Thursday, 18 April 2013

The Gig Life: The Shining Girls Book Launch 17/04/2013

It's always wonderful attending an event at Love Books. The store is beautiful and any book lover instantly feels at home there. The owner, Kate Rogan, and her staff are friendly and just downright delightful people.

This time around Love Books was launching Lauren Beukes' new novel, The Shining Girls. The novel's about a time-traveling serial killer compelled to murder a number of girls throughout different periods of time. These are the shining girls who are each gifted in a some manner. One girl survives the killer's attack and hunts him throughout time. The hunter becomes the hunted.

You had me at Lauren Beukes and time-traveling serial killer. The concept sounds like something Dean Koontz would write and I'm looking forward to reading the book.

This also proved one of the rare occasions that I could don my fanboy hat. I'm a huge fan of all things literature but my heart and soul belong to the green valleys of fantasy and bright lights of sci-fi. I am a fan of Lauren Beukes' work and I especially love that she writes stories in different but interlinked media. She's responsible for novels like Zoo City (for which she won the Arthur C. Clarke Award) that are weird and yet accessible to people who aren't necessarily fans of sci-fi, she writes for TV in wonderful shows like URBO: The Adventures of Pax Africa (I love this show) and gets to play around with Rapunzel in Bill Willingham's Fables comic world in the Fairest spinoff arc.

This is very cool for me in terms of the ability to write stories in different genres. I'm intrigued by the idea of telling stories across platforms. When I asked Lauren (I think I can address her on a first name basis now) to comment on the process of writing in all those different spaces she replied that it all boils down to storytelling. You're a writer trying to tell a story and picking up the mechanics of each medium comes second to that. I am always in awe of comic book writers as that storytelling format seems alien and mathematically complex to write for and Lauren did say that on many occasions she has to cut many lines of text she really wanted to include because you are limited by how much text you can include in a comic book.

Lauren was interviewed by the owner of Books Live, Ben Williams, about the new book and I like that she addressed how confusing genre is in literature and how people coin new phrases for genres to place stories in. The Shining Girls is sci-fi, it's a thriller and many other things beside. Lauren playfully called Zoo City muti noir when it came out. It's difficult to assign genre tags to literature because most writers are well read and everything around them inspires the stories they write and they dabble in all of literature. I read a comic book like Grant Morrison's Final Crisis and I see Milton's Paradise Lost right in there with Darkseid's war in heaven and subsequent, but victorious, fall.

I got to speak with (and fist bump) Lauren for a short while and despite her hectic schedule (it's crazy, you guys) meeting so many fans, signing books and taking pictures she is interested in what you have to say and is a delightful conversationalist. I don't like meeting people I idolise for the most part because they are rarely what I expect but it was a great meeting Lauren Beukes, she is awesome. She is a shining girl.

Thank you to Love Books for a great evening. Whenever you're in Melville stop by say hello, buy a book and some Joostenberg wine.


Ron@ScrabbleOnline said...

This looks like a great launch event. I hadn't heard of the book but I'll check it out now- I'm interested.

Charles Siboto said...

You really should! Lauren Beukes is a great writer.