Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Interview with Karin Tidbeck

           © Charlotte Frantzdatter Johansen / Frantzdatter Photography 2013

Karin Tidbeck is the award-winning author of Jagannath: Stories and the novel Amatka. She lives and works in Malmö, Sweden, where she makes a living as a freelance writer. She writes in Swedish and English, and has published work in Weird Tales, Tor.com, Words Without Borders anthologies like Fearsome Magics and The Time-Traveler's Almanac.  

For anyone who is still unfamiliar with your work (living under a rock obviously) how would you describe it? Where’s the best place to find it?

Well, as Johanna Sinisalo and I established at Archipelacon this summer, I probably write Nordic Weird ... most of the time. I like to play around with reality. The best place to go is probably the bibliography on my website, where you can find links to all my published fiction and where to buy or read it.

We, being English, are most familiar with your short stories – can you tell us a bit about Amatka – is there any translation planned?

Amatka is a novel about the power of language over reality. A group of people have colonized another world, where matter reacts to language. I wanted to explore how conditions like those would shape a society, modes of thought, and what would happen if one upsets the order of things. There is a translation, and it's resting with my agent at the moment. 

You are a keen LARPer how do you think that influences your writing? (We're so jealous of the LARP scene in Scandinavia!)

Nordic LARP is an excellent way to practice improvisation and reaching beyond your normal limits - I consider it brain cardio. I went to a Jungian LARP staged in a black box theatre last weekend; it was both amazing fodder for the imagination and gave me a sort of creative slingshot effect. I usually get a huge creative boost after LARPs like that. Writing for and organizing LARP also gives you a deeper insight into both worldbuilding and character creation; I've worked a lot with developing characters for various games, both avant-garde and commercial, and I think it's made my fiction more character-driven that it might otherwise be. 

You are working on a new novel, can you share any details to whet our appetites?

It's set in the same world as the stories "Augusta Prima" and "Aunts", but that's about all I'm willing to share at the moment (although there's another tidbit below).

You’ve  published on  “Where Ghostwords Dwell”  what’s the idea behind that?

The idea is to showcase notes, drafts and other things that ended up on the cutting room floor during the creation of a story. It's something readers don't usually get to see, and gives you a great insight into the creative process.

One of your short stories – the marvellous Who is Arvid Pekon - has been adapted to film. How involved in that process were you? What does it feel like to see your story come to life on screen?

The director is a good friend of mine; we agreed that I would be very hands-off during the process except for answering questions here and there. I wanted him to have free rein. It turned out to be a very good thing, as the film is absolutely brilliant. 

If you could be a character from any of your works who would it be and why?

I don't think I want to -be- any of the characters in my work. Most of them don't fare very well, do they. Well, maybe one. There's a librarian in my upcoming novel that I'm quite fond of, and who doesn't die horribly. 

What’s currently on your “To Read” pile? Who do you think we should all be reading but aren’t?

On my pile right now is China Miéville's new short story collection, Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and Karin Johannisson's Melankoliska rum (Melancholy rooms). A writer you should have a look at is Zen Cho, who is also the guest of honor at next Åcon. Her upcoming novel, Sorcerer to the Crown, looks very very promising.

Sorcerer to the Crown (A Sorcerer Royal…

What’s the last thing you wrote and what did you learn about writing whilst writing it?  

The last thing I finished was the second draft of the new novel, during which I learned to write dialogue in iambic pentameter. That was hard.

In one sentence what’s your best piece of advice for new writers?

Don't get stuck trying to write the perfect first sentence; finish the story and fix it later, for all first drafts are crap.

Come and join the Bristol Festival of Literature online Flash Mob

Bristol Festival of Literature this year is Oct 15th-25th

The Festival is unfunded and needs your support - spread the lit-love and get yourself some interesting 'rewards' including discounted tickets (inc for Novel Nights), T-shirts,  twitter advice sessions and more. Tangent Books and Silverwood are sponsoring

You can also support the festival by sharing the message about the festival
 crowdfund appeal. We're using an online platform called Thunderclapit. which allows people to pledge a tweet or facebook message on the same time and on the same day for maximum effect to create an online flash mob.  The only catch is we need 90 more people to make it work.

