Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Prayer by Jeff Buckley

La Gringa's New Year's gift to y'all: Jeff Buckley's New Year's Prayer. (And because I finally figured out how to upload files to my dormant server space, you get an actual mp3 instead of a Youtube link. You're welcome!)

This is a gorgeous song, layered and complex; a perfect song for the promise and the hope of the year to come. Because I could really use that right now, and I'm guessing y'all could, too.

Happy New Year!

Okay, back to the hiatus.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

2000 Miles by Chrissy Hynde and The Pretenders

Is there any female singer on earth with as melodic a voice as Chrissy Hynde? Here she is singing one of my favorite non-traditional Christmas songs.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Little Drummer Boy by David Bowie and Bing Crosby

One of my favorites, this duet between David Bowie and Bing Crosby was recorded in 1977 for Bing Crosby's last Christmas special. He passed away the following year. I've always thought this was a beautiful blending of harmonies. Enjoy!

Genre link round-up. (The head cold edition.)

Sorry I've been lagging behind but let's get serious: who's really reading this the week before the Mall High Holy Days? Also? I'm pretty certain I picked up a cold at the KGB Bar reading on Wednesday night. Crap.

Onward to linkage:
The Boston Herald does not love Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips.

Matt Cheney attends the tale of Sweeney Todd, and swears off meat pies for a year. (Really, try the priest.)

At Fantasy Magazine, Tempest Bradford has posted part 2 of her round-table discussion of people of color in fantasy writing.

At Sci Fi Weekly, Paul Witcover reviews Breath and Bone by Carol Berg.

Ellen Datlow has posted photos from last Wednesday's KGB reading with Naomi Novik and Chris Barzak (while managing once again to make La Gringa look like a convict).

At Omnivoracious, Jeff VanderMeer looks at Monster Spotter's Guide to North America by Scott Francis.

Ed Champion calls it quits.

SF Gospel looks at the the ten best science fiction stories about religion. (Short fiction, not novels.)

At the Aqueduct Press blog, lots of good reflections on the books, films and music of 2007 by guest bloggers including Nicola Griffith and Cat Rambo; Eleanor Arnason, Carolyn Ives, and Rebecca Ore; Cheryl Morgan and Cynthia Ward; Lesley Hall, Kristin Livdahl, and Wendy Walker; Oyceter and Nancy Jane Moore; Anna Tambour and Susanna J. Sturgis; Kelley Eskridge and Therese Littleton; and Andrea Hairston and Rosaleen Love.

A new issue of Coyote Wild has been posted, with new short fiction from Elizabeth Bear, Beth Bernobich, Sherwood Smith and more.

Fantasybookspot reviews Queen Ferris by S.C. Butler and revisits The Ethos Effect by L.E. Modesitt.

Gav's Blog reviews Jeanette Winterson's Stone Gods.

Graeme's Fantasy Book Review looks at Michael Moorcock's The Metatemporal Detective.

Love Vampires reviews Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs.

OF Blog is highlighting individual favorite titles of the year: Softspoken by Lucius Shephard, The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski, Thirteen by Richard K. Morgan, The Mirador by Sarah Monette, The New Moon's Arms by Nalo Hopkinson, and Nova Swing by M. John Harrison. More to come.

Pat's Fantasy Hotlist reviews Paragaea by Chris Roberson.

Long live the bodega cat!

Great NYT piece on the ubiquitous New York City bodega cat. And here's a whole website devoted to them.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Must. Not. Mock.

Going through today's book of fine ladies fashion, I have just discovered:


Must. Not. Mock.
Must. Not. Mock.
Must. Not. Mock.

Adventures in temp work!

Yesterday was a weirdly Zen temping experience, doing an online update for a major "fashion" catalog. I use the word fashion loosely, as the clothes this company sells are the kinds of things that generally only a color blind woman with a polyester fetish would wear willingly. I arrived at 9:15 as told, and spent the next thirty minutes waiting in the lobby reading a book while people ran amok looking for someone in charge of "those temps on the fourth floor." Finally a pipsqueak voice in my ear and I look up to find my supervisor for the day, a mere slip of a girl with a blindingly white smile and far too much blond hair for 10:00 A.M. I shielded my eyes and followed her to my officle where I was set up on a laptop that was so old it actually had a floppy drive.(Remember those?) Despite the freakishly white teeth, Blond Smiley Chick was kind of sweet, and tried very hard to over-explain what was essentially a fairly straight-forward data entry job. I spent the rest of the day adding size charts and unfortunate color swatches to trousers and blouses and sweaters: pink raspberry, lime, and newport blue, anyone? They asked me to stay overtime (which I'll probably do tonight as well) and by 6:15 I'd finished an entire book and asked for more work, something that sort of freaked out the supervisor because my temp colleague had only gotten through a third of his book. There was much consultation and flurrying of hands and scattering about in the production department and then finally another big fat book landed on my desk.

Also? They were having a Christmas party around me, and various and sundry employees kept popping in to ask me if I wanted wine. I refrained, as mixing alcohol and data entry is probably not the best idea in the world.

It was all weirdly relaxing. I have no explanation for this.

Anyway, off to temp job again today. See ya!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Too much online Scrabble; no time for anything else!

Am very very very busy fighting to the death in an online Scrabble match with McLovin'. There will be no link round-up tonight!

mumble mumble... FA? FA? What the hell kinda word is FA!? mumble mumble...

Alrighty, then, I'll see your FA and raise you a QUINT! So there!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tuesday night genre link round-up.

I am surrounded by snoring felines, and can't escape, so I may as well do a link round-up. (Really, Buddy-cat has a prodigious snore.)
First: I've neglected to post this because apparently I am a bad friend to all and sundry; indeed, an all-around shitty human being (or so I've been told an awful lot lately). So, here (belatedly) is a link to Rampant Biblioholism, a new blog kept by Peggy Hailey, confirmed book geek, book editor for Revolution SF and book buyer for indie bookstore BookPeople in Austin, Texas.

It's confirmed: The newly-svelte and spectacle-free Peter Jackson will be directing the film adaptation of The Hobbit for New Line Features; nerds everywhere have a new-found purpose to their lives. (Unfortunately, there will also be a sequel to The Hobbit, something the world does not need. Ever.) Anyway, here's the official Hobbit Movie Blog.

Publishers Weekly has a great Q&A with Ben Peek, author of Black Sheep.

At Omnivoracious, Jeff VanderMeer interviews Michael Boatman, author of the short story collection God Laughs When You Die. (He also laughs when you get turned down for a job, but that's not in the book.) VanderMeer also ambushes La Gringa's good pal Dave Keck, author of In the Eye of Heaven.

Writer Unboxed discusses whether you should query an agent during the holidays.

Phillip Pullman is writing a new novel set in the world of His Dark Materials.

Book Fetish reviews The Terror by Dan Simmons.

At Sci Fi Weekly, Paul Di Filippo reviews Metal Swarm by Kevin J. Anderson.

