Apparently the secret to being successful at social media is about promoting other people rather than yourself. Finally, something I’m doing right!
Joss Whedon talks about Much Ado (it’s coming!) and why taking a creative shift can be as good as a holiday!
The AWW Challenge blog has been posting a great series of genre/theme-specific wrap ups of the year’s reviews, including speculative fiction, diversity, romance and erotica, young adult and many more.
Tobias Buckell on Things I Told my Intern (about being a writer)
Tasmanian romance writer Sarah Brabazon talks about life onboard a yacht with her family.
Marianne De Pierres’ space opera series Sentients of Orion is finally being published in the US! She talks about her inspiration for the books here.
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Yes, I said shipping, not sipping.
It’s a stinker of a hot day, I’m drinking iced tea poured from my shiny new T2 iced tea brewer jug into stylish citrus-coloured glasses, and trying not to spend all the electronic money I don’t have on Doctor Who themed tea. My favourite thing about this site is not just that they know who my beloved Hexy Scofield is (oh, Big Finish companions, why do I love you so?) but they allow you to ship tea blends together and give you discounts for doing so. Hex, for instance, is in a ship with Ace. OH YES HE IS.
Sure, there are people who design fandom tea based on the actual Doctors too, if that’s your bag (did you know tea fandom was a thing?). But I’m having more fun reading the blends for the companions. (Aww, Turlough isn’t shipped with anyone but OMG his blend is Earl Grey Moonlight, Caramel and Ginger!)
Speaking of Doctor Who, my favourite written response to the Doctor Who Christmas Special The Snowmen so far is this great Doctor Her article by Nightsky: My bustle’s stuck!: Women vs. Victorian values in “The Snowmen”. Brilliant stuff about Victorian women, Doctor Who, and why talking about clothes is not necessarily frivolous as a woman – sometimes it’s a matter of survival.
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Will you be doing the Australian Women Writers Challenge in 2013? I certainly will! I’ve enjoyed the community aspect of the challenge, and the focus on Australian women writers – while I tend to read a majority of women writers anyway, I do have a tendency to stay within certain genre comfort zones, and often to neglect Australian writers over international ones, unless they are very close friends. And while my list for this year’s reading definitely involved a bunch of books by my friends (did I mention how many talented friends I have? A WHOLE BUNCH) I also tried to challenge myself by trying new authors, reading some books that have languished on my To Read Shelf for too long, and in the case of Kate Forsyth’s Bitter Greens, NOT neglect a certain title that I know is going to be wonderful just because it’s the size of three regular books.
I met my own challenge parameters back in June (the Franklin – 10 books, review at least 6) but have continued to add to the list and was delighted today to count up and realise that I hit 25. Sounds impressive, though considering I read 175 books this year (including graphic novels & audio books), it’s still only a small proportion.
DEFINITELY coming back for more next year, at the same level. We have some great female writers in Australia and they really do miss out on the recognition that is due to them, in general book media.
“Four times as many living Australian male writers than female writers appear on First Tuesday Book Club’s list of Top 50 Aussie reads.”
On a personal note, I really think that the AWW has helped me as a writer, too – I noticed far more reviews going around of the Creature Court trilogy and Love and Romanpunk in 2012 than in previous years, and I think the Challenge has a lot to do with that.
What will you be reading next year? How will you be reading next year? What great books by Australian women can we look forward to next year?
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OK the news that really sparkled for me this week was the availability of the My Little Pony comics on ComiXology – which means I can actually access them! Oh, ComiXology, you are so convenient, if only your DRM-based platform wasn’t so inflexible and slightly evil. DID I MENTION PONIES?
Alisa passed on a link to this inspiring article about Nicola Beauman and Persephone Books. There’s a lot to unpack in this one, particularly about the value of aesthetically pleasing books, but also the human side of “building a brand”. Warning: this article may make you buy books while reading it.
Mary Shelley blogs about the origins of her classic story Frankenstein. Yes, really. Well, a bit.
Jennifer Mills talks about reading Australian classics for the AWW challenge, and Elizabeth L Huede writes about the year’s challenge over at the Huffington Post.
Rebecca Fitzgibbon responds to the Hobart ABC closure, discussing some of the roll on cultural effects that come from not producing TV in Tasmania any longer. Sigh.
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Just to make it all about me for a minute – this is exciting! I just added up some recent reads to discover that I have made my target of 10 books by Australian women read this year, mostly without even trying too hard. I’m going to keep going for the rest of 2012 because, well, it’s an awesome thing to do, plus I’ve already read one and a half MORE and it would feel sad to leave them out.
Walking Shadows by Narrelle M Harris is one of the bundle of books I acquired at Continuum last week and have been reading through in an attempt to actually read books when they arrive in my hot little hands, instead of hoarding them for three years. I was excited about this book being published because I’m very fond of Narrelle, and I know it’s been a long hard road for her with this book in particular. Very happy on a personal level that she’s now with a new publisher, ClanDestine, who are treating her books with respect.
And then I went to her book launch on the first night of the con, and it was quite a con for book launches! She had a smallish panel room but it was packed out, standing room only. Jason Nahrung gave a lovely speech, and Narrelle read a hilarious, horrible piece from her book that had her audience squirming and chuckling, sometimes at the same time. So basically I was primed to come home and read this book super fast, which I did.
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The Getting of Wisdom by Henry Handel Richardson (one of the pantheon of female authors who took a male name to publish during that period of literary enlightenment known as the olden days) is one of those novels that I have heard mentioned here and there, but given my general allergy to Australian classics, I have not pursued it before now. But more recently, as I’ve been looking with greater interest at the history of women writers (or as I say on Pinterest, Lady Novelists) I became intrigued by Richardson.
