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KJ bishop
Posted on Saturday, March 08, 2003 - 10:58 am:   

For those who might be interested in buying The Etched City, I've realised that Amazon only gets in a couple of copies at a time, so the book's availablity flickers on and off.

Other ways of ordering it are through Prime Books:
http://www.primebooks.net/books/book_detail.asp?isbn=1-894815-22-X

or you can ask bookstores to order it. The distributor is Ingram.

KJ



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John Klim
Posted on Monday, March 31, 2003 - 09:59 am:   

KJ:

I just put an order through at B&N.com (gift cert for my birthday!). I'll let you know how that works out for me.

Looking forward to getting it.

JK
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liz williams
Posted on Monday, March 31, 2003 - 10:15 am:   

I'm going to do this as well - will let you know how it orders from the UK. Looking forward to it: I know I've read it but I want an 'official' copy!

Go and buy it, folks: it's very good.
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John Klima
Posted on Tuesday, April 01, 2003 - 01:42 pm:   

KJ

I had to cancel my B&N order because it was going to be shipped UPS while I was out of town for ten days and it would've been returned regardless.

I am heading over to Prime to order it.

JK
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Tuesday, April 01, 2003 - 02:50 pm:   

John and Liz - thanks! Liz, I'm flattered that you want a second copy. And John, I hope you enjoy the book. (But all feedback is welcome.)
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PeterW
Posted on Tuesday, April 01, 2003 - 03:08 pm:   

KJ -- I also just ordered your book, based on your recent scholarly exploration of the depredation patterns of the Greater Australian Dropbear.

I'm looking forward to it.

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KJ Bishop
Posted on Tuesday, April 01, 2003 - 09:12 pm:   

Peter - out of a sense of fairness, I have to warn you that all dropbears in the book were shot before it went to press. (I personally removed eleven, while my trusty editor Trent 'One Shot' Jamieson bagged fourteen.)
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PeterW
Posted on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 12:52 pm:   

Dang! Well, at long as it's an historical romance novel, I'm sure I'll be fine with it. :-) I can only hope you cleaned up the blood --and vegemite-- before sending it off to press.
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 01:49 pm:   

Now you mention it I've just realised the colour scheme on the cover is almost identical to that of a jar of vegemite...

(Btw - a couple of people here have just received copies with the black review copy covers, which somehow found their way into the system. The problem really should be ironed out now, so if this happens to anyone ordering from now on, please tell me. I will send the dropbears round to have a word with those responsible.)
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Mastadge
Posted on Saturday, April 05, 2003 - 07:28 am:   

I'm sold. I just ordered a copy.
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Sunday, April 06, 2003 - 10:55 am:   

Mastadge: thanks!!
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John Klima
Posted on Tuesday, April 29, 2003 - 07:02 pm:   

Hoo-ray, hoo-ray! My copy arrived while I was gone on vacation! Hoo-ray, hoo-ray! As soon as I finish THE NATURE OF BALANCE, this is next! Hoo-ray!

JK
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Tuesday, April 29, 2003 - 08:12 pm:   

Wow! John, I do hope the book doesn't disappoint, after such an enthusiastic reception, and...

...and a bug just crawled out of my keyboard. From between the keys. I knew it was grotty down in there, but I didn't realise there were things living in it...

...ahem, anyway, glad you got the book :-)
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jonathan briggs
Posted on Wednesday, April 30, 2003 - 01:42 pm:   

Hi, K.J., I had a little trouble getting the book at first, but it seems like the online dealers are finally getting in decent quantities. I got my copy about a week ago, and I'm about 100 pages into it. Very impressive. Interesting mix of Western, fantasy, Kipling, swashbuckling and philosophy. And the battle scene at the arch was an ass-kicker. No idea where we're headed next, but I'm glad to be along for the ride. Great job.
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John Klima
Posted on Wednesday, April 30, 2003 - 01:55 pm:   

"...and a bug just crawled out of my keyboard. From between the keys. I knew it was grotty down in there, but I didn't realise there were things living in it... "

Hmmmm. I think that says enough by itself. Perhaps this will be the inspiration for a short story? That you can send to a small spec lit zine? Hmmm?

If bugs weren't covered in cooties, they'd be way cool.

JK
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Mastadge
Posted on Wednesday, April 30, 2003 - 03:53 pm:   

Hmm. Haven't started The Etched City yet (I'm forcing myself not to start all the books I really want to read until after my final exams), but I quite enjoyed Maldoror Abroad. I'm not sure I know exactly what I read, but I certainly enjoyed reading it, and look forward to reading it again, a little more slowly.
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jonathan briggs
Posted on Wednesday, April 30, 2003 - 04:05 pm:   

Well, so far, "Etched City" seems to be a little more straightforward then "Maldoror." I must admit I got a little lost in "Maldoror." But I think I was supposed to, so I didn't mind. Just kinda kicked back and let the language carry me along.
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Mastadge
Posted on Wednesday, April 30, 2003 - 04:49 pm:   

Yeah, that's how I felt.
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GabrielM
Posted on Wednesday, April 30, 2003 - 08:03 pm:   

Perhaps it help to read Lautreamont's MALDOROR? Actually, I have no idea, seeing as I've only read the first two stories of AZ so far....
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John Klima
Posted on Thursday, May 01, 2003 - 05:46 am:   

Have to say that I started THE ETCHED CITY last night, and it found its way into my briefcase and THE NATURE OF BALANCE is on the kitchen table at home. (sorry Tim! but it's next, I promise!) I read the first part in one sitting. I don't know where we're going, but I can't wait to find out.

