Saturday, February 17, 2007

Golden Pigs Can Fly

Happy Chinese New Year!

On February 18th, we enter the 4075th year on the Chinese Calendar, also known as the Year of the Fire Pig, or if you follow legend, the Year of the Golden Pig.

The Year of the Golden Fire Pig comes only once every 600 years and rumor has it, 2007 is this special year. It is Golden because the combination of elemental Fire, the sign Pig, and Yin/Yang components bring this year once every six centuries! It is said that children born under this sign will live in comfort as wealth and luck are always near. The Fire Pig is known to have traits of wealth, prosperity, luck and fertility.

So what are you waiting for...go out and celebrate.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Snakes ... Why Did It Have To Be Snakes?

This book is a great example of lateral fiction thinking. Snake Agent is an eclectic blend of science fiction, Chinese mythology, fantasy, and hard-boiled detective stories. Detective Inspector Chen is a Police Detective in the futuristic city of Singapore Three with a penchant towards solving supernatural cases. When asked to find out what happened to the ghost of a rich industrialist's daughter, his superiors partner him with a Demon from the wrong side of Hell.

So does it work? Liz Williams does a great job of immersing the reader in a world that is completely alien to the average person. Not only does she have to introduce Singapore Three as a futuristic city with new types of technology (including roll out desktop computers), but also introduce the reader to a very complex Chinese-style mythology.

In spite of this daunting task, Liz Williams weaves what starts out as a supernatural detective story, which morphs into an apocalyptic thriller involving a possible war between the forces of Heaven and Hell. It is a good, solid narrative, but loses its focus about half way through the book.

Snake Agent is the first in a series of novels involving Detective Inspector Chen. The next one up is The Demon and the City and is already in hardcover.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy

Writing is hard. Very hard. Harder than I ever thought possible. Just looking back at what I have written this past year, most of it (as the adage goes) has been crap. I recently reviewed my last story, Little Meme, written for the "Freedom to Read Week" stories. Crap. That's the long review. It is still salvageable, but I'd have to put a lot of work into it. I am looking forward to a few critiques.

In the meantime, I am working on a new story within the theme "On the Clock". It is due at the next IFWA meeting and I am frantically working on it now (writing about being "on the clock" is very much like really being "on the clock." Go figure).

It has the working title of Happy Valley, but it's not really about happiness (if you couldn't already guess). I'll let you know how it turns out.

In the meantime, I am thinking about a new writing topic for IFWA members to write about (we just finished the theme of Censorship - that's where Little Meme came from). This one should be for Conversion 2007 in August. I am thinking of The Day of the Dead. Should be fun.

Oh, and Happy Valentine's Day everyone.