The Curious Evolution of Jennifer K. Oliver
A stroll through the mindfields
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jenniferkoliver: (PoT | Atobe)
Gillian Anderson is going to write a sci-fi book series, to be published by a Simon & Schuster imprint. Ooh.

Speaking of book series, I am bursting through my third Sherlock Holmes book, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, after gobbling up A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of Four over a couple of days. I'm enjoying the style; it feels quirkily modern in a lot of ways, but I wonder if that's because I'm writing in the mid-19th Century and am just used to a lot of the attitudes and lingo.

I also saw The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug recently, and liked it quite a bit more than the first one (which I liked, but had a few issues with). The romantic subplot, which I was almost certain I wouldn't go for, was rather sweet, and I loved the dragon. Er, I don't know if a spoiler alert is necessary considering the book was published in 1937, but I'll cut this just in case anyone hasn't read it and doesn't want to know how certain things turn out )

Recently [livejournal.com profile] jaylake couldn't update his journal because LJ treated his link salad posts as spam, even though nobody could find any of his links to be spammy. I guess it was just the volume of links in the post. Which is so daft. Come on, LJ, don't alienate your users, especially not the journals that get the most hits. You're only hurting your own statistics.

As I've said before, if anything should happen to my LJ or to LJ in general, I will immediately move over to my Dreamwidth and regroup.

Nothing Else Matters, by Apocalyptica (Metallica cover).
jenniferkoliver: (Spirited Away | Chihiro & Haku)
Whoa, so I didn't mean to drop off the face of LJ. There have been a combination of things keeping me away—I went to stay with some friends a couple of weeks ago, which was fantabulous, but while there I picked up a vicious cold and brought it back home, then was out of commission for a week with that. And then this past week has just flown; I have no idea what's going on. But I hope everyone is doing well. ♥

BioWare Writer Quits After Death Threats to Family - a friend linked me to this the other day. It's astounding that some people can't tell the difference between fantasy and reality. It's gaming, for chrissakes. Totally crazybones.

And I never realised 'chrissakes' is a recognised word in the Oxford Dictionary, until now. Huh, learning things!

Oh, and I've been reading Garth Nix. Yep, finally. I read Sabriel, which I adored, and now I'm a quarter way through Lirael which I am also adoring. I wish I'd found Sabriel back in the 90s when I was a young adult. It probably would have changed my life. (Not that life was bad back then, but you know what I mean.)

His Young Heart (EP), by Daughter. This is a full EP currently on YT. It's really beautiful and mellow, at times reminding me of Bat For Lashes's Two Suns.
jenniferkoliver: (Wolves | Wolfwomen)
Topping Books was way too small to accommodate the sort of crowd Neil Gaiman draws, so the event was moved to The Forum concert hall. It was packed out. Me and my friend arrived early so we managed to sit near the front and had a great view of the stage.

Neil Gaiman's book launch was, as you'd expect, brilliant. He's so charming and understatedly funny. He started out with a reading from The Ocean at the End of the Lane, which sounds equally charming and, again, as well-written as you would expect. I have my copy of the book and I can't wait to start reading, possibly later today, if I can get all my work done.

Neil talked about how the book came about, saying that he originally started it as a short story for his wife who was away in Australia at the time, kind of a love letter because he missed her. But it soon became a novellette, and then grew into a novella, and when he was done and did a word count, he realised it was actually a novel. That's quite a love letter!

One of the most interesting parts of the evening was the audience Q&A. Neil explained at the start what a good question was (short, to the point) and what a bad question could do (make an audience angry). That got some laughs. Someone asked about the Good Omens TV show, and Neil said that there was nothing about Good Omens that he could talk about on stage. The wink was so heavily implied that everyone started clapping and cheering. *squee*

I took a few photos, which I'll pop under this here eljay cut )

Staff were giving out flyers about up-coming events and I noticed Margaret Atwood is going to be in Bath in August. So it looks like I'll be going back there soon for more author goodness.

5-HT (Loadstar Remix), by The Good Natured.
jenniferkoliver: (Wolves | Wouldn't Like Me)
Neil Gaiman's book tour for The Ocean at the End of the Lane kicks off tomorrow in Bath, UK. I didn't realise it's the first venue on his tour. He'll only be signing copies of his new book—understandably, considering the volume of the crowds he can generate—though it's a bit of a shame I can't get my copy of Good Omens signed; I managed to get it signed by Terry Pratchett a couple of years back. (At some point, I will get them both. It is a mission!) More info about the UK side of Gaiman's tour on his blog.

When Sci-Fi Crime-Prevention Tactics Aren't Actually That Far-Fetched - how likely is RoboCop? Well, according to this article, pretty likely! "We're now producing airborne drones that have the automated intellectual ability where they are able to pick out a terrorist and make a decision whether to kill them or not."

Saw this book meme on someone's journal months ago, copied and pasted it, but neglected to note who I snagged it from (nobody on my f-list, I remember that much).

On this list of 100 popular fantasy and sci-fi books:

Bold the ones you've read.
Italicise the ones you want to read.

This reminds me of a load of books I still want to get my hands on before I, you know, die )

Rise, by Hans Zimmer. From The Dark Knight Rises OST. Been listening to this lately while writing action scenes.
jenniferkoliver: (James Hook)
I should have a considerable Final Fantasy XIII post to put up soon, and maybe a batch of journal icons. Right now my free time consists of writing 500-word chunks of novel, followed by twenty or so minutes in FFXIII, then switching back to do another 500 words. Rinse and repeat for a few hours. This method wouldn't work during a first draft, and probably not for a short story, but for a novel I've been chipping away at for many months it seems to be getting me through.