JK
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Thursday, May 01, 2003 - 10:40 am:   

'No idea where we're headed next...'
'I'm not sure I know exactly what I read...'
'I must admit I got a little lost...'
'I don't know where we're going...'

Guys, can I keep these quotes for future book covers? .

John and Jonathan - thanks!

Jonathan, I'm flattered that you liked the battle at the arch. Writing it was a bit of a challenge - one of those times when I wished I'd listened to that famous advice about only writing what you know...

John, what are cooties? That's a word we don't have here in Australia. I actually prised the keys off and cleaned underneath them, and am stil recovering from the experience. A short story for a small spec lit zine is currently in the cooking process. (It needs more garlic, I think.)

Re Maldoror Abroad, if you haven't read the original Maldoror, it's an amazing book. I'm not very good at describing it. It's like something a young Satan might have written if he'd been shacked up in a Paris garret last century. I suspect my story might fall into the evil genre of fanfic. But if it inspires anyone to go and buy Lautreamont's book, it was worth writing.

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John Klima
Posted on Thursday, May 01, 2003 - 11:15 am:   

KJ:

YOu can quote me anywhere, anytime you like.

Cooties not in Oz, eh? Well, there was this game invented around 1949 called: Cootie. I forget exactly how you played, although everyone had the game, but you assembled a bug out of parts. My family's copy was basically a box filed with plastic bug parts that we would put together and use as beasts of burden for our Micronauts. I think the actual game involved rolling dice and winning parts of the bug from a chart and whomever put their bug together first won the game. The links below show what the cooties game looks like.

http://www.grrl.com/cooties.html
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3129137071&category=2533
(the link below shows the one my family had)
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3129436993&category=727

An 'official' definition can be found here:

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=cootie

Basically, a generic name for lice. I'm sure about elsewhere in the world, but where I grew up in America, we had annual or semi-annual head lice checks in grade school. If you had the dreaded head lice, you had cooties. Of course, as young boys in grade school, all girls obviously had cooties. And vice versa. It was also used as an alternate form of 'tag.' Instead of making someone 'it' by tagging them, you could give them cooties. And obviously, all your siblings would have cooties, too. This is part of Dexter's Labratory oeuvre, wherein Dexter's sister Dee Dee has cooties. Or so Dexter claims.

So, basically anything creepy and crawly can be described as having cooties.

I'm sure that's more thorough than I needed to be. It's like the time an author had a book set in 7th century Germany and had a foreign traveller make a language mistake and I corrected him on how the words were similar in English, but not Ancient German and provided a different example that maintained the context of the conversation.

JK
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jonathan briggs
Posted on Thursday, May 01, 2003 - 12:41 pm:   

Ha! Someone else who played with Micronauts. I think there's a big sack of those things stashed somewhere back in my parents' closet. Way cool toys for the gestating sf geek. I remember how crushed I was when they stopped firing actual projectiles.

K.J., you pulled off the battle scene very well. I'm a Texas boy, and we like it when stuff gets blowed up. But I was just as enthralled with the drug-addled horse ride and the stories afterwards at the Carrefour (I'm trying to be careful not to spoil it for other folks, but if some of you feel I'm yakking about the book too much, feel free to tell me to keep quiet). I love the way the book keeps throwing off expectations and meandering off into odd corners to explore.

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Mastadge
Posted on Thursday, May 01, 2003 - 01:49 pm:   

I've never thought of cooties specifically as lice, but as just little bugs the having of which makes a person unappealing. When little boys go through the "Eeewww, girls!" stage, girls have cooties. Not necessarily lice.
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Thursday, May 01, 2003 - 06:32 pm:   

John: Wow! We had that make-a-bug game, but I think the Aussie version was just called Beetle.
We also had head lice checks at school. For some reason it was always the kids from the cleanest homes who had lice. Obviously lice are fussy creatures.
(If I ever need to know any Ancient German, I'll be sure to ask you!)

Mastadge: We called them 'Boy germs' and 'Girl germs'. Ah, memories...

Jonathan: If you still like the book this much by the end, I beseech you to tell your friends about it... I beseech everyone who likes it to tell their friends... I'm beseeching so much, I'm going to turn into a beseech.
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ben peek
Posted on Thursday, May 01, 2003 - 11:32 pm:   

actually, i've used the word cooties in school, none of this boy and girl germs business... perhaps you're showing your age, kirsten *grin*
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Thursday, May 01, 2003 - 11:48 pm:   

My age, eh? My age, you say, young man? Why, I could very well pass for forty-three in the dusk with the light behind me.
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pappy ol'ben.
Posted on Friday, May 02, 2003 - 07:03 am:   

now you see, with the right skin care treatments i can have you looking a mid thirties in bright daylight. not, of course, that you'd be able to go out into bright daylight with my treatment, because part of it is never leaving your place during the middle of the day. but i mean, hypothetically speaking, of course. and doesn't everyone want that mid thirties look when they wake up in the morning? it's easily obtained with this jar of ol'ben's dead skin, purchased only from the pappy ol'ben cosmetic empire.

