Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Books and Writers and stuff

If you want to write, or if you already write but want to get better, or if you just want to have a great time with other writers - Pikes Peak Writers Conference is the place.  It offers workshops, panels, speakers, and classes for every type of writing.  Don't miss it next year.

I had a great time there talking to Seanan McGuire, writer of urban fantasy and the InCryptid novels.   (I had a model Dunkleosteus with me: she immediately recognized it and loved it so much she posed for pictures.)

Reading Midnight Blue Light Special, one of the InCryptid line. The Price/Healy family is charged with keeping cryptids, many of whom are shape-shifters living in inhabited areas, from the public eye and from the hunters of the Covenant of St. George. Cryptids in this book include pretty much all the animals of cryptozoology (the hero rents her apartment from a sasquatch) plus several from fairy tales and some original species of her own, so it's not cryptozoology in the sense of focusing on real or necessary plausible animals, but she's clearly read the literature and includes cryptids from around the world and tosses off lines like, " If wishes were horses, we'd have an easier time feeding the chupacabras." It's a wild, funny, and original series. I recommend it!

I read Steve Alten's reissued Meg, in a special edition bundled with the prequel Meg: Origins. It's not often an author gets the chance to go back and rework the introduction to his world. He adds a pretty good prequel, fixes a couple of things that were eyebrow-raising the first time around (Meg v. a wading T. rex is now a simulation), and gives one of his better characters, Terry Tanaka, more to do. (The swipe at Richard Ellis seems petty, though: Richard savaged the science in the original Meg, and so did I: Alten has fixed some aspects of that as well.) The book still doesn't rise to the level of his best cryptozoological work, The Loch, and his SF novel Sharkman (Sharkman's science is iffy, but well within the allowable "reach " for a SF tale, and I gave it a top review for its superb characterization), but Origins should win some new fans for his universe of big-toothed predators.

I meant that about the Writers Conference. I'm already signed up for 2016!

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