The latest reviews and mentions of Tachyon titles and authors from around the web.
Ellen Klages (photo: Scott R. Kline), Nalo Hopkinson (David Findlay), Hannu Rajaniemi, and Lauren Beukes
If novels are the currency of the fiction publishing world, then short stories are the bits of that currency. Or rather, to bend a metaphor, short stories are the coins. If novels are like dollar bills, short stories are the shiny silvers and coppers that you hold in the palm of your hand. Ellen Klages, in her latest collection of short fiction, pours out a handful of these bright coppers and silver crescents (together with the tokens to some old arcades along summer boardwalks); they catch the mind and the eye with their brilliance.
The short stories built out of Klages’s ideas in this collection run the gamut from pure science fiction (“Goodnight Moons” and “Amicae Aeternum”) to contemporary fantasy (“Echoes of Aurora,” “Friday Night at St. Cecelia’s,” and “Caligo Lane”) to one piece of high fantasy, though tongue-in-cheek (“Sponda the Suet Girl and the Secret of the French Pearl”). There are also a few that are merely touched with the hint of fantasy, such as the darkly autobiographical “The Education of a Witch” and the wistful “Gone to the Library.” Finally though, there are pieces without any tangible speculative elements at all, such as “Hey, Presto!,” “The Scary Ham,” and the most powerful piece in the collection, “Woodsmoke.” That the three of these non-speculative works fit so seamlessly in with the rest speaks to the source that Klages draws upon for her stories. They are built on memories of childhood, or at least her understanding of childhood. It is this sense of memory that makes her stories piercing and mournful, like a dimly remembered train whistle, once heard in the distance beyond an open bedroom window.
Klages writes out of a sort of childlike wonder, peopling her stories with main characters who are innocent and strong. She builds her descriptions on the earthy richness of halcyon childhoods, the sights and sounds made larger than life in the way they are perceived through her (usually female) child characters.
Halo Hopkinson on her eponymous site reveals a screening date for BROWN GIRL BEGINS, a prequel to her first novel, BROWN GIRL IN THE RING.
The quick and dirty version: My first novel was titled BROWN GIRL IN THE RING. It was published in 1998. A few years ago, Caribbean-Canadian actor/director Sharon Lewis asked my permission to make a film inspired by that novel. I replied, as one does, “Talk to my agent.” Sharon did so, and they hammered out a contract. I signed off on it. Then Sharon wrote the script, fundraised, hired the cast and crew, and made the film. Let me restate: Sharon Lewis is the artist who created the film BROWN GIRL BEGINS.
BROWN GIRL BEGINS is inspired by my novel, but Sharon’s story makes significant departures from mine. BROWN GIRL BEGINS is her project, her first feature film. It was her idea, initiated and created with blood, sweat and tears by her. I didn’t approach her. I didn’t hire her. In fact, I wasn’t the least bit interested in making a film. That was all Sharon. I didn’t do much beyond cashing a small option cheque once a year for the past few years and encouraging Sharon as she went through this gruelling process. I understand that people are excited to see a film made in the world of one of my novels; I am, too. I’ve seen the film, and it’s beautiful and the actors delight me and the people involved in every aspect of making it have been freaking ingenious. So I’m getting increasingly irked when people say, “Nalo’s book is a film!” with no mention of the actual artist responsible for everything about the film, including the idea and the drive to make it in the first place. Please, have a care. Artists deserve credit for their work. On the IMDB page you can also see a list of all the actors, technical experts, musicians, crew, etc (artists in their own right) as well as the list of producers. You’ll note that my name is not among them. That is entirely appropriate.
And here’s the exciting part: BROWN GIRL BEGINS is having a premier screening! It’ll be at Urbanworld in New York on September 23.
At BOOK RIOT, Ann Foster suggests What To Read Based on Your Favorite Board Game. While no Tachyon publications are mentioned, two authors are recommended.
For fans of COSMIC ENCOUNTER, TWILIGHT IMPERIUM, STAR REALMS, and other games of galactic conquest, we suggest THE EXPANSE series by James S.A. Corey, Ann Leckie’s IMPERIAL RADCH series, the JEAN LE FLAMBEUR series by Hannu Rajaniemi, and THE STARS ARE LEGION by Kameron Hurley.
For fans of TRAGEDY LOOPER, T.I.M.E. STORIES, and other games where time travel merges with magic, try THE SHINING GIRLS by Lauren Beukes, THE FIRST FIFTEEN LIVES OF HARRY AUGUST by Claire North, THE JANE AUSTEN PROJECT by Kathleen A. Flynn, and ALL OUR WRONG TODAYS by Elan Mastai.
For more info on WICKED WONDERS, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover design by Elizabeth Story