Join the flash mob: .Click here and choose: support with twitter or support with facebook to create an online flash mob (before Thursday)

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Horrorcon competition

Only Two weeks left to get your entries in to the Bristol HorrorCon writing competition:


In association with Bristol Festival of Literature, Bristol Horrorcon, Bristol Book Blog and Far Horizons magazine are launching a Horror Writing Competition. Closing to entries on 5th September.
Do you think you can scare us? Then get scribbling. We are looking for the best Horror short stories. We want shivers down our spines, we want to be disturbed, we want you to confront us with your, and our, worst nightmares.
Your story must be set in Bristol UK, it must be 4,000 words or less and it must be Horror. Apart from that go wild.
Stories should be sent to BRSBKBLOG (at) gmail.com with the subject line – “I think this will scare you: story title: your name”.  Stories will be judged anonymously by the editorial team at Far Horizons so please don’t put your name in the file. Please send as .doc, .docx or .rtf in a readable font, 12 point, in English with UK spelling. Far Horizons is set up to help beginning writers improve and if your story doesn’t make it to the shortlist, and you’d like feedback as to why, and some constructive criticism then please contact us after the winners are announced.
The top three stories will be published in Far Horizons November Issue and also win fabulous prizes kindly donated by PS Publishing (lots of book goodies from their catalogue) and Forbidden Planet
Winners will be announced at Horrorcon on the 17th October.
Bristol Horror Con will take place on Saturday 17th October 2015 at the Future Inn, Bristol. The expo will celebrate horror in literature, film, music, games and art. The day celebrates horror across all mediums and will feature guests, traders, games, cosplay competition, a film screening, sfx demo and more!
Follow the Facebook page and Facebook Event for updates on tickets and guests.
Bristol Festival of Literature is a programme of events and performances celebrating fiction (novels, short stories and flash fiction) with some poetry and Bristol-based non-fiction. We do this in three ways: We inspire audiences by inviting the very best UK and International authors to perform here; we engage communities with each other through creative-word events for interest groups and neighbourhoods; and we equip writers at all levels from beginner to professional with masterclasses, showcase events and routes to publishing. It’s about igniting audiences with the passion and power of entertaining, soul-searching and original writing, at a time when it is needed most. We love irrepressible creativity and dissenting voices. That’s why we call it ‘Unputdownable’.
PS Publishing was conceived and created by award-winning writer Pete Crowther in 1998, since which time the imprint has put out some 600 titles, working with the very best writers of fantasy, horror and SF, both fiction and non-fiction. Picking up more than twenty awards along the way, the company has added a poetry imprint (Stanza Press), a pot pourri of newer talents (Showcase), an imprint dedicated to the classic fiction of days gone by (PulpS), a line of trade and mass market paperbacks (Drugstore Indian Press) and the critically acclaimed Artbooks line celebrating and reprinting the much loved horror and SF comicbooks of the 1940s and 50s. Considered for some time to be the biggest small press in the country (picking up the British Fantasy Society’s Best Small Press Award for seven straight years until Pete removed the company from further consideration) PS is now the UK’s most successful genre publisher and a world leader in the field.
FAR HORIZONS is a FREE monthly eMagazine, brought about from a simple idea to let unpublished, thinly published and  self-published writers and artists showcase their work to the World .The first issue (no. 1 April 2014) was released on the 17th of April, 2014. Far Horizons welcomes submissions for short works and art – check out the magazine on Joomag or Facebook for details.
Forbidden Planet is the world’s largest and best-known science fiction, fantasy and cult entertainment retailer and the largest UK stockist of the latest comics and graphic novels. We specialise in selling action figures, books, comics, DVDs, graphic novels and toys and we offer all the best merchandise from the cult cream of movies and television. We have exciting stores in many major UK cities, including our famous London Megastore on Shaftesbury Avenue and Megastores in Bristol and Southampton. To find a store near you, please use our Store Locator.
Bristol Book Blog (BRSBKBLOG) is the blog of Bristol writer Pete Sutton and includes reviews, interviews and guest posts from writers and publishers and the occasional book giveaway.
Bristol Horrorcon writing competition is open to all writers over the age of 16
3 stories will be chosen for publication in Far Horizons Magazine
The winners will be announced on 17/10/2015 at Bristol Horrorcon and on BRSBKBLOG website.
Stories can be on any theme or subject and are welcome in any style but must be set in Bristol UK and must be in the Horror Genre.
All entries must be received by Midnight on Saturday 5th September 2015
There is no minimum word count for this competition.
Please read the rules carefully before entering.
  1. Closing date for receipt of entries is 5th September at midnight BST.
  2. Entries must be made via email to BRSBKBLOG(at)Gmail.com with the subject line – “I think this will scare you: story title: your name”. Stories will be judged anonymously by the editorial team at Far Horizons so please don’t put your name in the file. Please send as .doc, .docx or .rtf in a readable font, 12 point, in English with UK spelling.
  3. There is no entry fee but each entrant may only enter one story.
  4. Entries will not be returned. Please keep a copy. No corrections or alterations can be made after receipt.
  5. Entries must be entirely the work of the entrant and must never have been previously published, in print or online (including websites, blogs, social network sites), or broadcast or won or been shortlisted in another writing competition. Any entry found to not follow this rule or to have been plagiarised will be disqualified.
  6. Entries will be judged anonymously with no details of who the author is on the entry itself. The accompanying email must clearly identify who’s work the entry is.
  7. All entrants must agree to have their work published in Far Horizons November Issue in e- format with Far Horizon owning first electronic publication rights. All other rights are retained by the author. All work submitted assumes that the Creator agrees to grant to the Publisher permission to include the Work in Far Horizons Magazine. This use of the Work pertains to non-exclusive rights, in the English language, to publish the Work, in Electronic and Print-On-Demand formats.The Creator retains copyright of the Work; the Publisher retains copyright of the Magazine. Copyright credit will be listed in all editions. The Creator warrants that he or she is the author and sole owner of the Work, that it is original and contains no matter unlawful in its content, that it does not violate the rights of any third party, and that the Work is not in the public domain.Creators will have approval of all edits and proofs before publication, and may provide a short biography to be included in the magazine.The parties involved (the Publisher and the Creator) acknowledge that each has read and understood this contract.
  8. Entries will be read by a judging panel consisting of the editorial team of Far Horizons. The judging panel will select the 3 prize winning stories. The judges’ decision is final and no individual correspondence will be entered into. Judges will not comment on individual stories nor give feedback on individual stories unless otherwise requested.
  9. Prizes will be awarded at the Bristol Horror Con on 17th October 2015 and will be posted to any of the finalists who are unable to attend on the evening or pick up prizes. Entrants will not be contacted individually about the competition results unless they are selected for publication. The list of prize-winners will be displayed on BRSBKBLOG website within 24 hours of the announcement at Bristol HorrorCon and winners will be notified by email.
  10. Entry implies an acceptance of all the competition rules. Entries that fail to comply with the entry rules and requirements may be disqualified.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

