Lots of stuff to say this week. I’m starting a day early offline because of that. Wordy, ain’t I?
My Alter Ego, hereafter referred to as AE, went to a book conference this past weekend. In the new RV which I lovelovelovelove. (Nice queen bed instead of the narrow twins in the old RV, closet space for both of me, Faith and AE, bigger bath with a new, sparkly clean shower, it was wonderful!!! But that is an AE blog, not a magicalwords.net blog.) Slaps hand over mouth.
So, back to the conference. Or, Book Festival, I should say. AE’s fans (a couple hundred showed up and it was standing room only in one panel, which was fun) are very different from Faith’s fans. One question that kept coming up was, “Why use two pen names?” I had to get involved with demographics, selling niches, slotted manuscripts, lists and lines, and all that. I tried to keep it simple, but I could tell that a lot of them didn’t understand. Most think that writers just write stuff and it gets published. The idea of having to change your persona and name to get a book published was foreign to them. But they did understand about not wanting to read across genres.
Most mystery/thriller/women’s fiction fans look down their noses at the fantasy genre. You know, all that *magic stuff* (spoken with a derogatory sneer). Which is fine. I don’t read biographies or biker magazines. Nothing wrong with either, but I have no interest in the genres. Personal taste and all that. But sadly, some readers seem blind to the social commentary, humor, character development and amazing storytelling that takes place on every page of a good fantasy novel, a comment that has been made by my co-bloggers on this list.
I think fantasy writers—and forgive me here, but this is not to include romantic fantasy writers who are all about the romance, natch. Rather, urban and epic fantasy writers—have a keen eye on the changes in society historically, on current affairs, and on personal relationships. I think we/they see things quite clearly, perhaps as much like the sifi writers of old. Asimov. Heinlein. Hubbard (when he wrote fantasy, not created a religion). And Herbert to name just a very few. More recently, we have Benford, Weber, and Bujold, all of whom I read. All were/are deeply involved in and wrote/write about the deeper human truths, amid a world that does not exist, science yet to be invented, planets yet to be discovered. Fantasy writers do the same thing, but with a science of energy that is shaped and powered by the mind of magic users.
When a fantasy character kills some not-human-person, defends territory, suffers because he/she/it is different, that is a commentary on society today. The warrior who lives with survivor’s guilt and the deeper guilt of knowing that he pushed a button and killed thousands of noncombatants, is as real on the page as it is in the heart of the old warrior. The long term effect of kidnap, rape, child abuse on a developing character is likewise painful on the page. The ability and desire to fight and survive, grow and evolve is all social commentary.
I just finished reading Patricia Briggs’ Iron Kissed. It was wonderful. So intense that the last 70 pages or so I read several times, over 4 hours, *very* slowly. I laughed and I cried. Deep, dark, urban fantasy. The character development and dialogue were lovely and the social commentary was silently interwoven through the storyline and character development. Not gonna give spoilers here, but OMG. Grand!
Here we go to part two, change of subject, because it is now (for me) the next day, Wednesday. Miz Kim’s debut signing of The Outlaw Demon Wails? Was fab!!!! Whoowhoowhoo! Kim was lovely, elegant, engaging and fun, answering all the questions with aplomb, spending an hour just chatting.
I did not get a book, because the bookstore owner had ordered too few books, and when I left halfway through the signing part, there were only about 9 books left and still maybe 50 people in line. And more coming in. It would have been cruel to take a book and possibly deprive a reader who drove from Pennsylvania to the signing. I read the ARC so I can wait to get the actual hardback, along with Catie’s new book, which I just ordered from my local bookstore. Pooh. I have never been good dealing with delayed gratification. I’m more one of those, *I want it and I want it now,* kinda gal.