Monday, February 25, 2013

The World Fantasy Awards

Good evening constant reader.

Tonight I present to you the World Fantasy Awards.

The World Fantasy Awards are yearly international awards given to authors and artists who demonstrate outstanding achievement in the field of fantasy.
Established in 1975, they have been handed out at the World Fantasy Convention.
The award is considered among the most prestigious in the speculative fiction genre, and is awarded to any work falling within the realm of fantasy, although some media are restricted to certain categories.
World Fantasy Award winners are chosen by a panel of judges, which differs every year.

Here are the winners for best novel since 2000.

2000 -  Thraxas - Martin Scott

2001 - Declare - Tim Powers
            Galveston - Sean Stewart

2002 - The Other Wind - Ursula K. LeGuin

2003 - The Facts of Life - Graham Joyce
           Ombra In Shadow - Patricia A. McKillip

2004 - Tooth and Claw - Jo Walton

2005 - Jonathan Strange & Mr.Norrell - Susanna Clarke

2006 - Kafka On the Shore - Haruki Murakami

2007 - Soldier of Sidon - Gene Wolfe

2008 - Ysabel - Guy Gavriel Kay

2009 - The Shadow Year - Jeffrey Ford
            Tender Morsels -  Margo Lanagan

2010 - The City & The City - China Mieville

2011 - Who Fears Death - Nnedi Okorafor

Friday, February 15, 2013

You've Heard of Food Trucks...Now Meet a Book Truck!

Good afternoon constant reader.

You've doubtless heard about food truck centers - trucks converted to purveyors of yummy cuisine, usually found in a one stop area with other food trucks, where anything from burgers, cupcakes, shushi, etc., can be procured and eaten.

Now I want to introduce a new truck concept: The Book Truck.
Specifically The Billy Pilgrim Traveling Library based in Houston, Texas.

The Billy Pilgrim Traveling Library is the project of Chris Grawl and Kelly Allen.The pair has taken a library/bookstore combo and combined it with the food truck concept, and named said truck after Kurt Vonnegut's character Billy Pilgrim. With the truck, the duo intend to fill a need that libraries are not currently funded for.
The book truck works as a traveling library that works on a rent-barter-donate basis.
There is an annual membership fee, running $5 to $20 depending on the plan chosen. The $5 annual charge allows one item to be checked out, $20 allows five. There are no due dates, nor late fees.
Besides items to check out, they plan on offering reference and research services, wi-fi, a reservation system, mixtape trade, and book clubs.

Funding for the book truck came partially from an Indiegogo campaign, the rest out of Grawl's and Allen's pockets.

For the time being, the book truck will be found out and about on weekends, with most emphasis on Fridays and Sundays.
For now the only set time to find The Billy Pilgrim Traveling Library will be tonight, February 15th from 5:30 - 9 pm at the HEB Montrose Market Friday Food Truck meetup, in Houston, Tx, and will be parking at HEB as often as the truck rotation will allow.
In future, the pair would like to schedule the book truck to appear at other sites of culture, tried and true truck friendly locations, museums, and coffee shops.
The Billy Pilgrim Traveling Library will accept donations – books, CDs, DVDs, VHS, audio cassettes, vinyl, monetary gifts, or volunteer time.

This entire endeavor reminds me of times when I was growing up that my mother would take me to visit the book mobile that parked in a parking lot close to where we lived. I would peruse the shelves and carefully make my selections. The last clear memory I have of checking something out from the book mobile, is checking out a book on dinosaurs by E.L. Rey, creator of Curious George. Not too long after these visits, they built a branch library.
In this day and age of diminishing budgets for libraries, I think the book truck is a fantastic idea.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Agatha Awards

Good evening constant reader.

I'd like to introduce you to the Agatha Awards.

The Agatha Awards are bestowed for mystery and crime writers who write via the same method as author Agatha Christie  - closed setting, no sex or violence, and an amateur detective. The award is presented at an annual convention in Washington, D.C.,and are handed out by Malice Domestic.

