Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bookgasm: 5 Best Sci-Fi Books of 2009

Ryun Patterson of Bookgasm has posted his 5 Best Sci-Fi Books of 2009, and, as in past years, we're very pleased with the number of Pyr books in (and in this case around) the list. Paul McAuley's The Quiet Warcomes in at Number 5. Note also the honorable mention for Ian McDonald's Cyberabad Days, that all three "anticipated" 2010 titles are from Pyr (Geosynchron, Desolation Road,& Ghosts of Manhattan), and the "hypothetical 'Books of the Decade'" that would include Brasyland River of Gods. Nice!

Podcast: The Dragon Page Cover to Cover

I'm a guest on the Dragon Page Cover to Cover podcast today, episode #389A, talking with Mike & Mike about my two forthcoming anthologies, With Great Power and Swords & Dark Magic. We also talk about a lot of forthcoming Pyr titles, including the much-anticipated Shadows of the Apt series from Adrian Tchaikovsky (which begins with Empire in Black and Gold) as well as the bittersweetness of concluding two series with Kay Kenyon's Prince of Storms and Mike Resnick's Starship: Flagship.  I'm a long time listener, but this is my first time on this particular podcast. 'Twas fun.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fast Forward 2: #12 on All-Time High for Reviews

Huge thanks to Joe Mallozzi for cluing me in to SFFmeta, a site that cross-references official online reviews of different works in the fields of Fantasy, Horror, and Science Fiction, generates ratings from each, then generates an average score for each book.  Categories include: low and high-scoring titles for 2007 and 2008, low and high-scoring titles over the last 90 days, and, All-Time High and Low-Scoring Titles.

And looking at 2008 High Scores, our own  Joe Abercrombie comes in at the number five spot with Last Argument of Kings, whereas my own anthology, Fast Forward 2, claims the #12 slot. Nice way to start the day.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Swords & Dark Magic - Cover

This has already broken elsewhere, but I've been given the go ahead to show off the cover to my upcoming anthology, Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery, co-edited with Jonathan Strahan. Cover art is by Benjamin Carre.

And once again, the amazing Table of Contents:
Check Your Dark Lord at the Door" — Lou Anders & Jonathan Strahan
Goats of Glory — Steven Erikson
Tides Elba: A Tale of the Black Company — Glen Cook
Bloodsport — Gene Wolfe
The Singing Spear — James Enge
A Wizard of Wiscezan — C.J. Cherryh
A Rich Full Week — K. J. Parker
A Suitable Present for a Sorcerous Puppet — Garth Nix
Red Pearls: An Elric Story — Michael Moorcock
The Deification of Dal Bamore — Tim Lebbon
Dark Times at the Midnight Market — Robert Silverberg
The Undefiled — Greg Keyes
Dapple Hew the Tint Master — Michael Shea
In the Stacks — Scott Lynch
Two Lions, A Witch, and the War-Robe — Tanith Lee
The Sea Troll's Daughter — Caitlin R Kiernan
Thieves of Daring — Bill Willingham
The Fool Jobs — Joe Abercrombie

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Stranger than Fiction: Technology And Science Fiction

I'm interviewed today at System-Level Design Community, by the very nice John Blyler, who I got to spend some time with recently in Portland, Oregan at the recent OryCon. We talk about science fiction's role in inspiring science, the effect science developments has on the genre, gaming, the Matrix trilogies, and genetic engineering. It was a long conversation, so he is condensing and paraphrasing some of what I said, but doing a good job of capturing a highly-caffeinated Lou and making sense of it.

Still, I'm pretty sure I never said this bit, (but I wish I had):
Anders: Maybe, but maybe not. Remember the quote by John Schaar: "The future is not a result of choices among alternative paths offered by the present, but a place that is created—created first in the mind and will, created next in activity. The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made, and the activity of making them, changes both the maker and the destination."
I think he's misremembering when I quoted something I got from Robert Anton Wilson: "The future begins first in imagination, then in will, then in reality." But I like this quote above, and now I've seen myself "say" it, I'll start using it more, retroactively authenticating this usage here. (Nice one that, huh?)

