Thursday, July 30, 2009

World Con Schedule

My Anticipation Schedule:

When: Thu 14:00
Location: P-524B
Title: Hollywood’s Favorite SF Writer
Session ID: 392
All Participants: David Weingart, Jason Bourget, Lou Anders, John
, Lenny Bailes
Moderator: Yourself
Description: Forty years ago it might have been Jules Verne or H. G.
. Today it’s the late Philip K. Dick who died before the release
of “Blade Runner,” based on his “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”
Since then we’re seen “Minority Report,” “Total Recall,” “Next,”
“Screamers,” “Imposter,” “Paycheck” and “A Scanner Darkly.” More are
on the way. Why has Hollywood embraced PKD even as they ignore other
giants on the bookshelf? Which of the films have been most
successful? Most faithful?

When: Fri 10:00
Location: P-522B
Title: Editors Panel II
Session ID: 736
All Participants: Ellen Datlow, Lou Anders, Rani Graff, Stanley
, Sheila Williams
Moderator: Rani Graff
Description: A broad spectrum of editors discuss the craft of
editing; anthologies; and how they select stories.

When: Fri 14:00
Location: P-513A
Title: Modern Graphic Design in Publishing
Session ID: 704
All Participants: Lou Anders, Pablo Defendini, Sarah Micklem, Stephen
H. Segal, John Picacio, Jennie Faries
Moderator: Stephen H. Segal
Description: Book cover design and how other media can influence and
inspire the look of what you see at the bookstore.

When: Fri 19:00
Location: P-524A
Title: Sidewise Award for Alternate History
Session ID: 558
All Participants: Evelyn Leeper, Jo Walton, Lou Anders, Steven H

Description: Evelyn Leeper and Steven H Silver explain and present.

When: Fri 19:30
Location: P-516AB
Title: Chesley Awards and Art Show Reception List
Session ID: 1697
All Participants: Alan F. Beck, Lou Anders, Stephen H. Segal, Vincent
Docherty, John Picacio, Jean-Pierre Normand, Brianna Spacekat Wu,
Frank Wu, Joni Brill Dashoff, Gay Ellen Dennett, Dan O`Driscoll, Ted
Atwood, David Palumbo, Daniel Dos Santos, Pia Guerra
Description: Placeholder for those participants involved in Chesley
and the Artists Reception

When: Fri 21:00
Location: P-522B
Title: Advice for New Writers: Experienced Professionals Tell the Secrets of Getting Published
Session ID: 764
All Participants: Jenny Rae Rappaport, Lou Anders, Walter Jon
, Stanley Schmidt
Moderator: Walter Jon Williams
Description: How to get published (not). In a liar’s panel, these
professional writers, editor and agent give a lot of advice. But maybe
new writers should be careful about taking it literally.

When: Sat 11:00
Location: P-521B
Title: Lou Anders (Kaffeeklatsch)
Session ID: 1070
All Participants: Lou Anders
Description: A chance to ask one of your favourite authors those
burning questions. (I'm an author? Cool!)

When: Sat 15:30
Location: P-511BE
Title: Pyr Books Presents
Session ID: 578
All Participants: Lou Anders
Description: Publisher Presentation.
Duration: 1:30 hrs:min
Language: English
Track: Literature in English
AV/Internet request: None

When: Sun 9:00
Location: Outdoors
Title: Stroll With The Stars - Sunday
Session ID
: 6
All Participants: Farah Mendlesohn, Lou Anders, Mary Robinette Kowal,
Paul Cornell, Stu Segal, John Picacio, Felix Gilman
Moderator: Stu Segal
Description: A gentle, friendly 1 mile stroll with some of your
favorite Authors, Artists & Editors. Leaving daily 9AM, from the
Riopelle Fountain outside the Palais (corner of Ave Viger & Rue de
Bleury), returning before 10AM.

When: Sun 12:30
Location: P-516D
Title: The Future of Science Fiction and Fantasy Art
Session ID: 1565
All Participants: Karen Haber, Lou Anders, Pablo Defendini, John

Moderator: John Picacio
: Will the changing nature of publishing will affect its
form and possibly its very existence? How many artists in the ‘70’s
could imagine a world where record covers wouldn’t be a vibrant art
market? Is book cover art destined for the same fate as record album
cover art

