Thursday, July 31, 2008

What a Short, Strange Trip It's Been

Yay - got my contributors copy of Doctor Who Short Trips: Transmissions, the Doctor Who anthology themed around communication and edited by Richard Salter. It's a good looking hardcover, and I'm thrilled to be one of the names on the back cover, along with George Mann, Dan Abnett, Andy Lane, Steve Lyons "and many more!"

I'm rather proud of my story, "Generation Gap," as it's written in the second person in a way that makes the grammatical person relevant to the theme.

Reviews, Blogs & Podcasts

Lissa Warren, of The Huffington Post, asks "Will Blogs Save Books?" She's reacting to the announcement that the LA Times is laying off two of its books editors and folding its stand-alone Sunday books section into its Calendar section.

She takes issue with the notion that blogs are an adequate substitute for professional reviews, saying, "Well, I think book reviews on blogs -- particularly those of the Blogspot variety -- tend to be self-indulgent. Book reviewing bloggers need to move away from opinion in favor of judgment. How does the book compare to -- and fit in with -- the author's previous work? What's the book's place in the genre? The canon? Does the writer succeed in doing what he or she set out to do -- meaning, is it the book they meant it to be? Whether it's the book the blogger wanted it to be is of much less importance to me, frankly."

But she's hopeful that will change: "But I can envision a day when blogs do for books what books have done for people: challenged us, made us think in ways we never would have."

Personally, I think peer-to-peer reviewing carries more weight with me than critical reviews these days, and I tend to read far more peer-to-peer review blogs than print sources. Part of that, of course, is my focus as an editor getting a handle on what actual readers think. And what I find the most helpful, actually, as a consumer - for when I'm debating what I want to read in my oh-so-scarce pleasure reading tie - is interviews. They give me the best sense for what a writer is like and whether I'm liable to respond to what he/she is doing.

And you know what, one of my favorite interviewers is Rick Kleffel, whose Agony Column podcast is in depth and detailed enough to hold my interest, and whose tastes broad enough that I feel it's still relevant to my day job while taking me a few places I wouldn't go otherwise. So good on Jeff Vandermeer for interviewing Rick!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Stalking the Wild Resnick

Robert of Fantasy Book Critic reviews Mike Resnick's Stalking the Vampire,and to do so, he does more than due diligence and goes back and reads Stalking the Unicornas well. The result? While he clearly enjoys both, he seems to prefer the original, just because it is the original. I get this, as, in much the same way, I suppose I have to say that Perdido Street Station has to be my favorite China Miéville for inventing Bas Lag to begin with, even though I think that Iron Council is the superior book.

So, while Robert says that, "Stalking the Vampire cleverly and humorously mixes together elements of a hard-boiled detective mystery with contemporary fantasy, campy satire, and dialogue-driven irony. For fans of Simon R. Green’s Nightside series, Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files and Mike Resnick :)" (and who can argue with that?), he does admit that, "Out of all of the John Justin Mallory stories that I’ve had a chance to read...Stalking the Unicorn is easily my favorite. It’s also, in my opinion, the best of the John Justin Mallory stories... Even so, Stalking the Vampire is still a hell of a lot better than most of the stuff that’s passing for urban fantasy these days, and if I had to choose between the two, nine times out of ten, I’m sticking with Mallory. So here’s hoping that Mike Resnick has many more John Justin Mallory stories to tell…"

Don't worry, Robert. He does.

My WorldCon/Denvention3 Schedule

Here's my "final" schedule for the 66th World Science Fiction Convention, Denver, Colorado, August 6th to 10th:

Wednesday 2:30 PM
33 Cover Art in the Internet Age
CCC - Korbel 4CD
“Don't judge a book by its cover.” How does this maxim work in the internet age when books are sold online (with small images of the cover) or even more so in e-books.

John Picacio, (m)Laura Givens, Lou Anders

Wednesday 4pm
57 Signing (75 minutes)
CCC - Hall D
Cynthia Felice, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Lou Anders, Mike Resnick, Warren Hammond

Friday 9AM
Stroll With the Stars
A gentle, friendly 1 mile stroll with some of your favorite Authors, Artists & Editors. Leaving daily. 9AM, from the Big Blue Bear in front of the Colorado Convention Center,
returning before other Programming begins, definitely before 10.

Lou Anders, Paul Cornell, John Picacio, Stephen H. Segal

Friday 11:30 AM
304 Kaffeeklatsch
CCC - Korbel 4E

Elizabeth Moon, James Patrick Kelly, Joe Haldeman, Lou Anders

Friday 5:30 PM
416 Pyr Books Presentation
CCC - Korbel 4CD

Lou Anders & authors and artists

Friday 8Pm - 11PM
Sheraton Party Floor
Pyr Party in Honor of Ian McDonald

Saturday 10AM
455 The Comeback of Original Anthology Collections
CCC - Korbel 1C
New collections of original stories are appearing more frequently now than over the recent past. Original Anthology Collections may be substituting for or supplementing magazines as a market for short fiction. Why are we seeing this and what can we expect in the near future?
Ellen Datlow, Jonathan Strahan, (m)Lee Martindale, Lou Anders

Sunday 1pm
655 The Coming Thing - what's next and newest in SF
CCC - Room 502
Panelists discuss what is next up in the SF pipeline.
What new crazy ideas and approaches should we be looking for? What's going to be popular next year, and after that?

