Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer

Yet There Are Statues

Too Like the Lightning coverWhen Strange Horizons asked me to contribute to their 2016 Best of the Year wrap-up, I immediately knew my entry would have to discuss Too Like the Lightning, my favorite novel not only of 2016 but of the last decade. The natural question to ask me, then, one I certainly asked myself, is if it’s so great, why haven’t I actually written a review of it? Well, for a variety of reasons I haven’t reviewed much of anything in a while, so with the sequel arriving today it seemed like a great time to both reread Too Like the Lightning and actually write about it this time.

The novel takes place in a future where humanity has flying cars, a moon base, and robots that make full time jobs strictly optional. Humanity is also enjoying lasting world peace, having given up geographic nation states, organized religion, and even gendered…

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Querying, submitting, and publishing: a daunting series of hoops

Here is an abbreviated list of hoops that a trade published book often jumps through (apologies to those for whom this familiar); finishing agent querying pitch to publishers request & first reads second reads acquisitions (itself a multi-stage process) offer & contract negotiations At every stage the book can die. For writing, it might never …

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An introduction for writers looking to query literary agents

I wrote this as part of a general info post for a Facebook group I'm in. The level I’ve aimed at is introductory, so my apologies to those who are already well into the querying trenches; you can probably skip this. ### Basic Query Structure Info The query should be about a page in length, …

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Leeds Writer Circle “Anything Goes” competition

I participated in my local Leeds Writer Circle “Anything Goes” competition this summer. Results are below!

Leeds Writers Circle

Monday, Sept 10th saw the adjudcation for our own “Anything Goes” competition. Judge Andy Humphrey gave excellent feedback on all the entered pieces of writing, which was much valued by everyone attending. The winner was Sunyi Dean for her story “Ice Cream and English Summers”. Since entering the piece for this competition she has succeeded in getting a version of it published by Flash Fiction Online. Read it here. Double congratulations are therefore in order. In second was Jason Heppell, also winner of the Annavation Prize. Third was Peter Richardson. Full details on the Competitions Page.

Sunyi will be a familiar face to those in the Novelist’s Group. Members will be delighted to know that she’s on something of a roll at the moment, having just secured an agent for her adult speculative fiction novel “Anchor (To Your Other Self)”. There is an online interview here that gives…

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New publication: Ice Cream and English Summers

A new publication of mine in FFO: Ice Cream and English Summers I wrote a little bit about this on Twitter but basically, this story has a Dramatic History. The short version: I wrote this, got some feedback that burned because I was oversensitive about the content of the story itself, and I nearly trashed …

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‘Active Voice’ can suck it, and other musings on terrible style advice

I have a growing hatred of active voice at all costs mantra. It started with betas - not all of them, and always well-meaning - correcting my writing into active voice, but to the point where the sentences were sometimes bizarre or downright unreadable (e.g., missing verbs entirely). Lately, I find myself rebelliously writing in …

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The Name of The Wind review

Everytime I think about deconstructing why I dislike Name of the Wind so much, I end up just coming back to re-read this post. It says everything better than I could do, anyway.

Doing In The Wizard

The Ballad of Dirk Oxenhammer: An Origin Story in Three Parts

Dirk Oxenhammer, veteran literary editor, sat back in his zebra-skin armchair and surveyed the pile of manila envelopes on his desk, each one adorned with a large red REJECTED! stamp.  The exclamation mark wasn’t strictly necessary, but Dirk though it made the job a bit more fun. Sometimes he liked to imagine a loud buzzer went off every time he sentenced a manuscript to the trash pile. He’d have to see about getting one installed.

But for now, it was bourbon time.

Dirk opened the bottom drawer of his desk and selected a 92′ New Jersey Amber. He poured it into one of those round glasses with the flat bottoms that he’d seen on Mad Men and lit a cigar, letting the smoke curl around the glass in a way that seemed particularly gritty and hard-boiled. It was at…

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My Letter to Cynthia Voigt (circa 2010)

Dear Mrs. Voigt,                 I am writing to you in the hopes of being able to express how much I cherish your Kingdom series, in particular the third book, The Wings of a Falcon.                 I first read Falcon when I was eleven, in a small and recently-established private school in Hong Kong. (We had …

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Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey

Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey My rating: 5 of 5 stars I would describe this book as "masochist woman with slightly magical vagina conquers the world". Note - this is not a criticism. It's well written, amusing, intricate, interesting. It's nice to read a book where people don't have sexual hangups, which is straight faced …

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