When: Sun 18:00
Location: P-710A
Title: Hugo Awards Reception
Session ID: 10
All Participants: Neil Gaiman, Elisabeth Vonarburg, Taral Wayne, Tom
Doherty, Julie E. Czerneda, Alan F. Beck, Aliette de Bodard, Ann
VanderMeer, Beth Meacham, Bill Willingham, Cheryl Morgan, Christopher
J. Garcia, Cory Doctorow, Darlene Marshall, Dave Howell, David Anthony
Durham, David Hartwell, Elizabeth Bear, Ellen Datlow, Emma Hawkes,
Farah Mendlesohn, Gord Sellar, Gordon Van Gelder, Guy H. Lillian III,
Jay Lake, John Helfers, John Kessel, Jonathan Strahan, Karl Schroeder,
Kathryn Cramer, Kevin J. Maroney, Kij Johnson, Lillian Stewart Carl,
Lou Anders, Mary Robinette Kowal, Mike Resnick, Nancy Kress, Neil
Clarke, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Paul Cornell, Paul Kincaid, Rev. Randy
Smith, Sean Wallace, Stephen H. Segal, Yves Meynard, Steve Green,
Steven H Silver, Sue Mason, Tony Pi, Claude Lalumière, Mike Glyer,
John Hertz, John Scalzi, Stanley Schmidt, Charles Stross, John
Picacio, Frank Wu, Sheila Williams, Felix Gilman, Ginjer Buchanan,
LeAmber Kinsley, Paolo Bacigalupi, Pia Guerra, Tobias Buckell
Description: Reception for the Hugo award nominees, presenters and

That's it. I removed the one panel I was double-booked for (it was opposite the Pyr Presentation), but they say they may move it to another time. They may also add an autograph session in. And the Chesley and Sidewise awards are overlapping. I'm up for the former, but the designated acceptor for three of the latter.

So basically, I will be the blur you see racing down the hallways.

Monday, July 27, 2009

8 More Pyr Titles Arrive on the Kindle

A batch of eight more Pyr books has been Kindle-ized (though one is only listed as pre-order. Didn't know they'd do that with ebooks.)

They are:

Justina Robson's Chasing the Dragon (Quantum Gravity, Book 4)(Preorder)

Sean Williams' The Crooked Letter: Books of the Cataclysm: One

Chris Roberson's End of the Century

Gardner Dozois' Galileo's Children: Tales Of Science VS. Superstition

Sean Williams' The Hanging Mountains

Alexis Glynn Latner's Hurricane Moon

Theodore Judson's The Martian General's Daughter

Matthew Sturges' Midwinter

Again, no control of the order in which Amazon puts these things up. It is apparently based at least partially on demand, as logged by their "I'd like to read this book on Kindle" button. Click often.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

An Interview with Yost and Ferry

As a follow-up to my review of Ender's Game: Battle School,I got to talk to the brilliant writer and artist team behind the graphic novel, Christopher Yost, writer of such works as Killer of Demons, X-Force, and Red Robin, and Pasqual Ferry, the wonderful artist behind such titles as Ultimate Fantastic Four and Ultimate Iron Man.

You can read "Peeling Back the Secrets on the Battle School: A Conversation with Christopher Yost and Pasqual Ferry" right here.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Damn Dirty Apes!

Some news of great interest:

The first-ever original novel based on the classic POTA film series, Conspiracy of the Planet of the Apes will hit both the direct market and major book and retail chains in spring 2010. BLAM! Ventures' Creative Director, Andrew E. C. Gaska, along with Editorial Coordinator Christian Berntsen and Developmental Director Erik Matthews, serve as the writing team for Conspiracy.

More than twenty artists are expected to offer their amazing talents to this project. The first on board are legendary artist Jim Steranko (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.), renowned book cover painter Ken Kelly (Conan, KISS), Joe Jusko (Savage Sword of Conan, Tarzan), Sanjulian (Errie, Vampirella) Mark Texiera (Ghost Rider, Wolverine), Leo Leibelman (Heavy Metal), Matt Busch (Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica), Brian Rood (Indiana Jones, Star Wars), Tom Scioli (Godland), David Hueso (G.I.Joe: Storm Shadow) and newcomers Dan Dussault (Critical Millennium) and Dirk Shearer (Mouse Templar).

Fans interested in getting a first peek at the novel's artwork can do so at this year's San Diego Comic Con International, to be held on July 22-26, 2009. BLAM! Ventures will display a gallery of images at booth #2547, as well as making available for sale limited-edition prints of two Conspiracy paintings, entitled Alpha and Omega (from artists Joe Jusko and Sanjulian, respectively), as Comic Con International exclusives. BLAM! will host artist signings and answer questions regarding the upcoming novel, in addition to giving away a limited number of special Conspiracy of the Planet of the Apes promotional items, including character bio trading cards and replicas of Landon's dog tags.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Fierce and compelling: Ender’s Shadow: Battle School

As a companion to my earlier piece, my review of Mike Carey and Sebastian Fiumara's Ender's Shadow: Battle Schoolis now up at

I liked this one too!

