Loose-leaf Links #48

Sep. 21st, 2017 08:00 am[personal profile] calissa
calissa: A black and white photo of a large, dark teapot and a small Chinese teacup with a fish painted on the side (Tea)

Earl Grey Editing, Loose-leaf Links, loose-leaf tea, plum and cinnamon tea, The Tea Centre

Loose-leaf Links is a feature where I gather together the interesting bits and pieces on sci-fi, fantasy and romance I’ve come across and share them with you over tea. Today’s tea is Plum and Cinnamon, a new blend from The Tea Centre. It’s a bit more cinnamon than plum for my liking, but makes a lovely afternoon tea.

Follow Up ) Awards News ) Community and Conventions ) On Equity ) For Writers ) For Readers )

 

And lastly, Christina at Books and Tea has a review of two tea-flavoured candies. Yum.

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Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.

Conflux 13 Schedule

Sep. 20th, 2017 08:00 am[personal profile] calissa
calissa: (Calissa)

Conflux, Canberra’s annual convention for speculative fiction writers and fans, begins next week! This year it is taking place from Friday 29 September until Monday 2 October and the theme is Grimm Tales. Hugo-winning editor Ellen Datlow is the international Guest of Honour, and dark fantasy/horror author Angela Slatter is the Australian Guest of Honour. Kaaron Warren will be the MC. As usual, I will be attending and am very much looking forward to making some new friends as well as catching up with some old ones.

Where to find me

I will be sitting on four panels. Exact details are subject to change.

Con 101

When: Friday, 29 September 10:00 AM

Where: Program Room 3
Hotel Vibe
1 Rogan Street, Canberra

Panellists: Elizabeth Fitzgerald and Leife Shallcross

New to Conflux? Not been to a con before? Come and get your starter packs here. (Mostly just friendly chat–no actual starter packs will be issued, but there may be Tim Tams.)

 

Creating Story for Games

When: Friday, 29 September, 2:00 PM

Where: Program room 2

Panellists: Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Adam Hale (m), Rik Legarto, Alistair Ott, Maddy Piggott

Whether it’s roleplaying IRL or in a computer game.

 

Beyond the Hunger Games

When: Saturday, 30 September, 11: 00 AM

Where: Program room 1

Panellists: Felicity Banks, Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Adam Hale, Aiki Johnston (m)

The best YA books in the last 12 months

 

The Hugos are a Joke

When: Monday, 2 October, 11:30 AM

Where: Program room 1

Panellists: Alan Baxter, Ellen Datlow, Elizabeth Fitzgerald (m), Tim Napper

Or have they redeemed themselves? And what about the Nebulas? And how could we get better Aussie representation on the shortlists?

 

If you have an interest in speculative fiction and can make it along, please stop by and say hi! I love getting to know new people. However, if Canberra is a little too far away for you or attending conventions is not your sort of thing, there’s no need for you to miss out entirely. I shall be posting a convention report once the excitement is over (and I’ve had the chance for a few restorative cups of tea).

Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.

calissa: A low angle photo of a book with a pair of glasses sitting on top. (Mt TBR)

Fake Geek Girl, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Belladonna University, Earl Grey Editing, books and tea, tea and books

Published: March 2016 by Sheep Might Fly
Format reviewed: E-book (mobi)
Series: Belladonna University #1
Genres: Fantasy
Source: Author
Reading Challenges: Australian Women Writers Challenge 2017
Available: Author’s website (electronic, free) ~ Sheep Might Fly (audio, free) ~ Review of Australian Fiction

Meet Fake Geek Girl, the band that plays nerdy songs at the university bar every Friday night, to a mixture of magical and non-magical students: lead singer Holly writes songs based on her twin sister Hebe’s love of geek culture though she doesn’t really understand it; drummer Sage is an explosive sorcerous genius obsessing over whether Holly’s about to quit the band to go mainstream; shy Juniper only just worked up the nerve to sing her own song in public and keeps a Jane Austen themed diary chronicling the lives and loves of her friends. When the mysterious, privileged Ferd joins their share house, everything starts to unravel…

Fake Geek Girl is a fun short story that brings magic to an Australian university.

The world-building was one of my favourite parts of the story. It’s set in an alternate version of the present where magic (also referred to as the Real) and technology (the Unreal) exist uneasily alongside each other. Magic is very much the norm, with almost everyone having some degree of magic proficiency. Students have laptops and mobile phones they need to keep protected from magic radiation, and heaven help the student who tries to use magic Post-Its on his ordinary textbook. The university likewise reflects this dichotomy, with the more prestigious College of the Real teaching thaumaturgy and similar magic classes, while the College of the Unreal includes Gender Studies and Unreal Literature.

