January 07, 2010

Anticipating in 2010

Those serving on the Cybils committee this year discussed that there was a SERIOUS dearth of actual science fiction in the finalists this year. We had quite a few decent fantasies, but real science fiction is getting harder to find. Let's talk spaceships, labs, planets, robotics, geneticists and cyborgs. If anyone hears of anything that's actual science fiction coming out this year, talk it up! I think YA really needs science fiction.

While you're thinking of that, though, here's one fantasy that sounds intriguing for the MG/young YA set: A Most Improper Magick: The Unladylike Adventures of Kat Stephenson by Stephanie Burgis, who is a big reader of Georgette Heyer, and Jane Austen. Regency fantasy! Here's the goods from the author's website:

Kat's mother was a scandalous witch, her brother has gambled the whole family into debt, and her stepmama is determined to sell Kat's oldest sister into a positively Gothic marriage to pay it off - so what can Kat do but take matters directly into her own hands? If only her older sisters hadn’t thwarted her plan to run away to London dressed as a boy and earn a fortune!

When Kat makes a midnight foray into her mother’s cabinet of secrets, though, she finds out something she never expected. Her mother wasn’t just a witch, she was a Guardian, a member of a secret Order with staggering magical powers - and Kat is her heir.

Of course, there’s no chance of Kat choosing to join the Order that forbade her parents’ marriage...but Mama’s magical mirror doesn’t seem to understand that. It keeps following her wherever she goes, even when the family travels to Grantham Abbey to meet the sinister Sir Neville, her oldest sister’s chosen fiancé.

And what with Sir Neville showing a dangerous interest in Kat’s untapped powers, her mother’s old tutor insisting that she take up her mother’s position as a Guardian, and her sister Angeline refusing to listen to her about anything, as usual...well, it’s a good thing Kat kept her boy’s clothing, because she may well have to use it--especially if the rumors of a highwayman are true...


Wanna read the first chapter? Here it is. Hope that holds you 'til April. If not, an author interview @ Willing to See Less should help. A Most Improper Magick debuts this April.

12 comments:

Colleen said...

Oooh - this one sounds fab for a SFF column this summer (June, maybe). A bit in the vein of Dene Low's "Petronella Saves the Day" although that one is more odd than magical (but great fun).

I am positively PINING for positive SF. I want to hear about spaceships and flying cars and a world that is not dying but shiny and fun. Where the heck are those books is what I want to know!

C.K. said...

I'm glad you pointed that out about the lack of sci-fi, I hadn't thought about it and now I'm wondering where it's gone...

Kelly Fineman said...

I'm very stoked for Stephanie's book to come out, and not just because it's Austenian, but because I know she also loved L'Engle.

Sheila Ruth said...

I'm with you! It's frustrating that there are so many fantasies but so few good science fiction books, especially for teens. The Softwire series is a fun science fiction series, but it's more middle grade than YA.

Sara said...

I might have missed you reviewing it, but have you read Genesis by Bernard Beckett? Kate Messner told me about it, and I loved it. Here's the link to Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6171892.Genesis

a. fortis said...

Hmm...I'm between projects...perhaps I'll start thinking in a sci-fi vein? :) Maybe we should do a YA sci-fi short fiction challenge among writers we know--and put together a compilation 'zine! (Of course you already KNOW I'm into the anthology idea...)

Jen Robinson said...

I would love to see more YA science fiction next year. Regency fantasy sounds fun, too.

Ivana said...

Hi, Tanita!

Thank you for stopping by at my blog and for linking to the interview. I'm following now :)

xo

gail said...

Tanita--I was on the fantasy and sci fi Cybils panel the first year, and the same thing was true then. Very little true scifi.

I have a scifi manuscript making the rounds. It was very exciting to write it, thinking I was doing something others weren't doing right now. But if you really want to sell something, I don't know if now is the time to be writing science fiction.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more. When I was a boy, my mom turned me on to "Tom Swift". I eventually became an engineer on the Space Shuttle program and I now teach college Physics. I'll keep an eye out for things and report to your blog what I find.

tanita davis said...

THANK YOU, Anonymous Person! Looking forward to it!

Jan Dohner said...

Don't forget middle grade sf - we need it too.

I do wish that Cybils would separate out stuff better by genre. This is how we teach literature even in the early grades. Their recommendations would be easier to pass along to teachers and students.