31 March, 2006

Gothic! Ten Original Dark Tales

(Deborah Noyes (ed.), Candlewick Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2004)

My vote goes to 'Watch and Wake', M. T. Anderson's wonderfully creepy story of weasels, witches and wax faces (oops, spoiler!) as the best in this anthology. Retold from a story by Lucius Apuleius. I know; I'd never heard of him either.

Kids' Night In 2...

...is doing well out there. Penguin wrote today to tell me it had been chosen for the Books Alive campaign. It's also had some good reviews. From Viewpoint:
It's a fun way to end a night, a good way to begin a morning and a great break at lunch. It's a book that stands up for the bullied, the friendly and the friendless. It's a book that had a four year old in fits of laughter and a thirteen year old reading by torchlight under her quilt.
From Bookslut:
Kids’ Night In Vol. 2 is what my parents would have considered an excellent travel book when I was growing up -- it’s the sort of thing that could be traded back and forth between my brother and I and both of us would have found plenty in here to enjoy. More importantly, readers will find a ton of new authors to explore further after dipping into this collection which is exactly the sort of thing they should do after starting here. Finally, War Child is an excellent and impressive charity to support, especially when we all seem so hellbent lately on creating as many child refugees as possible. Buy the book, enjoy some great literature and help change the world for some desperate kids.
To this anthology, "Margo Lanagan contributes a heartbreaking poem of quiet contemplation", but don't let that put you off.

28 March, 2006

Enduring Fiction

From Nick Evans:
"Writing is not an art, it's a craft.There are very few writers in the world producing art - timeless works which will be valued in a hundred years the way they are today. They exist, but they are few. And probably foreign.

The rest of us are producing craft, at best - skillful work which provides pleasure but is, fundamentally, disposable."
OK, I'm leaving aside the art-as-enduring/craft-as-disposable divide (but you're wrong, Nick, wrong :) - and (updated) I don't leave it aside at all). I'm not well, and I should be off writing. But this stuff about "will be valued in a hundred years". I was at the panel on The Canon of speculative fiction at Magic Casements on Saturday, and there was a lot of this kind of talk. What do we think will last? And the implication seemed to be that writers should aspire to be placed on the canon, should be aiming for such high quality that their works are guaranteed to endure 200 years and more.

The thing is, we have no control about what will last. A bloke in the audience talked about picking up lists from the beginning of the 20th century and not having heard of a single author or work on them. It's not up to us; it's up to a million million tiny and tremendous events that will happen without us. So what are we doing when we try to establish a canon? We're trying to decide what is most significant now. We're trying to define the shape of the field now. We're not sending messages to the future. We're laying down a historical document. We're telling people who are entering the field as readers for the first time now, what we think is of most value, now. And we're helping people already reading in the field decide what to read next.

I'm sure there are writers who think they are writing for posterity. Well, maybe we all are, but we can't do anything more than create the archives of the future. And whole archives get burnt at once, you know? Everything, even what we think of as greatness now, is disposable. Just because it's of high quality doesn't mean it's going to last better. If it doesn't get burnt or shredded, or rot away, people of the future can just decide not to look at it.

You have to be reconciled to that, if you're a writer, I think. You have to be writing for reasons that make sense in spite of the fact that in a century or less you and your works won't exist in anyone's memory. It doesn't make what you're doing any less of an art, or any less valuable. It just means you're not fooling yourself.

23 March, 2006

Nick Mamatas has...

...the funniest commentary on the Hugo nominations so far. And the fun continues in the comments. Plus he thinks I should win, so, as Chance says, I loff him.

The tally

Today is a good day to update the list of awards and shortlistings Black Juice has won so far. I think this is all of them. Read and be amazed. I know I am.

