August 13th, 2007

David Anthony Durham interview (and free book)

Acacia, the robust, sprawling new fantasy by David Anthony Durham, was recently mentioned in one of Paul DiFi's posts that referenced an article about Readercon and the representation of writers of color in the SF community.  I had the pleasure of interviewing Durham in-depth earlier this summer, and I thought I'd post it here for those interested in his thoughts on race and SF, among other things.  

[Added:  In the comments section, there is a generous offer of a free copy of Acacia from the novel's publicist!]

PW:         You’re known as a historical novelist; your previous novel was the well-received Pride of Carthage.  Was moving into epic fantasy a natural step for you?  Certainly the novel reveals a writer with a deep familiarity and affection for the genre.

DAD:       Thanks for saying that. It did feel very natural to me. I loved fantasy as an adolescent—Tolkein, LeGuin, Lewis, Alexander, Donaldson—and took great joy in rediscovering it as an adult—most notably with George RR Martin’s works. Reading Martin I’m aware I’m in the hands of an intelligent writer with a great grasp of literature and wonderful gifts as a storyteller, someone who is going to take me on a long journey with quite a few surprises along the way. I felt the same reading science fiction writers like Neal Stephenson, Neil Gaiman, and Frank Herbert. I read Dune for the first time about three years ago. A few chapters in, I realized with glee that I hadn’t enjoyed reading a novel as much since . . . well, since I was young and reading fantasy. That combination of being challenged, being spoken to as a reader with an intellect, but also being sent on a voyage overtly of the imagination was like a reawakening to what storytelling is (and always has been) really about. I knew that’s what I’d been working toward in my historical fiction, but I hungered to be let loose to explore an alternative world. Acacia is that world.


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  • lizhand

World Fantasy Award Nominees

There's no doubt in my mind that we're living in a new Golden Age for fantastic fiction, spurred in part by the corporatization and/or demise of major publishers and magazines that has opened the floodgates for small presses and journals.

Here's this year's list of WFA nominees — congrats to all of them, and the editors and publishers (big and small) who support them.

Nominations for this year's World Fantasy Awards, for works published in 2006, have been released. Winners will be announced at this year's World Fantasy Convention, to be held 1-4 November 2007 in Saratoga Springs, New York.

# Lisey's Story, Stephen King (Scribner; Hodder & Stoughton)
# The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner (Bantam Spectra; Small Beer Press)
# The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch (Gollancz; Bantam Spectra)
# The Orphan's Tales: In the Night Garden, Catherynne M. Valente (Bantam Spectra)
# Soldier of Sidon, Gene Wolfe (Tor)

# "Botch Town", Jeffrey Ford (The Empire of Ice Cream, Golden Gryphon)
# "The Man Who Got Off the Ghost Train", Kim Newman (The Man from the Diogenes Club, MonkeyBrain)
# Dark Harvest, Norman Partridge (Cemetery Dance)
# "Map of Dreams", M. Rickert (Map of Dreams, Golden Gryphon)
# "The Lineaments of Gratified Desire", Ysabeau S. Wilce (F&SF Jul 2006)

# "The Way He Does It", Jeffrey Ford (Electric Velocipede #10, Spr 2006)
# "Journey Into the Kingdom", M. Rickert (F&SF May 2006)
# "A Siege of Cranes", Benjamin Rosenbaum (Twenty Epics, All-Star Stories)
# "Another Word for Map is Faith", Christopher Rowe (F&SF Aug 2006)
# "Pol Pot's Beautiful Daughter (Fantasy)", Geoff Ryman (F&SF Oct/Nov 2006)

# Cross Plains Universe: Texans Celebrate Robert E. Howard, Scott A. Cupp & Joe R. Lansdale, eds. (MonkeyBrain and the Fandom Association of Central Texas)
# Salon Fantastique, Ellen Datlow & Terry Windling, eds. (Thunder's Mouth)
# Retro Pulp Tales, Joe R. Lansdale, ed. (Subterranean)
# Twenty Epics, David Moles & Susan Marie Groppi, eds. (All-Star Stories)
# Firebirds Rising, Sharyn November, ed. (Firebird)

# The Ladies of Grace Adieu and other stories, Susanna Clarke (Bloomsbury)
# The Empire of Ice Cream, Jeffrey Ford (Golden Gryphon)
# American Morons, Glen Hirshberg (Earthling)
# Red Spikes, Margo Lanagan (Allen & Unwin Australia; Knopf)
# Map of Dreams, M. Rickert (Golden Gryphon)

# Jon Foster
# Edward Miller
# John Picacio
# Shaun Tan
# Jill Thompson

# Ellen Asher (For work at SFBC)
# Mark Finn (for Blood & Thunder: The Life of Robert E. Howard, MonkeyBrain)
# Deanna Hoak for copyediting
# Greg Ketter for Dreamhaven
# Leonard S. Marcus, ed. (for The Wand in the Word: Conversations with Writers of Fantasy, Candlewick)

# Leslie Howle (for her work at Clarion West)
# Leo Grin (for The Cimmerian)
# Susan Marie Groppi (for Strange Horizons)
# John Klima (for Electric Velocipede)
# Gary K. Wolfe (for reviews and criticism in Locus and elsewhere)
  • lizhand

Your Daily Saints

From Charles Kightly's Perpetual Almanack of Folklore:

Today, August 13, is the Feast of St. Cassian, a severe Christian schoolmaster disliked by his pagan pupils, who stabbed him to death with iron pen-knibs; he is the patron saint of schoolteachers.

-- Also perhaps of literary critics.

posted by Liz Hand
  • lizhand

Brooke Astor

Brooke Astor died today, at age 105. A northern Yankee by birth (Portsmouth, NH, right on the Maine border), she inherited, along with his millions, her third husband's estate in Northeast Harbor, Maine. She seems also to have inherited the Yankee gifts of generosity and grit and humor, as well as a love of books. She gave generously to libraries in NY and Maine, and according to the NY Times obit, one of her regrets was that she didn't write more — she penned two novels in the 1960s.

From the Times obit:

"When she was 98, she recalled with satisfaction that she had telephoned a man who had once made her so angry that she had stopped talking to him. The call was to compliment him on an article he had written. “I want to be at peace with all of my friends when I die,” she said."

Here's to someone who used her fortune to make the world a slightly better place for readers, among many others.

— posted by Liz