Thursday, April 5. 2012
It's Eastercon time again! I shall be off tomorrow: we're back at the Radisson Edwardian Hotel, Heathrow this year. I'm quite busy on programme this time --
I shall hope to see some of you there.
Tuesday, November 22. 2011
I have a publication date for The Grass King's Concubine -- 7th August 2012, just in time for Worldcon. It's available for pre-order from various places. I am so excited: I've lived with this book for almost as long as Living With Ghosts: I began the earliest version of it back in 1995, although it's changed a lot since then. I love the characters and the setting. It's in the same world as LWG, but in a different place and set about 150 years later. And while LWG focuses on a city, GKC is set mostly in the world of ghosts and spirits -- the variundarii that Gracielis talks about. It has a stubborn heroine, a patient hero, a set of other-worldly warrior-guards and shape-shifting ferret twins. I'll keep you posted about promotional events, cover details and so on.
Friday, October 21. 2011
In two days, I shall be heading off to the USA to visit friends in Portland, and then on to San Diego for World Fantasy 2011. I shall be at the con from Thursday later afternoon till Sunday around noon. WFC is always huge fun: a chance to catch up with friends and colleagues as well as to hear some interesting programming.Â
I will be on the programme myself, at 8 pm on Thursday 27th October in Pacific 2/3:The Role of Class in Fantasy
Friday, September 16. 2011
My wonderful publisher, DAW books, have bought my second book, The Grass King's Concubine,along with an as-yet untitled sequel. It should be out next year. I am so excited about this:Â I had a lot of fun (and a lot of you-what moments) writing it, and I am delighted that DAW liked it. It's set in the same world as Living With Ghosts, but in a different place and with new characters. And it's a lot weirder: no ghosts this time, but shape-shifting ferret women, immortal elemental warriors, strange dead creatures, and a mystery that has changed the shape of the underworld.Â
Tuesday, June 7. 2011
Next week, I'm heading off to Stockholm for Eurocon 2011 (http://eurocon2011.se/) and I'm really looking forward to it. I'm giving a reading at 12.30 on Saturday, and shall be on two panels -- Myths in sf and fantasy (Sunday at noon) and Men, women and neuters in sf and fantasy (Sunday at 16.00). I'm looking forward to it.
I love Stockholm. I first visited it 13 or 14 years ago, back when I was still teaching early mediaeval history. I went to see the viking trading post of Birka and the burial mounds and runestones at Uppsala, all of which I loved. But I discovered something else, too. Old Stockholm looks like Merafi. I had had no idea. I first created Merafi around 1989: an amalgam of several lost mediaeval and early modern cities -- Paris (which lost its 16th century layer to Napoleon), Coventry (destroyed during WW2), Leicester (a victim of city planners), Lyons, York, Rouen, Chester, with their ancient hearts besieged by modern life. I hadn't seen Stockholm back then, I hadn't even seen pictures. And yet there I stood, in 1997 or so, in the heart of a city I felt I already knew, a city that made me feel welcome and happy, a city loved by those who live there (as far as I can tell). I am so excited to be going back. Thank you, Sweden, for having such a perfect city at your core. I'm so looking forward to seeing it again. And after the con, I'm travelling on to Oslo, a city I have not yet visited and which I really want to see.
I'll be writing about my trip on my main blog here http://users.livejournal.com/la_marquise_de_/
Or you can find me on Facebook (KariSperring) and Twitter (@karisperring)
Monday, April 18. 2011
Over the Easter weekend I shall be at Illustrious, this year's Eastercon, which is taking place in Birmingham (at the NEC Hilton). My programme commitments llok like this:Friday 4.30 'Great Women in SF' -- who are the most memorial female characters in sf?
4.30 'Did Star Wars change science fiction to speculative fiction?' --
For many years our genre was Science Fiction, something that Real People
looked down upon. Nowadays the term Speculative Fiction is often used
to make the genre appear less geeky. When did this happen? Was it
because a lot of people who would never admit to enjoying SF rather
enjoyed Star Wars?
Sunday 10.30 'Women in SF (vs fantasy' --
There is arguably a perception that fantasy is a more feminine genre, as
opposed to SF. Yet look at the lists of best-selling writers, it's
manifestly not so. Why is this?
Sunday Noon 'Diana Wynne Jones
Memorial' -- The recent passing of Diana Wynne Jones has left a large
hole in the landscape of current British science fiction and fantasy.
