Juxtaposition is one of the most powerful tools in a writer’s arsenal
One of my favourite novels is Cao Xuequin and Gao E’s Dream of Red Mansions, which has nothing we would recognise as a plot by modern standards: it follows the “twelve beauties of Jinling”, the main characters of a decaying household in China under the Qing dynasty; and juxtaposes and contrasts their experiences to achieve a powerful and moving tapestry of narratives that speak both to the female and human experience.
This act of juxtaposition is one of the most powerful tools in a writer’s arsenal, and one that I’m particularly affectionate towards. A common example is dichotomies for characters: X being a foil for protagonist Y, or the opposites antagonist/protagonist, hero/villain. I prefer to think of it in terms of contrasts, to decentre the story—I go for moral ambiguity very often, and therefore my fiction tends to function in terms of POV characters rather than heroes. Read More »
Last time I visited A Dribble of Ink, I wrote about worldbuilding in the air and monsters. Aidan asked me to return and talk about food in fantasy, which I do fairly regularly for my interview series Cooking the Books.
Running a food-oriented interview series makes me think really hard about food in every book I write, including Updraft (Tor 2015), because I don’t want to suddenly have a cow-based product (like milk) appear in a world that has not seen a cow in forever, and where a cow would have to scale a sky-high tower made of bone to get that milk there. NO that would be bad and has never happened, ever. (Thank you again, brilliant copy editor Ana Deboo, for, ehrm … Completely Unrelated Reasons.)
So when Aidan asked, I began to think about those Fantasy Foodies who get it right — and who make our mouths water in the process. Here are thirteen of my favorites (there are many more, but the list grew unmanageable), in alphabetical order, and I’ve given you some amuse-bouche quotes to go with them. Read More »
Gollancz revealed the cover art for one of my most anticipated novels today, Aliette de Bodard’s The House of Shattered Wings—a post-apocalyptic tale about warring houses and fallen angels. I love, love, love it.
The cover was created by Gollancz in-house designer Graeme Longhorns. Read More »
Holy moly. I’ll be honest and say that I don’t generally expect great things from Roc Books covers. But this? This is just gorgeous. Eloquent and impactful, great little details all around. The House of Shattered Wings is one of my most anticipated novels of the year, and I’m glad to see it has a cover to match my excitement.
The first details about The House of Shattered Wings were released several weeks ago, but now we have a new blurb with more details about the story:
Multi-award winning author Aliette de Bodard, brings her story of the War in Heaven to Paris, igniting the City of Light in a fantasy of divine power and deep conspiracy…
In the late Twentieth Century, the streets of Paris are lined with haunted ruins. The Great Magicians’ War left a trail of devastation in its wake. The Grand Magasins have been reduced to piles of debris, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine has turned black with ashes and rubble and the remnants of the spells that tore the city apart. But those that survived still retain their irrepressible appetite for novelty and distraction, and The Great Houses still vie for dominion over France’s once grand capital.
Once the most powerful and formidable, House Silverspires now lies in disarray. Its magic is ailing; its founder, Morningstar, has been missing for decades; and now something from the shadows stalks its people inside their very own walls.
Within the House, three very different people must come together: a naive but powerful Fallen angel; an alchemist with a self-destructive addiction; and a resentful young man wielding spells of unknown origin. They may be Silverspires’ salvation—or the architects of its last, irreversible fall. And if Silverspires falls, so may the city itself.
The House of Shattered Wings, the first volume in a duology, is due out on September 1st, 2015 from Roc Books (North America) and Gollancz (UK).
On November 20th, 2014, Aliette de Bodard announced that she sold a two book series, beginning with The House of Shattered Wings to Gollancz. Aliette de Bodard is considered one of the richest and most evocative writers in speculative fiction, and her past work has ranged from Aztec-influenced fantasy, to a science fiction universe where China discovered the Americas before Europe. The House of Shattered Wings is a murder mystery with “fallen angels, Vietnamese dragons, and entirely too many dead bodies.”
“Set in Paris amongst the aftermath of the Great Magicians War,” Gollancz compares the scale of The House of Shattered Wings and de Bodard’s ambition to the works of Mieville and Banks. Big names to live up to, but the Hugo-nominated and Nebula-winning de Bodard has proven her knack for subtlety and ambition with her short fiction, and handling of scope with her epic Acatl novels. Read More »