Messages, Editors, and Books (oh my)

Good Monday Morning!

I hope you are ready to tackle the new week with vigor, vivacity, and zeal!

Aren’t you? No?

Good. Neither am I.

This past week, the lovely Mr. Jim Hines posted about messages in stories. His rant is aimed at a new TV show that I know nothing about, but I think the point he makes is spot on.

Every story has a message. Some stories are blatant and clumsy about it, but as the author of some rather silly stuff, I can tell you that even the fluffiest, lighthearted tale has meaning.

Some of you may think you are writing for the story-sake alone, but do not convince yourself that there is no “message” in your creation. Whether aware of it or not; biases, religion, fears, morals, even the way you string your sentences together, impart a message to your reader. It is inevitable, nay, innate to the medium of story-telling. In other words, it’s the point. The message is the reason for the story. Without it, there is no story. Know what your message is, otherwise you’ll end up looking like an insensitive prick.

Onto the next subject…

Over the weekend, I read an editor interview. We often read author interviews. I have done a number of ’em myself for SFFWorld.com and on my review blog, but I think I’ve only seen an editor interview here and there in the dark corners of the intertubes. They are rare gems. Check out Big Al’s interview with Patricia Morrison, acquisition (and so much more) editor for Penumbra Publishing. An author can learn a great deal from an editor like Ms. Morrison.

And onto our last topic for today…

Apparently, it is summer. It snuck up on me during the week. It got blazing hot last weekend. And being so close to the coast, the heat brought the fog. We call it the Sonoma County air conditioner. The temperature plummeted below 70°F, and, come Wednesday, I completely forgot the summer solstice was upon us. So, here we are in the midst of summer, and I haven’t put together a summer reading list!

To be honest, I don’t really put together reading lists, let alone summer reading lists. I just read what interests me. It’s a bit of a spur-of-the-moment decision. GoodReads does allow a member to keep track of what one might want to read. And I have a list going over here, but I rarely remember to go look at it when I’m ready to start a new book. I’ll have to remind myself to use it more often.

Anyway, here’s what I’m reading now:

Blade Dancer

by K.M. Tolan (Goodreads Author)
4.4 of 5 stars 4.40  ·   rating details  ·  5 ratings  ·  3 reviews

Mr. Tolan is a SFFWorld.com forum member and I’ve been curious about his work for some time now. I finally got around to getting the first book of his trilogy, and though the main character hasn’t completely grabbed me, it is a fine story and I am enjoying it so far. He’s done a great job with his world building, and coming up with alien creatures different from us, but entirely sympathetic.

Four in the Morning

by Malon Edwards (Goodreads Author), Edward M. Erdelac (Goodreads Author), Lincoln Crisler (Goodreads Author), Tim Marquitz (Goodreads Author)
4.67 of 5 stars 4.67  ·  rating details  ·  3 ratings  ·  1 review

Tim Marquitz, one of the authors included in this anthology, is also a SFFWorld.com forum member and I picked this up on a lark. It had a free promotional day on Amazon.com so I downloaded. Last weekend, in a daze from all the heat, I couldn’t bother doing anything else but lay out in the shade, reading on the Kindle app on my iPhone. (Sweet.) Intending to finish off Blade Dancer, I inadvertently hit Four in the Morning and started reading the most surreal, steam-punk story I’ve ever come across. Mind you, I don’t read a lot of steam-punk, so maybe they are all that surreal. But seeing as there were a number of gods, some black magic, a mermaid, and the ugliest tree of life you can imagine, I don’t think my assessment of surreal is far off the mark. The second story is hard to read. Not only is it written in Texan, gang slang, but there’s lots of blood, murder, rape, and horrific acts of violence. I’m not sure whether I like it or not. But then again, I’m not finished with the second story yet. Anyway, I suspect the entire anthology is in the same vein: well written (needed one more pass with the proofreader, but nothing too bad), emotionally poignant stories that are NOT for the squeamish. Definitely R rated, but so hard to put down. These guys know how to write.

Seven Wonders

by Adam Christopher (Goodreads Author)
5.0 of 5 stars 5.00  ·  rating details  ·  3 ratings  ·  1 review

Alas, I haven’t started reading this yet, but it does look interesting, and it is from Angry Robot Books, so I’m sure it will be stunning. Review to come shortly.

Frankenstein

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·   rating details  ·  353,934 ratings  ·  6,385 reviews

I’m also re-reading Frankenstein. After reading and reviewing LEATHERSTONE by David Pabian, I decided to interview the author. But I can’t really do that without re-reading the original that inspired Mr. Pabian’s excellent homage. I completely forgot all the initial expedition stuff, and just how good the average reader’s vocabulary was back in the day (thank goodness for the Kindle instant dictionary feature), nor did I remember how central ‘friendship’ was to the story.

Well, that’s what’s on my plate. What are you reading?


6 thoughts on “Messages, Editors, and Books (oh my)

  1. Know what your message is, otherwise you’ll end up looking like an insensitive prick.

    I would have finished that off with “but strive for some level of subtlety lest you appear to be preaching.” The only thing worse than lacking a message is bludgeoning your readership.

  2. Ohh, a link to an interview with Penumbra’s editor, nice one 🙂

    I’m surprised at your rating for Frankenstein too :p. I suppose I’d give it about the same just for establishing a genre, but honestly I didn’t think it was terribly well written. I’m glad epistolaries have mostly gone out the window for today’s authors!

    1. Not true. I just read a short story over on Critters written via letters between a Princess and her childhood friend. I liked the story, but not the delivery.

      Frankenstein does have its place in the canon of the genre that’s for sure, but the style of writing is definitely different from what we are used to now.

      Thanks for stopping by and for commenting! 🙂

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