Archive for October, 2006

Wills for Writers

October 31st, 2006

No, not Shakespeare or Prince William.

Neil Gaiman points out, with useful illustrations, why anyone with literary property (is that you?) should have a will. Like, right now.

Years ago, my friend Steve Popkes and I agreed to be each others’ literary executors. It sounds a little pretentious–like talking about my presidential library. But the fact is that I’ve published ten novels and bunches of short fiction and other stuff, and when I die (because sadly, there’s no if about it) my beloveds would have no clue what to do with it. But Steve would.

If you have kids, you probably have a will (if you don’t, get on it, unless you want the State, or your dotty Aunt Grizelda, raising the sprats after your demise). You can add a codicil regarding literary executorship. If you haven’t got a will, get on it. Even if you don’t care what happens to your spoon collection or your second best waffle-iron after you die, I suspect that you do care whether your literary output is sold for quitclaim rights to Engulf and Devour’s Videogame Department.

Get on it.

Boo 2 U All!

October 31st, 2006

 

Greetings From the Haunted Mailbox to Deep Genre Denizens.

 Love, C.

20 Reasons Why I Want to Live in a Cheesy SF Dome City

October 31st, 2006

It’s been way too long since I’ve posted anything here on DeepGenre, so pardon me if I indulge in something frivolous. I’ve always had a secret desire to live in one of those sci-fi domes you see in hopelessly dated ’60s and ’70s films. Logan’s Run. Sleeper. THX-1138. The Island. Yeah, I want to live there.

Logan's Run

Why?

  1. No insects. I hate insects. Haaaaaate them. If we could create an entirely indoor civilization where I’d never have to see an insect again, I’d sign up in a heartbeat.
  2. Simple fashion choices. I’ve never enjoyed clothes shopping. I’d much rather somebody deliver me a shiny new single-sex uniform every week. That way, I never have to worry about being out of fashion. I can just choose the vibrant pastel color I feel like wearing for the week, and away I go. (And of course, at the end of the day, I can just drop the thing in the big tube in my room for dry cleaning.)
  3. Meals in pill form. I’m not saying I’d always want to eat meals in pill form. But every once in a while, it would be nice to indulge in a nice hot apple pie without having to actually, you know, indulge in a nice hot apple pie.
  4. All other meals cafeteria-style. The meals you don’t pop into your mouth in pill form are all eaten in big, open cafeterias where you can hang out with all your friends, just like college.
  5. Large flat-screen TVs everywhere. Never again will you have to strain your eyes to see the picture on a tiny screen. Half of the walls around you will convert instantly into flat-screen TVs. (So half of the programming will be government-mandated propaganda. But is that really so different from what we have today?) Continue Reading »

Concision

October 27th, 2006

Wired has a collection of Very Short Stories written by SF, fantasy, and horror writers. It’s fascinating to see what can be accomplished in six words. Some stunts, and a lot of reliance on known tropes, but most of them still work.

My favorite: Longed for him. Got him. Shit. – Margaret Atwood.

Tho’ Gregory Maguire’s (From torched skyscrapers, men grew wings.) and Charles Stross’s (Internet “wakes up?” Ridicu — no carrier.) are also kind of swell. Got a favorite? Want to write one?

The Female Audience & Battlestar Galactica

October 26th, 2006

Today’s New York Times carries a sympathetic overview of the latest Battlestar Galactica series.

Included was this bit of trivia:

“Audience sympathies are generally with Laura, a middle-aged woman and a seeming softie who may be a stand-in for the new sci-fi viewers, who are increasingly women …”

This declaration by the NY Times television critic is of particular interest since the received wisdom about Science Fiction, particularly television SF, is that the audience is predominantly that O-So-Worshipped-Demographic of Young Males.

What do you all think?

Love, C.

New Audrey Niffenegger serial

October 23rd, 2006

People might be interested in looking at this: the Chicago Tribune is serializing a new story by Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Travelers’s Wife.

Title: At Home, with Cats

http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/chi-cats-special,1,1968651.special?coll=chi-homepagenews-utl

Susanna Clarke’s Collection

October 21st, 2006

The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories is a blend of “fact with fairytale in this collection of offcuts from Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.”

lt is reviewed here.

Love, C.

“Tales From Earthsea”

October 18th, 2006

 Here is an article about Ms. Le Guin  responses so far on the Goro Miyazaki animé of “Gedo Senki,” or “Tales From Earthsea,” based primarily on the third Earthsea novel, “The Furthest Shore.”

The article tells a tale of classical elements all to itself: artist-father, artist-son
relationship; artist’s relationship to the results of an interpretation of her creation in another format; different rights of ownership and release of the new work in different countries, and more.

“When American audiences will have the chance to judge Goro Miyazaki’s work for themselves is an open question. There is currently no plan to distribute “Gedo Senki” to theaters in the United States; the rights are tied up with a 2004 Sci-Fi Channel mini-series.”

Love, C.

A Brief Interruption for Book Tour

October 16th, 2006

I am on a short book tour, west coast only, with fantasy writer Melanie Rawn. As all writers know, book signings can be wonderful or horrible – that is, depending if people show up enthusiastic about your books, or if no one shows up.

I can’t be the only writer who has frequently been asked by customers at book signings “Where are the cookbooks?” because they think I am a staff member.
If you live in California, Phoenix AZ, Albuquerque or Santa Fe NM, or Austin TX, please check the link to see if there is an event close to you, and come say hello! I have macademia nuts with me, free to interested parties. And books, of course.

http://kateandmelanie.typepad.com/tour_date/

Usually we do a reading and then answer questions. Borderlands Books in San Francisco, a terrifically well run establishment, has a routine they use: the author reads a short excerpt, then one of the bookstore staff (in our case the inestimable Jude) asks a few questions to break the ice, so that the people in the audience who might otherwise feel reluctant to ask the first question but who do have questions to ask get over that awkward transition.

And speaking of Borderlands and the book business, here is a good article about the success of niche bookstores in these days of the chain behemoths:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061009/ap_en_bu/genre_bookstores

And as a later update:

Alternative Reality Web Zine is conducting an online and ongoing interview with me this week, and you can reach the forum here .

History Wars

October 15th, 2006

The TLS has two very interesting essays on the changes rung between academic and ‘popular’ history writing, and why and how — i.e. a bit of a historical overview of the last 50 years of writing history.  The second essay starts with reference to Our Favorite Marxist Historian, Eric Hobsbawm, who himself was a ‘popular’ historian, though, alas, he’s not one that succeeds at being read aloud — though Vaquero and I did work our way through his entire set of the history of the 20th century this way.

The reason I mention this is that some of the same controversies and changes in perspective for those who write history are also visible to those who write fiction, particularly Science Fiction and historical fiction.  Additionally, the second TLS essay on history writing is by Stella Tillyard, among whose works is Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, much read and admired by many of us here at Deep Genre.  She also refers to others many of us have been reading for years, such as Antonia Fraser.

Here’s a quote pulled from the first essay:

“The opening article was even more confrontational. It asserted that the first half of the twentieth century was “a time when most historians temporarily lost their bearings”, and declared that “academic history, for all its scholarly rigour, had succeeded in explaining remarkably little about the workings of human society or the fluctuations in human affairs”. The remedy, it suggested, was not to “grub away in the old empirical tradition” but to forge a closer relationship with the social sciences, especially social anthropology, sociology and social psychology, to develop a more sophisticated conceptual vocabulary and to employ statistical techniques. The future lay with the computer, which would replace the “stout boots” worn by the advanced historians of the previous generation. In the United States the new econometric history was already “sweeping all before it”.”

Love, C.

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