Friday, February 29, 2008

Cornell Gets Some Culture

Here's a bit of very exciting news. My friend, author, comic book scribe and Hugo-nominated Doctor Who series writer Paul Cornell reports, "I've been commissioned to adapt Iain M. Banks' novella 'The State of the Art', from the collection of the same name, into a play for broadcast on BBC Radio 4 later this year. My producer is the wonderful Nadia Molinari, and we're looking to keep all the SF goodness of the original. I'm enjoying how serious and thoughtful the brief is. The story is about Banks' spaceborne utopian civilisation, the Culture, encountering Earth. Some interesting casting of a Ship voice ahead, I should think, and who should be Diziet Sma? I'm anticipating the process hugely."

Paul is also launching this Marvel title, taking up the reigns on my favorite Marvel character after the web slinger, Captain Britain, who meets up with MI-13 of Paul's recent Wisdom mini-series.

Now, how cool is that?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

City Without End takes Silver Spectrum Award

A huge congratulations to Stephan Martiniere, whose cover illustration for the third book in Kay Kenyon's ongoing space opera quartet entitled The Entire and the Rose, the forthcoming City Without End, just won the Silver Spectrum award in the book category. All of Stephan's covers in this series have been amazing. Book one, Bright of the Sky,made the Spectrum annual the year it was released, and we're hearing good things about A World Too Near- which just hit shelves this week. (For a look at these two covers side by side, see Kay's website.) And now, unveiled here for the first time, the winning cover of City Without End. This is my favorite of the three "Entire" pieces, and maybe one of my favorite Martiniere illustrations ever.

What do you think?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

OmegaCon: Look at this Line Up

I've blogged before about OmegaCon, the new convention launching March 14-16, 2008 in Birmingham, Alabama. I remain cautiously optimistic about their prospects and very excited about the possibility of a largish annual convention in the southeastern United States.

Since my last post, they've added Peter Mayhew, Rena Owen and Richard
LaParmentier of Star Wars fame to their media track, where they join Richard Hatch and the Ghost Hunters- bringing it to decent levels for a first time effort - and their art track is very respectable with Jael and Brom, but what's impressing me the most is their literary track, which has swollen to what is a very impressive size, with a huge roster of writers in attendance.

I've weeded out about a dozen writers from their guest list, either because they were self-published, published but not in SF&F (so minus one historical author, one children's book author, a Celtic author, a Christian author, and quite a few paranormal nonfiction authors), or not published in venues I am aware of (and which may be vanity press.) I mean no offense to them - but what I want to list here are those who are already on the radar of - or should be of real interest to - science fiction and fantasy literature fans.

And that leaves us with a whoppin' 21 folks, with quite a few bestselling authors among them:

Ann Aguirre - new Ace author (whose novel is SF and very Serenity like too, I'm told.)
Lou Anders - don't know much about this clown
Ben Bova - one of the giants of the history of the SF field
Steven Brust - New York Times bestseller
Julie Cochrane -Baen Books author, frequent John Ringo co-author David Drake - New York Times bestseller
William H. Drinkard - forthcoming Tor author (his Tor editor may attend too!)
Eric Flint - New York Times bestseller
Alan Dean Foster - New York Times bestseller
William Jones - Chaosium author, Dark Wisdom editor
Allen Hammock - former TSR Game designer (D&D)
Kay Kenyon - John W Campbell and Philip K Dick award nominated author
Sherrilyn Kenyon - 10 million books in print
Marilyn Kosmatka - Eric Flint co-author at Baen
Ted Kosmatka - sales to Asimov's, F&SF, reprint forthcoming in Jonathan Strahan's Year's Best
J.F. Lewis - forthcoming Pocket books author
Louise Marley - multiple award winning author (also writes as Toby Bishop)
Jim Minz - Baen Books editor, formerly of Del Rey and Tor
Mike Resnick - one of the most awarded SF authors of all time
Don Sakers - former Baen author, Analog short story writer
David Sherman - the Starfist series from Del Rey, now up to 9 books
David Weber - New York Times bestseller

So that's at least 6 bestsellers. Quite a few award winners. Plus Minz, who is really all you need to ensure that the party gets going. If nothing else, the OmegaCon bar is going to be rockin'.

Me & the Metro

I am apparently in the New York Metro newspaper today, speaking about the importance of SF (imagine that). I haven't seen the piece and can't remember what I said, so if anybody has seen it, I'd love to hear how I came off.

