• 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!

     

     

UnConventional & the full Sir Julius Vogel Awards Wrap-up

Via Mary Victoria’s own site: http://maryvictoria.net/

Well, now that I’m home and have emerged from under a pile of unanswered email and unwashed laundry (or is it the reverse?) I can finally give you the promised Con report.

This was my first real experience of a New Zealand fantasy and science fiction convention and I must say, it was lovely. The panel discussions were engaging, the company excellent (of course) and the turn-out and interest high. We could barely all fit into the main hall when everyone gathered together. I’m happy to report that NZ fandom is alive, kicking, and often fetchingly dressed in steampunk finery.

I arrived on Saturday after a short delay to my flight, just in time for my first panel, ‘Women in SFF.’ Trudi Canavan, Helen Lowe, Lyn McConchie and I yakked for an hour or so on subjects ranging from how to define strength of character to the vexed issue of chainmail bikinis… I could see some audience members gazing at us quizzically, perhaps asking themselves what we had against chainmail bikinis. I mean, all the vital bits are covered, right?

Saturday evening was about unwinding a little, catching up with friends and a sumptuous Indian dinner! I didn’t make it to the zombie ball but did dodge many of the undead on my way to bed.

     Sunday dawned uncomfortably early (and perhaps may be termed a Dawn of the Dead without inviting too much heckling…) with a 9am panel on the subject of ‘Armageddon as Allegory.’ I took one look at the faces of my fellow panelists gathered in the cafe – Darusha Wehm, Simon Petrie, Beaulah Pragg and Phil Simpson – and thought, “yes, I know exactly how you feel.” But despite our need for sleep and largely due to the valient efforts of Simon as panel chair, we actually came up with a game plan for the discussion! It turned into a fantastic one – I think my favourite panel of the lot. We talked about the different approaches to ‘end of world’ scenarios in fantasy and science fiction, collective responsability vs. the mechanism of a Dark Lord and other interesting subjects.

By two o’clock, it was time to head back to the trenches at a ‘Geography in SFF’ panel with Russell Kirkpatrick, Trudi Canavan, Stephen Minchin and myself debating the merits of fantasy maps. Trudi and Russell both had some slides to show of maps in their own books, as well as some older efforts. The audience seemed passionate on the subject, with most falling in the ‘we love maps’ category but a vocal minority standing up for themselves in the opposite camp. We talked physical geography, geography as an influence on society and finally mental or idea maps… we could have gone on for twice as long, I think.

But all good things come to an end and thereafter it was signing and reading time. I read from ‘Samiha’s Song’ and Alma Alexander’s ‘River’ for a very appreciative audience sitting in leather armchairs. That’s the way to do it.

Sunday evening rolled around and it was time for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards. These were presented with great flair – Kiwis have style! – by the Con organisers, Trudi Canavan and Helen Lowe. Trudi was channeling some great 1940′s Jessica Rabbit style with her cropped jacket and black gloves. As for me, I arrived at the ceremony somewhat flummoxed as I’d just heard my daughter was running a 40 degree fever (she has since recovered, never fear.) I had all the maternal angst and distraction going, therefore, and was totally unprepared when they announced ‘Samiha’s Song’ had won Best Novel…

Well, I’m afraid I lost it. I managed to say something resembling ‘thank you’ when collecting the statue but waterworks were threatening. In order to avoid general embarrassment I hightailed it back to my chair as soon as possible – only to have to come forward again to collect Frank’s award for artwork!

So if I look a little odd in these photos, forgive me. But it was an absolute joy to congratulate my fellow winners. They are, from left to right, below:

Kevin Berry for New Talent, and after Trudi, Lee Murray for Best YA Novel, yours truly for Best Novel (Adult) and Alicia Ponder for Best Short Story. (For some reason Anna Caro wasn’t in this photo with us but I was stoked to see her and Cassie Hart take away the award for Best Collection for ‘Tales For Canterbury’.)

The full list of all winners including fan categories can be found on the SFFANZ website.

So there we are! I’m home now, with a convalescing daughter and two spiky awards. I can’t tell you how happy and proud this makes me… the ‘Chronicles of the Tree’ were a NZ endeavour, very much inspired by the vegetation and landscape in New Zealand, so it’s doubly satisfying for me to strike a chord with Kiwi readers.

As to the artist who won a well-deserved award for his artwork on ‘Oracle’s Fire’ – he was suitably appreciative. I think he found the button to turn the award on, too. He looks evil in this photo – Frank, have you discovered a way to end the world, again?

Via Mary’s own site: http://maryvictoria.net/ Check it Out!

Bob Kuhn Reading Voyager Authors at WorldCon 2011

There are a handful of Aussie and NZ authors smiling today with the confirmation that Bob Kuhn, aka Tolkien’s Dragon, will be reading excerpts from their novels at WorlCon 2011. This year’s World Science Fiction Convention, Renovation, will be held in Reno, Nevada August 17th to 22nd. Not everyone who would like to be there can dash off to the other side of the world so Bob’s generous offer to do a collective reading of Australian and New Zealand speculative fiction is fabulous news.

Bob_Kuhn

Bob Kuhn

Bob Kuhn is a well known fantasy and science fiction voiceover artist — an Aussie resident in Boston and gifted with a deep, resonant, instantly impressive voice. His Professional credits include titles by: Mike Resnick, Carl Sagan, YA author William Sleator, and recently Jeff Carver, as well as audio books of history and historical fiction, true crime and mystery. Bob has also provided fantasy MMORP NPC game voices and hosted Boskone’s Fantasy and Science Fiction Pictionary. He may be the only actor who has played two different Tolkien Dragons! Visit his website bkvoice.com and listen to the samples. They’re magical.

