We have a Silly Season Sale going on with a bunch of special bundles on offer as well as a 12 Days Before Xmas Sale which started yesterday and has a different daily special. Today's til Wednesday night is a very good deal on A Book of Endings. All those are over at the Web Store.
We also have finally gotten ourselves into gear and set up a newsletter - it'll be a joint newsletter with FableCroft and will come out once every two months featuring all our latest news, sales and new and upcoming books. Those who sign up this week, go into a prize draw to win one of 4 copies of Edward Teach/Angaelien Apocalypse and upcoming Above/Below. And get a 10% discount on any TPP or FableCroft books bought before December 24th (except for the 12 Days Before Xmas Sales). You can sign up for that here
Yesterday, mondy gave a lovely review of The Company Articles of Edward Teach and The Angaelien Apocalypse here:
Of Edward Teach he says:
Obviously as a young, handsome Jewish man myself I'm drawn to stories that deal with my faith. But more then that, I loved the idea of having that juxtaposition between Islam and Judaism. At the orthodox end of the scale, both are restrictive and patriarchal faiths and both have a tendency to push their children down a certain prescribed path. I was really interested to see how this played out in the novella.
And of The Angaelien Apocalypse:
I'm going to do all of you a favour and not say anything at all about the actual plot of this gonzo novella. Part of the joy is putting your trust in Matthew and expecting that he knows where he's going. Yes, there are moments when you think there's no way your willing suspension of disbelief is going to survive the next sentence. Yet somehow he just about keeps it all together.
What I will say is that behind the jokes - of which there are some - and the satire - of which there's quite a bit - there's some really intelligent writing going on here. Not only in the way that Matthew plays with the major tenets of Christianity, but also in what he has to say about the concept of revelation and how sometimes we are all too easily swayed by the shiny lights and the need to believe in something. In some ways, this is a deeply cynical novella in what it has to say about faith. But in other ways, in the way it explores the idea of friendship and love, it provides a very hopeful message, without ever being mawkish.
He says more - check out the rest of his review.
And finally, a lovely picture of me and also of other good small press folk at Worldcon
And then I took a step back and realised that we are now working at a pretty full schedule. We're working on the final edits and some proofing already for Nightsiders. Last week The Company Articles of Edward Teach/The Angaelien Apocalypse came back from the printers, stacked in all its boxes and ready for sale. And yesterday Above/Below was delivered to the printers and should mean we see proofs for it before Christmas.
Above/Below is now available for preorder at a special price of $12 plus postage So much activity!
As well as that, Helen Merrick has come to join us at Twelfth Planet Press, which is really rather exciting and extremely cool. She and Tehani Wessely have taken titles of Associate Editors. And Helen is working on a cool little side project related to the Twelve Planets - to be revealed later.
The year really is racing away, isn't it?
Here's a close up of the book, with cute puppy for scale:
I love the day the books arrive. There's really nothing quite like it - all major tasks should be punctuated with a big delivery of boxes when you finish them. There's nothing quite like drawing a line under a project by ripping open the first box to take a look. I love seeing for myself the idea that was a project, one that maybe I worked on with several people for over a year ,come to life as a physical object in my hand. But then - I really love the book as a physical object.
So here it is. Finally! Edward Teach/Apocalypse - as I am calling it for short. In some ways I feel like it's been overshadowed by other projects which is a shame. I really am proud of this book. It's the second in the doubles series, thus making the series a ... series. It's the first of our books to go to the paperback size. And it's a book that we worked on - Thoraiya and I and Matt and I - for I guess a year or more now. It feels great to see it finished.
Thoraiya was supposed to be writing her story for Sprawl when she sent me this novelette. She asked me to read it for an opinion - she thought it might be too offensive to submit anywhere. That immediately piqued my interest. I took it to Conflux with me to read and sat down one day at breakfast and inhaled it. As I began to read I got goosebumps (I buy anything that gives me goosebumps) because here was someone who knew what it was like to be me. What it was like to grow up in Australia and be culturally different. She nailed it. There's a little bit of me in Layla and a little bit of me in Avi. And I LOVE that - because I think that means that maybe there is more that is the same about being different than ... maybe being the same? I see this very much as a YA story - but a mature (language wise) YA story. These characters are struggling with the issues I struggled with at their age - at 15 and 16 and heck even maybe 19 and 20. They struggle with who they are and who they want to be whilst also struggling with the pressure of being who other people want and expect them to be. Oh yeah, and there's pirates. But you know, I'm not that into pirates ...