At SF Signal, a new Mind Meld column asks how the internet has impacted bookselling. Participants include Andrew Wheeler; authors Tobias Buckell, David Louis Edelman and Matthew Jarpe; and publisher Lou Anders.

SFX has reviews of The Escapement by K.J. Parker and The Family Trade by Charles Stross. (Via SF Signal)

French SF/F website ActuSF has an interview with Richard Paul Russo en anglais.

Neth Space reviews Shadowbridge by Gregory Frost. Ken also profiles his top eleven reads for 2007, an eclectic list. Check it out!

Fantasy Book Critic looks at Dust by Elizabeth Bear and Thunderer by Felix Gilman.

Legal podcast site Concurring Opinions interviews George R. R. Martin about the idea of law in fantasy novels. Fascinating!

Non-Ephemera reviews The Mirador by Sarah Monette.

Sarah Reese Brennan (aka The Woman Who Will Be The Next J.K. Rowling - you heard it here first!) reviews Un Lun Dun by China Mieville and Dragonhaven by Robin McKinley.

Justine Musk has posted the opening chapter for her forthcoming novel Lord of Bones, the sequel to Blood Angel (one of La Gringa's favorite reads of last year). About damned time, lady!

Pat's Fantasy Hotlist reviews Inside Straight, edited by George R.R. Martin.

The Genre Files recommends Dusk and Dawn by Tim Lebbon.

At Fantasy Magazine, Paula Guran rounds up her favorite reads of the past year, including Acacia by David Anthony Durham, Mainspring by Jay Lake, Un Lun Dun by China Mieville, Generation Loss by Liz Hand, and more.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The view from inside the Kettle of Fish toilet.

Went out with Mr. Mumpsimus, Chris Barzak and Rick Bowes last night for Venezuelan food and good cheer. After dinner we ended up grabbing a table across the street at A Kettle of Fish, where we were happily chatting until a strange man clad in red lederhosen handed us each a bound book of Christmas carols. Then we noticed the live band and the Santa Claus. We barely escaped with our lives. Anyway, I was gonna take pictures of the scary drunken carolers in Santa hats, but it was too dark, so I took this picture of the inside of the bathroom door instead. You're welcome.

The world's most ironic temp job.

From The Department of Oh You've Got To Be Fucking Shitting Me, La Gringa has been assigned the world's most ironic temp job tomorrow. Moving desks. And office furniture. And boxes. And computers.

At a publishing company.

For $12 an hour.

Because God has a sick sense of humor.

Can this year please be over soon? Please?

Publishers Weekly genre review round-up
(December 17th issue)

New Elizabeth Moon! Squeeeee! Ahem. Did I say that out loud?
Tangled Webs: A Black Jewels Novel by Anne Bishop (Roc): * Starred Review * "In Bishop’s bewitching latest Black Jewels adventure (after 2005’s Dreams Made Flesh), a tour of an old house becomes a hellish matter of life and death. Lady Surreal SaDiablo receives an invitation to preview the “silly, spooky” house that Queen Jaenelle Angelline has created to parody myths about the magically gifted Bloods, and she persuades her friend and fellow magic user Warlord Prince Rainier to join her. The only snag is that Jaenelle didn’t send the invitation. Crazed, jealous novelist Jarvis Jenkell has discovered his Blood heritage and developed his own haunted house with the goal of trapping other Bloods and using their travails to inspire his fiction. As Surreal, Rainer and several local children struggle to escape Jenkell’s deadly snare, Jaenelle’s husband, Daemon Sadi, and Sadi’s half-brother, Lucivar, must call upon all their Craft skills to free the trapped. With feverish pacing and terrifying twists, Bishop’s surefire spell craft will leave readers’ hearts pounding." (Mar.)

In the Courts of the Crimson Kings by S.M. Stirling (Tor): "Stirling’s charming second pastiche of 1930s planetary romances (after 2006’s The Sky People) moves from Venus to Mars, where different Terran factions vie to pick up the pieces of the Tollamune emperor’s shattered realm. Archeologist Jeremy Wainman, sent by the U.S. Aerospace Force to explore the lost city of Rema-Dza, promptly falls in love with Martian mercenary Teyud za-Zhalt; no surprise that she turns out to be heir to the long-vanished Crimson Dynasty, or that they rush off to thwart an attempt to usurp the Ruby Throne. Soon they find themselves fighting a pack of feral airship engines and questing after the invisible crown of the first emperor. Stirling successfully creates a truly alien environment (“Rugs crawled to envelop the feet”), and his flair for the dramatic and obvious affection for the Mars of Burroughs, Brackett and Bradbury almost make up for his inclusion of pirates with eye patches, heavily armored guards riding “fat-tired, self-propelled unicycles” and other moments of near-parody." (Mar.)

Waking Brigid by Francis Clark (Tor): "An intriguing premise—a group of magicians working secretly within the Catholic Church to combat evil occult forces—gets tepid treatment in Clark’s sluggish dark fantasy debut. In 1874, a blueblood’s spectacularly gruesome death shocks Savannah, Ga. The local clergy soon recognize it as the handiwork of Satanists who have for the past century been ritually sacrificing women around the town to the demon Belial. The stage is set for a showdown between the demon worshippers and a clandestine order of priests and nuns who still respect the beliefs of their pagan forebears and strive to suppress eruptions of ancient evil into the world. While Clark focuses on the experiences of Brigid Rourke, a nun initiated into the magic circle, the book is dominated by the backstories of the clergy and talky discussions of comparative magic that grow increasingly repetitive. In the end, the Satanist cult and its champion demon are too easily vanquished for this tale to thrill with any sense of supernatural horror." (Feb.)

Victory Conditions by Elizabeth Moon (Del Rey): "Rip-roaring action and intriguing science and tactics distinguish Nebula-winner Moon’s fifth and final Vatta’s War installment. Now combat-blooded and well on her way to the admiralty, young Kylara Vatta commands 40 far-future spacecraft against ferocious Gammis Turek, a criminal mastermind who has threatened Ky’s home world of Slotter Key, her relatives and the far-flung Vatta economic empire. Ky has the rank she always hoped she’d achieve and now must accept the fearful responsibilities it entails. Weighed down by thoughts of the deaths she has caused—both friend and foe—and the need to protect the people in her command, Ky finds herself making some dangerous decisions. She’s surrounded by a convincing supporting cast, from feisty fruitcake-baking Aunt Grace, who runs Slotter Key’s defenses, to dashing Rafe Dunbarger, acting CEO of InterStellar Communications, who has lost his heart to Ky despite his best efforts at stoicism. This epic volume is a fine and fitting conclusion to Moon’s grand space opera tour de force." (Feb.)

