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I sometimes get asked to blurb a book, that is, write a short sentence or paragraph recommending it, to be used on the back of the book. I take my cue from the great blurb artiste Gary Shteyngart, who does it with joy, almost compulsively, and as an art in its own right; and so it should be.
But I thought it might be nice to go beyond the mere act of blurbing and to actually write a few words here on the blog. And so, this may become a semi-regular thing; or not. I’m currently deep into a new novel, and it’s a dark and lonely place and filled mostly with Nazis. And so there will be few updates for a while.
Instead, why not try -
The Book: Witchcraft in the Harem
The Author: Aliya Whiteley
The experience of reading this collection is like being waterboarded by an angel. Shocking, heartbreaking and laugh-out-loud funny, this is some of the best writing I’ve ever seen. If you like Aimee Bender or Etgar Keret, you will love Witchcraft in the Harem.
Love it because: Just read 1926 in Brazilian Football, which is disgusting, funny, sad and profound. Then go and buy the book so you could read the rest of the stories.
Location: The Cellar Bar, The Argyle Public House, 1 Greville Street (off Leather Lane), London EC1N 8PQ
On Wednesday 24th April 2013, Lavie Tidhar (author of the BSFA Award shortlisted Osama, and The Bookman Chronicles, and editor-in-chief of the BSFA Award-winning World SF Blog) will be interviewed by Edward James (Chair of the Science Fiction Foundation).
ALL WELCOME – FREE ENTRY (Non-members welcome)
The interview will start at 7 pm. We have the room from 6 pm (and if early, fans are in the ground floor bar from 5ish).
There will be a raffle (£1 for five tickets), with a selection of sf novels as prizes.
Map is here. Nearest Tube: Chancery Lane (Central Line).
The blog’s fiction editor, Sarah Newton, was on hand at the awards ceremony to accept on my behalf. I wrote a short speech:
We started the World SF Blog four years ago, in order to have a conversation: a conversation about science fiction and about diversity, a conversation we felt it was important to have. I’d like to thank Charles Tan, for being there from the very start; our former fiction editor, Debbie Moorhouse, and present fiction editor Sarah Newton(don’t blush, Sarah!). And I’d like to thanks Jason Sizemore, of Apex Books, for believing in this project from the very beginning.
I have seen a lot of changes in genre fiction in the past four years, a greater awareness to do with representation, and a strong and vigorous discussion of assumptions only a few years ago no one thought to question.
I am delighted I’ve been able to contribute to that discussion, in whatever minor capacity, and very grateful to the members of this convention for recognising us in this way.
And here’s Sarah with the award! Which I will hopefully be picking up in person later this week.
Regrettably, the formal launch for Martian Sands this Friday has been cancelled, as the books have not come back from the printers on time. It can still be pre-ordered for only £11.99 (from a £20 cover price), and the signed jacketed edition, limited to 100 copies, is also now available for pre-orders at the PS Publishing site.
This also means I won’t be going to Eastercon this weekend. To be honest, it’s a bit of a relief, as I have a fair bit of work to do, including a film treatment I’m on a tight deadline on. So I’ll be spending the weekend writing, mostly.
My new novel, Martian Sands, is now at the printers and available for pre-orders!
1941: an hour before the attack on Pearl Harbour, a man from the future materialises in President Roosevelt’s office. His offer of military aid may cut the War and its pending atrocities short, and alter the course of the future . . .
The future: welcome to Mars, where the lives of three ordinary people become entwined in one dingy smokesbar the moment an assassin opens fire. The target: the mysterious Bill Glimmung. But is Glimmung even real? The truth might just be found in the remote FDR Mountains, an empty place, apparently of no significance, but where digital intelligences may be about to bring to fruition a long-held dream of the stars . . .
Mixing mystery and science fiction, the Holocaust and the Mars of both Edgar Rice Burroughs and Philip K. Dick, Martian Sands is a story of both the past and future, of hope, and love, and of finding meaning—no matter where—or when—you are.
Last night I went to the Kitschies Award ceremony, where I was given a special award (The Black Tentacle) for the World SF Blog. The special award was previously given to comics publishers SelfMadeHero, and to Donald Westlake’s posthumous novel Memory, published by Hard Case Crime.
In my short acceptance speech, I said that “I see the World SF Blog as an argument, but one that is turning into a conversation.” And I thanked the Kitschies for choosing to make it a part of their own conversation, of highlighting the importance of talking about, reading, and being exposed to international speculative literature, in all its forms.
I like the Kitschies, which are a sort of mischievous award. They are given to “the year’s most progressive, intelligent and entertaining works that contain elements of the speculative or fantastic.” You can – and should – argue with their selections, but it is obvious a lot of care – and love of genre – goes into the selections each year.
So I should have been delighted last night – who doesn’t like awards! – and gratified for this recognition of four years of running the blog, alongside which we produced 2 anthologies of international SF/F and set up a travel fund to help bring people from the “outside” to a major convention – World Fantasy Con, so far.
