Archive for the ‘Reading, Writing and Reviews’ Category

The countdown to Boskone 48 is on! If you’re anything like me, I use the weeks leading up to Boskone to cram in as many books as possible. During the rest of the year, I try to diversify my interests, but mid-January to mid-February is all sci-fi all the time.

Last weekend, on a cross country flight, I managed to finish The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross and start and finish Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. Yesterday, I grabbed A Fire Upon the Deep, inspired by conversations from last year’s Boskone Kaffeeklatsch with Vernor Vinge. And I still have high hopes for squeezing in The Jennifer Morgue by Charles Stross (he is the Guest of Honor and therefore deserves my sacrifice of sleep) and In the Court of Crimson Kings by S.M. Stirling since it has image from this year’s Boskone site by artist Gregory Manchess on its cover.

If you’re new to Boskone and don’t where to start, the folks of NESFA have kindly compiled a list of reviews. Additionally, you can scan through the list of participants on the Boskone website and let random acts of clicking diving your path. Or just come to Boskone, listen and participate in any discussion to find out all the fun you’ve been missing.





Read Full Post »

Working on the Boskone blog has been an educational treat. Although my family is beginning to feel lonely, I always have new tidbits to share. While working on the website list of program participants I found this . As I scrolled to the bottom, after the sample chapters, I noticed an embed video player with a big Play arrow. The title claimed it was a book trailer.

screenshot from Leah Cypress's website

Interesting I thought, but moved on. Until I found this.

Two in a matter of 10 minutes really caught my attention. Book trailers? I had never heard of such a thing. It seemed so fantastical, but when I shared it with my husband, he already knew about it and said it was the new “hotness” in Young Adult (YA) literature. Leave it to the high school creative writing teacher to know.  Hmph.

The idea intrigued me. I started doing some research. Sure enough there are how-to sites abound: e-how, squidoo and more. There are even awards like this one for the Young Adult Library Association Services.

And it seems they’re not solely for the YA genre. Author Jodi Picoult has them on her site (as I learned after a hall conversation with a colleague) and a quick seach on Youtube returns about 460,000 results.

What do you think of book trailers? A fun way to get people excited about books? Or a just a gimmick?

Read Full Post »

“Do you write science fiction?”
I looked up from the Barnes & Noble counter, where I was ordering a coffee and paying for the latest editions of Asimov’s, Analog and Writer’s Digest. “I guess it’s pretty obvious, isn’t it?”
He nodded.
“You could say that I am trying to write science fiction.”
And, indeed, I am trying. I started an MFA program last summer and since then I’ve sent a couple of short stories out. I have a half dozen rejections under my belt, so I suppose I could call myself a “unpublished writer” now, instead of the “nonpracticing writer” label I’ve used the last few years.
I’m also a con goer. So far I’ve hit Boskone, GraniteCon, San Diego Comic Con and DragonCon, plus a few Star Trek conventions in my earlier years.
February will mark my third Boskone, a convention I attend because of its literary bent. I like books. I like short stories. I like writers.
Every year, Boskone reminds me that you can’t write in a vacuum. Reason one, you can’t breathe and reason two, if your protagonist is attacked by robot zombies in the forest, and no one other than you reads it, he doesn’t really make a sound. He might be doing a lot of howling in your head, but sans reader the poor fellow will die alone and unmourned.  It’s bad for him, but worse for you. If no one can hear your struggles, how can they offer help?
Your alternative, then, is to join a good writing group. That can be harder than you know because, (a)  you don’t run into them every day and (b) writers are often strange ducks. You might want their feedback but you may not want them to have your phone number.
Thankfully, there’s the Internet, the perfect place for sharing your soul without showing your face. There are several good online writing groups. I am a member of Critters.org, formerly a sc-fi/fantasy group, which recently expanded its workshops to include all genres and medium. The group is free. All it takes is doing one critique a week to keep your membership in good standing, which means you can send your own work to the queue. The last two stories I submitted netted seven or eight critiques each, most of which I found helpful.
There are other online groups, of course, and you can find a good list here. The important thing is to get your work in front of some readers who will really tear into it and help you make it better. See you on the floor.
– Rob Greene is a teacher and writer who lives in southern New Hampshire. Read all about him at rwwgreene.blogspot.com.

Read Full Post »

I have a confession to make: I love to Google. I can toss in a phrase or question and up pops endless possibilities to help my intellectual or creative slump.

So, based on the top results for “Best Sci-fi book 2010” I’m posting two lists – one from SFGate and one from Amazon.com:

Best science fiction and fantasy books of 2010
December 19, 2010 By Michael Berry

  • The Loving Dead, by Amelia Beamer
  • Not Less Than Gods, by Kage Baker
  • The Passage, by Justin Cronin
  • Planetary: Spacetime Archaeology, by Warren Ellis and John Cassaday
  • Horns, by Joe Hill
  • Shades of Milk and Honey, by Mary Robinette Kowal
  • 75 Years of DC Comics, by Paul Levitz
  • Kraken, by China Miéville
  • Expiration Date, by Duane Swierczynski
  • How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, by Charles Yu

Click here to read the entire article

Best Books of 2010
Top 10 Books: Science Fiction & Fantasy

  • The Golden Age (Czech Literature Series) by Michal Ajvaz
  • How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe: A Novel by Charles Yu
  • Redemption in Indigo: a novel by Karen Lord
  • The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman
  • The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, Book 1 (The Inheritance Trilogy) by N. K. Jemisin
  • The Orange Eats Creeps by Grace Krilanovich
  • The Dream of Perpetual Motion (Playaway Adult Fiction) by Dexter Clarence Palmer
  • Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
  • The Fixed Stars: Thirty-Seven Emblems for the Perilous Season by Brian Conn
  • Kill the Dead: A Sandman Slim Novel (Sandman Slim Novels) by Richard Kadrey

Click here to see the complete information

Do you agree or disagree with the titles on the list? Is there anything you feel should be listed but isn’t?

Read Full Post »