The book is always better than the film- Or is it? Adaptions

One of my favourite films is Jaws, which I've seen a gazillion times -

I can't say that the book (which I've only just got round to reading this year) is one of my favourite books.

Jaws: A Novel by Peter Benchley

It's axiomatic that the book is always better than the film, isn't it?

Well not in this case...

Novels are about inner worlds and inner journeys and can cope with having a multitude of sub-plots. Films tend to not focus on the inner world, for obvious reasons. And, in action movies, sub-plots muddy the narrative.

Spielberg's film substantially changes the relationships between the characters as depicted by Benchley. The film is tighter, has more humour, has more sympathetic characters and has more shark than the book.

It very much is a case where the film is far better than the book.

I'm not alone in this  - go read the 1 and 2 star reviews on Amazon.

So adaption - is it always a bad idea? A book is a very different medium to a film after all (just think about it in terms of POV and inner worlds) so why is it that Hollywood relentlessly adapts books, and now comics. Although comics is a medium of moments and, having a visual quality is, at first glance, more adaptable.

There are good adaptations - Jaws, bad adaptations - The Hobbit (imho - I've not even seen the series out it was so dire) and faithful adaptations - To Kill a Mockingbird

There are even film to book adaptations, which sometimes suffer the same problem of the film being great and the adaptation being awful - by all accounts the book of ET is just awful (although I dislike the film and have not read the book)

What are your worst and best adaptions book to film or film to book?

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Guest post - Torill Kornfeldt


Torill is a science journalist and dropped in to talk about biology that should inspire sci-fi...

Monday, 3 August 2015

Bristol Festival of Literature - in need of Funds

Bristol Festival of Literature  - http://unputdownable.org/ is a week long festival in October. it's entirely volunteer driven and looking for funding to cover costs like - venue hire, paying for refreshments etc.

It's running a crowdfunding campaign over
here: https://www.fundsurfer.com/project/bristol-festival-of-literature and every little bit really does help.

The organisers would be very grateful if you could pop onto the site and pledge some money - there are some great rewards.

Help us put on a great festival again this year!
Challenge Participant

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