Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Yeah, Jetse: SOLARIS SIGN UP JETSE DE VRIES FOR NEW SF ANTHOLOGY

From In the Plane of the Ecliptic:

SOLARIS SIGN UP JETSE DE VRIES FOR NEW SF ANTHOLOGY

Solaris is delighted to announce a major new anthology from ex-Interzone editor Jetse De Vries.

Shine is a collection of near-future, optimistic SF stories where some of the genres brightest stars and some of its most exciting new talents portray the possible roads to a better tomorrow. Definitely not a plethora of Pollyannas (but neither a barrage of dystopias), Shine will show that positive change is far from being a foregone conclusion, but needs to be hardfought, innovative, robust and imaginative. Most importantly, it aims to demonstrate that while times are tough and outcomes are uncertain, we can still bend the future in benevolent ways if we embrace change and steer its momentum in the right direction.

Christian Dunn said of the deal: “Jetse has been quite vocal in his opinions about moving SF in a more positive direction, and it’s a journey Solaris are delighted to be accompanying him on.”

Jetse de Vries was co-editor of Interzone for four-and-a-half years, and his non-fiction has appeared in The New York Review of Science Fiction, the BSFA´s Focus and others. His fiction has appeared in a few dozen publications on both sides of the Atlantic, most recently in Postscripts, Clarkesworld Magazine, Hub, Escape Pod, and Flurb. Shine is his first post-Interzone project. Jetse lives in the city of Hieronymus Bosch, has a blog at eclipticplane.blogspot.com and can be contacted at Jetse.deVries@gmail.com.

About Solaris

BL Publishing, a division of Games Workshop Group PLC has been publishing SF and Fantasy under its Black Library imprint for over ten years. Solaris was founded in February 2007 with the aim of publishing original genre fiction for the US and UK mass markets. In its first year Solaris gained praise from many critics, especially for its back to basics approach. Solaris continues to attract high profile authors to its stable. For more information visit www.solarisbooks.com

For more information please contact Mark Newton on mark.newton@games-workshop.co.uk or on ++44 (0)115 - 916 8384

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Jetse reports that he has a SHINE anthology website, "doubling up as an open platform for optimistic SF" here: Shine Anthology Blog.

Guidelines here .

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Swivet

I'm guest blogging today on The Swivet, the (usually) book-centric blog of FinePrint Literary Management agent, former publicist, and all around wonderful person Colleen Lindsay. Colleen introduces me in this post, and right above it is my very first post. I say my first post because Colleen has invited me to be an occassional guest blogger, so hopefully there will be more to follow.

Meanwhile, my first Swivet, "Don't Be Good; Be Brilliant" is on manuscripts, editors, and how the one can get the attention of the other.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mind Meld: The Future of Written Science Fiction

SF Signal is back with another one of their "Mind Meld" round tables, this one on the future of written science fiction. The respondents this time around include Jeff VanderMeer, Liz Williams, Allen Steele, Mark Newton, Jay Lake, Elizabeth Bear, Paul Di Filippo, Sean Williams, Chris Roberson, Dot Lin, Alexis Glynn Latner, and Yours Truly.

I particularly liked Jeff Vandermeer's assertion that:
"...the real challenge is writing near future SF. Stross I believe said near future sf is impossible. I respectfully say that is bullshit. To be relevant that is exactly what SF needs and how SF is falling down on the job right now. SF can do escapism just fine right now. But dealing with things head on? Not so well. SF has to get down in the nitty gritty of the horrible position we are in right now or it runs the risk of being just as irrelevant as the next medieval based fantasy trilogy. Yes it is hard to do. Who ever said writing was supposed to be easy? Show some guts."
And I particularly liked Chris Roberson's exact opposite reaction:
"I'd love to see more people playing what Rudy Rucker calls the 'power chords' of science fiction. He describes these as 'those classic SF topes that have the visceral punch of heavy musical riffs.' The list includes: Blaster guns, spaceships, time machines, aliens, telepathy, flying saucers, warped space, faster-than-light travel, immersive virtual realities, clones, robots, teleportation, alien-controlled pod people, endless shrinking, the shattering of planet Earth, intelligent goo, antigravity, generation starships, ecodisaster, pleasure-center zappers, alternate universes, nanomachines, mind viruses, higher dimensions, a cosmic computation that generates our reality and, of course, the attack of the giant ants. I want more of that stuff. The good stuff, the fun stuff. The mind-expanding thought-experiments and heady adventure stories."
And I loved Jay Lake's analogy, which explains how I can reconcile both of the above:
"Literature is like rock and roll...new movements come along, but the old ones never die. Reader tastes change, writers and publishers adapt, or they don't. I for one hope to keep writing what I love, and keep adapting at the same time."
Amen.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Stormcaller: Hope for the Future of Fantasy Literature.

In their review of Tom Lloyd's The Stormcaller,Dreamwatch's Total SciFi says that the book "brings hope for the future of fantasy literature." What's not to love about that? They make some weird analogies between the novels protagonist, Isak, and Neo of The Matrix that somewhat elude me. But what's not to love about:
"This dark medieval tale of rejection and revelation encapsulates the more sinister side of the fantasy genre, exploring the precarious nature of power and its unwavering ability to manipulate... might not be the first time we’ve seen a man of humble beginnings become rich and powerful in the blink of an eye, but the subtle volatility of the plot is extremely refreshing and certainly revitalises the premise."

