Con Jose Day 3
I was much more laid back today--not trying to do every panel in sequence or obsess over the gazillions of books in the dealer room. The highlight of my day was attending a reading by Sherwood Smith, she of the Crown series. (See our entry for August 8, below.) Smith read Chapter 1 of an adult novel set a thousand (?) years in the past of the same world. (I really should have taken notes.) The protagonists are children in this first chapter, but the entire novel spans decades. Here's a feeling I've become familiar with in the last few days: frustration--because I want to read the book now! The book (I forgot the title as soon as Smith finished speaking it) is under consideration by some editor right now. Fingers crossed that it's accepted for publication.
I was first in line at Patricia McKillip's booksigning, which was a good thing since the line quickly grew to include a couple of dozen people. She was gracious enough to sign all of the many books I brought with me, including two of my long-time favorite books: THE FORGOTTEN BEASTS OF ELD and THE CHANGELING SEA. Apparently THE CHANGELING SEA is one of her own favorite books. She mentioned that an editor is looking at MOON-FLASH and THE MOON AND THE FACE for possible reissue. Although I'm not sure how serious she was about the following comment, she said that she might be interested in writing a YA book again. I truly hope she actually does so. What an absolute thrill to meet this legendary author.
So many intriguing books get mentioned at the various panels that I'll be kept happy bookhunting for a while. Hopefully some of them will not only be good, but romantic too.
Con Jose Day 2
Yaaaay! I scored a free copy of Susan Sizemore's forthcoming LAWS OF THE BLOOD: DECEPTIONS [<-- link to Amazon], courtesy of a raffle at Ace's forthcoming books panel. I also grabbed a bunch of cover flats. Once I scan them in, I'll add the art to the forthcoming books page. Patricia Briggs' DRAGON BLOOD has a cover as striking as that of her DRAGON BONES. Sharon Shinn's ANGELICA cover is gorgeous--I want to read the book now instead of months from now!
Any fans of Lisa Goldstein? I adored her SUMMER KING, WINTER FOOL. At an autographing session today she said her next books will be published under a pseudonym for Tor publishing. She wouldn't divulge the new name, though. Let's see...if her new book just came out, then perhaps in about a year we can begin guessing which "new" Tor author might be Lisa Goldstein. :-)
The only book of Lisa Goldstein that we have in our database is STRANGE DEVICES OF THE SUN AND MOON. I love SUMMER KING, WINTER FOOL, but it just misses having the wonderful romance clinched at the end. (That same sort of open-endedness has stopped us from adding Tanith Lee's THE SILVER METAL LOVER to our database. [I had to double check on that, because I know I've had thoughts about sneaking it into the database more than once.] Maybe the sequel, METALLIC LOVE, that Lee talks about on her web site will have a resolution to the love story one way or the other. You know what ending this camp is hoping for.)
Enough meandering...I have to get started on Day 3 instead of dithering with Day 2.
ConJose, Day 1
Several of the RomanticSF group are at ConJose, the Worldcon in San Jose that started today. Highlights included actually meeting each other in person, the wallet-draining dealer's room, and figuring out how to use the Voodoo Message Board. Some panels that we attended were: "Venus Rearmed: How Dangerous Have New Genre Heroines Become?", "Two Married Authors, Who Does the Dishes?" (with Sharon Lee and Steve Miller), the very excellent "Women in Combat: Fact vs. Fiction", "Force Fields" and "Legal Issues Affecting Authors." Tomorrow looks like it's going to have a ton of good programming, including a special appearance by Patrick Stewart (of Star Trek: The Next Generation fame).
I have been involved in working behind the scenes for the con since May, so it's great to see it finally coming together!
I discovered a good SF book I'd never heard of before at the used book store -- NAVOHAR by Hilari Bell. It has a little bit of romance, though probably not enough to qualify for SFR. I don't have the book in front of me, but basically, there's a search among the far flung "lost" colonies of Earth in hopes of finding a cure for a genetic "plague". Most of the colonies have failed, with no living survivors, and on the one planet where humans survived, there appears to be an intriguing mystery that may or may not lead to the answer to Earth's problems ...
This is the kind of sf I like, combining interesting ideas with character oriented stories. The heroine has a very personal motivation to her search and her growing respect and sense of connection to the colonists put her in conflict with herself and her mission. Good stuff.
Looking for anything else by Bell, I found two YA titles, and got the audiobook of one (SONGS OF POWER) from the library. No romance whatsoever, but a good story and interesting character.
I also picked up a copy of PARADISE ISLAND by Gena Hale (aka S.L. Viehl), but this one didn't make the 50 page test for me (just couldn't get interested).
Then I tried DRAGONSHADOW by Barbara Hambly (I'd been saving it until the trilogy was finished -- I'd read and enjoyed the prequel DRAGONSBANE), but couldn't really get into it. That one I'll try again later, since Hambly is usually a favorite, and I'm not sure what the problem was. I think it's because it was focused on the action and not the characters.