Charles Stross, (m)Daniel Abraham, Lou Anders

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


David Louis Edelman: At a Romantic Dead End?

The wonderful Rob H. Bedford interviews Infoquakeand MultiRealauthor David Louis Edelman for SFFWorld today.

In light of old discussions about writing for the opposite gender, I particularly appreciated this bit:

Did you find Jara’s voice more difficult to capture than Natch’s, considering, well, you are a man and Jara is a woman?

Honestly, I feel like I understand Jara better than I understand Natch. He’s somewhat difficult and remote, and he’s not really like me at all. Jara is much easier to relate to. She’s approaching middle age, she’s fed up with her career, she’s sexually unfulfilled, and she’s hit a romantic dead end. I know plenty of people, male and female, who fit those descriptions. So I didn’t worry too much about gender differences. I just tried to make her a well-rounded character.

And this bit made me laugh:

If you could take any pre-existing fictional character and plunk them into the events of the Jump 225 trilogy, who would it be?

Dr. Strange. He’s a guy who hops dimensions all the time. He ought to know how to handle MultiReal.

But you should read it all, right?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sideways in Crime: A Lot of Fun to Be Had

Lory Hess, of Green Man Review, on Sideways In Crime:

"In general I was impressed by how well the authors represented in this anthology succeeded, each one quickly drawing me into his world with only a slight creaking of the scenery. ...there's a lot of fun to be had here. Some of the stories are unabashedly comic -- including one of my favorites, Kage Baker's 'Running the Snake,' set in the reign of a queen titled the Living Boudicca and concerning the adventures of a former druid named Will Shakspur. A few -- and these I admit I tended to skip through -- are on the gruesome side (John Meaney's "Via Vortex," for example, in which a form of teleportation has been developed with rather gory consequences). In between there's room for lots of variation; you'll find the answers to all sorts of questions, from what really happened to Jimmy Hoffa, to who really wrote the Sherlock Holmes stories."

Hess then complains that she had to read the book too fast, resulting in "a dizzy sensation of not remembering facts such as who is actually ruling North America now: the Aztecs? the French? the Spanish?"

Her advice? "Give some time between each dip into an alternate world to clear your brain, and enjoy the ride."

Classic Authors Speak

Via From A SciFi Standpoint, outtakes from a series of interviews recorded by James Gunn between 1968 and 1978 as part of his Literature of Science Fiction Lecture Series. Comments from Poul Anderson, Jack Williamson, John Brunner, Harlan Ellison, Clifford Simak, Frederik Pohl, Gordon Dickson, Damon Knight, and Isaac Asimov. Worth it for the history, and also to hear how some of these great old guys sounded.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

John Picacio: Behold the Man

John Picacio guests on Stargate: Atlantis executive producer Joseph Mallozzi's blog. John answers questions from Mallozzi's readers - all his comments are well worth checking out.

Meanwhile, here's a taste: "There was a time when cover illustrators weren’t even CREDITED with their work, which is absurd. Today, cover illustrators generally are at least credited for their work, whereas I find that a lot of the pre-90’s paperbacks and novels sometimes didn’t print the credit, and that was especially the case with pre-1970’s books. I think knowing who created the art helps foster an appreciation (and a marketplace) for the art itself in professional sf/fantasy work. From a professional standpoint, history shows that back in the 1950’s when the Ballantines were first building their publishing empire (now owned by Random House as Ballantine Books), they entrusted avant-garde artists like Richard Powers to create ground-breaking covers for their sf books, and they were rewarded with greater critical awareness, and booming sales of those books. Powers’ covers of the time were very modern and anti-traditional (i.e. anti-pulp, at a time when pulp dominated the book racks). Basically, the Ballantines had the courage to allow an artist to work outside the box of the existing marketplace tropes, and it both expanded the readership of the field and made a lot of money for them. These days, I don’t think publishers owned by multinational corporations are as willing to take a chance on ground-breaking artists like Richard Powers, unless they’re guaranteed in advance that it sells well, which means they’re usually chasing the tail rather than heading it. If you notice, when the Ballantines were working, the editorial department dictated the game to the marketing and sales department. Nowadays, that equation seems inverted. Today, marketing, sales, and accounting departments seem to dictate the final creative say to the editorial department, especially in terms of cover art. I don’t think cover art is better for it. Today’s audience is far more sophisticated than marketing departments currently envision. I’d like to see cover illustration in sf/fantasy be more proactive rather than reactive to the latest fads in movies, gaming, and tv."

