Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

As I'm sure you can tell by now, I'm no longer posting here regularly. I still get the odd email thanking me for the info (You're welcome!) so this blog will remain up so that it might help other people make up their minds about the wonderful publishing programme at Brookes.

Oh, also, something that's pretty awesome, I recently met someone who read my blog and then went on to study publishing (at CUL though). I met her through... NaNoWriMo! Heheh, I love how the universe works sometimes!

Anyway, I've now been working for 8 months at a big children's and educational publishing company in London. I'm not doing the glamorous Children's fiction editorial stuff but I'm enjoying it very much! Those six months of unemployment were worth it to find the right job!

Never despair!

Anyway, I'm going to go because they're showing Kiki's Delivery Service on TV and I love that film! To any new people, who might stumble on this blog, I'm still answering questions and looking at comments.

Happy New Year 2011!

Monday, February 8, 2010


Hi again,

So, still unemployed but working hard on starting up my company. The contest I ran for a name for it is over and I think I've picked the winner. I'm thinking it over, gotta make sure I pick just the right one after all. But I'm feeling pretty good about it.

That said, once I have a name for it, I have to register my company with the powers that be. Then, I have to make sure they don't make me pay weird taxes when I'm not even earning yet. Then, I have to find at least £200 to start me off. Oi! Still, good fun overall :) and of course, I'm always looking for volunteers who want to help me out with design or want to make me an awesome webpage ;)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

settting off on my own

S0, some of you may know that I'm having a very hard time finding a job. I can only ascribe this to bad luck as apparently, I interview very well. But it seems like every time they have loads of people with more experience than me. I have decided to take this lack of experience into my own hands (well, what else can I do if no one will hire me because I have little experience and I can't get experience because no one will hire me?). So, while I'm still looking for a job in publishing, I'm going to make the most of this time I have at home to set up my own publishing company dedicated to books I like.

I know it's going to be difficult, especially as I want to go into a fairly niche market (Steampunk) and I don't have a lot of money and I don't have experience of running a company. But I figure, as long as I can break even or at least not lose too much money, it's always experience that will look good on my CV. And there's always the chance that I will succeed beyond my wildest expectations.

It seems like a good source of posts for this blog which has gotten a bit quiet since I graduated. A new direction for it to go in and might also be educational to others whether I succeed or fail miserably.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

If Science-Fiction is dying, let it...

it'll only find a way to resurrect and come back with awesome super powers.

I don't usually get involved in internet debates because, well, I never know about them until it's too late but this was brought to my attention by different people over the past couple of weeks and the subject is close enough to my heart that I've decided to butt in.

In yet another display of rather SF-ish non-fatal spontaneous combustion, the blogosphere is alight again as everyone tries to decide whether Science-Fiction is or is not “dead” as a genre. Number are being bandied about showing (usually) a decline in the number of sales of SF books and comparing those to other genres, including its close relative, Fantasy.
The truth, as I see it anyway, is that this debate has been had before and there is very little new to say about it. First off, you can't really compare SF to most other genres, especially giants like Crime and Romance.

This is because SF is a completely different beast that is aimed at a very particular sort of market. It takes completely different thinking muscles to absorb SF and see it for what it really is: the human condition, taken away from its natural environment and poked, prodded and probed into showing its true colors. A lot of people, intelligent, educated people even, just can't wrap their heads around it. Okay, their loss, but they are the majority and book sales are naturally going to reflect this.

Secondly, yes, Fantasy is gaining in popularity and there are huge amounts of new titles making the shelves. This is also natural, especially after the popular success of Harry Potter. Fantasy is much more accessible than Science-Fiction. People who previously would not have been caught dead in the Nerd section of the bookshop are now seeking it out. Does this mean that SF will die and only Fantasy will remain? I don't think so. After all, there have been some huge success stories in the genre but that's driven by a massive number of people buying books from a very small number of authors rather than wide success of Fantasy titles in general. The truth is that most Fantasy novels do as well as most SF novels, maybe they do worse actually, except perhaps in the YA market, it's just more showy.

SF is not a genre given to massive success in its literary form. It's a genre where success is measured in longevity and influence. Some books do well financially but because its not easily accessible to the masses like some Fantasy can be, you will simply never see the same kind of numbers. SF has been proclaimed moribund regularly for decades but if you look at pop culture, at life itself, you see that the great works of the past are everywhere. They have infiltrated almost every aspect of life with the stealth of a ninja. Compare the contributions of the Romance genre on the world with that of SF. People quote SF every day, use SF every day, think cellphones, cyberspace (a word and concept from Gibson's Neuromancer), the moon landing... Even Fantasy which is so commonly associate it with it that they often go together as SFF has not been assimilated as much into our collective consciousness. That's why SF cannot die. Because it touches people in ways they don't even realize. It's a slow process of contagion. All it needs is one Typhoid Mary.

