26 March, 2011

Pawing the ground

This coming Thursday night, if you're in Sydney and feeling like a good tussle, come along and watch Justine Larbalestier, editor (with Holly Black) of the YA anthology Zombies vs. Unicorns, and three of her contributors (Scott Westerfeld on the zombie side, Garth Nix and me for the unicorns) 'in a short-story feud that pits horned beasts against the shuffling undead', as the SMH's Planner column puts it.

Come to Kinokuniya (Level 2, The Galeries Victoria, 500 George Street) at 6pm. It won't cost you anything, but you'll need to book, because everyone wants to see this. Ring 9262 7996 to nab a seat.

But be warned, it'll probably get pretty messy on the night.

'Fine work from a literary sadist'...

...is how Angie Schiavone's review of Yellowcake in the Sydney Morning Herald today is headed, and she urges you to take your time reading them:
As with Lanagan's previous collections, Yellowcake is not a book to rush through or read in one sitting. Her day-job as a technical writer requires clear, unambiguous writing but Lanagan adheres to no such constraints when it comes to fiction, gliding teasingly in between understandable and mystifying.

These are stories that require concentration, with each line making an important link to the next, and one skimmed-over sentence capable of seeing the reader lose touch with what's being said. Those who give Lanagan their full attention, however (whether they be young adult or older), will be richly rewarded.

25 March, 2011

Gary K. Wolfe's Locus review of Yellowcake...

...is online.
Margo Lanagan always seems to be a couple of steps ahead of us, like a tricksterish lightning bug that is never in the jar you thought you’d put it in.

22 March, 2011

'A Thousand Flowers' is shortlisted for an Aurealis Award!

In this excellent company of YA stories:
  • 'Inksucker', Aidan Doyle, Worlds Next Door, Fablecroft Publishing
  • 'One Story, No Refunds', Dirk Flinthart, Shiny #6, Twelfth Planet Press
  • 'A Thousand Flowers', Margo Lanagan, Zombies vs Unicorns, Allen & Unwin
  • 'Nine Times', Kaia Landelius and Tansy Rayner Roberts, Worlds Next Door, Fablecroft Publishing
  • 'An Ordinary Boy', Jen White, The Tangled Bank, Tangled Bank Press
Huzzah! Unicorns 4 eva!

18 March, 2011

Mid-March, writing and reeling

I had 3 weeks (i.e. 9 working days) off the dayjob. The first week and a half was all about preparing for, and then attending, Perth Writers Festival, as detailed in the previous post. It was a beautifully organised, nicely paced program that allowed me to take in a few panels other than my own, and to catch up with Perth friends—hi Sal, hi Jonathan and Marianne, hi Lynn, hi Alisa and Tehani!

All the sessions were well attended by appreciative people with interesting questions. All my fellow panellists were lively and fascinating. Probably the Zombies vs Unicorns panel on the Family Day was the best one—Stephen Dedman, I tell you, knows everything there is to know about zombies, and there were some big zombie fans in the audience ready to quiz him. It turned out all right in the end, though; in the final audience poll the unicorns got the biggest cheers.

I flew home, and a couple of days later went off down the coast to take the first bash at the second revision of the selkie novel. I chopped off its nose (51 pages), then created a new nose (40 pages), which I'm in the process of reattaching to its face. I also swam, walked, lounged, read (Benjamin Law's The Family Law, Jonathan Strahan's Year's Best SFF, Cate Kennedy's Best Australian Short Stories 2010), watched birds, fish, sky and trees, visited Meroogal and Bundanon, slept and lounged. It was a good, productive most-of-a-week.

Came home to gorgeous advance copies of The Wilful Eye, the first volume of Isobelle Carmody and Nan McNab's Tales from the Tower two-part anthology of edgy remodelled fairy tales. The story I wrote as first cab off the rank in this latest 8-month deadline frenzy, 'Catastrophic Disruption of the Head', a not-for-the-faint-hearted retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's 'The Tinderbox', leads off the collection of six substantial tales from me, Isobelle, Richard Harland, Rosie Borella, Margaret Mahy and Martine Murray. All between lush covers designed by the ever-excellent Zoe Sadokierski (she adds flair and mystique to the internals, too).

Now I've typed up and printed out the 40 new pages and am forging ahead with the breaking and resetting of the cheekbones of this novel. I'll get a recognisable face out of this revision, if it kills me. We might even be able to agree on a title for it!