Monday, June 29, 2009

Brave and the Bold

I gave up on Batman: Brave and the Bold as being too silly to hold my interest. But this clip is great. If the rest of the series has gotten up to this level, I might check it out again:

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever

By which I mean my copies of Desolation Roadjust arrived.

This is, btw, our 66th title. The description: It all began 30 years ago on Mars, with a greenperson. But by the time it all finished, the town of Desolation Road had experienced every conceivable abnormality from Adam Black's Wonderful Travelling Chataqua and Educational Stravaganza (complete with its very own captive angel) to the Astounding Tatterdemalion Air Bazaar. It's inhabitants ranged from Dr. Alimantando, the town's founder and resident genius, to the Babooshka, a barren grandmother who just wants her own child grown in a fruit jar; from Rajendra Das, mechanical hobo who has a mystical way with machines to the Gallacelli brothers, identical triplets who fell in love with and married the same woman.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

James Enge Sits Down with the Dragon

James Enge, author of Blood of Ambrose,is the guest of episode 364A of the Dragon Page Cover to Cover podcast. Their description: "James Enge joins Michael and Michael this week to discuss his new book, Blood of Ambrose from Pyr. They chat about story outline and structure, intentional and circumstantial comedy and planning out multivolume series. Chaos enters, hilarity ensues!"

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

2009 Chesley Award Nominations

The 2009 Chesley Award Nominations are up.

And I am very pleased to announce that we have no less than 3 book covers up for awards.

In the hardcover category: Dan Dos Santos is up for his cover for Mike Resnick's Stalking the Vampire (wonderful design by Nicole Sommer-Lecht).

And for paperback: Todd Lockwood is up for his cover for Tom Lloyd's The Stormcaller (wonderful design by Grace Conti-Zilsberger ), while John Picacio is also up for his cover for my anthology, Fast Forward 2 (wonderful design by Jaqueline Cooke)

Of lesser interest, and a testament to the wonderful illustrators and in-house designers we have on our covers, I am also on the ballot. More important, I think, is that in a field that may produce 1000 original covers in a year, we have a whoppin' three Pyr books in the list.

Also, it should be pointed out, our pal John Picacio is nominated in FOUR CATEGORIES!!!

Check out his beautiful black&white artwork for interior illustration here (from Del Rey's Elric: The Stealer of Souls):

"The Chesley Awards were established in 1985 as ASFA's peer awards to recognize individual works and achievements during a given year. The Chesleys were initially called the ASFA Awards, but were later renamed to honor famed astronomical artist Chesley Bonestell after his death in 1986. The awards are presented annually at the World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon)."

Congratulations to all the nominees, and to the authors who are so lucky to have such wonderful art! I have always maintained that the history of SF&F illustration that we enjoy is a unique asset of our genre that should be celebrated, so this is very rewarding to see.

Get Enge?

some thoughts worth sharing:

“James Enge writes Blood of Ambrosewith a subtle elegance that disguises his extraordinary narrative skill. The humor is natural and unforced. The characterization rings true, even under the revelation of shocking realities. The horror is never glorified, and it is all the more horrific for it. And the plot grows with organic grace. You won’t find any quests here, nor the usual clichés or trappings of epic fantasy. No, these pages drip the unexpected, and they will make you laugh and scream and cry and thirst for more…Simply put, Blood of Ambrose is a powerful and fun stand-alone novel. No cliffhangers. No commitment to three or five or twelve book arcs. Savor it. Read it slowly, and prepare your table for This Crooked Way."

-Adventures in SciFi Publishing blog, June 12, 2009

“When, less than a week after picking up the book, David Eddings died, I was shocked by the coincidence, but comforted that I had found such a worthy successor for my time…The standalone novel is such a rarity in the fantasy isle that walking readers through a character’s adolescent in one volume, never mind doing it convincingly, is a feat worthy of recognition in and of itself. But Enge does tell the story convincingly. At its heart, Blood of Ambrose is a coming of age tale that follows the Lathmar the seventh from the tender age of twelve to manhood. In that, this novel succeeds beautifully. The combination of brevity, rapid pacing, and convincing character development mark Enge out as an author to watch and Blood of Ambrose as a future classic of the Young Adult fantasy section.”

-The Great Geek Manual blog, June 7, 2009

“I've long loved Enge's Morlock stories in Black Gate, and this offers a heaping helping of the Ambrosii and their complicated family dynamic. In a way, this is a coming-of-age story, but it's also a study of family relationships, and it's a darn fine sword and sorcery epic as well. I lov
e the sly asides and vivid imagery, but those never overpower the human elements of the story. I'm hanging onto this one--I bet it'll repay a reread down the road.”

- Electronic Leaves blog, June 10, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

1977 Batman Poster

This is a Batman poster I had as a kid. At the time, this was the only fully-painted version of the Caped Crusader I'd ever seen, those things being much rarer then than they are now. As such, I absolutely idolized it as "what a real Batman would look like," and pointed it out whenever I needed something to counterbalance the silly stereotype Bats enjoyed courtesy of Adam West. Cannot tell you the hours I spent hero worshiping this thing.

