Monday, June 30, 2008

ApolloCon 2008 - a Colorful Time

I'm back from ApolloCon, held this past June 27th to 29th at the DoubleTree Houston Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas. It was my first stint as a Guest of Honor, and I wasn't disappointed. Certainly not by the friendliness and competence of the ApolloCon staff (hi Shai!) nor the quality of its other guests, nor the generosity of its attendees.

In short: Great weekend. Thanks to Katy Pace for picking me up and treating me to dinner, since Continental Airlines and stormy weather combined to make me miss the group GoH dinner Thursday night. Flight was delayed three hours, which was better than all those later flights that were canceled, sure, though ironically - having just come out of a period of heavy acquiring for Pyr, I had decided NOT to bring anything much to read! Just two short stories! (So I bought a Wired magazine, read it cover to cover, and am now feeling very plugged in.)

Speaking of being plugged in: Friday kicked off pre-con with a fascinating conversation with Fan GoH Anne K. G. Murphy, pictured here with my friend and frequent illustrator John Picacio. Anne is an utterly brilliant person and has some very interesting ideas both for convention promotions and for online fiction, and dialogging with her throughout the weekend was definitely one of my convention highlights.

Another highlight was dinner with Author Guest of Honor Allen Steele, courtesy of the very generous John Husisian, who saw us milling around the restaurant lost and offered to treat us both to the buffet. Thank you John H! Also got to spend some real time with John DeNardo of SFSignal (and a little time with JP as well). Both great guys, and John D, this is for you: "I'm up on the eleventh floor, and I'm watching the cruisers below..."

Also got to meet J.M. McDermott at my KaffeeKlatsch - author of Last Dragon and firmly convinced that Steampunk doesn't actually exist. Caught up with Chris Roberson (who thinks that it does and is even bigger than the rest of us know), Jayme Blaschke (fellow Green Arrow enthusiast), and Alexis Glynn Latner (pictured here signing copies of Hurricane Moon. Have you got your copy yet?).

I judged the masquerade contest Saturday night, along with Artist Guest of Honor and very funny man Brad Foster and artist Victory. The highlight here was actually Bradley Denton's opening band, though I am proud to have named the "Best Hagrid" Award, given to the, well, the Best Hagrid. What else?

It was wonderful as always to see Zane Melder of Edge Books. Zane always has the best selection (particularly of backlist), and I don't just say that because he's been so wonderfully supportive of Pyr and Yours Truly, though he has been wonderfully supportive of Pyr and Yours Truly. (He has impeccable taste in shirts too, btw.)

I hear the convention had 414 registered attendees come Saturday night, and I was surprised to see people buying day passes as late as 11am Sunday morning, so they must have done all right. For a relatively new, relatively small convention, it was very well run, very smooth, and I had a wonderful time. The staff at the Doubletree were also very friendly and helpful. The complimentary cookie was delicious, and signs proclaiming "We Proudly Brew Starbucks Coffee" should be made a requirement of all con hotels, on a par with "a good bar."

Thank you all! I am honored to have been there!

Reviews: MultiReal / Starship: Mutiny

Back from ApolloCon, and will be blogging that soon.

In the meantime, thrilled to come back and see that Fantasy Book Critic's Liviu C. Suciu loves David Louis Edelman's MultiReal,though be warned there are some spoilers in this very thorough review:

"The Matrix meets Boston Legal… A true page-turner that I could not put down, and when the final page came I was sad since I really wanted more… The combination of extraordinary world building, compelling characters that grow on you in Jara and Natch, legal intrigue, political maneuverings and fast action made MultiReal an even more entertaining book for me than Infoquake,which I loved too. Better pacing and a more compact time frame make MultiReal technically more accomplished too, and I really have the highest hopes for Geosynchron. Highly, highly recommended."

And the hilariously named POD People (I'm getting shades of The Dark Crystal here) are quite fond of Mike Resnick's Starship: Mutiny:

" and an interesting commentary on politics, the media and government. Commander Cole is not of the 'blast-them-first, ask questions later' school, so his solutions to the problems presented are inventive and indirect. The secondary characters are well-realized, and the problems presented are grounded in human nature. I really enjoyed Mutiny and can recommend it to fans of science fiction and good stories. Since Pyr is a traditional if small publisher, the mechanics of layout and editing are perfect."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Doctor Who: Short Trips - Transmissions

There's an interview up at Unreality SF with Richard Salter, the editor of the forthcoming Doctor Who anthology Short Trips: Transmissions, out next month from Big Finish. My own story "Generation Gap" is in the book, along with a story from Solaris head George Mann. I've blogged about my history with both Richard and Doctor Who fiction before, but basically it's nice to see a project over a decade and a half in the making coming together.

