Monthly Archives: June 2013

NANP: Names And Riddles

The last guest for the month of June on Names: A New Perspective is Steve Parker, author of two cracking Warhammer 40,000 short stories about a Deathwatch Kill-Team and their follow-up full length adventure in Deathwatch, recently released. I’ve read both the short stories, which are quite good, but have yet to read the novel. I’ve cut back quite a bit on my Black Library reading of late to make room for books from other publishers, and so I’m behind on that front, regrettably. If the short stories are anything to go by though, I’m sure I’ll like Deathwatch. It has generated a fair amount of positive buzz, and that’s always exciting. While I figure out when to read the book, here’s what Steve has to say on the topic of names.

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NANP: The Importance Of Reasoning In Naming

As June winds down, my latest guest for Names: A New Perspective is Bruce Cordell, who has been a mainstay in Dungeons & Dragons fiction and game design circles for a number of years, and has been quite prolific as well. I’ve not been able to get around to his Forgotten Realms books as yet, and considering how much praise I’ve heard of his work from a Forgotten Realms geek friend of mine, the loss is mine. I will be reading Sword of the Gods soon however, and the sequel Spinner of Lies soon after that, as part of a planned read of several Wizards of the Coast novels in the second half of the year. In the meantime, here’s Bruce talking about names.

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Publishing and Marketing 04: Women in SFF Part 2

About a week or so ago, I posted a list of some of my favourite female authors in SFF, past and present (that is, some of the women on the list are now sadly deceased). For the follow-up, I wanted to focus on some of my favorite female characters in SFF, irrespective of genre. Until March last year, I didn’t really have such a list in my mind. Even though I had read a few books by then that had female protagonists or supporting characters, I’d never really considered if any of them were my “favourites”. But that changed around quickly when I read Nathan Long’s Jane Carver of Waar, and all of a sudden, I realised that there were so many female characters I’d read of over the years that I would put on a list of favourites.

It was a really interesting revelation, and it led to me paying much more attention to such characters in the books I was reading, or had read, or would read. One thing that I noticed while compiling this list was that for the most part my favourite female characters fall into the role of the “warrior”, which is another subconscious thing I never really paid attention to.

Really weird how these things work out.

Once again, as caveat for this list, this is by no means comprehensive, just a small selection of a much wider range. And in this list, I’m not limiting myself to just novels and the like, I’m extending it to comics and movies as well, given that I am much more familiar with these media in terms of the content, rather than with the creators. Feel free to check out my reviews (books and comics) of the various novels I’ve read in the last two years for a bigger interest list.

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NANP: Cold Names

Today’s guest for Names: A New Perspective is one of my favourite authors of this year, Kate Elliott, who has penned several SFF series over the years, like Spiritwalker, Jaran, Crown of Stars and others. I’ve only read her first Spiritwalker novel, Cold Magic (my review), but I’ll be reading the sequel Cold Fire in a few days, and then the third book Cold Steel hopefully next month. For me, Kate’s writing defines itself through detailed and thoughtful world-building, of the kind that Brandon Sanderson and Frank Herbert have done with their Mistborn and Dune Chronicles novels. World-building is something I love and Kate’s alternate Europe in Spiritwalker is one of my favourite SFF worlds. Here’s what Kate has to say on the topic of names in Cold Magic and its sequels.

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Publishing and Marketing 03: Women in SFF Part 1

One question that is being asked by many in the wake of the recent SFWA controversy, and all the commentary it has spawned in various places about misogyny and sexism within the publishing industry is: “If I want to read more books by female authors, where do I start?”

Often times, I think it is rather disheartening to hear such a question. Women have been writing books for a long, long time. And for people to not even be aware of that, or for that matter, be able to perform a basic google search about who are the big names right now? Doesn’t speak so well for us as a community. Speaking of the industry in the broadest sense, we are all very close-ranked, and to break out of the apparent restrictions is not easy. Sure its “easy” to get published as a woman, but to receive recognition? That’s an uphill battle.

It all comes down to respect. And when it comes to respect within the publishing industry (or even just in general in daily life), never ever use the word “political correctness”. That’s a dirty word to use, and it betrays a lack of ability to engage, and wilful dismissal of a very serious and ongoing issue that affects us all. Just look at the entire entertainment industry as a whole, whether its novels or comics or movies or even news.

In such a state, it is absolutely essential that we willingly look to broaden our horizons. We should take chances and read outside of our comfort zones, because otherwise we don’t challenge ourselves and we just propagate the “like begets like” scenario and we cannot grow as an individual.

Which is what this editorial, the third in my Publishing and Marketing series, is about: stepping out of your comfort zone. If you’ve never read a book by a female author before, then my suggestions herein are an excellent place to start.