We also talk some about David Louis Edelman's Jump 225 trilogy, (affording me the opportunity to try out the new integration of Amazon Associates and Blogger). Meanwhile, John was a great guy and I wish we'd had time to talk longer than we did.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

SFcrowsnest: Top 100 SFF Novels of 2009

SFcrowsnest has released their "top one hundred SFF novels of 2009" as voted for by's readers. As of this post:

#6 Ian McDonald's Cyberabad Days

#11 Mike Resnick's Stalking the Unicorn

#32 Mike Resnick's Stalking the Vampire

#53 Kay Kenyon's City without End

#84 Mike Resnick's Starship: Flagship

Nice. Especially if your name happens to be Resnick.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Agony Column: A Conversation with Lou Anders : New Fantasy Triangle, Steampunk and Illuxcon II

Artist Dave Seely at Illuxcon II
I'm up in Rick Kleffel's latest Agony Column Podcast: 

12-11-09: A Conversation with Lou Anders : New Fantasy Triangle, Steampunk and Illuxcon II

Rick says, "That was, of course, my first question when we started talking. And indeed, I'd tend to agree that the three writers do sort of triangulate on the new aesthetic for fantasy fiction, the post-Perdido world of gritty and weird fiction. But that was only the starting point for our conversation.

We jumped next to a discussion of a barrel-full of Steampunk novels that are forthcoming from Pyr, including a French novel, the first in a series that is described as "Dumas with dragons." And we talked about Lou's experience at Illuxon II , an intriguing invite-only meeting of artists and art directors. You can hear a fascinating look at contemporary science fiction from a variety of angles by following this link to the MP3 audio file."

Dark Matter and Black Hole Powered Starships

Once upon a time, it was the science fiction authors who believed in the possibility of interstellar voyages and the scientists who were skeptical. These days, so many SF authors have given up on traveling between the stars as a naive and impossible fantasy. So I'm glad to see this piece in the New Scientist, "Dark Power: Grand designs for interstellar travel," in which mathematicians Louis Crane and Shawn Westmoreland at Kansas State University in Manhattan  propose ways to shorten the trip to Proxima Centauri from 74,000 years to "just a few" years.

I was particuarly interested in this bit of Ian M Bank-ish speculation:
"Crane then wondered what would happen if intelligent civilisations could make black holes. This would mean that life in these universes played a key role in the proliferation of baby universes.... He believes we are seeing Darwinian selection operating on the largest possible scale: only universes that contain life can make black holes and then go on to give birth to other universes, while the lifeless universes are an evolutionary dead end."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Matte vs Gloss

Earlier this week, a Canadian bookseller and blogger published "An Open Letter to Trade Publishers," opining that the use of gloss finishes on trade paperback books caused some shoppers to mistakenly assume these titles were self published efforts from vanity press. She writes:
"Dear Trade Publisher or Small Press publisher:

Please do not print trade paperback large format books with flat glossy covers anymore.
As a bookseller, I watch what people pick up and put down. I listen to their comments on covers and cover art (and blurbs; those are sometimes funny, and yes, I know full well that the authors don't write them).

One thing that I've noticed happening more and more often in the store when people are browsing and chatting in front of the New Release Trade paperback shelf is that a customer will point at a specific book and say:

"Is this self-published?"


"Wow, there are a lot of self-published books here."

In fact, none of the books at which they're pointing are self-published"
She then singled out our own recent release, Diving Into the Wreck, specifically, saying:
"The British trades are frequently bound with glossy stock. This week, there were two novels by relatively unknown names -- and the new Pyr title by Kristine Kathryn Rusch -- which were pointed out, and which were instantly classified as "self-published" (the latter, I've had four people ask about in the last two weeks)."

This has caused some huge discussion at the site itself, on my Facebook page, on Twitter, on John Picacio's Facebook page, and in the numerous emails I've been getting from people who have stumbled across it.

A follow up post appeared the next day, it which she very kindly added:
"Let me be even clearer: 
I admire Pyr and its publication choices greatly. I think some of the best, if not the best, SF being published in North America is being published by Pyr books. I am not in any way saying the books look or are unprofessional to me.

I'm saying that the cover-stock, which is in some ways more durable than other finishes ... is causing consumer confusion in my experience."
Now, let me say right off the bat that I'm not upset about the first post, I appreciate the spirit in which it is offered as well as the information it contains, and I certainly appreciate the nice things she says in the second one. Furthermore, this is feedback, this is a data point, and as someone who wants to connect the most books with the most readers, I am happy to and obligated to consider all data points. Anything that gets more books into your hands is a good thing. Any potential impediment to that must be considered and evaluated.

