Tag Archives: catherynne valente

Sunday Pimpfest III

This week’s pimpfest is going to be fairly focused. Not because there aren’t other awesome things out there worth your time, mostly because I’m lazy. Also because the thing I’m talking about is wonderful, and you should all know about it.

That said, I’m probably pointing you towards something largely aware of, but just in case you aren’t, The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There came out this week. This is the second book in Catherynne Valente’s Fairyland series, which, as I understand it, will be a five book series. This is very good news. Revels is a sequel to The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. I’m fairly certain I’ve squeed about the first book here before. If you haven’t read it… What the hell are you waiting for?

It’s everything a fairytale should be. It’s a book full of magic, but also consequences. It doesn’t flinch. It doesn’t apologize. It’s beauty, with bits of darkness tucked inside. And it’s brilliant.

At this late hour, I should offer a disclaimer. I haven’t actually read the book I’m pimping just yet. After the first one though, I’m all in. Actually, at this point, anything Cat Valente cares to write, I’m going to be excited about. She’s that good. The reason I haven’t picked up a copy of the book and devoured it yet is I’m waiting for the local date of Cat Valente’s tour. If she’s going to be anywhere near you, go see her. I happen to be lucky enough to be near once of the locations where she’ll be performing in conjunction with S.J. Tucker. Extra double bonus goodness for me!

One last Valente-related item to pimp this week. (See, it may be a one-person pimp fest, but there are a lot of things to talk about.) Cat Valente is holding an awesome Fairyland contest on her blog. Go check it out! And go read Cat’s books. All of them. Right now. Seriously.

Now it’s your turn. Beside Cat Valente’s awesomeness, what else is happening that I should know about? Pimp away!

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Capclave Re-cap

I’m way behind with this post, because I’m always way behind. Tardiness aside, I attended Capclave a few weekends ago (more weekends now than I’d care to admit), and it was thoroughly enjoyable.

The first official thing I did, other than show up, check in, and drink, was attend Catherynne Valente’s reading on Saturday morning. She was a guest of honor for a reason, folks. She read White Lines on a Green Field, which is one of those devastatingly wonderful stories she’s so good at, the ones that make me want to give up writing forever, because I will never produce anything that beautiful. If you haven’t read it yet, you can do so here. And you really should. Trust me.

The next official thing I did was attend a small press panel, which was informative, and gave me ideas regarding The Journal of Unlikely Entomology. There was another small press-related panel somewhere along the line, and although much of what was discussed in each wasn’t entirely relevant to JoUE, it was still valuable to hear what other people have done, what has worked for them, and what hasn’t.

The thing after small press panel number one (though I may have stuff in the wrong order, because memory is tricky like that) was one of the convention highlights for me. Sir Terry Pratchett made an appearance as a surprise guest. There was a reading, by his assistant, of his latest book Snuff, which is all well and good, but the thing I found really fascinating was listening to him speak about his BBC documentary Choosing to Die. There’s a link here, which I can’t vouch for, because I haven’t watched it yet. Choosing to Die isn’t available on US stations, as far as I know. You have to rely on the good old internet if you want to watch it here.

For those who don’t know, Choosing to Die is a documentary about assisted suicide. Listening to Mr. Pratchett speak about it was an incredibly powerful experience. According to him, and his assistant, it was the first time he’d spoken about the documentary on his US tour, and…wow. Assisted suicide is completely outside my realm of experience, but leaving aside what he’s done as an author, I have enormous respect for Mr. Pratchett for the way he spoke about the subject of assisted death, and for making the documentary in the first place. He said things that were real, and honest, and touching, and scary, and they were things that needed to be said. Kudos to him.

Aside from attending panels and readings, I helped set up and breakdown the Dark Quest Books table. I consumed delicious Chinese food. And I purchased books from the dealers’ room. While in said dealer’s room I finally got to meet in person Neil Clarke of Clarkesworld Magazine and Wyrm Publishing, and Sean Wallace of Prime Books. Sean was one of the first editors to ever publish my work, and it was a strange, circuitous route to publication at that, so meeting him was a vaguely surreal experience for me.

Next up is Philcon. This time around, I’ll theoretically be a guest, as in being on panels. As in speaking in front of people. This prospect is flat out terrifying. Nonetheless, I will be there, and I will post my schedule when I know it.

And on a totally unrelated note, I appear to have sold a story to Apex Magazine, which I’m endlessly thrilled about. It should appear in their February 2012 issue.

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Deathless

I finished reading Catherynne M. Valente’s Deathless on the commute home today. At one point, I seriously considered missing my stop and walking the extra distance home if necessary, just in case I hadn’t reached the end by the time I got to my station. The book is beautiful, and bittersweet, and funny. It is yet another novel that makes me despair of every writing anything good enough to exist in the same universe that it does, but also makes me happy that such a book exists. It’s painful in all the right ways, and gorgeous and soothing when it should be. There is passion in the writing, love pressed between the pages, care and attention to the important details. Not being spoilery, I will just say – the ending is pitch perfect.

If you own the book and haven’t read it yet, but it on the top of your to-read pile. If you don’t own it yet, then for the love of all that’s good, go out and acquire it now. And if you get the chance to see Cat on her Deathless reading tour, do it. Hearing her read from the book and talk about it will make the experience that much richer. Trust me. This is the way fairy tales should be.

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Book Exchange Redux

Back at the end of October I proposed participating in Neil Gaiman’s new holiday tradition of an All Hallow’s Eve book exchange, and some of you were kind enough to play along. So…how did it go? What did you get? What did you give? If you’ve read the book you received, what did you think? Should we do it again next year, and try to get more people to join in the fun? Feel free to post your thoughts in the comments, or link to a post of your own, if you’re so inclined. My take below…

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Book Lust

It really hasn’t been that long since I bought new bookshelves. Allowing for the fact that I have to keep at least one shelf-cube open for the dog to sleep in, they’re already starting to get perilously full. Of course, this will not stop me from running out and acquiring new books every chance I get.

Among the things I currently have my eye on is Catherynne M. Valente’s new book, The Habitation of the Blessed. I adore her work so basically, if she wrote it, I want to read it, end of story. The book has its own website here, and you can read about some of the fun stuff that Cat is doing to promote the book here. The launch event in NYC sounds downright awesome. She’ll also be in the Philly area, doing not one, but two reading/signing events…both while I’m out of town. This is me sad.

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Tangled Threads

I watched The Black Dahlia last night, and it got me thinking about stories. A story that weaves together multiple plots and subplots can be very effective when it’s well done, for example Catherynne Valente’s Orphan’s Tales duology. The stories build upon each other, making the whole richer. The way the stories interlock have real consequences for the characters, and change the meaning of the tale as a whole. In the hands of the right story-teller, multiple story threads become a beautiful tapestry. When handled poorly, they turn into a horribly tangled knot.

Musings and movie spoilers below the cut.
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Con Artist

I attended my first ever Worldcon this past weekend. The following post will  be long and rambling. Consider yourself warned.

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New Love

Since I’ve got kind of a theme going here, I figured I would talk about some new loves to break up the nostalgia. Elizabeth Bear and Catherynne M. Valente both currently fall into the love-at-first sight category. Since they are both new loves, it remains to be seen whether they are brief flirtations or long-term affairs, but right now, it sure feels like love.

In Ms. Bear’s case, I started with Blood and Iron and I immediately wanted more. Luckily for me, she was obliging enough to have written three other books in the same universe, Whiskey and Water, Ink and Steel and Hell and Earth. I am currently lusting after her New Amsterdam stories, but I am trying my best to resist buying anything for myself until after the holidays.

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