Thursday, January 31, 2013

Podcast: James Enge on Adventures in SciFi Publishing

James Enge, author of A Guile of Dragons (A Tournament of Shadows, Book 1), is a guest of Adventures in SciFi Publishing as part of an indepth, two part interview. Here is Part One and Part Two (and the episodes are available for download on iTunes).

They discuss Jack Vance, writing political fiction without pushing political agendas, how his University colleagues view his novels, writing “Philosophical romance shot through with elements of horror and morbidity,” the potentially negative impact of higher education on imagination, writing for popular appeal and much more.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Reward

The Reward, a graduation film from Denmark's The Animation Workshop.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, January 28, 2013

16 years

So I can find this when I need it. So you can find this when you need it.

And this.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Complete Kobold Guide to Game Design

One of the most interesting "how to" books that I have read in a while is the Complete Kobold Guide to Game Design, by Wolfgang Baur and including essays from such Role Playing Game Design superstars as Monte Cook, Ed Greenwood, Michael A. Stackpole, Keith Baker and others. The word "complete" is no misnomer, as this tome contains over forty essays, some original to the volume and others drawn from three previous volumes of game design advice.

The book covers everything from rule creation and setting creation, to campaign design, to understanding your audience, right down to how to craft a pitch for a publisher and how to handle rejection. It is valuable both for creating game systems from scratch or for writing inside existing properties. Michael A. Stackpole's essay "Designing Magic Systems" is priceless, likewise Rob Heinsoo's "Seize the Hook". But despite all the luminaries in the volume, it is Wolfgang Baur's own essays that stand out for me as the most useful, applicable advice of the book.

In fact, Baur's "The Process of Creative Thought" is worth the price of the entire collection alone. In the essay, Baur attempts to "systematize and demystify creative thought for the engineering and technical professions." His result, breaking creativity into the stages of 1. Defining the Problem, 2. Borrowing Ideas, 3. Combining and Connecting the Borrowed Ideas, 4. Incubation, 5. Judging the Work, and 6. Enhancing not only articulates processes that I have used for decades but provides a structure to writing collaborations that is invaluable to any team product. This is an essay that, like much of the Guide, has applications outside game design for any creative endeavor. Likewise his essay on "Using and Abusing Misdirection." And I wish all writers would read "The Three Audiences."

I have read a great many books on creativity and writing across the years and very few of them offer much of lasting value. The Complete Kobold Guide to Game Design sets in a place of honor amid this very select list. I highly recommend it not only to game designers but to anyone involved in any creative narrative undertaking. And look, Baur has just come out with the Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding. I don't see how I can resist the urge to start into that soon.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Fearsome Journeys

One half of the Swords & Dark Magic team has a new (and ongoing) anthology series featuring stories of military fantasy and swords & sorcery. This May, Jonathan Strahan debuts The Fearsome Journeys: The New Solaris Book of Fantasy. The authors appearing in the launch volume include Trudi Canavan, Elizabeth Bear, Daniel Abraham, Kate Elliott, Saladin Ahmed, Glen Cook, Scott Lynch, Catherynne M. Valente, Ellen Klages, Ellen Kushner & Ysabeau Wilce, Jeffrey Ford, Robert Redick and KJ Parker.

As an enormous fan of swords & sorcery, as well as many of the authors in the inaugural volume, I'll be rooting for this to succeed. Meanwhile, I see that Amazon has the trade paperback of Swords & Dark Magic up for only $6.40 at the moment, if you were tempted to try it out and hadn't done so yet.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Some Rather Big News

January 14, 2013

Jill Maxick


(Amherst, NY)—Prometheus Books announced today a multiyear sales and distribution partnership with Random House Publisher Services (RHPS), a division of Random House, Inc. Prometheus, a leading independent publisher of a wide breadth of categories, including science, critical thinking, history, psychology, true crime, mystery, and science fiction/fantasy, will begin its partnership with RHPS, effective April 1, 2013.

Prometheus’s spring launch will include a diverse mix of about forty titles, ranging from popular science to philosophy to crime fiction. RHPS will provide exclusive sales and distribution for all physical and digital titles in the United States and internationally.

“Prometheus Books has been self-distributed for our entire existence, nearly forty-four years,” says Jonathan Kurtz, Prometheus Books president. “Over the years distributors have expressed interest in representing our line, but we knew we’d only make that change if the partner could truly offer us significantly more than we’ve achieved on our own. Aligning our press with the services and resources of the world’s largest general-interest trade-book publisher is the kind of move forward we simply cannot pass up. We are invigorated by the possibilities this relationship opens to us.”

Jeff Abraham, president of RHPS, says, “We have been in conversations with Prometheus for some time now as we have admired how they’ve expanded upon their truly smart and engaging lists, season over season. Their successes over the last four decades and continued growth potential across numerous genres marry well with our expertise and deep customer relationships in both the print and digital markets. We will be a committed sales and distribution partner with Prometheus.”

