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Angela Slatter

Fiction and Excerpts [5]
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Fiction and Excerpts [5]

Of Sorrow and Such

, || Mistress Gideon is a witch. The locals of Edda's Meadow, if they suspect it of her, say nary a word-Gideon has been good to them, and it's always better to keep on her good side. Just in case.

Five Mosaic Novels You Should Read

A mosaic novel, you say? What’s that when it’s at home? How’s it differ from a common or garden novel? Well, my favourite explanation is from the inimitable Jo Walton: “A normal novel tells a story by going straightforwardly at it, maybe with different points of view, maybe braided, but clearly going down one road of story. A mosaic novel builds up a picture of a world and a story obliquely, so that the whole is more than the sum of the parts.”

According to author Joe McDermott, the creation of a mosaic novel is based on a technique of fracturing one or more story elements: plot, theme, characters, and/or setting. One of these elements, however, should be kept intact to bind the various story threads together and keep the reader anchored in the tale as a whole. Each mosaic text tends to fracture differently, depending on the author’s preferences and the needs of the story. In a true mosaic the plot is always going to be fractured, with no central plotline and each story-tile following its own narrative thread that doesn’t lead to an ending that feeds in to a larger overarching story question. The links between the stories are found in recurring characters and settings, repeated story talismans, themes and motifs, and acts the consequences of which echo through subsequent tales in the mosaic.

[Here are my five current favourites]

Series: Five Books About…

Five Books Containing Traces of Witches

Witches come in all shapes and sizes, ages, races, abilities and skills. The thing they have in common? Whether they’re ‘white’ or ‘black’, they excite fear because they’re powerful; they’re not obedient or biddable. A wicked witch is kind of boring, however, so when I wrote Of Sorrow and Such I wanted Patience to be someone who’s neither entirely good nor evil, but a human being in full. Following on from that idea, here are some witches who are more than the cardboard cut-outs you put on your house for Halloween.

[Read more]

Series: Five Books About…

Powerful What-ifs: Kim Newman’s Red Reign

As both a writer and reader I think it’s safe to say that I’ve always learned the most from the books I’ve hated on first reading. Sometimes that lesson has been to avoid a particular author ever after. Other times—and these are the more valuable incidents—I’ve realised I must go back to certain books and read them again. Something, some internal voice far wiser than I, insists, nagging at me until I obey.

These books invariably have one thing in common: they leave a trace in my brain, a hook I simply can’t forget or remove. Something that makes me return to try to figure out what it was that annoyed me so much in the first place. Invariably, again, what I discover is that these books have challenged what I think I know; they shake my long-held beliefs about writing, about history, about literature, about the things I consider to be set in stone. They are tomes that buck the system, flip the bird to my preconceptions, and make me ponder more deeply. They crack open my skull and let light in, they change the way I think—and change is always painful and difficult to accept.

[And yet…]

Series: That Was Awesome! Writers on Writing

Once Upon A Time in Worldbuilding

Amongst the sweetest phrases I’ve ever heard from my mother’s lips are “I love you,” “I’ve made lemon meringue pie” (those two meaning, essentially, the same thing), and “Once upon a time.” All three still fill me with roughly the same degree of happiness, but I don’t hear that last one anymore. It’s not for lack of trying; I do keep asking.

“Tell me a story?”

“You’re forty-eight years old.”

“And you’re seventy-one, so tell me a story before you forget how!”

So far no luck. Come to think of it, the lemon meringues have been a bit thin on the ground, too. Hmmm.

[The thrill of “Once upon a time” never leaves me]

Of Sorrow and Such

Mistress Gideon is a witch. The locals of Edda’s Meadow, if they suspect it of her, say nary a word—Gideon has been good to them, and it’s always better to keep on her good side. Just in case.

When a foolish young shapeshifter goes against the wishes of her pack, and gets herself very publicly caught, the authorities find it impossible to deny the existence of the supernatural in their midst any longer; Gideon and her like are captured, bound for torture and a fiery end. Should Gideon give up her sisters in return for a quick death? Or can she turn the situation to her advantage?

We’re pleased to present an excerpt from Angela Slatter’s upcoming novella, Of Sorrow and Such—available in paperback, ebook, and audio format October 13th from Tor.com!

[Read an excerpt]

St. Dymphna’s School For Poison Girls

Tor.com is honored to reprint “St. Dymphna’s School For Poison Girls,” a short story by Angela Slatter originally appearing in The Bitterwood Bible, available from Tartarus Press, with pen-and-ink illustrations by artist Kathleen Jennings.

The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings returns to the world of Slatter’s Sourdough and Other Stories, introducing readers to the tales that came before. Stories where coffin-makers work hard to keep the dead beneath; where a plague maiden steals away the children of an ungrateful village; where poison girls are schooled in the art of assassination; where pirates disappear from the seas; where families and the ties that bind them can both ruin and resurrect and where books carry forth fairy tales, forbidden knowledge and dangerous secrets.

[Read more]

“The Maiden in the Ice” (Excerpt)

Angela Slatter’s The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings returns to the world of Sourdough and Other Stories, introducing readers to the tales that came before. Stories where coffin-makers work hard to keep the dead beneath; where a plague maiden steals away the children of an ungrateful village; where poison girls are schooled in the art of assassination; where pirates disappear from the seas; where families and the ties that bind them can both ruin and resurrect and where books carry forth fairy tales, forbidden knowledge and dangerous secrets.

The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings is available now from Tartarus Press. Read an excerpt from “The Maiden in the Ice” below, and preview some of the collection’s pen-and-ink illustrations by artist Kathleen Jennings.

[Read an excerpt]

On the Masterful Creepiness of Merricat: Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle

I came to the Shirley Jackson party late. The first thing I read was The Haunting of Hill House, and that was just last year. On my way to the park for a lunchtime walk and brain-clearing, I pulled a parcel from the post box. In the park I didn’t refrain from tearing open said parcel because, well, book. I did laps whilst reading this tremendously weird tale, and by the time I returned home there was a kind of strange translucent wallpaper over my vision, an image of Hill House superimposed on the things of my everyday life. That’s kind of disturbing.

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about—Hill House (not sane, but brilliant) led me to We Have Always Lived in the Castle, and the thoroughly magnificently malignant creation, Mary Katherine Blackwood. Merricat, with her strange acts of sympathetic magic, her even stranger magical thinking, and her almost complete lack of conscience—I say “almost” because she does seem to know she’s doing wrong, but she shrugs and does it anyway because it’s all in the service of what she believes is required.

[Read More]

Series: That Was Awesome! Writers on Writing

The Female Factory (Excerpt)

Children are a commodity few women can afford. Hopeful mothers-to-be try everything. Fertility clinics. Pills. Wombs for hire. Babies are no longer made in bedrooms, but engineered in boardrooms.

A quirk of genetics allows lucky surrogates to carry multiple eggs, to control when they are fertilised, and by whom—but corporations market and sell the offspring. The souls of lost embryos are never wasted; captured in software, they give electronics their voice. Spirits born into the wrong bodies can brave the charged waters of a hidden billabong, and change their fate. Industrious orphans learn to manipulate scientific advances, creating mothers of their own choosing.

The Female Factory, cowritten by Lisa Hannett and Angela Slatter, is available December 12th from Twelfth Planet Press. From Australia’s near-future all the way back in time to its convict past, these stories spin and sever the ties between parents and children. Read an excerpt from “Vox” below!

[Read an excerpt]