Got to Kill Them All by Dennis Etchison (Cemetery Dance): "This bare-bones collection of 18 reprints, spanning 40 years of World Fantasy Award–winner Etchison’s career, delves deep into personal terrors. Starting off with “Sitting in the Corner, Whimpering Quietly,” a stark account of an unpleasant encounter in a Laundromat, Etchison uses quick strokes of prose, at times overly sparse, to paint eerie scenes of sharp violence and deep unease. There are moments when a controlled burst of staccato sentences serves the story perfectly, as in “The Walking Man,” where desultory bar chitchat takes an abrupt turn for the macabre. Etchison writes a loudmouthed salesman in “The Pitch” as easily as a lost little girl in “Call Home,” though at times his desire to focus only on the moment can loosen his grasp on the individual settings he wants to create. The title story caps off the collection with a brutally exquisite showing of what Etchison does best: creating a tone and wielding it like an edged weapon." (Feb.)

House Infernal by Edward Lee (Cemetery Dance): * Web Exclusive Review * "Lee’s vividly imagined third Infernal dark fantasy, like its predecessors City Infernal and Infernal Angel, should please those who like their horror to push the bounds of good taste. Divinity student Venetia Barlow has taken work at St. John’s Prior House in New Hampshire while contemplating her future as a nun when she begins receiving psychic communications from someone warning of grave danger to her soul. They prove to be the frantic pleas of Thomas Alexander, a disgraced Catholic priest trapped in Hell, who knows that the house where Venetia works is a front for Satanists, and that she’s destined to become the next blood sacrifice in a scheme being engineered by Pope Boniface VII, one of Satan’s chief lieutenants. Venetia’s frightening ordeal includes provocative discussion of theology, church history and occult lore, but Lee devotes his greatest powers of invention to scenes set in Hell, where towns made of rot, oversexed succubi and gory episodes of creative dismemberment are de rigeur. This novel is definitely not for the squeamish." (Jan.)

Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2007

The folks at Kirkus Reviews have put aside their snark just long enough to publish their year-end round-up of The Best Books of 2007.

I was thrilled to see that David Anthony Durham's Acacia made their list of Top Ten Fiction of 2007. (Note that this is not a top ten SF/F list.) They also highlighted titles that they felt were under-recognized but noteworthy, among them Kathleen Ann Goonan's magnificent In War Times.

To download the PDF of the full report, click here. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

When self-portraiture goes horribly awry.

Here's a stunning portrait of La Gringa's nostrils. And also? Chris Barzak's entire head. Well, that'll teach me to try to use a camera. (And before you ask? Yes, there was a substantial amount of beer involved.)

Sunday afternoon genre link round-up.

La Gringa is not properly caffeinated, yet she plunges ahead with her selfless link round-ups for you cretins. Do I ever get a thank you? A pitcher of beer? A plate full of cookies under the tree? A greasy latke? No, I do not. Sigh! I am such a saint. (Feel free to bitchslap me now.)
The New York Times profiles veteran novelist and screenwriter David Gerrold, the man who invented the tribble. Also, a review of a new verse translation by Simon Armitage of the 14th century epic Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

The Washington Post reviews Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips. Also, five great SF/F books for folks who believe they hate SF/F. (Make sure you read through the comments section!)

The London Times has an hour-long podcast with Philip Pullman, discussing the film version of his novel Golden Compass.

The Los Angeles Times asks "Was this really a dismal year for books? Or was all the hand-wringing for nought?" There's also a new review of Ciaran Carson's translation of The Táin.

The San Francisco Chronicle also discusses Gods Behaving Badly.

The Baltimore City Paper reviews Jo Walton's Farthing and Ha'Penny.

Lastly, a new issue of SF Site has been posted, with reviews of Land of the Headless by Adam Roberts (which La Gringa was surprised to find out was not a history of the Bush administration!), The Dog Said Bow-Wow by Michael Swanwick, The Blue-Haired Bombshell by John Zakour, and more.

Happy Birthday, Sir Arthur!

Science fiction legend Sir Arthur C. Clarke turns 90 today. Amazing!

Battlestar Galactica propaganda posters!

The perfect stocking stuffer for that major nerd in your life. (Or, um, ME!)

Fantastic Fiction at the KGB Bar:
Naomi Novik and Christopher Barzak

Join me at the KGB Bar this Wednesday night. (Hopefully I'll have recovered from my night out with Mr. Barzak by then.)

Ellen Datlow and Gavin J. Grant present:

Fantastic Fiction with Naomi Novik and Christopher Barzak
Wednesday, Dec 19th @ 7:00pm
KGB Bar / 85 East 4th Street, NYC

Naomi Novik, author of the Temeraire series: His Majesty's Dragon, Throne of Jade, Black Powder War, and The Empire of Ivory. His Majesty's Dragon won both the Locus Award and Compton Crook Award for Best First Novel, and she recently won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.

Christopher Barzak, whose debut novel, One for Sorrow, was released this year and his second novel, The Love We Share Without Knowing will be out next year. His short fiction has appeared in Interfictions, Trampoline, The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, Nerve, and other venues.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Saturday night genre link round-up.

I have been sucked into Jon Courtenay Grimwood's End of the World Blues for the past three hours. Man, what a great writer. But I have link duties to perform. And, um, a burger to find somewhere. Even though I just had a burger at lunch with Betsy Mitchell yesterday. Mmmmmm, burger...!
Okay, Voice of America has a Kurt Vonnegut retrospective going on; check it out.

At the New York Times, in yet another completely irrelevant column, Dave Itzkoff suggests skiffy reading for presidential candidates. Somebody please stop him. (And in other news, the world waits anxiously for the New York Times to actually give a shit about science fiction and fantasy writing again. Sigh.)

Writer Unboxed has a new interview with Susan Schwartzman, proprietor of Schwartzman Public Relations, a boutique book publicity group. She talks about how to make the most of the media that's available. Good stuff.

YA author Cynthia Leitich Smith has an interview with Curtis Brown literary agent Ginger Clark. Also, an older but still relevant post by Ginger Clark at her colleague Nathan Bransford's blog, about how an author should handle an offer of representation. Go read and learn sumthin'.

Blogcritics reviews 9 Tail Fox by Jon Courtenay Grimwood.

At Omnivoracious, Jeff VanderMeer profiles Elizabeth Bear, author of Dust.

La Gringa's Tragic Christmas Tree.

Wires and Waves by Rilo Kiley

One of my favorite new music finds, Rilo Kiley, hails from Los Angeles but I guess we can forgive them that. Vocals supplied by the lovely Jenny Lewis (who once starred with Fred Savage in a dreadful 1989 kids movie called The Wizard). You can hear more of their music at their Myspace page. Enjoy!

Four-minute clip from new J.J. Abrams flick Cloverfield.

(Warning: if you were anywhere near downtown on 9/11, you may find this extremely disturbing to watch.)

New episode of Dykes to Watch Out For posted (#517)

You can see it at Alison Bechdel's blog here!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Friday morning genre link round-up.

I am afeared: throat hurting, sneezing all morning. This can't be good. Onward to linkage:
The Pasadena Weekly talks to Ray Bradbury and highlights a new play that Bradbury has written, The Invisible Boy.

