A few weeks ago, at Conflux, I happened into a conversation with the delightful Marisol and we discovered a mutual passion for Pern (among other things, like Doctor Who — Marisol is good people… 🙂 ). When she mentioned she really thought it was time she reread the series, I realised that although McCaffrey and Pern were definitely formative in my early years of reading speculative fiction (I talk about that in the SF Signal post on “The books that made us love science fiction and fantasy”), I hadn’t revisited the world for a really long time. So I suggested that not only should we both reread the books, but we totally needed to blog about that!
In the weeks ahead, Marisol and I will be chatting about our discoveries in the world of Pern as we work our way through the series once more. We’ve chosen to read only the novels (although we may have to take a look at one or two of the short stories, just because…), only the books written by Anne herself, and we’re going basically in publication order (as opposed to internal chronological order), as Anne preferred them to be read.
First up will be Dragonflight — join us so that you, like me, can be stunned by the fact this book was published almost fifty years ago…
Author of the new short story collection Striking Fire, Dirk Flinthart, has been diving into his archives and posting some free fiction on his website. Highly recommended if you would like a taste of his work!
Dirk has also been posting some musings on the dimensions of storytelling:
Part 1: Telling Stories
Part 2: The Nifty Idea
Part 3: Make It Bleed
He says some pretty interesting things about writing and stories, and I recommend the posts highly!
Also around the traps, Matthew Morrison has reviewed Insert Title Here, saying: “There are some amazing, even must read, short stories within.”
Thanks to everyone who takes the time to review our books — it’s hugely appreciated!
Editor Tehani is in very excellent company in the SF Mind Meld asking the question “The books that made us love science fiction and fantasy” (and is super excited to be part of her first Mind Meld!).
Stephanie Gunn reviewed Insert Title Here for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2015 (not all the contributors are women, or Australian, but we appreciate her including it!). Stephanie says she “loved the darkness of this anthology … and all of the stories were worthwhile reading” and “…this is an extremely strong collection. The stories are varied, and I suspect that most readers will find at least one or two which speaks to them. Highly recommended.” Cheers Stephanie!
Ju at The Conversationalist comprehensively reviewed Cranky Ladies of History and notes: This book is both a pleasure to read, and gives you some small insight into the historical significance of several women, mostly those who are forgotten by modern history. It’s not that the book is educational exactly, but it does make you want to learn more, to study these women and their lives.
Speaking of Cranky Ladies, we currently have a Goodreads giveaway open internationally for two copies! Even if you already have one, they make excellent gifts, and Christmas is coming…
A different Stephanie reviewed Phantazein a while ago, over at the No Award blog, noting that it “expands beyond Western fairytales” and is a “fun read”. Thanks Steph!
Delighted to see stories from Phantazein in Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year Recommended Reading list, including Faith Mudge’s “Twelve” and Suzanne J Willis’s “Rag and Bone Heart”. Several other Aussies and plenty of great company on that list too!
Angela Slatter is interviewing the contributors to Focus 2014 over at her blog. Check them out here.
Alex Pierce includes some FableCroft news in her latest Aurora Australis column at Tor.com.
While we were in Sydney over the weekend, attending the NSW Writers Centre’s Speculative Fiction Festival (see my Storify here), the Future Fire’s comprehensive review of Cranky Ladies of History hit the internet. Reviewer Valerie Vitale had some thoughtful comments, including: “…a collection of stories definitely worth reading … informative and very engaging on an emotional level. It is a fascinating and inspiring parade of great women…”
Our most recent re-release, Glenda Larke’s Havenstar has also been getting some new love, with reviewers on Amazon saying things like: “Larke has created a fantastic yet thoroughly credible world…” and “I cannot recommend this book too highly.”
And I just came across this snappy review for Insert Title Here via Amazon, in which the reviewer calls the book: “literate and entertaining”
The short ones are appreciated too, thank you readers!
It’s always a buzz when new reviews come in for our books, so I can’t quite believe I neglected to post about this first one for Phantazein from SQ Mag when it was published in April! Among other wonderful things, reviewer Sophie Yorkson says: Each and every one of the stories in Phantazein leapt off the page at me with a vivacity and clarity of storytelling.
Thanks Sophie! And thanks also to reviewer Rivqa on Goodreads who said the book is: Beautiful and glorious. Stories to linger in the quiet corners of one’s mind.
Stephanie Gunn reviewed Cranky Ladies of History for the Australian Women Writers Challenge, unpacking the book quite comprehensively and saying: …all of the stories in this book are excellent … I’d like to think that somewhere in the past, these women are looking up and thanking the authors and editors for shining a light on them in all of their glorious crankiness.
We also have not one but TWO reviews in the new issue of Aurealis magazine (#81). Deanne Sheldon-Collins looked at Cranky Ladies of History and notes that the book: showcases historical fiction, but touches of surrealism and folklore embrace the speculative nature of rewriting history.
Deanne also reviewed Insert Title Here, recommending that: If you want immersing but varied fiction, insert this title into your reading list.
