Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fresh fiction: Karen Joy Fowler's new story

Author Karen Joy Fowler read a work in progress, her short story "Booth's Ghost," at the Clarion West reading June 30 at University Book Store. Fowler's short story credits include the Nebula award-winning "Always," 2007, and "What I Didn't See," 2003, as well as her collection Black Glass (1997) which earned the World Fantasy Award.

Her newest story, "Booth's Ghost," is a well-researched and historically accurate (except for the ghost!) portrayal of Edwin Booth, an American actor known both for his performance of Hamlet and for the infamy of his older brother — who assassinated Abraham Lincoln.

It's always fun when an established author risks reading a fresh work and "Booth's Ghost" was well-received. More than 50 people attended the reading including 18 Clarion West Writers Workshop participants (taken under Fowler's wing this week).

No complaints, but there was some chagrin that the "work-in-progress" was so well done. Granted the tale was a draft
seasoned and vetted by the likes of Timmi Duchamp, founder of Aqueduct Press, and author John Kessel, a Clarion instructor who read earlier in June. But who knows? Fowler may well work some additional magic on the tale before the next reading. They don't give out those Nebulas for nothing. Learn more about Fowler's writing process in an interview by Charles A. Tan, co-editor of the Philippine Speculative Fiction Sampler.

Clarion West's Six Summer Evenings of Science Fiction & Fantasy, continues 7 p.m., Tuesdays at University Book Store, 4326 University Way NE, Seattle. Free!


Elizabeth Bear, author of 50 stories including the multiple award-winner, "Tidewater" — July 7
Nalo Hopkinson, author of
The Salt Roads and The New Moon's ArmsJuly 14
David G. Hartwell, senior editor of Tor Books — July 21
Rudy Rucker, author of 30 books including
Postsingular and Mathematicians in Love, July 28

More July readings, 7 p.m., at the University Book Store, U District Store:
Wed., July 8Forgotten Realms authors Erik Scott de Bie and Rosemary Jones
Thurs., July 9 — David J. Williams, Clarion workshop alum and author of Burning Skies
Wed., July 15 — Caitlin Kittredge, Street Magic, and Kevin Radthorne, The Pool of Shikama
Thurs., July 16 — Local author Lisa Mantchev reads from her first novel, Eyes Like Stars
Fri., July 24 — Jay Lake reads from his sixth novel, Green, out from Tor

Speaking of the Nebulas, check out the
Nebula Awards 2009 Showcase, edited by Ellen Datlow (named best editor at the 2009 Locus Awards) and filled with stories by Michael Chabon, Karen Joy Fowler, Ted Chiang (author of the 2009 Locus Award-winning story, "Exhalation"), Nancy Kress and Michael Moorcock.

"Start reading Nebula Awards 2009 Showcase on your Kindle in under a minute!" What an irresistible suggestion!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

July 3: Zombiepocalypse in Fremont

Red, White, and Dead really does look like the zombie event of the season. Be there starting at 5 p.m., July 3 at 3501 Phinney Ave North, Seattle.

The event includes a world-record breaking zombie walk (it will be if you show up bloody!
Register 5-7 p.m. Walk at 8 p.m. Thriller dance at 9 p.m.), a book signing by S.G. Browne author of Breathers, an appearance by Seattle Zombies of Mass Destruction filmmakers, and a double feature (the movie starts at 9:45 p.m.): Shaun of the Dead and a zombie surprise.

There will also be contests (zombie haiku, anyone? the latest in zombie fashion?) and prizes.

Who's to blame for the zombiepocalypse? Shambolic threats include: Fremont Outdoor Movies, showing infectiously good films, and
Night Zero, photographing the post-apocalypse in Seattle for your novel entertainment, Cleo Zombie — and you.

Shamble, shamble, shamble Seattle into the world-record for zombie walks and Thriller dance mobs.