A lot of what resulted was people coming down pro or anti-matte. There was a lot of good feedback. And also the point raised, most eloquently by Bruce Arthurs that:
"What bothers me about this is that you're asking professional publishers to limit their options....The 'tells' I generally see to distinguish self-published from professional books aren't the glossiness of the cover stock. Poor cover art, and clunky typography and layout are a much greater factor. They're not always 'bad,' but they're almost always 'off.'"
Now, another interesting factor. It was quickly pointed out that the author of the post is Canadian, and that, due to the generous subsidies and grants that the Canadian government provides for writers (and that I wish the US government would too) there are a lot of self published books in bookstores in Canada due to big government artist subsidies. While this particularly bookseller stressed their store did not stock vanity press titles, it may nonetheless be that there is a particular  suspicion of and sensitivity towards self-publishing among Canadian shoppers.

So there is a degree to which I think this may not be as relevant to the American market as it is to the Canadian one. 

The other factor that needs discussing is that this is not a discussion of quality but of perception. The matte covers being advocated here frequently curl, scratch horribly, are generally less durable, and, most crucial in my opinion, dull and blunt the artwork. We had a situation once where a blogger criticizes our paper stock, saying it didn't look like the other books on his shelf. We contacted them, asking them to specify examples of which paper they preferred. It turned out they liked the really low-end, low-weight, see through, cheap paper generally reserved for mass market books and now sadly starting to creep into some trade paperback and even (horribly!) to some hardcovers as a cost cutting measure. The fact that our paper was thicker, creamier, more durable and way more expensive was seen as a bad thing.

As John Picacio elegantly put it:
"If someone thinks McDonald's burgers are the best burgers ever, and the way burgers should be made, and then they go to Peter Lugar's in NYC, and hate the gourmet burgers because they aren't like the 'major chain,' then does that mean Peter Lugar's should make their burgers like McDonald's?"
Hell no. So there's a very real degree to which I am unwilling to make our books look cheaper, less durable, and, well, uglier if that's what it takes to "blend in." When I select a manuscript for a Pyr book, I want it to be something you will love, and want to read over and over, and I want it packaged beautifully in something that will last.

But, again, it's a data point. If the perception exists among US shoppers, which is where the majority of our books are sold (us being a US publisher), then I need to address it.

So, yesterday, I went to  Barnes & Noble to get some more data points. I started in the As and went to the Zs, to see just who was publishing what in trade paperback covers with gloss finishes. The following authors were all published in this manner, and their books had no foil or embossing - just gloss finishes on trade paperbacks. This is not a complete list, not by any means; it's just as much as I could jot down on my iPhone in the five minutes I had before I had to rush home to my family. So, in gloss trade paperback we have: Douglas Adams, Terry Brooks, Stephen Brust, Octavia Butler, Orson Scott Card, Charles De Lint, Philip K Dick,  David Eddings, Terry Goodkind, Frank Herbert, Robert Heinlein, Robert Howard, Robert Jordan, Elizabeth Moon, Michael Moorcock, Jennifer Roberson, Robert Sawyer, Jonathan Strahan, TH White, Rober Zelazny. 

Looking at that list, it's hard to see how anyone browsing in an American chain store, and seeing that list of powerhouse authors published in glossy trade paperback editions, could come to the conclusion that this was a format reserved for vanity press publications. In fact, what I found was that the bigger the author was, the more likely it seemed that their trade paperback editions would receive glossy treatment. Most of the matte finished books I saw were smaller, mid-list authors. There also seemed to be more fantasy published with a gloss finish than SF (but this may be that there is more fantasy published period than SF right now).

Now, in terms of who published it: Pretty much every Del Rey, DAW, and Baen trade paperback I pulled off the shelf was a gloss. Many St. Martins, Tor, Orb, Berkely, Ace, and Roc offerings were gloss (about half of the Tor books, and again, pretty much all of their bigger authors and major releases). Interestingly enough, the only houses that seemed to favor matte finishes over gloss were Night Shade Books and Orbit, though in the case of the latter, most books I saw were matte with either embossing or foil. (Also, I forgot to look at the Lilith Saintcrow and Jennifer Rardin books from Orbit, which I seem to remember now are gloss trades. Not sure. And the Solaris books I have here at home that are in trade paperback are also gloss.)

Now, again, I'm not drawing a qualitative difference between matte verses gloss in general (though I do object to cheap, scratchy, curly matte, and I saw a lot of that).  I'm just looking to see if we were an aberration in choosing gloss finishes for the majority of our titles. And what I found was that we weren't, and if what we were publishing these days was primarily fantasy (and it is) then gloss actually seemed like the smart/accepted choice.

But it's a data point.

We're working with a number of new authors, as well as a lot of new illustrators, in 2010 and 2011. We're moving into some new (for us) subgenres, and generally shaking things up (and expanding!). So I'm going to loosen up and play with the look of some of our books in future. I trust you'll let me know how we're doing.