or, you can take our special midnight treatment, where you soak up the moon's rays for just $29.95 an hour. some people will say that any old moon ray will do, but the truth is, some age, some youthen, and others give you strange and unpleasent memories of being in the womb. that's why you need a specialist.

so come on down to pappy ol'ben's emporium of youth treatments and talk to one of our specialists. they've had a strict two hour video presentation which ensures that they're able to answer all your questions, except for those relating to the tax department listing us as a church.
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Madame Neckbone
Posted on Saturday, May 03, 2003 - 12:49 am:   

Ms Bishop finds her daily facial bath in monitor radiation, followed by the wearing of a WWI gas mask at night, quite an adequate beauty regimen. When she rises after sleeping, stands in front of the mirror and removes the gas mask, the improvement in her appearance never fails to impress her. But she thanks you for your thoughtful offer.
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pappy ol'ben.
Posted on Saturday, May 03, 2003 - 08:13 pm:   

dear madame neckbone--

we at pappy ol'ben's emporium of skin care greatness would like to enter talks with ms bishop over her gas mask beauty treatment. we've been trying to find a way to capitalise on the recent SARS explosion, as well as the continual degrading of life in general, and would to exploit this for the obscene amount of money that pappy ol'ben likes to roll around in.

yours in skin care health.
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Madame Neckbone
Posted on Monday, May 05, 2003 - 02:50 am:   

One imagines that rolling around in obscene amounts of money might be a reasonably good beauty treatment - inner happiness makes for outer radiance, after all. Ms Bishop suggests a swap - her gas mask for pappy ol'ben's cash wallow.
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pappy ol'ben.
Posted on Monday, May 05, 2003 - 04:24 am:   

madame neckbone is quite correct, though we at pappy ol'ben's are not silly. we'll offer you twenty bucks for the gas mask, and the chance to sue us later for misuse of property and damage of ms bishop's personality from our harsh, but ultimately polite, dealings.
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John Klima
Posted on Monday, May 05, 2003 - 01:47 pm:   

Not to interrupt this fun, but I've gotten more than half way through the novel and I think it is just amazing. It's hard to concentrate on work with it sitting next to me on my desk. I want to just sit down and finish it.

JK
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Monday, May 05, 2003 - 03:22 pm:   

John: It is, of course, part of my plan to have everyone, everywhere, stop what they are doing and read my book...
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Madame Neckbone
Posted on Monday, May 05, 2003 - 03:29 pm:   

Pappy ol'ben: Ms Bishop will not be parting with the gas mask on the terms you outline. If you want it, you'll have to come over here and fight her for it. Or make your own replica version. You will need a balloon, papier mache mix, some cellophane, scissors, and a metal jar lid.
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pappy ol'ben.
Posted on Monday, May 05, 2003 - 04:38 pm:   

madame neckbone, challenge is accepted. i have a balloon, paper mache mix, cellophane, scissors, and a metal jar lid, and i'm ready to fight, because, frankly, i like to take things from people.

i'm a business man, after all.
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Mastadge
Posted on Monday, May 05, 2003 - 05:44 pm:   

JK, KJ. . .

That is why I have decided not to start The Etched City until after my final exams.
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jonathan briggs
Posted on Tuesday, May 06, 2003 - 03:42 pm:   

I raced thru the second half of the book in one sitting. What a finish! Very nice job, KJ. You've got my vote come award time. Which doesn't mean dick since I don't actually have a vote, but I'll be rootin for ya.

So did I detect a hint of Jodorowsky in "The Etched City"?
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Tuesday, May 06, 2003 - 04:39 pm:   

Jonathan: Many thanks for taking the time to read it, and for the compliments. And I greatly appreciate your virtual vote :-) (There's always Amazon reviews, if you feel inclined... )

Jodorowsky, as in the film director? I have to admit, I haven't seen any of his movies. Sergio Leone's definitely in there, and a little bit of Mad Max, and from what I've read (just now) about Jodorowsky's El Topo and Sons of El Topo, there could be a resemblance. If you reckon they're good movies, I'll see if I can get hold of them.
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jonathan briggs
Posted on Tuesday, May 06, 2003 - 05:51 pm:   

Wow, I thought for sure you were a Jodorowsky fan. Maybe I was reacting to the Leone, which probably had an influence on "El Topo." I thought I'd spotted the Mad Max in there, too. Anyway, if you can find em, "El Topo" and "Santa Sangre" are well worth watching.
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John Klima
Posted on Tuesday, May 06, 2003 - 08:49 pm:   

KJ:

Just finished THE ETCHED CITY this evening and I'll be putting a review in the next issue of my zine of it. Wish there had been more about the doctor, however...

JK
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JeffV
Posted on Tuesday, May 06, 2003 - 08:58 pm:   

For that, my dear Klima, you must of couse consult The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric & Discredited Diseases.

Mrs. Bishop has an entry in it.

Dr. VanderMeer
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John Klima
Posted on Tuesday, May 06, 2003 - 09:22 pm:   

Well, when's the darned thing coming out so I can read all the great stuff in it?

JK
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Wednesday, May 07, 2003 - 06:16 pm:   

Ooh, 'Mrs Bishop', I like that... 'Mrs' somehow has more gravitas than 'Ms'.