Several of Diana's friends and admirers read some of her works in
tribute to an exceptional creative talent.(moderator)
I'm really looking forward to it.
Saturday, March 26. 2011
I learnt this morning of the death of British writer Diana Wynne Jones. She's a big part of the heart of British fantasy, a great influence on many, many other writers, a creator of worlds and characters to whom I return again and again. Every time I reread Fire and Hemlock, say, or Archer's Goon I notice something new. I had the very great privilege of meeting her two or three times. She was charming, interesting, witty and delightful.Â After two days of sunshine here, it's overcast today and I can't help feeling that that is appropriate. The world is a slightly dimmer place without her. Thank you, Ms Wynne Jones, for everything.
Continue reading "Diana Wynne Jones 1934-2011"
Monday, March 21. 2011
The judges of the James Tiptree Jnr Award have listed Living with Ghosts on their honours' list for 2010. This is a huge honour, as the Tiptree is one of the most important awards in the sf and fantasy field, and I am stunned and delighted and shocked and grateful. The details can be found here: http://tiptree.org/
Many many congratulations to the winner, Dubravka Ugresic, whose novel Baba Yaga Laid An Egg I am off to buy right now. And many congratulations to all the other authors on the honours lists. It's a real privilege to be listed alongside them.
Friday, February 18. 2011
This time tomorrow, I shall be at Imperial College London for Picocon. I'm the first speaker -- I'm on at 10.30 a.m. -- so I'm busy preparing for that. It's exciting and alarming all at once, but I'm looking forward to it.
Meanwhile at home builders are at work in the back garden, my cats are coming and going in a somewhat suspicious manner, the radio is on and I have coffee. Life is good.
Tuesday, January 11. 2011
I have been invited to be one of three Guests of Honour at Picocon in London this year, which is an honour and I'm very flattered. It's a one day convention held every year at Imperial College London, and run by the university science fiction society. My fellow guests are Paul McAuley and Juliet McKenna, two wonderful writers, in whose company I am astonished to find myself. It's on Saturday February 19th: there are more details here: http://union.ic.ac.uk/scc/icsf/social/events/picocon/index.html
Continue reading "News"
Tuesday, October 5. 2010
I don't know what to say: I've been away for two weeks, and in that time, Living With Ghosts has won the Sydney J Bounds Award for Best Newcomer, awarded by The British Fantasy Society. To say I'm honoured is an understatement -- I'm stunned and breathless and delighted and overwhelmed. The Bounds -- formerly the Icarus Award -- is juried, and has in the past been won by some wonderful authors, including Joe Hill, Scott Lynch and Poppy Z Brite. It's a huge, huge honour to find myself in such company. I am immensely grateful to the jury for liking my book so much: thank you all very much. There's a picture of the statuette, which now has pride of place on my mantlepiece, being guarded by my youngest cat, Horus, here, on my LiveJournal.
Continue reading "The Sydney J Bounds Award"
Sunday, September 5. 2010
If you were to ask me my favourite book, there is no doubt you'd get the immediate reply, The Three Musketeers. That is the book at the very heart of my best obsession, the core and key and very feel of what I most want out of reading, the other-place I aim to echo and reference and reflect and emulate when I write. It is my book of books, the book that somewhere in the most selfish corner of my mind I know was written just for me.
And yet, if you were to ask me that question in another way, you'd probably get a whole set of different answers. Because while T3M is my Ur-book, there are so many others that have woven themselves into me over my years.If you asked me for my desert island book, I might be forced to answer Twenty Years After, because while T3M is my core book, the core of the changing relationships between Athos, Porthos, Aramis and d'Artagnan -- which is, for me, the core of the whole series, the reason for reading and loving the books -- is found in 20YA, not T3M, and especially in the chapter 'La Place Royale'. All but one of my favourite scenes from the series are in 20YA, even though T3M is the better book. But it's 20YA I'd want on my island.
