June 25, 2012

My top ten XYZ: favourite songs

Filed under: bloggery,things Rhiannon likes,top ten — Rhiannon Lassiter @ 8:00 am

According to iTunes my top ten favourite songs are

All These Things That I’ve Done, The Killers
Clint Eastwood, Gorillaz
Give Me Novacaine, Green Day
Hit That, The Offspring
Killer, ATB
Mack the Knife, Bobby Darin
Ready for the Floor, Hot Chip
Rock Me Amadeus, Falco
Woke Up This Morning, Alabama 3
Video Killed The Radio Star, The Buggles

So. Very. Random.

June 8, 2012

My top ten favourite XYZ: computer games

Filed under: bloggery,things Rhiannon likes,top ten — Rhiannon Lassiter @ 8:00 am

In the spirit of random bloggery… I used to post “tenlists” on a previous website and I’ve decided to revive them. Check out my recommended reading posts for top tens of different types of books. But now here appearing also my top tens in alphabetical order.

Computer games:

Alpha Centauri
Caesar 3
Diablo 2
Escape Velocity Nova
Grand Theft Auto 3
Grand Tourismo
The Sims 3
Tropico 2
Ratchet and Clank

I’m now remembering how much I loved playing SimTower. Which is really just a CAD elevator simulator. And Dungeon of Doom.

April 25, 2011

Things I can do while reading

Filed under: About Rhiannon Lassiter,things Rhiannon likes — Rhiannon Lassiter @ 9:04 am

The things I can do while reading now include knitting! It’s not very good knitting – but it will get better a lot faster now I can read while doing it.

This is the current tally of things I can do while reading:

  • Have a bath
  • Do the washing up
  • Walk along a street (remembering to pause and look at roads)
  • Cook dinner
  • Weed the patio
  • Knitting

What can you do while simultaneously reading a book?

March 8, 2011

Enter the VOID

Filed under: covers,Hex,Hex: Ghosts,Hex: Shadows,things Rhiannon likes,United States — Tags: — Rhiannon Lassiter @ 12:00 pm

I’ve been really looking forward to showing this to people. It’s the cover of the US bindup of the Hex trilogy which will be published by Simon and Schuster later this year. It’ll be called VOID (a new overtitle for the series).

Doesn’t it look amazing? I’m really pleased with this and can’t wait until it comes out.

VOID cover

February 4, 2011

Save UK libraries!

Filed under: bloggery,news,things Rhiannon does not like,things Rhiannon likes — Tags: — Rhiannon Lassiter @ 6:37 pm

Public libraries all over the UK have been threatened with closure. Some have closed already, other closures have been announced, still more are in danger of being closed. Almost 400 libraries nationwide are already threatened with closure, and the total could reach an estimated 800. Instead of considering libraries an essential public service, the Conservative government wants to axe them under the assumption that volunteers will step in and run them instead. (This same argument has been applied to other public services; where the government thinks all these volunteers will come from during a recession, I don’t know.)

This map will tell you which libraries are threatened. It’s a sad map. This map tells you what events are happening at your local library on Saturday, protests and author readings to support libraries. It is an encouraging map but still not a happy one. Also look out for the #savelibraries hashtag on Twitter, which has been seeing a lot of action. And read Philip Pullman’s speech about why the library cuts are a false economy.

“Libraries have an enviable network of estate and expertise and a tribe of incredibly diverse and passionate customers; 325 million visits were made to libraries last year and an additional 113 million visits online,” commented Libraries Minister Ed Vaizey last year before falling silent and allowing the juggernaut of Conservative cuts to roll over UK libraries.

Gloria De Piero, the shadow minister for media and culture, has been speaking up for libraries: “Libraries provide a particularly crucial service to mums with toddlers, pensioners and the one in five people who do not have the internet at home and need their local library to look for jobs… Almost 80% of 11- to 15-year-olds visit a library and children’s borrowing continues to increase year on year. For many areas of the country there are tremendous success stories as library visits increase during the recession.”

This is not the first time we’ve been called upon to save libraries. Back in the 1990s I was a junior member of my local library campaign. You can read a fictionalised version of some of our experiences in my mother’s book Special Powers in which the character of Emily Grey is based loosely on me and my friend Sara.

Libraries will always be important to me. Between the ages of 11 and 15 I was miserable at school. A series of substitute teachers, bad teaching and uncaring school management meant I wasn’t learning anything and was being lazily bullied by a group of students with nothing better to do. But bullies very rarely follow you into libraries. I took refuge in my school library at first and then later in my local library. When I eventually got into trouble for persistent truanting, the trouble wasn’t as bad as it might have been because while I wanted to escape, the place I escaped to was a safe and supportive one. (The librarians twigged that no child has a school project that lasts from 9-4 for weeks and weeks.)

