Jumpdrives & Cantrips


End of Summer

Well, around here the leaves are falling, it’s getting blustery, and things are starting to smell crisp again. I love fall because all the colours start changing around and it’s great weather to curl up with a book or a movie–so is winter, but it’s nice to go out and not partly freeze at the same time.

In any case, here are a few tidbits that I’ve happened upon lately:

  • Neil Gaiman is on tour doing readings of The Graveyard Book; sadly he can’t be everywhere his fans are. The wonderful bit of news here is that he’s posting readings of the chapters one by one in order and you can catch them over at Mouse Circus. Not too shabby!
  • Kelly Link‘s 2005 collection, Magic For Beginners, and her first collection, Stranger Things Happen, are now both available for download as free reads via Jelly Ink Press. Revel in the words here for the former, and here for the latter!
  • Patricia Briggs fans may want to check out a preview of the Mercy Thompson graphic novel by Dabel Brothers. Also, the series has been optioned for film (no word on actual production) and Ace Books will release her novella “Alpha and Omega” in electronic format so you don’t need to buy a whole collection just to read it (very good news in my opinion). See for yourself over at Hurog.com.
  • If you’re into epic SF and human-alien relations, take a look at Michael R. Hicks‘ self-published book In Her Name. He offers an excerpt of the first four chapters to tickle your fancy, which other reviewers have certainly enjoyed (Fantasy Book Critic being one of them–review here).

I’ve managed to finally get my hands on a few books I’ve been waiting for in the last little while, so it’s likely you’ll see a review of at least one in the coming week…



News of the New

First off, Realms of Speculative Fiction, where one of my blog buddies (Thrinidir/Uros) resides, has put together an awesome list of SF-related blogs and included me along with a whole host of excellent bloggers (I feel a little odd being included with them). I even found some I hadn’t yet stumbled upon! Clearly he has superior blogging taste, and is very nice besides. I highly endorse his blog, which has multiple reviewers and other cool things.

But without any further ado, lots of interesting things out there the past couple of days, so this might run a little longer than usual…

  • Fantasy Book Critic reviews & interviews Lois McMaster Bujold and Kate Elliott (aka Alis A. Rasmussen). I urge you to read both of the excellent interviews, and then the books of these excellent writers.
  • Juno Editor Paula Guran posted her notes for a panel on urban fantasy that she didn’t get to. It’s a very good look at urban fantasy in the context of its cross-genre nature and points out some tendencies. My only wish it that it was in a more chronological format, as it tends to jump around a little without putting things into context time-wise, but if I really wanted I suppose I could edit it. Unfortunately, I’m unabashedly lazy (via Dark Parables).
  • This is why I hesitate to fully embrace eBooks–so much potential for paper-bound beauty! Take a look at Jordan Crane’s Cover Art for a Michael Chabon essay collection (via Making Light). It makes me drool a little.
  • John Scalzi on book remaindering and The Android’s Dream. Which is, by the way, a great piece of comedic SF and satire, and I encourage purchasing of the remaindered books, so keep your eyes peeled in the near future if you want a copy.
  • Jim C. Hines’ LOL Books. I highly endorse LOLing in general, and LOLSF is even better! I’m particularly be-snickered by the missing forehead one…
  • A new book by Farah Mendelsohn called Rhetorics of Fantasy is a work with scholarly slant that tries to categorise fantasy in a new way. Instead of looking at content specifically, she analyses how characters relate to the world they are in (via SF Scope). I’d be very interested to have a read of this volume, and I’ll have to see if she’s published any articles.
  • And the newest Compton Crook Award finalists have been announced. There’s only one I haven’t seen a significant amount of buzz about: Baen’s Mark L. Van Name volume One Jump Ahead (via SF Scope).

