Ferne Merrylees

devourer of books, regurgitator of words

Vigil by Angela Slatter

Monday, Jan 15, 2018
Last year I had the pleasure of attending GenreCon in Brisbane and I was delighted to meet a few Australian authors who were there to talk about the trials and tribulations of writing creatively. I also bought far too many books, so many that I ended up sneaking them into a friend’s bag as I only had carry on luggage. Of those books I bought, one was Vigil by Angela Slatter.

Frogkisser by Garth Nix

Wednesday, Jan 3, 2018
I’ve always been a fan of Garth Nix, ever since I was a child. The fact he’s Australian and lives in my own city is just the icing on the cake as I often get the pleasure of seeing him talk at conferences, writing festivals and book launches. He spoke at GenreCon in Brisbane last year and I picked up two of his new books, Frogkisser! and Have Sword Will Travel , the latter he co-wrote with Sean Williams.

Aphelion Webzine December issue

Friday, Dec 15, 2017
To finish off 2017, I’m thrilled to have my short story “The Appointment” published in the December issue of Aphelion, the Webzine of Sciece Fiction and Fantasy. The story is one I wrote back in 2014 while on a trip to New York. There’s something about being out of your usual comfort zone that inspires the imagination and it was on a subway platform at 96th Street Station that I observed two gentlemen meet: one older and clearly fed up with his day and the other somewhat amused as if he was remembering a joke.

Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Sunday, Dec 3, 2017
On Tuesday the 28th of November, I had the pleasure of being at Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner’s book launch for Unearthed, the first book in their new YA SF duology. Garth Nix was the host and the evening was brilliant, offering great insight into how these authors work together to create some pretty epic stories. They discussed how the idea behind Unearthed was born while watching an Indiana Jones film one evening in New York during their Starbound book tour.

Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor

Thursday, Nov 30, 2017
Just put down Laini Taylor’s Night of Cake and Puppets and I’m reconsidering my dreams of being an author. How can her writing be so beautiful? I know, I know. We’ve all got our own different voices and styles. It’s important to read widely and read well. To be inspired by others and be challenged to improve our own writing. When I read Laini Taylor’s perfect words, I can’t imagine what her first drafts look like.

The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

Friday, Oct 20, 2017
After chowing through two science fiction trilogies (The Broken Earth series by N.K. Jemisin and The Imperial Radch series by Ann Leckie), I was ready for a bit of a break from that genre and conveniently, I was able to attend Jessica Townsend’s book launch for her debut novel The Trials of Morrigan Crow, the first novel in her Nevermoor series. I won a t-shirt in the raffle! As did my partner and my friend, our names drawn one after the other even though Townsend had given the tickets a good shuffle.

The Imperial Radch series by Ann Leckie

Wednesday, Oct 18, 2017
After reading N.K. Jemisin’s The Broken Earth series, I wasn’t sure I was up for another SF series for a while. The Broken Earth series are a brilliant series and I didn’t want to be disappointed if the next SF book I read wasn’t up to Jemisin’s standards. Generally, as a rule, I’ll read the entire series in one go; otherwise, I forget the little details from previous books in the series and that’s a loss all round.

The Broken Earth series by N.K. Jemisin

Saturday, Oct 7, 2017
So I’ve been meaning to write this post for ages. I’ve been on a bit of a reading binge and I’ve gobbled up two epic SF series that I can’t stop telling everyone I meet about: The Broken Earth series by N.K. Jemisin and Ann Leckie’s Imperial Radch series. For my review of Leckie’s novels, go here. The Fifth Season, the first book in the Broken Earth series, kind of hovered around in my awareness for quite a while before I finally read it.

The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

Tuesday, Aug 1, 2017
Robert Cormier is one of the fathers of contemporary young adult literature. Unlike other fiction for teenagers in the 70s and earlier, Cormier’s fiction explores taboo themes such as mental illness, abuse, masturbation, and sex. While completing my PhD in YA literature, I read I Am the Cheese, which is about mental health issues, and the first paragraph (and incidentally the last) has stayed with me: “I am riding the bicycle and I am on Route 31 in Monument, Massachusetts, on my way to Rutterburg, Vermont, and I’m pedaling furiously because this is an old-fashioned bike, no speeds, no fenders, only the warped tires and the brakes that don’t always work and the handlebars with cracked rubber grips to steer with.

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Thursday, Jul 27, 2017
I’ve read a few of Neal Shusterman’s novels and they’ve all been based on a strong, interesting premise. Unwind is based around the idea that children between the ages of 13 and 18 can be unwound by their parents, a kind of post-birth abortion, where their bodies can be harvested for organs. One scene still haunts me. The protagonist’s bully undergoes an autopsy, his body harvested for transplantation, from the feet up.