December 13, 2012
My favorite read off the list this past Fall was Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks. It intrigued me from the beginning, because when I was a child I had two imaginary friends. I think the idea is original, a hard thing to be these days. Seeing the life of a small boy through the eyes of his own special imaginary friend is a unique place to observe this child’s life from.
A friend who is watchful and caring, but is also scared of dying (being unneeded and forgotten and therefore no longer imagined). There are very funny, touching and suspenseful moments throughout the book. I couldn’t put it down and when I passed the reading copy along to a teacher friend of mine…well…let’s just say the value of this particular ARC has been maxed out.
Sandy Cooper, Sales Director
News / July 16, 2012
Do you write short fiction? You do? Well, have I got news for you...
The Telegraph-Journal, New Brunswick’s daily newspaper has just launched The Salon Fiction Prize for works of short fiction (in English) between 1,500-3,000 words.
The winning story will be published in the Telegraph-Journal’s art and culture section, Salon, and the author will receive a prize of $1,000. The winning piece will be selected by a trio of judges from Atlantic Canadian universities: Thomas Hodd (University of Moncton); Alexander MacLeod (Saint Mary’s University); and Sue Goyette (Dalhousie University).
The contest is open to all residents of Canada. All entries must be unpublished material and not under consideration in any other contest of competition. Entries will not be returned, so make sure you keep a copy!
210 Crown Street,
N.B. E2L 3V8.
Entries must include a contact email and telephone number where the author may be contacted.
It's time to put all the warmth and coziness of Thanksgiving behind us, and embrace the cold, dark... Hallowen is just around the corner.
Here are few books to get you into the Halloween spirit ... and awaken the spirits... Mmwhahaha!
Plain Fear: Forsaken
by Leanna Ellis
A vampire novel set in an Amish community, Plain Fear: Forsaken is a haunting and heartbreaking story. When passions stir and secrets are revealed, Hannah must choose between light and dark, between the one she has always loved and the new possibility of love. But it's more than a choice of passion; it's a decision that will determine the fate of her soul.
"Forsaken exemplifies the ultimate literary juxtaposition of good and evil, and is made all the more powerful by Ellis's ability to paint a vivid and realistic picture Amish life."
—Linda Castillo, New York Times bestselling author
Dead of Night: A Zombie Novel
by Jonathan Maberry
St. Martin's Press
New York Times bestselling author of Patient Zero, Jonathan Maberry returns with another creepy tale... A prison doctor injects a condemned serial killer with a formula designed to keep his consciousness awake while his body rots in the grave. But all drugs have unforeseen side-effects. Before he could be buried, the killer wakes up. Hungry. Infected. Contagious. This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang... but a bite.
"An intriguingly fresh slant on the zombie genre."
—John A. Russo
The Monster's Corner: Stories Through Inhuman Eyes
Edited by Christopher Golden
St. Martin's Griffin
An all original anthology from some of todays hottest supernatural writers, featuring stories of monster's from the monster's point of view. With contributions by Lauren Groff, Chelsea Cain, Simon R. Green, Sharyn McCrumb, Kelley Armstrong, David Liss, Kevin J. Anderson, Jonathan Maberry, and many others.
Dead Inside: Do Not Enter
Notes from the Zombie Apocalypse
A Lost Zombies Book
Post Secret meets World War Z in this chilling vision of the fallout following a global zombie pandemic. A gradual mutation of a virulent strain of "super flu" gives rise to millions of the undead, who quickly overwhelm treatment facilities and swarm cities around the world, leaving survivors on their own against a legion of the infected. This chilling story is told through the scraps of paper, scrawled signs, and cryptic markers left by survivors as they struggle to stay alive and find those they've lost in a world overrun by zombies...
Following in the footsteps of the New York Times bestselling graphic novels and the record-breaking new TV show, this debut novel in a trilogy of original Walking Dead books chronicles the back story of the comic book series greatest villain, The Governor.
"The Walking Dead: The Rise of the Governor is a book that's meant for both fans of the comics and fans of the show… Kirkman's mark is all over the book. It takes great advantage of the literary medium in a way that most tie-in books would not.” —TVOvermind.com
Chasing Ghosts, Texas Style
On the Road with Everyday Paranormal
by Brad Klinge, Barry Klinge and Kathy Passero
Thomas Dunne Books
Part high-adventure tale, part autobiography, this page-turner recounts the eerie experiences that convinced brothers Brad and Barry Klinge, founders of Everyday Paranormal and stars of the TV series Ghost Lab on Discovery Channel, that ghosts really do walk among us Brad and Barry Klinge have been investigating paranormal occurrences for the last twenty years, and in Chasing Ghosts, Texas Style , they divulge some of their most exciting ghost encounters and analyze the science behind their paranormal hunts.