In the meantime, if you want to weigh in here on matte vs gloss, or what makes you pick up or put down a book, feel free to comment. I only ask that you not single out specific artists or publishers for criticism (play nice), and that you identify where in the world you are coming in from, because I'd like to hear if Americans have the same reaction to gloss finishes that this Canadian bookseller has (and, as for British book buyers, there is a very different design aesthetic in the UK verses the US). Thanks!

Unfolding Earth

Via New Scientist:

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


Via Chris Roberson:

Time for a Change

Just heard this week from Sean Williams (pictured here in the Batmobile with Garth Nix) that his wonderful Books of the Change (a young adult series that ties in with his adult fantasy quartet, the Books of the Cataclysm) will be coming out in the US via E-Reads, which means they'll be available in both Ebook and POD editions. Meanwhile, his next Star Wars novel (after The Force Unleashed),has been announced. It's another "major" event novel in the Star Wars univeerse, a tie-in MMORG, The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance,which will be coming out July '10.

While back in his native Australia, his children's novel, The Scarecrow,  set in the same universe as the Books of the Change/Cataclysm has been nominated for an Aurealis Award in the YA category, and his adult novel, The Grand Conjunction,has as well for Best SF Novel.

Congrats, Sean.

Monday, December 07, 2009

The Clockwork Jungle Book (Shimmer Issue #11)

For someone who averages one story every four years, I've produced a LOT of fiction this year. I wrote a piece for a Solaris anthology that, unfortunately, was scraped in the change of ownership, and a piece I wrote years ago with Chris Roberson just surfaced in Dave Hutchinson's Under the Rose.I knocked out a sword & sorcery story after being inspired by my forthcoming anthology(just for myself, you understand, though I "have plans" for both it and sequels). I even managed to complete 50,000 words of NaNoWriMo, and then, there's this:

Welcome to the Clockwork Jungle Book: our collection of twenty fabulous steampunk animal tales. We’ve got an origin story from Jay Lake, and a tale of the end of the world from Sara Genge. Stories set in London, China, Alabama, Castle Frankenstein, and the moon. We’ve got snakes and dinosaurs, elephants and wolves, bees and fish, birds and goats, and yes, even a monkey or two.

"And How His Audit Stands" is my steampunk western contribution to Shimmer magazine's 11th issue, The Clockwork Jungle Book. Featuring tales by Jay Lake, Blake Hutchins, Jess Nevins, Shweta Narayan, Marissa Lingen, Vince Pendergast, Susannah Mandel, James Maxey, Gwynne Garfinkle, James L Cambias, Genevieve Valentine, Sara Genge, Barbara A Barnett, Amal El-Mohtar, Chris Roberson, Rajan Khanna, Peter M Ball, Alethea Kontis, Caleb Wilson and Yours Truly. Very proud to be in their number. And they even ran an interview with me on my author page.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Kristine Kathryn Rusch Puts Her Money Where Her Mouth Is

Kristine Kathryn Rusch, author of (among many things) the just released Diving into the Wreck,is interviewed tdoay on The Mad Hatter's Bookshelf & Book Review. Here's a taste:
MH: In an article a few months back I lamented my dearth of Science Fiction reading and the fact I felt it has lost its specialness over the years due to fact so much technology has come to fruition. Do you think the mystery is going out of Sci-Fi as we advance technologically?

KKR: No, not at all. Recently I read that we’re all living in someone else’s future. When JFK became president, all that anti-Catholic stuff that stopped the careers of so many politicians went away. We don’t even think of it any more. When I worry that tech is going to ruin SF, I only have to think of my grandmother, who also lived an sf life. She was born in the 1890s and died in the 1990s. She could remember life without toasters(!)

I wrote essays about why sf lost its specialness, most recently in my Internet Review of Science Fiction columns  and also in a column for Asimov’s called "Barbarian Confessions." There’s more because I think sf wrapped itself into a tight bubble and stopped writing sensawonder stuff. If we go back to that, sf will grow again. So in some ways, “Diving” is me putting my money where my mouth is.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

OryCon31 - I've Been Spoiled for Life

So this past weekend, November 27-2, I was elated to be the Editing Guest of Honor at OryCon31, and I must say I've been spoiled for life. This was largely due to the efforts of DeeAnn Sole, my guest liaison, and her husband Curtis Chen. DeeAnn was remarkable from before I even arrived, working very hard to find me a flight that would allow me to eat Thanksgiving Day lunch with my family and still arrive in Portland on Thursday night. She and Curtis picked me up at the airport, and surprised me with a gift basket that included a selection of dark ales and lagers (all microbreweries and local beers), copious amounts of chocolate, and everything from hand sanitizer to Tylenol.  Ah, to be so well understood...

