Wow, is September here so quickly? I have been buried under mountains of edits and handing in revised manuscripts to agents, editors, and publishers left, write, and centre. (I punned!)
And so, very quickly, the next con has crept up on me!
CAN CON SCHEDULE
6pm – Opening Ceremonies (Beachcomber)
7pm – Trends in Spec. Fic (B2)
2pm – Women in Spec. Fiction (B1)
7pm – Judging Masquerade (Beachcomber)
10am – Pool Party (Wave Pool)
12pm- Gender in Spec. Fiction (B1)
2pm – Reading and Signing (B1)
Copies of TRIPTYCH and WHEN THE HERO COMES HOME will be for sale in the Dealer’s room from one of these fine booksellers:
Yesterday, unable to get my brain to calm down before heading out to a rehearsal, I was looking at fan art pictures of SailorMoon. I will admit I still love that series, love that love is the greatest weapon in the universe, love the adorable outfits that no living human being will ever be able to carry off (physics says “no!”) simply for their beauty and frivolity.
Going back and looking at the things that had inspired me in my childhood helps me to reconnect with the emotional, visceral feelings I had when I first loved them. I rewatch Forever Knight, and SailorMoon, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Star Trek to remind myself why I love story telling and what it meant to be a kid enamored with a narrative for the first time, not just the pretty bright colours on the television and the flashbang of distraction. I reread Peter and Wendy, The Tale of the Body Thief, and the Howl’s Moving Castle books for the same reason. It wasn’t reading a story because the teacher told me I had to read a book, but because I loved the story and wanted to feel that same surge of connection over and over again.
When my writer brain won’t shut off, I go and watch music videos or clips on YouTube, or peruse fanfiction and fan art of childhood shows, in order to unplug and just revel in comfort consumption.
(I sound like an addict going back to her drug of choice. I guess I am.)
The image that really struck me was this one, by SpaceWeaver:
As I often do, I paused to tweet about it. I said:
@scifrey: I think what I liked best about #SailorMoon was this: the more powerful Usagi/Serena got, the less human she looked. Emphasized her alienness
Now, I was talking about how inhuman Usagi/Serena got – the emphasis of the fact that she is, actually, not from Earth. She was reborn after the destruction of the Moon Kingdom into a human vessel, they all were, but the human flesh that she wears seems to barely be able to contain the power of her Star Seed, the Silver Crystal, and the vast powers she possesses as the Princess of the Moon.
At the start of the series she is happy go lucky, oblivious to what is hibernating inside of her, and totally human. As the series progresses and she unlocks more and more of her “true” self, i.e. her powers, she becomes more wraith-like, less intimately connected to her friends and family, less of a human and more of an abstract concept of compassion and love.
The “Serena-ness” of her was burned away and replaced by a serene, human-shaped creature who loved passionately but who forgot how much she enjoyed teasing her little brother.
I actually always felt sorry for her human family – how would they deal with the fact that their sister/daughter was not really human at all, had this double life replete with so much sorrow, and that in the end everyone knew that she was destined to die, to give up all that she is, with no thanks for it from the world she has sacrificed so much to protect? That she engages so fully with a life that is past – a melencoly thing in itself because she is living with the dead – and all but divorces herself from her human friends and family.
Anything that is not “Sailor Business” or people who are not heroes/villains eventually fall away, cease to be a motivating factor in Serena/Usagi’s life and that, I think, is the saddest thing about the show of all. That she becomes alienated from the very people she has sworn to protect.
Though, by the end, she’s not SailorMoon to be a superhero and save the people of Tokyo/the Earth, is she? She’s become the lynchpin in a struggle for power encompassing the whole galaxy, and Earth becomes little more than a staging ground for their wars, humans not much more than cannon fodder and energy sources. That’s sad, too.
And that is some damn gorgeous storytelling.