I then realised that the movie I thought I had watched as a kid based on this book was actually My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin. Whoops! I am WAY better on the history of feminist science fiction novelists, I promise.
Anyway, in my research I saw reference to the fact that The Getting of Wisdom, as well as having that dreadful Australian Classic label, was a boarding school story. And I LOVE boarding school stories with a fiery passion. Apparently there were queer themes too, and there I was, ordering the book from the library like a boss.
Possibly it’s time to start reassessing what the ‘Australian Classic’ title means to me, or maybe it’s the benefit of reading as an adult rather than a child, but where has this book been all my life? Why was it not given to me with a ‘you’ve read Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, What Katy Did and the Little House on the Prairie books, plus all the Enid Blyton boarding school stories, and this is basically a cranky bitch version of all those books, set in Melbourne.’
Why do people not point twelve year olds towards the cranky bitch at boarding school books?
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10 good reasons not to feel guilty about reducing book buying in 2012
Is it me, or are these weeks coming around REALLY FAST? 2012 is prancing by, and what do I have to show for it? Well OK, one published novel, four completed short stories, a novel in progress that seems to be working and a handful of awards nominations, but apart from that??
The soccer season has started, and for once I’m not talking about Arsenal, which has been elating and frustrating me in equal measure since last September, but about young Raeli, kicking off for another season, this time in the Under 7’s. The good news is, her spikes still fit, which was something of a relief because I don’t have the cash to buy her new ones.
In the mean time, I have LINKS for you.
My honey sent me an email this week saying ‘you are a superhero’. Which, OBVIOUSLY. But it turned out he was referring to this, an article about how curating the internet is becoming more and more important, and the people who do this work are, well, superheroes. I have to say, I like the term ‘curators’ as it feels a lot less elitist than ‘gatekeepers’. Though of course, ‘doorbitch’ is still my favourite. HEAR ME, INTERNET? I AM YOUR DOORBITCH.
At the Intergalactic Academy, a great post by Phoebe about a current trend to discredit/challenge the genre credentials of teen dystopia novels because they also have romance in them and thus might SNEAKILY be contaminated with girl germs. Only, of course, she says it better or I wouldn’t be linking to her. I know we don’t read the comments but some important discussion did happen in these – in particular, addressing one of Phoebe’s key points about how you probably shouldn’t be refiling these books as ‘romance’ without knowing something about the romance genre, and it’s actually a bit more complicated than “I SUSPECT THIS IS A KISSING BOOK!”
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I empathised deeply with this post about the solitary existence of writers and the way we need our people around us to keep us sane, and professional.
As part of the ongoing excellent advocacy work coming out of the #AWW challenge, here’s a list of Australian women writers of Asian heritage to help you include some diversity in your choices.
The Australian government is running an online survey about our opinions on gay marriage. So far the interim response is pretty depressing (running at only a bit over 30% saying YES GAY MARRIAGE) but it’s not based on very many people’s opinions. So if you’re Australian, go, take five minutes and register your own thoughts on the issue.
Alisa Krasnostein, Cheryl Morgan, Lynne M Thomas and many other smart people share their opinions on awards in the latest SF Mind Meld.
One of my favourite Tor.com posts this week – Redskirts looks at some of the portrayals of women among the traditional ‘redshirt’ junior-Starfleet-person-of-the-week tradition in the original Star Trek.
The new Doctor Who companion has been announced and we still know very little about her – Ritch Ludlow asks some questions about fan response to Amy Pond and considers what kind of standards might be applied to this new character.
Oooh, another great one from Tor.com! Comic artist Faith Erin Hicks whose work I really enjoyed on ‘Friends With Boys’ has drawn a personal response to The Hunger Games as a popular story, drawing upon her family experience (as the daughter of a Vietnam veteran). I love to see the comics form used to tell powerful memoir and this brief piece is very compelling.
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Yeah. They probably hate you, too.
What if there were superpowers in the world, but no superheroes?
Deborah Biancotti has a reputation in Australia for rich, complex prose and bleak stories about the quiet horrors that we all hope will never happen. The Book of Endings, her first collection, made a powerful statement about the kind of fiction she is known for – and Bad Power, her far more slender second collection, makes an entirely different statement about the writer she is going to be.
The stories in Bad Power have a clear, sharp narrative, and a more restrained approach to her prose. As with many of the Twelve Planets collections, the stories are connected and serve to build up a particular world, based on a single premise. In this case, it is the idea that some people have powers, what comics readers or TV/movie fans would immediately designate superpowers, and that there is something deeply sinister about those powers, and those people.
I tore through this book very quickly – it was such a fast-paced read, and so very enjoyable. Once it became clear that the order of the stories was important and that each fed something into the others, the mystery of how to fit all the pieces together added an extra layer of enjoyment. Each story has its own compelling protagonist, and distinct voice. My favourites were Detective Enora Palmer and Detective Max Ponti, just as my favourite stories were “Palming the Lady” and “Crossing the Bridge,” but this is one of those collections where the whole is far more than the sum of its parts.
BAD POWER, by Deborah Biancotti
Twelfth Planet Press
reviewed as part of the Australian Women Writers 2012 National Year of Reading Challenge
Tansy’s Australian Women Writer’s 2012 Reading Challenge.
1. Eona by Alison Goodman (fantasy)
2. Cooking the Books by Kerry Greenwood (contemporary crime)
3. Bad Power by Deborah Biancotti (spec fic, superhero)