I was looking for something to pair with this story when Matt asked me to read what he thought might be the beginning of a novella. He sent me 10k and I was interested, very interested, if there was more - like the other half. He went away and wrote what turned out to be the other 2/3rds, I believe. I liked this story because it is completely different to Edward Teach and actually kinda different to anything else I've published before. I like that because I think I am still establishing what Twelfth Planet Press is and it's broader than the sum of what I have published to date. The Angaelian Apocalypse is tongue in cheek, irreverent and playful. And also a fun ride. Chrulew is an underrated writer and I'm hoping to see more of his work in the future. He writes with such ease and so playfully that his work is a pleasure to read, even when, maybe, none of the characters are that likeable.
And now I am off to package up all the preorders to post first thing tomorrow! Happy day!
In Garry Dalrymple's "Nearly Live from Freecon" email he informs that they both read excerpts tonight:
Matt Chrulew, read from his story about Alien visitation / Religious End times and how these events brought changes to the lives and outlooks of a formerly tight group of twenties something friends who find themselves at the sharp edge of changes to their world.
Thoraiya Dyer read from her story, which she had considered to be ‘Adult’ due to it’s content, but which is being promoted as ‘YA’. In this story a boy and a girl find themselves transposed into the bodies and living the lives of real pirates, as a consequence of a costume party dress up. Each is resisting taking the path parents have laid out for them, and the reluctant med student is brought face to face with ‘good old days’ disease and the reluctant law student is brought to view the excesses and cruelties of an entirely lawless society.
I think they're going to be round for the rest of the weekend though if you are heading down over the weekend.
And I should say that yes, Thoraiya's story has some VERY racy content in it but I don't think that moves into Adult rating. But others may disagree.
Here are the covers for the next Twelfth Planet Press Double - The Company Articles of Edward Teach by Thoraiya Dyer and The Angaelian Apocalypse by Matthew Chrulew. The cover art is by Dion Hamill and the design by Amanda Rainey.
The book should be out in a month or so and, well, it's a pirate story back to back with an alien invasion with a twist.
The Company Articles of Edward Teach - Learning to live inside your own skin is hard enough, but what if you were thrown back in time, to another body; a different world…?
I was dead and now I’m alive, a stolen soul from a different world, but there seems to be another mind sharing the body with me and I really don’t want to go mad.
The body of Blackbeard the pirate surfaces beside me, bleeding, and I want to laugh. I’ve been sent back three centuries. The clash between my two sets of memories makes me want to throw up. All the safety I took for granted is gone.
The Angaelian Apocalypse - An alien story you've never seen before ...
Reports had come in as the revolution erupted: a myriad of rotating discs approached Earth at speed. Panic and joy spread around the planet in viral waves. Few needed any help to identify these flying objects. They were the angælic vehicles.
And at the helm of the lead saucer was the Man himself. Jesus Christ.
And in some ways I also feel like I have very little to say. I was joking earlier on today that my blog got boring when I got a nice boyfriend (he'd hate the use of the word "nice" but I mean "nice to me" boyfriend). Noone wants to read endless posts about watching sunsets and curling up and falling asleep on the couch with each other (we don't do either of those things but go with me on this). There's no point of conflict to make the story interesting! I was driving home though this evening from popping in to see Liz and Russell and I thought how different it was and felt compared to all those nights I drove home when I was in heartbreak hell. This time I wasn't going home to an empty house after being in their warm, bustling one. This time, I wouldn't have noone to share dessert with. How much difference the passing of time makes. How different I feel now. I no longer feel worthless, unloveable or undeserving of a happy ending. And frighteningly, something on TV after that made me realise it hasn't even been 3 years! Surely it feels so much longer. I feel so much further away from that situation and that version of me.
What else? The other thing is that I am working a lot. Somehow I've found a bit more of my way again back at the day job. I've had a very full and urgent week but I feel back into the swing of things. And TPP is full steam ahead as is Swancon 36/Natcon 50.
I'm supposed to be joining the Last Short Story crew on a reading marathon til October some time. But I actually have another book to finish - the first Novella Double for 2010 (of 2) called The Company Articles of Edward Teach/The Angaelian Apocalpse. The cover art is done thanks to the very talented Dion Hamill. Amanda has laid it out. I just have to FINISH it!
