• Fiona McIntosh: Voyager Author of the Month

    Fiona McIntosh was born and raised in Sussex in the UK, but also spent early childhood years in West Africa. She left a PR career in London to travel and settled in Australia in 1980. She has since roamed the world working for her own travel publishing company, which she runs with her husband. She lives in Adelaide with her husband and twin sons. Her website is at www.fionamcintosh.com.

    Her latest book, The Scrivener's Tale, is a stand-alone and takes us back to the world of Morgravia from her very first series, The Quickening:


    About The Scrivener's Tale:

    In the bookshops and cafes of present-day Paris, ex-psychologist Gabe Figaret is trying to put his shattered life back together. When another doctor, Reynard, asks him to help with a delusional female patient, Gabe is reluctant... until he meets her. At first Gabe thinks the woman, Angelina, is merely terrified of Reynard, but he quickly discovers she is not quite what she seems.

    As his relationship with Angelina deepens, Gabe's life in Paris becomes increasingly unstable. He senses a presence watching and following every move he makes, and yet he finds Angelina increasingly irresistible.

    When Angelina tells Gabe he must kill her and flee to a place she calls Morgravia, he is horrified. But then Angelina shows him that the cathedral he has dreamt about since childhood is real and exists in Morgravia.

    A special 10th Anniversary edition of her first fantasy book, Myrren's Gift, will be released in December!

     

     

Kim Stanley Robinson is a Hero of the Environment

Rather belatedly, here’s a link to the Time article on Kim Stanley Robinson. The AussieCon website sent it around via their Facebook group. ‘Our Kim’ (for such is he, being a Voyager author) is a Hero of the Environment and Time Magazine says: ‘Robinson’s gift is a vision that uses the environment and its complexity as the focus of all that happens, rather than merely as grim set dressing or allegorical overlay … It is fashionable to say that science fiction is not really about things to come but about things that are, a projection of today’s realities into a future constructed to show them off to their greatest effect. You can certainly read the Mars books as a story of taking responsibility for a planet’s reshaping that applies right here right now on earth. But at the same time they are always books about a real Mars waiting in the future.’

Kim will be a Guest of Honour at AussieCon4 – Melbourne 2009, aka the place to be in September 2009.

NB. While looking up the AussieCon website again, I stumbled across this tres amusing link on Facebook – vis a vis getting rid of duplicate groups. Is worthy of an ironic lol before Monday mornings hits, but has nothing to do with Voyager or sf/f particularly.

The November edition of the Captain’s Log is out!

Click the banner above to go to the latest issue which includes a brief piece from Jennifer Fallon on finishing the Tide Lords series, a chance to win the entire Tide Lords series, a review of The Chaos Crystal, news on Little Brother and more!

Fallon Friday: Silly polls – cast your vote now!

The Chaos Crystal

The Chaos Crystal

A few months ago, I put up a poll on my site, asking readers who they thought Arkady would finish up with, in the last book of the Tide Lords series, The Chaos Crystal.

The results are as follows:

Cayal – 41%
Declan – 35%
Both of them – 11%
Neither of them – 6%
A new character we haven’t met yet – 7%

I found this very interesting, because for a long while there, Declan was in the lead. Wonder what he did to change people’s minds?

And what’s with all you kinky people voting for a threesome?

Alas, for those of you who have not yet got hold of your copy of The Chaos Crystal, this poll is of no use to you, whatsoever.

There’s a new poll up now, asking your opinion on the ending.

I love silly polls 🙂

To do list this week: Visit Jennifer Fallon’s website, vote in the new poll, buy the book if you haven’t already or read it if you have!

“The Daughters of Moab is a richly peopled canvas”

Lucy Sussex of The Age newspaper has kindly given permission for us to reproduce her stellar review of Kim Westwood’s The Daughters of Moab:

The Daughters of Moab

The Daughters of Moab

Amid the hype for Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, it tended to be forgotten that was working in a venerable and popular genre: the post-apocalyptic novel. Australia has produced a few of these, of which the best known is Neville Shute’s On the Beach. Now debut author Kim Westwood has added a very Australian take on the theme. She mixes ecological disaster with religious cults, Mad Max with feminism. Eustace Crane controls the Followers of Nathaniel, struggling to stay alive and exploit the few remaining unpoisoned resources. A mini Machiavelli, his chief weapon is the hired assassin Assumpta — a woman who is more than she seems. Westwood is a stylist, with a line in lyricism, and a nice sense of humour: “Styx and stones”. The Daughters of Moab is a richly peopled canvas, of which perhaps the real star is the ravaged landscape, so intensely depicted as to be almost a presence.

Copyright 2008 Lucy Sussex, first published in The Age on 2 November 2008.

Exciting news for UK fans of K E Mills

Waterstones UK has chosen The Accidental Sorcerer , book one of the Rogue Agent series for their January book of the month, the same month the book is released in the UK and US. You can read an interview with Karen Miller (she writes under K E Mills for the Rogue Agent series) here and learn more about the other books she has written (including the bestselling Star Wars novels). The Accidental Sorcerer is available in all good books in Australia and is a fantastic alternative fantasy – we at Evil HQ are eagerly awaiting the follow up, Witches Incorporated (coming in April 09).

