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madrobins July 24 2014, 07:00

London Calling

For those who think about these things, here's my Loncon schedule.  It's fairly light, but that means I get to go see other people's readings and panels and...

... and London.  Second favorite city in the world.  And outside my door, a whole city's worth of research on Sarah Tolerance's London.

Reading: Madeleine Eve Robins

Thursday 12:00 - 12:30, London Suite 1 (ExCeL)

Alternative Publishing Models

Friday 19:00 - 20:00, Capital Suite 7+12 (ExCeL)

Between the disappearance of independent bookshops, the dominance of Amazon, the rise of ebooks and the popularisation of crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, publishing is at a crossroads. As the traditional channels for selling books are shrinking and homogenising by the year, so technology is opening up new possibilities. Who sets the trends now? How close are the self-publishing success stories to the experience of the average 'indie' author? In a world of cut-price Kindle-only books jostling for attention in a crowded marketplace, is it easier or harder these days for new books to stand out from the crowd? And while Kickstarter offers the chance for less commercially viable works to be funded, how do you convince an audience to back you, and how do you go beyond that market once the book is available?

Marcus Gipps (M)(marcus.gipps@orionbooks.co.uk) , Francesca T. Barbini, Madeleine Eve Robins(madrobins@comcast.net) , Alex Ingram(Alex.Ingram@nuttyxander.com) , Devin Madson(devin@devinmadson.com) , Myra Çakan


Sunday 13:00 - 14:00, London Suite 5 (ExCeL)

I always wonder about signing up for Kaffeeklatsches, but the last time I went to an overseas Worldcon I was surprised to find myself fully booked.  So who knows.

Now, which shall I read from: the San Francisco fantasy or the new Sara Tolerance?

ninharris posted to specficmarkets July 24 2014, 05:44

Calls for Submission: Delinquent's Spice &Truancy!

New calls for submissions! Delinquent's Spice & Truancy are two microzines focused on diverse, inclusive and hybrid retellings of folktales/fairytales. Delinquent's Spice (hypertext, collaborative storytelling project:formerly Demeter's Spicebox)'s reading period opens in October. Truancy's reading period is now open. Do check it out.

Submissions calls for two new folk and fairytale microzines:http://delinquentspice.com

inverarity posted to fantasywithbite July 24 2014, 01:49

Wakulla Springs, by Andy Duncan and Ellen Kages

A multi-generational, literary tale of Hollywood monsters and Jim Crow.

Wakulla Springs

Tor, 2013, 99 pages. Available online at tor.com.

Wakulla Springs. A strange and unknown world, this secret treasure lies hidden in the jungle of northern Florida. In its unfathomable depths, a variety of curious creatures have left a record of their coming, of their struggle to survive, and of their eventual end. Twenty-five thousand years after they disappeared from the face of the Earth, the bones of prehistoric mastodons, giant armadillos, and other primeval monsters have been found beneath the seemingly placid surface of the lagoon. The visitor to this magical place enters a timeless world of mystery.

A dreamy, magical piece of historical fiction...but is it fantasy?

My complete list of book reviews.
jenn_calaelen posted to yuletide_admin July 23 2014, 19:16

RPF - What should be considered a fandom for Yuletide purposes

We are looking for input from people who request or offer RPF fandoms in Yuletide, because RPF fandoms aren't clearly defined.

For eligibility we'll be looking at the number of stories in each fandom, and the number of stories tagged for particular characters. Character eligibility will not be on a fandom by fandom basis.

Fanfiction.net does not allow RPF, so the eligibility of fandoms will be determined solely by the AO3 numbers.

Generic Fandoms like American Actor RPF and Historical RPF are too broad and will not be allowed.

For the purposes of matching, we would prefer choices that lead to smaller character sets per RPF fandom, because
  • People can only offer up to 8 specific characters, and then, above that, Any.

  • If there are 15 or 50 characters in a fandom, the number of people willing to offer Any is very low, and there is a lower likelihood that people’s offers and requests may match.

  • Matching is run on And, so if someone asks for two characters, another person has to offer both of those two characters to be matched to them.

Some examples from last year (ignoring #yt rpf):
  • the RPF fandom with the most characters was Ancient History RPF with 31. This fandom had 1 brave person offering Any and 7 offering a selection of characters.

  • Of the 15 fandoms with over 10 nominated characters, 8 had no one offering Any. The rest had 1-2 people offering Any. Five had over 10 people offering limited sets of characters.

  • Examples of fandoms with no Any offers: Baseball RPF, Tennis RPF, 20th Century CE RPF, and Pop Music RPF.

