Sunday Links for September 19, 2010

If you’re anything like me – into the second half of your life, but still hoping to someday make a splash in the publishing world – you’ll appreciate The Huffington Post’s article about writers first publishing after the age of 40. I’m tired of all those articles about wunderkinder; it’s nice to see the gray-haired set get a little recognition.

The British Fantasy Awards were handed out yesterday at FantasyCon 2010. I confess I’ve never even heard of the winning novel, One by Conrad Williams. Looks like it’s a post-apocalyptic fantasy. My library doesn’t have it, and it doesn’t really sound like it’s up my usual alley; anyone read it and willing to tell us about it in the comments?

Author Brandon Sanderson, who wrote the first book ever reviewed on this blog, http://www.jeffvandermeer.com/2010/09/14/postmodernism-in-fantasy-a-correction/, wrote for John Scalzi’s blog, Whatever. Jeff VanderMeer says he does “a crappy job” of it. The comments to both blog posts are actually far more interesting than the posts themselves; those of you who enjoy a little literary theory with your fantasy might get a kick out of these.

The brilliant Kim Stanley Robinson is interviewed in Polygraph 22.

Want a short tutorial on writing short fantasy stories? You could do worse than to read the short stories available online listed by Matt Cheney at his blog, Mumpsimus.

Nick Mamatas talks about his new collection, co-edited with Ellen Datlow, called Haunted Legends. It was enough to make me order the book; now I can’t wait to read it. It should be here Tuesday, if I’m lucky. Sounds like perfect Halloween reading.

The Web Urbanist has a terrific article about science fictional and fantastical cities. Lots of great illustrations to peruse.

Barbecued books, anyone? The Spirited Atheist talks about the culture of rage in America that leads some to want to burn books. Worth reading no matter what your political or religious persuasion.

Everywhere I turn lately, there’s an object made out of books. Here’s a library desk constructed from them. I’m guessing they’re books that the library was about to toss in the dumpster when someone said, “Hey, I’ve got an idea. Instead of spending money on furniture….” As usual, I have mixed feelings about the use of books for anything other than reading, but I suppose if they’re outdated and no longer useful, there are worse fates for a book.

Torque Control, the blog maintained by the inimitable Niall Harrison, the reviews editor for Strange Horizons, has two very useful blog entries: How to Start a Review and How to Finish a Review. Maybe if I study up I’ll finally get a review past his scrutiny!

Finally, John Scalzi provides a kick in the ass to all of us would-be writers who write far too infrequently, telling us to find the time or don’t, but stop whining! My husband has been after me literally for years to commit to my writing – to become one of the 41 over 40 The Huffington Post wrote about in the first entry in this links collection. Now I’m finally doing it. Starting tomorrow, rain or shine, legal work or no legal work, I’m going to write at least 250 words on my creative projects. I tend more toward memoir and essay – creative nonfiction, if you will – than science fiction or fantasy, but I have a few tricks up my sleeve in the way of rewritten myths that I need to work on. This year has seen me finish a bit of memoir about the year before I started college, which my writing group will critique next Saturday; last year I wrote a piece about spending Christmas with a conservative family when you’re a liberal, which I need to polish up and send out to likely markets. But together they come to fewer than 10,000 words, not nearly enough given all the ideas I have bubbling in me. It’s time to put my fingers and brain to work. I’ll be reporting my progress on this blog so that you all can keep me honest. Don’t let me shirk, okay?