The convention itself was marvelous, the organizers very friendly. I got another gift basket with more beer and chocolate and hand sanitizer... I was told it was in a new hotel for them (the Portland DoubleTree, and that this year only, they'd had to move up two weeks to the Thanksgiving Weekend in order to get into the space, so they were expecting a smaller-than-usual show and were very happy with their 750 preregistered attendees, (and I'm sure they pulled in quite a bit above that over the course of the weekend. UPDATE: Con reports attendance around 1400.)

Before it even began, on Friday morning, I used "technology" to find a Starbucks at the nearby Lloyd Center, and then, a Barnes & Noble. I couldn't resist checking our books (tons face out!), and was thrilled to see a guy pull Mark Chadbourn's The Silver Skull off the shelf, read the back cover, nod, and tuck it under his arm. I left him alone for as long as I could, but eventually had to engage him in conversation. We ended up talking about 40 minutes about all things SF&Fnal, and exchanged emails, Twitter handles, and Facebook contacts at the end. Thus empowered by technology and caffeine, I hit the con in an already wonderful mood.

An Aside: It was only on the way out of Lloyd Center, reflecting on the skating rink there and wishing my family had been able to come with me, that I found myself signing "Standard Bitter Love Song # 8" by the Mountain Goats, and realized the connection that my brain had already made. The song in question begins, "I went down to Lloyd center looking for you. / but a mouth full of anger blocked my view. / He took your hand there in the skating the rink. / God will give him blood to drink."

Friday itself was a light day. It began with a good lunch with the con chair Debra Stansbury, guest artist Lubov, and our liaisons. Then I had a fun superhero panel with Michael Ehart and Carl Cook, a good publishing panel with Doug Odell and Patricia Briggs (wonderful to meet her, wish I'd had more time to chat), and got to give David D. Levine his Endeavor Award before he shot me with a ray gun during the opening ceremonies skit, ostensibly for rejecting his manuscript. Awkward, yes, but David co-wrote the performance, so...

Then Friday night: The bar  looked like a Mexican Cantina (or maybe a Hobbit Hole), and was built with its own outdoor wall facade, complete with windows, as if someone had erected on building inside another (strange but made for a great way to get away without getting away, and had all the little nooks and plenty of space a good con bar needs). I got to spend some real time with Mary Robinette Kowal (my new favorite person) and Ken Scholes (a fellow refugee from fundamentalism with whom I rapidly bonded). Then my good friend Lee Moyer (fabulous artist) came and brought me doughnuts. Greater love hath no man than this.

Aside #2: I finished my 50,000 words of NaNoWriMo Friday night around 1:20am. I'll have thoughts on that experience at a later time, but choosing to do NaNoWriMo for the first time in a month when I was a guest of two separate cons, and thus, on the road for 10 of the 30 days, is perhaps not the wisest thing I've ever done...

Saturday they worked me hard. Five panels, including their first ever kaffeeklatsch (Apparently, I introduced them to the idea),  and the last four panels in a block from Noon to Four PM. DeeAnn was amazing, meeting me in the morning with a Starbucks Skinny Vanilla Latte Venti in one hand and a clipboard with my itinerary in the other. I didn't have to think about where I was supposed to be at all, just concentrate on being "on." During that four hour block, she was there to hand me power-bars, bottled water, and hand sanitizer as we raced between rooms. I felt like a combination of a celebrity rock star and Mr. Monk. I'm not kidding about that spoiled for life bit. I'm Editor Guest of Honor at MidSouthCon next March. When they email to ask me if I have any special needs, I'm pretty sure I'll say "DeeAnn."

All panels well attended, by the way, particularly the Pyr Presentation Panel, where I was able to show off some Jon Sullivan artwork that had arrived that morning and which, therefore, nobody but me, the author and the OryCon attendees have seen. Then Saturday night back at the bar. Pictured left is the wonderful and aforementioned Mary Robinette Kowal, whose knowledge of everything from agriculture to theater makeup is extraordinary ("Your beliefs intrigue me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter"), and my good friend Garrett Simpson, who moved to Portland last year, and came by that night just to hang.

