Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sideways in Crime: Audio Promo

Check it out, an audio promo for my forthcoming anthology Sideways In Crime,courtesy of Shaun Farrell and SingularityAudio.com.

Shaun is, of course, also the co-host of the absolutely marvelous podcast, Adventures in Sci Fi Publishing, and this is a sample of his new audio consultation and development service.

What do you think?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Structura: The Art of Sparth

The mail just arrived with my contributor's copies of Structura: The Art of Sparth, a beautiful, 127 page book for which it was my honor and privilege to have written the introduction. Nicolas "Sparth" Bouvier is an amazing talent, working in both cover illustration and concept art, his work familiar to anyone who has seen or played Assassin's Creed. His style seems to fit comfortably at the midpoint of such greats as Stephan Martiniere and John Harris, while remaining completely his own.

Sparth did the cover of our own The Martian General's Daughter(which you can see on page 120 of the book), though if you look at page 26 at "Dune 1" you can see why I thought of him for Theodore Judson's book to begin with. I love his work, and hope & expect it will grace another Pyr cover coming your way again soon. Meanwhile, for more of his amazing artwork, go buy his book.

The Pyr Blog

Hey, look what's going on over here.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Feast Your Eyes...

Because I can't talk about artwork enough, here are the covers of three forthcoming Pyr books. On the left is Chris Roberson's End of the Century,as envisioned by Dan Dos Santos. (Full illustration, sans text, is here.) This is a tale of a young woman named Alice Fell, a teenage American punker who has been having visions of the London Eye all her life (and before there was such a thing), so follows her vision to the UK and falls into a conspiracy that moves through secret societies (and shadowy assailants) all the way back to the origins of the Holy Grail myth. One part urban fantasy, one part secret history, there are also odd parallels with a completely different Pyr book that was being written at the same time. No I won't say which one. But I will say this is the best thing Roberson has written thus far, and he's a damn good writer.

Then over here on the right we have Stephan Martiniere's cover for Ian McDonald's Cyberabad Days, a collection of all the stories that have sprung out of the brilliantly-realized future India he crafted for River of Gods.There's a Hugo winner, a Hugo nominee and a 25k original novella here, so what's not to love, right? I don't think it's unfair to say that this is going to be a talked-about book in 09.

Then back on the left is a cover by Todd Lockwood - our first time working with Todd, who was wonderful - for a really interesting debut fantasy novel, Tom Lloyd's The Stormcaller: Book One of the Twilight Reign.This is a tale of Isaak, a "white eye" - a person born with more charisma, more strength, and more anger than average people, created by the gods to be leaders of men, but limited by those gods as well, who is thrown from humble origins into courtly politics (and courtly intrigues, and, of course, killer battles replete with trolls and dragons). It's a really intricate, lush, fully-realized fantasy world, of the grim and gritty variety, a sort of Elric set loose in Middle Earth, that I am VERY excited to be releasing in the States. Todd's full cover is a wrap-around too, so this is only a taste.

More covers starting to appear on our forthcoming books page too. And here's a handy Amazon list too. Please also note that John Picacio's utterly fantastic cover for Fast Forward 2 is still being worked on, so as great as it is, it isn't final (and hence not reproduced here).

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Who Would Play the General?

So, Paul Di Filippo gives a really glowing review over on SciFiWire to Theodore Judson's The Martian General's Daughter,and this really brightens my day, because I'm really excited by this book, and I want everyone else to be too. But rather than just repeat what he says here, as is my norm, I'll just ask that you read it for yourself, and I'll cut to this tangent, from his postscript at the very end:

Alas, the perfect actor to play Gen. Black in the film version of this book is dead: I can see David Niven bestriding the ruins of the Pan-Polaric empire as clearly as I see Beyonce as Justa!

Which resulted in a half-dozen emails back and forth between Paul and I, and an entirely separate half-dozen emails between Judson's agent Richard Curtis and I, in which names like Sean Connery and Christopher Plummer were thrown out, until it hit me that there one and only best possible choice for Gen. Peter Black is John Neville.

Don't you agree?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

He's Not Dead!

Brian W. Dow breaks a year-long hiatus from blogging to post the cover he did for the forthcoming Tobias S Buckell collection, Tides From the New Worlds.

Pretty, no?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Doctor Who: Short Trips - Transmissions

Hey, look at this. Big Finish has uploaded a webpage for Doctor Who: Short Trips - Transmissions. Due out July 31, 2008 this is a hardcover anthology of short stories featuring the 1st to 8th Doctors and having "communication" as its theme. And, not that this should cause you to rush out and buy it, but it also features my own "Generation Gap", a third Doctor and Sarah Jane story that is the first piece of fiction I've managed in about four years plus.

