Monday, March 27, 2006

Got Monkey?

Coming out this summer from MonkeyBrain. Another fabulous John Picacio. Is this a hot cover or what?

Programmable Soda Bottle

One of my favorite Jeff Noon short stories is "Solace," about children addicted to a programmable soda that allows you to chose your flavor or combination of flavors by dialing the cap. Well, once again the future has caught up with the fiction. A company called Ipfini now offers a programmable soda bottle with the ability to program your soda with up to 32 different flavor combinations. The bottle is filled with corbonated high-fructose water and the bottle itself has buttons on the side for flavor, color, and aroma.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

More Tremors Before the Quake

In advance of his book's publication, David Louis Edelman continues to post exclusive material to his Infoquake website, detailing the world-building of his complex future society. His latest offerings are:
  • New Background Article: On Dartguns and Disruptors
    A discussion about dartguns and multi disruptors and other weaponry mentioned in the novel, as well as a discussion of the effects of the New Warfare Act of 221. Exclusive to the Infoquake website.
  • New Exclusive Background Article: On the Transportation System
    Description of the various modes of transportation used for travel and trade in the novel, including the tube, hoverbirds, OrbiCo, and the underground transfer system. Exclusive to the Infoquake website.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

World Catches Up with Di Filippo

Paul Di Filippo is a mother-prognosticating genius.
Read "Shuteye for the Time Broker" in FutureShocks,
then check out the beta for Eventful. Tell me "create a demand" isn't time-broking?
Way to go, Paul!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Hitchcock on Hitchcock

Robyn Hitchcock, upon receiving his copies of our interview in the Believer:
Re the 'God' question: my answer may have been too whimsical for the gravity of the implications of your question. I detest Creationism, Intelligent Design, and the agenda of people who wield these ideas, along with their policy of subverting science, dismantling abortion rights and promoting legalized homicide in the form of 'capital punishment'. Please don't let my speculations about infinity align me in any way with Fundamentalist Christians and their witless creed. I apologise if I gave that impression - and hope I didn't.

Please pass this on to anyone who wonders about this.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Aussies, Brits & Yanks: Norman Spinrad on Pyr & Publishing

The April/May double-issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine has a very long and articulate article on five Pyr titles in Norman Spinrad’s On Books column, available online as well, and titled “Aussies, Brits, & Yanks.” Spinrad reviews John Meaney's Paradox and Context, Martin Sketchley's The Affinity Trap, Michael Blumlein's The Healer, and Sean Williams The Resurrected Man, all in glowing terms. To my limited knowledge, this is the first time that an On Books column has been entirely devoted to the works of one publisher. (I say limited knowledge; I am sure that there must be other examples, perhaps a perfusion of them, it's just the first occasion I have heard of.)

Equally interesting, this is not merely a collection of disparate reviews. Spinrad uses the reviews jointly as a platform for an analysis of the state of the industry and Pyr's place therein. He writes that we are publishing “science fiction written specifically for experienced and intelligent readers of science fiction… literary idealism, but also cunningly commercial cherry-picking.” He further ties Pyr into what he sees as a renaissance of “sophisticated mainstream science fiction.”

As it happened, I read this piece around the same time as Dave Itzkoff's controversial New York Times debut, "It's All Geek to Me," and the two are now juxtaposed in my mind.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Happy Birthday Pyr

March 8, 2006

CONTACT: Jill Maxick, 800-853-7545

One Year Into the Future
Young SF&F Imprint Celebrates Its First Anniversary

Amherst, NY--One year ago today, Prometheus Books launched a science fiction and fantasy imprint, Pyr, with the publication of John Meaney’s Paradox: Book One of the Nulapeiron Sequence.

Entertainment Weekly compared it to Dune.

With that auspicious opener, Prometheus Books—the leading independent publisher in popular science, philosophy, and critical thinking, and a specialist in intelligent nonfiction since 1969—launched an imprint dedicated to speculative fiction, marking a fresh direction for the press. With more than 1,500 books in print, Prometheus Books produces about 100 new titles a year. Until Pyr, less than two percent had been fiction.

But there exists a natural connection between science nonfiction and science fiction and fantasy, and a long and distinguished history of both fields trading inspiration back and forth. By way of a recent example, two months after Prometheus Books launched Pyr, it also published the nonfiction Nanofuture by J. Storrs Hall—a scientist whose concept of utility fog has been employed by many a science fiction writer.

