A sci-fi fantasy smorgasbord

Last weekend’s New York Times Sunday Book Review features sci-fi and fantasy new releases reviewed by Charles Yu. He seems to have spotted an overarching theme:

“So much of this work feels as if it is post-something, pervaded by a sense of living and writing in an era that comes after, of fiction being produced by novelists who can’t help feeling that it’s getting late or, in some cases, that it’s too late.”

Several of these titles sound very interesting and it’s a pleasure to read insightful reviews that are not overly critical even when you get the sense that the reviewer didn’t particularly enjoy the book. Have you read any of these books? Let me know in the comments below!

The Cybils are back!

It’s always nice to get a prize. Even though receiving the Best Actor Academy Award doesn’t necessarily make you the best actor in the world, the winner’s shining smile or rivers of tears tell viewers that it means a lot to them. And to their agent. So with that in mind, please consider nominating Starley’s Rust for this year’s Cybils Awards. Cybils stands for Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards, and here’s their mission:

The Cybils Awards aims to recognize the children’s and young adult authors and illustrators whose books combine the highest literary merit and popular appeal. If some la-di-dah awards can be compared to brussels sprouts, and other, more populist ones to gummy bears, we’re thinking more like organic chicken nuggets. We’re yummy and nutritious.

The window for public nominations was flung open earlier today. All it takes is for one member of the public to nominate a book, and it gets on the judges’ radar for consideration.

Cybils Blog Header 2009

Starley’s Rust fits squarely in the Young Adult Speculative Fiction category, so if you’ve read it, loved it, and think it deserves a shiny award (no idea if they’re actually shiny) then click here to go to the nomination page and online form.  And may the best Young Adult Speculative Fiction book win!



Broken Pencil reviews Starley’s Rust

Reviews are always nice. Nice reviews are even nicer! Check out what Toronto indie culture and zine mag Broken Pencil had to say about Starley’s Rust besides this:

Dutton is in his element crafting together a sci-fi adventure with a good blend of sincerity and humour that, without such a fine balance, can be the downfall of any YA fiction.

The fantasy mega-novel

I just took a break from writing the final book in the Embodied trilogy to read an interesting article by Damien Walter in last Friday’s Guardian: Fantasy must shake off the tyranny of the mega-novel, and the response by Natasha Pulley that appeared in the same newspaper this Wednesday: Fantasy cannot build its imaginary worlds in short fiction. At issue is the length of fantasy novels and whether it’s the result of pressure from publishers or the necessary outcome of fantasy world-building.

A very literary doorstop.

A very literary doorstop.

It’s interesting stuff (even the comments are readable for a change!) and I find myself somewhere in the middle on this issue. Because the Embodied books are urban fantasy slash science fiction that are set in modern-day New York City, Paris and Wisconsin, I don’t have to spend pages and pages building a world of sorcerers and dragons. Each book is therefore between 60-70,000 words, which makes them a much quicker read than the Game of Thrones novels. BUT my novels do feature a dragon, as well as several other mythical creatures, so I need to constantly decide how much information I reveal about their world, the Dark Universe, and why they exist in ours.

What this means is that although I’m telling Kari Marriner’s story in this trilogy, I can continue writing other works (stories, novels, even graphic novels) set in other periods and/or places that explore and build the world of the Embodied in greater detail. And as an indie author, I’m definitely not being forced into writing books of a certain length by a publisher. Does fantasy necessarily require books that can also be used as doorstops? Probably not, but I truly admire authors like George R. R. Martin who are able to craft their world and characters in such extensive detail that 400 pages becomes the norm. I’d love to expand the universe (in fact, both universes) of the Embodied. Is that a fantasy? We’ll see…

Photo credit: TheeErin / Foter / CC BY-SA

My first author reading now on YouTube

After trying on several different tee-shirts, different camera angles, and moving the plant around, I finally shot a video of myself reading an excerpt from chapter two of Starley’s Rust that I’m happy with. But really, what is happy? Ask Pharrell…

Please add a comment, thumbs-up or (if you’re really mean) thumbs-down.