Saturday, December 29, 2007

Shiny Review

Rich Horton has reviewed Shiny in his yearly roundup of the markets.

Shiny is a brand new Young Adult speculative fiction ezine edited by Alisa Krasnostein, Tansy Rayner-Roberts and Ben Payne, out of Australia. I think a YA short fiction outlet is a great idea. Two issues appeared in 2007, each with 3 short stories, so a total of 6 short stories, about 27,000 words. From the first issue my favorite was Eugie Foster’s "Close to Death", a lighthearted piece about a literal encounter with Death on an Atlanta freeway. From #2 I liked another lighter piece, Tina Connolly's "The Goats are Going Places", sort of a sendup of "Gossip Girl" type stories about ritzy prep schools, in this case with a heroine whose aunt, a witch, teaches her a lesson.

Four of the six stories were by women, and two of the stories were SF.

Buffy Retrospective

You know, it occurs to me that doing this retrospective is going to become a big deal to me - I have never, ever rewatched the episode The Body. Now, I know it's ages and ages away from now but ... I actually am going to have to kinda psyche myself up for it.

- Alisa

Sneak Peek From Shiny 2

"The Goats Are Going Places"
by Tina Connolly

Once in the most boring lunchroom of the most boring junior high school in the world, there sat a girl who refused to be bored for one more minute. Renee Ryder cut P.E. and found some interesting girls who liked to hang behind the shop building and get artistic with spray paint. She decided to be their leader. With Renee in charge, the girls got very good with spray paint. In the amount of time it took a red light to change, they could paint an entire ocean on a car, with goldfish and seahorses and two dolphins doing it. But then they got busted for tagging the vice-principal's minivan, and then Renee was snarky and got expelled, which was fine with her because she'd mastered both the graffiti and the girls by now and it was all so boring.

Renee's parents shrieked, which was also boring, but then Renee's aunt Simone stepped in and said Renee could come live with her and go to the very best junior high in the City. Renee's mother, who often called her sister something rhyming with witch, cackled. "Whatever happens to you, you'll deserve it," she said.

"Six bedrooms, a hot tub, my own flatscreen the size of a bed? You bet I deserve it," said Renee. She packed her ripped jeans and her cans of spray paint, her old teddy bear and her lighters, and went to live on 1313 Strega Place with her aunt.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Buffy Retrospectives - Starting Mid January

For a while now I've been wondering how I can contribute to the meta discussion on YA works. Both Ben and Tansy wrote really interesting editorials for the first two issues of Shiny and I was kinda at a loss as to what I would say in mine, when it came round to my turn. They both are so much more well-read in recent YA novels than me. What could I possibly have to add to the discussion?

It then occurred to me that what I know about YA is television. I've been a big fan of YA TV series since, well, since I was a young adult myself and I've never really lost my love for it. And I thought what I could add to the discussion is the extra dimension of the celluloid medium.

I have just finished the final season of The Gilmore Girls. This has been a rather serious accomplishment, since in Australia, broadcasting of this show has had obstacles at every turn. It's sad because this show so heavily relies on the in jokes, often of current pop culture, and this is what I loved about this show. And the fast talking. And so much of the pop culture references get dated when you have to wait three years to view the show. As part of my protest to Channel 9, I started buying the series as they were released on and am happy to have finally seen the whole show all the way through.

Although the final season suffers from the change in writers, I noticed something that has kinda piqued my interest. Whilst the show started out deeply entrenched in YA territory - one of our lead characters is embarking on High School (Australian equivalent being Year 10) - by following one year of her life for every year of the show, by the seventh season, we are no longer in YA land anymore, Toto.

And really, isn't any YA ongoing series destined to this end point? Unless the characters stagnate with following instalments using a restart button, a la Star Trek, time must surely move on. And isn't that what we, as consumers of the material, want? I know I want to invest in a character and see them grow and learn and change. And to do that ... don't they have to grow up? Off the top of my head, I came up with some other examples: Harry Potter, Dawsons Creek, The OC, Anne of Green Gables, Roswell and on.

What's interesting to me is that the initial instalments are YA and appeal to a (mostly?) YA audience but as they progress, the characters must surely grow up and grow up along with the initially targeted audience. My question, though, is does that limit the material to the originally hooked audience or can a younger audience buy in? Does the later material still appeal to the younger (or original target demographic) audience even though it is no longer technically YA? And how do you categorise it? Are the final books of Harry Potter still YA? Are shows that finish set in College when they started in High School still considered YA? Would an older audience buy into such material had they not been there for the set up?

And this leads me to Buffy The Vampire Slayer, where for me, all roads inevitably lead. Because, really, is it not the Queen of YA TV? Is it not the be all and end all of everything? (It is for me). And I find myself with a fair bit of time on my hands, suddenly. And in the mood for a bit of angst. And so I thought I might revisit my Mecca and see how the show stands up with this much distance and with this much extra life experience. And so ... over the coming year, Ben and I are aiming to feature two episodes a week here on this blog with some meta discussion and commentary.

And we would love for you to join us. The first episode should be covered here in the third week of January. So feel free to watch ahead or along with us and come past and join in the discussion!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Shiny 2 - Sneak Peak

Blurred Horizons
by Bren MacDibble

Tash adjusted her goggles and scanned the horizon. A low drone, barely audible, was the only clue that something was up there. She blocked the sun's glare with her hand. A dark shape slid into view, distorted by heat. It took Tash a few minutes to make out the shape of an old transport, an older series Kenworth Big Rig Flyer by the looks of it. The old hulks were the only things that stopped here now. New transports could get clear across the country without refuelling. Once all the old-style Flyers were scrapped, the station would close and Tash and her mum would have to leave.

Tash held her breath as the vehicle descended onto the concrete pad. Red alluvial dust billowed up, stuck to the sweat on her skin, and thickened her hair and clothes. The day was a stinker. She wasn't looking forward to braving the full blast of the sun.

The Flyer touched down with a clunk and its motor shut off. Tash snatched her slouch hat from the bench beside her, jammed it firmly on her head and strode over to the vehicle. She wasn't in the mood for work today. Not after what had happened last night.

-- to read the whole story buy a copy of Issue 2 --

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Shiny Issue 2 released!

Issue 2 is now available. Don't miss out!

"The Goats Are Going Places" by Tina Connolly
"Cracks" by Trent Jamieson
"Blurred Horizons" by Bren MacDibble
Young Adult Fantasy Review: From the Sublime to the Frivolous by Tansy Rayner Roberts