  • Oscar Wilde and Walt Whitman appeared together in 3 separate fandoms, with Walt Whitman being nominated in a 4th fandom as well. This seems like excessive duplication, especially because someone could offer these characters in Literary RPF or 19th Century RPF, and another person could request them in Literary Trysts It Gives Me Great Joy to Think About, and they would not match.

Below the cut is a table of all the RPF offers and requests for 2013, the data has been collected from the signups by Morbane (and the notes have been written by her).

Table of RPF Offers and RequestsCollapse )

The important thing to is ensure matching will work. We will be looking at any suggestions from that perspective.

We would like the input of people who are likely to request or offer RPF on how they would like fandoms divided. Also, how to define if characters belong in a fandom (eg in the past there have been requests for actors' partners to be allowed in particular movie RPF fandoms). Hopefully, by coordinating ahead of time, some of the difficulties with matching can be avoided.

This discussion will remain open until early September (and yes, there will be a warning before it closes). Mods will be reading all the comments, but we will not be replying to everything - we want to give you a space to discuss among yourselves. We will be around to answer questions. Please remember the notes in the previous post on accepted behaviour.

EDIT: To try and clear us some of the questions on too broad categories: The following would be considered too broad: Historical RPF; Sports RPF; Actor RPF; [Country] Actor RPF; Literary RPF. If other fandoms come up in advance of nominations that are too broad they will be added to the list in the comm.
rachelmanija July 23 2014, 16:51

Portal Fantasy: Threat or Menace? The Panel!

I will be on a panel on portal fantasy at Sirens this year. I need to read portal fantasy!

Panel description: Portal Fantasy: Threat or Menace?

Everybody knows about portal fantasy, where characters from the "real world" cross into a separate fantasy world. It is a classic trope that still draws readers—the Chronicles of Narnia have never been out of print. And yet new portal fantasies are very seldom published, and many agents and editors have said that they're unmarketable. What exactly is this subgenre, and why is it so loved and so shunned at the same time? What new stories does it still have to offer?

1) What is portal fantasy? What makes it different from "our world has a hidden side" fantasy (e.g. Harry Potter, many urban fantasies, secret history fantasy)? What makes it different from stories about going to Faerie (or do those count as portal fantasies)?

2) Why do people love portal fantasy? Why do people hate it? Why is it currently (almost) unpublishable?

3) Portal fantasies we have known and loved.

4) Crypto-portal fantasies -- stories that arguably qualify as portal fantasy but don't "feel" like portal fantasy to a lot of people. (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, for instance, or The Fall of Ile-Rien.)

5) Most influential portal fantasies -- what has shaped the genre and people's reactions to it? To what extent are portal fantasy debates crypto-Narnia debates?

6) Portal fantasy is sometimes accused of being a narrow, cliched genre that has little room for new stories. What are some storytelling opportunities in portal fantasy that have not yet been explored?

7) Another common accusation against portal fantasy is that, because the "real world" isn't in danger, the novel lacks stakes. Is it possible to write a portal fantasy that isn't just "my magical vacation," and if so, how? What novels have achieved that and which ones have failed?

8) What are the pitfalls of portal fantasies? What are some examples of how it can go terribly wrong?

9) What about reverse portal fantasies, where characters from the magical world enter our own? Do they count as part of the same sub-genre, and either way, what do they have to offer?

- end description -

My requests for you:

1. Rec me some portal fantasies I might not know about or have thought of. Assume I'm familiar with the usual suspects.

2. When people say that portal fantasies are "my magical vacation," with no stakes, what actual portal fantasies actually fit that bill, and how? Apart from books for very young children and comedies/parodies, I'm having a hard time thinking of them.

Crossposted to http://rachelmanija.dreamwidth.org/1153842.html. Comment here or there.
telophase July 23 2014, 01:52


Those of you who know Japanese:

I'm watching an episode of the new series of Mushishi, and after Ginko is rescued by a farmer and given a meal by the farmer's wife, he thanks her by saying what sounds to me sort of like "Arigatey" instead of the usual "Arigatou." Is this a variant, an accent, a dialect, or what?

You can comment here or at the Dreamwidth crosspost. comment count unavailable comments at Dreamwidth.
telophase July 22 2014, 22:24

No subject

This Site is Cyberstalking Your Cat For Your Own Good.

Essentially, iknowwhereyourcatlives.com is educating you about the dangers of posting images directly from your smartphone or other device (which encodes the GPS position into the image) to the web, which can show a determined cyberstalker where you are or have been.

On the other side: pictures of cats!

You can comment here or at the Dreamwidth crosspost. comment count unavailable comments at Dreamwidth.
mrissa July 22 2014, 17:26

three Fairyland books by Catherynne M. Valente

Review copies provided by Macmillan.