Update 2/27/08: Turns out the article is online, in its entirety, here.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Brasyl: Best of the Best

Visions of Paradise aggregated the "Best of the Year" mentions from some twenty sources, including SF Site, Fantasy Magazine, Bookgasm, SFF World, Fantasy Book Critic, Strange Horizons, Locus Online, Locus Magazine, as well as award nominations for the BSFA, Nebula, and Philip K. Dick Awards. They then listed the books which received the most mentions, to produce a "best of the best" list. The result - Ian McDonald's Brasylis the clear leader with 16 out of 20 mentions! Here is the full list, which also includes Joe Abercrombie's The Blade Itself with seven mentions and Kay Kenyon's Bright of the Skywith five.

Update 2/24/08: Locus Online has updated their 2007 SF/F/F Books on Year's Best Lists, with the result that Brasyl comes in 2nd after Harry Potter (no shame there) with 8 mentions, and Kay Kenyon 's Bright of the Sky now appears on four.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Thoughts and Tirades, with Special Guest Lou Anders

I'm guest-blogging today at Stargate: Atlantis executive producer Joseph Mallozzi's website, Thoughts and Tirades, Rants and Ruminations. Thanks to Mallozzi's extreme generosity, there's 6,600 words from Yours Truly, as I take questions from his reading group on my anthology Fast Forward 1: Future Fiction from the Cutting Edge(plus comments from some of the contributors to the anthology, and John Picacio on the cover illustration.) Also featured, a few embarrassing pictures I dug up from my time on the set of Babylon 5. So if you want to know where Paolo Bacigalupi found the inspiration for "Small Offerings" or want to see "Minbari Lou", head right over.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Fun-House Glasses and Love that Goat!

Paul Goat Allen interviews Paolo Bacigalupi in a web-exclusive for Publishers Weekly today. Even if he hadn't started off by referencing me, I'd be directing you there for these words from Paolo on the importance of science fiction: "SF has tools for writing about the world around us that just aren’t available in other genres. Reading good speculative fiction is like wearing fun-house eyeglasses. It shifts the light spectrum and reveals other versions of the world, mapped right on top of the one you thought you knew."

Update 2/21/08: Paolo is also interviewed by environmental journalist Michelle Nijhuis on Grist: Environmental News & Commentary today. More choice words, such as this explanation of how science and science fiction go hand in hand: "
scientists are inherently conservative, and science journalists are inherently conservative, because you don't want to be wrong. But that's where I can get involved as a science fiction writer. I don' t have to be right, exactly, [but] I need to illustrate. I need to illustrate a feeling or experience so that people can say, 'Does that seem like something we want to be going toward?'"

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Batman Unauthorized

Just got my contributor's copy today of BenBella's latest book in their Smart Pop series, the Denny O'Neil edited Batman Unauthorized: Vigilantes, Jokers, and Heroes in Gotham City. I pretty much managed to say everything I've ever wanted to say about the Caped Crusader and his relationship with his arch nemesis in one essay, (and now my work here is done...).

But as a childhood Batman fan who was reared on Denny O'Neil's depiction of the Darkknight Detective, I can't begin to communicate what a priviledge it is to be sounding off about the character in a book that has his name on the spine.

Stargate, FF1, and Me

Today is the day that Joseph Mallozzi, he of Stargate fame, kicks off his book group discussion about my own anthology, Fast Forward 1.He is currently aggregating questions from his readers, answers by Yours Truly to be posted later this week.

Update 2/19/08:
Joe returns today with a huge, story-by-story analysis of his thoughts on FF1, and then opens the blog up for comments, which are up to 50 so far. Here's the permalink.

Update 2/20/08: Joe returns with his thoughts here and here. Comments somewhere over 100 now. Much insightful being said.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Moorcock Signing

Michael Moorcock and John Picacio will be signing copies of the new, illustrated editon of Elric: The Stealer of Souls at Austin Books this Saturday. Copies of The Metatemporal Detective, with its matching Picacio cover illustration, will also be on hand, I'm told.


