Sunday, 6 March 2011

bite me: the week in bite-sized chunks

Tor: What is it about cake and books? Atom did it (I’ve just looked at my blog post about that and realised that sometimes I am a total nerd. And not one of those cool nerds, either), and now Tor UK have had an event to celebrate the reissuing of China Miéville’s backlist covers by putting them onto cakes. And they’re right to – designed by Crushed, these new covers are gorgeous, and delicious. They remind me of Neil Gaiman’s now not-so-new covers, with the black background and delicate illustrations embossed with coloured foil. Well, sort of.

Voyager: contain yourselves, epic fantasy fans; George RR Martin’s A Dance with Dragons is going to be published by Voyager on 12 July 2011. Believe that date, it’s actually real this time. It’s book five in A Song of Ice and Fire, a series so excellently executed and horrifically detailed that if, like me, you have a memory that quails at the thought of recalling more than one thing at once, you have four months to re-read the previous books. Or watch the upcoming HBO series Game of Thrones for a reminder sesh; it does have Sean Bean in it. I hear his contracts now state that, should there be a death scene, it must be at least 15 minutes in length. True story. Except for the lies.

Orbit/A Dribble of Ink: Aiden Moher over at A Dribble of Ink interviewed Orbit author Daniel Abraham (The Dragon’s Path, The Long Price Quartet) and the interview treaded close to my dissertation topic. Namely, the accessibility of the genre to people who aren’t necessarily SFF fans (differentiating this, but not altogether separating it, from the commercialisation of the genre). It also brought out Abraham’s irritation for people who want to look sophisticated through their bookshelf, whether they’re reading what’s on it or not (a personal pet hate). Abraham encourages the kind of SFF people might prefer to read via the anonymity of their eReader: ‘There is something at the base of genre – and it’s commercial and accessible and low-class and embarrassing – that brings people to what we do, and I think writers turn away from that at our peril.’ Abraham dubs this – and he’s not alone in this definition – as ‘guilty pleasures’ reading. He encourages writers to write ‘what people are ashamed to love’. Perhaps this is the value of eBooks to SFF. And its more adventurous readers. Perhaps Erotic Fantasy will get its (discrete) moment.

Gollancz: Orion publicity assistant Louise Court has given an interview on her role with Orion and Gollancz on the Book Chick City blog. This is just a lovely insight into her role and her first love, the written word. She also gets in a few plugs for their Urban Fantasy list – well, she is a publicity assistant, after all.

Arther C Clarke Award: the shortlist was announced on March 4 and is as follows:
Zoo City by Lauren Beukes (Angry Robot)
Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness (Walker)
The Dervish House by Ian McDonald (Gollancz)
Generosity by Richard Powers (Atlantic)
Declare by Tim Powers (Corvus)
Lightborn by Tricia Sullivan (Orbit)

I believe I have some reading to do…

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