Welcome to the third week in the first month of the new year!
And welcome, all 156+ of you who have delurked and are participating in the Comment Challenge with Lee Wind & Mother Reader this month. I have to admit that I don't particulate in the Comment Challenge - mainly because I'm a regular Chatty Catrina in terms of blogs, and I routinely comment more than five times a day. (I have more than a hundred blogs I visit regularly on my Reader.) I am a person who's not on FB or any other social media, though, so it's easier for me to read what people are writing, and comment there. (I think blogging will always be Just About My Speed. Just don't ask me to talk to five people in a room in public.)
It's always nice to get comments from new people. We have a dedicated group of "followers" on our Blogger site, but we also know that beyond those hundred plus folks are those who follow on Readers, those who pop up when others direct them this way, and those who never comment at all, but who are a part of our silent friend group. We're glad to hang with all of you in a Shrinking Violet-y sort of quiet, holding-up-the-walls way, or in a chatty, we-know-you're-there fashion.
Greg Pincus, blogging at social media blog The Happy Accident, has as primer on commenting, to help with the challenge this month. And we must give full props to Lee for the hilarious Blogging Vacuum Diva. I laugh every time I see her. (Randomly: I found a link to a most hilarious Ed DeCaria poem, Who Is This Woman, And Why Is She Trying to Kiss Me whilst reading the comments from Greg's post. I laughed right out loud - it's so my entire childhood in a few short stanzas. See what commenting can do for you?)
Last week, I got THIS BOOK in the mail. (Why, yes, I AM special!) I know that many of my friends in the U.S. have been awaiting this snippet of historical fiction eagerly, and would have dived right in.
It's a book written by a friend - ample reason again to dive right in!
Instead, I sat and sort of looked at it with horrified fascination. It is Going To Be Scary. I knew this because I knew the topic of the book...
I read the first chapter and hyperventilated. Bargaining! For the return of clothing!!! SCARYNAZIS.
Yes. I am a scaredy-cat. Five words in, you know our heroine has already been captured by the Axis in WWII and Further Bad Things Will Commence.
This book is KILLING ME. And yet, I keep picking it up and reading chunks, when I fully intend to just move it to another spot on my desk. Yikes. It's addictive.
Out Feb. 6 - Stay tuned for the review.
(Also: I LOVE this cover. But the other cover, with the hands tied together... oh. Oh, oh, oh... poignant and scary and gorgeous. Must have been so hard to choose.)
CONNIE WILLIS, author of fifteen novels and over fifty short stories and novellas, is the Grand Master of science fiction. We knew that. But, she's just been awarded this officially, as winner of the 2011 Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award from Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. You'll recall our 2007 interview with her. Or, maybe you won't. Maybe you've never yet read a Willis book. Well - do. Her hallmark talent is writing on brilliant science fiction topics, and bringing the reader along so that they, too, feel smart, and in on the joke and all the brainy stuff. She writes strong, smart female characters who don't take themselves too seriously; there's a touch of humor in her stories, and she's very, very good indeed. She's also gracious to answer questions from random bloggers. Well done, Grand Master Connie!
The Brown Bookshelf has officially announced their line-up for this year's 28 Days Later campaign, highlighting the books of African American authors, in honor of Black History Month. I always like to peruse the names - and note how many of them are utterly new to me. I did a happy dance for Malorie Blackman -- I've enjoyed discovering her books here in the UK. But, Debbi Chocolate? Really? I am ENVIOUS of that name for all kinds of reasons. As spokeswoman Paula says, "The Brown Bookshelf is the place to hit for any reader, parent, teacher or librarian looking for great books by and about people of color. Tell a friend to tell a friend to come back every single day in February..." Please support the work of these five doughty bloggers who do their best to shine a light on African American literature each year.
Please go over and join the discussion on YA speculative fiction, featuring our blogosphere babes Tarie Sabado, Gwenda Bond, and one of our fave YA spec fic authors, Malinda Lo, too.
The conversation at SF Signal tends to be dominated by ...science fiction aficionados. Obviously. They tend to be male and perhaps not as informed on YA stuff as we tend to be in our blogosphere, so please, please, please go over and show your support and welcome some fresh new ideas as our 'spheres overlap. (I'm thinking of the thread on appreciating the place of romance in YA spec fic for young girls - it's not all Twilight, my peoples! I don't care for Twilight especially myself, but I will throw elbows and hip-check you across the room so that others get to read it if they want to, all right???) I'm so excited that a mainstream SF site is talking about the great big elephant in the room: specifically marketed young adult lit in the subgenre of science fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction, and I hope that hearing from such intelligent and cool people will help to sort of ease the "Ugh!" factor that a lot of the aficinado set feels when faced with the whole YA SFF thing (I mean, we have UN-IRONIC nail polish that goes with our books and movies now. How scary-cool are we??).
Also: new blog alert! I'm a big fan of The Enchanted Inkpot but am glad to hear about The League of Extraordinary Writers, which is focused on dystopia, and The Interagalactic Academy which is hopefully going to fill the space that The Spectacle used to fill for me.
O, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea!
And love is a thing that can never go wrong,
And it's Tuesday already!
Have a happy week.
With apologies to Dorothy Parker.