The characters were also wonderful. Each character is distinct, with their own personalities and quirks. Hebe is a sweet girl who cares about her friends and isn’t afraid to snark when she’s constantly mistaken for her rock-star twin sister. Sage is the glue that holds the band together… well, usually. And shy Juniper’s love affair with Jane Austen was gorgeous. I was actually a little disappointed we didn’t get to see more of her, but I’m hoping that may be rectified in a later story.

As you might gather, friendship is very much at the heart of the story. Changing circumstances threaten to steal away one friend, but has simultaneously delivered a new one. The characters don’t always face these changes with grace, making them very relatable. They also come with a side order of banter.

The story is written in first person with the author’s distinctive voice–sarcastic but fun and upbeat. The chapters alternate perspectives, with the heading title incorporating the perspective character’s name. Despite this, I didn’t immediately twig to the shift in perspective and it threw me off in the second chapter. However, the story was too much fun not to persist.

Overall, I really enjoyed Fake Geek Girl and the series has become my new favourite of the author’s work.

Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.

calissa: A black and white photo of a large, dark teapot and a small Chinese teacup with a fish painted on the side (Tea)

Photo by Lyss Wickramasinghe. Used with permission.

Despite rumours to the contrary, I am not a tea snob. While I drink plenty of loose-leaf tea, I also drink a ton of tea bags. So, I was delighted when Lyss took time out from the Never Never Book Box launch to pitch this to me.

Everyone loves a cup of tea! But more and more people are coming to care about where their tea comes from. Ethically sourced tea is a massively growing industry, with many ethical brands now being available at the local supermarket in Australia.

But are they any good?

This is the real question for tea connoisseurs. Is there any quality difference between the ethical brands and our old favourites? And just which ethical ratings can you trust?

Well don’t panic, we here at NeverNever HQ are going to figure all this out for you!

Read more... )

Lyss Wickramasinghe, reporting from the bottom of a teapot at Never Never HQ. She had to battle off a few hundred pirates and a couple of pesky Lost Boys, but can now enjoy her cuppa in peace.

To share her love for ethical and delicious tea, The Never Never Book Box has included a specially blended organic tea in their Upcoming Questing box.

Sign up to their mailing list for a chance to WIN a Free Box at http://the-never-never-book-box.launchrock.com/

Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.

Acadie by Dave Hutchinson

Sep. 11th, 2017 08:00 am[personal profile] calissa
calissa: A low angle photo of a book with a pair of glasses sitting on top. (Mt TBR)

Acadie, Dave Hutchinson, Tor.com, Earl Grey Editing, tea and books, books and tea

Published: September 2017 by Tor.com
Format reviewed: E-book (mobi)
Genres: Science fiction
Source: NetGalley
Available: Abbey’s ~ Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Book Depository ~ Booktopia ~ Dymocks ~ Kobo

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Colony left Earth to find their utopia–a home on a new planet where their leader could fully explore the colonists’ genetic potential, unfettered by their homeworld’s restrictions. They settled a new paradise, and have been evolving and adapting for centuries.

Earth has other plans.

The original humans have been tracking their descendants across the stars, bent on their annihilation. They won’t stop until the new humans have been destroyed, their experimentation wiped out of the human gene pool.

Can’t anyone let go of a grudge anymore?

Acadie is an entertaining sci-fi novella, but one that ultimately didn’t work for me.

The first line is a good hook, but the story gets off to a bit of a slow start as daily life is established. Although the low gravity makes it plain things are a bit unusual, there were some small details I really enjoyed. For example, low gravity still doesn’t stop cats from chasing each other around the house.

Its sense of humour is a strength of the story. John Wayne “Duke” Faraday might be the President of the Colony, but he’s a pretty ordinary guy just looking to enjoy a holiday. In fact, the only reason he’s president was because he was away during the elections. Unfortunately, it looks like the Bureau might have discovered the hidden Colony on his watch.

As you might have gathered, the story is full of pop culture references. Duke interacts with people who have genetically engineered themselves to look like the elves from Lord of the Rings or Klingons from Star Trek. The founder of the Colony is Isabel Potter. And Connie’s full name made me chuckle.

The author builds a fascinating world in a very short space. There were some great character interactions and enough detail to paint a vivid picture.

Unfortunately, the surprise twist at the end undermined the story for me. Although clever, it left me wondering what the point was supposed to be.

Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.

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