I missed this from the Contra Costa Times a couple of weeks ago: Clay Kallam reviews Halting State by Charles Stross, Time's Tapestry by Stephen Baxter, The Sleeping God by Violette Malan, Princes of the Golden Cage by Nathalie Mallet and The Spiral Labyrinth by Matthew Hughes.

At Fantasy Magazine, our very own Angry Black Woman has posted Part One of a round-table discussion she moderated on people of color in fantasy. Good stuff! Also, at her own blog, ABW interviews Cat Valente, author of In the Cities of Coin and Spice.

At Fantasy Book Critic, new reviews of Majestrum by Matthew Hughes, I Am Legend by Richard Matheson, and The Sword-Edged Blonde by Alex Bledsoe.

Fantasybookspot has a new interview with Paul Kearney, author of The Ten Thousand.

OF Blog is continuing its very thoughtful Gene Wolfe retrospective, with reviews of Urth of the New Sun, Latro in the Mist and Soldier of Sidon, and his 1975 novel, Peace.

Reading the Leaves has a joint review of Mary Gentle's Ilario: The Lion's Eye and Ilario: The Stone Golem.

Revolution SF reviews The Devil You Know by Mike Carey.

Strange Horizons reviews Joe Haldeman's The Accidental Time Machine.

Scientists breed glow-in-the-dark cats.

And a new Halloween accessory is born.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Sad Kermit, the emo Muppet.

Kermit the Frog does Johnny Cash. You'll pretty much die of awesome watching this. Not necessarily safe for work (in much the same way that Avenue Q would not be safe for work). But damned funny video. More emo Kermit mp3s here. (Thanks, Mr. Mumpsimus!)

This Charlize Theron advertisement makes my
tummy feel all funny.

Remember when I said I didn't like femmey girls? Yeah, I lied.
Man, I think I'm in love...

Kirkus Reviews genre review round-up (December 15th issue)

Jobless in Gehenna. With gray hands. And there's sleet outside. Could my life BE any more fun? Here's yer damned Kirkus Reviews:
The Táin, translated by Ciaran Carson (Viking): * Starred Review * "The Irish poet and author best known in the United States for his wonderful autobiography The Star Factory (1998) offers a new translation of his country's ebullient epic tale, also known as "The Cattle Raid of Cooley." It's actually one segment of the larger Táin B~ Cúailnge, itself part of the 8th-century Ulster Cycle, which celebrates the deeds of the prehistoric inhabitants of Northern Ireland. In an introductory section, Carson mostly suggests that his Táin be viewed as "commentary" on and "tribute" to Thomas Kinsella's near-legendary 1969 translation. Yet the elegant introductory section bespeaks his authority as much as do the vigorous rhythms of the agreeably blood-drenched narrative he translates: a combination of prose and verse, as it happens, with roots in and debts to the epics of Homer and Virgil and the stories of the Christian Bible. The story begins when Queen Medb of Connacht, jealous of her husband King Ailill's possession of a fertile white bull, negotiates the loan of a great brown bull owned by the king of Ulster. When it is learned the men of Connacht were prepared to use force, agreements are voided and a catastrophic "raid" ensues—in which Ulster's stalwart teenaged hero Cú Chulainn prevails in single combat against successive Connacht challengers (including those who shape-shift into fearsome nonhuman creatures). Hyperbole attends both the combatants' frequently exchanged boasts and the core narrative (e.g., "In that great massacre…Cú Chullain slew seven score and ten kings as well as innumerable dogs and horses, women and children, not to mention underlings and rabble"). Ominous visions attend the climactic three-day battle between Cú Chullain and Connacht's champion Fer Diad (the former's foster brother and friend)—which is succeeded by the clashing of the great bulls themselves, then the arrangement of a peace between Ulster and Connacht. A great story, too little known in this country, and an invaluable treasure for both its suggestive contemporary relevance and its elemental beauty and power." (March 2008)

The Outlaw Demon Wails by Kim Harrison (Eos): "Harrison (For A Few Demons More, 2007, etc.) wraps up a story arc but promises more to come in this sixth volume of a series set in a future Cincinnati. Most humans have been exterminated by a rogue virus, allowing witches, vampires, elves and other nonhuman creatures to come out of hiding and live among the survivors. Among the witches is bounty hunter Rachel Morgan, and she's in trouble again. The demon Al, supposedly imprisoned in the ever-after, is being summoned from his confinement each sundown, allowing him to seek revenge on the person who got him locked up—i.e., Rachel. While evading Al and searching for his summoner, she refuses a hazardous assignment from corrupt elven politician Trent, who's tried to kill her in the past. As these plot lines converge, Rachel is forced to not only accept, but to exploit some unpleasant, newly learned truths about herself. Meanwhile, she continues to mourn the death of her boyfriend Kisten and struggles to remember the terrible circumstances of his murder. She must also resolve her tension-filled relationship with vampire roommate Ivy, decide what to do about Marshal (a potential new boyfriend) and address concerns about her emotionally unstable mother. It all might sound like a soap opera, but Harrison makes Rachel's conflicts real and poignant without turning them into melodramatic slush. So it doesn't matter too much that her current adventure is highly dependent on back story and can't really stand on its own. Not for those new to the series, but Harrison devotees should find ample emotional revelations and plot resolution, with enough loose ends to have them eagerly awaiting the next installment." (March 2008)

Spider Star by Mike Brotherton (Tor): "Far-future alien-contact yarn from astronomer Brotherton (Star Dragon, 2003). By 2453 a human colony thrives on planet Argo, previously home to warlike aliens who vanished a million years ago, leaving extensive records and functional machines. Space navy Commander Manuel Rusk, exploring one of Argo's moons, inadvertently sets off a device that causes the sun to shoot fireballs in the planet's direction. Unless these "Lashings" can be stopped, Argo will die. Help may be found at the Spider Star, deciphered Argonaut records indicate; so Rusk launches an expedition that includes alien-contact expert Frank Klingston, Rusk's warrior-assistant Sloan Griffin and various smart robots. The Spider Star turns out to be a gigantic alien space station complete with external atmosphere and exotic dark matter at its heart. After docking, the team signals in the Argonaut language and begins to explore. Argonauts attack Frank's group and whisk the survivors off to an island floating in the atmosphere. Rusk, meanwhile, faces powerful robot-like "hydras" mindlessly intent on chewing up his airship. After various rescue attempts, Frank and Rusk separately fall into the Spider Star's core, where they will be reborn in young bodies and meet the Spider aliens for a chat. Solid science and ideas aplenty, but none of the characters act or react with any real intelligence, and it's deeply unsatisfying that their problems are solved by extraterrestrials rather than by their own efforts." (March 2008)

