Friday, May 29, 2009

Valdemar Font in Age of Misrule

The Scriptorium is a great site for interesting fonts, but I didn't expect it would be a great site for a book review! But they spotted our use of their most excellent, most unusual font, Valdemar, on the cover of Mark Chadbourn's World's End (Age of Misrule Book One).And, thankfully, they approve of the use we put their font to:
The overall result is excellent, and it’s just the kind of book Valdemar was designed for. I also quite like the cover art by John Picacio, which is surprisingly conceptually reminiscent of the cover Howard David Johnson did for my Ysgarth RPG.
As to the book itself, I'm happy they think it lives up to its cover:
World’s End is quite an engaging read. It’s well written and fast-moving, thematically reminiscent of some of the work of Robert Holdstock or Neil Gaiman, but much more commerically written for broad audience appeal.
Thanks guys! That's a great quote! Keep up the good work that makes our work good! As you says, "A good read with a great font as part of a really appealing cover design. What more could you ask for?"

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

James Enge Interview up at Fantasy Book Critic

James Enge, author of Blood of Ambrose,is interviewed by Mihir Wanchoo at Fantasy Book Critic. The whole interview is well worth checking out, but here's one of my favorite bits:
I believe that the greatest danger to genre fiction nowadays is not the denial of respect from some notional group of literary tastemakers but the very real likelihood that sf/f may become respectable. Those who thirst for the foamy gray poison of respectability should consider the fate of jazz, once a popular medium, now respectable, ossified and ignored.

Sherlock Holmes

I think I am going to love this, as long as I forget everything I ever knew.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Missions Unknown: SF,F, & H in San Antonio

From their press release:

Horror writer Sanford Allen, World Fantasy Award-winning & Hugo-nominated artist John Picacio, and tech guru Paul "The Mac Guy" Vaughn have banded together and formed MISSIONS UNKNOWN! -- a blog celebrating science fiction, fantasy, and horror in San Antonio. The blog's main mission is to celebrate SA-based creators and fans of sf/f/h and everything related to the literature and art of sf/f/h. That includes books, authors, artists, comics, prose, and the making and enjoyment of all of them. The blog launched Sunday, May 24, 2009.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Star Trek Art Auction for a Good Cause

My friend Michael Colbert, author of the comic book Crazy Mary, writes to say:

Hi Lou

I was hoping you could mention something on your blog and any other place you connect with SF folk.

April and I are involved in "Relay for life” an organization dedicated to raising money for cancer research. JK Woodward recently did a Star Trek book for IDW: Alien Spotlight – KLINGONS! He has donated an original page from that work for auction on E-Bay. This thing has Klingon war ships, Enterprise B, Kang and all done by JK’s brilliant hand. The page will be signed by JK and every dime will go to my wife’s charity goal. She just lost her grandmother on Monday to cancer so this has special meaning to her.

The e-bay link: And April’s link is at the bottom of the email. This is a win-win for everybody and it would be great if you told your legion of followers to bid on it.

Hope all is well in your corner of the world.

Thanks man!

Please visit our personal page to find out more about our fight with cancer!
Mike and April are good people. JK Woodward is a great artist. This is a good cause. So, ahem, "legion of followers," go do some good. At the very least, help spreading the word would be appreciated.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Spock & Nimoy: Findly Boldly Going Their Separate Ways

I spent roughly five years as the LA Liaison for Titan Magazines, during which time I wrote over 500 articles, largely interviews conducted on the sets and in the offices of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, Babylon 5, it's telefilms and short-lived spin-off, Crusade. In June, 1996, I had the privilege of interviewing Leonard Nimoy for Titan's Star Trek Monthly magazine. One question that I had for Mr Nimoy was difficult to phrase. I felt the Star Trek actors' personal images had become iconic in a way no other character's ever had. Everyone knows who James Bond is, but Bond has been played by a host of different people, and while some stand out above the others, none can claim to be exclusively the "look" of Bond. The same for Batman, Doctor Who, Sherlock Holmes, and pretty much every other fictional superstar. But Shatner and Nimoy were forever Kirk and Spock. Their actual faces, and not fudged approximations, appeared on literally millions of books, videotapes, DVDs, comic books, toys, lunch boxes, action figures... I wanted to know what it felt like to have this "twin" of yourself out in the world, having effects and adventures that you weren't aware of. In other words, Spock had a life beyond Nimoy, particularly in books, and I wondered if Nimoy had a sense of that aspect of himself out in the world apart from his physical self. Now, with Zachary Quinto so ably filling these colossal shoes (something I wouldn't have thought possible in 1996), I pulled up my transcript of Mr Nimoy's response to my question. I'll share it here (with a plug for the great mags at Titan). I phrased my question above, and ended it by asking, "Can you always answer for Spock? Is there anything about Spock you don’t know?"