And then this happened:
@AdamShaftoe: Same sort of thing happened in Tekkaman Blade – The more D-Boy/Tekkaman tapped his power, the more of his sense of self was lost
@scifrey: Never thought of that. You’re right. Same thing again in Eva – the more the kids around Shinji succumbed the less human they became
@scifrey: Is this a predominant theme in anime? Correlation between tapping into a supernatural power, sometimes bestowed scientifically…
@scifrey:…and the loss of humanity? Are there any Japanese myths or legends where this is the moral/theme? Theme of fear of power?
@scifrey: Lots of examples springing to mind – “X”, “Tokyo Babylon”, “Inu Yasha”, “Naruto”, “Bleach” Power is a force for good, or evil.
@scifrey: Seems the pattern says it doesn’t matter that the one gaining power is good or bad. Humanity is in jeopardy regardless.
@scifrey: Even the loss of humanity isn’t positioned as good or evil. It just it. However, it does come tinged with melancholy.
@scifrey: Like it’s sad that the person has evolved away from more intimate emotion and a vibrant personality, only has abstract emotion.
@scifrey: Sure EternalSailorMoon has compassion for humankind and love for her family/friends, but she seems dimished in her “real” life.
@scifrey: And we’re positioned to hate Seichirou in “Tokyo Babylon”, but can’t help pity him his inability to feel beyond lust and hate.
@Adamshaftoe: Anime writers don’t seem content to let people do good but to show that heroism requires more and more self-sacrifice
@Adamshaftoe: I think it’s an interesting take on Superhero mythology, skipping the Uncle Ben BS for something more tangible.
@AdamShaftoe: D-Boy/Tekkaman is left in a lobotomised cripple not from the combat of his final battle but from his final transformation.
@AdamShaftoe: Of course in his case this ultimate sacrifice comes after watching his brother and mentor murder his twin sister and…
@scifrey: Same thing happens in both “Tokyo Babylon” and “X” – mentor/brother/lover kills sister/lover to emotionally cripple the hero.
@AdamShaftoe: … eventually fighting them to the death to save the Earth. First he gives up his family, then his sanity, then his body.
@AdamShaftoe: And I’m not even touching the biopolitcal aspect of the Radamians colonizing child D-Boy via the TekSet system.
@AdamShaftoe: If we really wanted to melt our brains we could chart this phenomenon through Neon Genesis Evangelion.
@scifrey: It’s def. there.
@scifrey: Yes, I love this stuff…!
@AdamShaftoe: Though I think NGE takes it a step farther with Shinji/Gendo’s transhuman agenda.
@scifrey: I think one of the more fascinating visual cues that this process is happening is the removal of pupil in the character design
@scifrey: And in having no mentor, they somehow fail to retain their humanity and become little more than an abstract emotion embodied?
The conversation petered out there, but feel free to continue in the comments!
(Dude, I am an aca-geek and proud of it!)
Here is my schedule for FanExpo 2011!
8pm, room 714
“Writers Guild of Canada Pro Panel: Adapting Well Loved Properties for the Screen, featuring Kill Shakespeare and Murdoch Mysteries”
I will be introducing and hosting this panel on behalf of the Writers Guild of Canada. Promises to be facinating, so make sure to make it out!
12pm, Room 707
“Steampunk Costuming Panel”
I am on this panel with a cadre of experts in cosplay and steampunk from both the Toronto Steampunk Society and Steampunk Canada
After the panel, I will also be at the Steampunk Canada/Toronto Steampunk Society table until 5:30pm to answer questions, discuss steampunk, sign books, and to give away a FREE EXCLUSIVE SNEAK PEEK of one of my upcoming projects.
12pm, room 707
“Steampunk Author Panel: Words Driven By Steam”
I will be on this panel with some of the most incredible writers in the genre, including Adrienne Kress, author of the upcoming “The Friday Society”.
6pm, Level 800
“Steampunk Photo Shoot”
Come on out and show off your latest creation!