Friday, July 25, 2008

Thoughts on SciFi Television

In a somewhat tongue-in-cheek article, Solar Flare defines "Why British SciFi Television is Better Than American." Now, I'm aware this is generalizing terribly, and I don't necessarily think British SciFi is "better" though I think there are certain things that traditional the BBC has done better than American networks. Top of my list, and on Solar Flare's as well, is moral ambiguity. I'd add better dialogue to that list as well, and site Britian's theatrical tradition, from which their television emerged, as a reason.

But they also do certain things terribly - like letting really key points of the plot slip by at the same tonal level as everything else - and sound editing (David Tennant mumbles.)

Once upon a time, I used to think that the perfect film would be scripted by British writers and acted by British actors, but shot by an American crew, realized by an American effects house, and cut with an American editor's sense of pacing. (Hmm, that's pretty close to describing The Dark Knight.)

Today, of course, I don't think you can really separate them out like that. For example: Buffy was hugely influenced by the old Who, and the new Who was hugely influenced by Buffy. And everyone's watching and dissecting everything. Certainly, isolated episodes of both Battlestar Galactica and Doctor Who are as good as SciFi TV has ever been - but both shows suffer in the realization of their long arcs, and neither of them approach the overall level of some of the better HBO dramas when it comes to realizing "television as a novel." I found myself rushing through the current season of Doctor Who, for example, to get to Steve Moffat's episodes and then reluctant to watch any more past that. (More on that at another time, and how I'm starting to think that Doctor Who's biggest strength - that it can be anything anytime - is actually holding it back in the new model television.) By contrast, every single episode of USA's Burn Notice has been tremendous. As has every episode of AMC's Mad Men. Those two shows, btw, are my two current favorite shows on television. I haven't seen the SciFi television show that was this consistently good since the heydey of Next Generation (and I'm afraid to rewatch that in light of today's standards.) So something like "Blink" or "Silence in the Library / The Forest of the Dead" - as good as SciFi television has ever been. But I'm still waiting for the series that gets it right start to finish. And I'm not sure that, when it comes, is going to emerge from either British or American studio systems, old dogs slow to learn new tricks, but might be something that arises outside traditional channels altogether.

Meanwhile (and possibly pointing the way?), there's Dr. Horrible.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sideways in the Guardian

Hey, Kéthani author Eric Brown reviews Sideways In Crimefor The Guardian, in an article called "Decisions and revisions!"

In his perceptive introduction, Anders makes a case for the relatedness of the mystery, historical and science fiction genres, and goes on to say that this was the impetus for the anthology: a series of crime stories set in alternative histories. It's a great premise and results in a wonderfully varied collection, from Kage Baker's humorous run-around set in a 16th century under druidic rule with Will Shaxpur as a detective, to Chris Roberson's steampunk melodrama featuring murder and political intrigue aboard a dirigible travelling between alternative realms.

Top billing though must go to Paul Di Filippo's zany "Murder in Geektopia," a murder mystery set in a world where Randolph Hearst became US president and set about pacifying the globe through the influence of popular media. Great fun.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Got MultiReal?

From Rob's Blog o'Stuff: “I posted my review of MultiRealtoday, the second (wonderful) novel in David Louis Edelman’s excellent Jump 225 trilogy. I know I tend to throw around the superlatives when I like something, but I try to be genuine with what I like. David’s novels are no exception…His books really work for me on a lot of levels…Where does MultiReal stand in this year’s slew of [SF] book releases? At this point it’s right at the top with Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother."

From POD People, TCM Reviews, July 21, 2008: “Pyr is a new, up-and-coming science fiction press, and David Louis Edelman is one of their hot new stars…[MultiReal] is full of Big Ideas, in the best tradition of science fiction…Edelman is a programmer in real life, and his understanding of the process informs the book. Multireal is a deep book, full of plots and counter-plots, with a stunning vision of the future. It manages what seems to be impossible, making the act of computer programming exciting, while reflecting on the nature of government and business. This is high science fiction at its finest. RATING 10/10

'Nuff said.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Dark Knight

This may surprise a great many of you, but I don't have a lot to say about The Dark Knight. When Batman Begins came out, I wrote about it extensively. Then sometime after that post, I put down everything I have ever wanted to say about the relationship between Batman and the Joker in my essay for Batman Unauthorized: Vigilantes, Jokers, and Heroes in Gotham City. So, I don't really feel the need to reiterate my opinion here yet again. Now, I could point out the ways that Christopher Nolan's film correspond with my own views on the characters, and the places they veer off, right? What did they get correct? What did they screw up? I could do that, right?

Only the film is perfect.