In my life as a professional writer I have twice been asked to open school libraries: the Fryer Library at Leighton Park school in Reading and the library at my own school (the one I moved to at 15 after the terrible one) of Channing in Highgate. I’m always very happy to open libraries and miserable to think of them closing. If it hadn’t been for libraries what would have happened to teenage me? Where would I have hidden from the bullies and found happiness in books? Would I be an author today? Would I have gone to university? (My Head’s statement about me referenced the running away to hide in libraries as essential to my character.)

Save libraries. Save them for children, for adults, for the elderly. For job hunters, for the disabled, for the homeless. Save them for yourselves and for your future. We need these arks of words. We will miss them terribly if they are taken away.

May 12, 2010

Hex: the film

I have some exciting news for Hex fans. Ever since the trilogy was first published I’ve had letters from fans asking me if there could be a film of the books – there’s at least one thread on the forums about it. Last week I agreed the first stage of a film option for the Hex trilogy.

The film company developing the property is called Sweet Revenge and they are based in Hollywood. On the eve of the Clarke award ceremony I had  a conversation with producer Isadora Martin-Dye who has loved the books since they first came out and is really enthusiastic about the project. This is great news for the fans because it means that the creative vision doesn’t involve making significant changes to the work. If Raven hits the screen she’ll be her own cantankerous self.

I say if because there’s a long way to go with this project. It’s in the earliest of early stages and there’s a lot of work to be done. Luckily for me, I’ve already done my bit – now it’s up to Isadora and the rest of her team to put in place the things one needs to make a major feature film. They will be keeping me informed and involved though so I’ll report more as I hear more news.

I expect fans will have a lot of questions and I’ll try and anticipate some of them here since some were things I wanted to know myself:

Q: Will there be one film or three (one for each book)?
A: The option will be for the whole trilogy. Right now we’re planning for one film but which would take elements from the world of all three books.

Q: Is this going to be a small or large production?
A: The plan is for a big budget film.

Q: Will Rhiannon be writing the script?
A: It’s usual for companies to bring in their own script writers. I’ll be in contact with those writers once they’ve been chosen.

Q: Who will play Raven?
A: It’s much too early to answer that but I know it’s the question everyone will want to ask. I’ll let you know more as soon as I can.

Meanwhile, if you’re a Hex fan, there’s something you could do to help bring this film into reality. Since Hex wasn’t an illustrated or graphical novel there isn’t any concept art. If you’ve created Hex fan art please post it on the fanart forum so that Sweet Revenge have an idea of how fans see the Hex series. Lots of people posted art back in the day but because they used photobucket many of those links have expired – please do repost your old art or any new art you’ve done. Your artwork and imagery will help establish a vision for the film so do please get involved.

And if you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

May 5, 2010

Clarke award: Our revels now are ended

Filed under: Arthur C. Clarke award,awards,news,things Rhiannon likes — Rhiannon Lassiter @ 9:03 am

After two years my duties as a Science Fiction Foundation judge for the Arthur C. Clarke award have come to an end. Last Wednesday we gave China Miéville the award for The City and The City: an unprecedent third win for the author who has already receieved the award twice before for Perdido Street Station in 2001 and Iron Council in 2005.

The City and The City is the kind of book I would like to write myself. It has depth and intricacy but is also accessible and action-packed, well paced and thoughtfully plotted. If you haven’t read it yet, I encourage you to put it on your reading list. The same goes for the rest of this year’s Clarke shortlist: Spirit by Gwyneth Jones, Yellow Blue Tibia by Adam Roberts, Galileo’s Dream by Kim Stanley Robinson, Far North by Marcel Theroux and Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding.

This award doesn’t have an official ‘meet and greet’ so I haven’t actually met China – there was a scrum of reporters 3 foot deep and I am too short to tangle with excited journalists – instead I shall wing him these virtual congratulations via the internet. I did however meet Gwyneth Jones who I attempted to praise without terrifying her with the extent of my fannishness. I’m not sure I entirely succeeded. But she freaked me out by saying she knew who I was and reads my blog. Gwyneth is a wonderful writer and well on her way to supplanting Ursula Le Guin from the very top of my top ten.

Judges go for ice cream

Thank you to everyone else who has made the Clarke award so much fun. I’ve made friends among both judging teams and met all sorts of cool people at the award ceremonies. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

You can see how much fun we’ve had in this picture of the judging team going out for ice cream after a tough meeting to decide the winner. From left to right we are: Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Chris Hill, Francis Spufford, Rhiannon Lassiter and Paul Skevington

November 12, 2009

Living in the future

I’ve been thinking recently that I should make more blog posts about the things I talk about to my friends. I’ve not really got a purpose to this blog beyond telling people about me so one of the things you might be interested to know about me is that I like to live in the future.

