You are viewing aliettedb

Aliette de Bodard
08 July 2014 @ 07:30 am

So, actually, it turns out that my favourite part of novel writing (aside from the heady feeling when you’re a few chapters in) is revisions. Aka, the moment when I have finally understood why the novel is not working, have made a checklist of everything I need to fix, and am settling down in front of the computer with a cup of tea, and a determination to tick off those checkboxes one by one. Which is, I guess, another way of saying that I vastly prefer knowing where I’m going ^^

I am done with revisions, and have sent novel off to agent (also, the H rocks as a first reader, but we all knew that. We had a bit of a narrow brush when the snakelet attempted to chew the printed manuscript, but we’re good now). Also, I learnt entirely too many things about Belle Epoque etiquette from Baronne de Staffe (my favourite bit: men give way to women because women are vastly superior), and about servant hierarchy in big French households (I was only familiar with that time period through novels written during the era, so I hadn’t quite realised the ubiquitousness of the servant class. It was quite impressive to read up on who did what, and also quite fun to imagine how this would have changed a few decades after that, if WWI hadn’t quite happened the same way).

Anyway. In honour of the sending off of the manuscript, here’s a snippet of later on in the book:

He remembered a cold, cold Hall much like this one; a lieutenant in the red-and-gold of House Draken, telling bewildered boys about the glory of dying for one’s House, for one’s country; and him, standing in the riot of colours streaming from a tall stained-glass window, and struggling to remember the power that had sustained him in Indochina. 

Meanwhile, I’ll go off and grab my missing sleep…

Cross-posted from Aliette de Bodard

Leave a comment at original post, or comment here.

 
 
Aliette de Bodard

Strange Horizons very kindly asked me to curate a reprint for their June issue. I picked Elisabeth Vonarburg’s “Chambered Nautilus” (translated from the French by Jane Brierley). I really like Vonarburg’s introspective, dreamy science fiction, and I think it’s a shame that so little of it got translated into English (you can pick up The Maerlande Chronicles from amazon–I prefer her Tyranaël series, but I think this stopped being translated after two volumes?). More info here at her English website.
Being an editor, even if it’s for a brief, one-story stint, means I read a lot of stories and didn’t have nearly enough space for all the stuff that I loved. Can I recommend you check out the following anthologies for great fiction? The Apex Book of World SF (volume 1, volume 2; and volume 3 which has recently been released), Afrofuturism, Mothership, AfroSF, and, if you have a copy lying around, Bloodchildren, which was a limited-time anthology by the Octavia Butler scholars and is sadly no longer available)? Also, anything by Yukimi Ogawa (she’s got a great story in this issue of Strange Horizons,  “Rib”, a mordant tale of a skeleton woman and the child who befriends her), Zen Cho (her collection, Spirits Abroad, just got released, and that link explains how to get a copy from her), Benjanun Sriduangkaew (who is up for the Campbell Award this year, and whose story “Autodidact” ought to be on awards list next year if there’s any justice), and Rochita Loenen-Ruiz (check out “Of Alternate Adventure and Memory” up at Clarkesworld, as well as her newest “Movements” column in this issue of Strange Horizons, which focuses on languages, hegemonies and translations).

That’s all from me for the moment–please do leave feedback on Strange Horizon’s website on the story if you’re so inclined.

Cross-posted from Aliette de Bodard

Leave a comment at original post, or comment here.

 
 
Aliette de Bodard
25 June 2014 @ 06:04 pm

Today is the first day of the summer sales in Paris, so naturally I braved the crowd was foolish enough to drop by a baby clothes’ shop to pick up a hat for the snakelet. The following conversation is depressingly familiar when buying clothes:
Me: “Do you have this model in size 51?”
Saleswoman: “Let me look. It’s for a–” she peers at the hat I’m holding up (red with stripes)–”girl, right?”
Me, biting down on a desire to lecture her on gender essentialism, “Boy, actually.”
Saleswoman, turning to a bin where everything is some shade of blue, “Hum, I’m not too sure–”
Me, pointing to another bin where everything is a shade of pink or red, “Maybe in this bin?”
Saleswoman: “That’s for–”
Me: “I know. Do you have anything?”
She looks at me, at the hat, and at the bin again. “No, everything is pink, I’m sorry.”
At which point I gave up and went foraging into the darn bin for girls’ hats myself. They had another red hat, which was actually the right size for the snakelet–I snagged it immediately.
Seriously. This is for a baby who’s not yet a year old. I can predict some intense frustration as the snakelet grows up…

Cross-posted from Aliette de Bodard

Leave a comment at original post, or comment here.

