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Posts Tagged ‘arts’

The good folks over at The Verge have the list of 2016’s Hugo award winners, complete with links and the complete list of nominees. Lots of women and authors of color this round. All in all, this year’s award race largely shrugged off reactionaries and controversy, a real win for diversity and innovative speculative fiction. Enjoy!

Winner: Best Novel

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Today is Memorial Day in the United States. We’ve been watching classic war movies all weekend, Patton and The Longest Day and A Bridge Too Far. I’m thinking of my stepmother’s father, who campaigned in North Africa and Italy. I’m thinking of one uncle who served and came home with his humor and wits intact, and another who did not.

One set of parents is hosting a party to celebrate the hope of returning summer, another set is at the family plot cleaning graves and laying flowers. Both sides of memory are necessary, in my mind.

Part of what writers do is build creative narratives that interpret life, remember the past, reframe the present, and project into the future. Art is interpretation. Memory is selective. What we remember depends on who we are, and who we hope to be. When we stop telling stories, we start forgetting.

Today’s free fiction is Pamela Sargent’s “Too many memories” from Nature’s Futures division.

You already know what Dorothea’s most important insight was — that the reason our client had so much trouble with her memories was that she possessed no narrative structure on which to locate them.

“There’s no framework there,” Dorothea Singh said to me, “nothing to hang the memories on.”

Today, we are that framework.
 

 

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“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy… you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”

― Stephen King

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The finalists for the 2016 Hugo Awards have been announced! If you’re interested in the best new science fiction today, or just looking to pad your reading list, the Hugo roster is a great place to start.

Check out the complete list at MidAmeriCon II (this year’s Worldcon host). For more on the award and this year’s slate, John Scalzi has a new piece up at the LA Times:

The Hugo finalists: John Scalzi on why the sad puppies can’t take credit for Neil Gaiman’s success*

I’ve read all but one of the candidates for Best Novel, but only two of those for Best Novella and a handful of the remaining works (I’ve seen all but one of the films, though, so quick and digestible, movies!).

If you’re interested in voting for any of this fine fiction to win a Hugo, you’ll need an active membership to Worldcon. (If you aren’t planning to attend the conference, the most accessible way to do this is with a $50 Supporting membership, which comes with many of the nominated works in the Hugo Voter Packet.)

Links to the (mostly not free) nominated stories are available via Locus Online or in Google’s handy summary search sidebar, along with past winners. I’ll add one more link to the free short story nominee at Nature:

Asymmetrical Warfare” by S. R. Algernon (Nature, Mar 2015)

Time to get reading:)

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* Yes, the whole “puppies” kerfuffle remains ongoing, but looks to be less of an issue for this year’s Hugo nominees and going forward. Thankfully!

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Today I want to spotlight a collection of writing advice. It comes via OWW, the Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. OWW is a fee-based workshop but this advice is available to all.

These short essays discuss topics on writing in general, how to get your work read (if you’re into workshops like OWW, or the free Critters or Codex, for example), and the publishing business overall. I like Nicola Griffith’s piece about avoiding cliches:*

Don’t write “her heart stopped” unless you mean she died. Don’t talk about saucy serving wenches in an inn where the beef stew is thick and hearty and the ale is fresh, nutty, and strong… Why aren’t “serving wenches” ever tired, middle-aged women? Why is the beer rarely yellow, or thin, or cloudy with sediment?

So true.** There’s a reason the average human lives a much longer and healthier life than their ancestors did just a century ago:

In Japan, 72 has become the new 30, as the likelihood of a 72-year-old modern-day person dying is the same as a 30-year-old hunter-gatherer ancestor who lived 1.3 million years ago.

Modern sanitation, medicine and quality infrastructure (for those handy extras like clean drinking water) for the win!

So, keep a weather eye out for dangerous and terrifying pitfalls you have to escape in the nick of time as you navigate the winding path of language clichés:) But keep writing. Remember, all’s well that ends well! (And that’s just about enough of that;)

While we’re on the subject of advice, I’ll supplement the OWW site and my previous posts on writing advice with a link from Brain Pickings. This collection of wisdom is from a variety of writers, genre and otherwise:

#49: Neil Gaiman’s Advice to Aspiring Writers
“You have to finish things — that’s what you learn from, you learn by finishing things.”

Some of this advice may not apply to you; I tend not to relate to Bukowski, for example. But some of it may, and I hope it’s useful.

Since I’m throwing in everything but the kitchen sink today, let me close with this great post from Elizabeth Bear: “everybody’s scared of things that they don’t understand and all the living they don’t do.

Accept that there will be a lot of failures along the way, and that you can come back from nearly any mistake that doesn’t involve making a left turn in front of an oncoming semi.

Excellent advice.

Write, rewrite, finish. Do it again.

…………
* Some of the examples are also about uncomfortable -isms. Racism and sexism, for instance, are more problematic than simple clichés and should be resolved at a deeper level. Obviously.
** As a side note, if you’re curious about what and how people ate in the Western Middle Ages, SF Canada writer Krista D. Ball has a detailed and useful book on realism in fantasy food: What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank.

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What’s this, what’s this? Libraries that will let you check out musical instruments plus have a librarian trained to help patrons with the tricky bits? That’s something I like.

Pennsylvania Libraries Will Let You Check Out a Ukulele
There’s a strange sound emerging from some Pennsylvania libraries. It’s not the sound of pages turning or scanners scanning—it’s the distinctive dainty, nimble strum that comes from a ukulele.

Even in the age of the internet libraries are incredible resources, and this just adds to the awesome. Not that I play ukelele, but that’s kind of the point. Libraries let you sample a wide variety of knowledge, experience, and perspectives. Yesterday a Moroccan cookbook, today space opera, tomorrow ukelele:)

How great is that?

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David Bowie 1947–2016

Bowie was a great artist and an inspiration to so many, including those of us in the science and science fiction communities. A lot will be written about him in the next while so I’ll just leave you with one small sign of his influence, on and off the planet.

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