. I think the market is still kicking hard with our own Jonathan Strahan becoming the foremost anthologist of his generation. He has also been editing a continuing anthology and getting great stories. So, yes, I think anthologies are alive and well in paper form…and on the internet.

5. Donuts or danishes? 
You’re really going to ask the guy who edited =Wandering Stars=, the first Jewish science fiction and fantasy anthology, such a question? I may be a non-believer (see my essay “Antinomies” in Russell Blackford and Udo Schuklenk’s excellent collection =Voices of Disbelief=), but I’m a “cultural Jew”. As Isaac Asimov wrote in the introduction to that book: “I’m Jewish enough.”  So as far as =I’m= concerned: donuts are fine, and danishes divine, but bagels are numero uno! Yes, I’ll cop to stealing from the great master Tennessee Williams, who wrote: “Women are fine, and sheep are divine, but the iguana is numero Uno.” Ah, well…

He doth blog here.

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And now life is complete:

The Girl With No Hands and Other Tales has arrived.

It has an Intro by legendary Jack Dann, a cover design by the extraordinarily talented Lisa Hannett and Kirstyn McDermott says nice things on the cover :-). Below, you see it resting on – why, yes, it is resting on an eighteenth century fainting couch. Let there be Snoopy Dancing!

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Jason Fischer is a Writers of the Future winner, author of the imfamous Undead Camels Ate Their Flesh (in Jack Dann’s Dreaming Again), the Apocalyptic novella Gravesend (its follow-up is on the way – huzzah!), and he has just made his thirtieth sale. Oh, he is also a Clarion South survivor of 2007. And he’s a wacky punster; loves a pun more than life itself. He could also apparently take 26 Justin Biebers in a fight. He discusses the merits of frog cakes and Batman -v- Dracula.

1.  The story I most regret is…
Like many folks, I have a hideous fistful of regrets.  I used to regret my novel Tusk, the infamous “Planet of the Apes, but with telepathic elephants”.  It consumed one arts grant and 18 months of my life, and I can’t even open the file now without gagging.  Yikes.  Still, it was a valuable lesson in what not to do, and how to plan my time better.  But mostly, I regret a novella I wrote a few years ago.  It was the winning entry in a three-day novel race, a competition held as part of a local writing festival.  In 72 hours I cranked out about 30,000 words of sexed-up thinly veiled autobiography, with the names changed and some events greatly dramatised.  Part of the prize was meant to be publication, but perhaps due to the scatalogical nature of this painful Mary-Sue, this obligation was fulfilled as a PDF, buried somewhere on the relevant council’s website.  It was quietly purged after an arbitrary period of time, and maybe that’s for the best.  Apart from that, I can’t really complain about things!

2.  How bad was it getting serenaded with “Undead Camels Ate Their Flesh” sung to the tune of “Camptown Races” all through Conflux in 2008?
Ha!  It was actually quite awesome.  This impromptu hoe-down was first performed by Gardner Dozois (my long-lost dirty uncle) in the Clarion South crit-pit, and it was nice to have him at the book-launch of “Dreaming Again” in spirit, if nothing else.  It was a somewhat surreal moment that still makes me laugh, and I shall never forget it!  If ever my tale of zombie camels gets optioned, I will insist that this be the movie’s theme song (and ongoing leit motif).

3.  What should you always delete from any story you write?
Without question any and all puns, particularly if in the story title.  Delete 90% of your adjectives, and 90% of your cuss-words.  “Delete all dialogue tags except for said!” Jason railed.  And kill off any really bad black-out line, particularly if it’s a punch-line.  Don’t do any of these things.  I have died many times for your writing sins, so that you don’t have to.

4.  Batman v Dracula: discuss.
As far as court cases go, it was probably the most convoluted piece of litigation ever seen in Gotham’s Supreme Court, and set some precedents, particularly in international law.  According to the plaintiff, the Wayne fortune was partly financed by Transylvanian interests, and following the deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne, a contentious lien was enacted on behalf of one Voivode Dracula.  His claim against the estate was considered spurious by many, based in part on a verbal “bail-out” agreement issued during the Depression.  The case was eventually dismissed, and the plaintiff was widely referred to as a “greedy bloodsucker” [citation needed].

5.  Donuts or danishes?
Donuts make me go nuts.  Mmm, donuts [drool].  But they’re no frog-cake.

 Jason blogeth here.

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Rich Horton reviews 4 Aussie spec-fic anthologies, including saying some nicely things about The February Dragon, LL Hannett’s and my sexy flying reptile story. Read the reviews here.

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