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“Give me the impossible city, the perfect Paris,
its people wearing shoes made of saltwater,
its streets full of whipped cream and opera,
its fire-breathing street vendors selling
both balloons and bourbon bottles.
Give me books written on illuminated
garlic skin by domesticated foxes;
the cloud-breaking Eiffel Tower
afloat on the buttery backs of croissants.”
(Photo is of me in a gallery in Paris, many ages ago. Long before I’d dreamed up Cross and The Mona Lisa Sacrifice!)
Oh my, I’m honoured to see my story “Casual Miracles” from Has the World Ended Yet? made the 2018 Sunburst Award longlist for Short Story Fiction.
The story is one of my favourites in the collection – and one of the last to be written. I was lounging in the bath one day, as writers do, reading some news story or another about Craigslist when I started thinking about what sort of crazy services people advertise online. That’s where I got the idea of “casual miracles” – miracles that don’t really change anything in the grand scheme of things. And now here we are.
Anyway, I’m honoured to be included in such an amazing group of writers! Go read them all now!
I’ve been reading a bunch of different things at once lately – a couple of print books, some ebooks, a short story online, an analysis of another story. It may be I have a short attention span, but I prefer to think of it as the life of a parent with a full-time job.
Anyway, this is what’s on my bookshelf right now:
When the crew of the Nightjar find a merman of the fleet wounded and stranded in the ocean, Gale’s sister, Beatrice, is forced to take a back seat while Gale and Parrish work to find out who would assault a member of the nation of Tallon’s intelligence service. They soon discover a plot that could shake the foundations of the fleet and Beatrice might be the key to preventing a catastrophic disaster.
Dellamonica has more tales more in this universe if you like this story.
Resistance is Futile: Peter Watts’s “The Things” – Tor
Peter Watts is one of my favourite writers, and his story “The Things” is one of my favourite stories – and fucking difficult in a way his works are always challenging. So I am pretty much the target audience for this Tor analysis of the story.
In Lovecraft—and in Carpenter—difference equals horror. For Watts, that works both ways. The singular Thing is shocked and frightened by our individual isolation, our inability to change, our inevitable mortality. Our brains are sapient tumors, our bodies haunted by invisible ghosts. We’re like nothing it’s ever encountered before, though its instinct in the face of that strangeness suggests we might have something in common after all.
For the human readers, the horror of Carpenter’s original shapeshifting identity thief is amped up to a universe in which our individuality is the aberration. We’re a fragile fluke amid worlds of communal entities engaged in an ecstasy of mutual assimilation. Resistance is futile—we survive only as long as we’re not noticed.
Rumi and the Red Handbag by Shawna Lemay
I never thought I’d be interested in the lives of a couple of women working in a second-hand clothing shop, but here I am, lingering on every beautiful sentence and thought. I’m not alone in loving this book.
See also Lemay’s wonderfully calming and meditative blog Transactions with Beauty.
Spellsinger by Sebastien De Castell
You already know I love Sebastien De Castell’s Greatcoats series. Now he’s got a new bunch of books for me to fawn over – the Spellsinger books, about a magical society where everyone is a gifted mage… except for the hero of the story. Sounds like my life, which may explain why I’m enjoying it so much.
All right, enough blogging – back to reading.
Have a great 2018, everyone! May it be less apocalyptic than 2017!
(Posted from my fallout shelter.)
Just in time for the dead to rise, I talk to Open Book about my new collection, Has the World Ended Yet?, and other festive topics.
I had a great time at the Vancouver Writers Festival this year – it’s always such a treat to meet smart, creative readers and talk writing and books with gifted people like Lydia Kwa and Sean Cranbury.
I’m not sure what I’m saying in this screen grab – I think maybe: “The road to salvation is that way, not with this tawdry, earthly book down here.”
A little reminder I’ve got a couple of upcoming appearances around the same time my new book, Has the World Ended Yet?, launches.
This is going to be otherworldly. I’ll be taking part in the Trips to the Other World event at the 2017 Vancouver Writers Festival along with Lydia Kwa. Hosted by the always ethereal Sean Cranbury. Here’s the pitch:
Vancouver journalist Peter Darbyshire is also a blogger and author. His collection of 19 linked short stories, Has the World Ended Yet?, starts with retired superheroes living in a soulless suburbia where everyone gets lost trying to get home. Then the angels start to fall from the sky. Darbyshire weaves together superheroes, ghosts, the undead, a hired hitman, the Cold War, the rapture and avenging angels in a Twilight Zone-style collection that is riveting and human. Vancouver psychologist and author Lydia Kwa transports us to seventh-century China, which teems with magic, fox spirits and demons. Singapore-born Kwa updates traditional Chinese mythology to include female empowerment and a wickedly modern sensibility. Fantasy with a modern twist will be on full display this afternoon.
Saturday, Oct. 21
1398 Cartwright St.,
Be there or be in some alternate dimension.
Escapist Fiction to Escape the World
I’ll be appearing at VCON this year on the “Escapist Fiction to Escape the World” panel. Here are the details:
Sometimes, when you pick up a book, all you really want to do is fall into the fiction and get away from reality. So tell us, out of all your favourite novels and stories – the ones in the well thumbed softcovers and the hardcovers without dust-jackets that you always pull of the shelf, pull up in Kindle or sync up on Audible – which is the BEST Escapist Fiction to Escape the World.
Saturday, Oct. 28, 2:30 p.m.
Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel, Surrey, BC