ellenkushner: (Latvian THOMAS)
I've been posting this month about Kage Baker's terminal illness. She left this world early this morning. Requiescat in pace. Thank you, [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna, for passing me the word off-line. Kage was not a close friend of mine - I've met her at cons, but we never even corresponded, though I've given enthusiastic blurbs to some of her books, and have loved and admired all of them. I do hope that she will have the immortality that all writers crave: that her work will be read and recognized by generations to come.

Her friend and sometimes publisher Marty Halpern published a very moving appreciation earlier this week, including some of his correspondance with her about her work.

Kage Baker

Jan. 27th, 2010 10:13 am
ellenkushner: (Default)
Early this morning, [livejournal.com profile] copperwise posted the unhappy news that our beloved writer, Kage Baker, is going. Here it is; it also appeared in Green Man Review. I want to thank Kage's sister, Kathleen Bartholomew, for taking the time to write such a beautiful letter to us all. In the midst of comforting her sister on her final journey, she comforts us as well. It is an extraordinary gift.

Kage Baker

Jan. 15th, 2010 07:58 pm
ellenkushner: (Default)
I saw her in a wheelchair at World Fantasy, talked with her about her cancer, and meant to post about it as soon as I got home; was ashamed to have forgotten, only I see here that she was not eager to have it known; but still . . . . .

Kage Baker is one of the living F/SF authors whom I most admire. I am polite about a lot of writers, but there aren't many I admire.

It is just appalling to me that she is not rich and famous with a shelf full of Hugos and Nebulae and those incredibly ugly busts of H.P. Lovecraft (World Fantasy). Not that she isn't a frequent nominee, and doesn't get brilliant reviews. But she seems to fly under the radar of general popularity. Maybe she's too smart? Too funny? Too wry? Too knowledgeable on history and language? Maybe her characters suffer too quietly, have sex too realistically? Maybe the world was not waiting for several well-written series and a huge net of short stories that all, amazingly, turn out to be interwoven even though at first you'd deem it impossible?

When I saw her at WFC, she said she wasn't able to sit up and write, but that her sister (a million blessings on her head) was taking dicatation on a new work. I hate the idea of a world without a new Kage Baker story or novel.

The word is out, now, on just how ill she is. Her caregiver has posted e/address for cards etc. They are not asking for money to cover health care. Which doesn't mean we shouldn't all give something back. Please, do yourself a giant favor - and let the world of publishing know she's valued - by buying some of Kage Baker's work.

I'd love to see your comments here on what Kage Baker book or story you'd recommend. Me: For a long and enjoyable ride, I'd say start with In the Garden of Iden, and run right through the entire "Company" series - and how I envy you not having to wait a year or two or seven to find out how it all comes out! Don't want to commit? Try Empress of Mars (it's the name of a tavern. In a mining town. On, yes...) , or The Anvil of the World (think "Thorne Smith meet Fritz Leiber and they go on a road trip").

Here's a recent interview, mostly about House of the Stag. Here's one from 2005 that delves into the complexity of her series. Here's another good one from 2002.
ellenkushner: (Latvian THOMAS)
(in addition to his being one of the great writers of our time, that is) Because he is wise, and erudite, and sometimes extremely silly. I enjoyed the chance to talk some - never enough - to Gene Wolfe & his wife Rosemary at Readercon. They drove there from Chicago in the company of young writer C.S.E. Cooney, who, at the con, made sure Rosemary wheelchair got where it needed to go. [livejournal.com profile] csecooney's description of their trip, in her July 7-12, 2009 LJ posts, is a joy to read - a running record of what they talked about in the car, and, well, cute things longtime couples say to each other.

I have known the Wolfes since I was a pup: I think I met them first when I was working for David Hartwell and we published The Shadow of the Torturer. I would hang around Gene at conventions, and talk to him about my aspirations as a writer. He gave me excellent advice. I remember one time telling him about trying to create Riverside, and he pointed out that seedy gamblers & their ilk always wore bits & bobs of misplaced finery (I'm not doing him justice, here). I hadn't thought of that. I put that in.