This is the series that starts with The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, goes on to The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, and finishes off with The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two. I say “finishes off” because that’s where we are as of the writing of this blog post, but it looks like Valente has stated publicly that there will be five books in this series. It’s an interesting thing to know, because the ending of soared is one I would want follow-up to but would not automatically assume, with my experience of its sub-genre, that all authors would want to provide follow-up to. So hurrah for not ending here.

This is the story of September and her adventures in Fairyland and the friends she makes there. Friends are very important to these books. Crucial. These books are very conscious about being a told story–the narrator is right there talking to you, personally, holding your hand and sometimes squeezing your shoulder, and if that bothers you, if you are attached to prose transparency, these are more decorative stained glass than clear, and these will not be the books for you. You can find out very readily what the voice is like just by reading a little bit of the beginning. They continue like that. If anything, the narrator gets chummier, more up close and personal, as the three books progress.

These books are not slaves to the cult of originality. In recognizing that they come from a long and beloved tradition of tales about trips to fairylands, they honor their past while allowing room for the places that Valente is genuinely original to shine through. You can simultaneously see how September is spiritual kin to Dorothy and Alice, that there are bits that remind you of The Phantom Tollbooth and Haroun and the Sea of Stories, while noting that really, a wyverary (a wyvern who is part library) is not something you’ve seen before or are likely to see again. There are bits and fragments of familiar tales woven throughout, but usually with a sideways joke. The serial structure of the original publication of the first book encouraged a new element, a new adventure each chapter, and that carried through into the non-serialized second and third, though they went into the underworld and up to the moon instead of through the lands of Fairyland proper.

The weak spot for me is the connection to our own world, and I think it will be weaker for me than for most readers because of exactly what that connection is. September is from the Omaha area in the time of WWII. I know the Omaha area well, and one of the relatives I grew up with was a schoolgirl at that time, so I am more likely to spot where those details are off than most readers. But the real world is a very secondary setting indeed–an anchor for September’s adventures rather than the source of them–so even for someone with an Omaha connection, it doesn’t ruin the tale.

These are the category of books for young people that are all-ages books. No book is to everyone’s taste, obviously, but some books are spoiled a bit by having read another one of those and knowing what’s coming around the corner. Having read dozens of trip to fairyland books will not tell you what’s coming around the corner. Having the plots told in the titles and in the chapter titles will still mostly not tell you what’s coming around the corner, since the title plot is a tiny fraction of what happens in each book, and either getting there will be most of the fun or no fun at all, and you will know which from reading just a tiny bit of the style of the telling. I have been careful not to burble about the wrench and the tapir and the Quiet Physickists and other favorite bits, but on second thought I will mention the wrench and the tapir and the Quiet Physickists and like that after all, because just saying those things can’t really spoil them; that’s not the kind of books they are.

Oh, and: if three points make a sub-genre, Ellen Kushner and Mike Ford now have a sub-genre for Authors Who Are, Despite Their Differences, Apparently Obsessed With Awesome Coats. There has been worse company to keep.

Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux

rm July 22 2014, 17:04

Avian 30 / Romance @ Random

matociquala July 22 2014, 14:30

but she brings you only sorrow

We made a book! It looks like One-Eyed Jack is available a little early from Amazon (and possibly from your local independent bookstore--check there first, they love to order things for you!) both as Kindle and trade paperback. (Barnes and Noble should be in the game soon, I am assured.)

Oh, look! It's on Barnes and Noble!


Now, off to sign at Fantask in Copenhagen with that boy I like in an hour and a half! Eeeeeeee!

tithenai July 22 2014, 11:00

The Honey Month in a Storybundle -- One Day Left!

Jeff VanderMeer has graciously included The Honey Month in his Weird Fiction Storybundle, a collection of works from Cheeky Frawg Books. This delights me, as it places me in the company of Michael Cisco, Karin Tidbeck, Desirina Boskovich, and Leena Krohn, not to mention Jeff himself -- his latest collection of stories is available too. You can read more from Jeff about the bundle here.

It's an excellent bargain, only good for one more day: for a minimum of $3 you get five DRM-free e-books (including mine!), and for a minimum of $12 you get eight (including Karin Tidbeck's Jagannath which is seriously freakin' amazing and which I would pay $12 for alone! Heck I already have!)

But from where I stand as an author, it's even more wonderful, because my royalties are 65% of The Honey Month's share of the bundle. So if you've ever wanted to support me and my work in a way that buys me groceries and takes me to the occasional con, this is a great way to do it -- while supporting a generous, adventuresome publisher and getting a really splendid collection of other people's books. You can also adjust what percentage of your money goes to authors and what percentage goes to Storybundle.