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Evolution of Batman

Fun to see it all laid out. As bad as the Schumacher ones are - and they are unwatchable - that first shot of Clooney is actually the first time a live actor actually resembled the character as drawn. Nolan's work sure makes the rest of the live-actions look pathetic. BATS and related still rocks.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thursday, October 09, 2008

I am a Science Fiction Fan

Favorite Film: Casablanca, followed closely by Miller's Crossing (not Star Wars or 2001)
Favorite TV show, drama: Northern Exposure (not Star Trek or X-Files)
Favorite TV show, sitcom: All in the Family (not Futurama or Red Dwarf)
Favorite Novel: The World According to Garp by John Irving (not Lord of the Rings or Ender's Game)
Current Favorite Television: Mad Men, Burn Notice, House (not Battlestar Galactica, Lost, or Doctor Who)
Hobbies: Martial arts, weight lifting, biking, hiking (not filking or speaking Klingon)
Status: Married with children (not single and living in my parent's basement)

But I am a HUGE science fiction fan.

The stereotypes are pretty tired, aren't they? As much as SF&F pervades media and culture these days, everybody is a fan of something.

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Future of Science Fiction

The New Scientist is devoting an entire issue to the Future of Science Fiction. They write:
With the death earlier this year of Arthur C Clarke, the last of science fiction's Golden Age giants, and with mainstream literature becoming increasingly speculative and futuristic, is science fiction as a genre dying out?

We plan to explore this question in a special edition of New Scientist out on 15 November – as well as reviewing the best new science fiction books and talking to some of the world's leading writers.

They have a page where you can vote for your favorite science fiction book. Naturally, I might have a few suggestions of folks who should be on their radar.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Look Who’s Talking Up Pyr

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 2, 2008

CONTACT: Jill Maxick at 800-853-7545

jmaxick@prometheusbooks.com


Look Who’s Talking Up Pyr

A Variety of Notable Fans Brand It Well Worth Reading


Amherst, NY — The conventional wisdom holds that publishers don't have dedicated readerships, authors and subgenres do. Those few publishers that do cultivate a single brand identity tend to concentrate their focus on a particular subgenre, such as military science fiction.

Yet over the last few years, we have begun to hear from readers, critics, chain bookstore buyers, distributors, bloggers and independent bookstores, that Pyr is becoming an exception to this notion. It seems a Pyr brand is taking hold—based not on any one niche within the genre, but on the expectation of a general level of extremely high quality.


Every press likes to identify their readership. Whether for epic fantasy, hard science fiction, sci-fantasy blends, space opera or something else, just who thinks of Pyr as a line worth reading?

Junot Díaz, winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, says “Pyr books has in a few short years become the imprint to beat in the science fiction and fantasy fields.”


Díaz explains, “[With The First Law series, Joe] Abercrombie has written the finest epic fantasy trilogy in recent memory. He's one writer that no one should miss. Ian McDonald’s Brasyl is beyond superb. This novel should have beaten all comers for all the main awards. And who is writing space opera as sharp as Kay Kenyon in her The Entire And The Rose series?”


Barbara Ehrenreich—author of This Land Is Their Land and Nickel and Dimed (Metropolitan Books)—was asked by Time Magazine to name a guilty pleasure, something she reads when she doesn’t want to work. She named River of Gods by Ian McDonald. Ehrenreich said, “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.”


Joseph Mallozzi writes and produces one of television’s hottest science fiction shows, Stargate: Atlantis. During production in Vancouver, Canada, he regularly communicates with the show’s fans through online forums and blogs. Somehow, he also finds time to read for pleasure—and some of his recent favorites come from Pyr.


Mallozzi says, “Pyr continues to impress with its growing line-up of premiere genre fiction. From Justina Robson's mind-bending Quantum Gravity series to Kay Kenyon's thoughtful and provocative Entire and the Rose saga, it's an imprint marked for offering up some of the best Fantasy and SF being written today.”


Apparently, even Stargate: Atlantis characters read Pyr books. In recent episodes, both Chuck the technician and Dusty were seen reading Theodore Judson’s The Martian General’s Daughter.


Lou Anders, Pyr Editorial Director, notes, “Pyr’s goal from day one was to provide books of a consistently high quality, so it is extremely gratifying to hear that readers—famous, fictional, or otherwise—feel that is what they are getting.”

FF2: The Age of Accelerating Returns

My introduction to Fast Forward 2,"The Age of Accelerating Returns," has just gone up on SFSignal this morning.

I don't know if anyone actually reads introductions, but I'm pretty proud of this one, as it says a lot of what I have to say about science fiction in general.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Paul Cornell's Short Story From FF2 Free Online!

In support of Fast Forward 2,we've put the entirely of the opening story from the anthology online at the new Pyr Sample Chapters page. (If you are viewing this inside the frame of the Pyr site, you might right click to avoid opening a window in a window).

"Catherine Drewe" by two-time Hugo nominee Paul Cornell is a tale of a Bond-like character in an alternate history where the Great Game never ended and the British Empire - along with the other world powers - extends its reach throughout the solar system.

Paul says of the character:
"I like to think I'm writing in the tradition of Ian Fleming's Bond novels (not the movies) but I'm trying to stay away from pastiche, and instead hope to explore the same debates about masculinity and Britishness he did, while perhaps coming to different conclusions."