Cover Reveal: The Rebirth of Rapunzel by Kate Forsyth

We were very happy to send the final files for our forthcoming publication, The Rebirth of Rapunzel: A Mythic Biography of the Maiden in the Tower by Kate Forsyth, off to the printer this evening, and would now like to share the beautiful cover with you. Kathleen Jennings has once again done an outstanding job in creating distinctive and unique design elements for a stunning cover!

Rapunzel Cover

The book will be launched at Contact in Brisbane on the Easter weekend, and will be available in hardcover and ebook. Keep an eye out for a promo giveaway soon!

Ditmar Voters, get your free fiction here!

ITH CoverTo help Ditmar voters make a choice between all the amazing finalists on the ballot, we’re offering a free download of “2B” by Joanne Anderton (from Insert Title Here) and “Look How Cold My Hands Are” by Deborah Biancotti (from Cranky Ladies of History), both shortlisted for the Best Short Story category.

To download your copy, click here.

This link will be live until Ditmar voting closes – ENJOY! And if you love the stories, keep in mind that the books they come from are just as awesome, and you can grab them in print or ebook from your favourite retailer, or at the FableCroft shop page!

9780992553456

We have some good news and we have some bad news…

The good news is that our wonderful designer Amanda Rainey has given us a peek at her draft for the cover of the forthcoming In Your Face anthology, and it is just as confronting and striking as we could have wished. Check it out!

​And now the bad news. Due to many reasons, some beyond our control, we’ve had to delay the release of In Your Face. We’re now aiming for an official launch at Continuum in Melbourne on the June long weekend. We want the book to be the best it can be, and know that the June release date will help make it be so. We thank our Pozible campaign backers again for their amazing support, and look forward to bringing the book to you all.

Revisiting Pern, the great McCaffrey reread: RED STAR RISING (or) DRAGONSEYE

Tehani and Marisol bonded over Pern (and Doctor Who) at a science fiction convention, decided that it was time for a reread of the series, and really, they should blog about that. They are reading in Anne McCaffrey’s preferred way, which is basically publication order.  

gl49of4nx3uzug5weu1fPern Series – The Chronicles of Pern: Red Star Rising

T: This was the first time in the reread I felt like I was reading a book for the first time. It’s NOT the first time I’ve read it, of course, but I had so little recollection of the events of the story it was like coming to it fresh. I think that was partly because all of the characters are new, so there was no context for the story outside of Pern itself?

M: I felt the same! The rest of the series really focuses around two different time periods, right around First Fall and ‘current’ era. I really enjoyed seeing the societal changes (and what’d remained the same).

It made me wonder if Anne had had more time if she’d have kept filling in the timeline, or kept with only forward stories.

T: I imagine that would probably have happened, yes. Although there would have been no objections from me if she’d had a brilliant idea for a story about the “next generation” after Jaxom, Lessa, F’lar, Menolly, Piemur etc, either!

McCaffrey_dragonseyeM: Another fun aspect in this book is how there’s more mentions of what happened pre-Pern. There wasn’t a lot in Dragonsdawn, like you’d expect. In particular, there’s a conversation between the what will someday be Harpers regarding professors and instructors only being respected on Earth after allowed use classroom discipline and stunners. It’s one of the only predictive future bits we ever hear about old Earth in her books, and I found it oddly fascinating given the escalating violence concerns in schools now. Perhaps she’ll have the right of it. Continue reading “Revisiting Pern, the great McCaffrey reread: RED STAR RISING (or) DRAGONSEYE”

Huge congratulations to all the Aurealis and Ditmar Awards finalists!

AA logoWe’re ecstatic to see several FableCroft mentions on the 2015 Aurealis Awards and 2016 Ditmar Awards (covering the same year of work…) shortlists.

In the Aurealis Awards, special mention to Dirk Flinthart, finalist for Best Collection for Striking Fire AND for Best Horror Novella with “Night Shift” from the collection,  Joanne Anderton, shortlisted for Best Science Fiction Short Story with “2B”, and DK Mok, shortlisted for Best Fantasy Short Story with “Almost Days” (both stories being from Insert Title Here). It’s also super exciting to see Focus 2014: highlights of Australian short fiction on the Best Anthology list.

The complete shortlists are available on the Aurealis Awards website, and showcase some of the absolute best of Australian writing produced in 2015 – such an honour to be part of it!

For the Ditmars, it’s fantastic to see Joanne Anderton double up with “2B” on the Best Short Story ballot, alongside Deborah Biancotti’s creepy Cranky Ladies of History story “Look How Cold My Hands Are”. The Cranky Ladies anthology also made the Best Collected Work ballot, and Kathleen Jennings’ gorgeous cover and internals for the book are shortlisted for Best Artwork. Editor Tehani Wessely is also on the ballot for the William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review for both the team efforts of “Squeeing Over Supergirl” (with David McDonald) and “Reviewing New Who” (with David McDonald and Tansy Rayner Roberts). If you were a member of Swancon last year, or of Contact 2016 this year, you are eligible to vote, so please do (for ANY of the fabulous work shortlisted!).