I am also going to try to stop in at the Nerd Girl Pin Ups “Gaming With The Girls” party AND the “Ultimate Fan-Expo Canada Party”, both at the Royal York Hotel.
I will probably swing by the Steampunk Canada table again, but like most of you, I will be getting my shop on!
In addition, I will be walking around, attending a lot of panels about webseries, so you can probably find me on the floor or at those panels.
Great news, guys!
I am thrilled to be able to announce that my novella “The Dark Side of the Glass” has been picked up for publication by Double Dragon Publishing. It is slated for eBook release in JUNE 2012, with a possibility of papaerback publication following after.
This is a story about Mary, who loves her fandom, she really does, even when it becomes all too terrifyingly real.
Mary is a lowly Production Assistant on the hottest cult vampire detective TV show, “City By Night”. Her boss thinks she’s a loser for actually liking the show, the stars treat her like she’s invisible, and her coworkers mock her behind her back. And then Mary has an accident with the Craft Services truck, sending her hurtling into the world of the show.
Now Mary must somehow find a way home. She is in danger of becoming the hero’s love interest, and attracting the attention of his psychopathic dark stalker, Antonio. And the girls Antonio gets in his sights? There’s a reason they call it them the ’girl-of-the-week’…
As ever, a big thank you goes to my agent, Evan Gregory, for his hard work with this sale.
Articles, essays, reviews, interviews and press about J.M. Frey in general, rather than a specific book or project.
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I don’t have much of a Polaris round up to do – it was all marvellous, and I had a really wonderful time hanging out with Stephanie Bedwell-Grime, Kelley Armstrong, Julie Czerneda, and Violette Malan at the Meet the Pros (their accumulative ‘cool’ and ‘classy’ is refreshing and awe-inspiring); I met some other great people at the parties and sang my little geeky heart out with my friends at Klingon Karaoke; was pleased to be on three very thinky, very informative panels about Fanfiction, Cosplay, and other sorts of fancrafting; I ran into my thesis advisor very briefly (wish we’d had time for a real coffee and chat!); and I had a hoot presenting at the Constellation Awards.
The “When the Hero Comes Home” book launch went off without a hitch. I am still amazed that Nadine, who was following me with a camera all weekend, was able to keep up with me, fetch tea, stick to her shot list, cast her series via iPhone, and somehow still have a good time! (I cannot WAIT to share her creation with you!)
Two funny things happened at the con that I want to memorialize so I never forget how awesome and happy they made me feel…. first, I was mentioned in the Constellation Awards opening song:
And secondly, I spoke at length with a young man who was gushing about my work. And then he realized that I was not, in fact, Kelly Armstrong. He was mortified and I laughed so hard; mostly, cause I can totally see how someone could mistake us for one another. We have the same hair!
For those of you hoping to catch me at Polaris 2011, my anticipated schedule is this:
Early Afternoon- help Erik Buchanan and Marie Bilodeau set up Dragon Moon Press table, sit at DMP table for a bit and/or do media interviews
7pm – Meet the Pros Party
8pm – Blast Off Party
Reading – 10am, President’s Board Room- (I was told this time might change)
Signing – 11am, Richmond Room – (I was told this time might change)
Panel – 12pm, Newmarket Room – The Line Between Fiction and FANfiction
Panel – 3pm, Gormley Room – Internet Fandom and Its Impact
Panel – 4pm, Gormley Room – Costuming vs. Cosplay (Moderator)
Constellation Awards – Presenting the Award for Best SciFi TV Series with Paul Sun-Hyung Lee of (among other things) “Almost Heros” - Ceremony at 7:30pm
Media Scrum – 9pm outside of Ball Room
Constellation Awards After Party – 9:30pm~
Z’aarx Charity auction – 9am (Maybe!)
Champagne Brunch for WHEN THE HERO COMES HOME Launch – reading & signing – 11am-1pm, Ten Forward (Suite 1080)
Feel free to stop me in the halls if you see me, as well, and don’t be shy at the parties! I will be the redhead with the camera crew following her all weekend.