Sorry about the doctor, John. I was very fond of her, but once they got to the city she went quiet on me, for some reasons. But there are doctors galore in the Lambshead Guide - which is coming out around October (I think). And thank you for saying you'll review Etched City!
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Wednesday, May 07, 2003 - 06:17 pm:   

Pappy: Be careful - don't cut yourself with those scissors, old man!
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pappy ol'ben.
Posted on Wednesday, May 07, 2003 - 07:18 pm:   

dear ms bishop--

i shall run with these scissors. run very fast.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Sunday, May 25, 2003 - 10:42 am:   

I've been trying to figure out what to say about the Etched City. I certainly enjoyed it, and it's not like anything else I've read (that's a good thing), although I did think of Viriconium a few times. It's odd to read a fantasy book without a quest, but you managed to pull it off and write a very good book.

-Robert
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Sunday, May 25, 2003 - 01:30 pm:   

Robert -
Thanks very much for taking the time to read it, and for your kind comments. The Viriconium stories were one of the influences that made me want to try writing fiction, and I've probably borrowed from them rather freely.
I could argue that all the people in the book are on their own quests, but I know what you mean. There's no team effort towards a goal, and nothing is at stake beyond the fates of the individual characters.
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Mastadge
Posted on Sunday, May 25, 2003 - 01:42 pm:   

I'm about 40 pages from the end of The Etched City; and it's been a while since I've been so wrapped up in a book. Most books, even the ones I enjoy tremendously, I fly through, but Etched City has me reading slowly, savoring it and drawing it out, not wanting it to end.

As to Viriconium . . . never read it yet. I'll probably get to those books this summer.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Sunday, May 25, 2003 - 04:57 pm:   

Mastadge - I had a similar reaction, going through the book slowly to savor it.

For Viriconium, unfortunately it's not in print in the US. I had to pick up Harrison's work while I was on vacation in New Zealand. You may have luck at used book shops though.

-Robert
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Mastadge
Posted on Sunday, May 25, 2003 - 05:18 pm:   

I've got the Fantasy Masterworks omnibus edition. I believe the only Harrison in print in the US is Things That Never Happen. And most of his work is oop in the UK, as far as I can tell. Although I hear that, depending on Light's success, some of his stuff may get reprinted. Here's hoping.
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JeffV
Posted on Sunday, May 25, 2003 - 06:02 pm:   

His cat fantasy anthology is still in print, though. For what that's worth.
JeffV
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Mastadge
Posted on Sunday, May 25, 2003 - 06:15 pm:   

Hm. He also has a couple of cat books cowritten with Jude Fisher. I'm not a big fan of "furry fantasies" though.
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Jason Williams
Posted on Sunday, May 25, 2003 - 06:25 pm:   

They were written with Jane Johnson, and published as "Gabriel King."

I'm hoping to do some more books with Mike down the road. I'd love to do the US hardcover editions of Light or Course of the Heart.

jason
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Mastadge
Posted on Sunday, May 25, 2003 - 07:05 pm:   

Hmm. . .is Jude Fisher a psuedo for Jane Johnson?
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Jonathan Strahan
Posted on Sunday, May 25, 2003 - 10:32 pm:   

Yup. Jude Fisher = Jane Johnson. I heard she was leaving HarperC to devote her time to her writing. Maybe cat books. <g>

Jonathan
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Mastadge
Posted on Monday, May 26, 2003 - 03:38 am:   

The second book in her fantasy series is due out in a month or two.
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peterw
Posted on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 - 02:28 pm:   

KJ: you rock -- just finished EC and loved it!

Posted a review on Amazon too. Not like you need the help, signing with big-name publishers and all...

As I mentioned on Amazon, I'm not sure how long it will stay with me, but I have the distinct impression it's not mere "literary Chinese food". Now looking forward to your story in Album Zutique (and whatever else you may have in store for us).
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 - 04:34 pm:   

Peter - thanks!! I'm glad the book worked for you. And I need all the help I can get :-). I really appreciate your writing a review. Seriously, as far as I know, even if you do have a large publisher marketing your book, it still needs word of mouth to get off the ground.

Actually, Chinese food can stay with you for a long time. I have a container of char-kway-teow and a bag of spring rolls subletting a corner of the living room.

Mastadge - so, have you read those last 40 pages? Come on, you know you want to...
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peterw
Posted on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 - 05:15 pm:   

> Actually, Chinese food can stay with you for a long time. I have a container of char-kway-teow and a bag of spring rolls subletting a corner of the living room.


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Mastadge
Posted on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 - 08:23 pm:   

Yes, I have read those last 40 pages. I was worried about how you were going to wrap things up. I needn't have been. For fear of saying something truly incoherent (I've had about 3 hours of sleep in the last 3 days), that's all I'll say right now. In the next few days, though, I'll be reviewing it on Amazon, and it is certainly worthy of a 5-star rating.

