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Showing posts from April, 2008

Thoughts on Nazri M Annuar's Opera Angkasa.

One of my favourite all-time space opera series shown on the telly is Firefly . I bought the DVD box set and I've watched the movie that concluded it, Serenity , countless times. (still can't quote it as well as I can with Star Wars: A New Hope though.) Every good SF story always brings something "new" to the scene. One of the new things that Firefly brought to SF was that it was a space western. There have been space westerns before, yes. Star Trek started out with Gene Roddenberry pitching to TV executives as " Wagon Train to the stars" while the Tatooine scenes in Star Wars: A New Hope are very heavily influenced by Westerns. The Japanese took the concept a little further with TriGun and Cowboy Bebop, but there has never really been a space western like Firefly . The real conceit of Firefly was that it was space opera that took the words "space western" literally, blending it with a Sino-American influence, and throwing out the silly aliens

The Spoils and Casualties of War, I mean, the BookXcess Sale.

Am on leave today, and have been since Monday, because I deserve a break after the horrors of the KLIBF , y'know? Decided to drop by BookXcess at Amcorp Mall today to check out their sale. Arrived at around 2pm and met the usual suspects-- Sharon Bakar , Chet , Eric Forbes, Janet Tay and even Tan Twan Eng ! So anyway, here is what I eventually walked away with: Flint by Louis L'amour (I'm going through my Western phase now, having left my SF phase) The Gates of Night by Keith Baker (Hurrah! Now my Eberron Dreaming Dark trilogy is complete; yes I'm a D&D nerd, and an Eberron one at that, so sue me) The Planets by Dava Sobel (cos everyone likes rocks that go round and round) The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon (but it has a terrible Trade Paperback cover...) I also bought a chick lit book for the missus but we shan't mention that! :p

The Latest on Haruki Murakami.

Not sure when they released them but here are the covers for Haruki Murakami's lastest non-fiction book, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running , to be released in late July in the US and early August in UK. (I'm hoping Kinokuniya will be able to provide a pre-release copy before that but I'm not crossing my fingers.) This is the US cover... ...and this is the UK cover. (Proving that the UK covers for Murakami's English editions of his books remain superior.) But what's this? A surprise ! No information about this one yet and it's only hitting bookstore shelves in September. I'm hoping it's more non-fiction (I've mentioned many times before that Murakami has a lot of untranslated non-fiction) instead of just a normal diary but that might be asking for too much. But that only begs the question: why ? Am I being too naive in hoping that this isn't merely an exercise in cashing in on Murakami's newly-found Western popularity? Moving on, fro

KLIBF Day 9 and 10.

So this is me... ...and this is my wife. Anyways, I'm glad it's over! Phew!

Sign Up for Nisah Haron's Copyright Workshop!

Lawyer-turned-Author, Nisah Haron , will be having a copyright workshop for writers and artists tomorrow morning so if you're worried about your rights and are wondering whether [insert-big-name-publisher] is ripping you off, this might be a good place for you to be! Details: Bengkel Hak Cipta sempena Pesta Buku Antarabangsa Kuala Lumpur Date : 12 April 2008 (Saturday) Time : 10 am - 2 pm Venue : Bilik Johor/Kedah, PWTC, Kuala Lumpur Speaker : Nisah Haji Haron Sponsor : Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka & PEKOMIK Entrance FREE. Please email Nisah Haron to confirm attendance : nisah.haron AT gmail DOT com Also, don't forget to check out Nisah Haron's new guidebook to copyright, Karya Kita Hak Kita , (launching this later today by Pak Samad) available at the Al-Ameen booth at KLIBF.

Murakami Writing Horror Next.

A lot of new Murakami titbits in this article . Horror, huh? Actually this wouldn't really be new territory for Murakami, since Kafka on the Shore and even After Dark dipped their toes into the realm of horror occasionally. I suppose we'll see this in English in three years's time.

KLIBF Day 6.

My fever is still around and my flu is getting worse and worse. The ridiculously low temperature in the PWTC halls isn't helping much either. Today, I met Zaki Zainol , author of Takluk Jagat 1: Bisikan Ariasha , and also Zamri Mohamad , author of many self-help books, the most recent being Rahsia Bisnes Mamak . They took pictures of me, so to those who still haven't seen me and don't know what I look like, there you go! And as if you needed another reason to go to the bookfair, Wira Bukit, helmed by A Samad Said's son, Helmy Samad, is seeking signatures for their petition to get Pak Samad's copyrights back from DBP. I wish them all the best! Also! Today is Pak Samad's birthday! Happy birthday, Pak Samad! Incidentally, mine is just around the corner... this Saturday in fact. No gift for me aaa? Books would be nice. Thanks!

KLIBF Day 4 and 5.

Weekdays are slow days for the bookfair. The crowd was noticeably lesser and the sales disappointingly reflected that. Monday started out "interesting" for me. My shift for that day only started at 2pm so I had the luzury of waking up a bit later than usual. I promised Firdaus Ariff to have lunch with him at 1pm so at around 12pm I left the house... ...only to be called to the side at a police roadblock. For the record, I drive a 1968 Volkswagen Beetle and for the past five years I've been driving it, I have never been called aside, even when I wasn't wearing the seatbelt. You see, the police have never really given that much a glance at old cars when it comes to seatbelts, so I've never really bothered to wear mine. Dangerous, I know, but I guess I like living on the edge? So yesterday, the policeman comes up to me, sees I'm not wearing my seatbelt and goes ahead and gives me a summons. I'm all okay with that. As far as I'm concerned, it's a fair

KLIBF Day 3 - Kata-Suara Khas.

