CEA Greatest Anthology Written

So just for fun and also to support a lovely idea, I submitted a story to an attempt to entry into the Guinness Book of Records for the greatest anthology written.

Submissions closed on 1 September and now it’s time for everyone to pre-order the books at AU $25 each. The orders are in Rand so it looks expensive but it’s not.  You can order by clicking here. Scroll down for sponsor levels.

Contributing authors come from the UK, USA, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, Belgium, Nigeria and Switzerland to name but a few.

If you love reading, love short stories and want to be part of something big, go and have a look at the Facebook page and pre-order a copy or two to become a sponsor. And if you order before 20 September 2017, you will get an acknowledgement in the volume.

So, friends, don’t be shy. Get involved.

 

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CONFLUX 13 – Grimm Tales

It’s on again. Conflux 13, Grimm Tales, will be held at the Vibe Hotel, Canberra Airport from 29 September to 2 October 2017.

Our two Guests of Honour are 2017 Hugo Award Winner for Best Editor short form, Ellen Datlow, and Australia’s most excellent urban fantasy author, Angela Slatter. It would be difficult to top that off yet Conflux is proud to have one of Australia’s premier horror writers, Kaaron Warren, who will be Master of Ceremonies.

For all the details and the full program, visit https://conflux.org.au/ and if you can, come join us for a great long-weekend with like-minded people who enjoy speculative fiction.

Christmas Reading

For those of you interested in low cost or free books, check out Fablecroft Publishing on Facebook.

For those interested in more about Anne McCaffrey and Pern, check out their site. (click here).

It’s been a busy time with getting all the stories together for our writers group end of year project – The Zoo. Imagine being a human shafeshifter and having been kidnapped by an alien race for their zoo. And now there is a hope of escape. Will be out on Amazon in the first quarter of 2016.

For those in the Christian world, Merry Christmas. For those in other places with other beliefs, have a wonderful end of year with family and friends.

Happy Holidays

Anne McCaffrey and Pern – Isobelle Carmody and Obernewtyn

Recently friends decided to re-read all of the Pern Novels.  So far Tehani Wessely and Marisol Dunham  read the first in the series and blogged about it here. To keep in the spirit of things I decided to read along as well. I had only read two or three McCaffrey novels including The Crystal Singer and loved those.  I Dragonflightnever got around to the Pern novels. So glad I did  because I loved Dragonflight and look forward to the next one, Dragonquest.

Another wonderful series in the same genre is Isobelle Carmody’s Obernewtyn Chronicles.  I’m quickly reading The Sending before tackling the final of the series, The Red Queen, released on 12 November.  I was lucky enough to be able to spend a little time with Isobelle at Conflux and she was still writing the Red Queenfinal chapters – that was in early October and it’s just been released. The woman is magic I tell you.

Both these series have had lasting effects on several writers I know and many readers.  It’s amazing how McCaffrey wrote a whole series with females as the main protagonist, especially in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Isobelle did the same in Obernewtyn with a strong, self-motivated female protagonist. Both series show how the girls grow into strong, able women who are just as capable as men in saving their societies and cultures.  It motivated so many women to do the same for themselves.

It helps that both Carmody and McCaffrey write in a way that is very accessible with a range of wonderful characters and each in an unusual and sometimes dangerous world.

I see that often Isobelle Carmody is tagged as writing Young Adult books but, like Harry Potter, the Obernewtyn series is definitely for adults as well. I find myself reading quite a lot of so-called YA and wonder how these books might miss out on the mainstream reader because they are labeled YA – many are great stories that have, in my opinion, wider appeal.  Still, it’s the publishing world and I’m not sure anyone really understands what’s happening there.

I love a good old-fashioned book in my hands when it’s a new release or it’s a series I want to keep to re-read. That said, I’m happy to buy ebooks as well because often the cost is less. If I’ve  not got any books in a series then I will buy the e-book series but if I already own hard copies, I will wait till they are on special or have free shipping and buy from Booktopia (my favourite online book store I must admit).books-vs-ebooksI’m hoping that with the birth of my second granddaughter Darcy, I will have a chance to read these novels to her in time if my daughter doesn’t get there first.  I will get a chance with Ashlyn though and that suits me just fine. And whether e-book or hard copy, I’m good either way.

 

Conflux 11 – Writers and Fans

Conflux is over for another year.  For the past eleven years the science and speculative fiction writers and fans conference has been held over the October long weekend in Canberra, in the Australian Capital Territory.  It is a conference run by writers of speculative fiction with panels, workshops and activities that both assist writers and provide fun for fans.  It provides an opportunity to meet well-known and respected writers and spend time with them.

This year Isobelle Carmody was guest of honour.21716189560_5cd0c8f435_o  Prolific author of fantasy fiction, she generously gave her time while in the process of completing her latest book, the Red Queen, the final of the Obernewtyn Chronicles, on a very, very tight deadline – the launch is expected in early November.  Between launching books, participating in panels and kaffeeklatches (coffee meetings), she took the time to mingle with attendees and chat. She spent time signing copies of her graphic novel ‘Evermore’ which she produced with graphic artist Daniel Reed.

The Mistress of Ceremonies for the four day event was Laura E Goodin, poet, playwright and short-story 21892265602_6ecdfc8a97_oauthor, Laura had the attendees in stitches as her introductions and announcements were constantly interrupted by urgent mobile phone calls from her home with questions about zombie apocalypses, imminent danger of death and starvation and all from her scotch loving cat.  She also wrote and hosted the Conflux Radio Play performed by several of the Conflux panellists and authors. The audience loved it.21951008176_9030441ee0_o Radio-Play

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another well-know attendee was Sean Williams, author of over 100 short stories and 42 novels with several Aurealis Awards and a Ditmar Award to his name.

Several books were launched:

Striking-Fire-cover-1 The first was “Striking Fire” by Dirk Flinthart, published by Fablecroft Press.  Followed by 

“Hero” by Belinda Crawford, published by Odyssey Books,

The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror 2014,  andBloodlines-web Bloodlines , published by Ticonderoga Publications,

“The Floating City” by Craig Cormick, published by Angry Robot

“The Time of the Ghosts” by Gillian Polack, published by Satalyte,  

Fanzine, “The Vortex” edited by Tara Ott and Maddy Piggott which can be found on Etsy and

The Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild’s latest anthology, Never Never Land.

The art show E Harvey Award went to Shauna O’Meara for the cover of Never Never Land and was richly deserved.

theneverneverland

Cabinet_of_Oddities_flier_smallerFor writers there were pitching sessions that allowed authors to take their novels to a publisher to see if they were interested in their stories.  For fans there was entertainment like the ‘Cabinet of Oddities’ and the Banquet with entertainment by Meri Amber, self-styled ‘geek’ pop-singer, song writer whose delightful voice and wonderful songs had the audience clapping and singing.  I recommend going to her website and sampling her music.MeriAmber

 

 

 

 

This was my 6th Conflux event.  Every one I’ve attended is fabulous and the workshops and events, as a writer, are invaluable for improving my knowledge and skill as a writer. So much so that I was able to pitch my novel this year.  Whether it will be taken up is another matter, but just the knowledge that I’ve finished it and a publisher liked the premise of the story is a whole deal for me.  Fingers crossed it’s good enough to be worked on and published.  But if not, it was a learning experience I would not forgo.

Also being with fellow writers and fans who love genre fiction is, in and of itself, worthwhile.  For four whole days I was with people who ‘got it’ – who thought the strange thoughts I did, and talked in stories and about stories and had fun with stories.

So Conflux 11 is over for 2015 but now the planning begins for Conflux 12 – Red Fire Monkey. If you’re a writer or fan of speculative fiction, set aside 30 September to 3 October 2016 and come and join in the fun. Put it in your diary.

I am delighted to thank Cat Sparks for the wonderful photo’s. Her coverage, as in past years, was terrific.

 

Reading, Writing and Research

A post from a writing friend Leife Shallcross, got me thinking about what I read, how I get ideas, what I write as a result and what research I do. Added to that, another writing friend, Donna Maree Hanson blogged about her writing drought and how she got going using writing ‘dates’ – meeting with fellow writers for the purpose of writing.

This past weekend I got going on a shortish story when Donna and Marisol Dunham came to stay for the weekend. Donna actually got around 13,000 words written, Marisol wrote 2000 words but got around a sticky situation with her plot by re-writing bits and planning out a new plot direction to overcome the issue.  I slowly and thoughtfully wrote about 4,500 words of the new story. It was fun, productive and the wine with dinner on Saturday night followed by a game, made it a great weekend.

I’m still learning the craft of writing. I’m told it’s a lifelong enterprise. But what I love about reading is that I now read differently. Yes, the characters and story are still most important, but I now look at what is good about the what I’m reading. Do the words flow? Are the characters well written? If I love them, why? How is the story structured that makes me keep turning pages and going on to the next chapter?

I see from my favourite books that I like a fast paced book that tells me about the character’s background in bits and pieces throughout the story. I like good dialogue and I realise that writers who really love and know their characters, despite what they do the poor buggers throughout a book, get me to like them too. I keep that in mind now when I’m writing. Not that I let my internal editor slow down things too much, but I do write more slowly to ensure some of my writing ‘ticks’ don’t show up. Things like word repetition. It seems I love ‘small’ a lot.  Or slipping into ‘to be’ verbs rather than active verbs.

Our critiquing group has a lot to do with improvement in writing too. It’s hard sometime to hear that something you really thought was good has some hiccups that need fixing but it’s really worthwhile sitting through the pain to get the gain.

And then there are the other writers. One thing I have found is that writers in general are very, very generous with their time and are fun company. Even well-known writers like Isabelle Carmody or Russell Fitzpatrick or Kaaron Warren are happy to come to writing workshops and conventions to talk to apprentice writers.

So I read all the works of writer friends who are published, and that is delightful. Most fun reads recently included ‘Shatterwing’ by Donna Maree Hanson, ‘A difficult second album’ by Simon Petrie, Tehani Wesseley’s anthology ‘Phantazien’ and Alan Baxter’s ‘Bound’.

Then there is the research.  When I’m writing, like this past weekend, and especially when I’m doing a science fiction story, I need to make sure that what I’m writing doesn’t hit a nerve with science that is wrong and/or impossible [although sometimes skipping explanations entirely is useful]. These days we are so lucky to have the internet. A quick read on Wikipedia and follow the links to the scientific paper and journals. Then, before sending it out, a favour asked of knowledgable writer friends and, voila, something reasonably good from that point of view.

I also read many more blogs than I used to. There is so much good and/or fun information out there just for a little time at the keyboard. Between blogs and Facebook writer groups, it does get a little hectic keeping up.

Finally, it seems I also need to stop putting two spaces after every full stop. Apparently it’s old hat, old school, no longer acceptable. But after more than 40 years of ten finger typing, it’s a hard habit to break {hmmm… good title for a song}. But going back and deleting or find/replace is also annoying. Guess I’ll have to change that too.

Having spent time with doing this, I now have to go back to the PowerPoint and notes I’m preparing for a workshop next month. This was decidedly more fun though.

 

What Do I Feel Like Reading?

This morning I finished a delightful book by Garth Nix called ‘Clariel’, a prequel to the Abhorson series that I read quite a few years back.  It made me want to clariel-Cover-Ausread the series all over again so I got them down from my bookshelf.  Then  I looked at all the ‘to read’ pile – those that I haven’t read before.  Meh, I said to myself, they can wait while I go and read the series again.

Just before Christmas I also forewent my ‘to read’ pile, this time for two new Val McDermid books in the ‘Tony Hill’ series.  This is quite a different read from the fantasy of Garth Nix.

In addition, I bought the next Ben Aaronovitch book in the ‘Peter Grant’ series.  And of course, anything Jim Butcher writes in the Dresden Files or Kevin Hearne in the Iron Druid series get an instant read as soon and I can get my hands on them.

So what is it about these and other series that makes me want to buy and read them instantly?

Firstly, I think that there is something in the characters the authors have created that makes them enduring.  Most of the leading characters are quite flawed; In the Abhorson series the protagonists all have unknown magic qualities they either don’t want or can’t use; Tony Hill is only a moral centimetre away from being one of the serial killers he catches; Harry Dresden is impulsive and makes decisions that seem right at the time but quite dangerous in hindsight, Atticus the Druid tries to stay alive but brings down multiple pantheon of gods onto his case and so on.

Secondly, the authors give them redeeming qualities that ensure the reader doesn’t just think ‘Fool’ and flicks the book.  In Clariel, Nix allows Clariel to use ‘Free Magic’ or in Star Wars terms, go to the Dark Side while still believing she’s doing good because she’s uneducated about her world and magic; Tony Hill knows most of his flaws and uses them against the serial killers while his personal relationship slowly burns with DCI Carol Jordan.  Harry Dresden tends to pull things out of the fire at the last minute when everything seems lost, as does Atticus the Druid.  The latter two series also have authors who are able to bring humour to their stories that break tension or are just plain fun.idc

And then there are the storylines; well crafted, exciting and in each case the authors seem to put their characters to extreme tests.

OK, so why do I want to keep reading about them?  What is it about these characters that I just have to know what they are up to, how they are going, makes me barrack for them each time?

It’s not the magic, although that’s fascinating, because then I wouldn’t love the psychological drama in the Tony Hill books. Or maybe it is  magic because what Tony Hill does, and Val McDermid writes so well, is the internal ‘magic thinking’ of those who kill for fun and giggles, so to speak.wiretvcover

For me, I think, it’s the battle against the odds, and finding something within themselves that allows them to go on when many would fail and fall by the wayside.  I would hope that were I put in such awful situations, I would have the strength and wherewithal to get to the end and achieve my goal.  But mainly that I am very unlikely to find myself in these situations and grateful that I’m reading about them, excited for the characters, but NOT be them.  I’m safe in my comfortable armchair/couch following the adventures of others, cheering for them, sad for them, terrified and fascinated, but inherently safe from their woes (hopefully).

A pretty powerful formula if, as an author, one is able to find such a character and storyline, and execute it well.

An Eclectic Mix of Stories

It’s not strictly true to say ‘what I’ve been reading’, more accurately which books I’ve finished.  Beside actually reading a physical book or an ebook, I also listen to audiobooks when I’m in the car, knitting or just relaxing. I actually had no idea how many books a year I actually finish until I undertook the Goodreads Challenge this year.  I started out with what I thought was a reasonable number, 30.  I had to update that by end of March to 40 and so on.  Currently I’ve set the total to 65 and am only 6 books short of the target… again.  And then there is the slush reading I do for ASIM which at times adds another 3 or so short stories a week to my total reading list, although they do not count on the Challenge of course.

I love any sort of speculative fiction but will happily read biographies and good fiction, often because they have been recommended to me.  In the latter category I recently read ‘The Guernsey 8013752Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ by Mary Ann Shaffer, given to me by a friend last Christmas.  I took so long to read it even though it kept rising to the top of the ‘to read’ pile because it seemed rather ‘twee’ to me.  Silly me, really.  It is a delightful book, full of real people that captured my attention.  On top of that, the style of writing in the form of letters was unique and very well done.  I admit I had to stop looking at the dates of the letters because I kept wondering how these missives could flash across a city in less than five hours and across the channel to Guernsey in one day.  Once I just let it flow I became wrapped up in the story of wartime Guernsey and it’s people, and the unusual romance that eventuated.  Definitely deserved 4 stars out of 5.

13067519Another unexpected gem was ‘Athena’s Promise’ by Annetta Ribken. It was a delightful speculative fiction story that doesn’t fit into any specific genre although it had zombies, trolls, centaurs and vampires all dealing with a human heroine who was the front desk manager in a hotel.  The catchphrase ‘more numbah’s’  will stick in the mind after reading it.  Again, definitely deserves 4 stars from me.  I’m looking forward to the next instalment when it is released.

23264189I bought ‘Difficult Second Album’ by Simon Petrie at Conflux 10 held in Canberra on the long weekend in October and available from Smashwords and Amazon if you’re interested. My husband told me I wasn’t to read it in bed of an evening because I kept giggling and snickering and putting him of his reading.  Simon has a wicked sense of humour, is a wonderful story-teller and very, very well. Not all the stories have humour in them and they balance out the book very well. He also writes flash fiction and some of those in the book are real gems.  I highly recommend this one and give it 5 stars.

23056339Donna Maree Hanson’s ‘Shatterwing’ was another Conflux find.  It is a fantasy with very dark passages that some may find very confronting.  The world-building in this, the first book of the series, is excellent and I found myself hooked in the trials and tribulations of the characters.  I have a personal issue in that when I become interested emotionally in a character, I find it difficult to let them go halfway through a book and take up the point of view of another character.  The first half of the book is about Salinda who, after years of tending the vines for the Dragon Wine, undergoes terrible physical harm before she can escape the vineyard.  Salinda is the keeper of a power she finds difficulty using and does not understand.  We leave Salinda in a situation that seems somewhat safe and learn about Laiden who accompanies an elder mage who unexpectedly dies.  As a result she gains a similar power to Salinda and has difficulty managing it.  She must also run for her life.  I have the second in the Dragon Wine series and will read ‘Skywatcher’ over the next month.  Overall, I rate the first book a 3 stars, I liked it and am looking forward to reading the next in the series.

Now for a couple of audiobooks.  The first, The Child by Sebastian Fitzek, was an excellent story but the audio-play had too many distractions – rain that went on forever, pauses in dialogue that ended up being totally frustrating despite the fact that the actors, including Amelia Fox and Rupert Penry-Jones were delightful to listen to.  So I will have to find a written copy of this and read it.

Kevin Hearne”s ‘Shattered’, the 7th in the Iron Druid Chronicles, was the exact opposite.  The narrator, Christopher Ragland, did a wonderful rendition of all of the characters, male and female and18525883 irish wolfhound.  Atticus the last Druid on Earth now has graduated Granuille, his apprentice as well as liberating his Arch-Druid from a time spell – so now there are 3 druids in the world that can access the powers of Gaia.  Atticus and Granuille both have delightful companions in their wolfhounds who can speak and provide the light relief during stressful times.  If you love Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files you will definitely love the Iron Druid series.  Another 4 stars from me for this one.

23265559Finally, there is the audiobook of ‘Bones Never Lie’ from Kathy Reichs and read by Katherine Borowitz.  The last two Reichs books were a bit of a disappointment for me but this one returns Reichs to her previous best with detailed forensic descriptions alongside the continuing life of her heroine, Dr Temperance Brennan.  This is a 3 stars only because I have certain expectations from these books and I liked it but fell just short of loving it.

7028848I am currently reading Phillip K Dick’s ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’ and can see why it has become a classic.  I’m about 40 pages from the end and will finish it today.  It will definitely get 5 stars from me despite it being slightly dated because Dick wrote it in the late 1960’s and set it in the early 2000’s.  Not his fault that space exploration and the idea of settling on Venus and Mars turned out to be highly problematic.

18076835I’m also listening to ‘Lexicon’ by Max Berry and read by Heather Corrigan and Zack Appleman.  It is a story about the power of words and how some people are trained to use words to influence others.  It is intriguing and suspenseful and I’m not sure where it is going.  I like that, a lot.

My ‘To Read’ stack keeps getting taller and includes titles from Gillian Polack (Langue [dot] doc}, Craig Cormack (The Shadow Master) and an anthology by Tehani Wessely entitled ‘Phantazine’.  I guess I’ll make my 65 books this year, and maybe more as there are still 7 weeks to go this year.

 

Kevin Hearne, Jim Butcher and fast paced, action packed novels

a guilty pleasure

a guilty pleasure (Photo credit: massdistraction)

I’ve just finished reading  Kevin Hearne‘s ‘Tricked‘ and ‘Trapped‘, the 4th and 5th in the Iron Druid series.  By now anyone who reads my posts knows I delight in Jim Butcher‘s Dresden series and the Iron Druid series has all the same things that I love about Mr Butcher’s Dresden.

The essential of each series is a loveable, rascally character who, although blessed with fantastic magical ability, seem to somehow get themselves wrapped up in some deadly business though not fully thinking through consequences of their decisions.  For both Dresden and Atticus, they are trying to do the right thing by everyone and to keep their word.  Each promise turns out to be more complicated than first appears leading to more drama, fights with magic, getting tired, running out of magic, just, and finally, nearly dead but successful.  Phew.  Oh, and they both have wonderful dogs and apprentices (and they both have a ‘thing’ for said apprentice.

Kevin Hearne Hunted

Kevin Hearne Hunted (Photo credit: theNerdPatrol)

Yet although there are many similarities between the series, the actual type of magic used, the mythology behind the magic is quite different. Dresden is involved with the world of faerie, can throw fire and spells,  Atticus is a Druid who is tied to GAIA, the earth.  Dresden is in his 40s by the last few books while Atticus is over 2000 years old.  All this keeps each series interesting and fresh.

Then of course there is the writing style.  Fast paced, always something happening with little islands of calm for a deep breath before the ride starts again. Both Butcher and Hearne do this extremely well.  The manage to introduce information and characters quickly and with succinct descriptions.  The action scenes are well written (although I prefer them to be a bit shorter sometimes but I bet most guys who read it love it).

Both author’s write in the 1st person point of view but for Atticus we get humour from his mental exchanges with his irish wolfhound Oberon.  Sometimes it’s really laugh out loud stuff.  If you are reading with other people around they look at you strangely for suddenly cackling like a fool at some of Oberon’s comments which seem to occur at the most inappropriate times.

Of course, now I’m all caught up with each series and it’s a bit hard to find something as pacey and entertaining.  I’m sure they are around so I’m on the hunt.

