A Review of The Afterlife of Emerson Tang by Paula Champa

Champa coverThe Afterlife of Emerson Tang by Paula Champa Metaphysical, Elegant Treatment of Family and the Afterlife.

Review by M.C. Boyes

Although the plot revolves around the wealthy collector Emerson Tang and a car, this is really the story of Beth, Emerson’s archivist.

Beth has had trouble connecting with other people, ever since a painful near-death experience as a child. She has felt a lack of direction and a distance from other people, as if a wall of glass separates her from life. In the process of helping the dying Emerson settle his affairs, Beth grapples with the question of why she’s alive, and discovers a web of connection between herself, Emerson, his family, her family, a famous artist, and yes, that car. Read more »

A Review of How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, by Orson Scott Card

How to write Science fiction and Fantasy - Orson Scott CardThis is a useful book for intermediate-level writers, or for more experienced writers new to writing science fiction and fantasy. Although in some respects it might be considered dated, the foundations are solid. Do be aware that it focuses much more heavily on science fiction than fantasy, though most of the principles covered can be applied to both.

In chapter one, Card covers the definitions of science fiction (and sub-categories of science fiction), and fantasy, and the difference between them, while acknowledging the fluidity of these definitions. These distinctions are useful in understanding how readers and publishers are likely to regard your work. Since this book was written in 1990, a wide variety of sub-genres and hybrid genres have sprung into existence, so the list is no longer comprehensive, but useful as far as it goes. He also gives some basic reading recommendations for getting a quick education in the history of science fiction. Of course, there are many names that have been added to that list since publication but this short list would be a great place to start. Read more »