Tyson Adams

Putting the 'ill' back in thriller

Archive for the month “February, 2013”

Perth Writers’ Festival 2013

Another year has come and gone for my local writers’ festival. Once again I joined my fellow reading nerds and aspiring authors to descend upon the grounds of UWA. This year there were 30,000 of us who felt the need to spend three days of lovely weather discussing books.

This year I spent a lot of the three day in writing workshops and less time at discussion/interview sessions. There is always room for improvement in writing, so what better way than sitting down with an expert and two dozen peers to discuss and practice. I’d like to thank the various experts who all had some interesting insights and tips: Susan Midalia (short stories – literary focus), Belinda Castles (finding your voice and turning that story into reality), LA Larkin (thriller writing, great tips and she is also running a longer course with the Sydney Writers Centre) and Parker Bilal (crime writing, developing the characters and structure).

This isn’t to say that I didn’t get the chance to see any talks. The discussion of Antarctica was fascinating and puts it on the list of places I’d like to visit before climate change has its wicked way with it. The discussion with Major General John Cantwell and former WA premier Geoff Gallop about why it is necessary to help remove the stigma around mental illness was fantastic. John managed to pretend he wasn’t suffering PTSD for 20 years, which is just amazing considering some of the the ramifications it was having on him. Another great session was with David Petrarca, Sue Masters and James Bradley discussing how TV storytelling now rivals cinema and literature. It is quite clear that subscription TV and services like Netflix are changing the game for production of TV, which is why we are seeing great writing, great acting and decent budgets to give us programming I actually want to watch. James Bradley made a very poiniant comment: we have to stop ragging on Master Chef and other boring and mindless TV shows, their popularity allows decent TV to be funded. Finally, on Sunday I was introduced to two new (for me) authors in the panel discussion on thrillers with Andrew Croome, LA Larkin and Steve Worland. I’m looking forward to reading Andrew and Steve’s books, and of course Louisa’s new novel Thirst.

But, now the festival is over for another year. This picture sums up the take home message for me from this year’s Perth Writers’ Festival:

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New climate info graphic

I wrote a little satirical book review about a notorious science journal called Energy & Environment, which is the go-to place for people who think the Earth is flat and that climate change isn’t happening. I’ve written a few articles on the topic myself and I’m also rather active in promoting climate science and renewable energy (just read my Twitter and Facebook feeds). As a result the author of the Infographic below – Allison Lee – contacted me. So enjoy a few climate facts from the graphic below and share it to continue to raise awareness.

Climate-Change

Created by: Learnstuff.com

Buying Happiness

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Book Review: Arctic Floor by Mark Aitken

Arctic FloorArctic Floor by Mark Aitken
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There is nothing quite like a marketing executive, especially when they work in publishing. These are the people who come up with the fantastic ideas like: dog on the cover because dogs sell books, no dogs in the book; bright and cheery cover art, book about a serial killer; quotes recommending the book by famous authors, authors that have the same publisher. In this case the marketing department came up with a brilliant idea: Matthew Reilly is an Australian author who sells a lot of books, let’s mention him on the cover, despite the fact that the two authors write in a completely different style.

I grabbed Mark’s book from my local library because I saw he had a new book out, the third in a series, and I hadn’t heard of him previously. A fellow Aussie author, with a comparison to Matthew Reilly on the cover: this should be gold. Needless to say, the marketing people drew me in with false advertising. Mark’s book is a thriller and was a decent read, but he was more Cussler or Archer than Reilly. In fact, I was more reminded of Sahara (swap baking temperatures for freezing cold) than I was of Ice Station.

False advertising aside, this is quite a decent thriller. Worth a read, if you are after a James Rollins or Clive Cussler style novel. I’d expect later books in this series will probably “grab” the reader more, so maybe check out Mark’s new one.

View all my reviews

Another bout of writing

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Advice for authors and their promo photos

Author photo

Books vs. Movies

Book vs Movie

Book Review: How I Became a Famous Novelist by Steve Hely

How I Became a Famous NovelistHow I Became a Famous Novelist by Steve Hely
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Satire is always fun. There is something so rewarding about taking the piss out of someone, something or society. The problem with satire is either that the target often doesn’t have much of a sense of humour or that the joke is just dragged out too far. One of the greatest works of satire, Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, is a great example of how writers can sometimes labour a joke/point too much, whilst being absolute geniuses.

