Mythical Monday #75 - A Mantichor in Valdur
23 minutes ago
I wrote my first 'novel' at seven, typing it on my father's typewriter and illustrating it in felt tip pen. It wasn't SF, but it did feature characters having an improbably difficult time. Aged nine I found a copy of 'A Wizard of Earthsea' in a gift shop, and discovered the world of fantastical literature. When, aged eleven, I realised I really wasn't going to be a ballerina, I decided to be a writer of unlikely stories instead.
As is often the case, this proved easier said than done. I've let myself get distracted by the irritating need to earn a living and other, less arduous, paths to fulfilment. Over the years I have supported my writing habit through various means, including life modelling, running a charity shop and computer consultancy; this latter has given me a distrust of technology rare in an SF writer.
I met and married the love of my life at college. We remain stubbornly in love and have forgone having children in favour of not growing up ourselves. Though everything in the world is secondary to stories and love, other things that ease the trials of everyday life for me include: wild, green places; dancing like nobody's watching; serious chocolate; fortean phenomena; living like a medieval peasant on summer weekends; friendship; Portmeirion; live music and good books.
Smoking and drinking are things that tempt some fellows and not others, but there is one temptation that is pretty sure to come to you at one time of another, and I want just to warn you against it.
It is called in our schools 'beastliness', and that is about the best name for it. Smoking and drinking and gambling are men's vices and therefore attract some boys, but this 'beastliness' is not a man's vice; men have nothing but contempt for a fellow who gives way to it.
Some boys, like those who start smoking, think it a very fine and manly thing to tell or listen to dirty stories, but it only shows them to be little fools. Yet such talk and the reading of trashy books or looking at lewd pictures, are very apt to lead a thoughtless boy into the temptation of self-abuse. This is dangerous, for, should it become a habit, it may lead to worse habits. But if you have any manliness in you, you will throw off such temptation at once; you will stop looking at the books and listening to the stories, and will give yourself something else to think about.
Sometimes the desire is brought on by indigestion, or from eating too rich food, or from constipation. It can therefore be cured by correcting these, and by bathing at once in cold water, or by exercising the upper part of the body by arm exercises, boxing, etc. It may seem difficult to overcome the temptation the first time, but when you have done so once it will be easier afterwards.
If you still have trouble about it, do not make a secret of it, but go to your Scoutmaster and talk it over with him.
And to be healthy and strong, you must keep your blood healthy and clean inside you. This is done by breathing in lots of pure, fresh air, by deep breathing, and by clearing out all dirty matter from inside your stomach, which is done by having a "rear" daily, without fail; many people are the better for having it twice a day.
A camp is a roomy place, but there is no room in it for one chap, and that is the fellow who does not want to take his share in the many little odd jobs that have to be done; there is no room for the shirker or the grouser - well, there is no room for them in the Boy Scouts at all, but least of all when in camp.
Every fellow must help, and help cheerily, in making it comfortable for all. In this way comradeship grows. On service, if one fellow is out on night duty getting wet through, one of those left in the tent will be sure to get ready a cup of hot cocoa for him when he comes in, and that is the kind of thing every Scout should think of and carry out.
When you are travelling by train or tram, always notice every little thing about your fellow-travellers; notice their faces, dress, way of talking, and so on, so that you could describe them each pretty accurately afterwards; and also try and make out from their appearance and behaviour whether they are rich or poor (which you can generally tell from their boots), and what is their probable business, whether they are happy, or ill, or in want of help.
But in doing this you must not let them see you are watching them, else it puts them on their guard.
It is said that you can tell a man's character from the way he wears his hat. If it is slightly on one side, the wearer is good-natured; if it is worn very much on one side, he is a swaggerer; if on the back of his head, he is bad at paying his debts; if worn straight on the top, he is probably honest, but very dull.
Gareth L Powell and Sharon Ring sign author/agent contract.
Gareth L Powell has signed up with Literary Agent Sharon Ring. Sharon Ring will act as agent in regard to five titles, Revenant Skies; Reclaiming The Dead; Silversands (originally published with Pendragon Press); The Last Reef (originally published with Elastic Press); The New Ships.
Gareth is rapidly gaining a reputation as a “strong new voice in epic science fiction” (Solaris). In addition to his previously published novel (Silversands) and collection (The Last Reef), Gareth has appeared in several anthologies, including including Shine (Solaris Books, 2010), Conflicts (NewCon Press, 2010), 2020 Visions (M-Brane, 2010), Dark Spires (Wizard’s Tower, 2010), and Future Bristol (Swimming Kangaroo, 2009). His short story Ack-Ack Macaque won the Interzone Readers’ Poll for best short story of 2007; and Solaris will publish his second novel The Recollection in September this year.
Gareth said, "With two novels and a collection under my belt, I'm glad to have someone with Sharon's contacts and chutzpah to help me scout out the territory ahead. I expect this will be a successful and productive partnership for us both."
Sharon said, “Gareth is an ideal writer to join forces with at this time. The more I read his work, the more I feel he is poised to have wider success in the science fiction community. He has a strong narrative voice; concise, direct and, above all, very human in the exploration of his chosen themes. I’m delighted to be forming this partnership.”
Australian wunderkind Trent Jamieson has signed to Angry Robot for a new series of steampunk fantasy novels. Already attracting rave notices for his urban fantasy Death Most Definite (Orbit), Trent’s latest creation takes us to a dying land of decaying clockwork technology that is being devoured by a great rift in reality, the Roil.
The deal was arranged between Trent, agent Sophie Hamley, and AR’s publishing director Marc Gascoigne. It includes publication in the UK and US, in paperback, ebook and audio formats.
Trent had this to say: “Angry Robot have been publishing some bloody excellent books in the last couple of years, so I’m thrilled to be part of their list. Roil and Night’s Engines take me in some rather different directions to anything I’ve done before. They’re Steampunk Fantasy, fast, dark and crammed to bursting with monsters. You’ll meet psychopathic Vergers, Quarg Hounds, and Hideous Garment Flutes, and see the terrors of the Obsidian Curtain up close and personal. This is a world I’ve been writing about, and living in, for ten years, and I’m so excited to finally share it with people.”
Roil is scheduled to hit bookstores in September 2011, with its sequel Night’s Engines following in late Spring 2012.