I've also already recommended it to several friends.
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 - 10:04 pm:   

Thanks, Mastadge! I'm very grateful to you for passing the word on to your friends - and, in advance, for the review.
Try to get some sleep when you can...
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Saturday, May 31, 2003 - 04:28 pm:   

Amazon are flogging The Etched City at 30% off!
No longer $16.95, it's now $11.87!
Cheap, cheap, cheap! Crazy sale!
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/189481522X/102-6557016-7475360
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Mastadge
Posted on Saturday, May 31, 2003 - 06:46 pm:   

Well, damn. Now I almost wish I had waited a few more weeks to buy it. I guess now's the time to buy gift copies, though. :-)
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peterw
Posted on Tuesday, June 03, 2003 - 05:14 pm:   

Dang! Amazon still hadn't posted my review of Etched City. So I posted another one. Hope I'm not found guilty of ballot stuffing...
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Tuesday, June 03, 2003 - 10:13 pm:   

If there's a double-up, the'll let you delete one - it happened to John Klima, too. Actually, I don't know what's happening with Amazon right now. They've been intermittently losing EC's cover image, and now their trivia nickels thing is busted. I've become a devotee of trivia nickels - 126 amassed so far! It's like collecting cans and bottles, but more hygienic.
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Night Shade Books
Posted on Wednesday, June 04, 2003 - 12:24 am:   

I just finished The Etched City last night, and I thought I'd chime in with the praise.

Fuck, I wish I'd published it. That's really all I can say.

Jason
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Wednesday, June 04, 2003 - 08:14 am:   

126 nickels? I thought my 45 was fairly good. Sometime after 40, the system started getting weird (a correct answer didn't get a nickel, sometimes answering the trivia didn't get a nickel, it just made the trivia disappear). I cashed them in to order Maldoror.
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Luís Rodrigues
Posted on Wednesday, June 04, 2003 - 12:06 pm:   

I have 40-something nickels too, but I don't visit Amazon.com religiously for them. I bet Kirsten hasn't missed a day. I still have no idea how I go about using them -- any ideas?
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John Klima
Posted on Wednesday, June 04, 2003 - 12:35 pm:   

I placed an order recently for a couple books, and Amazon puts the nickel money against your order, up to 10% of the order. Obviously the more you order, the more you save (the more you spend...). I believe during checkout you have the option to not use the nickel money, but I can't confirm that. I have like 50 or 60 nickels, but I used about $2 of that already.

JK
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Wednesday, June 04, 2003 - 12:35 pm:   

I just went to check out, and the nickels were automatically applied to my order.
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Wednesday, June 04, 2003 - 12:55 pm:   

Jason - thanks! This is where I grovellingly beg you to mention the book to your friends...
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Wednesday, June 04, 2003 - 01:00 pm:   

Yep, I scrounge for nickels every day. What with international postage and exchange rates, I need all the nickels I can get. I'm gonna be the Scrooge McDuck of nickels.
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Jeffrey Thomas
Posted on Saturday, June 07, 2003 - 07:19 am:   

Kirsten, you might already have heard about this, but there's a great review by Don D'Ammassa of THE ETCHED CITY in the latest issue of CHRONICLE magazine; picked it up in Borders last night. Congrats!
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Luís Rodrigues
Posted on Saturday, June 07, 2003 - 08:07 am:   

Thanks. I don't order from Amazon.com if I can find it elsewhere, and even then I go to Amazon.co.uk first, so I suspect it'll be a while before I can put my nickels to use.
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Saturday, June 07, 2003 - 03:20 pm:   

Jeffrey,

Is that 'Science Fiction Chronicle'? I think I've seen it - mentions China Mieville and Mary Gentle?
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Jeffrey
Posted on Sunday, June 08, 2003 - 06:15 am:   

Yep, that's the one. Glad you've seen it so I don't have to retype it here for you. ;)
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Cheryl Morgan
Posted on Monday, July 14, 2003 - 10:57 am:   

Just finished the book. Bloody brilliant, in my humble opinion. And thoroughly made up for the dismal performance of the Wallabies over the weekend. So thanks to Jeff for getting me a copy, and thanks to KJ for so carefully removing all of the dropbears.

Rave review in the next Emcit, due out end of the month. Sadly all of my books on alchemy are back home in CA so it won't be as erudite as I'd like.
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Monday, July 14, 2003 - 01:41 pm:   

Thanks, Cheryl!

You're the first person to mention the alchemy thing. I'm really jazzed you picked it up.

I'm a bit anti the 'white woman, red man' symbolism of traditional alchemy. My gut tells me it should be the other way around, hence the colours of Beth and Gwynn (the latter doubling as the Black King of the nigredo stage). The colours have other symbolic functions, but those are the alchemical ones.

Though I didn't strictly follow the steps of the alchemical process in the story, I did try to touch base with it enough for readers with an interest in the subject to make a connection. There's a nigredo > peacock's tail > rubedo progression, but I find the concept of purity problematic, so the albedo stage got short shrift. If it's there, it's distributed in small parcels at different times and among different characters.

Boy, I must have been dying to blab all that!
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Mastadge
Posted on Monday, July 14, 2003 - 04:01 pm:   

Hmm. Wow. Y'know, that sounds very interesting, but it means absolutely nothing to me.
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Tuesday, July 15, 2003 - 01:26 am:   

Mastadge,

It's no biggie. What happened was, I was writing the book, and I realised there was an alchemical flavour to some of the imagery. So I went along with it and put more in, and made alchemy - of a sort - part of the story.
(This is where I admit I didn't have a plot outline and had no idea what was going to happen.)