Steve’s satire of the literary industry is right on the money. From the biting examples of literary drivel, to the examples of writers and the claims by industry figures that no-ones knows anything about books, Hely has hit the mark. I’m sure if I actually read much literary fiction I’d even recognise the books and writers who were satirised.

So it pains me to give this book only 3 stars, but I really had to. There were bits I had to skim over, especially in the second half of the book. Some of the literary satire pieces were too close to the truth for me, essentially making for boring reading. And, as I have already alluded, the book relies on one joke. This is still very well done, an enjoyable read, but it does suffer the fate of many pieces of satire, hence only 3 stars from me.

View all my reviews

The novel synopsis

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Tyson Adams’ 2012 Book Awards: The Awesomes

Last year I instituted my best reads of the year, The Awesomes. I’ve read a few books this year (+90) and have decided that I needed to talk about my favourites of 2012 and award this year’s Awesome™.

As you will have noticed, my reviews of books are more about my impressions of the book and talking about how much I liked the book, rather than a recap of the plot, etc. My reasoning behind this is simple, I want to say “read this book” to people rather than fall into my bad habit of spoiling the ending, or being a bitch about books I didn’t enjoy. My list is based upon what I have read this year, so obviously some great books have missed out due to lack of reading hours in the year. Also my read list does include some books that were published prior to 2012. There were some categories that were sadly under-represented and some that had some very intense competition.Also, the fact that I finished a book shows that it was worth reading. I have my reading rules that stop me wasting valuable reading time on books I’m not enjoying. This means that any books on my read list are entertaining (well, unless I was particularly disgusted with the crappiness of the book in question).

Awesome of 2012

Nathaniel Cade series – Christopher Farnsworth

Night Angel Trilogy – Brent Weeks

Blasphemy – Douglas Preston

Temple of the Gods – Andy McDermott

Temple – Matthew Reilly

McGrave – Lee Goldberg

And the winner? Blasphemy by Douglas Preston.

Awesome Literary Fiction

There were no nominees in this category this year. Better luck next year.

Awesome Mystery & Thriller

Temple – Matthew Reilly

King City and McGrave- Lee Goldberg

First Drop – Zoe Sharp

Blasphemy – Douglas Preston

Temple of the Gods – Andy McDermott

Relic – Preston and Child

Nathaniel Cade series - Christopher Farnsworth

Tough category, but always hard to go past Matthew Reilly.

Awesome Crime

Assassin – Tara Moss

Vodka Doesn’t Freeze – Leah Giarrantano

Black Echo – Michael Connelly

Sunset Express – Robert Crais

Thirteen Hours – Deon Meyer

Another tough category this year. I’m going to have to give this one to Leah, with Tara, Michael and Robert close seconds.

Awesome Fantasy

Night Angel Trilogy – Brent Weeks

Awesome Paranormal Fantasy

Nathaniel Case series - Christopher Farnsworth

Awesome Science Fiction

There were no nominees in this category this year. Better luck next year.

Awesome Horror

Nathaniel Cade series - Christopher Farnsworth

The Kult – Shaun Jeffery

And the winner? Nathaniel Cade kicked arse!

Awesome Romance

There were no nominees in this category this year. Better luck next year.

Awesome Humor

Right What You No – Tyson Adams’ blog

I’m allowed to be self-congratulatory. Plus I didn’t read any funny books this year.

Awesome Nonfiction

This is an oxymoron, so it is invalidated as a category.

Awesome Graphic Novels & Comics

I didn’t read any 5 star graphic novels this year, but two series came to an end that were worth a mention: The Boys by Garth Ennis and Irredeemable/Incorruptible by Mark Waid. Both series were very strong and explored interesting aspects of the superhero genre.

Awesome Indie

King City – Lee Goldberg

Awesome Poetry

I still try to avoid poetry as much as possible, mainly because of ee cummings.

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