Austin Books
5002 North Lamar Boulevard
Austin, TX 78751
Austin Books · · (512) 454-4197

Saturday, February 23rd, 4pm-7pm

SFFWorld's Favorite Books of 2007

SFFWorld’s readers have voted for their favorite books of 2007, and I'm thrilled that Before They Are Hangedtops the list (this refers to the UK edition, as the US edition was just released). What's more, Joe Abercrombie appears twice, with The Blade Itselftying with the wonderful Scott Lynch's The Lies of Locke Lamora at # 5. Here's the full list:
  1. Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie (105 points)
  2. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (96 points)
  3. Reaper’s Gale by Steven Erikson (63 points)
  4. Renegade’s Magic by Robin Hobb (54 points)
  5. The Lies of Locke Lamora* by S. Lynch & The Blade Itself* by J. Abercrombie (41 points)
  6. The Children of Húrin by J.R.R. Tolkien (32 points)
  7. Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch (31 points)
  8. The Thousandfold Thought* by R. Scott Bakker (28 points)
  9. The Orphan’s Tales: In the Cities of Coin and Spice by Catherynne M. Valente
Also delighted to see that The Devil's Right Hand author Lilith Saintcrow praises The Blade Itself on her blog, Writer on the Dark Side: "This is fantasy, sword-and-sorcery, but without the complete lack of verite most fantasy is infected with... There’s wizards, mythology, kings, princes, a self-absorbed nobleman, ancient legends, fencing–all written so well I was grinding my teeth with envy whenever I HAD to put the book down. This is a fantastic start to a trilogy, and I can’t wait to get the next two books so I can see what happens next. There are some tropes, true, but they’re handled so deftly and characterised so beautifully they take on the status of old friends instead of worn-out archetypes. In short, I can’t say enough good things about this book, and I highly recommend it."

Thank you, Lilith. Wait till you get to book two!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Congratulations, Sean!

Big congratulations to my friend Sean Williams, who makes the Ditmar short list with both his novel Saturn Returns(out here from Ace) and his novella in the same universe, Cenotaxis,(out here from Monkeybrain). Sean's been writing big idea, deep future space opera for some time, and these works deserve to catch on big with the post-singularity, space opera contingent here in the states.

I'm particularly gratified that the novella is doing so well for Monkeybrain, as in addition to love sweet love, I'm pretty sure what the world needs now is affordably-priced novella length SF in attractive packaging.

In other news, Sean wrote to let me know that in March Ticonderoga Publications will be releasing "a hefty tome" of his best short fiction, entitled Magic Dirt. Quite a few Ditmar nominations and wins in there as well.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Yet Another Best of 2007

SFSite has posted their "Best SF and Fantasy Books of 2007: Readers' Choice" and I'm delighted to see Joe Abercrombie's Before They Are Hangedat number five (here for the UK edition, as our edition was just released this month and hasn't found its way into all venues yet), as well as, not surprisingly, Ian McDonald's Brasylat number three.

Of the latter, they say, "McDonald masterfully explores some key sfnal concepts and pivotal alternative science. Wrap your head around this book if you want to see what truly ingenious science fiction can look like."

Dragon's Nine Sons

The Dragon's Nine Sons is the latest in Chris Roberson's Celestial Empire series, set in an alternate history in which China rose to world-dominance n the 15th Century. Roberson has penned tales across the whole of this period, though D9S takes place in 2052, at a point in which a space-faring Chinese Empire wars with an Aztec civilization for control of Mars. I've a personal history with these stories, having commissioned the first one (as Chris recounts here), and I've been an enthusiastic reader of the subsequent tales as they evolve every since. This time out, the tale here is a well-plotted and clever reworking of the Dirty Dozen, which combines brilliant alternate history with military SF. It could certainly stand on its own (and does), so if it's your entry point to the Celestial Empire, no worries. However, readers are encouraged to seek out all of the Celestial Empire stories, and here's a handy list:


(listed in internal chronological order)
"Fire in the Lake" - Subterranean Magazine, Fall 2007
"Thy Saffron Wings" - Postscripts (forthcoming)
"The Sky is Large and the Earth is Small" - Asimov's Science Fiction (July, 2007)
"O One" - Live Without a Net (Roc, June 2003)
"Metal Dragon Year" - Interzone #213
"Gold Mountain" - Poscripts #5 (and in Dozois's 2006 YBSF)
"The Voyage of Night Shining White" - Novella from PS Publishing (and in Best Short Novels: 2007)
"Line of Dichotomy" - The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction: Volume 2 (forthcoming from Solaris, 2008; also available as chapbook)
"Red Hands, Black Hands" - Asimov's Science Fiction (December, 2004)
"All Under Heaven" - Firebirds Soaring (forthcoming from Firebird, 2008)
"Dragon King of the Eastern Sea" - We Think, Therefore We Are (forthcoming from DAW, 2008)


The Dragon's Nine Sons (Solaris, 2008)
Three Unbroken (Solaris, 2009; serialized online 2007-2008)
Iron Jaw and Hummingbird (Viking, 2008)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Covering the Cover Art

Spectrum Fantastic Art's Cathy & Arnie Fenner have posted an appeal to
to be more considered in their nominations for the Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist. They point out that "in the 52 years an award has been presented for 'Best Artist', only 15 individuals have won the rockets." While not wanting to diminish the accomplishment of any of those 15 winners, I support their call that more attention be paid to those artists who have actually produced exemplary work in the Hugo year in question.