That stuff about black kings, white women, peacock's tails and all is alchemical jargon. The alchemists wrote their books using fanciful terms for various components and stages of the process of alchemy - the upshot being that it is now hard to know what they were talking about.
Anyway, it isn't necessary to know any of it to make sense of the book; it's just an extra layer of symbolism, pretty loosely applied.
Having said that, I'm now going to contradict myself and say that in a way the whole book is about alchemy (of the metaphysical sort, not the physical sort concerned with turning actual lead into gold), in that it's about the transformation of being, attempting to redeem or at least improve upon an exiled/fallen state, and the creation of a unique and immortal self.

Now I'm starting to feel it's hard to know what I'm talking about, so I'll shut up :-)
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Cheryl Morgan
Posted on Tuesday, July 15, 2003 - 03:39 am:   

And if you read Jung about alchemy he'll tell you that it was all about spiritual transformation anyway. But the book is also about art, I guess. And I'm still pondering about the weird babies.

By the way, did I see a rumour in the Bullsheet about Macmillan taking an interest in the book?
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Tuesday, July 15, 2003 - 11:29 am:   

The babies, yeah... there's not a lot I can say about the babies...

Re alchemy, I don't see a demarcation - or at least no strong, absolute demarcation - between the spiritual and the physical. I think along the lines of 'What would happen to a self stripped of form?' Without all the qualities that form gives you, what would you be? I think they're connected. I like to believe in the astral body, as I don't see how an individual identity could survive death, and retain individuality, without at least an electrical form to inhabit. I have a hunch that alchemy would work on not just the mind, but on the subtle body. And, who knows, if you were really good at it, maybe it could work in the physical too.
I have this other idea, which is that the physical world is like a fishing float bobbing around, floating on different waves of possible realities, with slightly different rules of physics and metaphysics, so that two or three thousand years ago it may have been riding a wave where physical alchemy was possible. I like to imagine that the collective will of humanity influences the positioning of the world on these waves.

And yep, Pan Macmillan have bought the UK and Commonwealth rights. Should be out early next year - January, they're saying at present.

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Ben O
Posted on Tuesday, July 15, 2003 - 12:53 pm:   

Cheryl,
See, I told you you'd love Etched City - I'm glad you got to it.

KJ,
My belated congratulations on a truly spectacular book. Among other things, I really liked the ending. I also liked your bit in Album Zutique, but what I'm really hankering for is another novel from you - what's on the horizon?

Ben


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Cheryl Morgan
Posted on Tuesday, July 15, 2003 - 01:30 pm:   

I think I agree with you on alchemy. Obviously the kings who wanted gold hankered after it being a phsyical thing. Some of the more modern books cling to the spiritual thing as an explanation as to why their heroes seem such crackpots. No one can know what the practitioners really thought.

In a quantum world, everything is possible. Some things are just more possible than others.

I'll be seeing Peter Lavery in a week or two. Will remember to congratulate him (yet again) on his good taste.
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Tuesday, July 15, 2003 - 11:31 pm:   

Ben,

Thanks!!

The thing on the horizon is a book called Black Dog. It's a strange-ish suburban bildungsroman, so nothing much like Etched City.

And not a novel, but a longish short story 'We the Enclosed' is going to be in Leviathan #4.

Cheryl,

Yeah, it's pretty good what Lavery's doing. I certainly appreciate it!
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Vera Nazarian
Posted on Thursday, October 16, 2003 - 12:34 am:   

KJ,

My lovely copy of THE ETCHED CITY arrived today! YAAAAAY!! Will be plunging into the read shortly! :-)
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Jason Erik Lundberg
Posted on Thursday, October 16, 2003 - 10:29 am:   

Just got my copy in the mail as well from Amazon. Used part of my birthday money to get it, and can't wait to start. I didn't realize the cover by was by you as well, KJ; nice job.
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KJ
Posted on Thursday, October 16, 2003 - 12:49 pm:   

Vera - this is weird, in a nice way. We got each other's books at pretty much the same time. I've just started Compass Rose. So far, I'm thinking it's unlike anything I've ever read - also in a good way.

Jason - thank you, both for buying the book and for the compliment. There's been such a good response to the cover that I'm going to ask Bantam if they'll consider re-using it for their edition. They'll probably say no, but there's no harm in asking.
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Bowen Mendenhall
Posted on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 - 03:39 pm:   

I bought and read Etched City about two weeks ago, and imediately after finishing it I felt that I had to loan it out; my youngest sister (11 years old) is reading it right now, and she loves it. I've given her a mandate to pass it on to my other sister once she's done, who will in turn pass it on to her friends. The only problem is that two or three days after I gave it away, I wanted to read it again, and my sisters live 150 miles away. Maybe I'll buy another copy. Anyway, I just wanted to tell you how incredible your book is.

This talk of alchemy intrigues me; are you familiar with Alan Moore? He's a comic writer, and he's doing some really interesting alchemical/kabbalistic things in his book Promethea. Kind of a 'Young Person's Guide to the Tree of Life, with Illustrations'; he devoted an issue to each sephiroth and still managed to maintain something of a quest storyline, as well as discussing the tarot and the significance of each suit and card of the major arcana, among other things. Also, the art is fantastic.
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 02:39 am:   

Bowen -

Thank you very much! I', also delighted that your sister has been enjoying the book. As far as I know, she's the youngest person to read it.

