Nick Mamatas is no stranger to writing whatever he wants, damn the torpedoes. And as Mamatas writes here about his latest novel — the Trotskyist/Crowley/Long Island noir Love is the Law — for “The Hardest Part”, writing can be the easy part. “If there was any difficulty in writing the novel at all, it was in writing the book so that it could end up in a bookstore somewhere.”
THE HARDEST PART: Love is the Law
By Nick Mamatas:
Actually, writing Love is the Law was pretty easy.
I’m not the kind of writer, or reader, who falls for the well-worn trick of a single-sentence paragraph, but there you go. It was a breeze.
It was a breeze. Read the rest of this entry »
Whew. Even though I’ve been updating the 2013 book preview during the course of the year, there were still quite a few things I learned about only recently here in late 2013, and of course plenty I missed ahead of time and during the year. So! Like I’ve done in 2012, 2011, and 2010…, here is my run-down of 2013 in regional science fiction and fantasy, and as always, let me know of the (likely many) omissions and errors, and! in a first this year, come by the 2013 Bull Spec regional author holiday book expo on Saturday, December 7, at Durham’s Atomic Empire from 3 pm to 8 pm, where a score of the authors below will be gathered to personalize books, chat, and there will also be comics, books, games, collectibles, and indeed beer on hand as well. And! The trusty Underwood manual typewriter which has made a few appearances over the years will be in attendance for a special community holiday fiction project. Enjoy!
The Office of Mercy: A Novel by Ariel Djanikian (Viking Adult and Tantor Audio, February 21) — Debut novel for this new Chapel Hill author, recommended for readers who have aged up from The Hunger Games and are looking for something just a bit more meaty. “Weaving philosophy and science together into a riveting, dystopian story of love and adventure, The Office of Mercy illuminates an all-too-real future imagined by a phenomenal new voice in fiction. Twenty-four-year-old Natasha Wiley lives in America-Five—a high-tech, underground, utopian settlement where hunger and money do not exist, everyone has a job, and all basic needs are met. But when her mentor and colleague, Jeffrey, selects her to join a special team to venture Outside for the first time, Natasha’s allegiances to home, society, and above all to Jeffrey are tested. She is forced to make a choice that may put the people she loves most in grave danger and change the world as she knows it.” (Chapel Hill)
I’ve had my eye caught repeatedly by the covers to Virginia author L. Jagi Lamplighter’s Prospero’s Daughter series, which borrows from Shakespeare’s The Tempest and other classical sources to create a robust modern fantasy. But not all sources of inspiration and creativity and setting are so easily borrowed from, as she writes here for “The Hardest Part” guest column series.
The Hardest Part: Filing off the Serial Numbers
By L. Jagi Lamplighter:
When I was twelve, I started my first novel. My father distributed movies to television stations, and I occasionally worked for him, stuffing Gumby dolls into envelopes and other odd tasks that the children of film distributors are called upon to do. Because of his work, though, I was very familiar with copyright laws and the fact that it was not legal to write about other people’s characters.
Armed with this information, I very carefully put in hours of work to invent my own stuff, rather than write in the worlds of favorite authors, as friends occasionally did.
I was tremendously conscientious about it. Read the rest of this entry »
Friday Quick Updates: Local Black Friday and Small Business Saturday alternatives; another Carolina Book Beat focus on local sf on Monday; and the latest on the regional author holiday book expo next Saturday!Posted: 29 November, 2013
Friday November 29, 2013: While I’m probably somewhere in between the sentiment offered by Shimmer and the most commercial of line-up offerings at the big box stores, I did want to send out a roundup of what’s going on this weekend, along with some other news.
I was delighted when Bull Spec poetry editor Dan Campbell bought one of Sofia Samatar‘s poems, and we worked to sneak “The Year of Disasters” into issue #7 last year as her debut novel, A Stranger in Olondria, was due that summer. Buzz was already building and Small Beer Press soon released a multiple chapter PDF preview which I happily devoured, waiting for more. But, as sometimes happens, the book was moved to this year’s publishing schedule instead. Released to some fantastic reviews early on (Library Journal gave it a starred review, and Locus praised its “elegant language” and “revelatory focus”, calling it “the rare first novel with no unnecessary parts … the most impressive and intelligent first novel I expect to see this year, or perhaps for a while longer.”) it has remained a book of interest; Strange Horizons published Newcastle University’s Nic Clarke’s review just last month. And this week, after some months of growing impatience on my part let me tell you, the book was released in audio as well. Now, for the guest column series The Hardest Part, Samatar writes about her 13-year struggle with the book’s 7th chapter. Who believes in lucky numbers, anyway?
By Sofia Samatar:
The hardest part of writing A Stranger in Olondria was Chapter Seven.
At the end of Chapter Six, Jevick, my main character, sees a ghost. This is a young man enjoying the pleasures of a foreign city—he’s a merchant, a student, an amateur philosopher, a wanderer in bookshops and cafés. The first six chapters of the book have an even, contemplative tone: Jevick’s story is part memoir and part travelogue. Then a ghost starts haunting him, and his whole world changes. My writing needed to reflect that change. How? Read the rest of this entry »