Mr Nimoy's response:

I hope so. I would think so, I would think so. I think there’s more to be discovered, and maybe someday we’ll do a book about the unknown aspects of the Spock character. It’s a very rich field, this whole idea of the half-human, half-alien sort of diasporite character and I think about him a lot, I often wonder what’s been undiscovered. I’m sure there’s more.

You’re touching on a very interesting aspect of my relationship with this character. In a sense we are joined at the hip, in another sense we have separate identities, and that’s what leads to the title of these books [I Am Not Spock/ I Am Spock], that I’ve done so far, is the idea that we are and are not the same people and that’s what the first book was about. The book was not a rejection of the character. It was an exploration of this phenomenon that you’re pointing to in an interesting kind of way, that Spock goes off and does things and I’m not necessarily there. I go off and do things and Spock is not necessarily there. On the other hand, we do merge and become one on certain occasions, so its a very interesting experience. You know there was a story done, I think it was Alexander Dumas, many years ago, called The Corsican Brothers, in which these brothers are so close in their relationship that they had empathy for each other. They could be miles apart but if one was having an experience of a kind, the other one experienced it with him. And I think there’s that strange kind of sensation that I have with Spock. I have a feeling that a part of me is in those books and in those adventures in which I’m not physically participating, but I have an emotional connection.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Fast Forward 2: Awards and Best of's Round Up

The anthology itself is a Philip K. Dick Award nominee.

Hugo Award nominees:

Best Novella - “True Names” by Benjamin Rosenbaum & Cory Doctorow
Best Novelette – “The Gambler” by Paolo Bacigalupi

Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award nominees:

"True Names" by Benjamin Rosenbaum & Cory Doctorow
"The Gambler" by Paolo Bacigalupi

2009 Locus Award Finalists:

Best Novella: "True Names" by Benjamin Rosenbaum & Cory Doctorow
Best Short Story: "The Kindness of Strangers" by Nancy Kress

The Year's Best Science Fiction, volume 26, edited by Gardner Dozois:

"The Gambler" by Paolo Bacigalupi
"An Eligible Boy" by Ian McDonald

Year's Best SF 14, edited by David G. Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer:

"Mitigation" by Tobias Buckell & Karl Schroeder

The Best SF and Fantasy of the Year Vol. 3, edited by Jonathan Strahan:

"The Gambler" by Paolo Bacigalupi

Science Fiction: The Best of the Year, 2009, edited by Rich Horton:

"Catherine Drewe" by Paul Cornell

Not too shabby, no?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Fu Manchu Lou Review

I review The Insidious Dr Fu Manchu at today. This was a tricky one. Sax Rohmer had some very offensive attitudes about Asians, but his character has cast a very long shadow over pop and pulp culture, immitations showing up everywhere from Flash Gordon to Jonny Quest. And before I read the work, I had no idea how much the Batman mythology drew from it. So, I tried to speak to the historical influence without excusing the inexcusable racism. Oddly, Rohmer himself dances a fine line between saying horrible things about the Chinese and being clearly in love with his creation, who is far more the star of the work than any of the "good guys" in the book.

One thing I didn't really get into at length is Fu Manchu in cinema (Christopher Lee played him five times) and the whole tradition of white (and largely British) actors portraying Asian characters. Perhaps because of the timing, it has me thinking about their portrayal in Star Trek and James Bond. Remember the scene in "The Naked Now" when George Takei runs shirtless and intoxicated through the corridors of the Enterprise menacing passerbys with his rapier? Originally, the producers wanted him to do karate, and George refused, saying that in the future, martial arts wouldn't be restricted to Asians. He suggested Sulu be a fencer instead. (Always pissed me off that they later had him do martial arts in The Search for Spock, but I guess the point had been made by then.) They get to play on this in the new film, where Young Sulu volunteers that he has "combat training" without identifying what style of combat. But it made me think of what an elegant and dignified man Takei is, and how much he did just by being himself, and how, in contrast to all the films that show a post-apocalytpic future (as Terminator: Salvation and The Road will shortly and jointly do yet again), Star Trek has a message even when it doesn't have a message. By its very nature, simply showing a multicultural, tolerant future, where open-minded rationalists are on a mission of scientific and cultural exploration, and poverty, disease, and warfare are considered backwards, is a pretty damn important meme, and I'm glad its still out there and broadcasting loud and clear.