A Magic of Twilight by S.L. Farrell (DAW): "Farrell (Heir of Stone, 2005, etc.) starts a new series with this agreeable political fantasy, set in a city reminiscent of Renaissance-era Venice. Over the centuries, the city of Nessantico has conquered most of the surrounding territory. Now, religious fanaticism and social tensions threaten to fracture the patched-together empire as its ruler, the Kraljica Marguerite ca'Ludovici, approaches the 50th year of her glorious reign. Unfortunately, there are those who are too impatient to wait for Marguerite's natural death, including her son and heir, A'Kralj Justi ca'Mazzak, and the vassal king who commands the bulk of Nessantico's army, H™rzg Jan ca'Vörl. Caught between these two combatants are a heretic, a rising cleric with incredible magical power, a general whose duty smothers his conscience, a religious leader who's playing both sides and a scarred beggar with a hidden and very threatening agenda. Telling the story from multiple perspectives, Farrell (aka Stephen Leigh) attempts to make a fairly direct plot seem more complex than it truly is. Similarly, his invented language sounds artificial. However, the book retains considerable charm and appeal. It's always refreshing to read a fantasy where neither side in a conflict has much of a moral edge on the other, and the cast of characters is an enjoyable mix of the sympathetic, the villainous and the ambiguous. There's definite potential here for a satisfying series. A solid read with ambitions it doesn't quite reach." (Feb. 2008)

Worlds Apart: An Anthology of Russian Fantasy and Science Fiction, edited by Alexander Levisky (Overlook): "Stories, poems and novel fragments dating back to the 1700s, none written much later than the first half of the 20th century. Using broad definitions of fantasy and science fiction, Levitsky selects various tales of the supernatural and the absurd, utopias (usually in warm places, far from Russia's chill) and dystopias of the distant future, and some early stories of space travel. He draws on the work of such towering literary figures as Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Turgenev and Zamyatin, as well as others less familiar to Western readers. The editor intersperses these choices with his own dry, jargon-loaded essays on the pieces' peculiarly Russian nature and their inspirations in folklore, philosophy and politics. Scholars of the fantastic with an interest in literary history will discover some curiosities and some genuinely fascinating, powerfully resonant works. Casual sci-fi fans in search of light entertainment—or contemporary Russian works of speculative fiction—will be disappointed and possibly bored. Uneven." (Dec. 2007)

Runemark by Joanne Harris (Knopf): "The Lightning Thief meets The Sea of Trolls in this well-executed, if rather plodding children's debut by the author of the adult novel, Chocolat. In a world where the intolerant "Order" has deemed the old Norse myths as blasphemous, village misfit Maddy Smith discovers she is the daughter of the Norse god Thor. Guided by Loki and advised by Odin, Maddy travels to the "World Below" to try and thwart the prophesied war between the old gods and the new. The heroes win the day, but at least one villain escapes, hinting at a sequel. Unfortunately, Harris's determination to include just about every Norse god in her narrative brings Maddy's quest to a standstill at times. Some youngsters not well-versed in Odin's family tree may find the discussion of the gods' past grudges confusing, while others will be inspired to dig out their old copy of D'Aulaires' Norse Gods and Giants to refresh their memories of the Vanir and Aesir. A mini-course in Norse mythology for the tween set." (Fiction. 10-14) (Jan. 2008)

"I've made more bad decisions at three o'clock in the morning than I can list."

Just another reason why I love Tim Gunn so damned much.

Thursday morning genre link round-up.

::: mumble mumble ::: need caffeine ::: mumble mumble ::: links ::: frikkin' black dye frikkin' gray hands frikkin' idiot la gringa ::: mumble :::
Mostly Fiction reviews Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips.

Monsters & Critics reviews The Metatemporal Detective by Michael Moorcock.

At Subterranean Press, Elizabeth Bear talks about what to do when you've finally arrived: when your book has been published and you're thinking, "Now what?"

The eNotes book blog has a list of the Ten Most Ball-Busting Women Writers Ever. I think they're missing a few (I agree with Ed Champion that Dorothy Parker should be included, by the way), but still a good list.

Dear Author reviews Blood Drive by Jeanne C. Stein.

At Chasing Ray, Colleen Mondor has been busy recommending fun books for holiday gift giving, among them Ray Bradbury's Zen and the Art of Writing, and Nicola Griffith's awe-inspiring multi-media memoir Now We Are Going To Have a Party. (She even wrote a second post about why you should buy the memoir despite its hefty price tag.)

Horrors! Paddington Bear gets racially profiled!

Bookgasm looks at Debatable Space by Philip Palmer and The Harrowing by Alexandra Sokoloff.

At the BookEnds blog, literary agent Jessica Faust explains why your writing awards don't excite her when you're pitching your book to her.

The League of Reluctant Adults has an interview with C.E. Murphy, author of Heart of Stone.

At The Midnight Hour, urban fantasist Lilith Saint Crow talks about procrastination.

The Wert Zone reviews Brandon Sanderson's Elantris, Tolkien's The Children of Hurin, and Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie.

The Book Swede has a new interview with Patrick Rothfuss. Also, this week's Quote of the Week essay is by Jennifer Rardin, author of Another Ones Bites the Dust.

At the Agony Column, Rick Kleffel reviews Thomas M. Disch's The Voyage of the Proteus: An Eyewitness Account of the End of the World.

Several new items at Strange Horizons: reviews of The Engineer Trilogy by K.J. Parker, The Terror by Dan Simmons (or as La Gringa once referred to it, "The Book That Refused to End"), Not Flesh Nor Feathers by Cherie M. Priest, The Pesthouse by James Crace, and Bad Moneys by Matt Ruff.

So. Many. New. Things. At SF Signal. La Gringa has been seriously slacking in her SF Signal reportage: new reviews of The Gist Hunter by Matthew Hughes, Darkness Falls by Kyle Mills, and the dual edition Vaccinator by Michael Marshall Smith and Andy Warhol's Dracula by Kim Newman. Also, a great new feature, the Mind Meld, a group interview about a single subject. The topic of this conversation: How have online book reviews affected the publishing world? Participants include Alan Beatts (Borderlands Books, SF), David Hartwell (Tor), Paul Raven (Interzone), John Joseph Adams (F&SF), among others. (Confession: La Gringa was invited to participate in this but personal circumstances over the past couple of weeks got in the way. Sorry, John! I promise to get my answer back next time in a timely manner!)

At Sci Fi Weekly, Cynthia Ward reviews Brian Herbert's The Web and the Stars.

At Sci Fi Wire, John Joseph Adams profiles Harry Turtledove and L.E. Modesitt.

Sci Fi Chick reviews Black Magic Woman by Justin Gustainis.

Sex in space. It's kinda hard. No pun intended.

Apparently, it is quite difficult to have sex in space. The weightlessness and all that. You kinda keep banging into walls and your fellow astronauts. No, really. Our tax dollars paid for the study. But the gals at Smart Bitches, Trashy Novels are pretty damned excited about the possibilities for future romance novels:
However, you can’t deny - that’s some seriously ripe (hur hur) plot basis for hawt erotica.

ESPECIALLY if the experiments involved 2 lithe astronaut men and some weightless buttsecks. Because what-what-in-the-butt + zero-Gs = WIN!
We couldn't agree more.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Corpse fingers! or, How La Gringa accidentally dyed her hands gray.