Here are Thoraiya Dyer and Matthew Chrulew posing as the novella double pair!
The trouble is, after two months of solid copy editing in July and August, my brain got broken. And all I can face is slushing. Which is just as well because I have a huge backlog of submissions to read and have been spending my time working my way through those.
Course today I fished something out of the pile that I've been looking for for a very long time. I just ... need to figure out how to fit it into my publishing schedule!
This episode of the podcast features "Yowie" written by Thoraiya Dyer and is read by Tansy Rayner Roberts.
I love this story so much. I've been watching Dyer for a while now and I think this story hits right out of the ballpark. Yowie is looking for his lost thing. Zoe is looking for ... well, the life she gave up when she became a mother. But maybe nothing is ever really gone forever?
Listen for yourself over at the podcast
1. You're relatively new to the Aussie scene and have already been nominated for an Aurealis Award and are piquing the interest of critics. What got you started writing? Why speculative fiction? What interests you most about the Aussie scene?
Like everyone else who has been told they are new, I reply: You can write unpublished novels for decades and go completely unnoticed. Except by your long-suffering mother, who has been forced to read your exploding-goblin-on-the-train-tracks stories since you were six. And your slightly less-suffering husband who has only been forced to read your platypus-spirit-battles-pixie stories since you first started dating.
After finishing high school, I wrote a fantasy or science fiction novel every year. Until I got pregnant and my back suddenly couldn’t take sitting at the desk. That year, I wrote a short story, “Night Heron’s Curse.” It got published and I met many wonderful people, and I wrote more short stories because the attention went to my head. Before the baby, when I worked as a vet, people paid good money for my opinion. I felt that I was important, and I felt that I was helping people. I lost that when I became a stay-at-home-Mum. So this is a bit of a lifeline for me.
Why spec fic? My Mum had/has an excellent science fiction shelf. She would clap if anybody said they didn’t believe in fairies. It’s all her fault.
The Aussie scene interests me because it is full of generous, unselfish, welcoming people, and also because I am the kind of person who finds hope in the achievements of those who have gone before. I need role models. They are here. The quality of their work has changed my book shopping habits.
2. I might cheat a bit on this one and mention the novelette that Twelfth Planet Press has bought from you - Edward Teach - this is a YA story, with a very strong Australian voice, but not the kind of Australian voice that you often see in Australian specfic. What do you see as the role for fiction, as specfic in particular, in exploring the other?
Fiction is so important when it comes to exploring “the other”. In fiction you can let the essence of a story show without being strangled by the extraneous. You can try to see beyond facts and try to pin down truths.
In the past week, I have been an African child soldier forced to rape for his supper (A Song For Night), a young woman struggling to make her dreams come true in the dreary Australian bush (My Brilliant Career) and an ambitious British gay man trying to escape his working-class roots (The Stars’ Tennis Balls).
I don’t know about you, but I don’t run into strangers very often who will immediately pour out their most harrowing experiences for me to learn from. Maybe it’s just that I’m introverted? Maybe extroverted people have actual conversations to learn from, and so they don’t need to read books.
Speculative fiction goes the extra step. As regards “the other,” I think it helps you stop making excuses for yourself or your culture by taking away your points of reference. Disguising humans as elves or aliens might help you to hear a message you might not otherwise be able to hear. Does a Palestinian kid in a shelled-out house want to read about the Holocaust? Does an Israeli kid in a bunker want to read about a humanitarian crisis in the West Bank? We don’t want to feel sympathy for the other if it means doubting ourselves or belittling our own suffering.
But both those kids can read the Dark Crystal and instantly recognise the Skeksis shouldn’t be torturing and killing the Podlings.
In our minds, when we’re young, we are all Bagheera the panther, who easily recognised the worth in something new and different, and bought the life of a human child. We’re all Creb, the Neanderthal shaman who spared Ayla’s life.
Nobody is Shere Khan the tiger. Nobody is Broud, who wanted to leave the Cro-magnon baby out in the snow because it wasn’t Neanderthal enough.
When we’re older, we start to see a bit of ourselves in the Skeksis who want to live forever, Shere Khan who wants power he thinks he has earned, or Broud, who cannot comprehend the future and yet jealously refuses to pass the torch on to those who are better equipped.
Hey, it’s not the nice little story I thought it was! It’s a mirror in disguise!