Congratulations to everyone appearing on these shortlists – it really shows the strength of Australian speculative fiction.

Revisiting Pern, the great McCaffrey reread: THE DOLPHINS OF PERN

Tehani and Marisol bonded over Pern (and Doctor Who) at a science fiction convention, decided that it was time for a reread of the series, and really, they should blog about that. They are reading in Anne McCaffrey’s preferred way, which is basically publication order.  

gl49of4nx3uzug5weu1fPern Series – The Dolphins of Pern

M: This was one of my favorite Pern books growing up, and after reading it, I’d still say it’s in the top 5. I really enjoy seeing the fallout AIVAS caused on all of Pern, and this is a special subset affected – those who love dolphins and want to reestablish a working relationship with them.

(I was raised on a steady diet of Flipper and The Little Mermaid, so it’s no surprise I enjoyed a story about dolphins. Which, like other sea mammals, seem horribly underrepresented in sci-fi/fantasy until recently. I guess I’m not the only one who finds them fascinating.)

T: Flipper? You watched FLIPPER? Woah. (I didn’t really get to watch that show, as our television access was spotty, to say the least, when I was a kid!). I’ve always loved dolphins too, so yes, having a book ostensibly about a society revolving around dragons being about dolphins was pretty much going to hit about a million of my “yes please” buttons!

M: Hell yeah! Flipper was on Nickelodeon, I loved all of its cheesy glory.  

In what has become an unfortunate theme in this series, though, I’m really unimpressed with the showcasing of women in this book. In particular, I find the portrayal of Readis’s mother, Aramina, who has previously been this strong, confident woman, into a shrinking fearful for my baaaaaby mother, infuriating. The woman goes through kidnapping, betrayal, holdessness, survives the trip to the Southern Continent, but loses her brain over one of her four kids? She doesn’t do anything to her other kids at all to back up the big shift in her attitude, and overall just found it to be disappointing.

9781423357421T: *sigh* Yes. That characterisation was really off. McCaffrey seemed to work really hard to explain Aramina’s attitude but it just didn’t fly. I could get it to a certain point, because in her own short story and in Renegades, there were some aspects of her personality that could lend themselves to her becoming overprotective and handling things in a way that might seem strange, but she really does go over the top, and it makes no sense in the context of the life they lead. It makes less sense that Jayge never addresses it with her and Readis, or that Alemi doesn’t prod him to do so!

M: Exactly!  Where is the changeover? It’s like she goes from zero to ninety in no space. It makes her come off a bit crazy. And the fact everyone else either never acknowledges it or handwaves it away is so out of character.

And other than that, we get short bits with Menolly and Mirrim, and stand-in characters for sisters, etc. We’ve hit this point where women are becoming equal, at least that’s what we’re being fed, so where are they?

T: Well, as you know Marisol, the perception of women as equal is really at about 15%, right? 😛 I think I forgave this one a little more than I should have, reading your comments now, because it didn’t bother me while I read it. Possibly that was a little in part due to the fact I really like Alemi as a character, and he plays a significant role. I fear I may have done that thing where you think there are more female characters than there are when a few a randomly mentioned by name and have a bit to do (such as Temma, for example). But you are definitely right. Like, why couldn’t Persellan, the healer, have been a woman, to give us another reasonably important character?

M: I’ve wondered if one of the girls had been the eldest and the planned holder if we could have had the exact same story, and I don’t see why not, other than she’d be the first female Holder. Which would have made for a better story/angle, far more believable than a sudden fear of Readis and a watery grave simply because he was in one storm. Continue reading “Revisiting Pern, the great McCaffrey reread: THE DOLPHINS OF PERN”

Revisiting Pern, the great McCaffrey reread: THE CHRONICLES OF PERN: FIRST FALL

Tehani and Marisol bonded over Pern (and Doctor Who) at a science fiction convention, decided that it was time for a reread of the series, and really, they should blog about that. They are reading in Anne McCaffrey’s preferred way, which is basically publication order.  

gl49of4nx3uzug5weu1fPern Series – The Chronicles of Pern: First Fall

T: Well it turns out that most of what’s in this book is basically half of what I (mis)remembered as being in Dragonsdawn. Even the first story, “The Survey: P.E.R.N.”, which is about the survey ship that first found the planet, could have been a prologue in Dragonsdawn. The last piece, “Rescue Run” in which a ship comes across the distress beacon Ted Tubberman sent out and finds a despotic Stev Kimmer still alive and awaiting rescue, reads as a final epilogue to that same book. The other three pieces, “The Dolphins’ Bell”, “The Ford of Red Hanrahan” and “The Second Weyr” honestly read to me like they were edited out of Dragonsdawn for length!

