Category Archives: adult_fiction

So much Discworld news!

Okay, so I’m a few days behind the curve, but that does not diminish my excitement!

Discworld Pratchett Gives Thumbs Up to Discworld Cop Show! From March 11th here:

The main focus of the series will be set in the bustling, highly mercantile, largely untrustworthy and always vibrant city of Ankh-Morpork and will follow the day-to-day activities of the men, women, trolls, dwarves, vampires and several other species who daily pound its ancient cobbles (and, of course, Igor in the forensics department). Terry commonly refers to the City Watch police force series as “the jewels in the Discworld Crown.” These richly developed and highly compelling characters will feature in a ‘crime of the week’ episodic storyline. As each weekly adventure unfolds, viewers will be taken on a ride through Pratchett’s genius imagination, with the author overseeing the creation of the series, where wild and exciting encounters with werewolves, dragons, dwarfs, trolls and golems and the classic heroes and villains, are an everyday occurrence… and where many of these characters even make outstanding crime fighters!

ALSO, scroll down to March 1st for:

There has been one hell of a lot of rumours regarding a Good Omens adaptation over the past few weeks, mostly started by me at the SFX Weekender. So, ladies and gentleman, I can hereby exclusively reveal that – YES – Neil and myself have shaken hands and received groats from Rod Brown sealing a TV deal. An official announcement from Prime Focus will follow in a couple of weeks time. However, I can reveal right now that Terry Jones (yes, the Python) and Gavin Scott (not a Python, but he gets it) are already on the job. It’s been a long time coming, but it’s looking good.

AND, there’s a new Discworld book coming out this fall!

The new Discworld novel from the master sees Sam Vimes investigating a countryhouse murder, and is Terry Pratchett’s fiftieth book.

According to the writer of the best-selling crime novel ever to have been published in the city of Ankh-Morpork, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a policeman taking a holiday would barely have had time to open his suitcase before he finds his first corpse.

And Commander Sam Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch is on holiday in the pleasant and innocent countryside, but not for him a mere body in the wardrobe. There are many, many bodies and an ancient crime more terrible than murder.

He is out of his jurisdiction, out of his depth, out of bacon sandwiches, and occasionally snookered and out of his mind, but never out of guile. Where there is a crime there must be a finding, there must be a chase and there must be a punishment.

They say that in the end all sins are forgiven.

But not quite all…

Now I need to finish rereading the first three Tiffany Aching books so I can get to I Shall Wear Midnight

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New Things I Want to Read

Lots of good stuff on the horizon…

Arthur Slade’s Hunchback Assignments series will continue with a third book Empire of Ruins, in January 2011. Click for the cover art!

It would not not surprise me to learn that Jill Maclean’s third book, Home Truths, follows The Nine Lives of Travis Keating and The Present Tense of Prinny Murphy. I’ll find out once we start reading for next year’s RMBA shortlist, I suspect…

As much as I like Nancy Werlin’s psychological thrillers like The Killer’s Cousin and Rules of Survival, I am thrilled that her latest book, Extraordinary is along the lines of her last book, Impossible, a modern spin on the traditional ballad “Scarborough Fair.”

Yay! New book from Cornelia Funke, Reckless is coming in September: “The story is about Jacob Reckless, who escapes to another world behind a mirror, where witches haunt the forests and fairies and dwarfs roam. It’s also a world locked in a deadly war. Jacob’s secret is safe until one day his younger brother, Will, follows him-with disastrous consequences. The brothers are forced to race against time to find reverse a curse before one of them is lost forever.”

And getting to some of my favourite authors…

Woo-hoo! New Tamora Pierce! A short story collecton this time, Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales.

Also cause for anticipation, new Terry Pratchett in October! I Shall Wear Midnight is the fourth Tiffany Aching book.

I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to hear that there is a new Bordertown anthology coming out! Not convinced? Check out the line-up: “Terri Windling’s groundbreaking urban fantasy shared world is back in an all new Borderlands anthology, WELCOME TO BORDERTOWN, to be edited by Holly Black and Ellen Kushner, featuring new stories from many of the original writers including Emma Bull, Will Shetterly, Midori Snyder and Charles de Lint, as well as new work by writers who were inspired by the original series, including Cassandra Clare, Cory Doctorow, Kelly Link and more.”

Over on the adult fiction side of things, a new Newford collection from urban mystic fantasy master, Charles De Lint, Muse and Reverie.

Mmm. New book anticipation.

Adventures in Canadian Content Part One: CanLit Lives

Tuesday is Canada Day!

Today’s theme is… CanLit! Yes, I do occasionally read grown-up books. 🙂 There’s a lot more to Canadian literary fiction than Margaret Atwood. Here’s a random sampling of some of the books I’ve enjoyed in the past while.

