Thursday, May 29, 2008

Gimme a B...E...A!

Jacob and Rina and I are off to Book Expo America. Some of you, world-weary (i.e. disinclined to follow that last link), may wonder, "what the heck is Book...whatchmacallit?" Glad you asked. BEA is the very biggest publishing trade show. This weekend around 30,000 book professionals will descend upon the Los Angeles Convention Center, crazy logophiles every one. Finally, my people all together!

If you're coming to BEA, stop by our fine distributor IPG's table and say hi. Schmooze a little. It's good for you, you marvelous bookworm you.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

God sighting

If you're in NYC, don't miss God, er, I mean Tom Disch at the at The New York Review of Science Fiction reading series next Tuesday night. He'll be appearing with the very talented author of St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, Karen Russell. Go and be in His Presence. In fact, in The Word of God, Disch reveals several of His stealth miracle cures, including one of the esteemed Michael Moorcock himself. You just never know.

NYRSF Reading Series
Thomas Disch and Karen Russell
Tuesday, June 3rd
The South Street Seaport Museum, Melville Gallery, 213 Water Street
Doors at 6:30 PM, program at 7:00. Suggested donation $5

75-25 (we'll take it)

The latest round of Publishers Weekly reviews are out. Dogs gets an unqualified thumbs up ("a spine-chilling, suspense-laden story of pets turned unwitting killers"); Year's Best Fantasy 8 gets a qualified mezza mezza ("Most readers will enjoy the variety, though aficionados of the genre might be nonplussed at some choices."):

Dogs by Nancy Kress

Hugo- and Nebula-winner Kress (Beggar's Ride) offers a spine-chilling, suspense-laden story of pets turned unwitting killers. Why are previously well-behaved pet dogs in rural Tyler, Md., turning on their owners and biting them? What is it that makes the dog bites so lethal? And what about these random events makes the Feds so touchy? Former FBI agent Tessa Sanderson, a dog owner and recent widow who just moved to Tyler, wants to know, and insists on helping Jess Langstrom, a longtime resident of Tyler and its chief animal control officer, to investigate, even as the FBI begins investigating her for suspected links to terrorist organizations. Together and separately, Tessa and Jess track down the answers to Tyler's frightening human and animal crisis. Kress brings her thorough knowledge of genetics and biology to bear in this nicely creepy thriller.

Year's Best Fantasy 8 edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer

Renowned editors Hartwell and Cramer return with an enjoyable anthology that nonetheless never quite convinces you these are really the best stories of 2007. The standout selections, such as Darryl Gregory's “Unpossible,” a lost boy's poignant return to a fantasy world, and Laird Barron's “The Forest,” an exquisitely sinister exploration of a Lovecraftian landscape, are far better than those by bigger names, such as Michael Moorcock's bitter, solipsistic “A Portrait in Ivory” or Elizabeth Hand's paint-by-numbers sword and sorcery story “Winter's Wife.” The predictability of Theodora Goss's can-do princess in “Princess Lucinda and the Hound of the Moon” and Tad Williams's morally ambiguous good guy in “The Stranger's Hands” are balanced by the originality of the sprightly metalibrary in Holly Black's “Paper Cuts Scissors” and Fred Chappell's Vance-like fantasia “Dance of Shadows.” Most readers will enjoy the variety, though aficionados of the genre might be nonplussed at some choices.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Going, going...

If for some unfathomable reason you didn't rush out to get your copy of Steampunk, you might actually have to wait a few weeks. Less than fourteen days after the publication date and we're going back to press for a second edition. Our distributor already has hundreds of backorders. I know, it's crazy!

Truth is, we never anticipated how *fast* Steampunk would take off (go ahead and insert your zeppelin/steam-based metaphor here if you must), with recent coverage in the Los Angeles Times, on Boing Boing, at Jake von Slatt's Steampunk Workshop, and of course, in the New York Times (OK, they *almost* mentioned our book). Full props to the hardest working editors in the book-biz, Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, and to our amazing publicist Matt Staggs.