Tags:
 
 
Aliette de Bodard

Posted a new recipe at the blog for dumplings, as well as my mini-review of the Dumpling Cube, a contraption that claims to simplify your dumpling making. Does it live up to its promises? Find out all about it here.

Meanwhile, I shall be off to eat my dumplings, yum yum.

Cross-posted from Aliette de Bodard

Leave a comment at original post, or comment here.

Tags:
 
 
Aliette de Bodard
20 June 2014 @ 10:39 pm

So this isn’t definitive by any means, but I’ve been allowed to share my draft Worldcon programme, and it looks great!

Thursday 18:00 – 19:00: Universal Language: Good or Bad? (ooooh… I’ve seldom been on a panel about languages, actually, despite my, hum, experience, I guess? This should be really great).

Friday 11:00 – 12:00 Feeding the Imagination: Food in SF/F (I need not explain why I’m particularly happy to geek out about food for an entire panel ^^)

Friday 13:30 – 15:00: Content and Form: Writing SF/F in non-Western Modes (aka a panel Rochita Loenen-Ruiz and I have been discussing for a while. Very happy to see it on the programme. It should be awesome!).

Saturday 15:00 – 16:30: Always Outside, Looking In? (aka non-Anglophone SF. There’s a pretty good variety of people on this with varying experiences of being published in English, which should make for fascinating conversation)

Sunday 10:00 – 11:00: Environmentalism in Anime (should be really fun. Never had that kind of conversations about anime)

Cross-posted from Aliette de Bodard

Leave a comment at original post, or comment here.

Tags:
 
 
Aliette de Bodard
01 June 2014 @ 10:34 pm

Not exactly a surprise, but… darn.

I’m not quite sure what to say, other than he leaves a big, gaping hole in the world. He could light up a room like no one else; and he was always generous and honest–chronicling the daily life with the cancer that ultimately killed him. My thoughts go out to his family and friends: he will be much missed. Rest in peace, Jay.

Cross-posted from Aliette de Bodard

Leave a comment at original post, or comment here.

 
 
Aliette de Bodard
01 June 2014 @ 05:00 pm

Make a plan for visits. On the day before, when the baby isn’t sleeping because they’re not used to this new environment, and crying all the time because they don’t like the local high chair (or the local food, you’re not sure which), take a long look at your program and divide by two.

On the day itself, take a long look at your program and divide by two again.

As the day progresses and as the baby gets increasingly cranky through lack of sleep (it turns out that you have been handed the model of baby that doesn’t sleep in the car, in the baby carrier or in the stroller unless they’re extremely tired), cancel activities.

Realise you’ve only done half the morning program. Be happy that you managed one visit in the day!

Also, if returning by car to your home city on a very busy weekend: learn the trick of nursing the baby wedged between the car seat and the luggage in the back seat, with the car stopped just behind the exit to the motorway and your husband growing increasingly impatient as the minutes pile up and the baby still won’t let go of you. Additional tricks: be prepared to maintain your position right by the baby’s car seat and rub their tummy to keep them comforted and amused while stuck in traffic, while simultaneously trying to rehydrate yourself and keep your sugar levels up.

Aka: London should be *so* much fun.

(it wasn’t all doom and gloom though: we did convince the snakelet that a restaurant was a good stopping point, and managed to spend 2 hours gorging on awesome French food, though my side of it looked a bit bereft of interesting desserts due to lactose intolerance. Aka: the French do put crème fraîche and milk in everything, don’t they…).

Cross-posted from Aliette de Bodard

Leave a comment at original post, or comment here.