With that, I am off to pillage and rampage across countryside from the comfort of my home. I love computers 😉



McLinky Linkerton
March 27, 2008, 1910
Filed under: news | Tags: , , ,

Today is a slow day: things seem to just drag by. Winter is also dragging by, and I’m waiting for the snow to finally melt for good. Neither the melt nor I got much of consequence accomplished today, but that’s ok. I have the sneaking suspicion that tomorrow will try to bowl me over in exchange (fingers crossed that the melt does, too). In any case, I’m reading the third Jani Kilian book and having trouble deciding what to read beyond that. I’m not quite sure what I’m in the mood for, so if you have a suggestion feel free to ante up. With that, here’s some linkage:

  • I know I said that I’m not usually big on the whole awards thing, but I just have to plug the Prix Aurora Award’s nominations this year since they’ll be held here in Winnipeg this May at Keycon (via SF Scope).
  • Fantasy Debut‘s Tia wrote a piece about Character Development Novels. I love that she mentions Elizabeth Moon’s The Deed of Paksenarrion as a book that really focuses on the character’s development.
  • Here’s a look at cover art choices for science fiction and fantasy by the art director for Tor/Forge, followed by John Scalzi’s take on things. Have to say, I think things have simultaneously gotten both better and worse: there are some truly amazing covers for major publishing houses, but never have there been so many utterly depressing CG covers for eBooks that just make me roll my eyes–and some for very good books that are now being e-published as reprints.
  • Religion in science fiction and how various important sorts answer the question of whether science fiction is antithetical to religion get discussed on SF Signal’s Mindmeld (via Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist). I have one word for you: Scientology. 🙂
  • Aiden from A Dribble of Ink drew my attention to Papercuts’ The Seven Deadly Words of Book Reviewing. Which I would like to think I’m not horribly embarrassed by, but suspect otherwise.

Lots of interesting and occasionally weighty discussions recently! On a lighter note, in honour of the fact that my husband hoodwinked me into watching the entire MacGyver television run piece by piece (now midway through season 5), I found this. And giggled. It’s, um, priceless.



Guest Blogging & Other Cool Things
March 25, 2008, 1643
Filed under: news | Tags: , , ,

Today I guest blogged about the Ancient Civilization in speculative fiction over at The World in the Satin Bag. Head on over and check out the rest of the blog as well if you have a chance. In other guest-type news I will be doing a guest review of Grimspace by Ann Aguirre for Kimber An at Enduring Romance sometime next month. I’ve been wanting to read this one for a while, so I’m looking forward to it! Enduring Romance does romance, but also a wide smattering of other genre, so hop on over and have a read there as well.

Here’s some other cool things:

  • I don’t know about you, but I’ve always loved the orrery from The Dark Crystal. So I was very excited to have a look at The Clock of the Long Now, where a group of people are trying to build a 10,000 year clock, and built an orrery as well. I’m waiting for when they start selling personal orrerys…
  • The Secret Origin of the Ray Gun in Science Fiction isn’t so secret anymore over at io9!
  • Over at the New York Times, The Fuzzier Crystal Ball looks at who will fill Clarke’s void. Though to be fair, I wonder if that isn’t a little silly. It’s not like we need to go out and replace the man; I doubt anyone really could, and I think the idea devalues SF writers in general. But that’s just my two cents. (via the Book Swede)
  • Are you handy? You can always enter the Make A Cylon Contest
  • You’ve probably already heard that the Hugo ballot for 2008 is posted. Personally I’ve never followed the whole award thing very closely, but here’s the list for your perusing pleasure.

And with that, I am off to scrounge sustenance.



‘He never grew up; but he never stopped growing.’
March 19, 2008, 2005
Filed under: news | Tags: , , ,

Arthur C. ClarkeI was saddened to see that Sir Arthur C. Clarke died today. The New York Times wrote an entry, but it pales in comparison to the sense you got from the man himself. I rather liked La Gringa’s entry on her experience knowing him. I never met him, but when I was younger I would wait for reruns of Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World and the series that followed, and I remember the warmth in his voice when he spoke at the end of episodes. He always had something interesting to say, and I never got the sense he spoke in platitudes.

While he was never one of my favourite authors, I think he was one of the few hard science fiction writers to really bring a sense of wonder, a joy of awakening, and a love of knowing into his works.