Ballard, Le Guin, Delaney inspired exhibit shows at Henry Art Gallery

"Ann Lislegaard: 2062," an exhibit of science fiction inspired digital animation, shows through August 23 at Henry Art Gallery, the University of Washington, Seattle. Artist Ann Lislegaard creates in Copenhagen and New York. "2062" is her first solo show in an American museum. The exhibit includes installations based on JG Ballard’s The Crystal World (1966), Ursula K. Le Guin's Left Hand of Darkness (1969) and Samuel R. Delany's Dalghren (1975). In constructs of sound and light, the art explores time, space and place perception.

What does this look like? See photos of the exhibit. What does this mean? Read reviews and interviews on lislegaard.com. What's your experience? Go to the gallery.

Hours are: 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Thurs. and Fri. and 11 a.m.-4 p.m., weekends. Call 206.543.2280.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Forgotten Realms at University Book Store

Seattle fantasy authors Rosemary Jones and Erik Scott de Bie present, "How I lost a contest and ended up in Waterdeep," 7 p.m., Wed., July 8, at University Book Store, Seattle, reading from their new novels for Wizards of the Coast.

Both books written for the
Forgotten Realms series were handpicked by Ed Greenwood, the D&D campaign setting creator and celebrated author. The stories take place in Realms' greatest city, Waterdeep. Jones will read from her new novel, City of the Dead. She has also written Crypt of the Moaning Diamond in Forgotten Realms. De Bie reads from his latest novel, Downshadow. His other Realms' books are Ghostwalker and Depths of Madness.

Upcoming at University Book Store, in the U District, Seattle:
Jacqueline Carey, author of the Kushiel's Legacy series, reads from her very new novel (due out June 24),
Naamah's Kiss, 7 p.m., Mon., June 29.
Karen Joy Fowler, author of
Wit's End and The Jane Austen Book Club, reads as part of the Clarion West free summer series, 7 p.m., Tues., June 30.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Stocker Farms Field of Screams FREE Haunt Acting Workshop #2

StockerFarms Field of Screams invited you to:

Stocker Farms Field of Screams FREE Haunt Acting Workshop #2

When: Saturday, July 11, 2009 - 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM PDT

Where: Carnegie Library; Art Gallery, 105 Cedar Ave., Snohomish, WA. 98290

Who: anyone interested in haunt acting, being around fellow haunters, anyone interested to perform their best at our Haunt Auditions in September.

Why: Because we want to share our love of screaming!

Contact: fostalent@stockerfarms.com

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Art double-feature: sf/steampunk exhibits

Lowell Art Works exhibits sci-fi and steampunk inspired art June 20-July 12 at 5205 S. 2nd Ave., Everett. "It Came From Outer-Lowell!", curated by artists Jules Anslow and Mike Capp, will feature monsters, robots, aliens, mutant eels, cyborg supermodels, six-armed ant boys of ancient legend, and root-cellar-chemistry-set-experiments-gone-awry.

To bring together “Steampunk: The Art and Science of Future-Victorian Tech," Anslow, directed artists to, "Think: Jules Verne meets Rube Goldberg. Wild Wild West. Mad Max. Even a little Blade Runner. Steamboy, an animated film, captures the concept. Imagine if your microwave had carved wood trim, brass fittings, jeweled buttons that lit up, curved brass feet, and a four-pane window with red-velvet curtains on the front."

A reception for both exhibits, a.k.a. the opening invasion, will be 4-9 p.m., Sat., June 20.

Lowell Art Works gallery hours are: 1-5 p.m., Saturdays, 1-4 p.m., Sundays and 4-9 p.m. on third Saturdays for the Everett Art Walk. Call 425-923-3635.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Clarion West reading series starts June 23

Clarion West's Six Summer Evenings of Science Fiction & Fantasy starts June 23 with John Kessel. All readings take place 7 p.m. at University Book Store, 4326 University Way NE, Seattle. Free!