Building a Comprehensive SF&F Collection

I'm giving a talk next month to an association of Texas librarians on how to build a good, comprehensive SF&F collection. I've given this talk before, restricting myself just to the science fiction genre, and am pretty confident with my list of works (both classic and contemporary) and what I have to say about it. Updating that speech with a few gems from the last year won't be hard. But this year, I'm giving two talks, one on science fiction and one just on fantasy.


I'd really appreciate some suggestions on what fantasy books every library should have. Science fiction suggestions are also welcome, but it's the fantasy list where I'm looking for the most input. Obviously, Lord of the Rings, Wizard of Earthsea, etc..., but we need to get passed these to gems like Mythago Wood, etc... that the audience may or may not have heard of. Obviously, we can't fit everything in, and obviously they'll be subjective differences between one persons list and another, but what I want to produce is a good overview of fantasy fiction with enough of the signposts to pass muster and enough variety for a variety of tastes. I'm hoping for about 150 titles, and I do want a good representation of contemporary authors. I've got a lot of thoughts on this already, but would really appreciate input to help cover any blindspots I may have, as well as to stimulate a good discussion for all our benefits.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Exciting and unsettling: Ender’s Game: Battle School

My review of Ender's Game: Battle School,the comic adaptation from the creative team of writer Christopher Yost (Killer of Demons, X-Force, Red Robin) and artist Pasqual Ferry (Ultimate Fantastic Four, Ultimate Iron Man), is up at

In short, I dug it.

Two Interviews with James Enge

Yesterday, two separate interviews went up with Blood of Ambroseauthor James Enge. First, he guested on the newly-returned Adventures in SciFi Publishing podcast. Enge and host Shaun Farrell discuss "Leiber vs. Tolkien fantasy, massive fantasy epics, and his beef with H.G. Wells."

Then, Stargate writer/producer Joseph Mallozzi posted the result of his book clubs's Q&A with Enge.

Both interviews are well-worth checking out (even if I am biased).

Monday, July 13, 2009

Stalked by a Bibliophile

The wonderful Charles Tan has posted an interview with Yours Truly on Bibliophile Stalker. I think it came off rather well, if I do say so myself. Here's a taste:
What are the qualities that you look for in a story?

This is broad. But I could narrow it down to two things.

One, there is a certain spark that either is or isn’t there. If it’s there, it’s there from the first sentence and it runs to the end. If it isn’t there at the start, it won’t show up late in the game. People think that editors see tons of atrocious fiction in their submission pile, but the truth is, we see tons of perfectly competent fiction. We’re not looking for diamonds in the rough. We’re looking for diamonds amid the quartz and crystal. There is so much competition out there, both to get published, and then when you do, to get noticed alongside everything else on the shelf. Why take something that fires on only one or two cylinders when next to it is something that fires on all cylinders?

Second, I think I in particular am looking for a narrow band of overlap between commercial and literary fiction, or between stories with enough of a plot and action component to appeal to a broad audience, but a certain elevated writing style that transcends the average.

Charles N. Brown, 1937 - 2009

Very sad news.

MONDAY, JULY 13, 2009

Charles N. Brown, 1937-2009 - posted at 7/13/2009 09:46:00 AM PT
Locus publisher, editor, and co-founder Charles N. Brown, 72, died peacefully in his sleep July 12, 2009 on his way home from Readercon.

Charles Nikki Brown was born June 24, 1937 in Brooklyn NY, where he grew up. He attended the City College of New York, taking time off from 1956-59 to serve in the US Navy, and finished his degree (BS in physics and engineering) at night on the GI Bill while working as a junior engineer in the '60s. He married twice, to Marsha Elkin (1962-69), who helped him start Locus, and to Dena Benatan (1970-77), who co-edited Locus for many years while he worked full time. He moved to San Francisco in 1972, working as a nuclear engineer until becoming a full-time SF editor in 1975. The Locus offices have been in Brown's home in the Oakland hills since 1973.

Brown co-founded Locus with Ed Meskys and Dave Vanderwerf as a one-sheet news fanzine in 1968, originally created to help the Boston Science Fiction Group win its Worldcon bid. Brown enjoyed editing Locus so much that he continued the magazine far beyond its original planned one-year run. Locus was nominated for its first Hugo Award in 1970, and Brown was a best fan writer nominee the same year. Locus won the first of its 29 Hugos in 1971.

