Roundups and reflections

I’m not entirely sure how the ten days since I got home from Jamaica have managed to be so hectic, but they have. I suspect it’s partly because the jet lag took longer to clear than usual – and that was probably because I was tired to begin with. The Jamaica trip was great, but not exactly restful. I have to say again, though, how honoured and humbled I am by the reception Gemsigns and I received – I genuinely did not expect to generate as much interest as we did. I’ve got another interview request from the trip sitting in my inbox as I write this, will get on to that next …

Speaking of interviews, and life being hectic, I’ve decided to organise them along with other media bits and pieces that are not specifically reviews under a ‘Press‘ tab, which now appears next to Reviews in the menu. I figure if I add things as they happen I won’t lose track (she said hopefully). I’ve also created a photo album from the Bookophilia launch, and Bookophilia’s album is here.

What else did I bring home from my old home? Lots of thoughts about how place of origin shapes expectations, and how much we learn from the shifting perspective of relocation, or dislocation … and how that altered outlook can be transmitted back, hopefully providing the place of origin with new perspectives on, and expectations of, itself. I talk about this far less cryptically in a blog post I’ve written for Jo Fletcher Books, which should go up on their site next week and which I will repost here when it does.

In the meantime (and speaking of being cryptic), do head over there to read this great post on secret languages from author Ian McDonald. It’s something I play around with myself in my next novel, Binary, and is a subject I find fascinating. Ian’s analysis of the codes of outsider culture is very smart in itself, and his use of Polari (once a secret gay argot) in the Everness series is just brilliant.

On the subject of codes (everything seems tangentially related to everything else in this post), I participated in a fascinating discussion yesterday on the use/over-use/mis-use of violence in fantasy, science fiction and horror. It was for a Skiffy and Fanty Show podcast, which should be posted in about a week; along with myself, fantasy author Brad Beaulieu and writer and editor Julia Rios were moderated by Shaun Duke. We got to talk about who we think does it well and who does it badly, gripe about how frequently it seems just to be a cover for lazy storytelling, and gasp in horror at some of the truly shocking things that writers have done with it, and readers have requested from it. Not that any of us think violence should be excluded from genre (or any) literature; it’s the way the consequences (or the lack thereof) of physical and sexual violence are handled that we found disturbing. It’s the way it codifies stereotypes and tropes, often around gender, in ways that are no less damaging for being repetitive and tedious. I’m always a bit uncertain about how I’m going to sound in these things, but this is one I’m really looking forward to hearing, and sharing.

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  • Stephanie Saulter

    I love stories.
    My new novel, Sacred, is all about them. Publication info will be posted as soon as I have it. In the meantime check out Gemsigns, Binary and Regeneration, available wherever good books are sold.

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