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I feel Honoured

Can you imagine my surprise when I saw my name mentioned on the websites of two of the authors I’ve interviewed? 🙂

If anyone thinks that Peter V Brett and David Anthony Durham are elitist (since so many uninformed people see the writers of fantasy -and SF- as elitist), they need to have their head’s read. Or maybe shaken. Along with Ben Bova, Karen Traviss and Jo Graham, Peter and David are some of the nicest people I’ve met (well, okay, met electronically), and I defy anyone who thinks differently. I mean, to reply to a guy they’ve never heard of from South Africa and help me out the way they have says a lot about who they are, don’t you think? To have given up their time to fiddle around on Word for me is absolutely great! 🙂

So, the next time some guy on a blog site, or some critic who doesn’t know what he’s talking about says that SF & Fantasy writers are elitist, help me by giving them an electronic clout against the head, will you?

🙂 Thanks

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Posted by on August 18, 2008 in Musings

 

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Aren’t I a lucky guy?

I still can’t believe I managed to set up an interview with Dr. Bova. 🙂 I guess it just goes to show that even legends are just human, and don’t mind speaking about their work and accomplishments. 🙂

Well, next up, I should have David Anthony Durham’s interview for you soon – it’ll be great to get some background on the writer and the story, so I can’t wait for that! David has let me know that he received the questions and that he’ll make time where he can to answer them, but as I’ve said many times before, I’ll be patient. 🙂

I’m about half-way with Jo Graham’s Black Ships, and I’m already thinking about questions for our interview, and then we’ll have Karen Traviss in early September! 🙂 I’ve been working on getting lots of other authors, but I’ll let you know as soon as I know who is next. 🙂

If I don’t post an update again this weekend, I hope you all have a wonderful relaxing weekend, and I hope you’re buying and reading!

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

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An Interview with the Legendary Dr. Ben Bova

Dr. Ben Bova

Dr. Ben Bova

 

 

The first books by Ben Bova that I ever read (and let me tell you, this was before I had read Lord of the Rings or 2001: A Space Odyssey, and probably just after I had finished The Belgariad) were the Orion books. To say that I was stunned and over-whelmed would be an understatement; nothing like this had ever blazed through my imagination before! The fact that I had to catch up J didn’t scare me in the least, and I knew that I had discovered an incredible writer (as had everyone else who had picked up a book by Ben Bova, and as do new readers!). J So, having always wanted to sit with Ben Bova, I was incredibly honoured to have the chance to email him with a few questions and have them answered! Ladies and Gentlemen, Dr Ben Bova. J

 

 First off, it is an honour to be able to have a bit of your time, and welcome to the South African SF-reading public! J Mars Life (the third book in the series) is on bookshelves world-wide right now; can you please give us a taste of what we can expect?

 

MARS LIFE continues the story of Jamie Waterman and the human exploration of Mars. Some twenty years have passed since the end of RETURN TO MARS, and the Mars Project is threatened by funding cuts provoked by the New Morality, which is utterly hostile to the discovery of an extinct intelligent Martian species.

 

How has your life changed since you began exploring space? Would you be among the first (If you could) to set foot on the Red Planet?

 

I’ve found legions of readers not only among the science fiction community but among scientists, students, and many others who don’t ordinarily read science fiction. Most moving of all, several young persons have told me that my books have inspired them to make their careers in science. That’s powerful! And yes, I’d get on a Mars rocket just as soon as I could grab a toothbrush and a clean pair of socks.

 

Ray Bradbury once said that you were the writer who would have the greatest effect on the world; did your publishers keep that as a surprise or did you know he’d said that, and how did it feel to be acknowledged in that way?

 

I knew about Ray’s generous comment before my publisher did, and I was floored by it.

 

You’ve written about a very wide range of subjects (in both fiction and non-fiction) and explored many different themes; which of these was the most interesting or challenging for you?

 

The search for life on other worlds. My non-fiction book, FAINT ECHOES, DISTANT STARS, was a very difficult challenge because I had to deal with both the science and the politics of the field of Astrobiology.

 

In your opinion, has the Science Fiction publishing industry changed since you were first published, and was it for better or worse?