Recently, my too-cool-for-words mother took it and had it framed, and it now hangs in my office after many decades spent rolled up in the back of a closet in her house. I'm pretty sure the panel at the bottom is Neal Adams, but I've no idea who did the larger, painted figure. Opinions very welcome. Here is a close up detail of the painted figure's face:

High Praise for Fast Forward 1 and 2

From Derek Johnson's SF Site review. I am somewhat speechless:
In 2007 Lou Anders edited Fast Forward 1,one of the strongest original anthologies that science fiction has seen -- so strong, in fact, that after one closed the book one wondered if Anders would be able to match both the quality and the ambition of that volume in his next. After all, the anthology's very title indicated that Anders wanted to actually incorporate the Campbellian vision into a genre that, for all of its rhetoric about being a literature of the future, too often looks fondly over its shoulder at the trails blazed in the past. Even Dangerous Visions fought to bring the genre up to the speed of the present more than chart a path to the future. But Anders did it; Fast Forward not only met the challenge to look forward, but succeeded. And with Fast Forward 2,his follow-up anthology, Anders not only continues to forge ahead and actually push science fiction into the future, but also position himself as one of the genre's most dynamic and influential editors. A reader looking for the best in contemporary science fiction will find not a wasted story in Fast Forward 2's pages. This is the Stuff.

Monday, June 15, 2009

We Has Pyr Kindle

That's right. After what for me has been an interminably long period of "hurry up and wait," I woke up this morning to discover that our very first Pyr Kindle books have miraculously appeared. Five titles are available for download in the Kindle store. Oddly, it contains a second book in a series and a third book in a series, but I think these are just the first few to appear. There are a lot more coming in back of this, and the conversion process is on Amazon's end, so I expect we'll see more pop up in the near future as they get to them (and I'll report here as I see them.) And of course I'm happy to see that Fast Forward 1 is in this initial list of offerings.

The books:

Silver Screen

Starship: Pirate

Going Under (Quantum Gravity, Book 3)

Infoquake (Volume I of the Jump 225 trilogy)

Fast Forward 1: Future Fiction from the Cutting Edge

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Shooting for the Moon: Duncan Jones' New Film

Over on, Why I Am Over the Moon about Duncan Jones, or rather, seven reasons why I think the film will rock.

"I’ll never get over the scene in Danny Boyle’s absurd and disappointing Sunshine where Cillian Murphy reaches out and touches the sun, because, hey, it looks cool. So, the point is, I was looking for reasons to feel confident. And, wonderfully, just about every interview I’ve read with Duncan has got my confidence growing in leaps and bounds that his heart—and head—are in the right place."

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Ears to Hear: Blood of Ambrose, the Audiobook

I just had a new experience. For the first time, I've listened to an entire audiobook of one of the novels that I've edited. Last night, while out for a walk, I finished the 14 hours and 25 minute unabridged version of Blood of Ambrose,available from I've been walking about an hour and a half a night, and listening to this on my iPod each night as I do (in between listening to back episodes of the Dragon Page Cover to Cover podcast. Loved their interview with Dr Michio Kaku!)

It's a really interesting experience to encounter on of my books as a reader, since the speed at which we move and do things means that generally I'm a bazillion manuscripts past it by the time I book I've edited actually comes out. And in this case, my wife is currently reading the book as well, so I can actually talk about it with someone whose reading it at something like the same time. What a marvelous experience a book club must be! How isolated is my own reading environment! How wonderful it is to enjoy a story with someone else!

But least we delve too deeply into pity for the lonely editor, what I'm really here to do is to talk about the audio production, which was top notch. I was very impressed with narrator Jay Snyder, who does wonderful voices. He absolutely nails Morlock Ambrosius and his Dwarven apprentice Wyrtheorn, and does a wonderful job of allowing the young king Lathmar to actually age and mature across the 14 hours plus of the audiobook (that was really impressive). All the villains and supporting characters are great. He does slip up with Ambrosia. I think he keyed off the fact that Lathmar calls her "Grandmother" and so she starts out sounding a little too frail. But by the time she's wearing a full suit of armor and lopping off heads, he seems to have figured this out, and her voice has altered as much as it can without being inconsistently with where it began. (When I asked Enge who he would cast as Ambrosia, he said Yancy Butler. I was thinking someone between Cher and Rene Russo. Morlock, of course, is Hugh Laurie if he's anyone.) But overall I was more than impressed with Jay Snyder's reading, and suspect this is an audiobook I'm going to come back to every few years, and one I could easily see listening to with my children when they are older. Meanwhile, the spoken introduction by Enge is great (I wish I could play its explanation of swords & sorcery for a certain blogger who shall remain unlinked), and I would encourage audible to make it available as an independent sample if they can. If I can be forgiven my bias, five out of five stars.