Rabu, 28 Januari 2009

Just back from Brisneyland (being Brisbane for the uninitiated) having attended the Aurealis Awards night where, if you'll recall, Lamplighter was shortlisted in the Best Young Adult Novel category. Alas alak, I have to content myself with the shortlisting for I can reveal to you all now that Melina Marchetta's (of On the Jellicoe Road and Looking for Alibrandi fame) first foray into the spec fic world, Finnikin of the Rock (Penguin/Viking) took the honours.

Congrats to her - I'd be lying if I did not admit I was a tad bummed, but I got over myself and and very happy to have Lamplighter on a shortlist.

The other winners of the 2008 Aurealis Awards by category were:

best science fiction novel
K A Bedford, Time Machines Repaired While-U-Wait
(Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing)

best science fiction short story
Simon Brown, ‘The Empire’, Dreaming Again

best fantasy novel
Alison Goodman, The Two Pearls of Wisdom
(Harper Collins)

best fantasy short story
Cat Sparks, Sammarynda Deep’, Paper Cities
(Senses 5 Press)

best horror novel
John Harwood, The Seance, Jonathan Cape
(Random House Australia)

best horror short story
Kirstyn McDermott, ‘Painlessness’, Greatest Uncommon Denominator (GUD), #2

best anthology
Jonathan Strahan (editor), The Starry Rift
(Viking Children's Books)

best collection
Sean Williams & Russell B Farr (editor), Magic Dirt: The Best of Sean Williams
(Ticonderoga Publications)

best illustrated book/graphic novel
Shaun Tan, Tales From Outer Suburbia
(Allen & Unwin)

best young adult short story
Trent Jamieson, ‘Cracks’, Shiny, #2

best children’s novel
Emily Rodda, The Wizard of Rondo
(Omnibus Books)

best children’s illustrated work/picture book
Richard Harland & Laura Peterson (illustrator), Escape!, Under Siege, Race to the Ruins, The Heavy Crown, of The Wolf Kingdom series
(Omnibus Books)

Peter McNamara Convener's Award for Excellence
Jack Dann

Well done to everyone (with an especial cheerio to Sean Williams, Richard Harland, Laura Peterson, Shaun Tan and Omnibus!) and thank you to the organisers for a great event.

And just to turn all the attention back to MBT for a moment, the paperback of the English language editions of Lamplighter will be released this year in May, which is something to loo forward to.

Answer time!

Probing questions from Differlot:
"[Do you] know what planet is the half continent?"

The world of the Half-Continent is called the Harthe Alle (at least by some) or the Alt Gird (though not so often). Tungolitrists (what we would call astronomers) name it Deuter Diana or just Deuter. Of course other races have other names, but these three will do for now.

"I wonder what Europe does in her free time, hmmm?"

Europe would not admit to having such a thing as we would call "free time" - her oppinion on the matter would be to use time as usefully as possible; "sitting about only makes for darkened and uselessly bedizzened thoughts," is how she would put it, I reckon.

"What happens if a wit or fulgar gets turned into a monster do the monsters learn how to use the artificial organs, or since they have been put in maybe they are dead and the monster only posses natural parts since it probably wont be able to take treacle till found by somebody. They might just die from not having any."

Now here's a question I'd not considered! Monsters would not ever become lahzars, and since the whole system of treacles and surgeons is a totally human system, so you are right, even if a monster could become lahzarine, they would die from lack of treacle and such things.

Also, for those of a praying persuasion, I would very much appreciate your prayers as I struggle to get the final two chapters of Book 3. Typically I tend to have a vision of what a scene will look and feel like, a sketch - if you like - in my head, from which I spring forward to actually explore and fill out with words. Right now, however, my soul is being very reluctant to cough up a clear view of the end.

Who'd be a writer, hey?

Kamis, 22 Januari 2009

Today being the last day before I trip off to Brisbane to attend the Aurealis Awards I though I would share a bit more of y process with you (how the two are related I do not know, but it makes for a beginning to a post, so I am running with it).

What I have for show and tell today are a couple conceptual sketches completed for Book 3, done to help me get a better "eye" for what Europe is wearing at certain occasions in the story. The first is for a more formal and fancy event.

This second sketch is me trying to get a handle on colour and style for a set of new-made harness for fighting in. Spotting that clipping from the fashion section of the local paper helped me greatly in fixing down the nature of the cloth which I had previously designated as read on the sleeves and blue-grey on the apron. I like the green with red florals much better, though the flowers on the cloth used for the harness would not look or be placed in quite so modern a manner.

Just goes to show how rough my sketches can be, but there purpose is ideation not polished illustration. I heartily recommend little sketches to help with "seeing" your writing.

If you are seeking even more European costuming goodness head over to Monster Blood Cult to see what Erin Montemurro is doing (really, go check it out, 'tis remarkable!)

An enormous grateful tip of the hat to Mr. Bennett Lovett-Graff (aka Polymath Paradise) for his thorough and heartily uplifting insights into MBT Books 1 & 2. For such as you and all the goodly folks here do I strive - such responses are the endeavour rewarded.

Here's a question for you: should I or should I not get a spot on Facebook?

Senin, 12 Januari 2009

Well, it is near two weeks since the peep of the year and have you heard anything from me..?!

