We interrupt this holiday to bring you two pieces of updatery.

The first is that there’s a new service in town, folks: Anthology Builder. So far it’s still in beta, but here’s the general idea: authors upload stories, which you can then purchase, iTunes-style, and assemble into a print-on-demand customized anthology which gets shipped to your door soon afterward. I’m not sure how well it will fly, but I really like the idea, and so far have uploaded “Calling into Silence”. That’s the same story I made available online for IPSTP Day, so you can read it for free, but consider it me dipping my toes in the water of Anthology Builder. My hope is that the site prospers (or something like it does), and in the long term I can use it as a way to make all of my published short fiction available for custom reprinting. Otherwise it tends to sink without a trace, and short story collections are hard to sell via traditional commercial publishing.

The second update is that I’ve made a big push to atone for my suckage since July. What suckage is that, you ask? Why, the suckage of not having posted any book recommendations. I’ve taken advantage of my enforced free time, and thrown up all the rest of them in one fell swoop. The two remaining folklore recommendations are for the Prose Edda and the Volsunga saga; the three novels are Avalon High by Meg Cabot, The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, and The Homeward Bounders by Diana Wynne Jones.

Stay tuned for a later post, wherein I will discuss the future of those recommendations. You can probably guess, based on that huge gap, that I’m thinking of making some changes.

0 Responses to “”

  1. sora_blue

    I just finished reading Gibson’s Idoru this week and was wondering what to try next.

    TOKYOPOP has an Avalon High comic.

    • Marie Brennan

      That’s probably the sequel I saw mentioned on Cabot’s website. Have you read it, or heard anything about it?

      • sora_blue

        I have flipped through it in a Borders, and went a bit “meh” about the art… which unfortunately means I can’t comment on the writing. I think it’d be different for someone who’s read the book, because there’s a familiarity to the world and characters that would draw them in.

  2. katfeete

    Oh, yay! Folklore stuff I haven’t read! (Embarrassingly, I’d trucked through everything previous on your folklore list except the Iliad before I was fifteen. The Iliad I didn’t get to until college.

    Uh, I didn’t have a tv growing up.)

    Side note: Way out of your expertise, I suspect, but you wouldn’t know any good resources for East Coast Native American folklore, would you? I am looking specifically for Maryland, Virginia, and surrounding areas for a project I’m working on, and while I can find loads of Plains stuff and quite a lot from the Maine-and-upwards Algonquins, the area I want is rather thin.

    Oh, and happy holidays. 🙂

    • Marie Brennan

      Mmmm . . . the only suggestions I can think of are The White Deer and Other Stories, which is a Lenape collection, so a bit north of what you’re looking for; and Coming to Light, which is a giant anthology of stuff from all over North America. I don’t know what all it has in there, but it might hit your area at least in passing.

      • katfeete

        The Lenape collection looks good, thank you. I’m not tying myself into the area too closely (although some Nanticoke stuff would be great) but I was looking for some stuff in the general climate/terrain, and particularly looking for coastal legends, so they qualify. And looks like the VT university library has the other book, so I shall check it out on my next trip to Blacksburg.

        Thanks a bunch!

  3. rnanashima

    DWJ Rocks!!

    Hi Swangirl,

    “The Homeward Bounders” is my favorite Diana Wynne Jones of all time. Especially where we meet Helen and her arm. I never “got” who the nameless guy who led them at the end was supposed to be, though… cultural disconnect or sheer obliviousness? Maybe I need to go back and reread.

    “Archer’s Goon” is my second favorite. “Howl’s Moving Castle” left me cold for some reason. Other favorites: “Eight Days of Luke” and the “Dalemark” series!!

    Rose Nanashima wishing you a happy New Year!

    • Marie Brennan

      Re: DWJ Rocks!!

      The guy chained to the rock is Prometheus, from Greek mythology. Though of course the way DWJ frames it, it’s more like that’s the story by which people in our world happen to remember him, and other worlds have other stories about a guy who brought fire/forbidden knowledge/whatever and was punished for it. (You could also read him as the serpent in the Garden of Eden, of course, but unlike Prometheus, the serpent wasn’t chained up to have its internal organs pecked out by a bird.)

      Dalemark never drew me in (though I’ve read it), but I agree with you on Archer’s Goon and Eight Days of Luke. I love Howl’s Moving Castle for Calcifer first and foremost, but also for Sophie and Howl despite their flaws, and for what DWJ did with the John Donne poem in it.

  4. blindmouse

    The Homeward Bounders is the one DWJ book that made me truly furious, and determined never to pick it up again, funnily enough. I liked the characters, loved the use of Prometheus and the Flying Dutchman, loved Them as creepy, horrifyingly distant antagonists; but the ending felt like the worst kind of betrayal. Not of the story, maybe – I can’t comment on the effectiveness of a horribly depressing ending as a narrative device, because it makes me horribly depressed and impairs my critical faculties – but of the character. When I’ve stayed with a character for that long, hoped and hurt with them, then a happy ending for everybody else isn’t good enough.

    But I’ll agree that Meg Cabot is the queen of teen fantasy. Nobody does it with a surer hand, and her ability to make all her heroines different, but all in such a recognisable fun style, is marvellous.

    • Marie Brennan

      It is a downer ending, but it feels . . . honest. I’m not sure what to say about it other than that.

      A couple of Cabot’s things are starting to blend together for me, but I particularly like the Mediator series, and I wish Avalon High had been continued in prose instead of manga. I like some of the tricks she pulled in that book.

      • blindmouse

        Some of the stand-alones blend together, yeah – especially since they all seem to be being released with pink covers, lately, which makes them difficult to keep straight in my head. Avalon High I only ever thumbed through in a bookshop – Camelot comes to high school felt a bit too dodgy to me – but maybe I should have trusted her more. I’ll give it another look, I think.

        • Marie Brennan

          Yeah, of the ones I’ve read, the two that blur the most are How to Be Popular and All-American Girl.

          “Camelot comes to high school” is not nearly as dodgy as it could have been, because one of the most immediately obvious details is that the story is not going the way it normally does. The “how” and “why” and “so what does that mean?” of the differences are really the driving engine of the plot.

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