Kessel is the author of four novels and three short story collections most recently
The Baum Plan for Financial Independence and Other Stories (2008). He edited Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology (2006) and Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology (2007), and The Secret History of Science Fiction (forthcoming from Tachyon) with James Patrick Kelly. He teaches American literature, science fiction, fantasy, and fiction writing at North Carolina State University.

Upcoming readings will be by:

Karen Joy Fowler
June 30
Elizabeth Bear July 7
Nalo Hopkinson
July 14
David G. Hartwell
July 21
Rudy Rucker
July 28

Review: Crowds cheer The City & The City

In a fantasy city, the author would have stepped into a gleaming amphitheatre to the announcement, "And all the way from London, two time British Fantasy Society Award-Winning author...China Miéville..." The cheering throng would have hoisted their books high and demanded encores of readings from Perdido Street Station (2000), Iron Council (2004) and Un Lun Dun (2007) before allowing the author to leave the stage.

Instead, Miéville arrived at the Third Place Books Commons in Lake Forest Park, amidst the food court clanging of people finishing their dinners out on a Friday night, without even the pomp of a Kim Rickett's style Words & Wine event. He read a short section from the opening of his latest book
The City & The City before a crowd of about 200 people.

Fanfare not required though. This was a good time. It was fun to hear Inspector Borlu's interrogation of the druggie kids in Miéville's voice.
The City & The City is a different kind of fantasy, a police procedural. A "complete fidelity to the noir protocol," it opens with a dead body and the protagonist is gruff and flawed. Why did Miéville turn to a crime novel? Well, for his mother. Written while she was ill, the book is dedicated, "In loving memory of my mother, Claudia Lightfoot".

He's also enjoying writing in some new voices. Expect to see some examples in the next few years, as Miéville "begs an indulgence" from fans. Try something new? Miéville has something more sci-fi in the works as well as another fantasy. He also has ideas for non-fiction exploring topics from politics to Lovecraftian novels (Miéville wrote the introduction to the 2005 Modern Library edition of H.P. Lovecraft's
At the Mountains of Madness). The City & The City, "secretly subtitled 'The Last Inspector Borlu Mystery'" leaves openings for prequels and sequels too.

Miéville's also happy about a role-playing game in development based on one of his worlds. He's given the go ahead to
Tales of New Crobuzon.

Following his reading, Miéville was engaging, gracious, and hilarious in the Q&A before he was whisked off for the real work of the evening — signing books. He has a delightful vocabularly and talks easily across genres too. He speaks fluent geek punctuated by London slang and politics. Here are a few tidbits he shared:

Miéville's dreams: include beautiful views walking through the cities he's created, but aren't heavily plotted, "I'm somewhere and for some reason I have to go over there... it's like being in Second Life, very pretty, but nothing happens."

Miéville's writing process: Starts with setting. He builds a world and creates maps, but with white spaces to fill in later or just leave blank, "sometimes it's fun not to know." If this sounds a lot like world-building for a role-playing game, well, yes, he is quite familiar with polyhedral dice.

Miéville on fantasy: Writing fantasy provides a way to talk about and envision what is inherently impossible to talk about and envision — concepts such as radical socio-political change (what we could easily envision wouldn't really be radical). It also "shows the grander thing behind the everyday" following in the religious visionary tradition of ecstatic writing.

Miéville leaves the impression you could sit down with him and have a highly entertaining conversation on anything from the "heuristic failure of first-person shooters" to "the murderous arbitrariness of geopolitical borders". Barring that, you can read one of his books.

So, what are your favorites? One audience member asked about the short story "The Tampered Mail" with Miéville's eponymous protagonist, China Miéville. Another had a copy of Miéville's non-fiction
Between Equal Rights: A Marxist Theory of International Law (2006). What book would you start someone on who had never read Miéville?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Eyes Like Stars - Reading and Signing!