Google Alerts is a marvelous thing. I get alerts every Friday that tell me whether someone has blogged about me, my books, or my work. They’re a pain to slog through, but they are a great way of keeping track of who is saying what and where. The best part is that I can compile all my reviews in one place to make it easy for you, dear reader, to find out all about my books.
This weekend, Google Alerts pointed me to a web site named Torque Control, the blog of the editorial staff of Vector, the critical journal of the British Science Fiction Association, where the blogger asked her readers to suggest “The Best Novels of 2011 So Far” in order to get a feel for what people think should go for award nominations.
I was pleased as punch to see that one of my favourite reviewers, Rose Fox, championed me on the site:
Triptych by J.M. Frey (it will never win because no one’s heard of it but it is AMAZING). Miéville’s Embassytown, of course. Possible Rajaniemi’s The Quantum Thief.
It is, as they say, an honour just to be nominated to be nominated.
But then I stopped to think. And I wondered. Why couldn’t TRIPTYCH win a major industry award? Why can’t a small press from Alberta, Canada that survives on the sheer will power and the love of books of publisher Gwen Gaddes and associate editor Gabrielle Harbowy produce a book that is powerful enough to get the attention of major nomination committees all over the world? Why must winners be the ones with the huge international marketing campaigns, advertising budgets, and famous faces?
Why can’t a good book win just because it’s good? Because, as Rose Fox puts it, it’s AMAZING?
To that end, interwebs, I put a challenge to you.
Let’s get TRIPTYCH on a nomination ballot.
Let’s get it on ALL the nomination ballots. Let’s put a spotlight on Gabrielle Harbowy, my editor, for all the incredible work she’s done. Let’s make sure that Gwen Gaddes and Dragon Moon Press are given all the attention they deserve. Let’s get my cover artist, Charles Bernard, a shiney award for his mantle. Let’s work together to give the Canadian Small Presses the publicity and limelight that they’re worth.
Let’s do it for the little guy.
Because a book that is good should get attention for being good, not just because it has a big marketing budget. So let’s spread the word.
How can you help?
1) BUILD BUZZ. If you read TRIPTYCH, review it. Put up a one-paragraph blurb on Goodreads, Amazon, or Shelfari. Talk about it on your blog. Tweet. Mention it on facebook. Lend your copy to friends, or better yet, buy them one.
2) SUGGEST IT TO REVIEWERS. Email trade magazines, or your personal favourite review blog, or online review houses and tell them about TRIPTYCH. Tell them why you loved it, and why you think it’s important for TRIPTYCH to become known in the mainstream. Let people KNOW about it, let them know it exists, and let them know what others are already saying.
3) WRITE TO COMMITTEES. Found out about an award for Best Editing? Best Cover Art? Best Design? Best Writing? Best Death Scene? Best Book Trailer? Write to a member of the nominating committee and tell them about TRIPTYCH and Dragon Moon Press. Give them my contact information and website, so I can get them a copy of the book.
4) NOMINATE IT. If you are on a nomination commmittee, nominate it. But luckily, not all awards require you to be a member of an association to nominate. If you can, nominate the book yourself. And nominate it for a lot – blog awards, fan awards, industry awards. Everything from the Hugo to “The Blog of Bogglingly Bodacious Babes In Books Award”.
Where do you start? TALK to people about TRIPTYCH. And point them to this page.
Here is the information for some of the awards that TRIPTYCH is eligible for:
The Sunburst Award
The Hugo Award
The Campbell Award
The Scotiabank Giller Prize
Trillium Book Awards
Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year Awards
Lambda Literary Awards
CAA-BookLand Press Emerging Writer Award
Governor General’s Literary Awards
Prix Aurora Award
Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize
The ReLit Award
Compton Crook Award
Betty Trask Prize and Awards 2011
National Indie Excellence Awards