Fiction Feed

Will you be a character in a book someday?

August 21, 2012 | Pamela | Comments (0)

If you like to write, you might want to warn your friends that the stories they tell you might end up in print someday.  That's how I got my inspiration for writing I'll Be Watching -- in a restaurant, over hamburgers. 

     BurgerSee, my friend Marilyn met us all one evening for burgers.  When I say "us"  I mean me, my husband Rob, and our two big kids Cecilia and Drew. We're all big Marilyn fans.  Well, Mar would get to talking and she'd have the best stories to tell. 

  This time, we were chowing down on burgers and fries and she asked Rob,

    "So how's the farm in Saskatchewan?"  And Rob says, with a mouth full of food,

    "Oood."  And Mar says,

    "You know my dad grew up in Saskatchewan."  And I say, with a french fry poised to enter my mouth,     "Oh, I didn't know that." 

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Oh Dear, The World Just Exploded

August 21, 2012 | Thomas | Comments (7)

Some of my favourite books were written after the world ended.

That is to say, I’m a huge fan Dystopic sci-fi, written about planets (often Earth) disfigured by some sort of calamity (usually the result of stupid, stupid humans) & struggling to regain some sort of balance.

The Drowned CitiesThis particular stream of Science Fiction has gained a whole pile of popularity with the recent phenomenal success of The Hunger Games, in which North America has been torn apart by a colossal and unidentified apocalyptic event. Similarly, Paolo Bacigalupi’s books Ship Breaker and The Drowned Cities cast woefully young characters into an anarchic world created by massive global warming and resource depletion.

 The DroughtlandersCanada’s Carrie Mac (who I’ve mentioned before) has her own fantastic postapocalyptic series called The Droughtlanders, in which the hyper-rich have invented technology that controls the climate and rain. They sit in massively fortified cities in pockets of excess while the vast majority of the world slowly starves to death (and ferments plots of retribution).

The Future Dystopic novel is not a new genre by any means however. Margaret Atwood has written a whole pile of excellent "oh no, the world's all messed up" books including Oryx and Crake, about genetic engineering gone haywire. To go a little further back, the Cold War and the fear of Nuclear destruction A Canticle for Leibowitzproduced such gems as A Canticle For Leibowitz, in which Monks in the future try to piece together our past society from the remnants left over by colossal nuclear war.

All this to say that humanoid science fiction fans have long been able to read about their own demise. H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds, about an alien attack on earth was written over a century ago, after all. As one of the first Science Fiction novels, it also serves as an important influence on the books about the world getting massively fracked to follow.

The Science Fiction genre is at its heart attuned to describing the potentials of intellectual and technological progress. As human’s scientific capacity has increased exponentially, so has our ability to destroy ourselves in new and novel ways. So I guess the twisted upside to our own self-destructive tendencies is that we get to read a whole pile of great books about the world ending!

Are you a fan of Postapocalyptic Science Fiction? Write a comment to share some of your favourites!

Hot Summer Read: I'll Be Watching!

August 20, 2012 | Thanusa | Comments (0)

I'll be watchingI'll Be Watching

by: Pamela Porter

 Taking place in small town Saskatchewan during the Great Depression and written in blank verse, the story and images flow vividly and easily off the page. Four children experience the death of their beloved mother, the remarriage of their father to a Bible thumping wicked stepmother and his cruel death as only the beginning of their trials. Adults in their small town are not as they seem and the children are victims of more than one immoral adult. With no parents to protect them other adults are quick to take advantage and add to their misery. Despite this, the strength of the eldest sister keeps them together and able to survive the misfortune of their lives and hope for a better future wins out in the end.

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What if YOU were in the Hunger Games?

August 18, 2012 | James M. | Comments (4)

Hunger Games

What would you bring to the arena?

One of my favourite television shows when I was a teen was Survivor, a program which revolutionized reality television and began the trend of giving average joes staring roles in prime time television. After over 20 seasons now, I'm a tiny bit embarassed to admit that I still tune in every week to see the drama unfold when ordinary people are thrust into a situation where they must harness their available resources to survive, while using their minds to propel them to the top of a game designed to have a sole victor.

To keep it intriguing, the show has re-invented itself over the years with both minor and radical alterations. In the very beginning contestants were permitted to bring one luxury item from home. Items were selected for a variety of reasons including personal comfort, sentimentality and of course, survival.

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Want More Steampunk?

August 16, 2012 | Alice | Comments (0)

It's not just a fashion statement! As much as our featured book this week is a non-fiction how-to, steampunk is a literary subgenre as well. It is intended to evoke the same aesthetic and romance of a time gone by and what could have been, an alternate universe of sorts.