I am very chuffed to break silence (as it were), do as others have done and post up a shortlist from the up and coming Cybils Awards in my own chosen genre, Fantasy & Science Fiction:

Cabinet of Wonders written by Marie Rutkoski, Macmillan
Graveyard Book written by Neil Gaiman, HarperCollins
Magic Thief written by Sarah Prineas, HarperCollins
Savvy written by Ingrid Law, Penguin USA
Airman written by Eoin Colfer, Hyperion
Curse Dark as Gold written by Elizabeth C. Bunce, Scholastic
Explosionist written by Jenny Davidson, HarperCollins
Graceling written by Kristin Cashore, Harcourt
Hunger Games, The written by Suzanne Collins, Scholastic
Wake written by Lisa McMann, Simon & Schuster

... and (*drum roll*)

Lamplighter written by some weird fellow surrounded by notebooks in a darkened room, Penguin USA.

A true and dare I admit astonishing honour - (watch for my over-use of this word in Book 3... :( - to be included amongst such lights. Congrats to us all, to the judges for hour upon hour of reading to get to this list, to anyone who dares attempt to write a book - shortlisted, awarded or otherwise - and to you most excellent folk who read! Thank you R.J. Anderson for pointing my shortlisting out to me; thank you Laini Taylor-Di Bartolo for you great summary and to you all for your continuing support.

Only a couple of weeks away from the 2008 Aurealis Awards too.

My head is so swollen at the moment I am having trouble fitting through doors and cannot drive my car. Of course, ego takes a big hit when confronted by the daily struggle with the English language, which often feels a lot like...

English language & Plot not doing what it ought to: 1 - D.M.Cornish: nil.

Never-the-less, we are getting there folks!

Klesita (welcome to you!) was asking... "Is it true that Jim Henson Co has the rights of the series? Do you still retain some kind of rights over the script that will allow you some control over the final product? It would be a shame if the movie trashes this beautiful/fearful/incredible world and its inhabitants..."

Yes, the Henson company does indeed have the rights to MBT; no, I think they have to right to make the story what they want it to be, and if I get any say in how it turns out it will be purely on the condescension of the director etc. I too am nervous of what the final product my morph into; I reckon at this very moment the Henson Company are probably nervous how I actually end the story (and me along with them) - so nerves all round.

Ben Bryddia ponders... "Do they have land mines in the Haacobin Empire? You know, big ceramic or porcelain spheres full of mordants, just waiting for some hulking unterman to step on, and crack open? Which makes me wonder, are there any poisonous potives of the gas variety?"

Not in the way we have landmines, no. More like buried or hidden bombs with long fuses, and with or without potives. There are devices known as belchpots (amongst other names): large cauldron-shaped pots of cheap iron or clay with a metal base plate and filled with black powder (sometimes called cannon char) and lots and lots of langridge (or langrage, read: shrapnel). These pots are then buried into the soil, their mouths pointed in the desired direction of the blast, and when needed are set off with a long fuse. Variable and messy, but very cheap and relatively simple to produce.

Most repellents and the like work on a rapid expansion in air principle, so it that sense much of a skold/legermain's arsenal is somewhat gaseous, if not to start with, certainly once "deployed". There are a few pure gas potives, but they are rare due to difficulties of storage (usually in a tightly stitched animal bladder of some variety).

Breakfast today: Apricot Fruity Bix

Jumat, 02 Januari 2009

from: Ben O.
to: Tian
date: Thu, Jan 1, 2009 at 8:32 PM
subject: Please tell me my friend's tattoo means "understand"

Hi Tian,

I hope you don't mind me asking, but my friend just got this tattoo and says it means "listen/understand". I've seen enough of Hanzi Smatter to cringe even before I know how bad it is. What's the verdict?

Ben O.

We don't really want to beat up on this lovely lady and her cute tattoo too much, but the fact is that the character by itself probably does not mean quite what she thinks it does.

First, we have to decide whether the tattoo is supposed to be in Chinese or Japanese.

If it is supposed to be Chinese, a single character is fine, but the Chinese meaning of the character is more like "to bear, to carry" or "to undertake" or "to receive." But none of these meanings is even close to the intended meaning of "listen/understand."

If it is supposed to be Japanese, the single character does not have much meaning, but rather if it is supposed to be a verb, it must be written with two characters: 承る. Now this verb has various meanings and some of them are somewhat close to "listen" or "understand," but mostly the word is used as a very humble and polite way to agree with the other person in a conversation, so one might say 承ります when one means "I hear you" or "I understand your point." It is really nothing like "listen."

We guess this is the only way we could stretch the meaning of to something like "hear" or "understand" but we don't think is really what they meant and even that is a stretch because the verb marker is missing from 承る.

So unfortunately, this is a case of "close but no cigar."

Ben, give our best regards and sincere commiseration to the unfortunately tattooed friend.

Kamis, 01 Januari 2009

from: Tomas
to: tiangotlost@gmail.com
date: Thu, Jan 1, 2009 at 1:08 PM
subject: hanzi smatter

Hello, Thought I should send this contribution to your (awesome) blog. Found it on a Swedish community site, the proud owner of the tattoo claims that it says "GUN" (a Swedish female given name, not the thing you use to shoot people). I'm not good enough at Chinese to figure it out, but it seems like complete nonsense to me...

Since I was busy converting my DVD collection for Argosy HV358T-00500 HDD media player, I let Alan to take a crack at it:

Hah! How on earth is supposed to be GUN? Is there yet another bogus "Chinese alphabet" out there?

means more like "inside the giant mortar." (Here, the "mortar" is the thing you use together with a pestle to crush things like grain or medicine. It is not the weapon.)

The things that people decide to get tattooed onto their bodies never cease to amaze.