The Fenners call out a prior "suggestion" that nominations include an example of art which appeared in the relevant calendar year. This is NOT a requirement of the Hugo nomination process, merely an attempt to induce the voter to familiarize him/herself with actual 2007 cover illustration work before casting his or her ballot.

Recently, I've heard grumbles that there are no convenient one-stop spots to review the art of the past year. Not only do all the responsible publishers list illustrator credits on the jackets of their hardcovers, but Mark R Kelly maintains a marvelous 2007 Cover Art Gallery at Locus Online, which only takes a moment to peruse (and is fun to do!). In addition, many artists who maintain online galleries and blogs, provide that info in quick-glance form. (Here, for example, is a link to John Picacio's blog, the right-hand margin of which contains thumbnails of his complete 2007 output.) With the ease of the internet, there really is no justification for what amounts to Hugo voters belittling their own award by not recognizing relevant work in the Best Professional Artist category.

Meanwhile, here is a list of all 2007 Pyr books with artwork that debuted in that calendar year, with their respective cover artists - complete with links to the respective book covers and the artists' personal websites:

January - Jack Dann's The Man Who Melted - Nick Stathopoulos
February - Lou Anders' Fast Forward 1 - John Picacio
March - Adam Roberts' Gradisil - Stephan Martiniere
Justina Robson's Keeping It Real - Larry Rostant
April - Joel Shepherd's Breakaway - Stephan Martiniere
May - Ian McDonald's Brasyl - Stephan Martiniere
June - Sean Williams' The Hanging Mountains - Greg Bridges
July - Alexis Glynn Latner's Hurricane Moon - Brian W Dow
August - Mike Resnick's Ivory - Bob Eggleton
September - Joe Abercrombie's The Blade Itself - Laura Brett
October - Justina Robson's Selling Out - Larry Rostant
Michael Moorcock's The Metatemporal Detective - John Picacio
November - Joel Shepherd's Killswitch - Stephan Martiniere
December - Mike Resnick's Starship: Mercenary - John Picacio

Locus Online: 2007 SF/F/H Books on Year's Best Lists

Locus Online has tabulated the science fiction, fantasy and horror books that have appeared on various year's best lists, inluding, Publishers Weekly, Time Magazine, Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly, Library Journal,, New York Times, and Los Angeles Times, as well as genre publications SF Site, Bookgasm, Fantasy Magazine, and Strange Horizons. Also tabulated are Jeff VanderMeer and Claude Lalumière's essays for Locus Online. The present the 12 most cited works, and I'm very proud to see both Ian McDonald's Brasyl(appearing on five lists) and Kay Kenyon's Bright of the Sky(3 lists). Of course, if they'd included the recent American Library Association’s Reading List Awards, then those numbers would have been 6 and 4!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

MIND MELD: What Purpose Does Short Fiction Serve?

SF Signal is back with another installment of Mind Meld, this one asking What Purpose Does Short Fiction Serve? In addition to Yours Truly, entertaining and erudite responses can be read by the likes of such notables as Gardner Dozois, Ellen Datlow, Jonathan Strahan, Jane Yolen and others.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Yiddish Policemen's Union: The Film

I find the Coen brothers very hit or miss, but I love that they are out there. Miller's Crossing is among my top five favorite films of all time. I am one of the few folks who was bored by Fargo, and I actually stopped watching The Ladykillers half way through. But I love O Brother, Where Art Thou? enough to put it in a Top 20 list.

So while I don't love every Coen brothers' film, I love that they are out there, pushing the envelope, making such unique offerings. Everything they do is worth seeing, even when it doesn't work for me personally, and at least one of their films is among my favorite films of all. So I'm pretty excited to learn they're going to be doing Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union as their film-after-next.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Big Big Congratulations... Fiona Kai Avery and Benjamin David Kelly on their engagement! Very, very happy for you both!