I do know Alan Moore's work, and admire him very much, though I haven't bought Promethea (yet). I think the Tree of Life lends itself to narrative very well, as does the alchemical process - not that I stuck to the steps of the process in Etched City, I used the alchemical stuff more loosely than that, and took liberties with the traditional symbolism - but both the climb up the Tree and the alchemical Great Work are quests - as I understand it - for a different state of being. I see them as quests to change the personal, microcosmic status quo, a change which can be extended to the macrocosm, if you apply the rule of 'as above, so below'. Moore is really something special - a writer who makes his books magical, whether or not their themes are overtly tied to magic.
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Kirsten Bishop
Posted on Tuesday, December 16, 2003 - 01:41 pm:   

Happy announcement - the Serbian publisher Moc Knjige will be doing a translation of The Etched City. I would like to heartily thank Zoran Zivkovic for his part in facilitating this, and Mia Zivkovic, who will be doing the translation.
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ben peek
Posted on Tuesday, December 16, 2003 - 08:28 pm:   

hey, cool, congrats. i have envy :-)
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Zoran Zivkovic
Posted on Wednesday, December 17, 2003 - 01:05 am:   

Mia and Zoran Zivkovic solemnly declare that the honour is entirely ours!
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Trent Jamieson
Posted on Wednesday, December 17, 2003 - 03:54 am:   

That's very cool, Kirsten. I too have envy :P Good on ya, mate.
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Jason Erik Lundberg
Posted on Wednesday, December 17, 2003 - 06:33 am:   

Cool!
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Geoffrey Maloney
Posted on Saturday, December 20, 2003 - 05:40 pm:   

Kirsten

Just heard that TEC is on the fantasy short-list for the Aurealis Awards. Congratulations. I look forward to you winning it. Cheers.
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Jay Caselberg
Posted on Sunday, December 21, 2003 - 07:34 am:   

Kirsten, big congrats on the nomination for the Aurealis Awards!
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Liz W
Posted on Sunday, December 21, 2003 - 07:35 am:   

Very good news, Kirsten, and well deserved.
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Cheryl
Posted on Sunday, December 21, 2003 - 09:30 am:   

Nice going Kirsten. Of the competition I've only read Shadowmoon, though I've read earlier Garth Nix stuff and I know he's good. Should be a good contest. May the best book with seriously cool alchemy stuff in it win.
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Forrest
Posted on Sunday, December 21, 2003 - 12:54 pm:   

Congrats, Kirsten! Well done.
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Kirsten
Posted on Sunday, December 21, 2003 - 08:51 pm:   

Cheers, all!

It was a very nice surprise to be nominated. I celebrated with a day out and some chocolate!
(I also bought some scratch lotto tickets, but found out that there are limits to how far good fortune will stretch in one week.)
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Vera Nazarian
Posted on Tuesday, December 23, 2003 - 10:14 pm:   

Ooh, wonderful congratulations on the Aurealis nomination! Just in time for the holidays too, the best kind of present possible! :-)
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JV
Posted on Wednesday, December 24, 2003 - 06:57 am:   

Congrats, Kirsten. Just now heard!

Jeff
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Luke Brown
Posted on Thursday, March 18, 2004 - 03:19 pm:   

Kirsten, congratulations on your nomination for Best Novel in the Ditmar Awards for 2003 and your nomination for Best New Talent. I loved the Etch City and can't wait for your next book. Unfortunately I think I can only make it to Conflux on Friday and Saturday so I will miss your panels. Bugger!
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JV
Posted on Thursday, March 18, 2004 - 05:29 pm:   

Yes--congrats on the Ditmar Awards nominations!
Jeff
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Kirsten Bishop
Posted on Thursday, March 18, 2004 - 08:24 pm:   

Hey, thanks, guys. Luke - I guess we'll all have name tags, so maybe we'll meet on one of the other days.
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JV
Posted on Sunday, March 28, 2004 - 06:32 am:   

Congrats on winning the ICFA Award!
JeffV
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jeff ford
Posted on Sunday, March 28, 2004 - 10:06 am:   

The ICFA Award? Shit, this is one I didn't even know you were nominated for. Congratulations!
Well deserved.
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Jonathan
Posted on Sunday, March 28, 2004 - 03:45 pm:   

Is that the Crawford Award for Best First Fantasy Nove? Many congrats!
J
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ben peek
Posted on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 02:33 am:   

yes, many congrats for it!
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Hubby
Posted on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 03:11 am:   

Indeed. Kirsten was most thrilled, not to mention surprised, for winning the Insulating Concrete Formwork Association Award for Excellence. Kirsten always knew you could do more with concrete than make footwear for unwanted gangsters.

In other news, Kirsten has been even more thrilled and surprised to have won the IAFA's William L. Crawford Fantasy Award for best first novel.
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Kirsten Bishop
Posted on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 11:20 am:   

Guys - thanks! This was a bolt out of the blue. I'm still going 'Wow.'
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ellen
Posted on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 07:45 pm:   

Congratulations! I was at the banquet where it was announced. Good work!
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Luís
Posted on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 08:30 pm:   

Congratulations! On the concrete thing too!