I also got to meet in the flesh for the first time my longtime email buddy Mahesh R Mohan, and illustrator Chuck Lukacs, who does the interiors on our two James Enge books, Blood of Ambrose and This Crooked Way. Really great guys both, as I'm sure bleeds through from this photo. And everybody exchanging contact info at the end of the evening only made me sorry I don't live in Portland. Odd coincidence of the evening: Both Mary and Garrett were reading Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond - Mary for world-building and Garrett for culinary school!

Sunday was more of the same - greeted with coffee, a marvelous kaffeeklatsch (I think those are my favorite programming items always), etc... Sadly, the brand new "behind the scenes on book covers" Powerpoint presentation I worked on all last week was poorly attended, but my three audience members were deeply appreciated. (I later found out the con had 13 items all scheduled at the same time, and the time was noon on Sunday, so I'm not taking it personally). But "Gravity Defying Bosoms" with Blake Hutchins, Deb Taber, Kristin Landon and Mary Robinette Kowal, was more fun (and more relevant) than that panel had a right to be.

I had to race out of my last panel to make the SF Authorfest III Booksigning at the Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing. Thanks to SF Section Head, Peter Honigstock, for a wonderful time. Kristine Kathryn Rusch sold an impressive amount of Diving into the Wreck, and I got to meet Brent Weeks and Timothy Zahn. The store was huge and very nice, and with over 20 authors there, it was quite a well-attended event. Successful too, I'm told.

Afterwards, Dean Wesley Smith and Kris Rusch took me to Hunan Restaurant, where Garrett and his girlfriend Helen joined us. Great dinner, followed by a trip to the main Powell's so I could see it in all its glorious enormity. There were an impressive number of Pyr titles there (could always be more!), and I'm glad I've seen one of the world's largest bookstores firsthand. Then home, to one final beer waiting in the refrigerator, a few final bits of chocolate, and a quiet evening before a very long day traveling back. It was hard to be away from my family on Thanksgiving weekend, very hard, but the staff, attendees, guests, and friends old and new made this a weekend I'll never forget. Meanwhile, I am still suffering DeeAnn withdrawal. Where's my latte?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Swords & Dark Magic - Limited

The promised limited edition of Swords & Dark Magic, edited by Yours Truly and Jonathan Strahan, has materialized at Subterranean Press, with a pub date of July 2010 and the news (to you, not me) that the wonderful Dominic Harman will be doing the cover.

Here's what they say:

Limited: $75
ISBN: 978-1-59606-311-2
Length: 424 pages

Swords & Dark Magic is the most important new fantasy anthology to be published this decade. Featuring new stories from the bestselling and brightest writers working in the genre, including: New York Times bestselling authors Scott Lynch and Garth Nix; genre greats Michael Moorcock (with an all-new Elric novella), Michael Shea (with a fully authorized new Cugel the Clever adventure), Robert Silverberg (with an all-new Majipoor tale), Glen Cook (with an all-new Black Company story), Gene Wolfe, Peter S. Beagle, and C. J. Cherryh; and hot new writers who've been re-inventing swords and sorcery like Steven Erikson, Joe Abercrombie, Tim Lebbon, and many more.

Limited: 500 signed numbered copies, bound in full cloth.

Table of Contents
Check Your Dark Lord at the Door" — Lou Anders & Jonathan Strahan
Goats of Glory — Steven Erikson
Tides Elba: A Tale of the Black Company — Glen Cook
Bloodsport — Gene Wolfe
The Singing Spear — James Enge
A Wizard of Wiscezan — C.J. Cherryh
A Rich Full Week — K. J. Parker
A Suitable Present for a Sorcerous Puppet — Garth Nix
Red Pearls: An Elric Story — Michael Moorcock
The Deification of Dal Bamore — Tim Lebbon
Dark Times at the Midnight Market — Robert Silverberg
The Undefiled — Greg Keyes
Dapple Hew the Tint Master — Michael Shea
In the Stacks — Scott Lynch
Two Lions, A Witch, and the War-Robe — Tanith Lee
The Sea Troll's Daughter — Caitlin R Kiernan
Thieves of Daring — Bill Willingham
The Fool Jobs — Joe Abercrombie

Rollup Laptop

Saturday, November 28, 2009


50,163 words. Two days ahead of time. Whew.
Thoughts on it later. Bed now.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

IlluXCon 2

Earlier this month, on November 11-14th, in Altoona, Pennsylvania, it was my great privilege to be flown out in my capacity as Pyr Art Director to attend IlluXcon2, a gathering of some of the best sf/fantasy artists in the world for a four-day weekend, exhibiting their art and hanging out with hardcore collectors, art directors, and sf/fantasy art afficionados. This is a rather special convention, the brainchild of Pat and Jeannie Wilshire, and quite impressive for an event only in its second year. It is also somewhat exclusive.  The con featured about 50 artists (who I believe are all there only by invitation), some 80-100 art students, several art directors, and a number of high end collectors. I flew in with a student who was coming from Huntsville, Alabama and rode in with a collector who had come in all the way from Kent, England.

The space itself is a gorgeous gallery, adjacent to a student center (where the panels and demos were held), and diagonal from a Bistro that very kindly opened its doors to host the portfolio reviews and be a general meeting destination throughout the weekend. There's not much else around, and the con is hampered by not having a hotel in the area, so there is a lot of shuttling back and forth and grumbling over same. But what it results in is an intimate weekend that is really a tremendous experience.

During the weekend, I got to hang out with some of the greatest living fantasy artists, participate in an art director panel with folks from Wizards of the Coast, Blizzard and elsewhere, and spent about eight hours doing portfolio reviews. It was an exhausting weekend, but one of the most rewarding con experiences of my career to date. Spending a weekend entirely in the company of artists taught me how much I enjoy artists' company, and really reinforced in a way I'd never quite considered just how fulfilling the "art director" part of my job at Pyr is to me. And being forced to quantify my opinions in the portfolio reviews taught me a lot about my own preferences. I get multiple portfolio submissions a week at Pyr, but am never called upon to say much more than "thank you, but this doesn't fit the style of our line." Having to quantify and articulate my response to students who had paid good money to attend the show and were expecting helpful feedback forced me to examine what I know intuitively in ways I hadn't done before. I think I learned a great deal and only hope the students did.

Meanwhile, as to the artists themselves... In addition to talking to childhood heroes Michael Whelan and Boris Vallejo, and spending real time with old friends John Picacio and Dave Seeley, it was wonderful to be in the company of such stellar talents as Caniglia, Dan Dos Santos, Vincent Villafranca, Bob Eggleton, Eric Fortune, Bruce Jensen, Daren Bader, Donato Giancola, Julie Bell, John Jude Palencar, Brom, Justin Gerard, Justin Sweet, Lucas Graciano, Michael Hayes, Scott Altmann, and many more.

Of particular fun/value, late night conversations with Cyril Van Der Haegen and David Palumbo, and meeting fellow AD Jon Schindehette. Also, keep your eye on this one.

Meanwhile, I still haven't come down off my IlluXcon high, and I imagine IlluXcon is here to stay, and may be one of the premiere events of the year.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

OryCon and Powell's SF Authorfest III Booksigning

This weekend I'll be Editing Guest of Honor at OryCon31, Oregon's Premier Science Fiction Convention, held November 27-29, 2009 at the Portland DoubleTree Hotel, 1000 NE Multnomah Street, Portland OR 97232. I'll be joining Author Guest of Honor Patricia Briggs, Artist Guest of Honor Lubov, Filk Guest of Honor Jeff Hitchin, and Special Guest Chris Lester. Then at the end of the weekend, I'll be appearing at Powell's massive SF Authorfest III Booksigning at the Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing. Here is my con schedule and Powell's signing information:

1:00PM- 2:00PM
"Exploring the mystique of costumed vigilantes" – Exploring the mystique of Batman, The Phantom, Daredevil and other costumed vigilantes from the golden age of comics and how they have evolved through the passage of time. (Michael Ehart, Lou Anders, Carl Cook)

4:00PM - 5:00PM
"Behind the curtain of publishing" How publishing works, what goes on to turn a
manuscript into a book, industry trends, and why readers should care about this stuff. (Lou Anders, Doug Odell, Patricia Briggs)

"Opening Ceremonies"
The Not Ready For Patricia Briggs,  Sidereal Time Players present... (Lou Anders, Runa, Christopher Lester, Lubov)

"Coffee with Lou" - Meet and chat with Lou Anders over coffee.

12:00PM-  1:00PM
"Building a balanced mythos" - How to balance the mortal, immortal, mythical, legendary and cultural elements when world building. (Rebecca Neason, Lou Anders, Mary Robinette Kowal, Alma Alexander, Robin Hobb)

1:00PM- 2:00PM
"Drowning in slush" - The best and worst of slush. How does slush reading work and who does it? What makes a story stand out from the slush pile? Is there any way around the pile? Are agents now the new slush readers, and how is that working out for the publishing industry? (Colleen Anderson, Maggie Jamison, Deb Taber, Camille Alexa, Lou Anders)

2:00PM- 3:00PM
"Editing 101: Are Editors Human?" - Editors are notorious for being critical. Being judgmental is, after all, an important component of their job. Knowing what they do, and why they do it can help a writer prepare their work for the editors steely gaze. Both experienced authors and editors offer their opinions. (Grá Linnaea, Lou Anders, Louise Marley/Toby Bishop, Deb Taber)

3:00PM- 4:00PM
"Lou Anders Presents" - Lou Anders: A Pyr Presentation. See art for upcoming book covers. This is a premiere event, never before seen by the public. Don't miss this wonderful presentation by our editor Guest of Honor.