I wanted to add a lot more on stage, of course. To talk about the importance of diversity in fiction, of how some of the best works I’ve read have been in translation, or coming from outside of the Anglophone world; of how some of the best short fiction today is written, in English, by writers from the “outside”, from places like Malaysia or China or Israel or Nigeria; of how anthologists today can no longer default to table of contents filled with white men without being, at least, called on it; of how gratifying it is to be able to recommend to the occasional editor who asks me, some of those writers I know and admire.
To begin with, I don’t even know why I was feeling uneasy about accepting the award. I was looking forward to coming along and not having any responsibilities, like having to go on stage (my World Fantasy Award acceptance speech was two lines), and just being able to relax and enjoy myself. But I think I know what was bothering me, which crystallised when I stood up on that stage at the Free Word Centre.
I was looking out on a sea of white people. Of familiar, talented, friendly and wonderful people, yes, editors and publishers, agents and writers. Who were, predominantly, British (obviously) and some Americans. And outside, the receptionist – the one black woman at the event.
Of course, the debut novel award went to Karen Lord – a black woman from Barbados – but she couldn’t be there. And the shortlist included one translated novel, too. The Kitschies try very hard to be a more inclusive award, and it’s hard, with so few international authors published in the UK.
But it bothers me, because how can I accept an award for promoting, or trying to promote, diversity, when it is not present in the body of the judges? And it is not present in British genre publishing, and was so glaringly missing from the audience last night?
There are writers of colour, working in speculative fiction, in the UK. Not many, and not, more importantly, much visible. And most can be found in short fiction, in the sort of thing, in fact, which the Kitschies do not give an award to. But if we want to encourage dialogue, and create an environment when people even want to engage with speculative fiction, then it must begin, I think, with questioning not just the point of this – or any other – award, but of the environment in which it is given and discussed.
I love the people organising the Kitschies, and the events that they organise through the year. I’d dearly love to see one dedicated to the unseen faces of speculative fiction in the UK – a commitment to diversity as a public face, a way of encouraging a discussion that is badly needed in SF as much as outside of it. And it occurs to me that I would be dishonest to accept the award without talking about it, despite my fear of being seen as ungrateful or discourteous.
On the contrary: I see the awarding of the Kitschies to the World SF Blog as an opportunity, as a way of fostering discussion, and so I am doing what I – hope – the Kitschies wanted me to do: I’m continuing this argument, and hoping that it becomes a conversation.
From Publishers Marketplace:
French rights to winner of the World Fantasy Award Lavie Tidhar’s OSAMA went to Mathieu Saintout at Eclipse, in a nice deal, for publication in Fall 2013, by Louisa Pritchard at Louisa Pritchard Associates, on behalf of John Berlyne at The Zeno Agency.
This follows sales to Hungary, Poland, Spain and Germany, with more sales forthcoming announcement as we go through the inevitable paperwork first.
Publishers Marketplace also has the official announcement for THE VIOLENT CENTURY:
Lavie Tidhar’s THE VIOLENT CENTURY, pitched as ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’ meets ‘Watchmen’ in this novel about the mystery, and the love story, that determined the course of history itself, to Anne Perry at Hodder & Stoughton, in a very nice deal, in a two-book deal, for publication in October 2013, by John Berlyne at Zeno Agency (World English).
At last it can be told: my new novel, The Violent Century, has sold to Hodder & Stoughton in the UK, in a two-book deal. It is already available for pre-order on Amazon, and will be published in hardcover in October. In addition, PS Publishing will do a signed limited edition of the book for the collectors market.
Here is the press release:
Anne Perry has acquired World English rights to two books by Lavie Tidhar. The deal was negotiated by Tidhar’s agent, John Berlyne at the Zeno Agency.
Tidhar recently won the 2012 World Fantasy Best Novel Award for his novel Osama. He is one of the rising young stars of the genre world; in addition to Osama (which has been shortlisted for or won numerous prizes, including the BSFA award for best novel, the John W. Campbell best novel award, and the Kitschies’ Red Tentacle), Lavie has also written The Bookman Histories, an historical fantasy trilogy published by Angry Robot, numerous novellas, short stories and even a comic-book.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy meets Watchmen in Tidhar’s The Violent Century, the thoughtful and intensely atmospheric novel about the mystery, and the love story, that determined the course of history itself. The Violent Century is the sweeping drama of a time we know too well; a century of fear and war and hatred and death. In a world where everyday heroes may become übermenschen, men and women with extraordinary powers, what does it mean to be a hero? To be a human? Would the last hundred years have been that much better if Superman were real?
Would they even have been all that different?
John Berlyne says: ‘This deal tops off what has been a most incredible 2012 for Lavie. With The Violent Century, this fearless young author further establishes himself as a unique voice in modern fiction and I’m delighted that Hodder will be publishing.’
Anne Perry says: ‘In the last few years, Lavie has undertaken staggeringly ambitious projects – Osama, after all, is a novel about a world in which Osama bin Laden is the villain in a series of pulp novels – and made them work. With The Violent Century, however, Lavie has reached a new level. The book demonstrates the maturity, the confidence, and the control of an author now really hitting his stride, and I’m beyond thrilled that Lavie has chosen to publish with Hodder & Stoughton.’ The Violent Century will publish in October 2013.
For more information please contact Poppy North on 020 7873 6173 or firstname.lastname@example.org.