Annotated Excerpt: DRIFTWOOD by Marie Brennan (Tachyon)

BrennanM-D1-DriftwoodDriftwood might be the oddest novel I’ve written, and I say that as somebody whose previous novel is composed of diary entries, letters, newspaper clippings, and the footnoted translation of an ancient mythological epic.

Part of the reason for that oddness is the setting, which is composed of the still-decaying fragments of mostly-destroyed worlds. But part is that it didn’t start life as a novel: it’s what’s known as a “fix-up,” composed of short stories joined together to make a larger whole. (If you find yourself thinking, “huh, so the form of the book reflects the form of the setting,” give yourself a cookie: that’s why I decided to create a fix-up rather than writing a more conventional novel.) For this excerpt, I’ve decided to give you the opening two scenes of the first story in the book, which is also the first one I wrote.

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Interview with MARIE BRENNAN

BrennanM-AuthorPicWelcome back to CR! It’s been a little while, so let’s start with an introduction for new readers: Who is Marie Brennan?

Well, at one point I wound up calling myself “an anthropological compost heap from which stories sprout,” which might be as good a description of my writing as any. I’m a fantasy novelist and short story writer (and occasional game writer, too), with an academic background in anthropology, archaeology, and folklore, which leaves its fingerprints all over my work.

Your new novel, Driftwood, will be published soon by Tachyon. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader?

The tagline is “where worlds go to die,” but that sounds a little grim, doesn’t it? Driftwood is a setting composed of the fragments of broken worlds, brought together by some unknown force. Driftwood the novel is a fix-up of short stories previously written in that setting, with a new novelette and a frame story to link all the pieces together. If you feel like there might be a thematic connection between the setting and the form of the novel, well, you’re not wrong! Continue reading