Ok, it sucks, but. At 112,000 words, the first draft of The House of Binding Thorns is now complete.
Now for filling in all the inconsistencies and getting it into shape for beta-readers…
Have a snippet:
In the House of Hawthorn, all the days blurred and merged into one another, like tears drops sliding down a pane of glass. Madeleine couldn’t tell when she’d last slept, when she’d last eaten– though everything tasted of ashes and grit, as if the debris from the streets had been mixed in with the fine food served in porcelain plates–couldn’t tell when she had last woken, tossing and turning and screaming, with pain shooting up her calf and blood seeping from the wound on her right hand, the one that had inexorably tied her fortunes back to those of the House.
I’m off to find copious amounts of chocolate.
Glad to announce that on March 23rd I’ll be interviewed by the fabulous Ed Cox at The Artillery Arms (102 Bunhill Row, London EC1Y 8ND), as part of the BSFA London meetings. (and ahead of my stint as GoH at Mancunicon)
Start Time: 19:00, room open from 6pm, fans gathering in the bar downstairs from 5pm onwards (I’ll likely be in the bar around 5pm because I’m arriving pretty early in London).
This is a free event, and you don’t have to be a member of the BSFA to take part (non-members are welcome, in fact!). The interview will start at 7 pm.
There will be a raffle (£1 for five tickets), with a selection of sf novels as prizes. I’m also quite happy to sign anything that has my name in it (ok, not blank checks or IOUs, but you get the idea!)
Official SFWA post here. Very very strong ballot: shoutout to Kate Elliott (I kind of wanted BLACK WOLVES on there but COURT OF FIVES isn’t bad :p), Fran Wilde (2x!), Ken Liu, Rose Lemberg, and so many many friends with strong stuff on there. Now I have a lot of reading to catch up on!
(also, Nimona!!! Loved the comic)
Raising Caine, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
The Grace of Kings, Ken Liu (Saga)
Uprooted, Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard, Lawrence M. Schoen (Tor)
Updraft, Fran Wilde (Tor)
Wings of Sorrow and Bone, Beth Cato (Harper Voyager Impulse)
“The Bone Swans of Amandale,” C.S.E. Cooney (Bone Swans)
“The New Mother,” Eugene Fischer (Asimov’s 4-5/15)
“The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn,” Usman T. Malik (Tor.com 4/22/15)
Binti, Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com)
“Waters of Versailles,” Kelly Robson (Tor.com 6/10/15)
“Rattlesnakes and Men,” Michael Bishop (Asimov’s 2/15)
“And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead,” Brooke Bolander (Lightspeed 2/15)
“Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds,” Rose Lemberg (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 6/11/15)
“The Ladies’ Aquatic Gardening Society,” Henry Lien (Asimov’s 6/15)
“The Deepwater Bride,” Tamsyn Muir (F&SF 7-8/15)
“Our Lady of the Open Road,” Sarah Pinsker (Asimov’s 6/15)
“Madeleine,” Amal El-Mohtar (Lightspeed 6/15)
“Cat Pictures Please,” Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld 1/15)
“Damage,” David D. Levine (Tor.com 1/21/15)
“When Your Child Strays From God,” Sam J. Miller (Clarkesworld 7/15)
“Today I Am Paul,” Martin L. Shoemaker (Clarkesworld 8/15)
“Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers,” Alyssa Wong (Nightmare 10/15)
Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation
Ex Machina, Written by Alex Garland
Inside Out, Screenplay by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley; Original Story by Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen
Jessica Jones: AKA Smile, Teleplay by Scott Reynolds & Melissa Rosenberg; Story by Jamie King & Scott Reynolds
Mad Max: Fury Road, Written by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nick Lathouris
The Martian, Screenplay by Drew Goddard
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Written by Lawrence Kasdan & J.J. Abrams and Michael Arndt
Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy
Seriously Wicked, Tina Connolly (Tor Teen)
Court of Fives, Kate Elliott (Little, Brown)
Cuckoo Song, Frances Hardinge (Macmillan UK 5/14; Amulet)
Archivist Wasp, Nicole Kornher-Stace (Big Mouth House)
Zeroboxer, Fonda Lee (Flux)
Shadowshaper, Daniel José Older (Levine)
Bone Gap, Laura Ruby (Balzer + Bray)
Nimona, Noelle Stevenson (HarperTeen)
Updraft, Fran Wilde (Tor)
Just a quick reminder that today, 15th Feb 11:59pm PST, is the deadline for nominating for the Nebula Awards.