Really, I should just be kept away from creative domestic chores, for my own good and the good of civilization.

I have this pair of wonderful black leather gloves lined with cashmere. They are several years old, and soft and broken in and, well, perfect! Last winter, when I was still doing volunteer work every week with Book Stud on the mobile soup kitchen, I wore the gloves all the times. It probably wasn't the wisest move, being as they mobile soup kitchen folks actually provide plastic gloves. But when it is 15 degrees outside and the wind is whipping off the sound down by the Staten Island Ferry and you have a line of really hungry homeless folks waiting to be fed, you sort of grab the first thing that is handy. Like my black gloves.

After a whole winter of handling drippy soup containers and leaky milk cartons, my gloves had begun to develop a distinctive odor. Eau de soup kitchen. Truly, they reeked. So this evening, in a fit of manic cleaning, I had the bright idea to try washing the gloves in a mild cold water soap solution.

Yeah, that was stupid.

As soon as I dipped them in the water, the water turned black. "Wow" (thinks La Gringa) "These bad boys were really dirty." So I push them further into the water and kinda smoosh them down and swirl them around and generally give them a good hand washing as houseguest Hexboy looks on in amusement.

I rinse them. The water is still turning pitch black. Hexboy is still smirking.

It is at this point that it finally dawns on me: Perhaps that black dye wasn't color fast. Ooops. And I see that Hexboy is now laughing. And I lift up my hands to see that they are a shade of deep gray that you only see in the best low-budget zombie flicks.

Oh, dear.

I try squeezing the excess water out of the gloves, and a jet of ink-black water shoots from all five leather fingertips. Hexboy suggests laying them out on a towel to dry. "Just make sure it's a towel that, ya know, you don't actually LIKE." (Every helpful, that one.) I finish squeezing black water out of the gloves, lay them in the bathtub to drain, and then proceed to try to get the dye off my hands.

I try Dawn dishwashing liquid, figuring "Hey, it gets oil off seabirds! It has to work." Well, apparently seabirds have the good sense not to wash black leather gloves. My hands are still deep gray. Next I try Softscrub. No dice. I try a scrubby sponge and really go to town on my fingers. Although I succeeded in removing my own fingerprints, thus facilitating a whole new career in a life of crime, the skin beneath where the fingerprints used to be IS STILL GRAY.

And so I am going to bed now, conceding defeat. My hands are gray. And I have learned that there are just some accessories I shouldn't own.

Thank God I didn't have my heart set on becoming a dominatrix any time soon.

La Gringa is eyebrow-challenged.

Most of you don't know this but in times of extreme stress, La Gringa's eyebrows fall out. Not all of them. Just the outside bit. In essence, it looks as though as I have half an eyebrow over each eye. (In other words, it looks ridiculous.) I just noticed that while my left eyebrow is growing back, the right one is kinda slacking. So now it looks even more ridiculous.

Anyone out there ever experience anything like this? I'm curious.

I miss my eyebrows.

La Gringa quoted in today's GalleyCat!

Yup, it's true.

Terry Pratchett diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's.

This is truly terrible news. In typical Pratchett fashion, he is making merry with the news. From his website:
I would just like to draw attention to everyone reading the above that this should be interpreted as 'I am not dead'. I will, of course, be dead at some future point, as will everybody else. For me, this maybe further off than you think - it's too soon to tell. I know it's a very human thing to say "Is there anything I can do", but in this case I would only entertain offers from very high-end experts in brain chemistry.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tuesday night genre link round-up.

I just bought a Star Wars action figure for my mini-Christmas tree. (It was lacking something.) Onto linkage:
The Aqueduct Press blog interviews Kelley Eskridge, author of Dangerous Space (and fan of Oranjeboom Beer).

Andrew Wheeler finally gets around to reading The Golden Compass. (Ahem!)

At the new Penguin blog, editor Jessica Wade interviews her editor colleagues, and takes sneaky pics of their work spaces.

At the EOS blog, there's a new podcast with Kim Harrison, author of For A Few Demons More.

Fantasy Book Critic reviews Shadowbred by Paul S. Kemp.

New things posted at Fantasybookspot include reviews of A Sword From Red Ice by J.V. Jones, Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein and Reserved for the Cat by Mercedes Lackey.

At Fantasy Magazine, new reviews of Half the Blood in Brooklyn by Charlie Huston and Elemental Magic by Sharon Shin, Carol Berg, Rebecca York, and Jean Johnson.

Graeme's Fantasy Book Review looks at House Infernal by Edward Lee.

Grasping for the Wind interviews John Joseph Adams, editor of the new anthology Wastelands.

Love Vampires reviews Heart of Stone by C.E. Murphy and The Watcher by Jeanne C. Stein.

Several new things at Milady Insanity: an interview with Sylvia Kelso, author of Amberlight and an interview with Deborah Grabien, author of Still Life with Devils. There's also a review of Diane Pharoah Francis's The Cipher.

The top 10 most insane Star Wars-inspired tattoos.

Via my editor pal Aqeldroma, this link to what may be the most disturbing collection of body art I've ever seen, all inspired by the galaxy far, far away. Scroll down to #2 and #3 in particular. (Warning: not all of them are work safe!)

The La Gringa Jesus-Free Holiday Mix:
The Anti-Christmas Album

I originally created this mix as a holiday gift for Book Stud a couple of years ago, but I thought I'd share with all of you folks who are Jewish or just plain hate the in-your-face Christian bias during the month of December. (And November. And parts of October.) Bah humbug, I say! Everyone knows that the holidays are supposed to be all about shopping, drinking until you pass out and dysfunctional family dynamics! It's time to bring that back!

I've added a few songs to the original mix. Since I can't post mp3 files here, the best I can do is share the playlist with y'all and point you to the Youtube video if I could find one. In some cases I was able to find the song posted online as a free downloadable mp3; I've indicated those with handy label that says (ha ha!) mp3 download (aren't I clever?). Enjoy!
::: The Night Santa Went Crazy (Weird Al Yankovic)
::: The Chanukah Song (Adam Sandler)
::: Mr. Heat Miser (Big Bad Voodoo Daddy)
::: All I Want For Christmas Is To Get It Crunk (Dirty Boyz)
::: Baby, It's Cold Outside (Ella Fitzgerald)
::: Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer (Elmo & Patsy)
::: Yule Shoot Your Eye Out (Fall Out Boy)
::: New Year's Prayer (Jeff Buckley)
::: Jesus Was A Dreidel Spinner (mp3 download) (Jill Sobule)
::: Auld Lang Syne (Jimi Hendrix)
::: Father Christmas (The Kinks)
::: Christmas Night Of Zombies (mp3 download) (MXPX)
::: Rugrats Chanukah (The Rugrats) (can't find this anywhere! grrrr!)
::: Give The Jew Girl Toys (Sarah Silverman)
::: Happy Whatever You're Having (mp3 download) (The Therapy Sisters)
::: Feast Of Lights (They Might Be Giants)
::: You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch (Thurl Ravenscroft)
::: New Year's Day / U2
::: Hanukkah Dance (mp3 download) (Woody Guthrie)
::: Christmas Tree's on Fire (mp3 download) (Holly GoLightly)

Apparently hell has indeed frozen over.

