Five things (with links) of great interest, including not only fantasy books but deadly biscuits

Subject One: I am going to the Third Annual Kidlitosphere Conference; it will be my first one. I want as many other people to go as possible so that I get to meet them! The deadline to get your hotel room at the great group rate is September 16th. Even if you might not consider yourself an official member of the Kidlitosphere per se, please remember that the "kidlitosphere" is not a fixed and finite thing--it's not an exclusive club! It's (in my mind) just a catchall to cover anyone who likes talking about children's and YA books. It would be great to see some of this year's new YA bloggers, and some of the fantasy reviewing folks who love YA books, as well as the usual suspects....*

Subject Two: Speaking of fantasy--at Tor a few days ago was a great post by Mary Pearson (author of The Adoration of Jenna Fox), about What YA Lit is and isn't. My favorite bit: "I think sometimes there is still this basal reader mentality when it comes to teen books, like it is a stepping stone to the “grown-up stuff.” Basal Reader Year 10. Hm, no. It is simply its own unique type of literature that explores the teen experience." (Thanks to Liz for this).

This prejudice seems especially naturalized among readers of "grown up" speculative fiction. Here's an old post (May 2008) on the subject by John Scalzi that still seems relevant (and I was fascinated that in the week this post was written, "the top 50 YA SF/F bestsellers outsold the top 100 adult SF/F bestsellers (adult SF and F are separate lists) by two to one."

Interestingly, Scalzi also writes about what happens when an established writer of adult sci fi goes YA--his own book, Zoe's Tale (shortlisted for the Best Novel Hugo)--"The frustrating part is that one very large chunk of the book’s intended audience — teenagers and in particular teenage girls — have little if any awareness of the book." Oh gosh, Mr. Scalzi, I am guilty. Zoe's Tale is one I have been meaning to read for 11 months, and I have a copy, but I guess I have been reluctant to read it because I know it's part of a larger story (The Old Man's War) that I haven't read... I will try to get to it this weekend.

And in case by any chance you missed this third old post of Scalzi's, here's Really the Only Thing That Has to Be Said About the YA Thing.

Subject Three: two excellent lists

Stella Matuntina has a lovely list of LGBT characters in speculative fiction; check out the comments for more. (My suggestion was Door into Fire et seq., by Diane Duane. Hard to find these days, but rather gripping. Best fire elemental ever, but then, I haven't read Fire yet).

In her post, Where's Ramona Quimby, Black and Pretty? Elizabeth Bluemle of Shelftalker invited readers to suggest great books with kids of color, and put the resulting, fantastic, list together on Librarything.com. Here's her World Full of Color post, describing this. (thanks to Eva, where I saw this first).

Subject Four: bringing everything together beautifully, here's the call for papers for the 31st Annual International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts
Theme: Race and the Fantastic

Division of Children’s and Young Adult Literature

Guest of Honor: Nalo Hopkinson
Guest of Honor: Laurence Yep
Guest Scholar: Takayuki Tatsumi
Special Guest Emeritis: Brian Aldiss

The 2010 ICFA welcomes paper proposals on all areas of the fantastic
(including high fantasy, allegory, science fiction, horror, folk tales and
other traditional literatures, magical realism, the supernatural, and the
gothic) in all media (novels, short stories, drama, television, comic books,
film, and others).

The division of children’s and young adult literature is especially
interested in paper proposals throughout the field, including picture books,
easy readers, novels, short stories, film, comic books, and other forms. We
embrace a wide variety of scholarly approaches and interests, including
genre, historical, theoretical, and textual, models. We encourage work from
scholars, independent scholars, international scholars who work in languages
other than English, graduate students, and undergraduate students.

The conference will run March 17-21, 2010, in Orlando, Florida.
Subject Five: "half of Britons injured by their biscuits on coffee break, survey reveals." Read more to find out which common biscuit is the most deadly (thanks to Jenny Davidson for the link, and, while I'm at it, for all the other incredibly diverting links she posts).

*Does anyone know why Blogger changes the line spacing like this? There's nothing obvious in the html. I hate it when Blogger decides to do things of its own volition, pretending it was my layout choice...


  1. Thanks for linking to my list! I've always wanted to be part of a round-up post. :)

  2. I had a good laugh over that "tea cookies" thing. Honestly!

    I'm hoping to read Scalzi's book and do an interview with him at some point -- I've read Old Man's War and I expect his YA to be just as good.

  3. Eee! I have Scalzi's book in my To Read pile, too! Thanks also for reminding me of the wonderful Riddlemaster of Hed trilogy. It's one of the ones I smile about when I come across it in my library.


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