01 June 2006

Cronus Chronicles website

I haven't read The Shadow Thieves, but I'm very impressed by the Cronus Chronicles website that author Anne Ursu has commissioned. For an author's site (as opposed to one created by a multinational publishing conglomerate after a "property" has proved itself in the marketplace), it's elaborate and heavy with stylish graphics. Much credit due to Jonathan Van Gieson at Fictional Company design.

One detail that caught my eye in this preview is that the books' secondary protagonist, Zee, is a boy from London. From what I can tell, Ursu is rooted in America: Brown University, Portland (Maine, though it could just as well have been Oregon), Minneapolis, and soon back here in New England. But does top-market children's fantasy need a dash of British flavour these days?

In early April, Publishers Weekly reported on upcoming fantasy novels for children and young adults that publishers planned to promote strongly. Of all the titles mentioned, only Jeanne DuPrau’s prequel to City of Ember is written by an American. All the first-time authors (or first-time authors of children’s fantasy) that the magazine highlighted are British.


Anonymous said...

A friend sent me this entry. Thanks so much for the props for the website--Jon is a friend of mine and he's amazing. You're absolutely right, there's no need for British flair in fantasy and when I was writing, it didn't occur to me how terribly obvious it is to have a British character. The character of Zee is actually in honor of my own cousin who grew up in Malawi and came over to live with me and my family in Minnesota when I was 8. I wanted the cousin to come over from another country and since I've never been anywhere close to Malawi, England seemed the obvious choice!

Anne Ursu

J. L. Bell said...

Interesting. Thanks for the inside look at Zee's inspiration.

I noted the apparently African roots of the British protagonist in The Shadow Thieves, and thought that was a more interesting choice than American culture's usual stereotype of a Englishman, a pale aristocrat.

But of course Britain is changing, as the now-famous Guy Goma episode shows. When the BBC assumes that a man from Togo is its expert on trademarks and internet commerce, the day of the pale aristocrat has passed.