More of Me in the Matrix

Lon Cohen posts an excerpt from our interview on his website, wherein, I am delighted to learn, that I am a pirate. How is that, you say? Why, "Lou Anders is a pirate in the sense that not only does he look like one, but he displays his buccaneering ways by looting the English speaking world’s best Science Fiction and Fantasy authors for his booty at Pyr, the imprint that he currently helms as editorial director. Fortunately, pirate Lou Anders is a formidable and likeable hero, champion of expert writing, great cover art and highly crafted anthologies." Argh!

The full interview appears in Matrix magazine #186, and Lon notes, "We went on and on. Anyone interested in reading/publishing the full interview please contact me at lon at lonscohen dot com."

Friday, February 08, 2008

I cannot wait for this!

I am really excited about this book. I think the move to commission an actual bit of physical hardware for the cover is an inspired bit of brilliance too, as I think the truth of whether steampunk really is "the hottest trend in science fiction" as Solaris proclaims depends largely on whether all the steampunkophiles residing in other media (games, cinema, fashion-culture, etc..) can be induced to follow the path back to its literary roots. The big question for me is whether this anthology, and the other one,will be "all the steampunk anyone needs" or the launch of the next thing. Either way, whether it's the end-all/be-all or just the inception, I'm pretty sure Extraordinary Engines is a must-have for any serious SF reader and collector. Certainly for this collector.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Podcasts: What Makes a Cover Work

Uploaded today to Tor and Forge Books' podcast page, part one of a panel discussion on book covers with Irene Gallo, John Picacio, Tom Kidd, Jacob Weisman and Yours Truly. This was recorded at the Saratoga Springs’ World Fantasy in November. Here's the direct link.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

ALA's Reading List Awards

Via SFSignal: The American Library Association's first Reading List Awards for genre fiction has been announced. The list, chosen by a council of "ten librarians who are experts in readers' advisory and collection development" includes two Pyr titles: Ian McDonald's Brasyland Kay Kenyon's Bright of the Sky.


Trapped in the Matrix

I haven't seen them yet, but I am excited to report that the BSFA's Vector magazine #253 is out and contains a review of Fast Forward 1: Future Fiction from the Cutting Edge,while their recent Matrix magazine #186 features an interview with yours truly, conducted by Lon Cohen.

More details when I have them.

Monday, February 04, 2008

The Event Horizon's Been Breached

Congratulations to Cory and Alice on the birth of their daughter, Poesy Emmeline Fibonacci Nautilus Taylor Doctorow. Life changes forever. All good.

Fast Forward 1 : The "Bestestest" Book!

David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Kramer have announced the table of contents for their upcoming Year's Best SF 13, and I am rather thrilled to be able to tell you now what I've been sitting on for a month, which is that no less than FIVE stories from my own anthology, Fast Forward 1: Future Fiction from the Cutting Edge, have made the book!

This brings the count of stories from Fast Forward 1 to 7 tales, being reprinted a total of 9 times, across the 4 major Year's Best titles forthcoming this year. The breakdown:

Science Fiction: The Best of the Year, 2008 Edition,ed. Rich Horton:
"Wikiworld," Paul Di Filippo
"Jesus Christ, Reanimator," Ken MacLeod

The Best Science Fiction And Fantasy Of The Year, Volume 2ed. Jonathan Strahan:
"Jesus Christ, Reanimator," Ken MacLeod

The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Fifth Annual Collection,ed. Gardner Dozois:
"Sanjeev and Robotwallah," Ian McDonald

Year's Best SF 13,ed. David G. Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer:
"Aristotle OS," Tony Ballantyne
"Plotters and Shooters," Kage Baker
"No More Stories," Stephen Baxter
"They Came From the Future," Robyn Hitchcock
"Sanjeev and Robotwallah," Ian McDonald

I'm sufficiently thrilled that I hope I can be forgiven for rerunning this:

“…so good that I suggest Pyr wait a year and republish it with the title Best Science Fiction of 2007. This is an important book that can move science fiction one step closer to the 'literature' shelf, if it so desires....Anders has coaxed such incredible goodness out of these writers that if you only read one or two stories a month, it’s better than a year’s subscription to most of the genre magazines out there...With a deep bench of talent and a perfectly paced setlist, Lou Anders has made made a book that truly represents its own theme. Fast Forward has the potential to be the future of short-form science fiction.”