Monday, June 28, 2010

@LouAnders debuts

So, with all the attention that my anthologies Swords & Dark Magic and the forthcoming Masked have been getting, and with the nightly status updates on the word count of my own YA novel-in-progress, I've decided to create a second Twitter account. In what is sure to be a vain attempt to have some kind of an identity aside from Pyr, I'm going to split in two. Ouch.

Henceforth (with allowances for overlap and speed-typing mistakes), @Pyr_Books will be used for all Pyr-relevant news, reviews, author news & updates, etc... and @LouAnders will be for anthology news, general SF&F comments (gray area/aforementioned overlap?), updates on my own writing projects, commentary on tv/film/comics/music and, you know, generally griping about the new season of Doctor Who. (Thanks to Chuck Lucas for the cartoon!)

I'll keep them separate enough they'll be reasons to follow both. I promise not to repeat myself and to try and keep both interesting/relevant. With two accounts, I want to keep the signal-to-noise ratio good for you all. So please follow @LouAnders and help spread the word. Thanks!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Swords & Dark Magic: The Magic is Unleashed!

My Eos anthology, Swords & Dark Magic, co-edited with Jonathan Strahan, is now IN STOCK at Amazon, B&N, Borders, etc... and is available for the Kindle, B&N ereader/Nook, and in iBooks. And I'm sure you can get it at fine independents like Borderlands Books as well. (See this indiebound link).

Once again, the 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

Monday, June 21, 2010

Time for a Cassandra Kresnov Movie

See this trailer for Deus Ex: Human Revolution:

Then compare it to this:

Joel Shepherd's Cassandra Kresnov trilogy of Crossover, Breakaway, and Killswitch would make one hell of a movie, and should look just about like Deus Ex with the lead replaced by a Katee Sackoff-type.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Got to admit, this looks good. I never saw the second Narnia film, though, and was only ok on the first.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Steamed at this Punk

Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines is one of the best young adult novels I've read. So I'm really disappointed in his recent blog post, "The Stink of Steampunk," where he bags on all the writers jumping on the steampunk bandwagon, while admitting that pretty much everything he's ever written utilizes the same tropes. He claims that his own work is exempt from his criticism on the grounds that it uses a non-Victorian setting and mixes in other elements amid the tropes. Oh, and is well done. Then he is snide about Cherie Priest's Boneshaker, despite the fact that that too uses a non-Victorian setting and mixes in other elements. Of her, he says, "As if the authors can already scent the whiff of decay rising from their chosen genre some recent books have started throwing in elements from other mini-ghettoes; Cherie Priest's Boneshaker added zombies to the mix, and is highly regarded by people who don't seem to care that it is itself a kind of literary zombie." This in the same paragraph wherein he says, "I'm not singling out any particular books or individual authors when I say this." Right.

To be fair, I do take his point about the greater potential of SF. He says, "What I used to love about Science Fiction as a teenager was the way that, when you picked up one of those yellow Gollancz SF titles at the library, you had no idea where it would take you; it might be to some dazzling technological future or post-apocalyptic wasteland; it might be to another planet; or it might all be set in the present, just around the corner. But when you pick up a Steampunk book you know pretty much exactly where you're going."

That he says all this below a website banner that has him posed with a cup of tea and an umbrella in front of an airship and a row of Victorian style houses atop a big, hulking city on treads is just laughable. I can't think of a clearer case of "do as I say, not as I do." Dude, you might want to put the brolly down before you bag on Victoriana.

More to the point, steampunk has already begun to evolve outside its confines in exactly the way he says his own work does. As well as the aforementioned Priest, we have works like George Mann's Ghosts of Manhattan, not so much steampunk as an American 1920s that has evolved out of it's 1890s steampunk past, or Adrian Tchaikovsky's Empire in Black and Gold, which sees the rise of technology in a fantasy setting.

But there will always be time-travel novels, outer space novels, vampire novels, parallel world novels, apocalyptic novels, and yes, steampunk novels. We work inside a genre that has established conventions and tropes. That's what a genre is. Personally, it's my believe that there are no good or bad tropes, simply varying degrees of skill on the part of the writer utilizing them. And steampunk wouldn't be popular now if it weren't popular now (duh! But think about that) and crying that other people are playing in your sandbox is dangerously close to telling readers that they shouldn't like what they like and you know better about what they do or should enjoy than they do. Reeve has a perfect right not to write any more steampunk himself if he's grown tired of it, but he shouldn't denigrate those who still chose to write - or read it. And when he complains about being swept up in a movement, he comes dangerously close to sounding like he's whining that he's managed to connect with a readership who like the sort of things he does. Don't tell us we're zombies for liking what we like. That's insulting to us all, readers and writers.

And that's what has me steamed.

