Saturday, 23 April 2011

bite me: the week in bite-sized chunks

Eastercon: where I wish I was this weekend, instead of sitting in my pyjamas eating an unholy amount of peanut butter, bananas and honey on toast whilst watching MTV. Eastercon is a Science Fiction and Fantasy convention that has been put on over Easter (what would you do without me explaining these things?) since 1955 for meeting and greeting like-minded individuals. This year authors Peter F Hamilton and David Weber will be there speaking (and eating and drinking too no doubt), as well as publishers like Tor UK and Angry Robot Books. Although you’ll probably find out more by following them on Twitter (@2011illustrious) than you will from their website, which has more information on the Hilton’s excessive corking fees than the event itself. I’m currently living vicariously through the hashtag (#eastercon). Programmes throughout the weekend include Medical Horror Stories, Recognising Classics, Digital Fixes, Read This Novel! and SF&F for Kids. So far it looks like there’s been a lot of meeting, greeting and drinking and talk about the upcoming Hall Costume Day, which sounds both mysterious and exciting. I would go as a long, well lit one with a church pew in it.

HarperVoyager/HBO: A Game of Thrones started this Monday on Sky Atlantic, based on George RR Martin’s incredible A Song of Ice and Fire, an epic series of phenomenal scope and detail, so naturally it’s a ten-part series just for book one. There’s a minimum of four more books to go, and as it takes a good few years for each one to be released, the odds are that the current actors will be passing the baton to their own children at some point to keep up the illusion that the events have taken place over the mere months the series has spanned so far. There were some really positive reviews of it, but also some infuriatingly ignorant ones, like this one from the New York Times. I’m all for people having their own opinions, but please Ginia Bellafante, don’t speak for me and all women everywhere.

Just one enraging quote: ‘I can honestly say that I have never met a single woman who has stood up in indignation at her book club and refused to read the latest from Lorrie Moore unless everyone agreed to “The Hobbit” first. “Game of Thrones” is boy fiction patronizingly turned out to reach the population’s other half.’ The most bizarre part of this review, is that the aspect that Bellafante has determined has been ‘tossed in’ for the ‘ladies’ (snarl), is the incest. Not that my delicate sensibilities can’t handle a bit of twin sex, but really? If so Mel Gibson’s What Women Want would have been an entirely different breed of romantic comedy.

Filmed in Northern Ireland and Malta, the slick production values and top notch cast (Sean Bean et al) mean that the luscious scenes of Westeros really come to life and you can practically smell the offal. I won’t go into much detail here (it is ‘bite-sized’ after all), but I loved it, and although it was sexual and gory, that wasn’t the entire focus of the plot, and I didn’t feel that any of it was overly gratuitous or out of place. I can’t wait to see more of my favourite character Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), as people who haven’t read the books (yet) would be forgiven for assuming he’s a character whose only function is to have sex with voluptuous prostitutes. A gross misconception, he also likes to tie people up in verbal knots, as well as just knots in general.

Tor UK: 1: A few of their authors have had short stories based around climate change published by the Guardian online, including 'Covehithe' by China MiĆ©ville. 2: SFX magazine are helping Tor with an artwork competition. Fans are invited to submit their original artwork for the chance for their design to be on the eBook front covers of two of Peter F Hamilton’s short stories from his collection Manhattan in Reverse. Tor are releasing two stories from the collection a month earlier than the paperback, in eBook format. The deadline hasn’t been given yet, but keep checking the SFX site for information, all you budding artists/ have-a-go-heroes.

Orbit: the first of Orbit’s eBook shorts will be available soon. Brent Weeks will be publishing 'Perfect Shadow' in the US and UK in June 2011, which features the background of his character Durzo Blint so it will be set in the world of his Night Angel trilogy. A wily choice for one of Orbit’s first eBook shorts, with a simultaneous release of the audio version to boot (although I'm not entirely sure what 'to boot' means).

Gollancz: author Ben Aaronovitch will be signing copies of his book Moon Over Soho and ‘well, anything that gets shoved in front of me’ in Waterstone’s, Romford today at 13:00pm. It’s the sequel to the very excellent Rivers of London and my (unsigned) copy is due to arrive today. Romford, another place I wish I could be, if only I didn’t have more pressing matters to contend with (*wipes peanut buttery crumbs from pyjamas*).

And finally, Doctor Who: tonight, BBC 1, 6pm. Need I say more?

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