During Brown's long and illustrious career he was the first book reviewer for Asimov's; wrote the Best of the Year summary for Terry Carr's annual anthologies (1975-87); wrote numerous magazines and newspapers; edited several SF anthologies; appeared on countless convention panels; was a frequent Guest of Honor, speaker, and judge at writers' seminars; and has been a jury member for various major SF awards.

As per his wishes, Locus will continue to publish, with executive editor Liza Groen Trombi taking over as editor-in-chief with the August 2009 issue.

A complete obituary with tributes and a photo retrospective will appear in the August issue.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Yours In Agony: Ranting About SciFi Migrations

The other day, I got excited by BioWare's forthcoming game Star Wars: The Old Republic, both in terms of what it represented as "what a Star Wars film/television series could be" and, in a larger sense, as evidence for science fiction narratives migrating out of literature and into gaming. I heard enough good things in response to that post to pick up a Game Pro magazine in a coffeeshop yesterday and read up on that title and BioWare's successful Mass Effect games. Mass Effect has already been mentioned to me a time or two, specifically as being "real science fiction," but you know how it takes something a time or two to get on your radar...Well, now BioWare is looming large on said radar. (You can follow them on Twitter here, btw.) Around the same time, I saw a Tor press release on the Adventures in Sci Fi Publishing blog, about their own forthcoming deal to produce EVE Online novels. So all these thoughts about convergence were bumping around in my brain.

Somewhere in there, Rick Kleffel called inviting me to guest on his wonderful Agony Column podcast, and all these jumbled thoughts came spilling out. I'm not sure what we actually said, but we talk about Tor's announcement, Mass Effect (which I mistakenly call "Massive Attack." Apologies, guys), the potential impact of James Cameron's Avatar, John Scalzi's new role on Stargate: Universe and the way SF is migrating out of category into YA, mainstream literature, videogaming, film, television, etc... We didn't actually mention a single Pyr book, so, you know, go buy some anyway please. But meanwhile, the podcast will be available on iTunes shortly, and here is a direct link.

I haven't gamed since I became a parent (I was 1/3 of the way into Ultimate Spider-Man when that happened), but I'm itching to see what I've been missing. And I'll certainly look to see if BioWare are attending the San Diego Comic Con.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


Mark Chadbourn, author of the Age of Misrule trilogy that begins with World's End,is guest-blogging at Amazon's Omnivoracious, courtesy of the amazing Jeff Vandermeer. His first post, THE INVISIBLE HAND OF THE GODS OF WRITING, is up now. It begins:

"When the author and poet Robert Graves embarked on a study of ancient myth, he found an unsettling world opening up to him. The work in question, The White Goddess, proposed the existence of a long-forgotten cult dedicated to a moon goddess who was the root of most pre-Christian religions--Greek, Phoenician, Celtic, Roman, Scandinavian Hindu, even African...."

You'll have to go here for the rest. Meanwhile, I have several similar stories from when I wrote a script with a partner in my Hollywood days. The script was about a Vatican conspiracy of collosal proportions (this several years before Dan Brown), and I know firsthand that Joe Straczynski experienced a lot of odd coincidences when he wrote Babylon 5, which was also based on Celtic myth. Hmmm....

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Blood of Ambrose @ Joe Mallozzi's Book Club Discussion

This week kicks of a discussion of James Enge's Blood of Ambroseat Joseph Mallozzi's Weblog.Joe kicks it off with his thoughts on the book.
"Enge’s prose is tight and efficient, devoid of the rambling, oft-unendurable meandering descriptive passages that typify the high-fantasy genre. The setting is rich in detail, a masterful creation of world building, while the magic system that runs through the narrative proves ferociously imaginative yet impressive in its consistency. The characters are interesting – particularly Ambrosia and Morlock – yet miss the depth that would have made them truly memorable....Still, a unique and entertaining read with plenty to recommend it in terms of the myriad of inspired elements on hand to facilitate and complicate: flesh golems, mechanical spiders, the living dead, inelegant leaping horses, sorcerers, and mazelike castle passageways to make Mervyn Peake envious. An impressive fantasy debut."
Joe ends the post by soliciting questions for the forthcoming Q&A with James.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Why couldn't this have been the movie? Any of the movies? This is awesome! Star Wars is such an unusual property, where everything spun out around it is better than it's core film franchise...

