speculative visionscience fiction and fantasy

 
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starweaver
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March reading
   Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:44 am

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March reading

Permanent Linkby starweaver on Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:44 am

Books:
** The 10% Solution: Self-Editing for the Modern Writer by Ken Rand
**** Fantasists on Fantasy edited by Robert H. Boyer and Kenneth J. Zahorski
**** The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction by Ursula K. Le Guin
***** Wild Seed by Octavia E. Butler

Stories:
**** "Getting Real" by Harry Turtledove
***** "The Curandero and the Swede: A Tale from the 1001 American Nights" by Daniel Abraham
*** "Glory" by Greg Egan
*** "Obsidian Shards" by Aliette de Bodard
***** "The Second Gift Given" by Ken Scholes
*** "Impractical Cats" by K. D. Wentworth
*** "The Unstrung Zither" by Yoon Ha Lee
*** "Herding Vegetable Sheep" by Ekaterina Sedia
*** "The Urn of Ravalos" by Rebecca Day
**** "Miss Cubbidge and the Dragon of Romance" by Lord Dunsany

Quick Takes:

The...

[ Continued ]

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February reading

Permanent Linkby starweaver on Sat Feb 28, 2009 4:03 pm

Books:
**** Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
**** The Mythic Bestiary: The Illustrated Guide to the World's Most Fantastical Creatures by Tony Allan

Stories:
*** "Winding Broomcorn" by Mario Milosovic
** "Catalog" by Eugene Mirabelli
*** "Dragon's-Eyes" by Margaret Ronald
*** "Intelligence" by R. Neube
** "Of Thinking Being and Beast" by Michael J. DeLuca
**** "The Fort in Vermont" by David A. Simons
***** "A Heretic by Degrees" by Marie Brennan
**** "Slow Stampede" by Sara Genge
*** "The Night We Buried Road Dog" by Jack Cady
**** "Golden Pepper" by Jay Lake
*** "Pi" by Mette Ivie Harrison
**** "Act One" by Nancy Kress
**** "Hangman" by Erin Cashier
*** "Whatness" by Benjamin Crowell
** "The Long, Cold Goodbye" by Holly Phillips

Quick Takes

Ender's Game by Orson...

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Quick Takes on some of my January reading

Permanent Linkby starweaver on Thu Feb 12, 2009 12:43 pm

The Other Wind by Ursula K. LeGuin: I read the original Earthsea trilogy in the 1970s, and loved it. I read Tehanu when it came out, and enjoyed visiting Earthsea again, although that novel seemed less magical, more mainstream in a way. I encountered The Other Wind in a used book store a view years back, and finally got around to reading it. The book explores several themes that permeate Earthsea: the nature of dragons, the nature of death (and the differing understandings of it in the Archipelago and the Kargad lands), and the origins of magic. She ties these things together in a satisfying way, and the narrative is a pleasure to read. The book's shortcoming, for me, is that the cast of characters (Ged, Tenar, Lebannen, Tehanu) is essentially handed down from earlier books. They each contribute a bit to the story, but there is no one here who really captures our attention, no viewpoint character or protagonist.

"The Merchant and the Alchemist Gate" by...

[ Continued ]

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January reading

Permanent Linkby starweaver on Sun Feb 01, 2009 11:24 am

Books:
**** The Other Wind by Ursula K. LeGuin

Stories:
**** "Sweetly the Dragon Dreams" by David Farland
*** "The Tile Setters" by Ami Chopine
***** "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate" by Ted Chiang
**** "The Last and Only or Mr. Moscowitz Becomes French" by Peter S. Beagle
*** "Prime Time" by Douglas Texter
**** "The Sun God at Dawn, Rising from a Lotus Blossom" by Andrea Kail
*** "The Frozen Sky" by Jeff Carlson
** "The Absence of Stars" (Part One) by Greg Siewert
** "Trunk and Disorderly" by Charles Stross
*** "The Texas Bake Sale" by Charles Coleman Finlay
***** "The Stone Cipher" by Tony Pi
***** "Dance of Shadows" by Fred Chappell
***** "The Robot Sorceror" by Eric James Stone
*** "The Gnomes Are Coast Guards" by Chantel Tattoli
***** "Shadow of the Valley" by Fred Chappell

My ratings:
***** excellent: memorable, satisfying, a...

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Writer's Alchemy

Permanent Linkby starweaver on Thu Jan 22, 2009 9:32 am

Since I've been writing with more discipline lately, instead of waiting for bursts of inspiration, I've come to see the process a little differently.

Some writers work very organically or spontaneously. They start with a character or a premise and just start writing and see what happens. My own inclinations have always been to be a bit more premeditated than that. I say "a bit more" because I certainly don't have everything worked out in advance, but I do like to have a clear notion of where the story is going, what the characters are like, and what the pivotal points in the plot are. If the story takes place in an unfamiliar setting, I also like to do a little world-building before I start.

What I've been noticing is that something very magic often takes place somewhere during the writing process. The story becomes more than the sum of its parts; it delivers more than I've consciously put into it. This can happen gradually as the story develops, or it can feel like it's happening...

[ Continued ]

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