Cheers,
Luís
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Jason Erik Lundberg
Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 06:15 am:   

Wow! Congrats, Kirsten! That's freaking awesome!
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Kirsten Bishop
Posted on Thursday, April 01, 2004 - 12:20 pm:   

Ellen, Luis, Jason - thanks!
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Geoffrey Maloney
Posted on Thursday, April 01, 2004 - 04:31 pm:   

Congratulations Kirsten. After this if you don't pick up the Ditmar and Aurealis for what is truly great book, we run the risk in Australia of being the country that "taste" forgot. Which is complicated way of saying, fantasy in Australia mostly equals imitation Tolkien trilogies.

Speaking of which Kirsten when are you doing yours? I mean that you do need to get your Oz credibility factor up. I was thinking a Maldoror series might be appropriate, with the first volume titled The Evil Knights of Maldoror, in which the evil magician Maldoror, rumoured to be the spawn of a devil and a black witch, unleashes an evil horde of black knights upon the world in order to track down and kill the Boy who would be King. I think Rodney would be a good name for the boy. So you see Rodney gets visited by this angel or maybe a white witch and he gets this quest given to him, so he must defeat the black knights and ultimately do battle with Maldoror himself in the final scene of book three. Along the way you get to pick up lots of magical token thingies that lets Rodney increase his magical powers, so he can ultimately defeat Maldoror. Or maybe you could just send Rodney to the local wizard school.

You can even pun black knights with black nights and get the option of a movie straightaway. I was thinking Heath Ledger as the grown-up Rodney and that classic Deep Purple song opening the sound track. And of course the black knights would have black dogs to hunt Rodney down, so we can get Led Zeppelin on the soundtrack as well.

Maldoror himself would be played by Anthony Hopkins, but Hopkins would need to lose some weight for the role. I reckon he could do it.

I can see where you need to head Kirsten and believe me you'll be the cheese and toast of Australia when you pick up this brilliant idea.

Geoffrey
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Kirsten Bishop
Posted on Thursday, April 01, 2004 - 08:37 pm:   

Geoff -

Maldoror and I have plans, don't you worry about that. They involve several world leaders, memetic viral enemas, and a touching romantic subplot involving giant tentacles, some WD40, a spoon, and Rodney.

The trilogy will be written in the key of D Minor.


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Geoffrey Maloney
Posted on Tuesday, April 06, 2004 - 12:58 am:   

Sorry, Kirsten, but you need to scrap any of those plans about Rodney, The Boy who would King. Alec Hutson over at Ideomancer has already riffed off Kipling, on the title at least: http://www.ideomancer.com/main/ideoMain.htm

Yet another case of synchronicity in action.

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Geoffrey Maloney
Posted on Saturday, April 10, 2004 - 11:54 pm:   

Sadly, The Etched City didn't win the Aurealis Award for best fantasy novel. Boo-Hoo-Poo! The winner was Abhorsen (Book 3 of The Old Kingdom Trilogy)by Garth Nix. The same book was also joint winner of the Aurealis Award for YA and Mr Nix also picked up a third AA for another of his books in the children's book category!

Commiserations Kirsten.

I have posted full deatils of the AA winners and shortlists on my diuscussion board for those interested.

Geoff
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Kirsten Bishop
Posted on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 01:58 am:   

To be perfectly frank, I'm relieved. If I had won, Jane Routley and Trudi Canavan were going to take out a contract on me (Jane told me, honourable darling that she is), since they thought the Crawford was quite enough.

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Tessa
Posted on Wednesday, April 14, 2004 - 07:09 pm:   

*slinks*
I ate the book over a couple of days, and utterly adored it, which is impressive considering it was following on after Trudi's High Lord, a tough act to follow. I want to take to day to let it settle down before attempting something resembling an insightful review, but general sentiment contains the words gobsmacked, mindboggled, and dazzled.

I do request the humble honour of having my copy signed at Conflux. I shall beg for this if needs be. :-)

Tess
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Kirsten Bishop
Posted on Wednesday, April 14, 2004 - 10:24 pm:   

Tessa -

No need to beg, though I like that slinking...

Thank you for your very kind words. I'm delighted you enjoyed the book, and I look forward to meeting you at Conflux!

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al duncan
Posted on Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - 12:18 pm:   

Hey, Kirsten. Smashing book. I took it down to my folks with me over the Christmas period as (anti)holiday reading. Just wanted to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. Cheers.
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Kirsten Bishop
Posted on Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 11:27 am:   

Hi Al - many thanks! Happy Hogmanay, and best wishes for the New Year!

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jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 12:32 pm:   

KJ: Saw a nice ad for the Bantam edition in this week's New Yorker Magazine.
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Kirsten Bishop
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 12:33 pm:   

Jeff -
Wow! I've got to find the New Yorker and see this with my own eyes.
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jeff ford
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 12:36 pm:   

Send me your address on the e-mail and I'll send it to you if you can't find it.
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Kirsten Bishop
Posted on Wednesday, January 19, 2005 - 10:10 pm:   

EC is the book on the slab for January at the sffworld fantasy book club forum:
http://www.sffworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9240
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Jack Dann
Posted on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 05:49 am:   

Hey, Kirsten, it was good seeing you today with Ellen. Can't sleep, so trolling the forums.

Cheers!
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Kirsten Bishop
Posted on Friday, January 28, 2005 - 10:51 am:   

It was nice seeing you too, Jack! I must always remember, it has to be real Coke for Jack, not Diet Coke...

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