Update: June 17, 2010 - Reeve's post seems to have been taken down. Meanwhile, it looks like Reeve and I agree on something, which is that we both think Paolo Bacigalupi's Shipbreaker is genius.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Swords & Dark Magic - Reviews Round Up

Reviews are starting to pour in for Swords & Dark Magic, the sword and sorcery anthology I co-edited with Jonathan Strahan. Here are a few of the good ones:

 "...a thoroughly entertaining read." Nine out of Ten - Graeme's Fantasy Book Review

"Sword and sorcery is back, with the same dark, violent and gritty verve that made it so appealing the first time around. Strahan and Anders have managed to find writers who can grab the bloody prizes, and evoke the ancient magic with mere words. The old tools always work best." - The Agony Column

"If you are a fan of old school Sword & Sorcery this is a collection not to be missed. It is filled with everything S & S lovers want: action, magic, grey characters, and evil baddies. ...A few of these deserve inclusion in one of the Years Best Anthologies at the least. I give Swords & Dark Magic 8 out of 10 hats." - The Mad Hatter's Bookshelf & Book Reviews

"...really the epitome of fun. In the introduction ("Check Your Dark Lord at the Door"), Lou and Jonathan get together and dynamically discuss the origins of the term 'sword & sorcery,' all the way back to the Odyssey. From Conan to Elric they cover it all . . . and then present a series of very strong original tales from some of the masters of the genre. Steven Erickson, Glen Cook, Robert Silverberg, Tanith Lee -- sometimes predictable but always entertaining, you may want to read this with a bucket of popcorn." - Orson Scott Card's InterGalactic Medicine Show

"Fortunately, this volume proves my fears were premature and Sword & Sorcery is indeed alive and thriving. This volume features some old friends and some new writers to keep the genre alive. ...This volume comes along as we start a new decade, one that looks to be filled with Swords & Sorcery. It’s a magical volume. " The Baryon Review

And, to be fair, the one bad one:

"I think that my main problem with Swords & Dark Magic is the fact that, in the end, it did not reinvent the subgenre as advertized. It's more a case of revisiting sword and sorcery, not bringing anything new to the table. Which is all good if you are already a fan of sword and sorcery. But for people who prefer epic fantasy or other subgenres, those who are thinking of buying the anthology because it contains short stories by some of their favorite SFF writers but are not necessarily familiar with sword and sorcery, it might cause more than a little bit of disappointment." Pat's Fantasy Hotlist

I am so reading this...

I'm talking, of course, abot Michael Moorcock's Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles. I've known about it for a while of course, but the description comes via SF Signal:
Miggea - a world on the very edge of reality. The cusp between this universe and the next. A point where space-time has worn thin, and is in danger of collapsing. And the venue for the grand finals of the competition to win the fabled Arrow of Law. The Doctor and Amy have joined the Terraphiles - a group obsessed with all aspects of Earth's history, and dedicated to re-enacting ancient sporting events. They are determined to win the Arrow. But just getting to Miggea proves tricky. Reality is collapsing, ships are disappearing, and Captain Cornelius and his pirates are looking for easy pickings. Even when they arrive, the Doctor and Amy's troubles won't be over. They have to find out who is so desperate to get the Arrow of Law that they will kill for it. And uncover the traitor on their own team. And win the contest fair and square. And, of course, they need to save the universe from total destruction.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Publishers Weekly on Masked

Publishers Weekly has reviewed my forthcoming superhero anthology, Masked:

Anders (Fast Forward) delivers an ambitious collection of superhero tales that provide top-notch plots and characterizations while honoring their four-color roots. In Daryl Gregory's superbly metafictional "Message from the Bubble Gum Factory," a former sidekick finally realizes the broader implications of superheroes. Stephen Baxter nicely applies hard science to the futuristic "Vacuum Lad." Gail Simone's "Thug" and Mike Carey's "The Non-Event" bolster predictable plots with solid characters and prose. Joseph Mallozzi's "Downfall" and Marjorie M. Liu's "Call Her Savage" embrace comics clichés and make them both more complex and more entertaining. ...Overall, Anders has assembled a solid anthology that provides first-rate entertainment.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Office of Shadow: Politics, Treachery, Heroism, Sacrifice and Action

"The Office of Shadow is a great adventure with a finely woven narrative and a compelling plot. Sturges’ writing is of high-quality and he brings a fascinating cast of characters to a tale full of politics, treachery, heroism, sacrifice and slick action. It also features a magic system which is utterly credible and brilliantly realised. One of the very best I have encountered. I really enjoyed this book. The Shadows are a terrific creation and I want more. Much more." James Barclay, author of the Raven series

Charlaine Harris on Shadow's Son

Charlaine Harris, of Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood fame, has very kindly given a plug for Jon Sprunk's debut fantasy, Shadow's Son, on her blog.