Carrying on with the disease metaphor (because in SF we like our diseases, what can I say?), the virus has to mutate over time in order to defeat what we will call drug resistance. In this case, that means outdated tropes. SF flourished during the Cold War but we've moved on from those times and those worries. The things that scare us now, the things we need to strip of the real world so we can see it more clearly, are completely different therefore the genre naturally changes to speak to these new visions of the future, of humanity and the universe. What was relevant back then, is not relevant now and that is what SF is basically all about, being relevant. Some subgenres of SF are more popular and others that used to be are not. That is true of every literary genre. It is necessary to renew the genre, revitalize it. Maybe your favorite subgenre is not what it used to be, your space operas are darker or heroes less heroic but this is just a reply to people's needs changing. There are so many new subgenres of SF that there has to be something out there that speaks to you, just consider all the “something”-punk variety. There's something for everyone whether you want something that reminds you of Jules Vernes' books or you're more of an Asimovite.

Perhaps this is part of the problem. There is so much now that can be classified as SF that people just don't know anymore what is SF and what isn't. What is your criteria for what constitutes Science-Fiction? Does it have to have aliens? Does it have to be in the future? Consider Steampunk, that's still usually considered SF but it's usually set in an alternate past. Maybe the genre has become somewhat diluted and people are losing track of how much of it there is and the confusion comes from there. Personally, I think this is a very good thing. SF is not a genre that should be limited. On the contrary, it should be free to diverge, converge and diverge again. The ideas behind it should mix and hybridize like a million Captain Kirks set loose among the women of the galaxy.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

M.A. results are in!

Well, when they said we'd have our results on 01/12, they really meant it. The dissertation marks went online to our PIP pages exactly at midnight. Luckily I was spared having to worry by the fact I was online finishing NaNoWrimo (which I won by the way! *strut*).

So now I can say that I REALLY have an M.A. I mean, I've been saying that I have for months now on my CV but then, I didn't think I'd fail. But now I can proudly write on my CV that I got... A DISTINCTION grade! I mean, sure, it's just a 71%, barely distinction worthy but still :D Although, to be honest, I think they're going to call me any day now and say "sorry, made a mistake, actually, we meant to type 17% and that you failed".

o.O Oh no! Just realized that this means that my diss will be in the library doesn't it? It means anyone can read it and realize how crap it is and then I'll have my M.A. taken away from me at some indeterminate time in the future... Gah!

Friday, November 27, 2009

The things (we) do

I owe the new kids in the programme for reminding me about Christmas Light Night. I had completely forgotten about it. Actually, I only went to see the parade last year by pure luck. I just happened to go into town for dinner and there it was. I know, it's silly.

I'm really glad they reminded me of it as the Steampunk Exhibition at the Oxford Museum of the History of Science down in Broadstreet. It has the coolest sign outside for the exhibition and I want to steal it :D I've already been to it but tonight, there are going to be special activities and things so I'll be going again.

It just so happens that one of the artists in this exhibition is someone I know from Montreal. He makes really awesome Steampunk jewelery. I had no idea he was going to be exhibiting in this so I was really surprised when I saw his name on a plaque. It was pretty cool 'cause it was a surprise. That said, I do remember an MSN status message of his mentionning Steampunk jewelery at some point but we haven't talked in forever so, I forgot he did that. I guess he didn't know I was in Oxford or surely he would have told me ;) Well, I'm hardly ever on MSN anymore. Not really my cuppa.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Writing Marathon

So, I'm doing NaNoWriMo again this year. I've been at it for many a year and I feel more prepared now than ever. Add to that the lack of a job after next week and you have a happy NaNoer if not a happy recent graduate who has bills to pay.

I'm going to start over with the NaNo novel I meant to write last year and only got 2000 words through. No, it's not cheating, I'm starting completely over. I have an outline, I have an idea of where it's going to go and I've got a freezer full of meat to reduce grocery shopping time to almost nil. That and a very near kebab van should help me sit down and write.

I'm gonna use NaNo for a whole lot of things,

1) it's fun
2) I need to get into a writing rhythm
3) Weight-loss: I'm too lazy to be getting up mid-paragraph to get more food :p
4) Money saveage: won't be eating out as much
5) I'll have something novel-like at the end that might be editable to usefulness. I'm much better at editing than writing :(

Also, if I don't keep writing before I work in publishing, I might never do it.