10:00AM -10:30AM
"Coffee with Lou" - Meet and chat with Lou Anders  Lou Anders over coffee.

"3 Aliens and a Human by Friday: Lou Anders, Artist/Editor Relationship" - How and when editors edit words on a page is pretty clear, but how do things work with editors
and artists? Enquiring minds want to know!

2:00PM- 3:00PM
"Gravity defying bosoms" - What art directors ask for in covers, what authors want, and what readers pick up sometimes come into conflict, especially when it comes to half-naked women. Marketability, feminism, and other issues related to cover art discussed and explained.
(Lou Anders, Blake Hutchins, Deb Taber, Kristin Landon)

3:00PM- 4:00PM
"A touch of Farmer, a pinch of LeGuin"
- Panelists discuss their biggest influences and what books have changed the recent landscape in SF/F/H literature.(Edward Morris, David W. Goldman, Lou Anders, Karen L.)

And then...
Sunday, November 29th @ 4:00PM
Sci-Fi Authorfest III Booksigning
Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing
3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd. (800) 878-7323
They say...
"More science fiction authors than you can shake a light saber at! Guests include:

Lilith Saintcrow (Flesh Circus, Orbit)
Thomas Harlan (Land of the Dead, Tor)
David Levine (Space Magic, Wheatland Press)
Brent Weeks (Beyond the Shadows, Orbit)
Camille Alexa (Push of the Sky, Hadley Rille Books)
Barb and J. C. Hendee (In Shade and Shadow, Roc)
Devon Monk (Magic in the Shadows, Roc)
Brenda Cooper (Wings of Creation, Tor)
Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Diving into the Wreck, Pyr)
Dean Wesley Smith (numerous Star Trek novels)
Nina Kiriki Hoffman (Fall of Light, Ace)
Mike Shepherd (Undaunted, Ace)
A. M. Dellamonica (Indigo Springs, Tor)
Timothy Zahn (Odd Girl Out, Tor)
Alma Alexander (Cybermage, Harper Teen)
Louise Marley (the Singers of Nevya series)
Ru Emerson (the Bard's Tale series)
....and Pyr senior editor Lou Anders.

We are also pleased to welcome the Cloud City Garrison of the 501st Imperial Legion."

Looks like it's going to be a very fun, very busy weekend.

Friday, November 06, 2009

My Favorite Books

I'm interviewed at My Favorite Books today. Here's a taste:

Lately, I've been acquiring titles that I am thinking of as "post-steampunk," or rather, steampunk that has migrated out of Victorian settings into fantasy, urban fantasy, and other alternate historical settings. We'll have books in this category out in 2010 from Adrian Tchaikovsky, Mike Resick, Tim Akers, George Mann and the writing team of Clay and Susan Griffith.

Those aren't post steampunk covers pictures. I just like the art.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Time, Unincorporated

Presenting: Time, Unincorporated 2: The Doctor Who Fanzine Archives: (Vol. 2: Writings on the Classic Series)

Which includes:  Me, pontificating on the dark side of the Doctor.

Here's the book synopsis from Mad Norwegian Press (why is he mad?):

In Time, Unincorporated, the best essays and commentary from a range of Doctor Who fanzines are collected and here made available to a wider audience. In spirit, this series picks up the torch from Virgin's Licence Denied collection (1997), concentrating some of the most delightful, insightful and strange writings on Doctor Who into a single source.

Volume 2 of this series contains nearly 75 essays that examine every era of the classic Doctor Who series that ran from 1963-1989, as well as the FOX TV movie (1996). The essays stem from a wide array of venerable fanzines such as Enlightenment, Shockeye's Kitchen, Burnt Toast, Faze, Dark Circus, The Whostorian and more. Collectively, the essays derived from these sources form one of the most diverse compilations of Doctor Who writing ever produced.

As a bonus, ten of the essays were written exclusively for this volume by the likes of Matt Jones (Doctor Who, Torchwood), Simon Guerrier (The Slitheen Excursion), Pyr Books editorial director Lou Anders, and Jim Sangster (TV Heaven).