On Pyr’s first anniversary, we reflect on some of the imprint’s milestones and achievements:

  • Genre legends Robert Silverberg, Michael Moorcock, Mike Resnick, Gardner Dozois, George Zebrowski joined hot up-and-comers like Chris Roberson and Justina Robson in the Pyr author stable.
  • John Meaney’s Paradox was compared to Frank Herbert’s Dune by review media, and remains one of Pyr’s best-selling, best-reviewed titles.
  • Science Fiction Weekly said Pyr was “destined to become a leading imprint in the field.”
  • Publishers Weekly published Pyr editorial director Lou Anders’s article on the state and future of the genre as part of an SF feature in the April 4, 2005 issue.
  • Author Chris Roberson was nominated for John W. Campbell Best New Writer Award.
  • Book Expo America 2005 featured a well-attended Pyr launch party and hugely successful Chris Roberson Here, There & Everywhere book signing.
  • Charles Coleman Finlay’s The Prodigal Troll made the Locus 2005 Recommended Reading List for “Best First Novel.”
  • The Locus 2005 Recommended Reading List for “Best Anthology” included Galileo's Children, edited by Gardner Dozois.
  • Two artists working with Pyr, John Picacio and Caniglia, were both nominated for Best Artist in the World Fantasy Awards 2005; John Picacio won the World Fantasy Award and was also nominated for the Best Professional Artist Hugo®.
  • Justina Robson's Silver Screen has been nominated for a Philip K. Dick Award.
  • Silver Screen received a starred review in Kirkus Reviews and was also chosen for their Best SF&F Books of 2005 list.
  • Barnes & Noble's SF&F “Editor's Choice: Top Ten Novels of 2005” ranked Paradox #2.
  • Genetopia by Keith Brooke received a starred review in Publisher's Weekly, was called a “minor masterpiece” by Locus, and became the third Pyr title in a year to be reviewed by the huge, mainstream, consumer magazine Entertainment Weekly.
  • River of Gods by Ian McDonald received a starred review in Library Journal.
  • In a rare if not totally unprecedented event, the entire ‘On Books’ section of the April/May 2006 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction was dedicated to books published by a single press, Pyr, with five Pyr books reviewed including a positive assessment of the imprint itself.

Pyr editorial director Lou Anders reflects, “From its inception, science fiction has always been the genre concerned with change. As the 21st century promises even greater change than the 20th, fueled by the ever-accelerating pace of technological development, science fiction in general—and Pyr in specific—is poised to imagine the brave new world, in all its wonders and perils, and in so doing, to help usher tomorrow into today.”

Prometheus Books took its name from the courageous Greek titan who gave fire to humans, lighting the way to reason and independence. Pyr, the Greek word for fire, continues this connection to intelligent imagination. In its exciting first year, Pyr has set the bar high for creativity, intelligence, and quality. Prometheus Books is proud of this addition to our legacy.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Man With the Lightbulb Head

I spent five years earning a living as a journalist in Los Angeles from 1995 to 1999, living in West Hollywood and hanging out on the sets of Babylon 5 and Deep Space Nine. And although I haven't been a full-time journalist since '99, I still enjoy doing the occasional interview with interesting people I would enjoy talking to anyway. But of the five hundred plus interviews I've conducted since 1995, I don't think any have been as exciting to me personally (with the possible exception of last year's China MiƩville piece) than this new interview with musician Robyn Hitchcock that is out in the March issue of the Believer. Robyn himself says it's the most in-depth interview he's given in some years. We range from George Bush, to Bob Dylan, to Doctor Who, to science fiction and even the eventual fate of the human race.

One tidbit which was cut from the final version, and with which I will whet your appetites now, concerns religion: In a world like this, we cannot afford to go around having separate gods, worshipping Allah, Mohammed, Jehovah, whatever it is, and tearing the wings off people who think differently. If there is a god it should be standard issue and pan-global, and of course it is, it’s called money. The dollar always has the final word, and a cynic I find it deeply satisfying that behind all the piety and bullshit that people toss out there’s usually some financial motive. But I wonder whether it matters if you believe in god or god believes in you. But I think my god has a small “g.”