I don't have any argument with any aspect of it whatsoever. I loved Batman Begins, loved it, felt it was the best portrayal of Batman ever at that time. But I'm not blind to it's clunky bits; it goes a little Hollywood in the end, that awkward line at the end about "escalation" is pure next movie set-up that sticks out like a sore thumb. What is not to say I didn't love it, see it hundreds of times, own it, think it was the best portrayal of Batman on film ever done to date, etc...

But this? This is everything I've ever wanted to see done with the character since I first read Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns and Year One back in 1986. In fact, while it's clear that The Dark Knight is HEAVILY influenced by Alan Moore's The Killing Joke and Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, it charts its own narrative course without stealing overtly from either. In other words, nothing borrowed outright like the swarm of bats from Year One in Batman Begins. Rather, this film is their thematic sibling and equal. Watching it, I realized I no longer NEEDED to see The Dark Knight Returns ever filmed, because everything that work says about the character is now on screen, in a more modern and actually more realistic way. I think, will Frank Miller clearly off his rocker and ruining everything he ever did with nonsense like The Dark Knight Strikes Again and All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder, this is the new definitive. I'll go so far as to say that while I'm sure they'll make a third film, part of me wishes they'd just stop here with perfection.

Best thing about The Dark Knight: It makes all other superhero movies look silly by comparison.

Worst thing about The Dark Knight: It even makes Batman Begins look silly by comparison.

Basically, Begins was the pinnacle of the superhero movie, but Dark Knight "transcends" (there's that word) the form and demands to be compared to films like The French Connection, Silence of the Lambs, Heat, The Bourne Identity and their ilk. It's that good.

Just go see it.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Batman: Gotham Knight

I watched the animated Batman: Gotham Knightlast night in preparation for seeing The Dark Knight tonight. This is the collection of six loosely-linked tales, set firmly in the world of the new Batman films, written by such notables as David Goyer (Batman Begins) Josh Olson (A History of Violence) and Alan Burnett (Batman The Animated Series) and directed by such famous Japanese directors as Yasuhiro Aoki, Toshiyuki Kubooka, and Shojiro Nishimi.

And this is definitely not for kids.

In fact, it's so violent and graphic that my wife left the room during the penultimate episode and let me finish it by itself. Now, I'm not shy about violence, and am really excited by the reports on just how dark The Dark Knight seems to be - and I'm a lifelong advocate of the "cartoons aren't just for kids" school of thought - but I can't help but think there are a lot of parents that are going to be picking this up for a lot of kids who are definitely too young to see it!

Now, as for us adults, for whom it was clearly made... Well, it looks very cool to see an adult animation of Bats (and I'm glad they got Kevin Conroy to voice him again, even though this isn't connected to BTAS), but I think Gotham Knight suffers from format, from being six different stories only loosely connected. There really isn't enough time for most of them to do more than showcase the art, and I felt only two of them actually furthered the character. Most are vignettes - cool for the art of it (Gotham looks incredible!) but not deep enough in terms of story. Ultimately, just bridging material between the two films. Not as "vital" perhaps as, oh, "The Second Rennaissance" stuff is in The Animatrix- where you are REALLY furthering the story (and, sadly, as it turns out, exceeding it). Of the whole thing, only one of the shorts - "Working Through Pain" - which is ironically the one that drove my wife away, actually stays with me and adds to my understanding/appreciation of the Batman story. (Not surprisingly, this one was scripted by 100 Bullets creator Brian Azzarello from a story by Jordan Goldberg.)

So, is a Batman completest like myself glad I bought this? Of course. But most of you can get by with Netflixing it. And while it's certainly worth watching, it doesn't need to be top of the queue. That being said, I'd love to see a single-story, feature-length animated Batman DVD in this style. If any one of these teams was allowed to do a story at a length that could match the artwork in its depth and sophistication, we'd really be in for something special. Don't get me wrong - I really enjoyed it, but more as a promise of what's possible and as a companion to the films than something that holds up on its own - I need more complex storytelling to give it the full marks.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Book Trailer for Jeff Carlson's Plague War

So, I'm a big fan of Jeff Carlson's Plague Yearand am looking forward to the sequel Plague War.Here's a trailer for the books that is hands-down the best book trailer that's crossed my radar so far:

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Jill Maxick @ World Con

Jill Maxick, Director of Publicity for Prometheus Books, and thus Pyr, is making her first ever sff convention appearance at World Con. She's setting aside Saturday, August 9th, from 9am to 11am, for media meetings in the Pyr suite at the Sheraton Denver Hotel, 1550 Court Place (room number to be announced).

Media contacts, book reviewers, or bloggers interested in a meeting should contact her before August 6th to schedule a time. Please email with the subject line: "Meet me at World Con." (Provide your cell phone number if possible so she can ensure you know the suite number before your appointment.)

SF Writers Get VIP Tour of NORAD

I didn't realize there was an official press release about this, wow. But I almost feel like the header should be "Look What the Cool Kids Are Doing." I think the Brin family has dropped out since this was written though. So maybe they aren't as cool as the rest of us? (Update July 17th: I put up the revised press release with the current attendees list.)