This bundle vanishes, never again to be repeated, on Wednesday, July 24! So help yourself to it while it lasts. Alternately if you'd like the print edition of The Honey Month (which includes Oliver Hunter's illustrations), you can still get it from Papaveria Press, Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, as well as The Book Depository.
coffeeandink July 21 2014, 23:42

Wiscon decision on the Jim Frenkel harassment case

This is the email I sent to the Member Advocate in response to the decision:

I'm writing to object to the decision made in the Jim Frenkel harassment case. It is unsatisfactory both as a resolution to this case and as an indication of how Wiscon will handle harassment cases in the future. It is especially disappointing coming from a feminist organization. I've seen Wiscon go through turmoil and divisive arguments over the past ten years (the POC Safe Space, Moonfail), but I've also seen Wiscon demonstrate a commitment to doing better by reversing those previous mistakes and poor decisions. That is what I expected to happen with the two mishandled harassment cases (Jim Frenkel and F. J. Bergmann) that have been under scrutiny.

The Wiscon Subcommittee on the harassment case stated that "WisCon will (provisionally) not allow Jim Frenkel to return for a period of four years (until after WisCon 42 in 2018)." This is a very obscure way of saying that he is only definitely banned for Wiscon 39 in 2015 and may return by 2016.

I am not in favor of zero-tolerance policies, primarily because they discourage people from reporting. However, Jim Frenkel's actions more than suffice for a permanent ban. The suggestion that he might be permitted to represent the con in an official capacity as a program participant or volunteering in another capacity just adds insult to injury.

To review Frenkel's actions:

1) He harassed Lauren Jankowski and Elise Matthesen on separate occasions in front of multiple witnesses at Wiscon 37.

2) Multiple women have come forward to attest that he has a long-term pattern of harassment of a period of years.

3) When his presence was challenged by Liz Henry at the con, he said that he had deliberately chosen to attend Wiscon 38 because of the public outcry after Wiscon 37, rather than showing any contrition or understanding of the impact of his actions.

I would be in favor of a permanent ban even if he had shown some sign of learning better, but the third point makes it especially outrageous that you are taking so many pains to give him opportunities to "reform".

This prioritizes the harasser over his targets, and is only compounded by the Committee's statement that

Any consideration of allowing him to return will be publicized in WisCon publications and social media at least three months before a final decision is made.

This requires the targets of his harassment to argue that their safety supersedes a harasser's well-being. How is this even an argument rather than an assumption at "the world's leading feminist convention"? This doesn't offer the targets the opportunity to speak for themselves; it just exposes them to public and protracted discussion of their harassment. I, personally, still do not ever want to see or hear the names of people who harassed me much longer ago than four years. Or one year.

I am not sure what can be done to amend the damage this decision has caused, but the following would be a start:

(1) The institution of permanent ban against Jim Frenkel.

(2) Yet another apology to Elise Matthesen and Lauren Jankowski for mishandling this case.

(3) Publishing the guidelines developed by this committee to handle harassment cases for review by the Wiscon membership. What to do after that would depend on whether the problem here lay in the process or the people. I regret to say this because I like and respect several individuals on the current Committee, but if it's necessary to rewrite the new guidelines, this should be done by people other than the panel for the Jim Frenkel case. This should not be allowed to delay the progress of Bergmann case, which has already gone on too long.

leyosura posted to little_details July 21 2014, 22:20

Poisoning - toxic paint pigments

Thank you in advance for your help with this one.

My story is set in the late 18th century in Europe, and I have been trying to research poisoning by the ingestion of highly toxic paint pigments.

The best candidates for this seem to be vermillion (which contains cinnabar, a compound of mercury) or orpiment (which contains an arsenic compound). I have researched poisoning by both arsenic and mercuric compounds, but most of the data I come across seems to be about the effects of long-term, gradual poisoning.

My question is, would it be possible to for someone to be killed relatively quickly by ingesting one of these pigments? By quickly, I mean over a few hours or at most a couple of days. If so, what sort of quantity of the pigment would be required? How would the symptoms of ingesting a large quantity quickly differ from the effects of long-term poisoning?

Is there any other paint pigment used in the 18th century that would kill somebody this quickly? If so, what quantity would someone need to ingest and what would be the symptoms of poisoning?

I have searched for toxicity of paint pigments, cinnabar poisoning, mercury poisoning, orpiment poisoning, ingestion of cinnabar, etc, but I can't seem to find anything on the quantities that would be required.

Many thanks for your help.

grrm July 21 2014, 21:47

Master Class

For those of you who were unable to travel to Switzerland for NIFFF, Livestream has uploaded my "Master Class" interview and Q&A.

NIFFF was great fun, all in all, though they kept me so busy that I was only able to see one film of the ninety-plus shown at the festival.  Most of the interviews covered the same old ground... but the masterclass got into some areas a bit more substantially, and you may find it interesting.

I had fun doing it, anyway.

If you would like to check it out, go to:



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