The Jade Peony by Wayson Choy The saga of a family of first-generation Chinese Canadian immigrants in Vancouver’s Chinatown in the 1930s and 1940s, told in alternating points of view from three siblings. The inevitable culture clash of new immigrants and their Canadian children is set against the racial tension of the time and the beginning of the Second World War. (The sequel is All That Matters.)

The Way The Crow Flies by Anne-Marie MacDonald Madeleine’s idyllic childhood on a Canadian airforce base in the 1960’s is shattered by the murder of one of the young girls in the community, the truth of which is unravelled twenty years later. (No really, not as depressing as Fall On Your Knees, I promise!)

Unless by Carol Shields Forty-four-year-old Reta Winters, wife, mother, writer, and translator, is living a happy life until one of her three daughters drops out of university to sit on a downtown street corner silent and cross-legged with a begging bowl in her lap and a placard round her neck that says “Goodness.”

Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden The story of two Cree boys, Xavier and Elijah, who enlist as snipers during the first World War. Xavier’s aunt, an elderly medicine woman, recieves word that Xavier has been killed and Elijah has been wounded, but when she gets to the train station, the young man waiting for her is missing a leg, addicted to morphine, and is Xavier, not Elijah.

The Outlander by Gil Adamson Mary Boulton is nineteen, and a widow. She has killed her husband, and has fled into the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains, pursued by her husband’s vengeful brothers. But it’s 1903, and Mary is headed for the town of Frank, right before the first deadly Frank Slide at Turtle Mountain.

Running Toward Home by Betty Jane Hegerat When Cory, a twelve year old foster kid, is disappointed by his birth mother Tina at their annual visit to the Calgary zoo, he chooses to hide out overnight instead of admitting to his foster mother that Tina has cancelled their plans. Over the course of twenty-four hours, his disappearance is the catalyst that brings together the three people who care about him the most. (And yes, the author is my mom! Check out her shiny new website and her new short story collection, A Crack in the Wall.)

And then, of course, there is my inevitable-to-read list…

Up next… Canadian kids lit!

I’m leaving on a jet plane…

…. but I do know when I will be back. In this case, I will be returning a week from Saturday! We are off to Cuba for a somewhat belated honeymoon. The current topic up for debate: how many books I can fit into the suitcases without exceeding the weight limit.

Some of the contenders:

CanLit:

Fantasy&SF (adult)

YA books

Hmm. Time to make some choices…

Bookgeek fangirl moments

Good news is finding out books you love have sequels:

I’m currently fangirling BC YA author Carrie Mac, for The Beckoners and The Droughtlanders, and forthrightly describing herself in high school as a four-eyed queer kid. Also, for being in an anthology with my mom.

Also, Kathy Stinson for the queer content in 101 Ways to Dance, a YA short story collection about desire.

Also-also, Libbra Bray, for this blog post:

INT. THERAPIST’S OFFICE DAY

(A comfortable office painted in soothing greens. Chairs have been arranged in a semi-circle. A THERAPIST sits in a large leather chair with a notepad. Her group is comprised of VARIOUS FICTIONAL CHARACTERS from a book long in progress, THE SWEET FAR THING.)

THERAPIST: So, it’s good that we could all meet today. I understand you’re having some trouble with the author of your book?
MRS. NIGHTWING: It isn’t our trouble. She’s the one who should be cleverer.
THERAPIST: (nodding) Ummm.
ANN: She’s rewritten the ending eight times.
THERAPIST: Must feel very frustrating.
FELICITY: (texting) I think we should do her in.
CIRCE: Second it.

In the category of things I think are cool, I did not know until now, M.T. Anderson (author of Feed, Octavian Nothing, and Whales on Stilts) is the little brother of Laurie Halse Anderson (author of Speak, Catalyst and Prom).

(Other things I did figure out eventually include the facts that Justine Labastelier is married to Scott Westerfeld, William Bell is married to Ting-xing Ye and Tim Wynne-Jones is no relation to Diana Wynne Jones. Also, though it is easy to mix up Sarah Ellis and Deborah Ellis, Eric Walters and Eric Wilson, and Jacqueline Wilson and Jacqueline Woodson, none of them are, in fact, the same person.)

My Week in Books

I’m approaching something resembling regular updates again. Let’s see how long this lasts… I’ve read some really good fantasy in the past few weeks, a couple of interlibrary loans related to gay teens and YA lit, and the ususal miscellany of other stuff.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch Adult fantasy. In a city that bears some resemblance to Renaissance Europe, an orphaned street thief is sold off to a blind priest, and trained up to become one of the priest’s Gentleman Bastards. And Locke, our street thief, is VERY good at what he does. I loved this one. Book two comes out this summer!