Also, insert standard Lou-thoughts about SF spreading to other mediums, the potential of SF in the 21st century to come from anywhere, the best stuff being done outside tradition Hollywood film channels, etc... yada yada yada...

Monday, July 06, 2009

Unknowing Fans

Author Chris Beckett has just won the 2009 Edge Hill Short Story Prize for his collection The Turing Test. The prize, sponsored by the University of the same name, is the UK's only award for short fiction. Beckett beat out several collections of mainstream literature from big houses. I love this quote from the article in

"I suspect Chris Beckett winning the Edge Hill Prize will be seen as a surprise in the world of books. In fact, though, it was also a bit of surprise to the judges, none of whom knew they were science fiction fans beforehand."

Friday, July 03, 2009

Riverworld, Ringworld, Dune, and now The Entire

Greg L Johnson, at SF Site, on Kay Kenyon's City without End (The Entire and the Rose, Book 3):

"...a series that wowed at the beginning for the complexity and creativity of its invented setting, earning comparisons to classics like Riverworld and Ringworld, has now filled that setting with characters whose motives and aspirations are often hidden and always conflicting, a situation that makes The Entire and the Rose at least as comparable to Dune and the tension-filled novels of C.J. Cherryh as it is those other works. Which means that at the end of City Without End, even though several story lines have been concluded, a couple in surprising and dramatic fashion, the crux of the problem still remains. Titus Quinn's family and loved ones are scattered across two different universes, and whether he can save or hold on to any of it remains in serious doubt. The stage is now set for the final volume in what is already looking like one of the classic science fiction series of our time."

Got that? "One of the classic science fiction series of our time." We keep hearing that about Kay's series.

2009 Locus Poll Results

The results of the 2009 Locus poll have been published in the July issue of the magazine. They are very interesting. (Note: Although non-subscribers to the magazine may vote, last year publisher Charles Brown made the somewhat controversial decision to make subscriber votes count double non-subscriber votes.)

"The Kindness of Strangers" by Nancy Kress from Fast Forward 2came in at #4 (out of 25) for Best Short Story
"The Gambler" by Paolo Bacigalupi (Fast Forward 2) came in # 8 (out of 29) for Best Novellete
"An Eligible Boy" by Ian McDonald (Fast Forward 2) came in #26 in the same category
"True Names" by Benjamin Rosenbaum & Cory Doctorow (Fast Forward 2) came in #5 (out of 17) for Best Novella

Fast Forward 2 itself came in #6 (out of 24) for Best Anthology.

Yours Truly was #7 for Best Editor (out of 23).

Pyr was #9 for Best Publisher/Imprint (out of 23). Interestingly though, non-subscribers had us as the # 4 publisher. Which says if subscribers didn't count double, we might be higher than 9. Either way, we've moved up over last year. Thanks!

Our friend John Picacio came in #3 for Best Artist (out of 23). Most impressive!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Ian McDonald's brilliant Mars book, DESOLATION ROAD, finally back in print

Wonderful praise from Cory Doctorow over at Boing Boing for Ian McDonald's Desolation Road. Doctorow calls it "one of my most personally influential novel" and compares the book to Kim Stanley Robinson's famous Mars trilogy, adding, "the two are very good companions, in that McDonald captures almost everything Robinson got (in a third of the number of pages), and adds the poetry and spirituality of Mars in the bargain."

He goes on to say that Desolation Road, "pays homage to David Byrne's Catherine Wheel, to Ray Bradbury's entire canon and to Jack Vance, blending all these disparate creators in a way that surprises, delights, then surprises and delights again. Spanning centuries, the book includes transcendent math, alternate realities, corporate dystopias, travelling carnivals, post-singularity godlike AIs, geoengineering, and mechanical hobos, each integral to the plot."


Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Heart of Hush

My review of Paul Dini and Dustin Nguyen's Batman: Heart of Hushis up at

"...similar to the Grant Morrison-penned R.I.P. in that a villain from Batman’s past, with full knowledge of his secret identity, works in conjunction with other members of his Rogues Gallery to drive him over the edge in a prelude to destroying him. It is unlike Batman: R.I.P. in that it actually tells a single, coherent story with a beginning, middle and end that can be read as a stand-alone graphic novel independent of too much current continuity."

In other Bat-news, I'm thrilled this clip from the extras to Batman Begins is up on Yahoo. This concerns the Keysi Fighting Method, the amazing martial art that was the basis for Batman's style of combat. I am utterly enthralled by some of what they do here, so much cooler and realer than all that wire-stunt Matrix stuff: