For us science fiction and fantasy writers.
Obviously some of the authors are winners, but regardless of that, I copypasted the list of winners and nominees into my list of books to read.
And you should, too, if you like fantasy.
Tonight’s Sisters in Crime meeting had a ‘writers block’ exercise: take 3 different images and write a story based on them in 10 minutes.
My three photos were all from a small town in Greenland:
- A picture of a hotdog stand owned by a man from Denmark
- A group of girls dancing traditional Greenland dances
- A view of the town’s small fishing port
My results have kind of a Grendel vibe to it, and a noir aspect courtesy of reading some French noir fiction recently:
Tired of his bridge, the Danish troll opened a hot dog stand. Right near the port where tourists came to eat hot dogs and watch traditional dances.
His mother, who still lived in the water of the port, stole crabs and fish from the fishermen, and children from the tourists.
One day, he ran out of hot dogs.
He called to his mother in ancient Trollish: “I need one of your children.”
“No, I’ve eaten the last one. Get your own!”
No threat to any of this year’s Pulitzer Prize winners, but fun. And having fun writing certainly makes dealing with writers block easier!
Rest well, Ursula! And thank you for teaching me that great fantasy is never just about the fantasy. It illuminates the real world, too.
Lengthy read about fantasy maps:
Sad that the author seems to not be aware of maps that have been part of science fiction universes.
Yes, science fiction is still fun!
While you’re there at Daily Science Fiction, subscribe to get a new story via email (Monday-Friday), and check out their submission guidelines. They’re a market for fantasy, science fiction, and a number of similar/related subgenre stories, as well as science fiction art.
While there is wordless thought, words frame thought.
Words communicate thought.
Words create community.
God created all things with words.
Words are power.
Now go read about words of creation:
Words of Creation at Daily Science Fiction
This set consists of two volumes. Volume one is Where on Earth, volume two is Outer Space, Inner Lands.
All of these short stories have been published before. What’s interesting about these volumes is that le Guin selected each of these as a story that she really liked. No one else helped her select stories or choose the order in which they’re published and which volume they occupy. It undoubtedly says a lot about her thought processes and interests; particularly about her fluid and amorphous boundaries between realism, fantasy and science fiction.
The stories include well-known ones such as “Buffalo Gals, Won’t You Come Out Tonight?” and little-known ones that she wanted to put before readers.
She writes in a clear, distinctive style that varies little from story to story. It varies so little that I found it difficult sometimes to keep the stories separate. Reading too many of them in one sitting can make them all sound alike.
If you’ve not read any of le Guin’s stories, slap yourself (you deserve if for neglecting one of our great modern writers), Then read these volumes, followed by some of her novels. These have stuck with me the longest:
- The Word For World Is Forest
- The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia
- The Left Hand of Darkness
- The Lathe of Heaven
- The Books of Earthsea
- A Wizard of Earthsea
- The Tombs of Atuan
- The Farthest Shore
In her introduction to these two volumes, she says that she deliberately left out her favorite story form, the novella. “Each novella would crowd out three, four, or five short stories.” These volumes left me hoping that she’ll do a similar story selection volume or two focused on her novellas. I also thought, “If these volumes had been thought of as e-books, there’d be no page limit.” So she could have included both the selected short stories her selected novellas. (E-books have made the number of pages meaningless. Books like Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings was originally intended to be published as a single volume but was broken into three volumes due to the sheer difficulty and cost of publishing thousands of physical pages. So if your primary focus is on e-books, you no longer need to feel constrained by length limits.)
So check out these two volumes and go read some of her great novels. At once, you hear? There you go, good reader! Good reader!
From a song by the creator of the legendary Napoleon XIV comedy songs (“They’re coming to take me away, haahaaaa!”):
“Fantasy helps all of us to think young”
From his song, Bats in my Belfry
Karin is the main character of a series of fantasy novels I began in 1980. The first draft of one is finished but a long ways from being publishable!
Along the way, I have piles of notes, of scenes looking for homes, or just discussions amongst the characters around the fire. Here’s a quote from Karin:
“War is not a thing of glory, child. War is only a thing of necessity, like men hunting down a wolf that has found a liking for man-flesh, or a man suffering a fever while resisting a sickness. With the wolf, you kill it or it kills you; with the fever, you endure it until it breaks, or the sickness slays you. I have been through enough of them to know.”
Something to think about in this world where so many people seem to think that war is something we must bankrupt ourselves to pursue.