Blog Archives

Amazonian States

Thursday, 21 July 2005

Warring States can now be ordered via Amazon.com with a rather nice 32% discount and eligible for the thingy discount delivery (Kelly – do NOT order it, love).

WARRING STATES discussion

Wednesday, 29 June 2005

Oh my.

A rather fabulous review of Warring States has been published on the faction paradox ezboard. I am biting my fingernails to ensure I don’t respond with a “you like me, you really really like me!” wobble. As always, since I keep writing novels about cultures and times which are not my native ones, I live in fear of knowledgeable people. Writing about Chinese culture without resorting to either “the mystic east” or “the yellow peril” (the latter especially worrying as WS is set at the height of the West’s sinophobia) was one of the main aims I sat down with and hopefully I’ve managed it.

“lyrical weight”. Oh my.

edited to add: Since the novel is now Out There being read by Real People (not that my beta readers Kelly and Naomi are not Real but…), I’ve added some pages to the general WS web thingy. Since the whole novel was written with the awareness of the web in mind, I tagged stuff as I went. You can now view some of the objects I used as source material via my flickr “warring states research” tag, or you can see websites I thought useful enough to bookmark via my “warring states” del.icio.us tag. Some of the latter were used once to find a key term, others were returned to time and again whenever I forgot something.

Warring States – now shipping

Monday, 20 June 2005

news from the publisher Mad Norwegian Press: Mad Norwegian News

19th June 2005 – WARRING STATES now shipping…

The newest Faction Paradox novel, Warring States by Mags L. Halliday, is now shipping from Mad Norwegian Press. Subscriber copies are in the mail, and copies will be arriving at retailers in the US and the UK throughout the next two weeks.

The book will also be solicited through Diamond Distribution at a later date to be determined.

A list of UK bookshops stocking it is available here. (Ooh, Galaxy Four in Sheffield – I used to buy fanzines in there)

the horror, the horror

Sunday, 22 May 2005

Well, I watched 55 Days in Peking (see previous post). Let’s set aside my utter hatred of Charlton Heston for now and just go with the things I said/shouted at the TV:

“If they’d had that many men in military marching bands they wouldn’t have been so beseiged.”

“The Jade River was dry!”

“Why is the Dowager Empress a) holding court in the Temple of Good Harvest b) granting Westerners audiences?”

“Prince Tuan was a warrior, not an Evil Viser from a Disney film.”

“Seymour!”

“Why isn’t Morrison in this scene?”

“Since when was the Fu a temple? It was a palace.”

“Old Betsy never blew up like that.”

“Oooh, it appears to have turned from a psuedo-Western into a psuedo WW2 commando film.”

“They never did that.”

“Or that.”

“Hang on…there was no Major within the walls. The highest rank was captain*. Heston shouldn’t even be there.”

“Where are the militia? And Fort Halliday was more than a ring of sandbags.”

“It’s not the end – the dynasty continued for another twelve years.”

“I see we’re not going to get the looting of the Imperial City by the foreigners then.”

So, safe to say, not a terribly accurate portrayal of the Boxer Rising. It does play half as a Western (clearly remembering the Alamo again) and half as a WW2 commando film. When Heston starts showing off his manly muscles with a red strip of material tied about his head and ripped clothing, all I could think of was Rambo. Given the film was made in 1955, you do wonder if a subtext about beleagued countries setting aside their differences to stave off the evil hordes is the usual reds-under-the-bed fear.

What does it matter, you’re thinking, if the film was good. But it wasn’t. Direction, even by 1950s standards, was poor; the acting was dire; the music was intrusive and any drama in any scenes was leached away by the poverty of the script. And, since the Boxer Rising is not particularly heard of in the UK, this is likely to be the version people know. And it’s wrong. If, OTOH, you only know of the Boxers via the Buffy/Angel episodes Fool for Love and Darla - don’t watch this film! Seriously, Buffy is more accurate in 10 minutes than this entire film is in 150.

*I just looked it up: there were 53 US Marines, of whom 3 were ranked Captain. The British actually had the largest force within the Legation, with 79 men (3 of whom were Captains) and 3 sailors.

55 Days In Peking

Saturday, 21 May 2005

Ah, Sunday matinees on TV. If you’re bored tomorrow, 55 Days In Peking is on BBC2 at 12.30. This is the Nicholas Ray (and others) romantisised version of the Boxer Rebellion and, amazingly given my levels of research for Warring States, I’ve never seen it. I’ve read the original account called 55 Days in Peking, published in the 1920s, which was a rather dry and uncontextualised retelling of the Legation siege. So I’ll be watching with terrified fascination: the film is not what you might call accurate so I may end up shouting at the TV a lot. Also, Charlton Heston is one of my least favourite actors (but it does have Niven as well so all is not entirely lost).

That’s my number, wear it out…

Wednesday, 18 May 2005

I now have the ISBN for Faction Paradox: Warring States : 978-0-9725959-8-8.

It’s not up at Amazon yet, but give it time.


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