Saturday, January 28, 2012

Small Community Feel In The Big City: The Gap Filler Book Fridge

One of the (many many) things lost in my city after the February 22nd, 2011 earthquake are second hand book stores.

As a book collecting freak, I keenly feel the loss of many second hand book stores, especially the big three on Manchester Street and Book Mart on Papanui Road (my favourite haunt for SF&F). The earthquake also hit at a time when the book industry was (and is still) having a major effect on new book stores, with Borders on the verge of closing down. Thankfully local institution Scorpio Books have made a huge effort to remain in operation, moving to Riccarton Road and opening a second store in the Re:Start Container Mall back in the CBD.

The earthquake has had a major effect on my book buying habits, as I've taken to almost exclusively buying new and used online, with the odd trip to Scorpios.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Boffing Like Rabbits: Sex and Consent in Science Fiction Romance

In an effort to expand my science fiction horizons, I've been reading books and stories outside my comfort zone. I've never had an affinity with romance as a genre, so I thought I'd try out some SF Romance. Yes, it's a thing. Not as big as the Paranormal Romance genre, but it exists as a niche within a niche, and often as a subplot within a larger Space Opera epic.

The stories I have been beetling around with lately have been specifically focused on the romantic plot line, and the science fiction is merely a background. The stories have been a bit hit and miss, because for me I expect the science fiction (sociologically and technologically) to be forefront and informing the behaviour of the characters. Love, romance, sex and sexuality are partly socially culturally informed, and one would expect that as culture evolves alongside science and technology, these would evolve too. What does sex in free fall look like? How does one negotiate relationships in a cozy environment like a space station or ship? How would people deal with contraception? What will female sexual empowerment look like in 50 years, 100 years, 1000 years? How will people reproduce in the future? What will the cultural environment look like for queer people in the future?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Return of the Girl Cooties

So, there's a SF&F critic and reviewer named Liz Bourke. She's sharp, she's witty, she's cutting, she's a little bit Russ, and she does it all with charm and smooth grace.

She's also a she.

Combine that with critique of male writers and sexist tropes in SF&F and whoops whaddya know...the mansplainers are out in force.

In just one week Bourke has managed to lovingly stir the pot in two articles. The first was a review of Michael J. Sullivan's 'Theft of Swords' at Strange Horizons. The second was an essay about women in military science fiction at

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Here's something that gave me a little squeefest:

A personalized rejection from Asimovs!

The right people are getting to know my name, and I'm filtering up the slush pile. With personalized rejections from four pro SFWA qualifying venues in the last six months, I'm on the cusp of tipping over into something majorly exciting.

It's gotta be this year, it's gotta be!


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My Big Fat Book Promotion: Win a "Fat Girl" ARC

It's a great week for promotion of fat diversity in specfic.

Crossed Genres Publications has three Advanced Reading Copies of "Fat Girl In A Strange Land", which includes my story "Cartography, and the Death of Shoes", to give away through Good Reads. Be in to win a copy of this cool (if I say so myself) anthology before it's released in February.

Direct link to the competition on Good Reads right here. Oggity!

ETA: The competition is now closed. Thanks to all who entered!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Fat People Are Not Your Literary Go-To For Evil

There I was, reading a recommended epic fantasy novel. All was going well: an interesting magic system; criticisms of religion and racism within the context of the world the civilization could have been born from; unabashed discussions of abortion and population control. All the sort of juicy subtexts I love to get my teeth into.

Then...boom. Here comes the evil Fat Character (TM).

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Award Season Is Such An Odd Beasty

I've been doing this writerly lark for coming up two years now, but this is the first award season that I will truly be paying attention to what's going on.

The Hugos, the Nebulas, even New Zealand's own Sir Julius Vogel Awards; everyone's started talking about nominations and everyone's started that delicate dance of self promotion. How much is too much? Do you even mention your eligibility at all? Heaven forfend you might actually be proud of your work! Do you say nothing and hope that someone thinks kindly of you? While it's easier for the known names to get a nomination, us plebes and antipodeans have to work for everything we can.

I mean, sure, I was excited last year to have "My Dad, The Tuatara" nominated but not make the short list for the SJVs, but in a way I was glad it didn't go too far. I'd only just begun.

Last year I got a little preoccupied by February to think coherently about who out of my New Zealand colleagues I would consider nominating for an SJV. This year is a bit different as I have lots of great stories and books dancing around in my head. Like some of the short stories from fellow authors in the "Tales For Canterbury" anthology (not mine though, because it was a reprint). Two good friends of mine, and fellow TfC authors, Lynne Jamneck ("Renaissance" in October's White Cat Magazine) and Anna Caro  ("Shape of My Wife" in February's M-Brane SF) have also published stories elsewhere in the 2011 calender year which are well worth checking out. Grant Stone's "Young love on the run from the Federal Alien Administration New Mexico Division (1984)" appeared in Strange Horizons in May.

On the book front, K.D. Berry's "Dragon's Away" and Jane Higgin's "The Bridge" spring to mind, and in the collected works category Paul Mannering's "The Man Who Could Not Climb Stairs and Other Stories" is eligible.

If I've missed anyone or you think I should check out somebody's book or story, drop me a line in comments.

Ahh, the dreaded self promotion. Ok, here goes. From the stories I had published in the 2011 calender year which are eligible for an SJV, I am most proud of "Twixt" (M-Brane SF, July) and "The Ten Thousand Steps" (Expanded Horizons, November). There, said it, it's done.

Hey, wouldn't we all want a piece of hardware useful as a jewellery rack? I certainly need something to hang my hipster wristbands on...

Addendum: This is my second attempt at posting about awards season, because I'm absolutely rubbish at self promotion.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Welcome to 2012, Writer. Your Challenge Has Been Accepted.

I'm very pleased and excited to announce that my story "The City of Sand and Knives" has been accepted and will be appearing in an upcoming issue of The Future Fire.

The Future Fire's manifesto is as such: "Social-political and Progressive Speculative Fiction. Feminist SF. Queer SF. Eco SF. Multicultural SF. Cyberpunk. An experiment in and celebration of new writing."

TFF's editor also runs a very interesting blog, and towards the end of last year as they began gearing up to relaunch the e-zine published a series of blog posts outlining their manifesto in greater detail.

I'm absolutely stoked that my story will be published at this venue, I'm thrilled to be able to tick off one of my To Dos For 2012 so early in the year, and I would love to see TFF step up to semi-pro status.