Tag Archives: Specfic

Book trailer: Here’s how you do it

Book trailers–short promotional videos for new or upcoming books–are all that.

Depending on how you feel or whom you ask, book trailers are (1) a fad, (2) de rigeur, especially for newer writers seeking to build an audience, (3) a new literary/art genre, (4) a marketing tool that can be genuinely valuable to both readers and writers, (5) yet another burden of cost and effort shifted over to the Content Provider, er, author as publishers disengage from promotion and marketing for all but the heaviest hitters, (6) fun, or (7) all of the above.

But if you want to see a short, snappy book trailer that does its job very, very well, see this one for The Native Star, a historical fantasy by Oregon City author M.K. Hobson that will be released in a few months.

Huzzah, say I.

The Andre Norton project

I started reading science fiction in the fifth grade, when I came across a book called Space Cadet, by someone I thought of for years as “Roberta Heinlein.” (I was a fast but often rather careless reader.)

It wasn’t long before I discovered Andre Norton. My school had some kind of book club. You could buy books from a catalog, and a week or so later they would be delivered at school, an occasion for much distraction and excitement. I think I acquired my ancient Ace paperbacks of Daybreak-2250 A.D. and Catseye in that fashion, although they had been published years earlier.

At any rate, I soon read as much Norton as I could get my hands on, and throughout junior high and high school acquired some of her books in paperback. I’ve read a few of them since then–a couple of the Witch World books, and a while back I found Star Guard at a used-book store.

A couple of months ago I looked into one of many boxes of my books that have been packed away for years–at least since I moved to Oregon in 1993–because I have never had enough shelf space for all the books. I was thinking about rotating some books from the storage boxes in the garage onto my shelves, and vice versa. I came across ten very old, yellowed Andre Nortons and have just started rereading them.

Yesterday it was Catseye, originally published in 1961. Today it’s Sargasso of Space (1955). It’s great fun.

I’m struck by how familiar these stories, which I loved as a young person and read over and over, feel to me now. At the same time, I’m seeing¬† elements to which I was utterly oblivious back then.

And I’m reminded on every page of Norton’s predilection for dashes. Perhaps her dash-intensive style influenced me. Various editors, over the years, have pointed out that my mss. are liberally–perhaps too liberally?–besprinkled with the things.

Last Watch

Just finished this fourth volume in the Night Watch series. I posted it at goodreads.com and am copying that post here:

Last Watch would be fairly confusing to anyone who hadn’t read Night Watch, Day Watch, and Twilight Watch. Even though I’ve read and enjoyed the whole series, I had some trouble remembering who was who among the minor characters; details of what happened in the earlier books, often mentioned in this one, were also a bit fuzzy. Still, I enjoyed this a lot. The protagonist, Higher Light One Anton Gorodetsky, remains a fresh, wry, and occasionally surprising voice, and the intersections of the magical and real worlds continue to be weird, clever, and often violent or amusing. I found this story sketchier but also more poignant than the earlier episodes in Anton’s career; there are echoes of Arthurian (or Merlinian) legend and The Tempest woven throughout. Overall, not as strong as the first two entries in the series, when Lukyanenko’s world-building was new and startling, but satisyfing.

To those who know the Night Watch series only through Timur Bekmambetov’s sensational films, the original story line of the books is different from that of the movies and is worth exploring. But the films are dazzling, and I adore them.¬†

Fantasy vs. SF? Near the end of Last Watch, in a conversation between two of nonhuman characters about the future of the world, Lukyanenko–who has published lots of both sf and fantasy–tosses off a few observations about the two genres. One character speculates about the appeal of fantasy worlds, magic, etc. to human readers. It’s a brief interchange, not a dissertation, but readers and writers of both genres may find it entertaining.