I met up with [livejournal.com profile] csecooney and the other Goblin Fruit lasses at their launch party. [livejournal.com profile] sevenravens brought her harp, and I was smitten. We sang. The next night, we sang some more. I blasted out a capella ballads, and taught them "Grey Funnel Line" - it was wonderful hearing the harmonies come in strong & true by the 4th verse. I'm afraid I had a little too much of [livejournal.com profile] movingfinger's single malt (which, for me, is not that much), and insisted on printing out the lyrics to "A Weekend in the Country" from A Little Night Music and making poor, gifted Miss Cooney do all the parts with me. (O, when did I lose the ability to hear every tune and harmony in my head, and render them perfectly each time? Like Gene & Rosemary, I may well say, "Thank god for the support of the young!")

P.S. And my two Readercon panels really were cracktastic. My favorite takeaway - from a panel I moderated, on readers confusing authors with their characters, featuring the combined brainpower of Peter Straub, Suzy McKee Charnas, Shariann Lewitt & Kit Reed, was the latter's summation:
"I am all my characters. But none of them are me."
ellenkushner: (Thomas the Rhymer)
Added: DAMMIT! This was actually a post about the Fallen Princesses Project & also Lev Grossman (who pointed it out to me)'s new book The Magicians. Bad, bad, stupid cut-and-paste has failed me. Gone, gone, never to be re-undone. The links alone must suffice.

Here's what got pasted in instead (a comment I made to yesterday's Urban Fantasy post, but you should probably see it here, too):

* This 2008 Library Journal article by Nanette Wargo Donohue - footnoted in the Wiki "Urban Fantasy" listing - is spot on. Poor L. Miller's got no excuse!Read more... )
ellenkushner: (Latvian THOMAS)
Art is central to all our lives, not just the better-off and educated. . . I know that from my own story, and from the evidence of every child ever born — they all want to hear and to tell stories, to sing, to make music, to act out little dramas, to paint pictures, to make sculptures.

This is born in and we breed it out.

And then, when we have bred it out, we say that art is elitist, and at the same time we either fetishize art — the high prices, the jargon, the inaccessibility — or we ignore it.

The truth is, artist or not, we are all born on the creative continuum, and that is a heritage and a birthright of all of our lives.


-- Jeanette Winterson (author of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit), from an essay quoted in NYTimes Sunday Book Review, 12/19/08 (line spacing mine)

HelpVera

Dec. 8th, 2008 04:24 pm
ellenkushner: (Default)
I may well be the last to have heard the news that author & small press publisher Vera Nazarian needs our help - thanks to [livejournal.com profile] mroctober for alerting me! Wonderful online friends are doing a fabulous job of raising money to keep her and her family safe by December 20th - which also happens to be the night before the first Chanukah candle is lit. What a wonderful present to be able to give!

Read the whole moving story here.

And bid on the many cool things people are offering for the auction to Help Vera here. (I'll be putting up something myself very soon.)

Clippings

Aug. 27th, 2008 03:09 pm
ellenkushner: (EK/DS wedding band)
So glad everyone's enjoying the Bob Morris piece on gay marriage! [livejournal.com profile] burgundy sent a link to a really great piece by Sarah Sarasohn of Berkeley, CA (and NPR - gosh, I always thought it was spelt "Saracen"!) from the Washington Post: "A Marriage Form will just be Icing on our Cake." While it also gives you the warm cuddlies, it is longer and more profound than Morris's piece. (It also echoes Delia's & my situation in some entertaining ways that I'll write about later, as I'm on deadline....) I particularly like her analysis:

quoted here: )

* * *

Meanwhile, [livejournal.com profile] deliasherman's trying to create a new website, and finding it a challenge to organize & taxonomize, as she has careers (and publications) in middle-grade/YA and adult fiction. I refer you to her post on the subject. My question: What other authors can you think of with the same issue? How did they deal with it on their sites?

And speaking of YA, I just finished A Drowned Maiden's Hair: A Melodrama (ah! that telltale moment of authorial anxiety - like when I insisted on subtitling Swordspoint: A Melodrama of Manners and Thomas the Rhymer: A Romance) by Laura Amy Schlitz. Fantastic book. Read, read, read if you like well-rendered period setting with complex characters . . . its other virtues are for you to discover.
ellenkushner: (book swords music)
I was so pleased to see that Mary Jane Engh is being honored by SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) as their Author Emerita in 2009! If you haven't read Arslan, go do it now. Amongst its other virtues, which are many, it is extremely - how shall I say it? - twisted and slashy. You can hardly believe it was originally published in 1976 - and reprinted in hardcover by David Hartwell in 1987, the same year - and editor! - as Swordspoint. Not that they have much in common except for - but I go on....
ellenkushner: (INTERFICTIONS)
• The elegant and affordable paperback edition of Delia Sherman's Changeling will be released on July 17th!

