Saturday, May 05, 2012

Week in Review (Apr.29-May 4)

This week, we have a piece by Nik Vincent writes about why she likes writing for Black Library; Bookworm Blues hosts a “Special Needs in Strange Worlds” series of guest posts (featuring Robert Jackson Bennett, Kendra Merritt, Paul Weimer); an older post from Daniel Abraham about reviews, readers and the neocortex; and Jon Courtenay Grimwood discusses Venice and Vampires; and Jeff Salyards writes about the green-eyed gremlin of writer-envy.

Black Library: “One of the Guys” by Nik Vincent [Article]

I really liked this post, because it coincides with my own experiences with anything Games Workshop/Black Library related. While I haven’t stepped foot in a Games Workshop store in years, and haven’t lifted a paintbrush since before A Levels (uh, when I was 17, for non-Brits), I always found that people who liked Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000 and the other games GW release were almost always able to form a bond and easy friendship. It’s also always nice to read something by Nik, who’s awesome.

“I don’t write for the Black Library just because it’s a living, although I’m very happy that it is. I write for the Black Library and for fans of Games Workshop, because I love the other writers, I adore the guys in the office, who look after us all so well, and because I never met a fan who wasn’t as invested in my stories as I am, and sometimes more.”

Bookworm Blues: “Special Needs in Strange Worlds” Series [Articles]

This is a great idea, sparked by the Guest Post Elspeth Cooper wrote for Bookworm Blues. Sarah kicks things off with an introductory post, before handing the discussion over to Robert Jackson Bennett, Kendra Merritt, Carol Berg, and Paul Weimer. Here’s a snippet from Sarah’s introduction to the series:

“I never really thought about disabilities in SF&F before this last year, when I had my first encounter with being a disabled person myself… What I realized during this time was that sometimes I wanted to read a book with an imperfect protagonist. I also learned that, not only do I enjoy imperfect characters more than others, I also tend to think they are more realistic. Life isn’t perfect. Things happen and I enjoy the books and characters that reflect the challenge life can be, and the battles we all have to face.”

This is a superb series, and is just another example of some of the great discussions taking place in the book blogosphere.

Clarkesworld’s Another Word: “Reading as Performance” by Daniel Abraham [Article]

Ok, this is an older piece, but I only read it this week, so I’m going to include it anyway – it’s a good piece about readers and reviews, the neocortex, how we approach books and what sort of an impact reviews can have on authors.

“Every reader brings their own experience to a story. How you read something depends on who you are.”

“I’ve had books that I loved at one point in my life, and reread only to discover that the suck fairy had come and left great big piles of ohmigodthisisawful. It’s one of those things that we all tacitly understand, usually without thinking too much about why it’s true or what it means.”

And I still have no idea when Dan ever finds time to sleep… (Three series, Game of Thrones comic adaptation, these bi-monthly posts, and I’m sure a barrel of other projects just knocking about…)

Orbit Books: “Grimwood’s Venice: Love & War in the ‘City of Sex & Death’” by Jon Courtenay Grimwood [Article]

“What makes vampires so appealing – even though the word ‘vampire’ is never mentioned in the Assassini books? What made Jon set his historical trilogy in Venice? For an insight into the workings of Jon Courtenay Grimwood’s intricate mind, we thought we’d share with you the interview which appears in the paperback edition of THE FALLEN BLADE, which we think addresses those questions better than we ever could!”

I really liked The Fallen Blade, the first novel in Grimwood’s Assassini series. The second novel, The Outcast Blade is already available in the US and comes out in May in the UK. I will be reading and reviewing it very soon.

Far Beyond Reality: “Green-Eyed Gremlin” by Jeff Salyards [Article]

In this article, the author of Scourge of the Betrayer takes a look at writer envy, and that green-eyed gremlin that rears its head whenever he reads something particularly sublime.

“People sometimes complain about how lousy some of the published prose out there is, and maybe it’s not all top notch, sure, but over and over, I find myself awed by what fantastic writing I do encounter, old and new. And whenever I read mind-blowing writing, I inexplicably find myself not just appreciating it a as a reader, but trying to reverse engineer the stuff, pick it apart and diagnose exactly how the writer was able to create something so hilarious, painful, brilliant, sublime, whatever. And almost without fail, my little green-eyed gremlin sidles up to me, hops up on my shoulder, and starts his vulgar whispering.”

Scourge of the Betrayer is out now through Night Shade Books, and I will be reading and reviewing it next-but-one. I also have an interview with Jeff in the works, so keep your eyes open for that, too.


On CR this week, things have been a little slow on the fiction-reviewing-front, as I unexpectedly had some work to do. (Unexpected good, not unexpected bad, I should add – it was a great assignment, one that I think I learned a hell of a lot from.) I did manage to review a fair amount, though, with Mark Waid’s Daredevil Volume One on Sunday; Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s Horus Heresy audio drama Butcher’s Nails; John Layman & Rob Guillory’s weird and wonderful Chew Volume 1, “Taster’s Choice”; a review of The Primarchs, an anthology of four Horus Heresy novellas by Graham McNeill, Nick Kyme, Gav Thorpe and Rob Sanders; an interview with Madeline Ashby; and a guest post on “Influences & Inspirations” by Rod Rees.

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