Growing up with every kind of fiction and non-fiction easily accessible through my parents or my local library, science fiction was the genre I gravitated to. I fell in love aged about 13 and, although I’ve had good genre friendships and the odd fling, SF remains my one true love. Because I was born in 1977, my childhood happened last century. Isn’t that a weird concept? This can make me feel indescribably ancient but luckily anyone older than 9 was born last century too, and can share my experience. That’s one way in which I’m living in the future. Everything since 2000 is traditionally the territory of science fiction. We passed 1984 decades ago but now we’re about to pass 2010.

It can’t just me me who expected flying cars by now. And what about transporters, space ships, nutimats dispensing perfectly cooked food at the touch of a button… where are they? My science fiction beliefs were formed at the end of the 20th century and so more quantum wonders don’t play a part in my idealised SF future. It’s not about nanotech (although adult me is hoping elderly me might get to see it). My future is a Star Trek future of space ships, colonisation, Brave New Worlds and new civilisations. SETI is one of the first acronyms I learned. (More recently Adam Roberts has taught me not to dream of rockets but of spaceplanes; but again, I digress.)

Some things about living in the future have come true for me. I love laptops. I remember my mother’s first laptop: a chunky grey oblong which had enough processing power to run an early generation of word. That particular laptop continued to be handed on and around among family and friends for years, an old friend grown feeble. I had my first mobile phone as a student in 1996 and that was also a brick of a thing. Nowadays my laptop is a sleek silver ‘aluminum’ MacBook, although I still weep for my destroyed BlackBook. My phone is a shockingly out of date four years old because it’s one of the very last flippy phones: the Motorola KRZR, the ultra thin silver flip phone which I love for its Star Trek communicator vibe.

And Star Trek was created in the 60s: according to their paradigm, by 1995 Khan Noonian Singh (Ricardo Montalban) had taken over one quarter of the world. That date, like other crucial dates in SF, I’ve watched passing with half-genuine surprise that the fiction events I know happened, failed to occur. We’re obviously down the wrong trousers of time.

My illusions haven’t been wholly shattered by the failure of neonazis, fascists, communists or greens to take over the earth. The Eden Project supplied me with huge biodomes; the Millennium Dome also jumped on the futuristic dome bandwagon (although it then branded itself as a dome of the Past). Architects are making promising strides towards houses with grass roofs, curved curners, wicker walls and reusing vernacular and historic building techniques (very Ursula Le Guin).

Netbooks are cool too – despite my tragic failure to buy one that will continue working for more than 3 weeks. (Hey, Apple, hurry up and build a product I can trust!) But I always wanted Penny’s book from Inspector Gadget and eBooks are no where near achieving the functionality of that shiny electronic computer book. I never understood the source of the contention between eTech and traditional booktech. I think book-shape is an ideal format for technology to take – in both form and function.

I like connectivity too. YouTube, Skype, Flickr, Facebook, LinkedIn… they suck me in with their cool ways of interacting with people. Social networking isn’t a black art – or if it is, everyone I know is practising it. My mother joined twitter and tripled the number of followers I had in three days. (That’s what you get for teaching your mother how to be a TechnoMom.) I meet fellow writers, academics, friends and fans on the internet and its endlessly cool to get messages from all of them.

And even when there’s no one else to interact online with I like my computer to be my friend. Yes , I am a Mac lover. All my personal computers have been macs. But I have a PC at work which I’ve befriended and we get along okay as long as we accept each other’s different lifestyle preferences. Should I even mention the Vista-running Acer laptop I got free from mymobile phone company which is offered tovisitors as the “guest” laptop? Already that’s taking me into console territory where I can tell you tales of pwning of a group of male classmates at MarioKart to their mutual astonishment, or gaining the interest of the non-reading kids at school visits with tales of my prowess at Grand Theft Auto (San Andreas).

I sync my mobile phone to my laptop, I use my laptop through my external monitor, I have two monitors at work where I also network to five digital signage screens, I have three different webcams (and yet I’m still a bit uncertain how to make video podcasts). I manage my calendar through Google and I use an iGoogle app for my Tweets.

I admit I’m almost never an early adopter (excepting ideas that never seem to come to anything) but I feel the pressure of the future endlessly pushing me forward into new technology. My nightmare is to become a person who can’t understand a video recorder – or whatever the current equivalent is. I want to live in the future. I have to live in the future – and so I try to push myself into the SF future wherever I find it.

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