Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Fantasy authors: support local!

GENERAL BLOG NOTE: I've made a small but important change to my blog, in that I have moved the post labels (tags) to under the post title, instead of at the bottom near the comments link. That way, those who are more interested in comic/movie reviews won't get halfway into a make-up related post and want to cry. And vice versa ;)

Onto the actual post:
Have you ever been surprised to know that an author, musician or artist used to live in your area? Because of the huge amount of American and English media that Australia gets, I'm always excited when I find something Australian. It's just nice to know that we can get our toes into the global talent pool as well. I especially like finding authors who still live in Australia. It gives me hope that, should I decide to pursue novel writing, I wouldn't have to move countries to succeed professionally. This is almost definitely the case in areas like film and music.

Getting to know (and like) the work of local creative types means you have better chances of meeting your icons in person. Two Australian authors I can always count to be at Perth Supanova are Marianne de Pierres and Jennifer Fallon. I'm a little bit embarassed to say I haven't read Jennifer's work. I have read Marianne's Parrish Plessiss series and was bowled over by the pacing, and the gritty, violent and complex  post-apocalyptic universe she's created. Marianne went to a university in my area, something that always cheers me up when I hear derogatory comments about arts degrees (since I'm doing one alongside my major in media studies, and my minor in journalism). I am still eyeing off her more recent series whenever I pass a bookstore.

After news of another Supanova cancellation reached my ears (rather, eyes, as it was on Facebook) I decided to have a look at the current activity and guest information for Perth. I clicked into the author section and saw two unfamiliar names - Rob Kaay and Christian Tamblyn. These two Aussie guys have very recently published their first novels, and both are science fiction/fantasy, which is pretty much my favourite genre. I went into my local Borders, but they didn't have either in stock, so I'm just going to order them off the authors' websites (linked above). Rob Kaay's book is actually avaible in audio and soft-copy format off his website, but I'm a traditionalist, and I like paper books :)

I'll write up a review of both of these books for the blog, but if I like them (which I'm fairly sure I will) what will be most exciting is meeting these guys in person and (fingers crossed!) getting my book signed. I also hope to attend Jennifer Fallon's World Building class, which I've sadly missed in the last two years of Supanova.

There are a few other Aussie authors I love and would reccommend (I have linked to their offiicial websites so you can check them out):
  • Kylie Chan, author of the incredible Dark Heavens Trilogy and in-the-works Wudang series. These series are rich in Chinese mythology - I shudder to think of the amount of research Kylie had to do, but it certainly adds a wonderful depth and mystery to the books. They may be fantasy, but all the human characters are wonderfully, well, human.
  • K.E. Mills, author of the Rogue Agent series (both of these wonderful women are avid convention attendees, unfortunately neither of them have been to Perth yet). K.E. Mills is actually a pseudonym for Karen Miller, who has written several other successful series under that name. The Rogue Agent series basically takes all the tropes and elements of 'magic'-based fiction and straight crime/detective fiction and turns it on its head. I am re-reading all of the three current books and writing a review which will go up as soon as I finish it.
  • Sophie Masson, author of Cold Iron, an absolutely spellbinding novella inspired by Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. I found this in my local library years ago, and borrowed it about twelve times, reading and re-reading constantly until I found it in a secondhand bookstore. It now sits happily on my shelf. I didn't realise until this post that she continued writing and amassed quite a long list of both YA and adult fiction! I will have to hit the library and eBay to play catch-up.
  • Ian Irvine, author of The View From the Mirror series (I'm having a bit of trouble tracking down book 4, which is a pain, because I neeeeeed to know what happens!) it's an adventure story spanning two worlds. Like most epic fantasy, it has a vast amount of characters and locations, but everything is wonderfully lush and 3-D. No 'description swamps', though!
  • Sara Douglass, author of the Axis trilogy, a dark and twisted web of mythology, love, betrayal and politics. Beautiful in parts, disturbing in others. As I said to my boyfriend, "she is certainly not afraid to make a character SUFFER! A LOT!"
These are just what I've read so far! I have many other authors on my Aussie reading list: Jennifer Fallon (of course), Trudi Canavan, Cecilia Dart-Thornton, Fiona McIntosh, and Garth Nix are at the top. I have a few other miscellanious bits of fiction knocking around, now that I've finished uni for the semester (yay!). I'm seeking to expand my literary horizons so I'm not just reading fantasy all the time. I'm starting with A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, and the collected works and letters of Emily Dickinson. I'll probably review most of what I read, hoping it will help me not tear through them as fast as I normally do, and keep my brain from turning into slush over the uni break. I haven't got an awful lot of shifts, even with two jobs (I got the one at that upmarket handbag place, by the way! Total freak-out fluke, and now I'm learning to sell brands I've never heard of and could only afford if I saved for a month).
Many more posts coming up! I have 4 drafts at the moment, including the long-ago promised banana bread recipe and the Concrete Minerals primer review. And there will of course be occasional spontaneous discuss-y posts, like my Foundation Day one and this one.

Happy reading!

P.S. if you've met one of your favourite artists or writers, tell me in the comments! Or tell me about someone you found out used to live, work or go to school near you. I'm also very, very open to book reccommendations.

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