CONTACT: John Joseph Adams | | 732-925-6115

Science Fiction Writers Get VIP Tour

of Top-Secret NORAD Facility

On Thursday, August 7th, during the 66th annual World Science Fiction Convention, this year in Denver, a select group of science fiction writers will embark upon a VIP tour of the NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) Alternate Command Center at nearby Cheyenne Mountain.

The group--which will total around 25 people--includes bestselling authors Kevin J. Anderson, Greg Bear, Walter Jon Williams, and Robert J. Sawyer, among others. Bear and Williams are also members of the SIGMA think tank--a group of SF writers working with the Department of Homeland Security on how science fiction can apply to critical thinking and benefit the nation in preparing for future events.

The tour is the result of two worlds colliding. The World Science Fiction Convention is a yearly gathering of sci fi fans and professionals from around the planet. Recent host cities include Yokohama, Japan, and Glasgow, Scotland, but with the convention in nearby Denver in 2008, invitations for VIP passes into NORAD were immediately sent to Bear, Williams, and the rest.

Coordinating the tour is retired Lt. Colonel Brian Lihani, a former Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station Air Warning Center Commander. Lihani said, “So few people get to see this Top Secret installation. It’s an honor to show the Mountain to such famous authors, and to have members of the SIGMA think tank visit helps them understand the mission we do here at Cheyenne Mountain AFS.”

SF writers have always had a direct influence on the public perception of technology, the future, and the dangers of weapons of mass destruction. Nuclear proliferation and nuclear war both have long-standing resonance in science fiction, and NORAD has often been featured in novels, television, and film. Walter Jon Williams, author of Implied Spaces, said, "I've encountered fictional representations of Cheyenne Mountain all my life, from Seven Days in May to Doctor Strangelove to War Games. In the movies there's always something going badly wrong, but in reality everything went right. I'm interested in seeing that reality."

Rollback author Robert J. Sawyer added, "One of my all-time favorite science fiction films is War Games, large parts of which took place in a fictionalized version of the Cheyenne Mountain complex, so of course I'm curious to find out what the real thing is like--a very personal case of science fiction becoming science fact! And many people forget that NORAD is a joint Canadian-American effort. As someone who lives in Canada, I'm delighted to get a chance to see this great example of high-tech international cooperation."

The Cheyenne Mountain Division of NORAD-USNORTHCOM is located at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station (CMAFS), a short distance from NORAD headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado Springs, CO.

In 1956, at the height of the Cold War, the idea of a hardened command and control center was conceptualized as a defense against long-range Soviet bombers. The Army Corps of Engineers supervised the excavation of Cheyenne Mountain and the construction of an operational center more than 2,400 feet underground. The Cheyenne Mountain facility, then called the NORAD Combat Operations Center, became completely operational April 20, 1966.

Over the years the installation came to house elements of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), U.S. Strategic Command, U.S. Air Force Space Command and U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM). Eight centers supported the NORAD missions of aerospace warning and aerospace control, and provided warning of ballistic missile or air attacks against North America.

The Cheyenne Mountain Division (CMD) is one of the most unique installations on the planet. Apart from the fact that it is housed 2,000 feet beneath a mountain, CMD is also different from most military units because it is a joint and bi-national military organization comprised of professional men and women from the Army, Navy, Marine, Air Force, and Canadian Forces.

Supporting the NORAD mission, CMD provides warning of ballistic missile or air attacks against North America, assists the air sovereignty mission for the U.S. and Canada, and, if necessary, serves as the focal point for air defense operations to counter enemy bombers or cruise missiles. In addition, CMD also provides theater ballistic missile warning for the U.S. and allied forces. The Cheyenne Mountain Division also receives space information from the U.S. Air Force Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg AFB in California. Space control operations include protection, prevention, and negation functions supported by the surveillance of space.

A list of tour attendees follows:
  • Kevin J. Anderson, bestselling author of Metal Swarm and a Colorado Springs local
  • Rebecca Moesta, author of Crystal Doors
  • Robert Charles Wilson, Hugo and Aurora Award-winning author of Spin
  • His wife, Sharry Wilson
  • Lou Anders, Editorial Director of Pyr Books
  • John Joseph Adams, editor of anthologies Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse and Seeds of Change
  • Robert J. Sawyer, bestselling author of Rollback
  • Carolyn Clink, award-winning poet
  • Jeff Carlson, author of the internationally acclaimed thriller Plague Year
  • His wife Diana Carlson
  • Walter Jon Williams, bestselling author of Implied Spaces and a member of the Homeland Security anti-terrorism SIGMA think tank
  • Greg Bear, also a bestselling author and a member of the Homeland Security anti-terrorism SIGMA think tank.
  • David J. Williams, author of The Mirrored Heavens
  • Jeremy F. Lewis, author of Staked
  • Sean Williams, bestselling author of Earth Ascendant
  • Blake Charlton, author of The Spellwright.
  • Paolo Bacigalupi, award-winning author of Pump Six and Other Stories.
  • Adam Rogers, senior editor with WIRED magazine
  • Annalee Newitz, senior editor with

The final list will be available as the date of the tour draws nearer.