• We've sold Finnish rights to Thomas the Rhymer (to Vaskikirjat). I'm so happy. The translator, Johanna Vainikainen-Uusitalo, I met at the Dutch Worldcon shortly after the book came out, and she says she's been dreaming of translating it ever since - we've already had some great discussions about the (non-)intersection of British & Finnish mythic material . . . and she's a friend of author Johanna Sinisalo, whose wonderful Troll won the Tiptree. Is there a trip to Finland in our future? One can only dream. . . .

• A friend of a friend sent word of her new book, Surprised by God: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Religion (Beacon Press, August); author & rabbi Danya Ruttenberg wrote me: It's part-memoir, part cultural criticism, about the personal and political implications of taking on a religious discipline. It's the story of my own post-dotcom, punk rock Third Wave move from atheism into traditional (feminist) Judaism... Read more... )
ellenkushner: (Default)
Welcome to LiveJournal, [livejournal.com profile] lisatuttle!
ellenkushner: (Default)
Just found out our pal, author Louise Marley ,is on LJ as [livejournal.com profile] lmarley! For people looking for discussions of fiction & how to write it: she's got a lot of good stuff to say, here.

Irish Poet

Mar. 6th, 2008 12:39 am
ellenkushner: (Default)
Our friend Micheal O’Siadhail is reading at NYU on Thursday (that's tonight) at 7 pm. It's worth your time - he is one who makes his poems come brilliantly alive when he reads them. We first met him in Boston at the home of the O'Donovans (Brian does a stellar Celtic music program on WGBH, which you can also listen to online) - there was a big dinner, which I think Delia & I had been invited to because we were Literary types who might mix well with the visiting poet - and at the end of it, Brian asked Micheal (sic; pronounced MEE-haall, to my ear, anyway - last name, o'SHEEL] to "give us something." And after a bit of polite demurral, Micheal did. He opened a book (Hail! Madam Jazz, I think), and lifted his leonine head, and recited his poetry. It was just like you always thought it would be: bardic, modern, classical, moving - to hear an artist at the top of his craft offering it to friends old and new after a meal full of good food, good wine and conversation. I've been a huge fan ever since.

(If Mr. O'Siadhail's name is familiar but you can't quite place it, he's also a linguist & the author of 2 standard academic textbooks, Learning Irish and Modern Irish.)

He'll also be at the Concord (MA.) Public Library on Friday, March 7th. And there's a video I haven't watched, of him reading at Columbia U. a few years ago, here.
ellenkushner: (Madame J.)
Holy cow! I just found Laurie J. Marks' new(ish - looks like it was put up right before Water Logic came out last year, and I missed it somehow) website. It is just delicious - kind of like being inside the nicest bits of my friend & beloved colleague Laurie's head. We met at, I think it was some WFC too many years ago to count. After she moved to Boston, we took long walks & talked a lot about Life and Writing. I miss her, so it's nice to be able to visit her brain online! I think my favorite bits are The University of Laurie (everything from the "Finish that Novel" fight song to insights from teaching Freshman Comp at UMass), and the online quiz for "Your Elemental Profile," which shows you your mix of elemental magics in her world of Shaftal. Laurie was GoH at Wiscon last year. If you don't know her work, you should.
ellenkushner: (Madame J.)
The Jewish Women's Archive (jwa.org) has posted a fine and interesting tribute (by novelist Cathleen Schine) to the late Madeleine Stern, an antiquarian bookseller who, with her lifelong Best Friend, Leona Rostenberg, rediscovered the missing thrillers of Louisa May ("Jo") Alcott. If you didn't know about these women, you should! There are links to other amazing women on this terrific site, including journalist/rock critic Ellen Willis (dammit! I didn't know she'd died!), Grace Paley, and scholar & "ritual innovator" Savina Teubal, who created the women's Simchat Hochmah ["Joy of Wisdom"] ritual for becoming an elder.

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