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Erin Bow

Erin BowErin Bow studied particle physics in university, eventually working at the CERN laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland. Lucky for us, she then decided to leave science in order to concentrate on her writing! Her poetry has won a CBC Literary Award, among others. She lives in Kitchener, Ontario. Read the first chapter of Plain Kate at Erin Bow’s website.
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Erin Bow explains “The Uncanny Valley”

Today we welcome Erin Bow whose novel Plain Kate (which I loved) made our BEST OF 2010 list. Her second YA novel, Sorrow’s Knot was released this week and I can't wait to read it. Since it’s Halloween, Erin’s here to talk about creepiness and to give away a copy of Sorrow’s Knot to one random commenter with a U.S. address.

Happy Halloween, fantasy readers and writers! Let’s talk about how to make monsters creepy.

There's a curious thing I call the Sauron paradox, after the Dark Lord from THE LORD OF THE RINGS. Now, Sauron is powerful and should be terrifying. He has twisted into shape whole categories of malign creatures: orcs and goblins and fell beasts and trolls. He's blighted half a continent. He's (if you ... Read More

Plain Kate: If you’re sick of romantic YA, you’ll like Plain Kate

Plain Kate by Erin Bow

Plain Kate is the orphaned daughter of a master woodcarver, and a skilled woodcarver herself. She lives in the town of Samilae, whose inhabitants are a superstitious lot; when the crops fail or disease strikes, they cast around for someone to blame. A Roamer (Rom), perhaps. A person with a deformity. Or, maybe, someone with a skill they think is uncanny. An enigmatic stranger arrives in Samilae with a terrible plan, and vulnerable Kate is just the right person to serve as the linchpin in it. He frames her for witchcraft, then offers to help her escape… for a price.

Witch hunts, prejudice, diabolical bargains… Plain Kate is a much darker book than you might expect based on the jaunty cover art. When you do reach the roof-walking scene, you’ll recognize it immediately, but you might be surprised at the dire circumstances that surround it! Yet it’s not without its share of brig... Read More

Sorrow’s Knot: Exceeds high expectations

Sorrow’s Knot by Erin Bow

Sorrow’s Knot had some big footsteps in which to follow, since Erin Bow’s debut novel Plain Kate was pretty terrific. But I’m pleased to report that Sorrow’s Knot not only lived up to my expectations but exceeded them. This is a fantastic novel, and better than Plain Kate.

Sorrow’s Knot is set in a world that feels a lot like the Pacific Northwest, and draws from (without copying anyone or anything in particular) Native American cultures. The heroine, Otter, is growing up in a village that is almost exclusively made up of women. She is the daughter of Willow, the village’s Binder, whose task it is to bind the dead — both figuratively and literally — so that they cannot return in ghostly form to harm the living. But now Willow is going mad, and making cryptic statements about the bi... Read More

The Scorpion Rules: The price of peace

The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

Sit down, kiddies. Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, humans were killing each other so fast that total extinction was looking possible, and it was my job to stop them.

Well, I say “my job.” I sort of took it upon myself. Expanded my portfolio a bit. I guess that surprised people. I don’t know how it surprised people — I mean, if they’d been paying the slightest bit of attention they’d have known that AIs have this built-in tendency to take over the world. Did we learn nothing from The Terminator, people?

So begins Erin Bow’s new young adult dystopian novel, The Scorpion Rules, with Talis, the snarky but cold-hearted artificial intelligence overlord of the earth, explaining how humanity got itself into its current bind. Earth... Read More

FanLit Asks… About Style (Part 2)

Here's another installment of FanLit Asks. Instead of asking one author several questions, we’ve asked several authors just one question. Please leave a comment or suggest a question for us to ask in the future. We’ll choose one commenter to win a copy of Jack Vance's The Eyes of the Overworld (one of my favorites!) on audio CDs (or, if you've got bad taste, something else from our stacks).

Question: Which speculative fiction writer has had the greatest influence on your own writing style and what, specifically, do you find most inspirational about that writer’s style?

Alex Bell: Definitely Terry Pratchett. His Read More