Come help Lisa Mantchev celebrate the publication of EYES LIKE STARS with cupcakes, glitter, and assorted silliness.

Location: University Bookstore, Seattle
Date: Thursday, July 16, 2009
Time: 7:00pm - 10:00pm

Monday, June 1, 2009

China Miéville reads at Third Place Books

Weird fiction author China Miéville reads from his recently released novel The City & The City (2009), described as a sci-fi, noir, murder mystery, 6:30 p.m., Fri., June 5 at Third Place Books, 17171 Bothell Way NE, Lake Forest Park.

Writing out of London, Miéville is the author of the award-winning New Crobuzon series including Perdido Street Station (2000), The Scar (2001) and Iron Council (2004). His first novel, King Rat, was published in 1998.

Smashing soiree preps crowd for SteamCon

Will memories of the Seattle Steampunk Soiree May 22 at Heaven carry us through to SteamCon in October? A delightfully goggled, top-hatted and corseted crew arrived and made this a truly brass, beribboned and velvet event.

On stage Abney Park of Gig Harbor delivered all the sultry resonant promise of their albums plus the spectacle of abneypark.com. The crowd turned into besotted airship pirates as the band hit favorites off of albums including Lost Horizons (2008), The Death of Tragedy (2005) and
From Dreams or Angels (2001). "Building Steam" may be our new favorite song, a strapping Captain Robert advised. Aye, aye! With a wind down like Herr Drosselmyer's Doll, Abney's set sated the soiree.

Deadly Nightshade Botanical Society (fabulous name, isn't it?) of Tacoma played their first show after working to release their album Clockwork Dreams. They got the soiree started with raging steampunking guitars (Abney Park alum Robert Hazelton later re-upped with the airship pirates to help
end the show).

Seattle's Legion Within played a romantic darkwave and classic industrial interlude. Songwriter and vocalist William Wilson rock starred the stage (presence galore) along with the polished band. Wilson
and percussionist Aaron Nicholes are also part of a Bauhaus tribute band, The Sky's Gone Out. Wilson has the voice. Hear for yourself: Legion Within opens for Peter Murphy Tues., June 2 at El Corazon.

Of course, the crowd at the steampunk soiree did wear more than just top hats, goggles and corsets (it wasn't quite that decadent). But after a trip through the vendors' room, you'll be forgiven if you think that's all the accoutrement required. Beauteous wares on display included top hats for ladies and gents, custom goggles and corsets, jewelry and spectacles made of antique watch parts, and Cthulu necklaces in Lego or silver.

For those who missed it, a few links from the soiree plus a few for good measure:

Abney Park fashion -
goggles, stripey t-shirts and leather corsets
Gothic Beagle - dog collars and leashes, and yes, meant for quadruped pets — stylish ones!
Lastwear - clothing for outlanders, steampunks, reality hackers, and temporal misfits

London Particulars - steampunk jewelry, fashion — on Twitter @SteampunkShoppe
Mac McGowan - handcrafted leather gear, props, and accessories
Velvet Mechanism - steampunk accessories
Gypsy Lady Hats - velvet, stripes, and laces!
Tatterdemalion Designs
- clothing for elegant ruffians
(these last links courtesy of Gothic Charm School)

Can't wait for SteamCon? Check out SepiaChord for music and more steamy summer events, or try one of these:

Crypticon, June 5-7, Seattle Center
Edward Gorey Garden Party at The Historic Overlook House, Sun., June 14, Portland
Legion Within, CD release party with God Module, Blicky, DJ Seraphim, 8 p.m., Sat., June 20, El Corazon, 109 Eastlake Ave. E, Seattle
Gothic Charm School book release party, 7:30 p.m., Tues., June 23, University Village Barnes & Noble, 2675 NE University Village St, Seattle
Portland Hallowe'en Bazaar, Sat., Oct 3, Portland

And don't forget, SteamCon, Oct. 23-25, Seattle.