And then there are the books that set me on my various tangled footpaths. There's Lord of the Rings (of course), which built the shape of the genre I wanted to work in, and its deep deep scholarly roots, which pulled me down into the mangrove swamps of academe and mediaeval history. There's Peter Sawyer's Age of the Vikings, which set my standard for what analytical, exciting early mediaeval history should read like, and Frank Barlow, Edward the Confessor, which taught me thoroughness. There's J E Lloyd, A History of Wales from the Earliest Times to the Edwardian Conquest, which irritates and inspires me in equal parts, which set up the sacred cows of my field and informs every single out-of-line, against-trend, awkward, spikey and revisionist word of my academic writings. But the first book to teach me to love history and to love its sources was Eugenia Ginsberg, Into the Whirlwind, which my O' Level history teacher, Mr Roger Vandevelde, lent to me in 1977. Hello, Mr Vandevelde. You're still the best teacher I ever had, and even though I didn't do history A' Level, I turned into a historian anyway. If by chance you see this, do get in touch. I want to say 'Thank you' and send you some books.
I've written about Anne of Green Gables before, about how tightly I cleave to Anne Shirley and her imagination that gets out of control. She's the first role-model I ever had, the first of the many writing girls who populate children's books. I didn't relate as much to tomboy Jo March or self-leaning Emily Starr, but I loved Anne, and her close descendant Cassandra Mortmain, of Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle. They taught me it was okay to write, that books could be for and by spikey girls, misfit girls, girls of little account.
There are books that I loved and left, or books I've outgrown and and longer reread, but which remain and will remain on my shelves -- Anne McCaffrey's Dragonflight and Restoree, Andre Norton, Forerunner Foray, Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond books, Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre and Shirley, even, in some ways, Babel 17, Samuel R Delany. I still love the latter, but it no longer blows me away it as it did when I was 15, I see where the strains and the holes are, I see through the cleverness (though Delany remains one of the finest, the greatest, the shiniest of all).
And then there are the books I go back to just because. Tanith Lee, Drinking Sapphire Wine, which I can practically recite. Georgette Heyer, Cotillion and Friday's Child. Elizabeth Peters, Devil May Care, Robert Heinlein, Starman Jones, the book that introduced me to sf. Margery Allingham, The Fashion in Shrouds. Anne Bronte, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. These are all books of my years.
Which books are yours?
Monday, July 12. 2010
One of the great things about writing for DAW is the range of authors I've met through my publisher. Last year, I wrote about Joshua Palmatier's wonderful Throne of Amenkor series, which I really like. Joshua also writes as Benjamin Tate, and here he is talking about he's latest novel, Well of Sorrows.
ÂHey, thanks to
ÂKari wanted me
ÂIt all started
ÂOf course, she
ÂAnd I was
ÂAt some point,
ÂI started what
ÂAnd then I gave
ÂAnd now I have
And now I have
ÂI had a blast
ÂIn any case, check
Thursday, July 8. 2010
My short story, 'The Fortune-Teller Makes Her Will', is to appear in the forthcoming anthology After Hours: Tales from the Ur Bar, edited by Patricia Bray and Joshua Palmatier, and due from DAW books in March 2011. Here's part of the press release:
"The first bar, created
up in the intrigues and scandals of the 'Poison's Affair'. A young
woman has to choose between herself and her principles in an atmosphere
of danger and betrayal. I had a lot of fun writing it: it's a period
that fascinates me. And I gained a huge piece of inspiration from the
work of artist jeweller Elise Matheson. The title of my story comes from
a beautiful pair of named earrings that I bought from her last autumn.
Look out for me wearing them at a con sometime soon.
Friday, May 7. 2010
I'm getting ready to set out for Oxford for the Write Fantastic Fifth Anniversary Event tomorrow (May 8th) at the Jacqueline du Pre Building, St Hilda's College, Oxford. We have a great programme and line-up of guests and it's going to be a lot of fun. It's now too late to pre-book, but there will be memberships available on the door from 10.00 am and things kick off at 10.30, with an panel on debut writers with Ian Whates, Mike Shevdon, Jenni Hill and me. You can find all the details here: http://www.thewritefantastic.com/anniversary.html
And we're having a book launch for our anthology Anniversaries: stories by the Write Fantastic, published by NewCon Press, at 4 pm. There are brand new stories from all the members -- Sarah Ash, Chaz Brenchley, Juliet McKenna, Jessica Rydill, Freda Warrington, Ian Whates, Liz Williams and me, plus an introduction by Stan Nichols. It's a very limited print run -- only 70 copies -- and some are already pre-sold, so if you want one, come along tomorrow or order from the NewCon Press website here:http://www.newconpress.co.uk/BookDetail/tabid/57/ProdID/20/RtnTab/70/PageIndex/1/CatID/-1/Default.aspx
Photo credit: Phil Nanson
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