The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia by Megan Whelan Turner YA fantasy. I seriosuly do not want to describe either of these, for fear that it will spoil the end of the first book, The Thief. In The Queen of Attolia, a thief’s punishment starts a war. And in The King of Attolia, the people of Attolia have a hard time accepting a king who is like no monarch they’ve ever known.

The Woman in the Wall by Patrice Kindl YA/Kids fantasy..ish. (You try to pick a genre for this one… magic realism is as close as it gets, I suspect.)

Fairy Tale Detectives by Michael Buckley Kids fantasy. The first book of the Sisters Grimm series.  Sisters Sabrina and Daphne Grimm have abandoned by their parents and are suddenly taken in by a grandmother they thought was long-dead. Turns out that fairy tales are real, and they have a family legacy to live up to, protecting the fiary tale creatures from our world and vice versa. A cute little series with fractured fairy tale and mystery elements.

The Heart Has Its Reasons: Young Adult Literature with Gay/Lesbian/Queer Content, 1969-2004 by Michael Cart and Christine A. Jenkins  Professional library lit. An annotated bibliography of GLBT YA books, and a rather extensive history of the development of the field. The only down side is that there’s been such a boom in YA lit in general, including GLBT books, that I’m sure there have been as many books come out since 2004 than in the first thirty years combined.

Dead Boys Can’t Dance: Sexual Orientation, Masculinity, and Suicide
by Michel Dorais
A study out of Montreal, published in 2004. The suicide rate for gay teenagers in Canada is six to sixteen times higher than their heterosexual counterparts–and not just gay teens, but also kids who are stigmatized as being gay, regardless of their actual sexual orientation.

Weekly update

I’m experimenting a bit with the way I post in this blog. I had the idea lodged in my head that I could actually make a separate post about every book I read. The long list of titles and authors sitting in front of me going back to November begs to differ. So, I’m going to try posting weekly updates with much shorter blurbs, and will no doubt go on at length about anything I either love, or am seriously annoyed by, with the usual detrius of links and news showing up as always.

Here’s the round-up from the  past two weeks:

Peppermints in the Parlor, Sparrows in the Scullery, and Ghosts in the Gallery by Barbara Brooks Wallace Poor orphan children, tangled plots, truly despicable villains and thoroughly satisfying endings where the good are rewarded and the bad are punished. Can you tell I’m working on a Lemony Snicket read-a-likes list?

Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O’Neill Adult fiction, CanLit. How the motherless child of a young heroin addict gets involved with the local pimp at the age of twelve.  The book escapes being unbearably maudlin or so grindingly depressing I couldn’t finish it only because the protagonist is so totally unaware that there’s anything out of the ordinary about her life of extreme poverty. I kept reading, waiting for things to get better. There was a smidgen of hope at the end, but still.But still, not a happy fluffy-bunnies sort of read. (It’s not CanLit if nobody suffers.)  Incidentally, this year’s Canada Reads winner.

For A Few Demons More by Kim Harrison Adult fiction, vampires! Sometimes, I need to read some grown-up books. Sometimes, I need to read something without any greater literary meaning. The latest book in a series, the main character is a witch, her roomate and boyfriend are vampires, there are werewolves, pixies, crime, peril, and murder. Like Anita Blake, only without the rampant Mary Sue syndrome. A full listing of the series is on the author’s website.

The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander Kids’ fantasy, of the epic quest variety. A reread of a childhood favourite. How an assistant pig-keeper ends up on a heroic journey, accompanied by a misplaced princess with strong opinions, a bard whose harp strings snap when he lies, a cranky dwarf, and a shaggy creature more concerned with his stomach than anything else. Add a runaway oracular pig, the ominous Horned King and his undead Cauldron-Born minions, and mix well for the first book of a sweeping saga I’ve been recommending to young Lord of the Rings fans for years.

Beans on Toast by Shelley Hrdlitschka  Canadian kids’ fiction. Madison hasn’t made any real friends since she and her mom moved after her parents’ divorce. Now she’s stuck at band camp trying to get along with her cabin mates. Peer pressure, first crushes, and cougars in the woods. Okay for a first novel, but the dialogue is a bit clunky, and it reads like a book for a younger target audience than the main character’s age of thirteen.

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner Kids/YA fantasy. A thief is freed from from prison to steal the key to the neighbouring kingdom’s succession. This was excellent and I’ll doubtlessly go on about it at some length later. First of a trilogy. Book two, The Queen of Attolia just came in for me on hold. I may be up late tonight…

Currently reading: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch and Storm Front, the first Harry Dresden book by Jim Butcher, both adult fantasy.