If you're a member of the press and would like to cover the tour, either by conducting interviews with the attendees before or afterward, or if you would like to accompany the tour yourself to cover it in more detail, or for more general information, please contact John Joseph Adams at (732) 925-6115 or at If you have questions about the NORAD facility itself, you may contact Lt. Colonel J. Brian "Bear" Lihani directly at (719) 554-2282 or

Is Batman Possible?

Thanks to David Louis Edelman for pointing me to this article in Scientific American: Dark Knight Shift: Why Batman Could Exist--But Not for Long by E. Paul Zehr, author of the upcoming Becoming Batman: The Possibility of a Superhero.Zehr is an associate professor of kinesiology and neuroscience at the University of Victoria in British Columbia and a 26-year practitioner of Chito-Ryu karate-do, and he knows what he's talking about. I particular like his response to the question of why he estimates a 15 to 18 year training period for a human being to be able to fight like Batman:

"Batman can't really afford to lose. Losing means death—or at least not being able to be Batman anymore. But another benchmark is having enough skill and experience to defend himself without killing anyone. Because that's part of his credo. It would be much easier to fight somebody if you could incapacitate them with extreme force. Punching somebody in the throat could be a lethal blow. That's pretty easy to do. But if you're thinking about something that doesn't result in lethal force, that's more tricky. It's really hard for people to get their heads around, I think. To be that good, to not actually lethally injure anyone, requires an extremely high level of skill that would take maybe 15 to 18 years to accumulate."

He goes on to talk about the "reality-based training" that police officers undergo, because, "It takes years and years and years and years to have the poise to be able to perform when somebody is attacking you for real."

As interesting as the article are some of the comments, which take issue with his 2 - 3 year period for how long someone could maintain as Batman before they wore down, and another broader debate on whether "fluff" articles like this help or hurt the cause of science.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

MultiReal: An Enthralling, Superlative Science Fiction Novel?

"Yes," says SFFWorld's Rob H. Bedford, answering the question of this header. "David Louis Edelman]’s continued to weave an intricate future history that parallels our own in many ways."

He's talking about MultiRealof course, a book, "on the par with the previous volume for Edelman’s ability to change the game a bit and still maintain what made Infoquake such a great novel, his growth as a writer is most evident in the characters themselves. If anything, MultiReal may be a bolder novel because of the risk Edelman took in character focus and perhaps more audacious in laying out the implications of the technology. MultiReal is also not a ‘treading water middle book’ of a really drives home much of what Edelman was setting up in the first volume and leaves the reader eager for the next volume. David Louis Edelman has crafted another winner with MultiReal ...I for one can’t wait to see where Edelman takes the conclusion of this [thus far] spectacular trilogy."

You know what Rob? Me too!

Dave Seeley @ Comic Con

Dave Seeley wrote me to share this awesome freebie which he'll be giving out at the San Diego Comicon International this coming July 23-27. Stop by booth 4600 to pick one up.

The picture in the top left corner is from Andy Remic's War Machine, and is one of my favorite of his recent works. I got to see the original painting too, which is utterly awesome.

Anyway, stop by booth 4600 if you're there, and tell him "hi" from me.

The Martian General's Daughter: "Could Not Put It Down"

Liviu C. Suciu, for Fantasy Book Critic, on Theodore Judson's The Martian General's Daughter:

"I just could not put it down when I got it."


he book has quite a few surprises. The ending is excellent and fulfilling, but not in any simple or expected way."


"Full of vivid descriptions of cruelty, buffoonery, murders, battles, and a message of hope despite its bleakness, The Martian General's Daughter is an unforgettable book from Mr. Judson. The father/daughter relationship between Peter and Justa is as moving and well-realized as any in modern fiction…"


Monday, July 14, 2008

MultiReal: Taking its Place Among the Classics

Man, I love this Sci Fi Weekly review of David Louis Edelman's MultiReal,which just so happens to be the 700th review of a Pyr book that I have seen/logged. This one is written by the uber-knowledgeable Paul Di Filippo, not only gives the book an A grade, but name checks a host of science fiction greats whose work, he says, Edelman fits right in alongside of.

"The notion of MultiReal as a power-leveling weapon seems rather van Vogtian to me. The amount of attention and insight paid to the workings of political and social institutions would please a Heinlein or a Brunner. There's a definite Spinradian New Wave anger at authority and also a cynicism at work here as well. And the MultiReal experience resembles Paul Atreides' precog abilities, as described by Frank Herbert."