Edward Teach is a bit different. There’s disguises – but then again, there isn’t. Australia is full of migrants. We all have baggage, including the two kids in the story. But the other power of spec fic is to make metaphors literal. These two kids are in a situation where putting on a costume can physically transform them. Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes takes on a whole new meaning.
3. What goals do you aspire towards as a writer? And what drives you to achieve them? What are you currently working on?
I aspire for my novel-length stories to be read and enjoyed. I want to put fantasy in Australian settings out there, and I want people who haven’t peeked at fantasy before to consider giving it a look-in. There’s one important step missing so far, which would be publication. But I’m working on it!
Also, I aspire to having the conversation. The thing about a great book is that you close it afterwards, maybe close your eyes, hold it tight and think, “this is a box full of awesome!” But it’s a one-way broadcast. It’s not a conversation. You can’t then turn around to Ursula or Sherri or Neal and say, “that was awesome, you are a genius, what do you think of MY idea?!”
So writing books is a feeble attempt to have the conversation. Because some ideas are book-long ideas that you really can’t articulate in your elevator pitch.
Oh, and I like to make things up.
I think everyone should. Michael Ende got it right in the Neverending Story. If we stop using our imaginations, the world will get gobbled up by the Nothing. One thing we should try hardest to imagine is the future, because the first step towards making a better world is conceiving of how to do it.
A few years ago I met Bob Carr at the launch of his book, “My Reading Life,” which was an impressive catalogue of classics and historical texts. When I asked about speculative fiction, he said he didn’t read it, point-blank. I thought: Does that mean you don’t imagine the future? Are we in for more of the same, then? History repeating itself? How depressing!
I’m still plotting to send him “The Dispossessed”, “The Diamond Age” and “Raising the Stones”.
What I’m working on right now, besides short stories, is my last-year’s novel which has turned into this-year’s novel: Waltzing Mathilda, the story of two Scottish families whose historic magical feud continues in the fledgling colony of New South Wales.
The first draft wasn’t finished by the end of last year because, in a mystical and horrific process, my baby has turned into a banshee toddler who enjoys “sit up” on “Mum’s chair” and “typey typey” when my back is turned - or while I am, in fact, sitting in said chair, pushing her away with both hands and shrieking, “NO TYPEY TYPEY, DON’T TOUCH MUMMY’S PUTER!”
4. Which Australian writers or work would you like to see on the Hugo shortlists this year? What have you enjoyed reading?
I’d love to see Roberts’ gorgeous “Siren Beat”, Lanagan’s haunting “Sea Hearts” and Haines’ despicable “Wives” in their eligible categories, along with KJ Bishop’s poem “When the Lamps are Lit” and Kathleen Jennings’ short story “The Splendour Falls.”
I haven’t yet read Pamela Freeman’s “Victor’s Challenge” because I’ve been too busy with her genius Castings Trilogy, but I got a kick out of “Worldshaker” by Richard Harland. The other top novels I’ve read this year aren’t eligible because I’ve been playing catch-up with past Aurealis and Hugo/Nebula winners and also reading loads of non-fiction about convict ships, the Battle for Vinegar Hill and the Rum Rebellion (see Waltzing Mathilda, above).
Juliet Marillier’s “Heart’s Blood,” was that 2009? “Lavinia”? “Blonde Roots”? “The Mystery of Grace”? “The Gathering Storm?” I enjoyed reading those. That last one came with a car sticker, care of a Californian friend, that said, “I killed Asmodean.” If only there was an Awesome Bumper Sticker Hugo category.
5. Will you be at Aussiecon 4 in September? If so, what are you most looking forward to about it?
Yes. Provided no crippling injury befalls my husband which would prevent him from wrangling the Small One. Remember what I said about some ideas not fitting into an elevator pitch? Well many of them do. And I’m hoping to meet up with hordes of other writers and editors and talk, if not in an elevator, then at the very least in a coffee shop, behind a curtain, or over the TPP dealer’s table. So make sure you order a big one, muahahaha. With lots of comfy chairs. I have a bad back.
Also, I want to eat at MoMo restaurant. A Lebanese-Australian celebrity chef doesn’t spring up every day. Maybe I can convince him to set up shop in the Hunter Valley. It’s nicer than Melbourne, haha.
To read all the 2010 Snapshot Interviews hot off the press, check these blogs daily:
Will we beat 83 this time? If you know of someone involved in the Scene with something to plug, then send us an email at email@example.com