First big date since the launch. Kilbirnie Library is having a Science Fiction/Fantasy reading evening on Thursday the 25th. That’s this week! Other great NZ writers reading are Dan Rabarts, Lee Murray and Paul Mannering. So for anyone devoted enough to want to hear me read from The Sovereign Hand, and maybe a bit of chitter-chatter on the side, drop on by.
For more on these authors, try
Lee Murray – http://www.leemurray.info
Paul Mannering – http://manneringbooks.com
Dan Rabarts – http://dan.rabarts.com
Also, I’m reliably informed there should be an article about me and The Sovereign Hand in this weekend’s Dominion Post and (I guess) Christchurch Press. Blush.
The Sovereign Hand has been receiving some good coverage locally, including a nice interview and piece in the Kapiti Observer. If you’re following your nose here from those stories, welcome! And see here for a guide on the best places to buy.
Also just seen the latest review, in the Herald on Sunday (7th of Sept), as reported here on Bookiemonster, and it couldn’t be sweeter given the column-width available -can’t complain about comparisons with Gormenghast and China Miéville.
(Just my luck, though, the Herald screwed up their links and has the previous week’s reviews up on the link for the 7th. Sigh. I musta broken a mirror or walked under a ladder or something the last few years.)
One thing I spoke about at the launch was my experience in discussing the book with someone for the first time.
One type of response was polite interest, knowing that I had a degree in boring old politics – then the listener perking up when they heard it was a fantasy.
The other was the reverse of this – effectively, if you want to write something important, why fantasy?
Well consider the alternative, if I set a story about personal and state power and the nature of authority, in our “real world. In New York. Moscow. Baghdad. Just from those words, the reader immediately summons an entire pre-constructed world of meaning full of assumptions. Literally, cultural baggage. If the author’s reality and the reader’s do not match, communication is affected. In fact, viewpoints may differ so greatly the only transmission of ideas might be the book flying, thrown by the reader across the room.
By writing and reading in fantasy, it’s like we make a pact, giving each other permission to imagine and question in ways that might conflict with everyday assumptions. This is not so important with what I call “Tree of Life” stories; but it is essential when you are deconstructing big ideas around the “Book of the World”. Our world resists deconstruction, so you have to take that task elsewhere. If I make that new world welcoming to the reader, don’t disrupt with too-intricate world-building, tap into the familiar, keep to what I know is true, I get a chance at a clean slate, and maybe the reader can discover something new.
And also have some epic quests and cool monsters along the way.