  • Prize for Young Adult Fiction, Victorian Premier's Literary Awards

  • Aurealis Award - Best Young Adult Short Story ("Singing My Sister Down")

  • Aurealis Award - Golden Aurealis, Best Short Story

  • Ditmar Award - Best Short Story ("SMSD")

  • Ditmar Award - Best Collection

  • World Fantasy Award, Short Story ("SMSD")

  • World Fantasy Award, Collection

  • Michael L. Printz Honor Book, American Library Association

  • Prize for Young Adult Fiction, Queensland Premier's Literary Awards (won by Martine Murray, How to Make a Bird)

  • Christina Stead Prize for Fiction, New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards (won by Tim Winton, The Turning)

  • Children's Book Council of Australia, Book of the Year: Older Readers (won by Michael Gerard Bauer's The Running Man)

  • Ditmar Award - Best Professional Achievement (won by Clarion South committee)

  • Courier-Mail Book of the Year Award (won by Sonya Hartnett, The Silver Donkey)

  • Bram Stoker Award, Short Story ("SMSD")(won by Nancy Etchemendy, "Nimitseahpah")

  • Theodore Sturgeon Award, Short Story ("SMSD")(won by Bradley Denton, Christopher Rowe and Robert Reed)

  • International Horror Guild Award ("SMSD"; won by Don Tumasonis, "A Pace of Change")

  • James Tiptree Jr Award, Short Story ("Wooden Bride"; won by Geoff Ryman for Air)

  • LA Times Book Prize, young adult division

  • Nebula Award, Short Story ("SMSD")

  • Hugo Award, Short Story ("SMSD")

Hugo nomination

The Hugo and Campbell Award Nominations have been announced, and 'Singing My Sister Down' is nominated in the Short Story Category.

20 March, 2006

Italian and Czech Black Juices

Allen & Unwin today sent me the contracts for the Italian...

...and Czech language editions of Black Juice.

Magic Casements

Closer to home, the speculative fiction one-day festival Magic Casements IV is on at the NSW Writers' Centre this Saturday, and I'll be on two panels:

Spotlight on Success with Terry Dowling, Sean McMullen and Ian Irvine (chaired by Stephanie Smith) at 10am-11.15am

The Canon with Terry Dowling, Grace Dugan and Ted Scribner (chaired by Chris Barnes) at 11.30am-12.45pm

Both in the Double Room. See you there.

US visit

So far, I know this about public appearances related to the LA Times Book Prize and the Nebulas:

I will be on a panel at the LA Times Festival of Books, as follows:

Opening Up the World: Young Adult Fantasy Writing
Other Panelists: Denise Hamilton (moderator), Cornelia Funke, and Adam Gopnik.
Time/Day/Venue: Saturday, April 29 at 2:30 p.m. in Fowler Museum Lenart Auditorium.

I'll also be at the Nebula Awards Weekend in Tempe, Arizona. I hope to do the signing and reception on the Friday (5 May) and a reading and the banquet on the Saturday (6 May).

Possible other LA and Phoenix readings/talks to be arranged. Watch this space.

19 March, 2006

In the Guardian,

Colin Greenland presents a fabulous review.
...you can almost see her locating her story in the spaces between the words. She is the queen of those spaces, and rules them magnificently.
(Via Tansy - thanks!)

I have other pieces of good news, too, but they are all secret as yet.

13 March, 2006

Meanwhile, a bit of snarking

from way back, over here. Scroll down to the comments.

Hi Gwyneth!

Jones, that is.

12 March, 2006

Black Juice is a Los Angeles Times finalist

I'm delighted to be able to tell you that Markus Zusak's I Am the Messenger and my Black Juice are finalists in the Young Adult Section of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. The other finalists are Michael L. Printz winner John Green's Looking for Alaska, Per Nilsson's You & You & You and Andreas Steinhöfel's The Center of the World.

The finalists were announced in New York on Thursday, and the winner will be announced in Los Angeles on 28 April.

'Wooden Bride' is a Tiptree finalist

The story 'Wooden Bride' from Black Juice is on the 2005 James Tiptree Jr Award shortlist. As they say,
This is not the list from which the judges picked the winners. Rather, it is a list of books that the judges found interesting, relevant to the award, and worthy of note.
The Tiptree is 'an annual literary prize for science fiction or fantasy that expands or explores our understanding of gender'.

05 March, 2006

Away for a week

I'll be in Brisbane running writing workshops with Year 10, 11 and 12 boys at Anglican Church Grammar School for the next week. Expect a return to posting from Monday 13 March.