 Authors participating in Bob Kuhn’s WorldCon 2011 reading are Harper Voyager’s Fiona McIntosh, Mary Victoria, Kim Falconer, Nicole Murphy and Helen Lowe (Harper Voyager USA) and Australian speculative fiction authors Alan Baxter and Angela Slatter. Bob has been given two slots at Renovation, one on Saturday morning at 10 am, and the other on Sunday afternoon. I hope they will record him!

 Congratulations to all the authors whose work will be read at this auspicious event!

BobKhun_Reading_Voyager

Harper Voyager Authors being read by Bob Kuhn - WorldCon 2011

Why Fantasy-Science Fiction rocks my world

The following post appeared on Helen Lowe’s blog in celebration of the release of The Heir of Night. Author Mary Victoria has given permission to cross post it here and will also cross post it to her livejournal.

Stories are full of magic. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. A story can masquerade as reality. It can do a splendid job at impersonating the ordinary, the grindingly mundane. But that is simply the spell it weaves. We are all willing dupes, seeing in black letters on a white page a troupe of living, breathing characters and scenes of joy or infamy. There is no tale that is not an act of invocation. ‘I am Truth, I am Reality,’ says the illusion: believe at your peril. You are entering a web of consensual deceit, catching a ball the author throws at you, participating in a game of shared imagination.

As you can probably tell, I’m of the tedious ‘every author writes Fantasy’ persuasion. Don’t worry, I won’t go all deconstructionist in this blog post. I’ll simply say that genre distinctions do not speak to me. At best they are a pitching and marketing device, a way of providing readers with the stories they like, or at least pretending to provide the story they like before moving on to interesting alternatives. So, why do I write in that storytelling shorthand that makes a reader think, ‘Ah, Fantasy’? Why in particular that code which throws up the warning sign, ‘Epic Fantasy: dragons be here’?

The short, and partially correct answer in my case was that I had a story which cried out to be written as speculative fiction. A coming of age tale set in a giant tree the size of a mountain range had to be either Fantasy or Science Fiction. I suppose it could have taken place in the ‘real world’, as the ravings of a lunatic. But that would have necessitated a clumsy narrative framing device; I was more interested in what happened inside the picture. So I chose Fantasy, or rather Science Fiction disguised as Fantasy, or rather Science Fantasy –

Whoops. Have I given away too much? You’re not supposed to know that yet, not in the first book. But there it is, in a nutshell. The beauty of Fantasy is its flexibility. It is a genre that can morph into anything, that can be anything, from Truth to Dream to Philosophy to Poetry. For a slippery fish such as myself, the possibilities are intoxicating. Fantasy is the ultimate nod to creativity. Anything goes so long as one is able to pull it off. So long as the spell is cast adroitly enough.

I doubt if I will always write Epic Fantasy. I doubt that I am even now, strictly speaking and with an eye to very narrow definitions, writing Epic Fantasy. But I will always be to some degree a writer of speculative fiction, because I love the freedom that form gives. From the subtlest forays of ‘magical realism’ and alternate history to all-out space opera and epic, dragon-ridden sagas, it’s all for me. I love that breadth of choice. And should I break down one day and write a tale of everyday life and love set in a corner of the so-called real world, rest assured that I would still be cheating. Quietly.

There would be a creeping sense of possibility, a whiff of magic in the pages, that gave the game away.

Mary Victoria is the author of Tymon’s Flight, Chronicles of the Tree Book One. She is working on the second book, Samiha’s Song, which will be released in February 2011.

Australian Speculative Fiction Blog Carnival

Apologies for the late-runningness of this Blog Carnival, we have been recovering from our fifteenth birthday party (by which I mean, doing all the work neglected during planning the celebrations). We now feel a  bit old and tired ;). Below are all the fabbity fab blog posts we could round up from around and after (to paraphrase Juan Antonio) the best WorldCon ever. These are just the tip of the iceberg, so if you have more, post below and I will add them.

The Hugo winners – thanks to Tehani
The Ditmar finals list and winners on Locus
Tehani’s AussieCon report
Voyager’s AussieCon thoughts One Two and Three
Global Voyager announcement
Gail Carriger on WorldCon
Longest report ever for AussieCon! From the Spec Fic Writers of Singapore
Peter Brett’s brief blog on his visit to WorldCon and Australia
Trudi Canavan’s AussieCon report
Helen Lowe’s AussieCon report at the Orbit blog
Duncan Lay’s AussieCon report
Kathleen Jenning’s gorgeous AussieCon round up with illustrations!
Tehani’s round up of the open short story markets
On Australian writing …
K J Taylor comes to dinner with fellow Voyager authors
Gillian’s interview with Mary Victoria
Jonathan Strahan makes it safely home (no swine flu this time!)
A Vampire’s AussieCon report
An interview with Jack Dann, Janeen Webb and Yaritji Green by Gillian
A bit of Baggage by Monica Carroll
Eneit’s blog – Baggage blogtour and interviews
Launch of Worlds Next Door report
KJ Taylor pics and post from the Voyager part
Maria Quinn wins the Norma K Hemming Award
Tehani and Alex revisit The Belgariad series by David Eddings
Fiona McIntosh on stand alone novels
Gillian on AussieCon and once more with feeling
Glenda Larke at WorldCon
George R R Martin touches down in Melbourne and reminds people that WorldCon is the Granddaddy of all events!
Alan Baxter’s wrap up
Talking Squid WorldCon update
Books by Canberra Spec Fic Writers
Gary Kemble’s posts on AussiCon
Two amazing trailers talking about A Game of Thrones on HBO posted on the Voyager blog

Not posted strictly within this month’s carnival dates but … taken during the time – Cory Doctorow sings a pirate ditty

 

To submit events for next month’s carnival … click here.