When asked by Wired in 1993 if he had put any thought into what he would want on his epitaph, Clarke said he had.

“Oh, yes,” he said. “I’ve often quoted it: ‘He never grew up; but he never stopped growing.'” (Wired)

And really, that’s all I feel I need to say about that.

Here are some other interesting things I stumbled upon, with some good causes to boot if you happen to feel generous:

  • Good Cause #1: Authors for Autism Research is an auction running March 23 – April 2 to benefit Autism Speaks. You, yes you, can bid on being a character in numerous authors’ works, including Elizabeth Moon, Christine Feehan, Ken Follet, John Henry (AKA Jack Campbell), and many others. One even promises a death scene!
  • Good Cause #2: There’s been a lot of buzz about this on the internets, so I figured I’d do my part and point all of you nice people out there towards Match it for Pratchett, a website aiming to match Terry Pratchett’s million dollar donation to Alzheimer’s research.
  • Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review is one year old, so go over and help him celebrate because he’s cool and stuff!
  • Pat of Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist has an interesting post about blogging, his style of writing reviews, and so on here. I agree that you can’t really argue with results. Though, the arguing itself can be fun.
  • And, if only more housewares were designed with the mythic in mind. Or at least the amusing.


Miscellanious bits
March 10, 2008, 1109
Filed under: news | Tags: , , , , , ,

In light of the computer recently spitting me out of writing my review of Dun Lady’s Jess, managing to erase the entire thing, and turning the screen into vertical green & black lines, I now resort to a news tidbits post *grin*

The Swivet mentions that Tanya Huff sold an urban fantasy book called One Woman’s Junk. I’m interested to see what she’ll do with these themes… See full info here.

More free eBooks! Jeff Vandermeer’s The Situation via Geekdad at Wired. Also Neil Gaiman‘s American Gods is up and running here.

This stuff is just so cool! Everyone knows that neurons don’t grow back, but a group of researchers has been using microchips to try and regenerate nerve cells. And if you ever wanted the chance to explore the International Space Station, have a look around.

And after Dun Lady’s Jess, I’m looking to review Airs and Graces by Toby Bishop (another horse-related fantasy), and more of the Jani Kilian books.



Excitement!

Anyone who’s been following my entries probably knows I’ve been waiting in anticipation for any Elizabeth Moon news since I heard tell that she’d be returning to the Paks universe, and The Swivet had this little gem about the sale of the new books:

Elizabeth Moon’s KING KIERI, set directly in the aftermath of the author’s “Deed of Paksenarrion” series, describing the struggles of a new king to reunite a land torn asunder by war and riven by resurgent conflict between elves and man, to Liz Scheier at Del Rey, in a significant deal, in a three-book deal (for a likely trilogy), for publication in October 2009, by Joshua Bilmes at JABberwocky Literary Agency (NA).

Haven’t seen much mention of this anywhere else online yet, including Moon’s own site. La Gringa also mentioned that A. Lee Martinez’ In the Company of Ogres (see my review here) has had film rights optioned to the same people involved in The Simpson’s Movie and Futurama. The story could make for a truly excellent movie, depending on how they interpret it… (see The Swivet’s full post here).

Also, for those keeping up with Canada Reads 2008 sadly Nalo Hopkinson‘s Brown Girl in the Ring did not win out. However, congrats to Paul Quarrington’s King Leary, which is apparently a humourous read, if not a speculative one.

OF Blog of the Fallen makes some interesting points about reviews that I don’t fully agree with, but are good to think about nonetheless. The comments are also thought-provoking. I’m thinking about writing more about why I do reviews and how I think about them at a later date. Which brings me to the fact that I’m always open to constructive criticism–I may not follow it, but I certainly appreciate when people give me feedback on the reviews and writing itself, so go to if you feel inclined. (I promise I won’t be too hurt, I might just lick my wounds for a few days before responding 😉 )

And in other news via the CBC, robots equally effective as dogs in curbing loneliness and spotlight on Pseudomonas-infected snow.