If you’re still looking for stuff to fill your ballot or just want to jog your memory, my updated awards eligibility/recs post is here. (*cough* The House of Shattered Wings *cough*).
Fran Wilde also had an excellent one here.
Two PSAs: first, my annual reminder to please please nominate even if you don’t feel you’ve read widely in the genre this year. First off, there are so many works it’s impossible to have read *everything*. Second, experience has shown that people who have scruples about “not reading widely” tend to be overwhelmingly women/minorities, leading to skewed awards ballots. If you have (a) favourite thing(s), do nominate it!
Second, insofar as the Nebulas are concerned, Lois McMaster Bujold’s Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen has been determined to be eligible for 2015 due to Baen selling ARCs in 2015. I don’t know what the Hugo ruling is going to be (it’d only get made if the novel made the ballot), but there’s a strong suspicion that if you do want to nominate it for the Hugos, this year would be best too.
Honoured that The House of Shattered Wings and “Three Cups of Grief, by Starlight” have both made the BSFA Award shortlist. The BSFA Awards are voted on by the members of the British Science Fiction Association and the members of Eastercon: this year’s award will be handed out at Mancunicon (where I am one of the Guests of Honour).
It is. Er. Rather a strong shortlist: in novel you’ll find Ian McDonald, Dave Hutchinson, Christ Beckett and Justina Robson (and I am super super glad Glorious Angels is on this list, because it’s an awesome book that in my opinion didn’t get the press it deserved). And short fiction pits me against Gareth L Powell, Paul Cornell, Nnedi Okorafor, and Jeff Noon. *gulp*
(also, Forbidden Planet in London now has a stack of signed The House of Shattered Wings copies, following my Saturday visit. Just saying, if you wanted to see what the fuss was all about 🙂 )
And on a totally different subject: Chúc Mừng Năm Mới, happy new year of the fire monkey to everyone who celebrates! Here’s some hoa mai flowers, because it’s not really Tết without them.
Just a quick note that I’ll be dropping by Forbidden Planet in London (179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H 8JR) to sign some stuff Saturday 6th February at 15:30.
So, a. there will be signed stock from Saturday afternoon onwards, and b. I’ll be hanging out a bit afterwards to check out new releases, so if you have spare Bodard stuff lying around and happen to be in London I’ll be quite happy to sign your books ^-^
I’ll be in Forbidden Planet signing some stock around 15:30 on Saturday February 6th (and hanging around afterwards to check out the shiny new releases). So a. if you’re also around I can sign stuff for you, and b. there should be some signed stock of House of Shattered Wings after I’m done 🙂
Locus just released its 2015 Recommended Reading list, and The House of Shattered Wings is on there, under Best Fantasy Novel. Which is, er, kind of amazing.
(equally amazing is that I also have “The Citadel of Weeping Pearls” under Best Novella, “In Blue Lily’s Wake” and “Three Cups of Grief, by Starlight” under Best Short Story. That list also has a lot of my friends–congrats to everyone on it!)