M: I wondered the same thing – were these all edits taken out, or afterthoughts she’d never been able to put in? Some of the detailing, like with Tillek and the dolphins in “The Dolphin’s Bell”, would have dragged the book out, I suspect. Then again, “The Second Weyr” wouldn’t have really fit the arc in Dragonsdawn. I actually would have loved a dragon-focused book based on that time period rather than more survivor-based, as my love of Pern comes from the dragons and the way that impacts everything.

T: I agree they wouldn’t have fit in to Dragonsdawn but you can certainly see where they could have gone. And I agree that we got a bit shortchanged on the first dragons – there was so much potential to explore there!

220px-TheChroniclesOfPernFirstFallM: This was my first time reading these stories, so I had no idea that Kimmer lived. What a jerkoff! I mean, the whole story was great, because it was like reading a what-if, post-apocalypse spin-off. The idea no one else survived except Kimmer and his small harem is both a great what if and a bit of a trainwreck read. All of these emotions came pouring out for me as I relived his part in the betrayal of the first colony, and quite a bit of sadness as I realized Benden, Admiral Bendon’s survivor, would never have a chance to find out that he did survive, do all of these great things, and Kimmer was wrong.

T: Maybe I didn’t want to look too closely at it, but I couldn’t quite figure out the family generations of the little lost colony – a bit ick to say the least! I had read it before, more than once, and it still surprised me! I’d forgotten entirely.

M: Plus, there is that deeply delicious I wish slice of revenge pie. Kimmer would have an apoplexy if he saw what happened to the colonists. Then again, there’s a part of me that has wondered if he lied so well about them dying that he believed it, too… He’d be the sole survivor with Avril’s plan to leave with riches galore. Smart tactic. For a jerkoff.

T: I think it was clear in Dragonsdawn that he was smart (cunning, perhaps?) but I didn’t peg him as being *quite* that selfish and self-centred. I guess thinking you’re the only survivors of the apocalypse wouldn’t have helped his mental state.

96463M: “Survey” was short and sweet; and really, it had no place here. It would have been a better read as a prologue or first chapter in the last book than the rehashed synopsis we received in Dragonsdawn. I felt like the information about the survey came up an awful lot in the book, and I think this would have done a better job cementing the idea than the rehashings.

T: I was a bit disappointed in “Survey”, because it contradicts information about Avril that we get in Dragonsdawn. That should have been fact-checked! Although I like the idea that part of the reason the survey was incomplete was the shortage of qualified team members.

M: Confession time: I have a super large love affair with The Dolphins of Pern. Something I’m wondering if I will cringe at as I read it for the first time in, oh, ten years? Probably longer. I read it in middle and high school, when I dreamed daily of being taken away by talking animals to any place that didn’t include football and cheerleaders. Coming from that love of dolphins and that book in particular, I found myself much less enthused reading the short story. It was far more interesting to read about Tillek and Theo, and that development than the dolphins.

61935T: “The Dolphin’s Bell” is probably more interesting read with The Dolphins of Pern in your head, though, because it’s absolutely fascinating to see how that group maintained their societal structure through the centuries! Theo and Tillek were interesting, yes, but why did there have to be such an age difference? She’s VERY young for him!

M: True, but seeing an age gap couple that no one put down was refreshing. Although I would have enjoyed a role reversal. Seems people always ok the older man with younger girl, but not the reverse. I guess that wouldn’t work well for their populating ways though, haha.

In my dream world, if we’d had “The Ford of Red Hanrahan” and “The Second Weyr” put in a book, I could have had that dragon story post settling the north. It’s enough to make me wistfully sigh, because you know even back then publishers didn’t appreciate what an amazing story world (aka moneymaker) they had in Pern.

T: I agree – more about the first Benden Weyr team, and the expansion of the weyrs in general, would have made a great book. More Sorka and Sean! More about how the Weyr society evolved! Because that’s a quite thought-provoking element of the books, the fact that Weyr life is rather different and generally more open than Hold life. More needed!

I think “The Ford of Red Hanrahan” is my favourite story in the book. I’m a Ruatha fan, as we’re positioned to be as readers, and I really do love this story about its origins.

M: It’s funny, because I love sci-fi stories, and I love the sci-fi elements to Pern, but reading the previous book was the most tedious still, and reading these non-dragon stories was not a favorite. I mean, I love story backgrounds and flavoring as much as the next nerd, but because so much of this was well intoned in the first books, I felt like I didn’t learn enough that was ‘new’, as ridiculous as it may seem.

T: Not ridiculous! It was a fleshing out of backstory, with only a few surprises, which can be a problem of prequels, I guess. And it’s also the contrast of a novel to a bunch of loosely connected stories – a different reading experience. I enjoyed revisiting it, but I definitely wanted more depth for most of the stories.

mccaf1rlPreviously, in the Great Pern Reread of 2015:

Dragonflight

Dragonquest

The Harper Hall trilogy (Dragonsong, Dragonsinger, Dragondrums)

The White Dragon

Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern / Nerilka’s Story

Dragonsdawn

The Renegades of Pern

All the Weyrs of Pern