Monday, March 11, 2013

Julie Czerneda Launches Turn of Light at Bakka Books

On March 9th 2013 Julie Czerneda launched her first fantasy novel "A Turn of Light" at Bakka Books, Toronto, to an enthusiastic crowd of erudite readers and loyal fans. A festive atmosphere of books and food had transformed the store into a gala reception. I spotted the toad cookies right away. As I headed for them, I saw many familiar faces: avid readers and established authors too. I traded smiles and stories with fellow SF Canada colleagues, Derwin Mak, Claire Eamer, Peter Halasz and many others. Ira Nayman showed me his new book, “Welcome to the Multiverse”, which will be launched at Ad Astra later this month. 

As I wormed my way unobtrusively toward the toad cookies, I bumped into friend and colleague Costi Gurgu and his wife Vali. Costi’s award-winning e-book “Ciuma de Sticla” (The Glass Plague) is now available on Amazon. Last year’s Aurora finalist for his imaginative cover art (for my book "Outer Diverse"), Costi is eligible for the Aurora again this year for his artwork on "Inner Diverse" (don’t forget to vote!). We had a lot of catching up to do before Julie, glowing with the energy of a powerful dragon (she must have had several of those cookies), leapt on a chair—to see everyone—and began to read from her book.

I never did get to the cookies…

Like me, Julie is an ecologist, avid researcher and passionate teacher. Julie’s work showcases her reverence and respect for the diversity of life on this planet. Most readers know her by her prolific science fiction works  (e.g., Beholder’s Eye, The Clan Chronicles, Species Imperative, and Esen and her Web series).

"Turn of Light" is her first fantasy novel and it is, like much traditional fantasy, large (a whopping 896 pages). In her interview with Speculating Canada, Czerneda admitted some trepidation at the reception by readers of her first fantasy nove. From what I’ve seen on Goodreads and elsewhere, she need have no such worries. The Library Journal proclaims: “Brilliant fantasy debut…Fans of L.E. Modesitt Jr. and Charles de Lint will love this fantastic and magical fable.” As for Charles de Lint himself, here’s what he says, “An enchanting and gentle fable, rich with detail and characters you will love.”

Here’s the description of the book on Amazon:

To see things as they are, wait for the turn of light...

The village of Marrowdell is an isolated pioneer community, but it is also the place where two worlds overlap, and at the turn of light--sunset--the world of magic known as the Verge can briefly be seen.

Jenn Nalynn belongs to vothe Verge and Marrowdell, but even se doesn't know how special she is--or that her invisible friend Wisp is actually a dragon sent to guard her...and keep her from leaving the valley. But Jenn longs to see the world, and thinking that a husband will help her reach this goal, she decides to create one using spells. Of course, everything goes awry, and suddenly her 'invisible friend' has been transformed into a man. But he is not the only newcomer to Marrowdell, and far from the most dangerous of those who are suddenly finding their way to the valley...

Here’s a short excerpt:

By night, Marrowdell posted sentries. Massive toads lined the road. Their eyes were perfect disks of moonlight, like so many silver coins tossed in his path.They weren’t toads. Or rather they were something else as well. Like the road, silvered by moonlight also had an amber hue, and the sky, which was mostly dark and star-filled but was also shot through with vivid colours for which he needed names. When he looked closely, the toads’ loose folds of skin became coats of fine mail and their warts, rich gems. No idle gauds, he judged those, but medals of some kind. Accomplished toads.

He hoped for their favourable opinion.

Biologist Julie E. Czerneda's science fiction has received international acclaim, awards, and best-selling status. She is the author of the popular "Species Imperative" trilogy, the "Web Shifters" series, the "Trade Pact Universe" trilogy and her new "Stratification" novels. She was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Her stand-alone novel, In the Company of Others, won Canada's Prix Aurora Award and was a finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award for Distinguished SF. Julie lives with her husband and two children in the lake country of central Ontario, under skies so clear they could take seeing the Milky Way for granted, but never do.

Find out more about Julie and the cool stuff she is doing for science literacy in an interview by Derek Newman-Stille of Speculating Canada.

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