James Bond because years ago I read an interview with David Yip, who plays CIA liaison agent Chuck Lee in the 1985 James Bond film A View to a Kill. Yip said that when he was called in to audition for Bond, he expected to be playing a stereotype and was surprised, honored, and proud to learn that the character was a CIA agent, race-unspecified. It was a landmark moment for him. And something that seems no big deal now was still a big deal in 1985. I grew up in a pretty segregated community in the Deep South, where a lot of the attitudes weren't very tolerant, but I had a couple things going for me that my peers didn't share. One, I took martial arts from a man from Tokyo, who had several black belts, a law degree, and held the official rank of samarai (whatever that means today). So while I was growing up in an almost exclusively-white environment, I had direct and daily exposure to an extremely intelligent, impressive, accomplished and powerful non-Caucasian from an early age, even as I lived in a monoculture. And I was into Star Trek. It was pretty hard to buy into negative stereotypes of other humans when I was totally okay with Vulcans and Klingons, right?

The south isn't what it used to be at all. My town now has strong indian, mexican, and asian communities. It has a thriving independent film scene, a thriving gay community, more than a few fantastic restaurants, and the pool halls serving Bud and Michelob have largely given way to pubs serving Newcastle and microbrews. But it wasn't like this when I left it several decades ago, and I still know people from my childhood who themselves have failed to grow with the changing time and evolving town. And I think that it was science ficiton in general, and Star Trek in specific, with a dose of martial arts, that got me out of that mindset. And I am bloody grateful.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Liviu and Me: Interview on Fantasy Book Critic

I am interviewed today at Fantasy Book Critic by the wonderful Liviu, and quite honored by the opportunity, as well as the response thus far.

As to building an anthology, I related it to the lost art of making a perfect mix tape. Before the miracle of iTunes rendered the task obsolete, it could be the work of a whole weekend to create a perfect mix. You shut yourself in your dorm room or apartment with a turn table, a tape deck, and your LPs and 45s, and you worked with pen and paper figuring out the perfect order, but only when you got into the heart of it could you really know, so often you’d rewind and erase and reorder to get things right. "

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Rock Star Literature

Via Galleycat, short story writer and Birmingham, Alabama native Tobias Wolff sings along with John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats.

City Without End: One Hell of a Novel

City without Endis to be admired and appreciated. It is to be enjoyed. City Without End is one hell of a novel. It is better than the A World Too Near,which in turn was better than Bright of the Sky.That would be saying something if the series did not start out strong. Since Bright of the Sky was a strong opening volume, it marks City Without End as something special. Truly, this is a series that demands to be read. Only, be sure to start at the beginning. You don’t want to miss a word.” -Fantasy Magazine, May 7, 2009

You see that there, "demands to be read" ? Now remember when SFRevu said, "This may well be the most ambitious epic science fiction series of the current decade." That's it folks. No more excuses.

New Pyr slogan: Got Kenyon?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Star Trek

The short version: Go see it. It rocks. Great for fans and non-fans alike, going to be huge, is doing for Star Trek what Casino Royale did for Bond, what Batman Begins did for the Caped Crusader. Absolutely fantastic film, going to do wonders for both the franchise and SF in general.

The long version: I've got too much personal history with Trek to watch it dispassionately. Once upon a time, I flew out to Los Angeles to take a course at UCLA on "writing for Star Trek" being taught by some old screenwriters associated with the original series and Jack B. Sowards of Wrath of Khan fame. That evening, I called up an old friend and asked her to dinner, but upon arriving at her house in Long Beach, found we'd both been invited out by her boss to a dinner at Mezzaluna's with the panelists from a "Digital Hollywood" conference. (As an aside, pretty sure Ron Goldman was one of our waiters. Sadly, this was one week before OJ.) I was seated next to Herbie Hancock, and didn't appreciate that then near as much as I would have now, but Brannon Braga was at the other end of the table, so I eventually made my way down to introduce myself. He was blown away that I'd flown out from Alabama to take the UCLA course and said he's put me on the guest list for his and Ron Moore's own seminar if I could come back a month later. I did. (Also in the class was Bryan Fuller.) I came back, took the course, and got on well with Lolita Fatjo (long time script coordinator on Trek). I left with a naive sense of how accessible Hollywood was and had moved out within about six months.