"In this enjoyable read, sure to entertain even skeptics, the Klinge brothers recount how they first became interested in ghosts, what led them to start their company, and why they decided to make scientific experimentation the hallmark of their practice." —Publishers Weekly
Here's a clip of the brothers' typical antics on the show:
And now that your jaw is clenched and your fingernails are firmly embedded in your chair... I'll finish this list with a few books that are slightly less terrifying...
Ace Your Zombie Exam!
The Official Ph.Z. Study Guide
by David Murphy
The #1 way to get your official PhZ diploma!
Humans, Zombies, we're not that different. We're all hungry for a better life or post-life. That's why the living and living dead alike are turning more frequently to education in order to improve their station, pursuing the highly coveted PhZ. No enrollment necessary — you need only this book and that high-performance noggin of yours.
Day of the Dead
by Kitty Williams and Stevie Mack
The Day of the Dead Celebration is the most important holiday of the year in Mexico and parts of the American Southwest, a joyful time when families remember their dead. Day of the Dead provides a colorful look at the iconic folk art and family traditions that play a vital role in the event, which happens across the country from October 31 through November 2.
The Book of Skulls
by Faye Dowling
The Book of Skulls presents a cool visual guide to the skull, charting its rebirth through music and street fashion to become today's ultimate anti-establishment icon. From Black Sabbath to Cypress Hill, skater punk graffiti to Gothic tattoos, from high-couture to Hello Kitty and Dali to Damien Hirst, this book is the ultimate collection of cool and iconic skull motifs. Drawing together artwork from music, fashion, street art and graphic design The Book of Skulls is a celebration of one of today's most iconic cultural symbols.
Fiction / October 06, 2011
In case your clockwork robot didn't alert you to the fact, it's Steampunk Week over on Tor.com. They are revelling in all things futuristic-Victorian, including reviewing some great books inspired by the style.
Also be sure to read the post on "Canadian Steampunk, Our Historical Inspiration" written by Countessa Lenora, the Canadian Queen of Steampunk.
Here are a few Steampunk novels to get your gears in motion...
The Clockwork Century series by Cherie Priest
"Dreadnought offers plenty of fun: fast-paced battle scenes, thundering locomotives and the gem of the book, its heroine. Vivid, believable and endearingly stubborn, she’s an enjoyable companion for those taking the time to read a book which challenges the notion that steampunk must assume Victorian attitudes with its goggles and corsets."
Jackelian series by Stephen Hunt
"Steampunk fantasy and SF with a Victorian-era feel… A rip-roaring Indiana Jones-style adventure."
—RT Book Reviews (4 stars) on The Kingdom Beyond The Waves
All Men of Genius by Lev AC Rosen
"This debut literary steampunk novel fits well on the shelf with Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series, with broad crossover appeal to fans of sf, historical romance, and young adult fiction." —Library Journal
J.K. Rowling has become the very first winner of the Hans Christian Andersen Literature Prize, awarded to authors whose stories can be compared to the work of the Danish fairy tale writer.
Rowling accepted the 500,000 kroner ($95,558 CAD) award at a ceremony in Odense, Denmark, the birthplace of Anderson, saying that she was "humbled and deeply honoured" to receive the prize. "Hans Christian Andersen is a writer I revere, because his work was of that rare order that seems to transcend authorship."
(via The Guardian)
The latest Quirk Classic, Android Karenina by Leo Tolstoy and Ben Winters, is released today, and as with Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and PPZ: Dawn of the Dreadfuls, Quirk has released a fantastic teaser trailer for the book:
Let us know what you think!
From Quirk Books, the people who brought you Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, and Dawn of the Dreadfuls, comes sci-fi/zombie/comedy/adventure Night of the Living Trekkies!
Following a group of rag-tag Trekkies getting together for the fifth annual GulfCon (billed as the “largest Starfleet Convention in the western Gulf Coast region”), our heroes (armed only with prop phasers) soon find themselves defending their hotel and convention centre against hordes of flesh-eating undead!
The book is packed with hundreds of gags referencing Star Trek, Star Wars, comic books, and fan conventions. According to our friends at Quirk, it reads like the strange lovechild of Galaxy Quest and Dawn of the Dead."
Night of the Living Trekkies will be available from Raincoast this fall. But in the meantime you can find out more information about the book on Facebook.
(Night of the Living Trekkies is an original work of parody and is not officially sponsored by, affiliated with, or endorsed by the owners of the Star Trek®) brand.)
In the final part of my conversation with Tom McCarthy, we talk about the future. (Read the previous installment here).
WARNING!: This conversation contains adults themes and references to German literary Professors!
DW: So, can you tell me about your new novel 'C'?