La Gringa did the unthinkable yesterday: she bought a Christmas tree. Of course, it is only five inches tall, but it is a real tree. A wee tiny Norfolk pine, in fact. I was walking past the flower shop on the corner and noticed a tray of these sad little potted trees sitting there next to the poinsettias and bigger Christmas trees and I guess the Charlie Brown came out in me and I took pity on the damned things so I bought one and brought it home. (Yes, that was a run-on sentence.)

When I got home, I thought the tree looked kinda naked so then I bought some tinsel for it at the 99 cent store. But then I decided the tree would look funny without lights, so I bought some red Christmas lights. Of course, the tree is way too small to actually string lights upon, so I may have to wrap the lights around Buddy. The red lights will look nice on his black fur.

So, after living in New York for nine Christmas seasons, I finally have my first Christmas tree. (Mom, you'd be so proud.)

I will post a picture of this tragic attempt at being festive as soon as I can. Do try not to laugh and point fingers.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Monday night genre link round-up.

So many links. So little time. And me with leftover croque-monsieur warming in the oven! Well, technically it is a croque Hawaii, cos there's a hunk o' pineapple in the middle. (Yes, I am one of those cretins who also orders pineapple on my pizza.) Anyway, here ya go:
The Los Angeles Times talks trash about Robert Heinlein; John Scalzi talks trash about the Los Angeles Times.

Also at the Los Angeles Times, Ed Park picks his favorites from 2007, including the new Nightshade anthology Eclipse One, edited by Jonathan Strahan (a book whose cover, you'll recall, inspired no small amount of hysteria amongst the more fragile feminist writers out there); Harm by Brain Aldiss; and Precious Dragon by Liz Williams, among others.

At Sci Fi Weekly, Paul Di Filippo reviews Dust by Elizabeth Bear and Lois Gresh reviews Mike Shepherd's Kris Longknife: Audacious.

Associated Press covers Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips.

The Seattle Times also reviews Gods Behaving Badly.

At the Village Voice, Liz Hand recommends some titles you may have missed in 2007, including One for Sorrow by Chris Barzak, Flora Segunda by Ysabeau Wilce, The White Tyger by Paul Park, and Tolkien's The Children of Húrin.

At the Guardian UK, M. John Harrison reviews the non-genre novel My Tango With Barbara Strozzi by Russel Hoban.

At the Kansas City Star, Robert Folsom reviews four anthologies including Best American Fantasy, edited by Matt Cheney, and Ann & Jeff VanderMeer; The SFWA European Hall of Fame, edited by James & Kathryn Morrow; The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Fourth Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois; and The Future of Misbehavior by the editors of

Also at the Kansas City Star, John Mark Eberhart reviews my new favorite must-buy book, The Zen of Zombie by Scott Kenemore ["Did you ever hear of a zombie being nervous or having high blood pressure (or blood pressure at all)? No. Zombies take it easy. If one human runs away, it’s not like there won’t be others. Slow and steady wins the race, and this is inherently apparent to a zombie."] Heh!

At the Contra Costa Times, librarian Julie Winkelstein revisits Bellwether, one of La Gringa's favorite books by Connie Willis.

At Bookslut, Colleen Mondor looks at Matt Ruff's Bad Monkeys, among several others.

French skiffy site Actu SF interviews Alastair Reynolds en anglais.

At Omnivoracious, Jeff VanderMeer recommends several titles for stocking stuffers including the aforementioned SFWA European Hall of Fame, Michael Moorcock's The Metatemporal Detective, Sylvia Keslo's Amberlight, and Glen Cook's Chronicles of the Black Company. VanderMeer also has a video interview of John Scalzi.

At the London Times, Lisa Tuttle highlights four of her favorite skiffy titles: Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury, 2oth Century Ghosts by Joe Hill, Brasyl by Ian McDonald, and Rainbow's End by Vernor Vinge.

The December issue of SF Revu has been posted, with reviews of For a Few Demons More by Kim Harrison, Wolf Who Rules by Wen Spencer, The Book of Joby by Mark Ferrari, Shadowbridge by Gregory Frost, Three Days to Never by Tim Power and many more. There's also an interview with Tim Powers.

The Fix Online interviews my pal Ellen Datlow. (Yay!)

SciFiDimensions reviews Axis by Robert Charles Wilson and Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik.

SFF World reviews In the Eye of Heaven by Dave Keck.

Bookgasm reviews S.M. Stirling's Ice, Iron and Gold.

Fantasy Book Critic has an interview with Terry Goodkind.

Pat's Fantasy Hotlist does not so much love David Anthony Durham's Acacia.

Writer Unboxed posts Part Two of their interview with agent extraordinaire Don Maass.

"An open letter to Santa."

From New York Craigslist, W4W, my source for all amusement these days:

An Open Letter to Santa (SoHo)

Reply to: [redacted]
Date: 2007-12-10, 6:58PM EST

Dear Santa,

How are you? It's been many years since I last wrote you. I bet you've been wondering why I've been so silent all these years and why I stopped leaving Stella Doro cookies and a glass of milk by the tree?

When I was a 5 year old tomboy I asked you for a truck and you brought me a barbie. I don't know if you happened to catch a glimpse of my facial expression that fine Christmas morning but sure it wasn't the same one Rudolf had when you asked him to drive your sleigh. All the other kids got what they asked for so I spent the year wondering if maybe one of your elves goofed up or maybe my letter didn't make it to you.

Not being much of a gambler, I played it safe the next few years and asked for board games and electronic toys. It worked out real good for me and I felt confident that you hired a new crew of elves and I had the correct address after all--Mr. Santa Claus, North Pole, United States.

When I was 8, I sent you a letter asking you for one thing and one thing only. I explained that I didn't care if my siblings received a gazillion gifts and I only received one that year because all I wanted, all I NEEDED, was a dirt bike. I received about 10 gifts that year and not one came close to a dirt bike.

It was about that time when I figured out that all those letters to a hairy old fat guy who dressed like Louis XIV on LSD were written in vain. It couldn't have been you who placed the barbie under my tree that year because I had been sending my requests out to the wrong place.

So I guess what I've been trying to say is sorry for giving up on you. And if you happen to be in my neighborhood on the 24th or 25th, I wouldn't be upset if you, well, if you happened to send a doll down my chimney this year. My style hasn't changed much but my taste has evolved. I finally figured out how much fun it is to play with dolls.

Thanks for your time Santa.