 

The field has certainly changed. It’s become much bigger, although most of the growth has not been in “hard” science fiction, but in the softer kinds of stories, fantasy, and horror.

 

Which Sci-Fi concepts do you see as having the best chance to be translated or engineered into reality (as what happened with Arthur C Clark and communication satellites)?

 

Lunar bases and military operations in orbit.

 

Out of all the worlds you’ve explored and all the characters you’ve created, do you have a favourite place and person?

 

No. That’s like asking a father which of his children is his favourite. They are all dear to me. I do have a favourite novel, though, which is not science fiction but rather contemporary fiction about scientists. It was originally published under the title BROTHERS; Tor Books will bring out a revised and updated edition in January under the title THE IMMORTALITY FACTOR.

 

Was it your intention to have your Grand Tour novels work together, as an almost alternative-history record of the future?

 

Yes!

 

Are there perhaps any authors whose work you follow? Both in the genre and outside it?

 

Most of the authors I read are dead, including many of my dearest friends.

 

What was your first memory of looking up at the stars and knowing that you wanted to be there and know everything there was to know?

 

I was 11 years old, on my first visit to a planetarium. When the lecturer turned on the stars he turned me on, too.

 

If you could use an Einstein-Rosen Bridge and time-travel back to your younger self, just as you were preparing to publish your first novel, is there any advice you would want to give? (For the uninitiated, an Einstein-Rosen Bridge was the first term ever used to describe the theoretical ‘worm holes’ that may exist throughout the universe)

 

Plenty! But it’s very personal and not for publication.

 

Finally, which worlds are next for you (and for us)? J

 

I want to return to Jupiter and see if humans and the Jovian Leviathans can communicate and learn from one another.

 

Thank you more agreeing to the interview and giving up your time for us, Dr. Bova, and for giving us those first-class tickets to the Solar System! J

 

You’re entirely welcome.

 

 

Mars Life - Ben Bova

Mars Life - Ben Bova

Now go and have a look at Dr. Bova’s website! http://www.benbova.net/
 
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Posted by on August 15, 2008 in Interviews

 

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It’s all starting to pay off. :-)

Man, what a pleasure these past two days have been. 🙂 The first lot of good news is that I’ve finally sent off my interview questions to David Anthony Durham and Dr. Ben Bova, and also that I’ve completed my review of Durham’s Acacia. (Which will be going up in my next post. 🙂 )

More good news: I’ve had the good fortune of hearing about a young South Africa guy who managed to get his Sci-Fi novel published with the SA-arm of the Penguin Group, and trust me when I say that this is incredibly good news! I’m going to be recieving the manuscript in a few weeks (thank you Penguin), and I’ll give it a read; if his novel can break into the industry here, it’ll blow the doors wide open for SA genre writers! (And that is also good news for your’s truly, since I’m writing my own fantasy trilogy. :-)) Obviously, it has to be a good, engaging story, but that aside, just getting it published here already bodes well; so hold thumbs! 🙂

And finally: I have to thank the following publishers – Jonathan Ball, Penguin, and Random House – and the wonderful people that work there -Elmarie and Louise, Sonja, and Emily – for helping me with proof copies and getting this blog (and the next bit of news I’ll be blogging about) off the ground. Without you guys, I would never have been able to organize the interviews with Peter Brett, Jo Graham, Ben Bova and David Anthony Durham and get this off the ground –

 – which brings me to this: the company that I work for, Fascination Books, has recently gone live with an incredible online store, and I now have my own page there, called ‘A Word with Dave’. It’s aimed at the SA fantasy & sci-fi reading market, but all book-related news will be going in there (something I don’t think any SA company has ever tried to do before), so thanks to the MD, Mr. A, the man who runs the website (Mr. D) and the marketing man, Mr. C, as well as all the authors who have not given me a choice! 🙂 Hehe! I mean, how could I not want to talk about these amazing books? 🙂

Here’s the link to Fascination Books; go check it out – you’ll be amazed at what we have!

http://www.fascinationbooks.co.za/

And go do yourself a favour and check out Peter Brett’s blog, Pepphole; there’s a priceless photo of him reading The Warded Man (which can be pre-ordered here http://www.amazon.com/Warded-Man-Peter-V-Brett/dp/0345503805 and here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Painted-Man-Demon-Trilogy/dp/0007276133 ) to his baby girl. 🙂

If you can’t find the link to Peter’s website on the right, here it is: http://www.petervbrett.com/

So there we go, all the good news! 🙂

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2008 in Announcements

 

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A short but cool update.