"The cover looked sort of young adult-ish, but there’s nothing on the cover to classify it, so I wasn’t sure what I was getting into. As it turns out, Sprunk’s book could be read by young adults but is also quite entertaining for older adults. Assassin Caim, in the city of Othir, finds that he himself is the subject of an insidious plot. The killer becomes the prey, as Caim is framed for a murder he didn’t commit. Caim forms an alliance with the daughter of the murdered man, but her own past is as much of a lie as Caim’s. This is a short but fast-moving novel with heartbreak and redemption both."

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Kay Kenyon's The Entire and the Rose: A Landmark SF Series

From Greg L Johnson at SF Site:

"When Bright of the Sky, the first novel in The Entire and the Rose appeared, comparisons were quickly made between Kenyon's Bright, Larry Niven's Ringworld, and Philip José Farmer's Riverworld. With the publication of Prince of Storms, it's just as easy to make comparisons to C.J. Cherryh's many novels dealing with the relationships of power in society, and to Frank Herbert's examination in Dune of the dangers inherent in trying to control the future. That's pretty rarified company, and in the case of The Entire and the Rose completely deserved. With The Entire and the Rose, Kay Kenyon has crafted one of the most captivating multi-universe, multi-cultural settings in science fiction history, and used it tell a story of tragedy and loss, of decisions made and regretted, sacrifices made, and an ultimate re-birth and renewal. It's a grand theme that more than matches its brilliant setting, and that makes The Entire and the Rose a landmark science fiction series of the twenty-first century, one that deserves a place on the bookshelf of science fiction readers everywhere."

Pretty much every single review, and there has been a LOT of them, praise this series as landmark. With the final book out in hardcover now and coming out in trade paperback in August, and the entire series now up on the Kindle, maybe it's time to check it out?

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Three Chesley Award Nominations for Pyr

ASFA, the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists, have announced the 2010 Chesley Award nominees for works eligible from 2009, and I am very honored to report that Pyr has made the ballot three times.

For Best Cover Illustration: Paperback:

David Palumbo for Stalking the Dragon by Mike Resnick (Pyr, August 2009)
John Picacio for World's End by Mark Chadbourn (Pyr, May 2009)

For Best Art Director:

Lou Anders (which is me). We are all very honored by these three nominations.

2010 is the 25th anniversary of the Chesley Awards. The awards will be presented at NASFiC: The 10th Occasional North American Science Fiction Convention, August 5th-8th, 2010, in Raleigh, NC.

Congratulations to all the nominees!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Behind the Mask: The Evolution of a Super Cover

Designer Richard Yoo worked on the cover treatment for my forthcoming comic heroes-in-prose anthology, Masked. Over on his blog, he posts several interesting cover concepts that were explored before artist Trevor Hairsine was brought in, as well as type treatments after he was. (Note that Masked was originally titled With Great Power).

Masked will be released by Gallery Books this coming July, with an amazing list of contributors that includes Bill Willingham, Marjorie M Liu, Gail Simone, Mike Carey, Peter David, and Mike Baron.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Three New Lou Interviews for You (Say That FIve Times Fast)

What are the chances of three interviews going live on the same day?

This morning, I'm the guest on the wonderful Dragon Page Cover to Cover podcast, episode #410a. They say,  "Lou talks about how the iPad has shifted his reading preferences recently, and despite his deep and continuing love for physical books themselves, he can see where his future book buying may go the way his music buying went after iTunes became more widely used.Technology is changing the publishing game, and the guys talk about easy it’s becoming to be lured away from the book to the many electronic readers out there; about whether to use enhanced content for ebooks to encourage sales, the importance of having a quality story, and much more. Lou also walks through what happens on the path from manuscript to shelf: from the acquisition process, the editing process, the cover art process, and the book design process." This is my second appearance on the Dragon Page. I'm a big fan of the show and always have fun talking with Mike & Mike. You can listen with the direct link on the page itself, download, or get via iTunes.

Meanwhile, a brand-new, online magazine launches today, Redstone Science Fiction, from editor Michael Ray. Redstone is an online magazine that publishes "primarily science fiction short stories" and pays SFWA pro rates. Their first issue features "Raising Tom Chambers" by Daniel Powell and flash fiction story "Freefall" by Peter Roberts. There are also three interviews, one with  cover artist Kittyhawk, a popular webcomic artist, one with Joel Hardy, an engineer who works with scientific research on the International Space Station, and one with Yours Truly (conducted by author David Alastair Hayden). Check it out and give them your love.

Finally, I'm interviewed on The Mad Hatter's Bookshelf and Book Review as well. We talk about steampunk, anthologies, the submission process, my own writing, and, yes, hats.