Here are the winners for best novel since 2000.

2000 - Storm Track - Margaret Maron

2001 - Murphy's Law - Rhys Bowen

2002 - You've Got Murder - Donna Andrews

2003 - Letter From Home - Carolyn Hart

2004 - Birds Of A Feather - Jacqueline Winspear

2005 - The Body In The Snowdrift -  Katherine Hall Page

2006 - The Virgin Of Small Plains - Nancy Pickard

2007 - A Fatal Grace - Louise Penny

2008 - The Cruelest Month - Louise Penny

2009 - A Brutal Telling - Louise Penny

2010 - Bury Your Dead - Louise Penny

2011 - Three-Day Town - Margaret Maron

Friday, February 8, 2013

Review: Ship of Destiny

Ship of Destiny
Dom Woolf
Available from Amazon as a Kindle book

Good evening constant reader.

If you're looking for some imaginative science fiction which ends up being an apocalyptic tale with an ending full of promise, then this is the book for you.

Ship of Destiny begins in the future, with Lynette, Ken, Steve and Olivia on their way to Blue Spirit Lake after going through the rigors of college. They have graduate school ahead of them, but for now are settling for a little rest and relaxation. Diving into deep pools and camping out under the stars is just what they need.

One dive excursion reveals what looks like a cave entrance hidden by some vegetation. Lynette decides to investigate, but is held back by Steve. Once they return to shore, Lynette lets Steve know she is none to pleased and decides to return and investigate.

They discover an underwater cavern, complete with beach, and start to explore their new surroundings.
Lynn is looking around and finds...a ship. A metal ship with a dull metal finish, almost like a fighter jet, but warm, like it is alive.

The quartet sets to investigating the ship, trying to decipher the symbols it's inscribed with and sussing out what kind of metal the ship is made out of.
At one point, Lynn, tired and weary says:
“You could help us out, you know.” Lynn spoke to the ship. “We are a lot nicer than the government will be if they discover you. Besides aren’t you tired of being in this dark ole cave by yourself?”
The sentient ship is just the beginning of a tale that spans years.
To say much more will give away too much of the story.
It's one part first contact, one part space opera, and one part apocalypse.
I like this book a lot.
The pacing is good, the characters are interesting and I got a sense of being in another time and another place in the future that was familiar and alien at the same time without being weighed down with too much otherness.

I've read some science fiction where the tech starts taking over the story to the point the story gets lost. Ship of Destiny is a good science fiction story that doesn't allow technology to get in the way.

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Friday, February 1, 2013

British Fantasy Awards

Good evening constant reader.

I call your attention to the British Fantasy Awards.

The British Fantasy Awards were first presented in 1972 by the British Fantasy Society.
In 1971 author Ramsey Campbell  made the suggestion that the Society present an award in honor of the recently deceased August Derleth.
That following year at the BSFA’s Chessmancon (the annual Easter convention), Michael Moorcock received the August Derleth Fantasy Award for his novel The Knight of Swords.

For several years after this the awards presented by the British Fantasy Society were collectively known as The August Derleth Fantasy Awards – including the addition of several other categories. 
The BFS decided it should promote itself to a larger audience, and in 1976 the August Derleth Fantasy Award became the British Fantasy Awards, with the rule that the original category of Best Novel retain the August Derleth title.

I give you the British Fantasy Awards, best novel beginning with 2000:

2000 - Indigo - Graham Joyce

2001 - Perdido Street Station - China Mieville

2002 -  The Night of the Triffids - Simon Clark

2003 - The Scar - China Mieville

2004 - Full Dark House - Christopher Fowler

2005 - The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower - Stephen King

2006 - Anansi Boys - Neil Gaiman

2007 - Dusk - Tim  Lebbon

2008 - The Grin of the Dark -  Ramsey Campbell

2009 - Memoirs of a Master Forger - William Heaney aka Graham Joyce

2010 - One - Conrad Williams

2011 - No award

2012 - Among Others - Jo Walton