Madigan Mine goes Deutsche!

I’ve just seen the cover that will grace the German edition of Madigan Mine and I’m very, very pleased with it indeed. I love the look on the woman’s face . . . she definitely says Madigan Sargood to me.  🙂

Interestingly, Piper, my German publisher, has changed the title to You Are Mine, but decided to leave it in English as shown. The interior text will, of course, be fully translated into German. The book will hit the shelves over there later this year in March 2012.  But enough from me.

Here, look at the pretty pretty:

You Are Mine by Kirstyn McDermott

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Fabulous Links to Free Online Fiction

Because sometimes I like to be nice, I give you the delicious swag of short fiction that has been accumulating in my browser tabs over the past couple of months:

“For Want of a Nail” by Mary Robinette Kowal which just won the Hugo Award for Best Short Story.

“The Wolves of Brooklyn” by Catherynne M. Valente over at Fantasy magazine. While you’re at it, check out the rest of the free fiction that Fantasy showcases on their site. A new short story goes up each week, along with some tasty nonfiction. (And if you like the work they’re publishing, you can buy each complete issue in ePub format for a very reasonable US$2.99.)

“26 Monkeys, Also The Abyss” by Kij Johnson, who is currently a beloved literary crush of mine. Also, because you can never have too much Kij — no, seriously, you simply can not — here is her Hugo-nominated “Ponies”. It’s a horrible, beautiful, crawl-under-your-skin kind of story. You might feel the need to shower afterwards.

“The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window” by Rachel Swirsky, which was on the Hugo ballot this year for Best Novella, and The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang, which took out the gong in that category. Need I say more?

Those last two links came from Subterranean Press Magazine, which has been publishing free online fiction, reviews and articles since 2007 — with all the back issues archived on their site for your reading pleasure. Nom nom nom. Allow me to point you towards their recent Special YA Issue as a starting point. All the stories are seriously good, but I particularly loved  “Younger Women” by Karen Joy Fowler and “Valley of the Girls” by Kelly Link.

Everyone's Just So So Special

And finally, Robert Shearman has just published a new short story collection called Everyone’s Just So So Special. No, it’s not available for free. But — and this is a massive, insane, mind-boggling BUT — Rob has undertaken to write a personal, fictional history for every single one of the hundred people who purchased a copy of the leatherbound limited edition of the collection. Yes, that’s right. One hundred new stories, penned at a rate of one every few days or so. And we’re not talking 200-word throwaway vignettes here; some of these babies are thousands upon thousands of words of fully fledged fiction. Madness. Sweet, wonderful, absurdly talented madness. Sadly, the limited editions of Everyone’s Just So So Special have sold out already, so your opportunity to star in your own Shearman history — would that be a “Shearstory”? — has passed. But they are all going to be posted here for all of us to read and marvel at. Now that’s accountability. And madness. Did I mention the madness?

So, once you’ve done reading and marvelling, perhaps you might like to wander over to wherever you satisfy your bibliographic tendencies and consider purchasing a (non-limited-bound-in-leather-written-in-blood-and-the-tears-of-mad-writers) copy of Everyone’s Just So So Special. Or another of Rob Shearman’s amazing, poignant and so so brilliant collections, Tiny Deaths or Love Songs for the Shy and Cynical. Because he’s a truly astonishing writer. And because this latest project might just render him a gibbering mess, fingers worn down to stumps, incapable of producing another word beyond redrum redrum redrum. Actually, in Rob’s case, that would more likely be aetfopuc aetfopuc aetfopuc.

Robert Shearman: genteel to the bitter, bloody-fingered end.

Shoo now. Sally forth and read!

A Mystery! A Mystery Made of Books!

It’s been quiet over here in the Land of Deadline Hell — quiet online at least — but I’m popping my head out because this story is too delightful to resist. Two delicate paper sculptures made from old books have been discovered at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and no one seems to have any idea of where they came from or who the artist might be.

Paper sculpture found at Edinburgh Book Festival 2011

But the story doesn’t end there — or rather it doesn’t begin there. These two paper sculptures are only the most recent gifts left anonymously to Edinburgh-based arts groups throughout the year. The Scottish Poetry Library, the National Library of Scotland, the independent Filmhouse cinema, and the Scottish Storytelling Centre have all found themselves surprised and delighted recipients of these beautiful artworks. Wander over here for full details and photos.

Book scupture found at National Library of ScotlandMy favourite is possibly the gramophone and a coffin ensemble (from the National Library) which was sculpted from a copy of Exit Music by Ian Rankin. The attached handwritten note  reads, “For @natlibscot – A gift in support of libraries, books, words, ideas….. (& against their exit)”.

It’s a small but delicious mystery. Of course, part of me is dying to know the full story — who the artist is, why they are making and leaving these sculptures, what they plan to do in the future — but most of me will be quite content to have those questions remained unanswered, and somewhat saddened should all be revealed. For all the wonders of our click-to-know-more, information-saturated age, there is a dearth of mystery, a scarcity of cracks and unexplored crevices in which the seeds of imagination may take root and flourish and give off seeds of their own. We need the what ifs and the why on earths and the who can it bes. We need them like we need oxygen.