TM: It's advancing slowly, is the main thing I can tell you - not least because I find myself constantly doing interviews about Remainder and Men in Space (which don't get me wrong, I love doing, especially with you Dan). I'm about a third of the way into the first draft. In a word, it's a novel about mourning. In more words, it's a novel about the relationship between mourning, communication technologies and family structures. It's set around the turn of the nineteenth/twentieth centuries, when radio was emerging and acquiring a quasi-mystical dimension: whereas spiritualists, for example, used to wait for their departed relatives to communicate with them by rapping on tables, now they'd trawl through the white noise, scanning the aether for hidden signals. I've been reading this brilliant book by a professor named Laurence Rickels called Aberrations of Mourning: Writing on German Crypts. He says that in this period, technology itself becomes the crypt in which the dead are mourned - and, further, that German literature in particular is one big death cult. I love that. If Remainder was, as 3:AM Magazine claimed, essentially a French novel written in English, C will be my German one.
DW: Any final thoughts?
TM: Yes: big love to all my friends at Raincoast - and in Toronto, Canada and www-land.
DW: Thanks Tom. I hope you'll be back in Canada soon!
Today is the fourth installment of my conversation with British novelist Tom McCarthy. When we met in Toronto last year, we talked a lot about music and movies between events, and I was keen to pick up where we left off when we corresponded by email...
(Read the previous installment here)
WARNING!: This conversation contains adult themes and references to avant-garde New York rock bands!
TM: Funnily enough (and without giving away too much of the book's ending), the last word in Men in Space is 'soon', the title of the final song on My Bloody Valentine's Loveless. It's not an accident. I'm of a generation that grew up on music, and it's shaped our whole sensibility in a really intimate way. Also, formally and thematically the best musicians are way ahead of the game: think of techniques like sampling, or the rapid-fire subcultural allusiveness of, say, Sonic Youth. It's hard to say exactly how music's influenced my work, but it's surely as inextricable from my life and work as for most people of my age.
DW: Who are listening to at the moment?
TM: Just now, Nirvana.
DW: REMAINDER - a book about repetition - was published in 2005, 2006 and again in 2007. Do you ever feel like life is imitating art?
TM: When someone hijacks an aeroplane and flies it in a figure-of-eight until it runs out of fuel, then I'll know that Remainder's found the one Quixotic reader every book potentially has, its Mark Chapman.
DW: After the struggle to get REMAINDER published, how did it feel to see your debut novel on the cover story of the New York Times Book Review?
TM: It felt nice.
DW: When you were visiting Toronto last year for the International Festival of Authors (IFOA) you met with Canadian filmmaker Vincenzo Natali. He's directing the film version of J. G. Ballard's HIGH-RISE, which has similarities with REMAINDER. Don't you live in a 60's high-rise? After reading Ballard, I think I would find using the lift either incredibly stimulating or completely debilitating!
TM: It was great meeting Vincenzo, and I can't wait to see his take on Ballard. I do live in a 60s high-rise. It's fantastic. Bizarrely (since you're talking of movies and directors), the producer who's putting together the film adaptation of Remainder came to visit me here recently - and got stuck in the lift on his way down. He got freed eventually and the project's still on. I should have bargained for a bigger percentage before phoning the fire brigade.
DW: Are you interested in film as medium? The protagonist in REMAINDER actively avoids it, and yet it seems tailor made for you...
TM: Although the hero of Remainder doesn't allow cameras at his re-enactments (effectively turning them into film sets without a film), he's obsessed with DeNiro in Mean Streets, and with heroes in movies generally. Whereas the rest of us are continually comparing ourselves to characters in movies and falling short, he reasons, characters in movies aren't comparing themselves and their actions to anyone or anything: they're 'just being' - and are therefore more authentic. His logic's skewed, but I'd say it's shared by virtually everyone who's ever seen a movie.
DW: What are your favourite movies?
Orphée by Jean Cocteau: best film ever made, all about transmission, death, love, poetry and time. The INS radio project was a direct appropriation of the scenes in that film where the dead poet C�geste sends radio messages on illicit frequencies to Orph�e, who copies and repeats them. I like Tarkovsky's work, and was thinking of it when I wrote Remainder: all the slowness, the absorption in surface and texture. Another film I hadn't seen then but have since and think is brilliant is Dennis Hopper's The Last Movie, in which a Peruvian townsfolk continually 'film' movies with wicker cameras and sound-booms after they've seen an American movie crew do it for real, making stylised events repeat ad infinitum. Lynch's latest film Inland Empire is stunning too: completely literary, labyrinthine, regressive. It's the best piece of art in any medium I've come across for years.
Photo credit: David Boulogne
Here, in the third installment with my conversation with Tom McCarthy, we talk about art and Tom's work with the semi-fictional avant-garde network the International Necronautical Society.
(Read the previous installment here)
WARNING: This conversation contains adult themes and references to modern art!