And whilst we’re talking about excellent overseas news, read a Guardian article about Cory Doctorow here, talking about his writing changing the future, and getting people to think. And as a point of interest for those of you following the Clarion South Writers Workshop posts, the article mentions that Cory attending the CS workshop (presumably the US version) in 1992 and was taught by James Patrick Kelly. Cory’s book Little Brother will be released in Australia in January (which means it will be in stores in late December) and it’s a cracker of a book.

Clarion South: What comes first, the successful writer or the workshop? Part Two

Continuing on from yesterday’s post, six more Clarionites answer the question: Why do you think Clarion has produced so many successful writers? Or, are successful writers attracted to Clarion?

Deborah Kalin: I think “serious” writers are attracted to Clarion — and by serious, I mean writers who are not dabbling. They’re interested in rigour and improvement, and they’ve already developed a degree of dedication and perseverance — which are the qualities of success (or the qualities a writer has any control over, anyway). You don’t have to go to Clarion to succeed, and going to Clarion isn’t a guarantee of success.

Bren Macdibble: If you’re a good writer in a speculative genre, I doubt you could find a better workshop to improve your writing, but I think it attracts good writers too, and six weeks is a hell of an investment. You probably wouldn’t go if you weren’t very serious.

Helen Venn: I don’t think many people would want to go to Clarions unless they want to succeed. It’s a lot of money and the pressure is intense.

Jess Irwin: There’s no easy answer to that, but there are several contributing factors: the quality of the tutors, the structure of the critique room, the intensity of six hard weeks with 16+ fellow writers, to name just a few.

Steve Turner: I think its a combination of the two: Clarion hopefuls are vetted by a panel of writing industry professionals in the first place so it all starts with a talented group. The act of applying for Clarion is probably an act by most who are ready to take that next step up in their writing, and actually taking part in the workshop then gives an impetus to those writers just needing that extra bit of encouragement, gives that professional polish and a critical eye applied to each writer’s own work, combined with the incredible interaction of all the other talented writers and awesome tutors that Clarion attracts – pretty inspiring stuff for a struggling writer!

Michael Greenhut: It works both ways.Some of us knew what we were doing on the way in, while others went from rags-to-riches, but all of us improved to some degree.

Christopher Green: My gut reaction is that, of all the people with ability in the world, and all the people with passion, the ones who have both tend to gravitate toward Clarion. It isn’t necessarily easy to put the outside world on hold for six weeks, nor is it a simple application process to get through. Thus, quite a few writers with both talent and passion come out of Clarion.

The Clarion South Writers Workshop is the most intensive professional development program for speculative fiction writers in the southern hemisphere. Previous tutors at the Workshops include Sean Williams, Kelly Link, Jack Dann, Gardner Dozois, Margo Lanagan and Marianne de Pierres. Past and future students of the program have agreed to answer a few questions on the Voyager blog which will hopefully give writers out there plenty of information on what Clarion is all about.

Clarion South: What comes first, the successful writer or the workshop? Part One

Welcome to the first of many Clarion South posts. The Clarion South Writers Workshop is the most intensive professional development program for speculative fiction writers in the southern hemisphere. Previous tutors at the Workshops include Sean Williams, Kelly Link, Jack Dann, Gardner Dozois, Margo Lanagan and Marianne de Pierres. Past and future students of the program have agreed to answer a few questions on the Voyager blog which will hopefully give writers out there plenty of information on what Clarion is all about. The recent speculative fiction anthology, Dreaming Again (edited by Jack Dann) included a number of stand out stories from Clarion South graduates, and many have gone on to be published in prestigious publications.

Our first question to the Clarionites was to ask: why do you think Clarion has produced so many successful writers? Or, are successful writers attracted to Clarion?

Sean Williams: I think it’s a combination of several things. Clarion is an environment in which a focussed work ethic is both strongly encouraged and demonstrated to be effective. It provides a strong sense of community, and it also encourages critical thinking and a thick skin. All these things are crucial if you want to be a writer.

Lee Battersby: Clarion produces successful writers because it demands a massive commitment of time, energy, and sacrifice — it’s six weeks away from the world and the people you love, and that can be tough — as well as a significant expense, and that means that anybody who turns up on day one has already shown a huge amount of drive and dedication to their craft before they start the six week schedule. They don’t mess about when they call it a boot camp — it’s tough stuff, and the writers who come out the other side and go on to achieve success do so because they’ve learn to ally that dedication to a whole range of hard-nosed professional advice.

Jason Fischer: I’d say people who want to be successful are drawn to professional development workshops such as Clarion South. I can only really speak for the last course (2007) but Gardner Dozois told us that we were more-or-less doomed and that statistically speaking only three of us were likely to be heard of ever again. I think this spurred several of us onto various successes (with Writers of the Future, and sales to prozines like Realms of Fantasy) just to spite him. 🙂

Paul Haines: I think you need to have some standard of good writing to get into the course, a desire to succeed as a writer (or you wouldn’t be on the course), and a high level of determination to achieve whatever goals you set yourself to survive the bootcamp nature of the course. To answer those two questions: it’s both.

Six more Clarionites will answer the same question tomorrow. If you’d like more info on the Clarion South Writers Workshop, please visit www.clarionsouth.org and keep an eye on the Voyager blog for further posts.

Many thanks to Jason Fischer, author of (among many other stories) ‘Undead Camels Ate Their Flesh’, published in Dreaming Again, for gathering all these answers from the tutors, graduates and future students of Clarion South.