Thursday, March 27, 2008

Revisiting Childhoods

I'm realizing that it's been a year since we Ellen Klages's fine story collection, Portable Childhoods. I'm happy to report that Ellen is still enjoying her much-deserved share of the limelight and was recently featured in an interview on The Fix. I love the list Ellen made of her influences (in no particular order): Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, Superman comics, Chas Addams cartoons, The Twilight Zone, John D. MacDonald, Kurt Vonnegut, Modesty Blaise, Kelly Link, Roald Dahl, and J. D. Salinger. I believe you can find all of these in Portable Childhoods, perhaps not at the forefront of the stories, but lurking behind corners and sticking out their tongues like mischievous children.

The New Weird in space

MySpace, that is. Check out The New Weird's MySpace page. There's a video trailer for The New Weird, a free download of Jay Lake's story from the NW anthology, "The Lizard of Ooze" (along with an interview), a bunch of groovy (or whatever the New Weird equivalent of groovy is) music on a NW jukebox, plus podcasts and more. It's too cool for school. For more about the New Weird anthology, check out this nifty press release that Jeff VanderMeer put together with the NW's greatest hits. (So far, anyway.)

And while I am on the subject of VanderMeer (actually VanderMeers), Ann and Jeff's newest Tachyon anthology, Steampunk should be hitting the bookstore shelves a bit early. Less waiting, more zeppelins! So you should actually be able to pick up your copy by early May. Even sooner if your request it from your local bookseller. Or email us to reserve a copy - we'll give you 20% off and free Media Mail shipping (U.S. orders only). With contributors like Neal Stephenson, Michael Chabon, Mary Gentle, and Ted Chiang, you will not want to miss this one.

Monday, March 24, 2008


One thing I've noticed about the International Conference for the Arts (a.k.a. ICFA): Jacob likes - and especially likes working with - insanely smart people. Tachyon authors and editors at ICFA included Brian Aldiss, Michael Arnzen, Kathryn Cramer, David Hartwell, James Patrick Kelly, John Kessel, Ellen Klages, James Morrow, David Sandner, and Sheila Williams. Jacob and Bernie were also spotted hanging out with Ted Chiang, F. Brett Cox, Ellen Datlow, Andy Duncan, Peter Straub, Liza Groen Trombi, Mary Truzillo, Charles Vess, and next month's SF in SF guests, David Lunde and Patricip McKillip. Don't try and calculate a group IQ - too many zeros (and not the leading kind).

Speaking of zeros, Jacob also got to hand deliver the wonderfully talented editing duo of Jim Kelly and John Kessel their very large royalty check for their first successful Tachyon anthology, Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology. (I mean the zeros in the check, of course.)

Need I say that a good time was had by all?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Hugo nominations announced

Here they are, the 2008 Hugo nominations. If you're attending Denvention, you get to vote. If not, like me, you get to root behind the scenes for your favorites. Those would be:

1) Michael Swanwick, nominated for "A Small Room in Koboldtown," which appeared in the Asimov's April/May 2007 issue and in our Swanwick collection, The Dog Said Bow-Wow. Given Michael's track record, he's got a very good shot at yet another Hugo (is that five? Six?). I wonder where he puts those funny statuettes.

2) Sheila Williams, nominated as Best Professional Editor. Given that, in 2007, in addition to her quality work at Asimov's, she also edited our Asimov's SF 30th Anniversary Anthology. Sheila obviously deserves this win.

3) Nancy Kress, nominated for "Fountains of Age." I admit that Tachyon had nothing to do with this novella, but we are publishing Nancy's biological thriller, Dogs, in July.

Congratulations to all of the nominees; I am perhaps biased, but I try to give talented authors and editors their due, especially since they are about to be crushed by our guys. Er, I mean...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A fine review

Fans of Peter S. Beagle should check out a a quite lovely review of A Fine and Private Place posted by Thomas Wagner over at SF Reviews. Here's an excerpt:

" draws you into the lives — or half-lives, perhaps — of its four lost and lonely main characters with such compassion and grace that it ends up far more absorbing and moving than most novels with the most intricately structured stories. It's a little slice of life with a garnish of death, and what it reminds us is that nothing lasts and that everything, everything matters."

That's very eloquently put, I think.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

SF in SF eventfulness

Forgive me, I have been remiss in my reportage. Last Sunday night was the latest incarnation of SF in SF, featuring Tim Pratt and Jeff Ford. And what a night it was.

Tim read two terrific recent short stores, both of which are available online: "The River Boy" and "Artifice and Intelligence."

Jeff read a great, surreal story, "The Drowned Life", taken from the Eclipse One anthology. He'd read from his brand new novel The Shadow Year at Borderlands Books on Saturday.

The full house included (left to right) Tachyon author Ellen Klages, SF in SF webmistress Cheryl Morgan, local fantasy author Lisa Goldstein, local mystery author Michael Kurland, and SF in SF co-curator Rina Weisman. Jude Feldman from Borderlands was on hand to provide books for signing, and The Agony Column's Rick Kleffel came by as well.

Post-event, the traditional group dinner has become quite the scene. If you want to hang out with the authors (forgivably, Tim had to go home to take care of his adorable son, River), more sf professionals, and other assorted very cool folks, you should definitely stick around after the readings.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Doom, doom, doom, doom

Is it just me, or is this little guy the cutest thing ever? Sure GIR has come to Earth with the fearsome (if vertically-challenged) Invader Zim in order to destroy us all. Yet I forgive him because 1) he's painfully adorable as either a spastic robot or in clever disguise as an equally spastic dog (complete with external zipper) and 2) he and I share a profound love of cupcakes. I mean it - you have no idea.

Invader Zim: make me only the second-to-last person in the universe to discover it.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Why you should be careful about asking your authors for help...

The commentary expressed here about the Locus Awards ballot may or may not represent my personal views, the views of Tachyon Publications, or of the authors, editors, and artists we work with, or of the science fiction community at large. Tachyon is not responsible for any voting results or mockery, factual or otherwise, that will ensue.

You probably already know that The Fate of Mice, The Dog Said-Bow, Portable Childhoods, Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology, The Asimov's SF 30th Anniversary Anthology, and Year's Best Fantasy 7 are on Locus's recommended reading list. Which also means that they are on the Locus Awards ballot.

Like any savvy publisher, Jacob got on the horn to make sure that his authors actually knew they were nominated (writers are often busy with things somewhat like writing), and asked them to do what they could to get out the vote for themselves. Well, authors are funny. So far there have been posts from Michael Swanwick and Susan Palwick asking for your votes. They have also had a bit of fun with Jacob for asking them to do so. Ah, authors, you self-effacing creatures, will you never learn to promote yourselves sans irony? Let me show you how it's done. Here is my personal irony-free plug:

If you're reading this, go vote for the Locus Awards. You don't have to be a subscriber; you don't even really have to have read anything on the ballot (despite what the ever-honest Ms. Palwick might advise). Vote for all of Tachyon's books, AND Michael Swanwick's two novelettes, "The Skysailor's Tale" and "Urdumheim", AND his short story, "A Small Room in Koboldtown." Vote for Tachyon as your favorite publisher. And most importantly, vote for me, Jill Roberts, as a write-in candidate for Best Editor. I promise to stay humble. Very, very, mostly humble.

(Has anyone, ever, EVER, described Michael Swanwick as self-effacing? OK, it was a stretch.)