DW: You frequently explore and imitate the Kafkaesque nature of the Cold War (show trials, propaganda, arcane secrecy, sound recordings, radio broadcasts etc) in your work. On top of this, your interpretation of Soviet bureaucracy/totalitarianism is almost Dadaist. Do you see yourself in that tradition as artist and writer?
With the work I've done in a fine-art rather than literary field, I've definitely plugged into those histories. My semi-fake organisation the International Necronautical Society, or INS, deliberately uses the forms and procedures both of early twentieth century avant-gardes such as Dadaism, Futurism and Surrealism - manifestos, proclamations and denunciations - and of totalitarian political processes. So when we held a series of INS 'Hearings' in a London art gallery in front of the press and public, interrogating prominent contemporary artists and writers about their work, we looked at photos of the Stalinist show-trials and got a top theatre set designer, Laura Hopkins, to copy and reproduce the layout of the rooms: where the microphones are, where the press sits and so on. Later we broadcast a continuous stream of coded radio messages from the Institute of Contemporary Art, sending it around London by FM and over the web for rebroadcast by collaborating radio stations throughout the world, like some Cold War propaganda. What's really interesting when you look into these histories is how the artistic and political realms mirror one another: after all, both come out of a period in which the world was being remade by man, moulded by technology, ideology and aesthetics, like an art piece. The Russian Revolution is amazing in that artists were actively involved in shaping public life during and after it - for a moment at least, before they were packed off to labour camps by Stalin.
DW: Thinking of the sound-recording aspect of both your INS work and MEN IN SPACE, have you seen the movie The Conversation?
I have now, but when I wrote the first draft of Men in Space I hadn't. I'd seen an old Czech movie, made in the hiatus after '68 and quickly banned, called Ucho or 'Ear', all about audio surveillance, planting bugs in people's flats. By the time I came to redraft Men in Space I had seen The Conversation, and I'm sure it had an influence. It's a piece of genius: the audio surveillance expert lost in the labyrinth of his own phantasms and of a social and moral (or amoral) order too big for him to navigate; the death of God as represented by his hollowing out of his statue of Mary as he searches for bugs in it--My police agent in Men in Space, who starts out boasting that he can always get a strong signal from his bugs, then ends up losing the signal, all signals, and becomes a symbol of humanity abandoned by the message, by totality, by God: he has a lot in common with Coppola's hero - whose surname, by the way, is Caul: watch that space...
DW: Parts of MEN IN SPACE reminded me of Andy Warhol's 'Death and Disaster' series (death, repetition, etc). Is Warhol an influence on your work?
Absolutely. I think he's probably the best visual artist of all time. On top of that, his roots are Slovakian - or more precisely Carpathian-Ruthenian (the subject of a very funny documentary I'd love to see again, about Ruthenia's bid for independence with Warhol as their national symbol: I never quite worked out if it was a parody or not) - and after the Velvet Revolution he was very big in Prague. All the Czech artists imitated him without really working out why or what it was they were trying to do. There was even this one big graffiti portrait of him that appeared on a wall opposite a flat I was sleeping in one night, which became a kind of shrine.
DW: What other artists interest you?
Loads. I like Bruce Nauman, Anselm Kiefer, Josef Beuys, Francis Bacon - and then some of my contemporaries in London are doing amazing stuff: Rod Dickinson with his re-enactments of traumatic events like the Jonestown Massacre and Milgram Experiment; Mark Aerial Waller with his strange, cryptic films about nuclear contamination and secret technological undergrounds; Margarita Gluzberg with her warped shopping-and-slashing drawings. The creative dialogue in the UK seems to be taking place in the artworld at the moment: whereas mainstream publishing has purged itself of almost all high-literary content, these people I just mentioned are thinking seriously about literature in their work. Nauman too of course, with the enormous evidence of Beckett's writing in his images and actions...
pornography/forest (1 of 5) by Eva Stenram
DW: What is hanging on your living room wall?
I've got a large photo by Rut Blees Luxemburg called Orpheus's Nachtspaziergang or 'The Night Wandering of Orpheus'. It shows a public toilet bathed in blue light, and it was taken with a twenty-minute exposure, which means that there are actually people in it who passed in front of the camera but whom you don't see. In the same vein, I've got an image by my girlfriend Eva Stenram (who was a pupil of Luxemburg) from her 'Pornography' series, in which she's downloaded hardcore porn from the internet then digitally removed the bodies, so you just get an 'event-space' with no event in it - in this case, a quilt in a forest clearing. I've got an Alex Hamilton print in which he's redone the front page of a German newspaper as a series of illegible ciphers, and a drawing by Jim Harris in which two figures sit on a carpet shunting an empty canoe between them. Oh, and a postcard of Yves Klein leaping into the void, that a friend's altered to put his own face in the background (we'd had an argument about whether Klein actually leaped or faked the whole image).
Photo: Tom McCarthy with John Calder