sartorias: (handwritten books)
In 1971, sf and f scholar Thomas Clareson had some still-relevant insights into the sudden explosion of sf and f some five years previous. With a few quotes from his essay, I throw out a couple of ideas about why it happened. I'd love to discuss what you thing about why it happened. Here is the link.
sartorias: (handwritten books)
I curved this post around Robert Jackson Bennett's two Divine Cities novels. Yes? No? Maybe? Snore?
sartorias: (1554 S)
A lot of excellent comments to my last post, as I'd hoped. There was one portion of [livejournal.com profile] autopope's superlative advice about covers, etc, that I misread, and was talking over with [livejournal.com profile] rachelmanija yesterday.

He said:
. . . For example, portal fantasies need to begin in the first thousand words, not wait 2-3 chapters. If you can do an in media res opening without confusing the reader by introducing too much complex terminology and world building in the first page, that's a good option -- you can buy time for the flash back to the slow beginning if you gain the reader's trust first -- but? There's no substitute for an initial and sustained impact.

I bolded what he wrote because I, being me, managed to read that as epic fantasy. When Rachel asked him about it in the comments, he said he got his intel from industry professionals.

I thought that made sense for epic fantasy--they are a tough sell these days if one begins with a prologue giving the history of the world, then a long, leisurely opening before things start ticking along.

But5 portal fantasies? Both of us thought, first of all, nobody in traditional publishing seems to be buying these. I thought of indie portal fantasies, like Ginn Hale's very popular Rifter Series, which begins as mundane as ever could be, quite a contrast to what happens after the portal portion. It seems to me that a portal fantasy kind of depends on the contrast: our world then the new world, either beautiful or horrible, or somewhere between--I can still remember, for ex, being so sucked into the sinister mundanity of Camazotz as a twelve year old sneaking A Wrinkle in Time under my desk during my junior high classes. So this advice surprises me, first that anyone is buying portal fantasies and I haven't heard about them, and second, thinking that a in medias res beginning would be best.
sartorias: (1554 S)
These seem to be a new thing, right? The earliest I could think of is Mark Sumner's The Devil's Tower, but in the last years or so there have been several, beginning with Emma Bull's Territory, about Tombstone. I have Rae Carson's lovely new series, and Laura Anne Gilman's Siver on the Road (which I have not yet read)--are there others?
sartorias: (desk)
Over here, a short, tightly written story set in Kerr's urban fantasy version of San Francisco. She's written four books about Nola O'Grady, her noir detective with license to ensorcell. This, I think, serves as a splendid introduction to those.
sartorias: (desk)
Deborah J. Ross talks about it over at BVC in what I thought was a thought-provoking post.
sartorias: (desk)
I have been reading the StoryBundle I have a story in, and finding a wide variety of works listed under the "epic fantasy" umbrella, prompting a look at the works, and definitions. I would love to talk about both.
sartorias: (desk)
I took a look at two new fantasies, Uprooted and Crimson Bound that contain some remarkably similar elements, but which are vastly different books. I would love to discuss these books and pastoral fantasy. (Especially--she said cautiously--as life is slowly returning to his regular rhythms.)
sartorias: (beyond the world)

Similarly with fantasy fiction: it looks superficially like an escapist form and is frequently dismissed as such, but that is a mistake. One of the values of this kind of reading is that it takes advantage of the fact that stories can never be entirely contained.


A terrific essay at Strange Horizons by Catherine Butler ([livejournal.com profile] steepholm).
sartorias: (handwritten books)
I guess it's irresistible to label types of literature, though there are always crossovers and exceptions. But I agreed with Rachel Neumeier's post over at Goodreads here. Yet she says that she found definitions so different that she felt she was an outlier, making me wonder how others see the distinctions?
sartorias: (Fan)
I really love The Hinky Chicago series by Jennifer Stevenson. (Whose interview furnished some interesting insights about writing, I thought.)

I have a fondness for funny romance a la Jennifer Crusie--unabashedly bawdy, cheerfully sensuous, with interesting characters and emotional dynamics, but never sodden or lugubrious.

Into this mix add: Chicagoans and their attitude if magic were to appear unexplained ("we don't call it magic, because you know what happened to Pittsburgh! We just say it's . . . hinky"); a six foot Valkyrie of a heroine whose job it is to "deal with" hinkiness, while meanwhile her mess of a sex life gets her into difficulties right and left; an arrogant English earl from the Regency period, whose privileged attitude pissed off a witch and so who ended up magically chained to a bed until he could satisfy 100 women.

I love this series--the characters, the little details of unromantic Chicago life mixed in with the impossible, the sheer joy as well as the laughter. On a second and third read I realized how much sharp insight into human behavior and emotional dynamics Stevenson slides in while remaining highly entertaining.
sartorias: (Fan)
Deborah Ross hosted the fantasy roundtable, wherein one guy and several women discuss fantasy and grimdark. Andrea K. Hoest asks some of the same questions that I do.
sartorias: (Fan)
What the header says. I like talking about self-published books that I enjoyed, in case someone else wants to give them a try. Today, there's the book and the wider subject, in particular the last question.
sartorias: (Fan)
[livejournal.com profile] superversive on the language of modern fantasy. One part that got me thinking was 'novelistic' as opposed to 'cinematic.'
sartorias: (Default)
. . . is now out!

Magical studies at college. Preview snippets are here.

It takes place at a college in the midwest after an event that caused magic to irrupt into the mundane world. The story was inspired by the Tam Lin myth (and it's in a way an homage to Pamela Dean's Tam Lin).

Here is the blurb:

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and prophecy.

Kim thought majoring in divination would prepare her for the future. But even with her gifts warning her of trouble, she can't foresee a sudden attack against Julian, her enigmatic classmate and friend. Nor can she protect him against further attacks and a string of disappearances . . . and if the omens are to be believed, their troubles will only get worse.

Kim knows she isn't ready for this. But if she wants to save Julian -- and herself -- she'll have to prove her own prophecies wrong.


You can buy it here.
sartorias: (Default)
. . . is now out!

Magical studies at college. Preview snippets are here.

It takes place at a college in the midwest after an event that caused magic to irrupt into the mundane world. The story was inspired by the Tam Lin myth (and it's in a way an homage to Pamela Dean's Tam Lin).

Here is the blurb:

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and prophecy.

Kim thought majoring in divination would prepare her for the future. But even with her gifts warning her of trouble, she can't foresee a sudden attack against Julian, her enigmatic classmate and friend. Nor can she protect him against further attacks and a string of disappearances . . . and if the omens are to be believed, their troubles will only get worse.

Kim knows she isn't ready for this. But if she wants to save Julian -- and herself -- she'll have to prove her own prophecies wrong.


You can buy it here.

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