Are you curious? There are a few fine steampunk titles and series in the teen collections, some of which you have maybe heard of. The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare, for example, has been wildly popular. You might also want to try Scott Westerfeld's series that starts with Leviathan and continues on with Behemoth and Goliath. Another great title is Kady Cross' The Girl in the Steel Corset.

If you'd like to dig deeper, you can also find a good deal more to read in both the adult and teen collections on our catalogue by simply entering "steampunk fiction."

And if you want something to watch? The movie that always leap to mind first when I think steampunk is Wild Wild West. It's an older movie, I know, and maybe harder to get hold of, btu it is a lot of fun. Alternately, you might check out the newer Sherlock Holmes movies, which have some of that same feel.

Making Movie Magic

August 16, 2012 | Alice | Comments (0)

Elijah Wood 1Next year, according to imdb, we are anticipating a movie of This Dark Endeavour.

It's always dicey as to whether the movie will live up to the images you've created for a book, but I do think this would be a great story to bring to life onscreen, and would make for some good, meaty parts for younger actors.

If you've read the book, what do you think of this dream cast put together by a fan?

 

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One is Not Enough -- Contest!

August 14, 2012 | Alice | Comments (29)

Trilogies. Series. We love them for the extended involvement with a story, the familiarity of the characters, the way one character can have several adventures or one very satisfyingly long quest. But at the same time... they drive us nuts. Trying to get our hands on the next one in the right order, or even worse, waiting for it to be published!  How many times have you been waiting for that next one when you really, REALLY wanted it in your hands right. now?

Such wicked intentLuckily, those of you who have read or are planning to read This Dark Endeavour won't have to wait for the second part, because it was just published on Sunday! I really enjoyed the first part, so I'm feeling very lucky that I was able to get hold of an advance copy of part two, Such Wicked Intent, and I'll be talking about it later this week! For one of you lucky people, though, getting it won't be hard either, because we're going to hand one right to you.

Yep, it's a contest!

So here's the deal -

Tell me what series has kept you waiting impatiently for the next installment. (Just one entry each, please!)

I'll pick a winner by Friday night, so get your answers in by Thursday (August 16th) at midnight, and be sure to include your email address when you reply, so I can let you know if you've won.

Can't wait to hear your answers!

Q & A with the amazing Mr. Kenneth Oppel!

August 14, 2012 | Alice | Comments (0)

KennethoppelSo you guys. I got to ask Kenneth Oppel some questions about this series that has me so fascinated!

And here's what he had to say...

While This Dark Endeavour occurs in the real world, much of Such Wicked Intent happens in another realm. (I'm trying not to give it away here, readers!)    How different is it to write a setting that has no solid boundaries or reference point, and do you see the third book coming back to this world, or perhaps exploring another place or reality again?

It’s very challenging to write any kind of “other world” since so much invention is required – and also a kind of logic has to be established. There have to be rules, sources of power, limitations, so the reader can understand what is and is not possible in this new world. And you have to be consistent, or it’s just confusing for the reader. In its own way, the other world has to be as concrete as the physical world.

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Hot Summer Read: Such Wicked Intent

August 14, 2012 | Alice | Comments (0)

Such wicked intent

Sooo, I've been mentioning the followup to This Dark Endeavour that just came out last Saturday? Maybe once or twice? I keep talking about it because I did happen to get so lucky as to get an advance copy so I could read it and tell you about it, and I'm enjoying this story and how it ties in to the original Frankenstein a lot, so. Let me tell you about it.  

 

[Alert: contains spoilers for book one!]

Such Wicked Intent   by Kenneth Oppel

In This Dark Endeavour, we see Victor Frankenstein's deep devotion to his twin brother, and the astonishing lengths it drives him to in trying to save Konrad's life. This devotion, along with his strong ambition and natural arrogance, lead him into the forbidden territory of the occult in seeking answers, and in this second book, we find that the draw of the otherwordly still has a powerful hold on him.

Continue reading "Hot Summer Read: Such Wicked Intent" »

Speaking of Frankenstein...

August 14, 2012 | Alice | Comments (0)

This Dark EndeavourAs you may have figured from my review of This Dark Endeavour this morning, I'm loving it, and find the original Frankenstein story pretty fascinating, too. So. You can imagine I was pretty happy to find video of the author himself talking in more depth about the book, and about the story of Frankenstein. But I'm a giver, so I'm sharing these videos with you, too. (You're welcome! You can also find them on Kenneth Oppel's own website, here.)

First up, our author, Keneth Oppel, talks about the book:

Continue reading "Speaking of Frankenstein... " »

My Curved Border

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