But really, if you're looking for a sale-priced, signed copy of Steampunk, with *free* Media Mail shipping, illustrated lovingly by the editors with a one-of-a-kind dirigible/zeppelin/blimp/floating beastie (I got a lizard balloon!), you have ONE DAY LEFT to get yours.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Starred Publishers Weekly review
and Disch interview


The Word of God
*STAR* Satire, sociology, religion and biography get tossed into a blender in New Wave poet and fantasist Disch’s latest roller-coaster ride. Claiming that he himself is God, Disch (Camp Concentration) uses notions of divinity to explore his own, sometimes fictionalized life as well as modern culture, dancing in and out of the narrative and weaving in a short story that underlines and mocks the points made in bursts of biography, poetry and no-holds-barred social commentary. Disch also brings in old grudges with fellow author Philip K. Dick, alternately harsh (condemning the “bitter, burnt-out, alcoholic all-American loser” to a personalized hell) and tongue-in-cheek, but for the most part the narrative avoids getting lost in self-indulgence. The careful reader will tease out many solid truths from the tangle of humor, history, surrealism and speculation. The density of ideas packed into this short book is as impressive as Disch’s mastery of his craft. (July)

Also, there's Adam Knave's companion interview, in which Disch reveals a bit more about his divinity.

Now if Kirkus will be as kind to us when they review Steampunk on the 15th. If it's a starred review, I won't even complain about their bizarre new policy of charging $15 for a tear sheet (a copy of the review). Never seen anyone charge for a tear sheet. Of course you could just buy the issue for $25, which is $12.50 off of the single issue price. I know it's mostly for libraries, but, well, yikes.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Authentically steampunk

I was totally unprepared for the sheer fun madness of Maker Faire, which was both huge and very well attended. The highlight for me was The Heather Gold Show's live webcast on being retaining one's authenticity while being a part of a (sub)culture (in this case, Steampunk). The panel featured some very incisive SP folks who were nice enough to chat with me afterward. There was Jake Von Slatt from The Steampunk Workshop, who exemplifies the Maker spirit and is every bit as sweet as I'd imagined from his online presence; the rather dashing Captain Robert, who fronts the SP band Abney Park; and Libby Bulloff, wildly creative artist and proprietress of Exoskeleton Cabaret, and Steampunk Magazine editor. I also met Steampunk Magazine's highly knowledgeable editor and publisher Magpie, who first published the excellent Rachel Pollack story "Reflected Light," which was reprinted in Steampunk. Magpie is considering moving into book publishing (do it, Magpie!). I got to show off and pass out a few copies of Steampunk (which I smuggled in), and everyone was delighted and impressed by it (naturally).

Friday, May 02, 2008

Maker Faire

Well, I'll sorta be representing Tachyon at Maker Faire in San Mateo tomorrow, and I will have flyers and a few copies of Steampunk in my everpresent plain black backpack (maybe someone will finally steampunkify it for me). But mostly I'll be saying hi to the folks from the Steampunk Workshop and wondering at marvelous oddities like the lifesize mousetrap and the 3D Lego Zoetrope. Come marvel.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Steampunk out today and on Boing Boing too

Steampunk is out and in stores today. It's not too late to get your sale priced, personalized copy from Ann and Jeff VanderMeer. Signed and with your own hand drawn, one of a kind zeppelin lovingly rendered by the multi-talented editors. Seriously. Order by May 15th...

Cory Doctorow's an old-school steampunk fan, and he's just enthusiastically Boing Boinged Steampunk:

"Last month, I mentioned Ann and Jeff Vandermeer's Steampunk anthology in passing, but the book deserves better than that. I've just spent several highly entertaining hours with my advance review copy and I'm knocked out. What a great piece of work this is, from the fascinating triumvirate of essays that recount the history of steampunk in literature and describe its contemporary appeal to the top-notch works of fiction inside, from forgotten proto-steampunk gems by Michael Moorcock and James Blaylock to contemporary pieces from Neal Stephenson, Jay Lake, Ted Chiang and Paul Di Filippo (among many others). Summer's almost here - time to do some leisure reading, and what better place to start than here?"

Incidentally, Cory's YA novel, Little Brother, is just out this week. I'm waiting on my copy and you should be too.