All we had to do to make it come together was reverse the polarity.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Technologies Converge to Shape our Lives in Unimaginable Ways

Snagged from the Prometheus Newsletter as being "of possible interest":

Imagine direct communication links between the human brain and machines, or The Coming Convergencetailored materials capable of adapting by themselves to changing environmental conditions, or computer chips and environmental sensors embedded into everyday clothing, or medical technologies that eliminate currently untreatable conditions such as blindness and paralysis. Now imagine all of these developments occurring at the same time. Far-fetched? Not so. These are actually the reasonable predictions of scientists attempting to forecast a few decades into the future based on the rapid pace of innovation.

Author Stanley Schmidt--physicist, writer, and Editor of Analog: Science Fiction and Fact-explores these and many more amazing yet probable scenarios in The Coming Convergence: The Surprising Ways Diverse Technologies Interact to Shape Our World and Change the Future ($27.95, April 2008), which New Scientist says, "does an excellent job of highlighting how all sorts of technologies have historically converged to create new and unanticipated possibilities." In this fascinating guide to the near future, Schmidt uses his scientific knowledge and expertise to show how past convergences have led to today's world, then considers tomorrow's main currents in biotechnology, cognitive science, information technology, and nanotechnology. Looking even further downstream, he foresees both exciting and potentially dangerous developments:

* Longer, healthier lives
* Cheap, generally available food, energy, and technology
* Reduced pollution and environmental stress
* Excessive power in too few hands
* Increased vulnerability from overdependence on technology.

Schmidt notes that even routine technology such as the CAT scan is the result of three wholly separate innovations started many decades ago which recently converged: the X-ray, the computer, and advances in medicine. On a more ominous note, he also observes that the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center was made possible by the malicious convergence of two separate trends in modern engineering and technology: the concentration of people in high rises within cities and the success of the passenger airline industry. The message is clear: the choices we make now will converge to create a near and distant future that will be almost unbelievably wonderful or unimaginably catastrophic, or both.

As John Gribbin, author of The Scientists: A History of Science Told Through the Lives of Its Greatest Inventors, puts it, "Stanley Schmidt's vision of the future manages to steer a fine line between doom and gloom. He warns us of the problems inherent in the runaway growth of technology, but also describes the almost unimaginable benefits that can occur when different technologies come together in a happy marriage. The overall effect is uplifting and inspiring; if you think the world has changed a lot in the past twenty years, as someone once said, 'you ain't seen nothin' yet'."

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Very excited to be the Editor Guest of Honor at ApolloCon, held this coming June 27th to 29th at the DoubleTree Houston Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas.

And here is my (tentative) ApolloCon Schedule:

Fri 4:00PM - 5:00PM
KaffeeKlatsch: Lou Anders - BR 2 = Rm #217
On Friday afternoon enjoy an early bird treat: coffee and chats with our Honored
Guests. For names, times and locations check the pocket program and any posted
Programming Updates. (Limited attendance. Sign-up may be required.)
Lou Anders

Fri 7:00PM - 8:00PM
Opening Ceremonies - Seattle I
Celebrate science fiction and fantasy! Join the concom, our Guests and the
Guests of Honor in the official opening of ApolloCon 2008.
Mark B. Hall (M), Lou Anders, Brad Foster, Margaret Middleton, Allen Steele,
Anne K.G. Murphy

Fri 8:00PM - 9:00PM
What Makes a Good Book Cover - Scottsdale
Lou Anders leads our panel in a discussion of what makes a good book cover. Is it
all about marketing? Fashion? The story inside? Come and find out!
David Lee Anderson, Lou Anders (M), John Picacio

Sat 11:00AM - 12:00PM
Editor GoH: Lou Anders Q&A - Seattle I
Lou Anders answers questions from the floor, and possibly off the wall. Moderated
by John Picacio.
John Picacio (M), Lou Anders

Sat 12:00PM - 1:00PM
Trends in Science Fiction - Seattle II
What are the hot trends in science fiction right now? The panelists outline current
trends in our genre.
Derly N. Ramirez II, John Picacio, Lou Anders, Lawrence Person (M)