 
 
Aliette de Bodard
26 May 2014 @ 05:00 pm

So apparently it’s Mother’s Day here, and the snakelet and the H teamed up to give me a gift: a Dumpling Cube. Apparently, it’s a mini dumpling press. Does four dumplings at the same time (my critical self points out that there’s some loss of dough involved, but the time gain is quite possibly worth it), and comes with its own pastry cutter. Will report once I’ve tested it :)

Cross-posted from Aliette de Bodard

Leave a comment at original post, or comment here.

 
 
Aliette de Bodard
23 May 2014 @ 08:13 pm

Aka “the snakelet has a new toy” :D

(direct link to picture, because I bet my crosspost won’t work with the image on LJ or on DW)

Cross-posted from Aliette de Bodard

Leave a comment at original post, or comment here.

 
 
Aliette de Bodard
19 May 2014 @ 05:00 pm

A little gem from Sweden and one from Denmark:

-Real Humans (Äkta människor), season 1, is set in the near future, at a time when humanoid robots (hubots) have become ubiquitous, fulfilling every job from caretaker for the aged to construction workers or sex toys. The storyline follows several linked individuals: the children of David Eischer are a group of hubots upgraded to have free will, and on the run from the authorities with plans of their own; the Engman family is the recipient of a new hubot, and its members struggle to adjust their attitude to it, from the mother who insists on treating her like a human being to the son who falls in love with her; and their neighbour Roger who, abandoned by his wife for her hubot lover, joins an anti-hubot movement… 

This was a really interesting character-focused thriller, with a nuanced examination of various characters. There were a few stumbles (near the ending, I thought a few too many new-ish motivations came to the fore a little too quickly), but it’s still masterful. The examination of what people do to hubots, and the questions on the nature of free will, are really great; and I loved that the series, in the end, doesn’t take positions but encourages you, the viewer, to decide where you are standing. Also loved that the two competing groups trying to transform/preserve society–the children of David Eischer and the government officials in pursuit of them–are shown as equally ruthless. And, finally, it’s quite nice to see a balanced cast, where everyone has their own contributions to make (in some series I have the feeling there’s, say, three main characters and everyone is playing second fiddle to them to the point of being almost flattened out of existence); and a cast with very strong female roles (the heart of the Engman family is Inger, the fierce lawyer wife–we never even learn what it is that her husband does). Bonus points for the queer pastor who is just awesome.

As I understand, there is a series 2 that recently aired in Sweden. The DVDs are coming out at the end of the month, and the H is already pestering me to buy them. That should tell you how much we’ve both enjoyed it.

-Borgen: I’d watched Season 1 of Borgen earlier, and was surprised to enjoy it much more than The Killing. I’m probably getting a little bored with crime dramas at the moment… We watched season 2 recently, where State Minister (Danish Prime Minister) Birgitte Nyborg struggles to keep her government together amidst political backstabbing and family crises. It’s still pretty good: I love the theme of the series, the troubled relation between the media and the politicians (not exclusive to Denmark, sadly!); and the necessity to make compromises that may not be the best moral choices in order to achieve one’s goal. In many ways, Birgitte’s trajectory mirrors that of Troels Hartmann in the Killing–an idealistic politician who discovers that she can’t always have what she wants–; though she is more experienced than Troy from the outset, and shown as a fierce negotiator and politician even before she accedes to the post. For all its desire to grapple with complex subjects ranging from depression to war crimes, it’s actually a pretty optimistic series about human nature; probably why I prefer it to The Killing, which comes to pretty much the opposite conclusion… (not sure how to feel about the double-parter about Denmark getting involved in a civil war in a fictitious African country which looks a hell of a lot like Sudan: on the one hand, true to what actually happens today: on the other hand, a few too many easy clichés, and I would have liked a little more examination of this interference and its cost. But minor stuff, altogether). Well worth watching.

(I could also easily have done without the French tag line of “A woman in the Spheres of Power”, which implies there is something special and unique about Birgitte. Am not sure it was the tag line in Denmark, because the series most certainly never treat Birgitte’s gender like it’s something special, and indeed a lot of her fellow politicians are also women).

Cross-posted from Aliette de Bodard

Leave a comment at original post, or comment here.