Day 3 for me was spent mostly running around the fair but during the more quiet times I at least had my wife for company. Kata-Suara Khas went well, despite my worries that the readers/musicians wouldn't be able to turn up (it was raining heavily outside and I was scared they might have got themselves stuck in a jam somewhere). I was also worried that no one would actually turn up to watch, but thanks to Usratika, who started the event, we managed to get a sizeable crowd, although they did begin to taper towards the end. Sharon Bakar came up next and read a hilarious piece excerpt from her still-unfinished novel, about a wife of an expat living in Malaysia and who absolutely hated living here. (Her blogpost here .) Tan Sei Hon came up next and sang two songs, one about rain and another about a couple. I overheard Sharon mention to him later that he sounded like Cat Stevens, and to that Sei Hon replied: "Before he converted or after?" Hah! Intan Rafiza came in late but des

STICKY: A Special Edition Kata-Suara at the KL International Bookfair

(Click on the poster to enlarge) The nice folks from the KL International Bookfair has asked us to organise a special edition of Raja Ahmad's Kata-Suara event at PWTC this Saturday, so I hope you can drop by for a session of spoken words and music! This Kata-Suara will feature these fine people: A Samad Said Sharon Bakar Syed Munawar Raja Ahmad Aminullah Intan Rafiza Tan Sei Hon Dewangga Sakti Usratika Date: 6th April 2008 Time: 6pm Location: KL International Bookfair, PWTC See you there!

KLIBF Day 2.

Pretty busy day. I arrived late at the booth, and the surge of schoolkids, parents with family in tow didn't make things easier. But the huge crowd did give give us quite a number of sales. Certainly much better than yesterday. Met Firdaus Ariff in the morning who was nice enough to drop by and keep me company for a short while. Later I met Azwan Ismail , who wandered into my booth with Fadli Akiti . They told me about Fadli's new sf book, Saga Horizon --" If you liked Opera Angkasa , you'd like this! " I told them I would certainly check it out. In fact, right after they left the booth, I rushed over to the Alaf 21 booth to get my copy. When I asked the lady there about it she looked surprised. "How do you know about that book? We just printed it yesterday! Oh, wait you're one of Fadli's friends aren't you?" I said I just heard about it and wanted to buy it. (But the question remains! So how bout it Fadli? Would you be fwens with me ?) I a

KLIBF Day 1.

So we managed to set up the booth without anybody's head getting chopped off. No cats got impaled either although I don't know if the annoying kids singing the nursery-songs-turned-nasyid on the other side survived or not. I'm at Booth #3030 at Tun Razak 3, all day and every day. The booth's name is under Koperasi Buku Malaysia/MLSI but I'm hawking books for Suarasuara Publications . I've got books from Suarasuara, catalogues from RA Fine Arts Gallery, the Mea Culpa book I told you about (only RM20!) and a bunch of second-hand books you may find worthwhile. Even if you're not interested in any of those wares, and you're at the book fair, do drop by anyway and have a chat. Because I am sad and lonely*. I haven't checked for wifi yet, but I doubt it. (I don't even have a plug point to plug my ibook in.) I didn't have a proper look around yet, having been round only the floor I am so far. I'm taking it easy this year since this is the firs


It looks like I may be at the KL International Bookfair the whole gorram time, looking after a certain booth. I'm not sure the booth is under what name yet but I assume its Suarasuara Publications. Or it could be RA Fine Arts. Or maybe even Koperasi Penjual Buku Malaysia or something similarly proper- and baku -sounding. If you're visiting KLIBF and braving the smelly crowds, don't forget to say hi to me! I'll update details on my booth location when I get them. Hopefully today, but I excel in inefficiency so I make no promises! UPDATE: I'll be at Booth #3030 at Tun Razak Hall 3. Things to look forward to during KLIBF: cheap Dawama magazines (okay, maybe you don't buy them, but I have an odd fascination reserved solely for "approved" Malay-literature), new PTS books (am hoping to get some modernised Malay classics) and fringe literature. One example of fringe literature I think could be Amirul Fakir's new independently published book, Mea Culpa

"Not Now, Sweetie, Daddy's Worldbuilding"

Tim Pratt , author of one of the best damn sf short stories I've ever read (and if you haven't read it yet why haven't you?), has an essay up on Clarkesworld about juggling baby duties and writing : With a kid, long chunks of time to write is like perpetual motion or zero point energy. You just can't get it, at least, not without putting more energy into the system than you get out. I was seriously contemplating hiring a babysitter for a few hours just so I could write — but with the kind of money fiction writing pays, that quickly becomes a losing proposition, economically speaking. So... I adjusted. Turns out, that's what being a parent requires. Yes, I'm a natural binge writer. Yes, my preferred technique is to slip into that wonderful zen state of flow for several hours and emerge with twenty or thirty pages of prose. But you know what? Too bad.

More on Rushdie.

Salman Rushdie was at the Chapman University to surprisingly, not promote his book. He was too busy getting his honourary degree, I suppose. From this article in the OCRegister, we also have news of another children's book Rushdie is working on! This would be the first time since he wrote Haroun and the Sea of Stories , which I truly loved.

The Guardian Reviews Rushdie's Enchantress of Florence.

I can NOT wait to get my filthy mitts on this book : The essential compatibility of the realistic and the fantastic imagination may explain the success of Rushdie's sumptuous, impetuous mixture of history with fable. But in the end, of course, it is the hand of the master artist, past all explanation, that gives this book its glamour and power, its humour and shock, its verve, its glory. It is a wonderful tale, full of follies and enchantments. East meets west with a clash of cymbals and a burst of fireworks. We English-speakers have our own Ariosto now, our Tasso, stolen out of India. Aren't we the lucky ones?