Your Friend

Hanukkah in Santa Monica by Tom Lehrer

Via Steven Silver (and in honor of the season and all that), this classic from Tom Lehrer. This song is also on my (famous but not-quite-patented) La Gringa Jesus-Free Holiday Mix. Occasionally referred to as The Maccabee Medley. (There's one person in particular I know who'd totally dig this song. If you're reading this, you know who you are.) Enjoy, my friends.

And Happy Hanukkah!

Brandon Sanderson to complete Jordan's Wheel of Time

Good news for Robert Jordan fans. From this morning's Publishers Weekly:
Sanderson to Complete Final Novel in Jordan Fantasy Series

By Lynn Andriani -- Publishers Weekly, 12/10/2007 7:13:00 AM

Tor Books announced today that novelist Brandon Sanderson has been chosen to finish writing the final novel in Robert Jordan’s bestselling Wheel of Time fantasy series. Jordan—described by some as Tolkien’s heir—died Sept. 16 from a rare blood disease. The new novel, A Memory of Light, will be the 12th and final book in the fantasy series which has sold more than 14 million copies in North America and more than 30 million copies worldwide. The last four books in the series were all #1 New York Times bestsellers.

Harriet Popham Rigney, Jordan’s widow and editor, chose Sanderson to complete A Memory of Light—which Jordan worked on almost daily for the last few months of his life—and will edit it. Rigney said some scenes from the bookwere completed by Jordan before his death, and some exist in draft form. “He left copious notes and hours of audio recordings,” she said. He also revealed details about the end of the series to close members of his family.

Sanderson, who acknowledged Jordan as an inspiration to him as a writer, has established a loyal fan base as the author of three fantasy novels: Elantris, Mistborn and The Well of Ascension (Tor), as well as a YA novel, Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians (Scholastic Press). Sanderson said, “I'm both extremely excited and daunted by this opportunity. There is only one man who could have done this book the way it deserved to be written, and we lost him in September. However, I promise to do my very best to remain true to Mr. Jordan's vision and produce the book we have all been waiting to read.”

A Memory of Light is scheduled for publication in fall 2009.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Catastrophe by Rainer Maria

Cos it just seems like a Rainer Maria kind of day to me. (What can I say? I like me some Brooklyn girls.)

X-Men Manga from Del Rey & Marvel! Bitchin'!

Come on, you KNOW this is going to be fun! I've known about the Wolverine project for several months and have been chomping at the bit to be able to tell other people. I'm a little sad that I won't be able to work on this project, but at least I'll get to read the finished product. Excellent! (Hey, who says La Gringa can't keep a secret?)
NEW YORK, NY - December 9, 2007 - Marvel Entertainment and Del Rey Manga, an imprint of Ballantine Books at the Random House Publishing Group, announced today plans to publish two new manga series based on Marvel Entertainment's highly popular X-Men series.

The manga, created with the cooperation and consultation of Marvel editors, will take the classic characters from the X-Men series and re-imagine them in a manga style. The first project, scripted by the husband-and-wife team of Raina Telgemeier (writer and illustrator of The Babysitter's Club graphic novels) and Dave Roman (creator of the comic Agnes Quill), will focus specifically on the X-Men team. Indonesian artist Anzu will illustrate the two-volume series, which will go on sale in Spring 2009.

It's the X-Men as you've never seen them before, with the storyline fashioned as a private school shôjo comedy. (Shôjo manga is aimed at girls and often covers popular subjects such as comedy, romance, and drama.) As the only girl in the all-boys School for Gifted Youngsters, Kitty Pryde, a mutant with phasing abilities, is torn between the popular Hellfire Club, led by flame-throwing mutant Pyro--and the school misfits, whom she eventually bands together as the X-Men.

A second manga series, to be published in Spring 2009, follows the adventures of Wolverine, a breakout member of the X-Men team known for his attitude and unbreakable adamantium claws.

Dallas Middaugh, associate publisher of Del Rey Manga, says, "The X-Men are some of the most well-known characters in the world, and it's the strength of those characters-along with strong and unique storylines-that make the X-Men a perfect match for the manga form. It's an amazing opportunity, and we're eager to bring new interpretations to the fans through the prism of manga."

The X-Men made their comics debut in The X-Men #1 in 1963 and have since become a mainstream pop culture phenomenon with the development of an animated television series, several video games and a blockbuster live-action film trilogy.

Ruwan Jayatilleke, Vice President of development of Marvel Entertainment, Inc., said "Del Rey Manga has been an innovative force in the manga landscape---consistently growing the medium and breaking the boundaries of print. We have found a partner who will bring the X-Men and Wolverine into the fastest growing segment of graphic fiction, with superior storytelling and visual fireworks. Comic book fans and manga readers have much to look forward to."

Manga, the Japanese term for comics, is a Japanese cultural phenomenon that accounts for nearly half of all the books and magazines sold in Japan. Read by men and women of all ages, manga covers a wide variety of themes including adventure, romance, fantasy, and more. Manga has experienced incredible growth in the US and Canadian graphic novel market in the past few years. According to industry source ICv2 manga sales reached between $170 million and $200 million in 2006.

About the Creators
Raina Telgemeier is best known for her work as the writer and illustrator of The Babysitter's Club graphic novels. She received her BFA from the School of Visual Arts and has been nominated for numerous awards, including the Eisner, Ignatz, Cybil, and Web Cartoonists' Choice awards.

Dave Roman currently works for Nickelodeon Magazine as an associate editor. The co-creator of the Harvey Award-nominated series Jax Epoch and the Quicken Forbidden and the Ignatz award-winning Teen Boat, he also pens his own webcomic, Astronaut Elementary. He is also the creator of the comic Agnes Quill.

Anzu, a manga artist based in Indonesia, will make her US manga art debut in April 2008 with the first volume of The Reformed, written by Chris Hart. She has contributed to Hart's bestselling How to Draw Manga series.

About Del Rey Manga
Del Rey Books ( ) was founded in 1977 as an imprint of Ballantine Books, a division of the Random House Publishing Group, under the guidance of the renowned Judy-Lynn del Rey and her husband, Lester del Rey. Del Rey publishes the best of modern fantasy, science fiction, and alternate history. Ballantine Books is an imprint of the Random House Publishing Group, which is a publishing group of Random House, Inc, the U.S. publishing company of Random House, the trade book publishing division of Bertelsmann AG, one of the world's leading international media companies. In 2004 it expanded by launching Del Rey Manga (, which has grown to be a major force in the U.S. graphic-novel field. Bestselling titles include Tsubasa, Negima, xxxHolic, and The Wallflower.

About Marvel Entertainment, Inc.
With a library of over 5,000 high-profile characters built over more than sixty years of comic book publishing, Marvel Entertainment, Inc. is one of the world's most prominent character-based entertainment companies. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in licensing, entertainment (via Marvel Studios), publishing (via Marvel Comics) and toys, with emphasis on feature films, home DVD, consumer products, video games, action figures and role-playing toys, television and promotions. Marvel's strategy is to leverage its franchises in a growing array of opportunities around the world. For more information visit

X-Men, Wolverine: TM & © 2007 Marvel Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved.