News

FANTASYCON 2014: MY SCHEDULE



 The British Fantasy Convention this year is in York 
(Friday 5th-Sunday 7th September), 
and I will be there -- my first time at this particular convention.


I will be a panellist on two panels (see below)
and also giving a 20 minute reading from either
 The Lascar's Dagger or The Dagger's Path.

And I'd like some help here. 
If you have an opinion on these panel topics, 
email me, or comment here or on facebook or twitter... 

For example:
What fantasy/SF books have you read
(apart from The Isles of Glory!) 
where there was a platonic friendship between women
forming a central part of the book (or fantasy TV series/film)?

Why do you think (if indeed you do) that such platonic friendship 
between women in fantasy fiction is rarer than male ones?

Is it necessary to dispose of the parents of young protagonists? 
Can you think of successful examples where parents were a full participant of the young hero/heroine's adventures?


Saturday 12.00 Noon  
Dead Parents, Burned Homesteads and Wicked Stepmothers
Is it essential to write out the parents before youthful characters can head out on adventures? Are adult figures always unhelpful or malign? Should writers search for ways to keep parents around — or do fantasies of a world without parents fulfil a real need?
Marc Gascoigne (m), Edward Cox, Emma Newman, Sophia McDougall, Glenda Larke, Laura Lam

Saturday 3.00pm 
She Ain’t Heavy, She’s My Sister
Kirk and Spock, Luke and Han, Frodo and Sam – epic friendships between men are common in fantasy, but friendships between women, or platonic relationships between men and women that stay that way – are much thinner on the ground. The panellists discuss why it matters and examine some of the rare exceptions.
Roz Kaveney (m), Mhairi Simpson, Glenda Larke, Charlaine Harris

THE FORSAKEN LANDS: BOOK TWO

Here's the cover!
 
That's Ardhi, by the way...
 

Due out January 2015!
 
THEY FOLLOW WHERE THE DAGGER LEADS

When sailors came to Ardhi’s island home, they plundered not only its riches, but its magic too. Now Ardhi must retrieve what was stolen, but there are ruthless men after this power, men who will do anything to possess it . . .
Sorcerers, lascars, pirates and thieves collide in this thrilling sequel to Glenda Larke’s epic fantasy adventure, THE LASCAR’S DAGGER.

 ‘Outstanding all the way to the last word.’ – Elizabeth Moon on The Lascar’s Dagger

Loncon 3: The Worldcon in London

 I will be attending the upcoming World SF Convention in London in August. This will be my 4th Worldcon -- the first was in Glasgow in 2005. I also went to the one in Melbourne and another in Denver.

I've received my tentative programming, but please be aware that things may change between now and then, and attendees should always check on the day. If there are changes I know about in the meantime, I will adjust here.

I have been scheduled as a panellist on the following 5 panels:

1. Recentering the World Storm: 
John Clute's "Fantastika" and the World

Thursday 16:30 - 18:00, Capital Suite 6 (ExCeL)

In recent years John Clute has argued that fantastika is "the planetary form of story", originating after 1750, "the point when Western Civilization begins to understand that we do not inhabit a world but a planet." But where does this leave fantastika written in non-Western, non-Anglophone traditions? Is Clute's formulation adequate as an understanding of Western fantastika, or is a more explicit accounting of (for example) the relationship between the colonial imagination and the fantastic imagination required? Can readers and critics from multiple traditions identify common ground for the discussion of truly "planetary" fantastika, and what would that ground look like?

Geoff Ryman, John Clute, Glenda Larke, JY Yang, Gili Bar-Hillel

This should be a fabulous panel. John Clute is one of the convention's guests, a Renaissance man if ever there was one. Geoff Ryman is the author of some brilliant novels, including "Air" (a favourite of mine); he's a multiple award winner. Gili Bar-Hillel is a very well-known Hebrew translator, a multi-talented professor. J.Y. Yang lives in Singapore and writes SF; she is a Clarion survivor.

2. I Like My Secondary World Fantasy a Little on the Techy Side

Friday 10:00 - 11:00, Capital Suite 4 (ExCeL)

Some secondary world fantasies, like Brandon Sanderson's "Alloy of Law", Francis Knight's "Fade to Black", and Adrian Tchaikovsky's "Shadows of the Apt", have ventured into industrialisation. To what extent can the kinds of narratives common in secondary world and epic fantasies find a home in these kinds of settings? Is technological development less "believable" in a world with magic?

Django Wexler, Robert Jackson Bennett, Floris M. Kleijne, Glenda Larke, Adrian Tchaikovsky

I actually first read the topic as "on the tetchy side", and envisaged a quite different slant to the discussion ... Belligerent characters? Bellicose nations? No, wait: tech-y. Right.

3. SF/F Across Borders

Sunday 16:30 - 18:00, Capital Suite 9 (ExCeL)

Genre writers such as Vandana Singh, Geoff Ryman, Tricia Sullivan, and Zen Cho are already travellers to other worlds. Many authors write as resident outsiders, and want to write their new homes as well as their old. How does the experience of moving between countries affect the writing of fiction? How can or should writers respond to the varying power dynamics of race, language and culture involved in such migrations? And how should readers approach the stories that result?

Stephanie Saulter, Jesús Cañadas, Glenda Larke, Yen Ooi, Suzanne van Rooyen

4. All the Traps of Earth

Monday 10:00 - 11:00, Capital Suite 8 (ExCeL)

Thinking about the long-term existence of humanity requires us to examine the relationship between our culture(s) and the physical world we inhabit. How have SF and fantasy explored this relationship -- not just in terms of technology and stewardship, but by looking at the grain of daily life and work? What is the place of the "natural" world in SF and fantasy, and how is it linked to, or contrasted with, the human world?

Sam Scheiner, Anne Charnock, Glenda Larke, Amy Thomson, Patrick Nielsen Hayden

5. Amateurs talk tactics; professionals talk logistics

Monday 15:00 - 16:30, Capital Suite 5 (ExCeL)

How are wars and other conflicts won? It doesn't matter how good your troops and generals are if they don't get the resources they need, so the logistics of warfare, and the economics that drive them, play a far larger role than usually appears in fiction. What is the real story from history and how can science fiction get it right?

Phil Dyson, Nigel Furlong, Glenda Larke, Juliet E McKenna

_____________________________

 I am also scheduled for a Kaffeeklatch:
That's a discussion over coffee where readers can book a place at the table to meet writers they'd like to grill chat with about their work, etc.

Friday 13:00 - 14:00, London Suite 5 (ExCeL)

Glenda Larke, James Patrick Kelly

This sounds as though there are two of us sharing. I've never had a Kaffeeklatsch with another writer before, so this should be interesting, especially as Jim Kelly is more a SF writer. He is a Nebula and a Hugo winner, so I will be in distinguished company!

Anyway, if any of you are at Loncon 3, do feel free to hunt me down...

My programme for SUPANOVA PERTH


 THIS WEEKEND!!

Apart from lunch between 1pm and 2pm, I'll be available for chatting, signing, whatever (and as I will be a lot less in demand than the mega stars, there will really be time to chat!!)

And, as well:

Saturday 3.30-4.20pm in the Supanova Seminar Room
Panel Name: Mr or Mrs Smith?
Panelists: Keri Arthur, Glenda Larke, Bruce McCabe and David Henley

Sunday 3.10-4pm in the Supanova Seminar Room
Panel name: Blood on your hands
Panelists: Jo Spurrier, Lara Morgan, Robin Hobb, Scott Baker, Colin Taber

Panel descriptions:
  • Mr or Mrs Smith?: Gender in fantasy & Science Fiction – Was Peter Jackson correct to add a female character to the film adaption of ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’? What causes an author to create a female or male protagonist and does the publishing industry, society or even the fans influence this decision? Come and hear our guest authors take on this contentious topic.
  • ·Blood on your hands: The art of killing, maiming and torturing your favourite characters – Come and see how our guest authors deal with making their characters’ lives a living hell, while still keeping the reader on the edge of their seats and wanting more.

Amazon, Orbit and Me

Dear Readers,

You may have heard of this ongoing war between my publisher (Orbit) and Amazon.

Basically, Amazon is being greedy, trying to punish a publisher who refuses to cave in pricing negotiations. The people who get hurt when elephants dance are always the little guys, in this case, us authors.

I no longer have a "normal" job -- post 65, I found that the work I was doing was a bit beyond me physically: the tropical rainforest is a tough place. In addition I started to have some skeletal issues that tend to plague the aged... Now, of course, I am no longer living in Malaysia anyway. So my only income is my writing.

And let's face it, Amazon.com has become more and more important for selling books. Bookchains -- having wrecked the independents with their price cutting and other tactics -- are now collapsing under their mismanagement and misunderstanding of the industry. So what Amazon does has become more and more vital to authors and publishers. Amazon knows that, and they are using that knowledge to further their greed, indifferent to how the small guy suffers. (At the moment, Amazon.co.uk --at least as far as my books are concerned -- does not seem to have joined in the war.)

What can you, the reader do?

Buy your books elsewhere.

Here are a few alternatives:

WORLDWIDE for HAVENSTAR
Paperback or hardback: Buy from Indiebooks
eBook can be bought through:
Smashwords, which includes a Kindle version
Kobo,
Barnes & Noble;

AUSTRALIA (for other titles of mine)
Fishpond
Booktopia
Dymocks stores  
Click on the links for a list of my paperback books available at any of the above

Or try Independent bookshops such as:
Galaxy in Sydney
Stefen's in Perth
Pulpfiction in Brisbane

In USA
Buy any of my books (listed here) from BARNES &NOBLE
Independent bookstores such as Borderlands San Francisco

In UK
Try Waterstones.

What I’m doing this year…



Here's the latest GLENDA LARKE news.

BOOKS
  • "The Lascar's Dagger", book 1 of a trilogy "The Forsaken Lands" is now out, available as an eBook and a paperback worldwide. If you would like to know more about it, see a couple of author posts I've put up on the www.Orbitbooks.net site. Book 2 has already been delivered and is due for publication in January 2015.
If you want to help out the author, tell your friends -- or write an honest review somewhere or other!
  • "The Aware", the first book of the "Isles of Glory" trilogy, is free as an eBook on all formats (Apple, Kindle, PDF, Nook, Smashwords etc etc)  until the end of the month. I believe it has already had over 2,000 downloads just on Amazon! Of course, this is designed to entice you into buying books 2 & 3... :)
  • "Havenstar" is now available from Tigonderoga Press, Amazon, etc as a hardback or paperback. The eBook is up everywhere except Amazon -- try Smashwords, B&N, Apple, Sony, Kobo...
My other two trilogies, The Mirage Makers and The Watergivers (Stormlord books) are available pretty much everywhere as ebooks and paperbacks.

CONVENTIONS
  • I will be attending three SFF conventions this year.
The first is Swancon over Easter in Perth, Australia.
The second is the World SF Convention Loncon3 in London in August,
and the third is the British Fantasy Convention in York UK in September. If you'll be at any of them, please say hi!

READINGS /SIGNINGS
  • Some readings, chats etc to look forward to:
Charlottesville Virginia at the B&N in 5th April at 6pm
Forbidden Planet in London post Loncon3, with Karen Miller, date to be decided.

IF YOU ARE IN CHARLOTTSVILLE, VA…



I will be appearing 
at the Barnes and Noble store 
in Charlottesville, Virginia,
Saturday, 5th April 2014
at 6 p.m.

To celebrate the launch of 
The Lascar's Dagger
The Forsaken Lands,
Book One.

If you are anywhere in the vicinity, I'd love to see you.



 I'll be giving a short reading, 
answering questions
and signing books,
(if you have any -- and even if you don't, you are still more than welcome!)


Even better, I won't be alone.
The YA fantasy author
Jodi Meadows 
will be with me doing the same thing.
You can find out more about Jodi and her books here.
 
So ... two authors
 who want to meet anyone who loves fantasy
 or anyone who is just curious... 

And of course, our books will be on sale in Barnes and Noble.
Support your local bookstores!!


The Lascar’s Dagger: maps


This is a look at one of the preliminary versions of the maps for The Lascar's Dagger, done -- as usual -- by Perdita Phillips, artist. (Take a look at her website here.) 

To see the final expanded versions, you'll have to buy the book...

Coming out March 15th 2014
Ready for pre-order!

Amazon.com.au  (Australia: ebook only)
Book depository (worldwide)



Final Orbit U.K. Cover of "The Lascar’s Dagger"

Less than two months away now, in mid-March, the first book of a new trilogy from Glenda Larke will be on the shelves. It is being published worldwide by Orbit.

The Lascar's Dagger is the Book 1 of The Forsaken Lands.

The idea for this trilogy came to me in a flash one day ...

Er, no. As for all my books, there's no one idea, but dozens, some of them larger than others, and they came from all over the place, and not all at once. 

I suppose the main inspiration originated from my desire to write a book that drew on my experiences living in South-east Asia, something evocative of a period and a place not usually touched upon in fantasy epics. And so this trilogy is set in a fantasy world of two hemispheres, east and west, where western countries are setting out to trade with the other side of the world--and their main desire is to procure tropical spices. Think 17th-18th century Europe; think the rivalry between the British and Dutch East India Companies; think the Spice Islands of Indonesia and the impact of this contact between two hemispheres. And then think: but what if...

What if the Spice Islands had magic?

And so, being a fantasy, it's not just about a clash of cultures, but about a clash in religious/magic systems...The trilogy's protagonists come from both hemispheres.

"Lascar" is a term that is not very specific in its application. The word is Persian/Arabic in origin, meaning guard, soldier or more generally pertaining to military, but later came to mean a militiaman or seaman from the southern Asian region (i.e. not Chinese/Korean/Japanese). 

"Lascars" came to mean those serving on British naval ships under so-called  "lascar" agreements. The first British East India merchantmen sailing to India had lascar sailors on board. 

Many of these lascars never returned to the countries of their birth after their period of service. They became the first wave of Asian migration to Britain. Intermarriage was common. Most of these British lascar's were from the Indian sub-continent--whereas the lascar of my book comes from the tropical spice islands of my fantasy world, a place I call Chenderawasi. 

As a sidebar: My husband's ancestry is, in part, Minangkabau. These people have their origins in western Sumatra, Indonesia. They were often traders and sea-faring folk. It is logical to assume that among my husband's forebears there may well have been one at least who ended up as a lascar!

Watch this site for the maps to come...

Downton Abbey–sadistic in its treatment of women?

"Downton Abbey Continues Its Sadistic Streak Against Women" is the title of an article in Slate Magazine by June Thomas, and I'm afraid it annoyed me. Perhaps I'm not qualified to comment, as I haven't seen the latest episodes of that TV series. In fact, I stopped watching about halfway through the second season. 

But I wonder if the reason for the trauma of Downton Abbey women is perhaps this: 

Almost every culture throughout history has been stacked against women. One could argue that the writer of Downton Abbey, Julian Fellowes, is just telling it as it was (taking into consideration that any drama is going to up the trauma beyond the norms of most normal lives, for both men and women). 

 Life was often particularly nasty to those women who didn't conform, and to women who were the first to step away from cultural restrictions. If they were backed by money, or possessed power in their own right, or were protected by the power of the men in their life, they could get away with it. Otherwise? There were unpleasant consequences. 

Portraying women in fiction as perpetual victims is annoying, especially if they are always being saved by a man--but we can also go too far if we are critical because fictional women have a tough time. I don't want to see writers making women too powerful and confident to fit their culture and upbringing and influences. I don't want to see writers making the repercussions of rebellion too mild for their historical or cultural setting. I don't want to see writers glossing over how tough it was to be female, how careful you had to be, and how painful if you were unlucky. 

June Thomas ends with these words:
A woman loses a baby, sister, daughter, or husband, or is humiliated in front of her family and friends, and we get to watch them recover. Raping a beloved character is just latest of the show’s experiments in sadism. 


 Er, what? When a woman loses a loved one, isn't someone else usually just as traumatised by the death, like...a husband or a father by the death of a child? And when a husband dies...um, isn't he a man? He just lost his life ...and nothing bad happened to that character? And if a woman is raped--well, you know what? It still happens! 

It seems to me that when we underplay the traumatic events in the lives of women, we are ignoring historical (or present day) truths. Where we as writers can excel is in showing how strong women can be when confronted with trauma. We can portray our fictional women characters as survivors and heroes. But if we downplay the kind of horrors that happen to fictional women simply because they are women, then we are pretending something that's not true in the real world. 

Historically women do have it harder. In many, many parts of the world, even in our own societies, they still do. Let's not gloss over it.