23 September 2010

Swallowed Up

MMOs are magnificent timesucks. Final Fantasy XIV launched yesterday, and I will be buried in it for some time, but fortunately I usually come up for air after an initial period of concentrated devotion. If nothing else, it's a nice distraction during the last couple of weeks before my self-imposed deadline. That's been extraordinarily difficult not to obsess about lately.

Soon now.

14 September 2010

Terry Pratchett: "I Shall Wear Midnight"

Looking at the list of Discworld novels inside the cover of this particular volume, I saw that it, like all the Tiffany Aching books, was noted as being 'for young readers'. All through reading the book, I wondered what it was that made it 'for young readers'. Were the concepts less complex? The language less advanced? Mature subjects carefully excised? Eventually I decided that the only thing that made "I Shall Wear Midnight" 'for young readers' was the fact that the narrator was not quite sixteen.

Classification by age of narrator is something of a bugbear for me, since my novels sometimes have both a teen and an adult narrator and thus apparently don't quite fit. Ah well.

Thoroughly enjoyed the book. There's very few long-running series which get better as they go along, but Discworld is definitely one.

07 September 2010

AussieCon Wrapped

Panels attended, art viewed, old friends caught up with. A satisfying resolution to the convention.

I was impressed at how readily some of the panellists - who appear to do this every year at multiple cons - would cheerfully talk about subjects which they have surely discussed over and to eternity. They were rarely boring on any subject.

My favourite session was surely the Girl Genius Live Reading, which was a great deal of fun. Oddly, my second-favourite was the last scheduled session I wanted to attend ("The Bechdel Test and Fantasy Literature"). 'Oddly' because the panelists didn't show up and a cancellation notice had been hung up outside the door. But scribbled boldly on the notice was "We're running it ourselves!" and inside the rows of chairs lined obediently up before the panellists' table had been transformed into a rough circle where the would-be audience held its own discussion on the Bechdel Test in fantasy literature - and very successfully I would say. I suspect a swag of us had spent the convention itching to put our own two cents in, so it was an excellent way to end the sessions.

Conventions are not something I do every year, which keeps them fresh and interesting to me when I do get to one (or one comes to Australia, since I don't often travel off-shore). The attendance at WorldCons is very small compared to more media-based conventions, but the focus on books is what draws me.

Next year's is in Reno, Nevada, which sounds like a nice place to check out, but I'm unlikely to get to it, unfortunately. I wonder if the London bid for 2014 will pan out?

05 September 2010

Covering Cons

WorldCon is grinding to a close - only one day to go. I've been attending various panels where the discussion members have been cover artists, and their frustration at declining budgets and the rise of photograph covers was palpable.

While the cover is not the book, they have always been an important part of the book for me. I've seen some spectacular photographed covers, but I far prefer painted, and certainly sympathise with artists who are shut down by marketing people merely for asking a question, or daring to want to talk to the author. Fortunately this attitude doesn't appear universal in publishing, but it must be uncomfortable to work in such a situation.

The panels were also very informative regarding how the covers are laid out and composed. I do enjoy learning something useful.

Three Skips

I started accruing my book collection in my late teens.  Not too many early on, since I moved house a lot.  A couple of shelves of books.  T...