Both Butcher and Hearne have managed to write page-turners.  Everyone I know who reads one want to go on to the next quickly.  I stopped with Dresden at around the 9th book, but picked the series up again after about a month because I just had to know what happened to Harry.  Same for Atticus.  I’m awaiting delivery of the most recent in the series…. somewhat impatiently.

A final word.  Both of these novelists have introduced strong female characters as apprentices.  I rather like that.

Now I want to know if anyone is writing similar novels with a woman as the lead.  There are some paranormal and steam punk novels with women leads but a lot of them are ‘attached’ to men in some way.  I want to know about novels where the woman stands out and is quirky like Harry and Atticus.

Happy to hear anyone’s suggestions.

 

Ray Bradbury and Fahrenheit 451

As noted in recent posts, I have been reading some of sic-fi’s classics.   I have just finished Fahrenheit 451 and I’m very surprised by it.  It is in no way what I expected even though I was aware of the premise.  I admit to never seeing the film either.  So, what was surprising.  Mostly that a lot of the 109 pages are a treatise on the life of modern man that is still as relevant now as when the novella was written.

Written in 1953 it somehow extrapolates the technological trends beginning at that time, for example television and easier communication, along with the psychological possibilities those technologies could induce, like isolation of kids in front of televisions or computer games.

The story begins with a fireman, Guy Montag,  in some not-so-far-distant future, who is now burning rather than putting out fires.  And he and his colleagues are burning books because they are deemed anathema to a happy life.  The reason is that there is a belief that the myriad of ideas in both fiction and non-fiction lead to interpersonal and internal conflict for individuals.  Instead homes are fitted with huge televisions that cover full walls in the ‘parlor’.  The programs are interactive to the extend that they are manipulated to input the watcher’s name in appropriate places.  The noise and colour are so all-encompassing that it overrides people s psyche.

All books have been destroyed and any that are left, if found, are burned.  The owner is imprisoned or, in some cases, commit ‘suicide’ with their libraries.

Montag lives the life of a so-called believer until he meets a young 12 year old girl on his way to work.  By asking questions she opens up his deep-seated unhappiness and leads to his rebellion.  He loses his job, his house, his wife but he finds others like him and in the end, when the apocalypse hits the cities, he and like-minded others, survive.

Bradbury writes in an almost philosophical style by letting the reader into the thoughts and emotions of Montag while at the same time using language to build on the depth of the story.  For example in the opening lines he describes Montag’s view of a burning:

‘It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed.  With the brass nozzle in his fists, with this great python spitting its venomous kerosene upon the world, the blood pounding in his head, and his hands were the hands of some amazing conductor playing all the symphonies of lazing and burning to bring down the tatters and charcoal ruins of history.’ 

Immediately you feel the import of the subject, the drama and as it continues you see Montag go through his own epiphany as he rises from the ruins just like the Phoenix.

These days with plasma and LED televisions that cover walls and sound systems that fill a room it is not so amazing to think of television walls or even a room wherein the watcher is part of the program.  Like this blog, my own game-playing and web sites that I administer I spend quite a deal of time staring at a screen, absorbed in what I’m doing but only interacting with others at a distance.

As for burning books, in a way we do that now but we burn them onto an electronic media.  No longer do we carry paper novels or hardcover books but instead eReaders of some kind – they carry a whole library of books.  I read this one on my Sony in fact.

I have to admit that on at least to occasions I nearly put the novella down because it seemed unnecessarily wordy in places, sometimes a bit confusing.  But I was intrigued by the story and continued on.  I’m very happy that I did.

From a writers point of view I realise that classics are really all about the story, the suspense of seeing where it’s going and the readers connection with the characters.  In this case I realise we have all felt confused when learned beliefs begin to crumble.  We have all felt the dissolution and the loss that comes with it when we begin to question our world.  Bradbury captures this very well and thus it is easy to feel for Montag.  I simply had to keep reading so see what would happen to Montag and if he survived thus the story and the tension kept me reading despite the sometimes dense language.

It is still a story that suggests we beware of ‘Big Brother’ and that we should not believe everything we hear and see in the media.  Many of us do question the media these days but it still worries me when I see the bias in newspaper and television commentaries on all types of subjects depending on their editorial directions.  I sometimes wonder if they do believe what they write for these media or simply do it as part of their jobs?  My optimism hopes the latter but my head suggests it is likely the first.

Now I’m going to re-read Bradbury’s Illustrated Man – one of my favourites when I was a teenager.  I bet I have a different view of it now!