Breaking 77,000 words on draft #2 felt especially good because I wrote over 6k at the weekend. That doesn't happen often. I wish it did. It's getting a bit strange now I'm nearing the last part of the story—my ending in the first draft fell apart spectacularly, so I'm wading into territory that's still largely unfamiliar. There's one less character in this version, which is good because he didn't fit, and the new idea is way stronger and more action-packed, but I'm still struggling to find the right tone for the last couple of chapters. Ending things is hard. You don't want it to be schmoopy, but you don't want it to be bleak so readers feel cheated, and you want to hint that the story might not be entirely over (at least, for a few characters), but you don't want to leave too many threads hanging. I used to dislike the saggy middle part of a long story, but now I think I dislike endings more.

Reading one of those books I've been meaning to check out for ages, Zoo City by Lauren Beukes. It's so well written and fresh. Beukes stitches an alternate reality, gritty modern day Johannesburg together with magic and mystery. It's a raw book that's very real even with the paranormal twist (the magical element doesn't get in the way of the plot and characterisations). It's clever and fun and dark. I highly recommend!

The Elder Scrolls Online: The Alliance Cinematic Trailer - I almost signed up for the beta the other day, but stopped when I realised I don't have time to get into another game. Still, doesn't this look incredible? I love seeing locations from Oblivion updated with shiny technology!

Roll On, by Sneaker Pimps.
jenniferkoliver: (James Hook)
The lovely Helen Ginger from Straight From Hel has given me the Stylish Blogger Award, which is fabulous and thoughtful and very kind of her! Looksie, there's even a stylish badge.

The rules are: make a list of 7 things about yourself, then pass the award on to 7 others.

1. I've got two tattoos. The first I got in 2000, and is of the Indian symbol for "Om" which you can see here. The second I got a year later and is a small black and red dragon on my stomach, but alas, I don't have a pic.

2. When I was thirteen, I wrote a short story about a murderous demon dentist. This says a great deal about my feelings toward going to the dentist at the time. Those feelings haven't changed much over the years.

3. I spent my 20th birthday riding an elephant through a jungle in southern India. Best, and bumpiest, birthday ever.

4. An ex-boyfriend had a star named after me when we were together. I have a chart and certificate of it and everything; it's something I just can't throw out. If you're wondering where the star can be found, it's: oh47m13s +19°34'43", in the Pisces constellation (apparently!).

5. My first job was as a kennel maid at a boarding kennel and cattery. I basically got paid to walk, feed, groom, and snuggle dogs all day during school holidays and at weekends. It remains one of the best jobs I've ever had.

6. When I was but a wee young thing, I would remove a small drain cover outside my house and dangle my feet down the well. My parents have photos of me doing this, and you can see one here ) This signalled a lifelong love affair with water. Sadly, I also lost a wind-up toy fish (originally intended for bathtimes) down the same drain, which wasn't so good.

7. Possibly my favourite book of all time is "The Talisman" by Stephen King and Peter Straub. To me, it is unadulterated epic dark fantasy, unhindered by pasted-on romance and silly narrative devices. For this reason, I can forgive its sometimes long-winded descriptive passages. Jack Sawyer and Richard Sloat are two of my favourite child characters, and their pure, bittersweet friendship moves me every time I read it. And lovely, loyal Wolf! Wolf! I was devastated by the sequel "Black House"—it was like reading a book from an entirely different fictionverse.

Because everyone on my f-list is stylish in their own way, the following list is randomly selected and does not in any way suggest those not on it are not stylish. I tag: [livejournal.com profile] babarnett, [livejournal.com profile] csecooney, [livejournal.com profile] erastes, [livejournal.com profile] hierath, [livejournal.com profile] inlumino, [livejournal.com profile] markwise, and [livejournal.com profile] xjenavivex. (No pressure, though, guys!)
17th-Jul-2010 03:27 pm - Meeting Terry Pratchett
jenniferkoliver: (Stock | Typewriter)
I just met Terry Pratchett. Words can't describe how full of squee I am right now! I didn't get to have my picture taken with him, but here he is signing books: In the middle of telling a funny story )

This is how our brief conversation went:

Jen: *hands over her dog-eared copy of Good Omens* "I wasn't sure which of your books to have signed, but since Aziraphale is my favourite angel ever, it had to be this one."
Terry: "Oh really? Even though he's probably gay."
Jen: "He makes me laugh, no matter how many times I read the book."
Terry: "We [him and Neil Gaiman] had a conversation about it, and decided that angels were sexless and therefore could be whatever they wanted."
Jen: "I wouldn't love them any other way."

This is definitely the highlight of my entire year! And yeah, as if it was ever disputed that Aziraphale was gay. :)
14th-Jul-2010 10:49 am - Hitchhiking again
jenniferkoliver: (Foo Fighters | Learn to Fly)
I had no idea the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series would be continued by a guest author, and when I first spotted it, I immediately thought 'oh no!', but so far I've only heard good things about And Another Thing: Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Part Six of Three, written by Eoin Colfer.

I've read a couple of Colfer's Artemis Fowl books, and while I enjoy his style and quirky, imaginative plots, there's still a part of me that's nervous about a new author taking on such an iconic series. It's a shame Douglas Adams never got the chance to write more HGTTG, as I'm sure I read somewhere that he wasn't entirely happy with how he ended book five. Still, time will tell!

So uh, if there's anyone reading this, are there any book series you've enjoyed that have switched hands partway through? How did the new author handle the characters, setting, and themes already established? Could you easily tell the difference in style? Do you think it's important to mimic another author's style and retain the tone of the series, possibly writing something that's not completely true to the new author's writing?
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