Magic or Madness Really Truly is Real

Just before we left Sydney my foreign rights agent (doesn’t that sound posh?), Whitney Lee, wrote to tell me that Cheng Chung Books of Taiwan have made an offer for the Chinese (complex character) rights to Magic or Madness. Did I want to say yes? Oh yes. Very much so. Affirmative. Absolutely. Too bloody right. Yes, please!

My first novel has now sold in three different markets: USA, Australia, and now Taiwan (including Hong Kong and Macau). Magic or Madness is going to exist in a language completely unlike my own. Ideograms not alphabet! Top to bottom not left to right! I can’t wait to see what it’ll look like.

So I am now finally convinced that the book is real. Surely they wouldn’t have offered for an imaginary book? Besides I’ve been into four bookshops since we arrived in NYC and even through my jetlagged haze I could see that they had my book. They had them in their twos and fours and at Books of Wonder in their fourteens! I love that shop. At the Union Square Barnes and Noble there was a special section, Myths and Heroes (I may have that title arse up, I’m jetlagged, okay?), that featured Magic or Madness along with five other books including Holly Black’s fabulous Tithe.

Booklist gave the book its second starred review:

In this fierce, hypnotic novel, character, story, and the thrumming forces of magic strike a rare, memorable balance . . . Readers looking for layered, understated fantasy will follow the looping paths of Larbalestier’s fine writing, as graceful and logical as the coiled chambers of Reason’s ammonite, with gratitude and awe.—Jennifer Mattson

Sigh. Gratitude and awe . . .

Heh hem, what was I saying? Oh yes, Magic or Madness is real. Okay, just so you don’t think I’m irretrievably lost in the maws of the mighty praise monster (which, actually, I am) I also got my first review from a reader on He gave me a scant two stars and declared that the book is like a "bad Australian episode of Charmed". Brilliant turn of phrase, eh? I’ve been imagining Charmed a la Neighbours ever since:

Jane: Charlene!

A petite, curly-headed blonde emerges fron beneath a car dressed in overalls, holding a spanner. She wipes her forehead leaving a grease mark.

Jane: Whatcha reckon about that new warlock, Cole? Bit dodgy, eh?

Charlene: Too right. I don’t reckon he’s really you-know-who’s son. And what were you doing snogging my hubbie, anyway?! You witch!

If the movie rights to Magic or Madness ever sell, I do hope they get the Charmed/Neighbours combination right. Could be tricky. I’ll just have to keep my fingers crossed that our Kylie’s available for the role of Reason.

Tomorrow I begin a brand new novel. One that hasn’t even been sold in English yet. Can’t wait.

New York City, 17 April 2005