So thank you, unknown sculptor of books. Thank you for sending my mind down a series of whimsical paths this morning when I read about your exploits. Thank you for the thousand and one stories my imagination spun after witnessing the fruits of yours. May your penknife never dull; may your creativity bloom ever bright.

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The Writer and the Critic: Episode 10

The latest episode of our podcast is now available for direct download and streaming from our brand new Podbean website or via subscription from iTunes. Feedback is most welcome!

Here are the show notes:

The winners of the 2011 Hugo Awards will be announced on 20 August, so this month on The Writer and the Critic your hosts, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond, are looking at the books which have been nominated for Best Novel. Two of the nominees have already been featured books on this podcast: Feed by Mira Grant was discussed in Episode 2 and Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis in Episode 7. While you will need to go back and listen to those episodes for detailed reviews, Kirstyn and Ian do take the opportunity to finally read and respond to listener feedback from Cat Sparks in regards to Blackout/All Clear. The difference between a primary and a retrospective reading experience is examined and the duo muse on why Connie Willis is too often the subject of unfair personal attacks. The name of the beautifully horrific Willis short story that Kirstyn couldn’t remember is “All My Darling Daughters”.

Hugo Award Nominations 2011

Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold is also a Hugo nominee, but Ian and Kirstyn have decided not to read this book themselves, as it’s part of the Vorkosigan saga with which they have not been keeping up. Tut. Tut. Tut. However,  Tehani Wessely of Fablecroft Publishing, one of their wonderful listeners, has provided a passionate and spoiler-free summary of why she believes Cryoburn should take home the gong. Thanks, Tehani!

Ian and Kirstyn then move onto an in depth discussion of the remaining two nominated titles: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin and The Dervish House by Ian McDonald. Further information about the fascinating legend of Mellified Men, as featured in McDonald’s novel, can be found here. If you wish to skip ahead avoid the many, many spoilers — including the endings of both books! — discussion of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms begins at 26:30 while The Dervish House starts around 53:30.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and The Dervish House

But listen in again at the 1:21:10 mark for some final remarks about the Hugo Awards and which book(s) should win — and also for a shock! horror! confession from Ian! Seriously, you will be aghast.

Finally, the Department of Cross-Podcastination is pleased to announce that Kirstyn and Ian were recently interviewed at length by Julia Rios from the Outer Alliance podcast. Julia adopted the format of The Writer and the Critic, with the recommended texts being Horn and Bleed by Peter M. Ball (chosen by Ian), “Nightship” by Kim Westwood (chosen by Kirstyn) and “The Behold of the Eye” by Hal Duncan (chosen by Julia). The Outer Alliance episode should be up on the site by the end of August, so catch up on your reading and add the podcast to your feed.

Next episode, The Writer and the Critic returns to its roots, with a discussion of just two recommended books. Ian has picked the recently published Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor while Kirstyn has chosen a beloved classic, We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson.

Read ahead and join in the spoilerific fun!

Her Words and Worlds (with Book Giveaway!)

Madigan Mine by Kirstyn McDermott

The wonderful and always eloquent Stephanie Gunn has embarked upon an ambitious personal project she calls Her Words and Worlds, wherein she chooses a female author and endeavours not only to read her entire published bibliography — in chronological order — but to write a lengthy and considered review of the body of work at the end of it all.  It’s a brilliant idea which I’m sure which lead to some fascinating overviews and I’m looking forward following her along on her journey.

And, of course, I was delighted and honoured when Stephanie chose me to be first cab off the rank.  She provides very insightful commentary about my work over the years, and I have to admit that the some of the questions she asked me in her follow-up interview really kicked my brain into a higher gear. It was a strange — but very rewarding — experience to be asked reflect upon my own work in such a way and make explicit a lot of ideas and intentions which have always enjoyed a fairly nebulous existence inside my head. Hmm, thoughtful writer is thoughtful.

To top it all off, Stephanie is giving away a copy of my debut novel, Madigan Mine, which I’ll be more than happy to personally sign for the lucky winner. For a chance to win, all you need to do is visit the Her Words and Worlds page and leave a comment. Entries close this Sunday, 7th August.

Here’s a quick taste of what Stephanie can do with a scalpel:

McDermott’s work tends towards the dark and the feminine.  Several themes wind their way through her body of work, including that of the seductress, of romantic obsession, of blood and sex and death.  Many pieces also deal with the nature of art and the artist; these pieces are arguably amongst the strongest of McDermott’s body of work and culminate (thus far) in her debut novel, Madigan Mine.

The next author up for dissection is the frightfully talented Angela Slatter. As a massive admirer of Angela’s short fiction, I await the new installment of Her Words and Worlds with a heightened sense of antici . . . pation.