First off, I’m still patiently waiting for Peter Brett to email me the anwers to the interview questions I sent him. 🙂 I cannot blame or fault him – after all, Cassandra must be keeping her parents pretty busy. 🙂 But once again, I’ll have that up here as soon as I get it back from him.

Next up, I finished reading Acacia last night – WOW! There I was, half-past nine in the evening, thinking I was going to sit down and read two or three chapters before climbing in next to my girlfriend (from here on, I’ll refer to her by her name, which is just fair – Leana)… but do you think that happened? Ohhh no, because Mr Durham wrote such a bloody good book that I sat there reading for four hours and twenty minutes until I finished it! 🙂 Every chapter ended with such a damn cliff-hangeresque sentence that I had to carry on reading! 🙂 Anyway, I’ll be sending David the questions for his interview tomorrow, and I’ll post my review here tomorrow. 🙂

And tomorrow will also be the day that I’m sending Dr. Ben Bova his interview questions, so hopefully I get those back ASAP, which will be incredible. It’s amazing (and stunning) to think that I’ll have such a legend on this blog!

Okay, so that’s the update. 🙂

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2008 in Announcements

 

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In this coming week:

In this week coming, I’ll be doing the interview with Dr. Ben Bova. He’s been at the convention in Denver and asked me to send him the interview questions from tomorrow (11/08) onwards, so I’ll be doing that and posting the interview as soon as I get it back from him.

And hopefully Peter Brett will have had enough time to answer the interview questions I sent him – should be getting that back from him this week. 🙂 BTW, here is the confirmed Hard Cover US edition of Peter’s excellent fantasy novel:

The Warded Man Hard Cover US Edition

The Warded Man Hard Cover US Edition

Looks awesome, but I like the UK edition, probably because it was the edition I read. But still, this reminds me of the Wheel of Time covers, the UK editions mind you; it’s not complicated, with a symbol immediatly identifiable with the story, it’s still very cool. 🙂
Okay, thata’s it! Hopefully I’ll have Peter Brett’s interview tomorrow, and then it’ll be Dr. Ben Bova’s turn! 
 
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Posted by on August 10, 2008 in Announcements

 

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Exciting Announcements!

Today was a very good day!

I emailed around seven or eight authors today (trying to set up interviews), and got three replies; one from an email that I sent last week, and two from emails I sent today.

The first reply came from Jo Graham, author of Black Ships, agreeing to the interview! So now I’ve got to finish Acacia, get that review and the interview with David Durham done and posted, and then read Black Ships so I can get that review and interview posted. 🙂

The second reply came from none other that one of the most legendary and influential figures in SF ever, Dr. Ben Bova! He kindly agreed to an interview (gave me a date that would suit him), so you can all expect that soon, too. 🙂

The third reply came from Shawn Speakman, and if you don’t know who that is, go check out www.terrybrooks.net; Shawn’s the head honcho there, and a published author in his own right. I posted a question on the ‘Ask Terry’ portion of the site, querying the possibility of an interview with Terry Brooks, and Shawn replied and laid out for me what I need to do, so hold thumbs for that!

Other news: I’ve queried a few authors for interviews, not all of which will be posted on this blog (some authors write in genres other than SF & Fantasy), but as soon as I’ve got confirmation of the interviews (and the reviews (if any) that precede them) I’ll let you all know here.

Suffice it to say that things are picking up speed here folks!

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2008 in Announcements

 

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M.D. Thalmann / Satire and Sci-fi

M.D. Thalmann, a novelist and freelance journalist specializing in satire and science fiction, lives in Phoenix, AZ with his wife, children, and ornery cats, reads too much and sleeps too little.

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