As far as contemporary classics goes, he adds that Edelman, "brings all the intellectual firepower and verisimilitude of the digerati like Sterling, Stross and Doctorow to his text. And the ontological twists and implications of MultiReal would do honor to Greg Egan.

But he says, "The strongest overall vibe I get is that of Alfred Bester...Bester is much admired verbally, but very few authors really try to emulate him in print—he set the bar so high—and Edelman's success is commensurate with his ambitions."

The love that this book has gotten so far (including it and its author getting nominated for BOTH Campbell Awards) really, really makes me proud.

(PS - Paul just launched a group blog called Weird Universe that is sure to be worth checking out.)

Stalking the Resnick

So first Publishers Weekly calls Mike Resnick "far-seeing" for basically writing urban fantasy over a decade before it was a hot trend, and now Fantasy Book Spot reviews Stalking the Unicornwith this wonderful line: "this book gives any Dresden File book a run for its money." They also describe it as, "The Dresden Files meets Alice in Wonderland," and say it is "good old-fashioned fun."

Mike does it again.

Stroll With the Stars

Stu Segal is organizing "Stroll With the Stars" at this years WorldCon, and has roped me in. As he explains:

This was the idea of a number of the participants who were looking for a way to go to the Con, do all the stuff we normally do, but also get out in the fresh air for a healthy stroll and some good conversation. (And let me stress, we mean "stroll" - def: a leisurely walk. This will not be a heart-pounding aerobic activity, it will be a stroll).

Some of the most interesting Authors, Artists and Editors have agreed to lead the Strolls, and will be strolling along at the right pace to have a good conversation.

We are going to meet each morning (Thurs-Sunday) at the Big Blue Bear in front of the Colorado Convention Center at 9AM. We'll stroll for a mile, and even going at a leisurely pace this will get us back to the CCC before 10AM, which is when the regular programming begins. (You don't need to "sign up", just show up).

The roster of Artists, Authors and Editors is:

Thursday 9AM
Ellen Datlow
Scott Edelman
Stephen H. Segal
Frank Wu

Friday 9AM
Lou Anders
Paul Cornell
John Picacio
Stephen H. Segal

Saturday 9AM
Gay Haldeman
Joe Haldeman
Jay Lake
Lawrence M. Schoen
Frank Wu

Sunday 9AM
David Brin
Mary Robinette Kowal
Stephen H. Segal

Sunday, July 13, 2008

John Picacio to Guest Blog for Joe Mallozzi

Stargate: Atlantis executive producer Joseph Mallozzi kindly shows off John Picacio's artwork for my forthcoming anthology Fast Forward 2on his blog in a July 12 post "Bookly things and behind the scenes..." Mallozzi asked both Picacio and I for a quote, and then he turned around and asked John to guest blog. So he's now soliciting questions for John from his fans, who will post his response in a few days. Head on over and check it out.

Meanwhile, ever since my own stint guest blogging there, Mallozzi has had a steady stream of SF&F writers through, including Joe Abercrombie, Jeffrey Ford, K.J. Bishop, and Kage Baker. I've already turned in my WFC award nominations this year, but I think Mallozzi's going to get my nomination for Special Award Professional next year, for all the incredible work he's doing to get consumers of SF&F TV to read the literature. I've said before what a service to our genre this is, but get used to me saying it over and over, 'cause it's true.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Time Magazine on River of Gods

Time magazine's Barbara Ehrenreich recommends Ian McDonald's River of Godsin the current issue, in a piece entitled, "Alternative Universes, With a Hindi Glossary."

She says: "I read fiction addictively to get as far out of this flat and blighted 'real world' as I can. When a friend recommended Ian McDonald's River of Gods, I was dubious; 600 pages, including a glossary of Hindi terms? But it worked... There aren't many literary sci-fi thrillers that deliver a mind-expanding metaphysical punch, and this one ended all too soon. But in the afterglow of McDonald's lushly blooming imagination, even the real world is looking better."

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Podcast: David Louis Edelman

David Louis Edelman is the latest victim in Jon Armstrong's If You're Just Joining Us podcast, the latest in his series of interviews with his fellow John W. Campbell Best New Writer award nominees. Dave describes their interview thusly:

Jon’s strategy with these podcasts is to steer away from the typical bland interview questions (”what was your inspiration for [insert book title]?”, “who were your biggest literary influences?”, etc.). So our 20-minute chat covered the coming death of the novel, the MacBook Air, the similarities between Infoquake and Grey, the pantheon of superheroes I created when I was a kid, my editor Lou Anders, how my dad taught me to always be the devil’s advocate, how 9/11 changed Infoquake, and the engineering of foreign toilets and doorknobs.

(Our conversation was actually over an hour long, and we talked about a ton of great stuff. I regret that our talk about David Lee Roth’s vocal track for “Runnin’ with the Devil” didn’t make it in.)