And I finally got around to ONCE A PIRATE by Susan Grant, which I liked surprisingly well considering I hate (hate, hate, hate) pirate stories. (Pirates are right up there with sheiks in terms of most overused -- and poorly used -- romance cliches.) Since it was a time travel story, I guess it qualifies for SFR, right? :-)
Author Anne Bishop shares the news that "the Aurora Awards were presented last night...and Julie won twice! Once for her novel, IN THE COMPANY OF OTHERS, and the second time for her short story, Left Foot on a Blind Man. Whoo-hoo!"
Congratulations from us, too! "Julie" is author Julie Czerneda, and the Aurora Awards are Canada's version of the Hugos. See what we had to say about IN THE COMPANY OF OTHERS.
August Locus News
Books sold: Tanya Huff sold three untitled books in a new "Blood" spinoff series to DAW, which will be Huff's first hardcovers. (Some of us found this Really Exciting News. :-) )
Books delivered: Kristine Kathryn Rusch delivered EXTREMES, sequel to THE DISAPPEARED to Roc. Kate Elliott turned in THE GATHERING STORM, book five of “Crown of Stars” to DAW. Dawn Cook delivered FORGOTTEN TRUTH to Ace. Kristen Britain turned in FIRST RIDER'S CALL, book two of “Green Rider” to DAW. Carol Berg delivered SONG OF THE BEAST to Roc. Lisanne Norman delivered BETWEEN DARKNESS AND LIGHT, book seven of “Sholan Alliance” to DAW. (Wasn’t this supposed to have been published months ago?) Freda Warrington turned in THE COURT OF THE MIDNIGHT KING - "Richard III with a fantasy edge" – to Earthlight Press. P. C. Hodgell turned in collection BLOOD AND IVORY: A TAPESTRY, with four new and four older stories to Meisha Merlin. (I already have my preorder in!) Catherine Asaro delivered SF/romance anthology IRRESISTIBLE FORCES to Roc.
Other news: Diana Wynne Jones underwent surgery in June to remove a non-malignant tumor. Louise Cooper, for her 50th birthday, formed a band and played a gig at the local hostelry in Cornwall. Oh, and she delivered YA supernatural horror HUNTER'S MOON. And will write a 40th anniversary "Doctor Who" novella. (There's panache!)
This month's Locus has an interview of one of our favorite Fantasy artists, Kinuko Y. Craft. I first saw her work on Patricia McKillip's THE BOOK OF ATRIX WOLFE and Craft has graced the covers of every McKillip since. Craft's rich detailed art is very evocative of McKillip's rich lush writing. Craft also did the cover for the long-anticipated reprint of Tanith Lee's SILVER METAL LOVER.
I read CROWN DUEL and COURT DUEL by Sherwood Smith last week and really enjoyed the pair. It's hard work writing a heroine who is naive without being stupid, but Smith manages it very well.
My only quibble, strangely enough, is that I wished the books had been written for an adult audience... that way the political intrigue could have been more fleshed out, and more made of the sexual tension in the second book. Really, when the hero is a direct descendant of characters like Lymond and Lord Peter Wimsey, it seems a shame not to take full advantage of him.--Danielle
Read our earlier comments about CROWN DUEL and COURT DUEL. Note: the new paperback edition of CROWN DUEL (available at Amazon) contains both CROWN and COURT DUEL plus a short story.
Duel Duology--The Next Generation
Edith found this short story titled "Beauty" on author Sherwood Smith's web site--perhaps the same one as in the new version of CROWN DUEL?--about the daughter of the couple featured in CROWN and COURT.
"I really enjoyed it and wanted more. Hope she turns it into a book."--Edith.
Short Takes by Edith LOST IN A GOOD BOOK by Jasper Fforde - lots of fun, but no romance, and it ends "to be continued". I generally hate books like that, but this series is one of those where I wouldn't need to reread the previous books before reading the next, so I didn't mind. There were some really great, funny scenes in the book.
I tried to read all the Hugo nominees before July 31 so's I could vote but I didn't make it, sigh. Planned to take a couple of vacation days, but just couldn't do it.
CHRONOLITHS by Robert Charles Wilson. I'm almost finished with it and can recommend it. It starts in 2041 when a huge indestructible monument just appears in Thailand. It commemorates a victory -- 20 years in the future. Over time, more chronoliths appear, all commemorating victories 20 years in the future. They wreak havoc where they appear and cause much social turmoil.
PERDIDO STREET STATION by China Mièville. Mièville creates a fascinating, dark world, peopled with lots of interesting alien creatures, but something in his writing just drives me crazy. I reread the same paragraphs over and over and in the middle I fall asleep, wake up and read again. Very time-consuming. I don't know if it's him or me. I'm going to give this another try when I've read the other books.
Discommend for me. I couldn't finish it. The characters just didn't appeal to me. I stopped when the heroine got too stupid for me. She realizes a bad wizard is occupying the keep, that he's responsible for the death of her father and many other wizards, and that he's imprisoned the head wizard for years. In spite of this, she, who knows *nothing* of wizardry and magic, decides she must go on to the keep to retrieve a book. I didn't buy it.--Edithread more...