Over its lifetime, Prometheus Books has produced numerous bestsellers, including God: The Failed Hypothesis by Victor J. Stenger; What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite by David DiSalvo; George H. Smith’s Atheism: The Case Against God; Cracking Cases by Henry C. Lee; Why I Am Not a Muslim by Ibn Warraq; Neil deGrasse Tyson’s The Sky Is Not the Limit: Adventures of an Urban Astrophysicist; and, through its Pyr imprint, The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie. Other high-profile titles include Young Thurgood: The Making of a Supreme Court Justice; 50 Popular Beliefs That People Think Are True; and, under its new Seventh Street Books™ imprint, The Bookseller: The First Hugo Marston Novel.

About Prometheus Books

Founded in 1969, Prometheus Books is an independent press that publishes an average of 110 new nonfiction and genre fiction titles each year. A leading publisher in popular science, philosophy, and critical thinking, the Prometheus Books core catalog consists of provocative and progressive nonfiction for the intelligent lay reader. The house publishes under three additional imprints: Pyr®, a quality science fiction and fantasy brand; Humanity Books, for scholarly works; and Seventh Street Books™, a mystery, thriller, and crime fiction imprint launched in October 2012.

About Random House Publisher Services

Random House Publisher Services, a division of Random House Inc., is the book industry’s leading provider of sales and distribution services to premium third-party publishers. Its wide range of service offerings includes sales, warehousing, physical and digital distribution, credit and collection, marketing, and information technology. In addition to Prometheus Books, its portfolio of clients includes National Geographic Society, Beacon Press, DC Comics, Rizzoli, Melville House, New York Review Books, Candlewick Press, and many others.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Aadu Pambe

Thanks to Joel Shepherd for cluing me in to Avial. Here is there song "Aadu Pambe". Putting it here so I don't lose it. And to share with you.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Works I Edited and Art Directed in 2012

Here, for your enjoyment and edification, is a list of all the Pyr novels published in 2012 for which I served as editorial director, editor, and art director. Also included is a list of each work's respective cover artist. Please don't forget to carefully consider illustration and illustrators when you are voting in the various awards and best of the year polls. Our illustrators are an incredible and unique asset of science fiction and fantasy publishing and we should celebrate them. ASFA members please also consider these works when it comes time to nominate for the Chesley Awards.


Mark Hodder, (Burton & Swinburne in) Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon
Art by Jon Sullivan

Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Boneyards
Art by Dave Seeley

  • 2012 Endeavor Award, winner

Ian McDonald, The Dervish House(trade paperback after hardcover)
Art by Stephan Martiniere

  • 2011 John W. Campbell Memorial Award winner for Best Novel
  • 2011 Hugo Award for Best Novel, nominee
Ari Marmell, Thief's Covenant (A Widdershins Adventure)
Art by Jason Chan


Jon Sprunk, Shadow's Master
Art by Michael Komarck

Mark Chadbourn, Jack of Ravens (Kingdom of the Serpent, Book 1)
Art by John Picacio

EC Myers, Fair Coin
Art by Sam Weber


Mark Chadbourn, Burning Man (Kingdom of the Serpent, Book 2)
Art by John Picacio

Ken MacLeod, The Night Sessions
Art by Stephan Martiniere

Erin Hoffman, Lance of Earth and Sky (The Chaos Knight, Book Two)
Art by Dehong He


Mark Chadbourn, Destroyer of Worlds (Kingdom of the Serpent, Book 3)
Art by John Picacio

John Kessel & James Patrick Kelly, Nebula Awards Showcase 2012
Art by Michael Whelan


Ari Marmell, False Covenant (A Widdershins Adventure)
Art by Jason Chan

Sean Williams, The Devoured Earth (Books of the Cataclysm: Four)
(ebook only)
Art by Greg Bridges


Philippa Ballantine, Hunter and Fox (A Shifted World Novel)
Art by Cynthia Sheppard

David Freer, Cuttlefish
Art by Paul Young


K.D. McEntire, Reaper
Art by Sam Weber

James Enge, A Guile of Dragons (A Tournament of Shadows, Book 1)
Art by Steve Stone


Clay and Susan Griffith, The Kingmakers (Vampire Empire, Book 3)
Art by Chris McGrath

  • 2012 RT Book Reviews Reviewers' Choice Awards, steampunk nominee
Sam Sykes, The Skybound Sea (The Aeons' Gate, Book 3)
Art by Paul Young

Ian McDonald, Be My Enemy
Art by John Picacio


E.C. Myers, Quantum Coin
Art by Sam Weber

Tim Lebbon, London Eye (Toxic City Book One)
Art by Steve Stone

  • In development by Alex Proyas for ABC Studios

Brenda Cooper, The Creative Fire (Book One of Ruby's Song)
Art by John Picacio

Tom Lloyd, The Dusk Watchman (The Twilight Reign, Book Five)
Art by Todd Lockwood

Allen Steele, Apollo's Outcasts
Art by Paul Young

Paul Crilley, SThe Lazarus Machine: A Tweed & Nightingale Adventure
Art by Cliff Nielsen


Mike Resnick, The Doctor and the Rough Rider (Weird West Tales)
Art by J. Seamas Gallagher

David Freer, The Steam Mole
Art by Paul Young

Mark Hodder, A Red Sun Also Rises
Art by Lee Moyer

And that's it. Quite a year if I do say so myself.