Adventures in Lou-Casting

Me talking about cover art here on the new Adventures in Sci Fi Publishing podcast. Someone named Kelly Link also interviewed.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Pyr Party @ WorldCon

Hi all,

This forthcoming World Science Fiction Convention, on Friday night, August 8th, from 8pm to 11pm, at the Sheraton Denver Hotel ...

We will be hosting a Pyr Party in specific honor of Ian McDonald's Best Novel Hugo nomination for Brasyl,and in general for all of our authors and readers and friends. And you are all invited!

I say "we" are hosting because my Director of Publicity, Jill Maxick, will be making her first ever convention appearance at this time. (This is the first official visit from anyone else at my company, though Editorial Assistant Jacinta Meyers did visit Prometheus-local EerieCon last April and wrote up this excellent report.)

Jill will be coming in Friday to help set up for and host the party, and she'll be staying through Sunday morning so that she can attend the Hugo ceremonies as well. This means that she'll be available all day Saturday if any of the authors, reviewers, critics, bloggers etc... that she deals with would like to take a meeting. Please do! I want it to be worth her time so she'll come again.

Naturally, the hotel is unable to give me a suite number until check in that Friday morning, but fortunately the Pyr Books Presentation will be held at 5:30 PM that Friday afternoon - so I'll be able to announce the room number to everyone there. And, the Sheraton being the only party hotel, it shouldn't be too hard to find this and every other party, as per always, right? If not, just look for the bald guy running around doing 1,000 different things and ask him where the party is going to be.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Martian General's Daughter: SF of the Very Highest Quality

Now, this is a nice way to end the day.

Chris Moriarty has reviewed Theodore Judson's The Martian General's Daughterin the pages of the August 2008 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. And she calls it, "A rare beast ... one of those books so astonishingly good that it made me run out and buy everything else its author ever wrote."

She goes on to say, "The story is familiar to anyone who's read the Augustan Histories or seen the film Gladiator. But Judson's retelling of the old tale is quietly riveting, and his image of a decaying post-galactic aristocracy lamenting the loss of email and central air conditioning is priceless."

And then she proclaims that The Martian General's Daughter is "sf of the very highest quality."

Nite, everybody.

Does Science Fiction Still Matter?

Via SFSignal, I see that Unintentional Irony is asking "Does Science Fiction (Still) Matter?" The gist of the piece is the proposition that SF mattered at one time, when the country's efforts were focused on nuclear technology and the space race, but that now such things don't hold the popular imagination, which has retreated to blogging and World of Warcraft. And so, "To my eye, it doesn't really look like SF is currently the place where someone with something to say goes to say it (I suspect that blogging now occupies that ground), nor is it the place where people go to read what such people have to say."

To which I have to say, the fallacy is in limiting SF to stories about space exploration. Despite it's fourth season dip, Battlestar Galactica is an extremely well-presented and popular science fiction series, taken seriously as quality drama by the mainstream media (TV Guide, Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, elsewhere), and they engaged the current Iraq war head on just a few seasons ago with their New Caprica storyline, which dared more than pretty much any other show on television by casting the heroes as the terrorists. Then there's Cory Doctorow's Little Brother,which takes on the incursion into our civil rights and liberties taking place right now - certainly Cory is "someone with something to say" choosing to say his piece in SF, and as for this being "the place where people go to read what such people have to say" - well, Little Brother has been several weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. And don't even get me started on the increasing numbers of "mainstream" authors - like Michael Chabon, Philip Roth, Cormac McCarthy - who are choosing to go to SF as the place to say what they have to say.


Friday, July 04, 2008

Fast Forward 2: The Final Cover

Here it is, the final cover art for Fast Forward 2:

This is from illustrator John Picacio, and is quite a special cover for both of us, as it arose out of discussions we had on the state - and purpose - of science fiction, including science fiction's responsibility to engage the world around it. We also displayed the penultimate version of this cover (never shown online) to the attendees of the Pyr Presentation Panel at ApolloCon, and their feedback positively informed this final iteration of the image.

Moreover, John talks about - and displays - some of his inspirations on his blog On the Front. Well worth checking out.

Happy 4th!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Mind Meld: Is There a Gender Imbalance?

The latest Mind Meld up at SFSignal asks, "Gender imbalance in genre fiction publishing is an ongoing point of discussion in the blogosphere. Is there an issue here? If so, then what are possible solutions? What can readers, writers, editors and publishers do to rectify the situation?"

Lots of interesting responses. I'm there too.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Coming to America

Mark Chadbourn has some exciting news.

Update: This GalleyCat coverage is hysterical:

The deal was brokered by Ian Drury at Sheil Land in London and although Chadbourn can't talk cash, the deal will "keep me in curry and absinthe for a while."

You know, whenever I ask an author about their deal, it always comes down to being flush enough to buy beer and pizza for an indefinite amount of time, however in Chadbourn's case, you can tell he's British.
Update 6/03/08: John Picacio has some related news as well.