There's actually a bit of a backstory here. Back in 1994, I used to hang out on rec.arts.drwho and made the acquaintance of a guy named Richard Salter who was trying to sell an anthology to the then-existing Virgin Books line of Doctor Who adventures. Richard sent me some of the initial stories for a look, and, unasked, I, um, edited one. Rather than telling me to F.O., he gerenously invited me to co-edit. Well, nothing came of our pitch except that I knew half a dozen Doctor Who novelists when all was said and done (including the soon-to-be-famous Paul Cornell). So a year later when I find myself living in LA, working on sets, and needing more $, I hit on the idea to pitch a Doctor Who novels feature to various SF mags. None of them bite, but the now-defunct SciFi Universe says they'll send me to a convention in Irvine that none of them want to bother with. There I meet Jean-Marc Lofficier, attached at the time as "Fan Liaison" to the forthcoming 1996 BBC/Fox co-produced Doctor Who movie (starring Paul McGann, wonderfully acted, horribly conceived). Jean-Marc then recommends me to Titan Magazines, who are looking for someone based in LA to help them with their newly launched Star Trek Monthly - which leads to 5 years and 500 articles about science fiction TV. Which leads to a gig as the editor of an online publishing site called Bookface.com, which when it goes bust, ends with my knowing a few hundred SF authors, which gets parlayed into my first few anthologies. You can probably fill in from there. Anyway, 14 or so years later, Richard has sold his anthology - this time to Big Finish - and he kindly remembered me. And it's an honor to have come full circle and finally be a part of his first Doctor Who book so many years after first being invited.

Talk about Back to the Future, huh?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Infoquake: Volatile, Complex and Very, Very Realistic

I just noticed that Colleen R. Cahill has suddenly reviewed David Louis Edelman's Infoquakefor Fast Forward, (the local cable TV show devoted to science fiction based in the Washington, DC area, not my anthology series of the same name). Colleen praises the world-building, which rather than being a dystopia or a utopia, is realistic enough to encapsulate both. Although she doesn't invoke it, her split the middle future reminds me of Warren Ellis' comic book Transmetropolitan,which I always loved for the way it presented the future as neither wonderful nor terrible but both simultaneously (you can be genetically engineered to swim with dolphins for a day, in a world where poor Irish children are sold as food). This sort of all-too-believable future is what drew me to Infoquake to begin with, though I agree with Colleen when she says, "As interesting as his world is, it is Edelman's characters that make this book shine. Natch might be good at bio/logics, but he mostly seems motivated by revenge: as his friend Horvil points out, Natch only seems to succeed when he is beating someone else. The interactions between Natch, Horvil and Jara (who is both attracted to and disturbed by her boss) are volatile, complex and very, very realistic. It is easy to believe in these people, and even feel like maybe this is a future that is not too far away."

I'm glad Collen stressed the strength of Dave's characters, because sometimes I think people in the SF genre have a hard time with protagonists who do bad things. I don't know why this is - though I suspect it stems from decades of conditioning in SF television, all the way back to Roddenberry and his attempts to have drama without interpersonal conflict. And the strange pressures of a society that want its basketball players, boxers, and rock stars to be role models as well. You know, when you look back at classic "heroes", all the way back to the Greeks, they are a pretty flawed bunch, and it's their flaws, as much as their strengths, that give us such wonderful narratives. I love Natch, because, hey, I've worked for Natch. And because I think brilliant-but-flawed and obsessively-driven people are fascinating (Batman, Spock, James Bond, the aforementioned Spider Jerusalem, many more....) In the meantime, SF television has certainly come along, with post-HBO shows like Battlestar Galactica. But I still think some people conflate interesting with admirable. A character need only be the former, not the latter. Of course, a well-rounded character can move from one to the other too, and remember, I've already read MultiReal.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Sideways in Crime: A "High Quality" Anthology

The first review of my forthcoming anthology, Sideways In Crime,appeared in my mailbox today, in the March 31st issue of Publishers Weekly. And it's a great one for starting this book off right:

"Fans of alternate history and crime fiction should enjoy this high-quality anthology from noted editor Anders (Outside the Box). The tone of the 15 contributions ranges from the tongue-in-cheek (Mike Resnick and Eric Flint's 'Conspiracies: A Very Condensed 937-Page Novel,' featuring an alien abduction of Jimmy Hoffa) to serious political theory (Stephen Baxter's 'Fate and the Fire-lance,' a whodunit set in a 20th-century Roman Empire). Jon Courtenay Grimwood weighs in with 'Chicago,' a twisty tale in which technological advances allow the narrator to plot a perfect murder. The standouts are S.M. Stirling's 'A Murder in Eddsford,' which could be at home in a collection of English cozies, and Mary Rosenblum's 'Sacrifice,' which marries a vision of advanced Aztec civilization to an intricate plot."

I should add that the book review is given it's own sidebar, with the cover, paired with Cecilia Tan's Best Fantastic Eroticaand under the title "Genre-Benders: Editors blend speculative fiction with other genres to create anthologies with broad appeal." Sweet! Congratulations, Cecilia - and to all of our marvelous contributors!