Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Round-up: Functional Nerds,, Bennett, and Bear

It has been an interesting week, from my perspective in the SFF online community.

On Tuesday, I made my second podcast appearance, this time on The Functional Nerds.  John Anealio is a fellow NJ SFF fan and he and I drove into NYC for a couple of events over the past year. Since we both live in NJ, we've been trying to get some NJ-based gatherings together since there seems to be quite a few of us in the great Garden State. He, Ed Lazellari (author of Awakenings and The Lost Prince) and I got together a couple of weeks ago and John (and his co-conspirator Patrick Hester) decided to invite me onto the podcast. So, go listen to me talk about The Strain, Guardians of the Galaxy, and how I came to be involved in the online genre community

Playing on that theme of "live" interaction with the genre community, had a launch party for the new Imprint headed up by Lee Harris and Irene Gallo on Wednesday.  It was a great event where I finally had the opportunity to meet some folks with whom I interact on twitter and elsewhere intarwebs like Richard Shealy (@SheckyX on twitter), spelling bee champion Max Gladstone, Thea James of the The Book Smugglers (we both choke up at about the same point in reading Memory, Sorrow and Thorn), Marty Cahill (@McFlyCahill90) and the legendary (in his own mind) Justin Landon. Yes he is a tall dude, we are nearly the same height so we literally did see eye to eye. (Seriously, though his Rocket Talk podcast for is MUST listen for any genre fan).

Photo courtesy of Irene Gallo

It was also great chatting with my editor Bridget McGovern, Orbit editor Devi Pillai, Orbit PR sorceress Ellen Wright,  Myke Cole, DAW editor Joshua Starr, Lee Harris, Irene Gallo, and quite a few other folks. What was coolest, from the point of view of my own ego, was that a few people knew my name, and people I didn't know too well or interact with much online recognized my name. 

The great Robert Jackson Bennett provided SFFWorld a guest post this week on the subject of secondary world fantasy: 

Lastly, I posted my review of Shattered Pillars, the second book of Elizabeth Bear's Eternal Sky Trilogy. While I recognize all the great things about the book, I wasn't connected with the narrative through the whole thing.  That said, she's doing some very interesting things in the book and series.

What Elizabeth Bear does in Shattered Pillars is broaden the global canvas of her world, adding depth to a world that already had a rich and authentic feel. Not only does Bear expand on the gods and world, she introduces new concepts of divinity and power foreign even to the characters we’ve already met. In part, Shattered Pillars can be seen as a travelogue through this beautifully created world. In other words, the world is a fully realized character in and of itself....But…and I hate adding buts into these things, but I must. For all of the splendor on the pages of Shattered Pillars, I found myself not connecting with the narrative or the characters as much as I would have liked. I felt a distance between me as the reader and the story on the pages. Perhaps because it was just over two years since I read Range of Ghosts, perhaps something else. I recognize what a solid piece of fiction Shattered Pillars is, but I had my problems staying intimately invested in the novel.

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