28 June, 2008

Orf to the Alice

I fly to Alice Springs this morning to do my training walking-writing workshop with Jan and Into The Blue, so things will be quiet around here for the next week, although I hope to blog from Darwin next week.

In the meantime, Locus comes out with Gary Wolfe's review, and when that happens the Australian cover for Tender Morsels is unembargoed (because it quotes the review), both of which I'm very excited about and frustrated that I can't show you. I promise, as soon as I get back to this laptop, you shall see the gorgeous creation that awaits Australian readers.

Ta-ta for now, though.

27 June, 2008

Black Juice in Japanese

Four copies of this amazing-looking edition arrived yesterday. Kawade Shobo Sinsha are the publisher. They 'specialize in publishing fiction titles both by Japanese and foreign authors,' says Allen & Unwin's rights editor Angela Namoi. 'They also publish some young adult titles. Their list includes authors such as David Almond, Ursula Le Guin, and Sonya Hartnett.'

Tender Morsels a Junior Library Guild selection

I can't quite believe this, but the US Junior Library Guild has licensed Tender Morsels. My publisher says, 'JLG is like a book club for libraries—a selection service, really, for their kids and YA collections. So I’m always pleased when they adopt a book—it’s like the library seal of approval'.

D'oh, we'll never get the book banned and controversial at this rate.

24 June, 2008

A happy dream

I picked up a copy of June Locus yesterday, in which Rich Horton says nice things about Jack's Dreaming Again, including:
The prize is Margo Lanagan's 'The Fifth Star in the Southern Cross'. Uncharacteristically for Lanagan, this is set in an unambiguously science-fictional future in which human fertility is in ruins (we assume as a result of environmental damage). We witness the protagonist's encounter with an apparently genetically-engineered prostitute [read: alien], then a meeting with a woman he had a one night stand with, which surprisingly has resulted in a viable pregnancy. It's bitter but not mean, the characters damaged but not evil. Powerful stuff.
'On the whole the book is pretty strong,' he reckons, 'particularly in the latter half, which features some brilliant work'. What with Isobelle Carmody's 'very fine strange dream story', a few writers achieving 'real weirdness of affect' and John Birmingham's entertaining time-travel-zombie-Aus-history mash, you'll want to get ahold of this one, I think.

19 June, 2008

2008 Horn Book staff Mind The Gap awards

These are a hoot. 'It only seems as if the ALA gives an award for everything these days,' they say. 'Here the Horn Book staff honor some more books of 2007.'
  • Shaun Tan gets the gong for Best Foreign Language Book with The Arrival, and
  • Red Spikes gets one for Best Book To Never, Ever, Ever Read At Bedtime.

New boots and pastels

I'm gearing up for the outback adventure:

The excellent Robin Boustead of Trek & Travel has equipped me with these top (sorry, that should be taupe—and stone blue) boots. They're comfortable, supportive, and waterproof so that they'll also do for the Tarkine in January. Will let you know how I go on West MacDonnell rocky bits. The boots are called Chameleons, so there may be times when it's difficult to find my feet, haw, haw.

Robin also sold me two pairs of the very latest in women's endurance sock technology, Irish Bridgedale Trail Lights: 42% Nylon/polyamide, 38% New Wool, 19% Endurofil (TM)/polypropylene and 1 % Lycra(R)/elastane. If I lose one of these babies in the outback, it will be making good hopping-mice nests for about 10,000 years, I should think.

Eckersley's art supply shop sold me a noice set of 24 pastels that looks to have the requisite number of ochres for the job.

Now, what book should I take?

And then, an even more crucial decision: which notebook? I have a large pile of possibilities there. Many hours of pleasant dithering and notebook-fondling ahead.

'The Goosle' is still making me friends.

Here's Nick Kaufman reviewing the Del Rey Book (which I now have copies of, yay!):
Margo Lanagan's "The Goosle" is both a reimagining of and a sequel to the story of Hansel and Gretel. Dark, frightening and wildly creative, it's my favorite story in the anthology. She's another writer I really need to read more of.
I think so, Nick. Especially when her novel comes out. Roll on, October!

13 June, 2008

Shake in your boots, ye critics.

Here's Paul Abbamondi, over at MyLifeComics:
“The Goosle” by Margo Lanagan is a disturbing followup to the classic tale of Hansel and Gretel. To be honest, I’m a wee bit nervous to be reviewing her piece. I’ve seen her reactions to other reviews, reviews that I thought were fairly glowing and well-meant, and she comes across as very unsatisfied. Either way, “The Goosle” has a lot of creepy things in it: acts of cannibalism, sexual slavery, dirt for lunch, witchcraft, and abuse galore. It’s told from the perspective of a young boy, which makes everything happening more intense, and the outcome completely surprised me. It was great, viscous and unrelenting to the end, with strong images like the mudwife’s house and the stars in the sky. The story is still quite clear in my mind. Truth be told, it was the first one I read when I got the book.
Hm, I'm surprised he found it viscous—I thought it flowed along at quite a clip. Snrch. Apart from that, there's nothing to be unsatisfied with in that review...so what's a cranky ould witch to do with herself?

*pulls wings off a few flies*

11 June, 2008

UK Red Spikes...

...copies turned up today from David Fickling Books, and very purty it is too. The jacket uses the same lovely image as the US edition, but the case is black, rather than green with a red spine. The Amazon page says the publication date was 5 June, in which case, I dare say London is still in lockdown as my eager UK public beat a path to the bookshop doors.

Pardon? Why, yes, it has been something of a long day.

04 June, 2008

In my dreams

Says Jack Dann, in his Dreaming Again introduction:
The ‘New’ writers of the 90’s such as Trudi Canavan, Cecilia Dart-Thornton, and Margo Lanagan are making seven-figure deals, winning awards, and making international names for themselves...
I should point out to all charities and tax officers out there that I'm emphatically not taking part in the first of those activities, unless you count the numbers after the decimal point.


02 June, 2008

What the...? Another odd 'Goosle' review

From Sam Lubell in SFRevu:
Margo Lanagan's horrific and disturbing "The Goosle" is a sequel to the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel in which a mentally handicapped Hansel returns to the mudwife's castle in the company of a con artist who regularly takes sexual advantage of the ignorant Hansel.
Mentally handicapped? This is a boy who's taught himself to navigate by the stars, a very thoughtful boy with a strong sense of justice and an instince to act on it at the first opportunity. His only handicap has been his own youth, innocence and physical powerlessness; oh, and the fact that his family cast him out might have set him back a bit, too. But mentally handicapped? Sam, you are just wrong.

And where did this castle come from? Where was the castle in the original? And how do you manufacture a castle out of:
Why, that is the mudwife’s house, I thought. ... The house looked just as it did in my memory: the crumbling, glittery yellow walls, the dreadful roof sealed with drippy white mud. ... then came a convulsion in the house. A face passed the window-hole, and there she was at the door. ...As soon as I was out of sight of the mud-house I stopped in the forest...
Don't tell me there's not enough fantasy in the story, and you have to go creating your own...

And yes, I know, authors shouldn't respond to reviews. But, really.