Sat 4:00PM - 5:00PM
Autographs: Allen Steele, Lou Anders, Brad Foster - Autograph Table
Your chance to get your books and memorabilia signed and to chat with our
guests. Please, if the line is long, limit the number of items signed to 3. (We
reserve the right to enforce the limit.) For names, times and locations check the
pocket program and any posted Programming Updates.
Allen Steele, Brad Foster, Lou Anders

Sat 5:00PM - 6:00PM
Balloons of War and Pearl-handled Ray Guns: Tucson
Steampunk Rampant
Steampunk is on the rise in fiction, media, art, gaming, and even costuming.
Where did it come from and where is it going? Our panelists discuss this
Chris Roberson, Lou Anders, Stina Leicht, Matthew Bey (M), Scott Cupp, Martha

Sun 11:00AM - 12:00PM
What's New at Pyr - Seattle I
Lou Anders gives us a sneak peak into what's going on at Pyr Books and what we
can expect to see from them in the near future.
Alexis Glynn Latner, Chris Roberson, Lou Anders (M), John Picacio, Ops

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sideways in Crime: A Nifty Notion

"The earth's greatest science fiction and fantasy magazine," SFX, has reviewed my just-released latest anthology Sideways In Crime,calling it "a nifty notion." They toss out phrases like "it brilliantly conjures up a sense of place" (for Kristine Kathryn Rusch) or "proves he’s as adept at the whodunit as he is at rewiring the past" (for Stephen Baxter). They praise stories by Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Jack McDevitt, Mary Rosenblum, Pat Cadigan and Chris Roberson. But we only get three stars. Apparently, we are too clever. As in: "Here, the sheer cleverness of so many of the stories can become wearing: as clever twist follows clever idea, don’t be surprised if occasionally you find yourself yearning for more straightforward narratives." I am reminded of something Ian McDonald said recently about books verses television. And my own opinions of why The Simpsons was more popular than Futurama. But happy that we're nifty.

John W Campbell Memorial Award

Back from a week in Mexico to some good news, already broken elsewhere but no less exciting. Ian McDonald's Brasylhas been nominated for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best SF Novel of 2007. The Campbell will be presented during the Campbell Conference Awards Banquet at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, July 10-13, 2008. The full list of 2008 Campbell Award Finalists is here.

Brasyl is also nominated for the Hugo Award, and won the British Science Fiction Association Award earlier in the year.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Battle Beyond the Stardust

I'm a huge fan of Rick Kleffel's Agony Column Podcast. Big fan. So I'm thrilled to announce that today's podcast features Yours Truly, talking about the state of Sci Fi Cinema, in what Rick has dubbed, "Battle Beyond the Stardust." Rick says:

Today's Agony Column Podcast News Report gets in touch with Lou Anders, editor of the incredible Prometheus Books imprint, Pyr. I've been wanting to get back to Lou and talk to him about SF on video and the upcoming Hugo Awards. You know, for all that I loved, and I mean LOVED Neil Gaiman's perfect prose construction 'Stardust', the trailers for the movie left me a little leery, and I never got round to even seeing it. I know, what's the matter with me? I run out to see Neil Marshall's Doomsday (which I really enjoyed), but not Stardust. Well, we sort it all out in this MP3 download; this is your chance to hear one of the great editors of the 21st century. Forward – Fast Forward!

Update: Thanks to Joel Shepherd for pointing me to this article in the LA Times about Sue Naegle, the new HBO program developer, who wants to make HBO a "dream destination" for writers again, and who lists among her favorite shows Battlestar Galactica and Lost.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Sideways in SciFi

John Joseph Adams interviews Yours Truly on SciFi Wire today regarding my "alternate mystery" anthology Sideways In Crime(due out very, very soon from Solaris books and apparently already in stock at Amazon).

Here's a snippet: The other inspiration for the book was Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union, which marries a classic detective tale to an alternate history. "I was intrigued by Chabon's premise," Anders said. "So between Sawyer and Chabon, I found I was thinking about 'alternate mystery' a lot, and, as I try to make all of my anthologies explorations of genre, I decided--or rather discovered--that this was something I very much wanted to explore."

And here again - because, why not? - is the cool audio promo for the book, courtesy of Singularity Audio:

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

MultiReal: The Book Cover

The full jacket for MultiReal.Courtesy of illustrator Stephan Martiniere and designer Jackie Cooke. Nice, huh?