And here’s some quotes from the Locus summation of 2015:
“[a novel] which featured some of the most striking and memorable fantasy settings of the year, Aliette de Bodard’s House of Shattered Wings, with its ruined Paris haunted by fallen angels” Gary K Wolfe
“Aliette de Bodard delivered her best novel to date, with The House of Shattered Wings. I’m not usually one for tales of fallen angels, but this story of Europe in ruins, where Lucifer and his cohort have taken up residence in Paris was a page-turner and deserves to stand among the fantasies of the year.” Jonathan Strahan
“I (…) had fun spotting Parisian landmarks and learning about Vietnamese dragon lore in Aliette de Bodard’s The House of Shattered Wings.” Cheryl Morgan
“Aliette de Bodard’s The House of Shattered Wings (Roc) reimagined Paris after a devastating war, as seen from several different vantage points in society. It’s not de Bodard’s first novel, but it is surely the one that will propel her to the recognition she deserves.” Graham Sleight
“The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard is a novel I’d like to call epic, though its particular subgenre is impossible to pin down. Set in a Paris that never was – decayed from the aftermath of a great and terrible war, possessed of a baroque, fin-de-siècle air – ruled by fallen angels and magicians, it’s a novel of secrets and murder, outsiders and alchemists, power and change. Difficult to describe, but fantastic to read. Although a sequel is alleged to be forthcoming, it stands alone – which always makes for a pleasant change.” Liz Bourke
The Locus Poll and Survey for 2015 is also open–come and check it out and vote for your favourite fiction of the year (I’m going to be on auto-repeat, but don’t hesitate to vote in that kind of poll even if you don’t think you’ve read enough in the field this year: everybody’s votes count, and “I’m not voting because I’m not well-read enough” is a very common way people, especially those from non-dominant cultures, exclude themselves)
So, this was the year of cooking courses: I got a pack of two for my birthday plus Christmas, and I picked two things which I’ve always wanted to get some hands-on instruction on. The first was pizza making, and the second was dim sum.
The H was the one who pointed out the pizza making course to me: it’s a group thing organised by l’Atelier des Sens, which has a range of cooking courses that go from making your own bread to detailed, week-long courses for people who want to become chefs or simply terrific home cooks. The course itself was near Les Halles, which is handily located in the centre of Paris, in a large, kitchen with a huge work counter (fortunately, because 12 of us mixing pizza dough at the same time got a bit chaotic). We covered pizza dough (flour, yeast, kneading), and pizza toppings, and made different combinations that we ended up eating afterwards. Yum.
It’s, of course, hopeless to hope to cover the full range of dim sum making in a single 3-hour course, so I went with Margot Zhang’s course on making bao (buns which came down to Vietnam in a slightly different, fluffier version, bánh bao). She does group courses (4 people at a time), but alas, I couldn’t make it to one and ended up on a one-on-one course. Margot is awesome and very knowledgeable, and covered everything from making the dough to folding the pleats neatly. My first attempts were disasters. The picture you see above is my second batch, by which point she’d showed me an alternative way to fold the dough (on the counter as opposed to freeform in the air, and with a slight change of guiding hands).
The resulting dough is… interesting: bánh bao is made, insofar as I can tell, from a different flour (Hong Kong flour, which is very white) and possibly includes a bit of rice flour and some milk, so I was expecting something a little more fluffy than I actually got. But they tasted divine (the H confirms ^-^).
The cooking classes are both, as you can guess, very different beasts. I liked the Ateliers des Sens one a lot–very clearly pro and a smoothly oiled machine, my only comment is that there were 12 of us in the room which was a little too many I think? In a “really big group” thing like this I feel like you don’t really get a chance to handle everything. But the chef’s great and always really helpful, and it’s really geared towards making do with what you have in your kitchen without building a stone oven (which, let’s face it, not many of us will do).
The Margot Zhang course is a one-on-one, and as such it’s a very different beast: I got to do everything, and to see where I was failing–my pleating technique, for instance, improved markedly when I had to pleat 15 baos in a row! You naturally get more instructor time in a situation like this. And it ended up aimed specifically at me: namely, some cooking experience, some experience handling bread/wheat dough, and a reasonable familiarity with the ingredients we were using (sesame oil and rice wine). The price range, of course, isn’t the same, though due to Margot’s prices being more than reasonable, both this and the pizza making class ended up in the same hourly rate ballpark (it was 75 euros for 3 hours, and I ended up bringing 10 big buns of pork-filled goodness home in addition to the recipe).
Margot has just started doing cooking classes full time instead of her work teaching Chinese, and if you’re looking for that extra oomph to your cooking I would highly recommend you give her a look . She also does beginners classes, but I was obviously a little bit less interested in that :p