As always, a massive thank you to every single person who takes the time to review one of our books, whether extensively or just a few sentences on Goodreads or Amazon etc – it’s so very appreciated!
Alex Pierce reviewed Cranky Ladies of History over at Goodreads and said so many lovely things, including (among a glimpse of each story in the volume): Look, it’s just great. A wonderful range of stories, of women, of styles, of close-to-history and far (but still with that element of Truthiness). Thanks Alex!
Tsana of Tsana Reads and Reviews also gave Cranky Ladies the thumbs up, saying: …interesting and fascinating are the two words that best describe this collection.
Guy Salvidge wrote a comprehensive piece on Epilogue for Bruce Gillespie’s SF Commentary #89, and noted that: It’s a testament to the strength of the Australian speculative fiction field these days that’s there not one weak story in the anthology…
Thanks to you all, and to everyone who takes the time to review one of our books – it is always appreciated!
Wonderful intern Katharine and I joined a large number of our favourite people in Melbourne for Continuum 11 last weekend. We had a great time, were on some panels, and enjoyed chatting with (and selling some books to) the con-goers throughout the weekend. In lieu of a proper con write-up, I did a Storify 🙂
River from Cherry Blossoms and Maple Syrup did a lovely little review of Phantazein, saying: My favourite story in the collection easily was The Nameless Seamstress by Gitte Christensen. Such a vivid and gripping story about a seamstress! Also Tansy Rayner Roberts did a story and it was also made of fabulous. Seriously, there’s some fantastic stories in this collection, and it’s worth checking out.
It was delightful to see a great review of Cranky Ladies of History over at Marianne de Pierres’ website, where reviewer A.V. Mather notes that the “contributing authors are as talented and diverse a group as you could expect to find in Speculative Fiction today” and that “What you have here is a treasure chest in which you will find a very eclectic collection of sharp and glittering delights…”
Thank you both, and to everyone who takes the time to review one of our books – it is most appreciated!
We would like to draw your attention to the fact that Cranky Ladies editors Tansy and Tehani will be joined by a number of the authors from the book to chat about various cranky ladies of history on a panel at the Continuum 11 convention in Melbourne this weekend! Our panel is at 6pm on Sunday June 7, but the whole program looks absolutely amazing! Tansy is one of the guests of honour at this convention, and will be talking herself hoarse on a bunch of great topics, and you can find Tehani on several other panels, or in the Dealer Room peddling books for most of the weekend. Hope to see you there!
A nice mix of new reviews to report – thank you as always to the amazing readers who take the time to share their thoughts.
In a truly wonderful review of Cranky Ladies of History over at Goodreads, Catherine Heloise notes (among lots of other lovely things) that: the truly impressive thing about this anthology was that there really were no weak stories. Every story was compelling and fascinating in a different way; some were strict historical fiction, others had a touch of fantasy, fairy tale, myth, or even science fiction to them, and all were ordered with a keen eye to the stories that surrounded them. I’m not sure how best to describe this, but in my experience, at least, it’s rare to find an anthology which is put together in such a satisfying way.
Over at Marianne de Pierres’ blog, Joelene Pynnonen reviews Insert Title Here, noting it has: …consistently astounding world-building. Story after story explores unfamiliar realms – and story after story succeeds in making those realms blindingly convincing. As the title suggests, the possibilities in these stories are endless, and some of the worlds are so lovingly rendered that they would be more suited to a novel.
In a lovely review of Phantazein in Aurealis #79, Deanne Sheldon-Collins calls the book: Atmospheric and lyrical, confronting but readable, it proves that even something not meant to exist can be worthwhile.
Cybelle over at Heroines of Fantasy discussed Guardian, calling it: “an outstandingly engaging read and works well as a stand-alone novel” and noting that “the pacing of this novel is impressive, and the characters are wonderfully rich”.
We’re chuffed to see some wonderful reviews of Cranky Ladies out there. One new one is from Marlene at Reading Reality, who says of the book: The historical women in these stories kicked ass and took names. Sometimes literally, sometimes just figuratively. They are individually and collectively awesome, even if they are not all familiar.
It’s not all about Cranky Ladies though. Our new unthemed anthology, Insert Title Here, is also getting some love!
Katharine at VentureAdlaxre reckons of Insert Title Here that: every single story is heart-breaking or grim or absurdly strange and wonderful, and all are incredibly readable.
Speaking of Insert Title Here, you can win one of two copies over at Goodreads – enter here!
Thanks to the always-on-top-of-things VentureAdlaxre, we have our first review of Cranky Ladies of History (due out March 8)! Absolutely delighted to see she loved it, with a comprehensive five-star review! Among other things, she says of various pieces: “…a gentle and beautiful piece of writing…”, “…rich in culture and a joy to read…”, “…a light touch yet with a depth of thought…”.
A short review of Jo Anderton’s Guardian by reader John on Goodreads has this great line: This is sci-fi done right.
Alex Pierce reviews One Small Step, saying: …a who’s who of established and emerging Australian writers, too, which is a total delight.
Over at Beyond the Dreamline, Faith calls Splashdance Silver: definitely funny…a bouncy, airy charm.