Cutting to the chase, I worked for Titan's Star Trek Monthly magazine for five years as their LA liaison, where I wrote over 500 articles and interviews with Trek and Babylon 5 cast and crew. I've spent hundreds of hours in the Trek offices, prop rooms, sets, cast trailers, etc... I also had a standing invitation to pitch stories whenever I liked and though I never sold any, pitched to Jeri Taylor and Bryan Fuller a few times. I left Hollywood at the end of 1999, disillusioned when the quality of DS9 dimmed in favor of the drek that was Voyager, and I didn't feel honest about promoting the show any more. I wrote The Making of Star Trek: First Contact across six frenzied weeks, but didn't really like any of the films after The Undiscovered Country, and never made it past the pilot of Enterprise.

So while Star Trek was a HUGE part of my time in Hollywood, it was also pretty dead and over for me in the 21st century.

And now it's not.

I thought the film was pitch perfect. I'm amazed that they managed a reboot that changed everything while disregarding nothing. This film absolutely takes into account everything that has come before, while firmly establishing that this is no prequel. I loved every minute of it, thought it was perfectly cast (was expecting Zachary Quinto to be the standout, but they all were good and I'm not sure but what Karl Urban's Bones wasn't the best). The film had the right combination of action, humor, adventure, seriousness, etc... I was surprised by the amount of screen time Leonard Nimoy got. I expected his role to be little better than a cameo and was impressed at how pivotal it actually was, and the best thing about the film is that it surprised me. Really, really didn't expect some of those changes. And for a 43 year old franchise to have any surprises is pretty impressive. What's more, the number of my friends who don't watch Star Trek, including one who has NEVER watched Star Trek before, who LOVED IT, is blowing me away. I think this film is going to be huge for erasing the lingering/already-on-the-way-out stigma of sf in general, and is the latest and largest nail in the coffin of the silly notion that sf isn't mainstream.

I came out last night at 12:20am so charged up I couldn't sleep. This morning, I find myself in another mood. Almost tearful at the way the past has been swept away. I remember reading the actual comicbook in which the golden age Batman died, and feeling a similar emotion. He wasn't my Batman -- my Batman was the Batman of Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams, who had never fought in WWII and didn't dance around on giant typewriters, and yet he was the original and he was gone. In the same way, this reboot exists for the 21st century, and for those who will carry Star Trek forward from this point. And I love that they acknowledged my Star Trek before they swept it away into the dustbin of alternate history. But this morning, I think I'll shed a tear or two for the future's past, for the end of that Star Trek I was personally connected to, even as I say to the new future, to the Trek my son and daughter will grow up on, "Warp Speed!"Italic

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Three Stories from Sideways in Crime make Sidewise Shortlist!!!

Three - count 'em three - stories from Sideways In Crime make the Sidewise Award shortlist!!!

I'm absolutely thrilled for Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Tobias S. Buckell, and Mary Rosenblum! Also very happy to my friends George Mann, Chris Roberson, and Adam Roberts (all Pyr authors too!) on their nominations. Congratulations to everyone!

Press Release: 2008 Sidewise Awards Nominees

The 2008 Sidewise Awards will be presented at Anticipation, the 67th Worldcon, to be held in Montreal, Canada from August 6-10, 2009. The Sidewise Awards for Alternate History were established in 1995 to recognize excellence in alternate history fiction. The winners are selected from a panel of judges that currently includes Stephen Baxter, Evelyn Leeper, Jim Rittenhouse, Stuart Shiffman, Kurt Sidaway, and Steven H Silver.

Short Form:

"A Brief Guide to Other Histories" (Postscripts #15)
"G-Men," by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Sideways in Crime, edited by Lou Anders, Solaris)
"Night Bird Soaring," by T.L. Morganfield (Greatest Uncommon
Denominator, Autumn/08)
"The People's Machine," by Tobias Buckell (Sideways in Crime, edited by Lou Anders, Solaris)
"Poison Victory," by Albert E. Cowdrey (F&SF, 07/08)
"Sacrifice," by Mary Rosenblum (Sideways in Crime, edited by Lou Anders, Solaris)

Long Form:

The Affinity Bridge, by George Mann (Snowbooks/Tor, 2009)
The Dragon's Nine Sons, by Chris Roberson (Solaris)
Half a Crown, by Jo Walton (Tor)
Nation, by Terry Pratchett (HarperCollins/Doubleday UK)
Swiftly, by Adam Roberts (Gollancz)

For more information about the Sidewise Award, visit, or contact Steven H Silver, the Award Administrator, at

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Peeling Back the Curtain on the Age of Misrule

Over on, a big post talking with Mark Chadbourn and John Picacio about Mark's Age of Misrule series and the process that went into creating the new covers.