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NANP: Names As Traits

Today’s guest for Names: A New Perspective is Amy McCulloch, a 2013 debut with her first novel The Oathbreaker’s Shadow released just recently through Doubleday in Canada. Based on the buzz I’ve been seeing about the novel (here and here), I’ve put it on my reading list for this year. Have to say that I’m really excited for it, especially after reading that it is inspired in part from our travels all over the world, and also draws on Mongolian culture. Very, very exciting. And she is also a commissioning editor at Harper Voyager! So, triple the excitement, yeah? Here’s what Amy has to say on the topic of names.

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Monthly Report: April and May 2013

And once again it appears that I have failed to get one of these (or two rather!) out on time. The first couple of weeks in May were pretty tight since I was both working on edits for the novella while also working on the prequel short story, so that never happened. And once again, I just go too lazy last weekend to work on this. Weekdays just aren’t that good for me generally to do one of these things. Takes too much time. But can’t putit off forever, either, so here it is.

Lots has happened in the last couple months and this is how the writing and reading went down in both April and May. You can find the March Report here.

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NANP: Names In Context

Another’s week here on Names: A New Perspective, and today’s guest is E. J. Swift, author of the post-apocalyptic Osiris, released by Night Shade Books last year. Osiris was quite a fun novel (my review), notable for the fact that it was set in a world where extreme climate changes have forced the survivors to all live in one crowded city and one of the protagonists is Indian, among other things. Any book that goes for ethnic diversity in its characters should always be applauded I feel, especially when it doesn’t come across as contrived. While you rush off to your favourite bookseller to buy a copy of the book, here’s what E. J. has to say on the topic of names.

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Code Geass Rewatch: Season 1 Ep 1-14

I first saw Code Geass in Fall 2008, courtesy of a friend who is an anime geek. I hadn’t really seen anime before, outside of a few episodes of Mobile Suit Gundam 00 and Rurouni Kenshin. It was also a time that I really started to get into the whole anime craze, since a number of my friends and classmates were into it. What started with Rurouni Kenshin, Gundam, and Code Geass became an obsession of sorts and its become another medium that I’ve grown to love and enjoy.

And among all the different anime series I’ve seen over the last five years, Code Geass ranks pretty highly.

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Justice League: Strange Union

Its absolutely no surprise that following the immense success of Marvel Studios’ various superhero movies, DC Entertainment and Warner Brothers have announced their own plans for movies based on DC’s famous characters. Over the last eight years we’ve seen Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns, and Martin Campbell’s Green Lantern. There has been next to no continuity between these films, unlike the Marvel films which have all been connected through various agents of S.H.I.E.D and their infamous Director, Nick Fury. In fact, such interconnectivity has been one of the selling points of Marvel’s films.

You might ask, why is that? What makes the Marvel movies so different from the DC films?

Its straightforward. Marvel Studios stepped into the business with a clear direction of what they wanted to do. I don’t know exactly if it was the intention or not, but all of their films, especially from Iron Man 2 and out, have been building up towards a specific point, The Avengers. One by one, they released movies that would all tie-in together to culminate in the premier Marvel superhero team-up, thereby bringing their “Phase 1” to fruition.

And they’ve succeeded enormously. Which is where DC and WB step in because they want to mirror the success with their own properties. But its not easy to do that. All attempts so far have pretty much tanked. There just isn’t the same vision, and the same ability to face challenges at WB, from what we can see. Their various Wonder Woman projects seem to keep getting stalled for one reason or another. There are talks of a Green Lantern and Batman reboot already, and we are just about to have a new Superman movie that is another reboot after Singer’s Superman Returns from 2006.

A few weeks ago I was discussing this with fellow book blogger and friend, Nick Sharps, and I outlined the basics of what DC and WB should do to make sure that they are able to reproduce Marvel’s success.

It all ends up being about the vision.

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NANP: Just Another Name

Today’s guest on Names: A New Perspective is Gini Koch, author of Alexander Outland: Space Pirate and the Alien series among others. I’ve had a copy of the former for almost a year now, which I’ve been meaning to read all this time but which keeps slipping through the net. The cover reminds me of a good old space opera romp, which is why I got it in the first place. Something to be corrected for the future. Her Alien series is also something I’ve been looking at for a while now and the recent release of a new installment has convinced me to get the first two novels. Have to say, I love the covers! They have a really strong No One Lives Forever vibe to them and since I loved that video game… yeah. In the meantime, while I go around trying to fit in Gini’s books on my reading list, here’s what she has to say on the topic of names.

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NANP: Word, Weird, Wyrd

Stopping by the blog today for the first Names: A New Perspective post for June is Elizabeth Bear, author of numerous fantasy novels of all varieties and also the winner of a fair few awards, the kind that make you go all “I wish that I was that good”. We can all dream right? Anyway, Elizabeth is an author that I’ve been wanting to read for a while now, and her The Edda of Burdens trilogy is on my reading list this year, since I put it on my “Top 25 Series I Want To Read In 2013” earlier this year. I will hopefully be getting to it either in July or August, and I’m looking forward to it. Also Range of Ghosts at some time, which has one of the most beautiful covers on a fantasy novel I’ve seen in a long time. Amazing stuff. In the meantime, here’s Elizabeth to talk about names.

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