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Find Your Super Self

June 20, 2018 at 10:13 pm
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What wild cards character are you?

Tor has a fun new quiz up at

What’s your superpower according to George R.R. Martin?

I am supposedly Dr. Tachyon.   But that can’t be right.  I am obviously the Great and Powerful Turtle.

Current Mood: amused amused

Editing with Gardner

June 17, 2018 at 9:00 am
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It has been a few weeks since Gardner Dozois died.   I’m still having a hard time coming to grips with it.   He was such a huge presence in the field, such a gigantic personality, it still seems inconceivable that he’s gone.  I posted about our friendship below,  about the laughter he brought with him wherever he went… but I wanted to write about his legacy as an editor as well.

It’s been harder than I anticipated.   Every time I start this post, it hits me all over again, and I realize that I will never see him again.

I need to say something, though.   Not for Gardner — there are dozens of memorials all over the net, speaking of his talents  — but for myself.

There’s really not much that I can say that has not already been said.   As an editor, I think, Gardner had few peers.   Over the decades our genre has been fortunate in having a succession of amazing editors: H.L. Gold, Anthony Boucher, Terry Carr, Damon Knight, Robert Silverberg, Donald A. Wollheim, Cele Goldsmith Lalli, Ellen Datlow, Ben Bova, Ted White, Fred Pohl, and Groff Conklin all come to mind, and many more.   But two figures tower above them all: John W. Campbell, the editorial genius who gave SF its Golden Age, for whom not one but two memorial awards are named… and Gardner Dozois.   His stint as editor of Asimov’s can rightly be compared only with Campbell’s decades at Astounding and Analog, and was similarly influential.  He discovered and nurtured more new talents than I could possibly remember or recount… among them, myself.   Not at Asimov’s, no.   I was already well established before Gardner got that gig.  No, he found me long before, in his first editorial job… reading the slush pile at Galaxy.  It was in that pile, in the summer of 1970, that he came across my short story “The Hero,” and passed it along to editor Ejler Jakobsson with a recommendation to buy.   That was my first professional sale, and came during the summer between my senior and graduate years at Northwestern, when I starting to seriously contemplate what I wanted to do with my life.   That sale, and the publication that followed, went a long way toward making that decision for me.   It’s no exaggeration to say that I might not be where I am today if Gardner had not fished me out of the slush pile in 1970.

Many decades later, I had the honor and privilege of working beside Gardner on a series of anthologies that I am still very proud of.    We were both huge Jack Vance fans, so the idea of a doing a Dying Earth anthology was a natural for us… and when Jack gave us permission, we were thrilled.   SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH was a tribute anthology as well, and the best kind: one that Jack Vance was actually able to read and appreciate while he was still with us.  I hope he liked reading that book (the tributes at least) as much as Gardner and I liked doing it.

I’ve never met anyone who was as well read in SF and fantasy as Gardner Dozois, but like me, that was never all he read.   He loved mysteries and thrillers and historicals as well; so long as the tales were gripping and well told, he never cared what the imprint was on the spine.   So the next thing we tackled after the Vance books were the crossgenre anthologies: massive books with very broad themes, featuring work from outstanding writers from a dozen different genres.   WARRIORS was the first.   It did so well that we soon followed it with DANGEROUS WOMEN and ROGUES.   Those did even better.   They won awards, got great reviews, and even more importantly, introduced thousands of readers to some great new writers they might never have encountered, if we hadn’t put them between covers with their familiar favorites.   Gardner and I did a couple of fun genre mash-ups as well.   There was DOWN THESE STRANGE STREETS, crossing private eye stories with fantasy and SF, and SONGS OF LOVE AND DEATH, an SF/ fantasy/ romance hybrid.

Last, but definitely not least, were our two “retro SF’ collections, OLD MARS and OLD VENUS.   Damn, those were fun to do.  Gardner and I shared a deep deep affection for the lost solar system of our youth, the Mars of the canals and dead cities and vanished races, the Venus of endless swamps and dinosaurs and web-footed Venusians.  And we discovered, to our delight, that a lot of writers shared that love, and had been waiting all their lives for a chance to set a story on the Mars and Venus of yore.   Those books were easy to edit; we had to beat off writers with a stick.   Both books won awards.

The sad part is, it ended there.   I didn’t want it to.   Neither did Gardner.    I loved working with him, and we had more anthologies we wanted to do.  We wanted to follow OLD MARS and OLD VENUS with OLD LUNA, and maybe down the line OLD MERCURY, or a book set in the asteroids.   Done retro, like the first two.  We talked about doing more crossgenre books.  A second WARRIORS, a second ROGUES, a second DANGEROUS WOMEN, maybe one called VILLAINS or HEROES or (this would have been fun) SIDEKICKS.   The publishers were interested.  The earlier books had sold very well.   Gardner was interested.   I was the one who demurred.   As proud as I was of those books, as much as I enjoyed working with Gardner, I did not have the time.   WINDS OF WINTER was late and getting later, and the editing had taken more of my time and energy than I thought it would.   “I can’t take on anything more right now,” I told him.  “We’ll do them later, once I’ve delivered WINDS.”   So Gardner went on to edit THE BOOK OF SWORDS and THE BOOK OF MAGIC by himself (he could have edited all these books by himself, he never actually needed me, we just enjoyed working together).    I contributed stories to both books (a reprint to MAGIC, since I did not have the time).    There would be plenty of time to do ROGUES 2 and OLD LUNA and SIDEKICKS and all the rest, after all.   All the time we needed.   Just as soon as I got King Kong off my back… we even kicked around the notion of a reprint anthology we wanted to call THE HUGO LOSERS.   After all, we were the guys who founded the Hugo Losers Party… just yesterday, in 1976….

We’d do all these books tomorrow.  Next month.   Next year.   Real soon now.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow…

He’s gone now, and I fear he has taken all those books with him.   I may edit other anthologies in the future (in addition to the Wild Cards series, which I imagine I’ll be editing till I join Gargy at the Great Worldcon in the Sky), but I could never bring myself to edit those particular books, the ones we had talked about doing together.   It just wouldn’t feel right.

Gardner Dozois won fifteen Hugo Awards as Best Editor, a record that will never be broken, I expect.   He and I won some Locus Awards and a World Fantasy Award as well, and I will always cherish those.   It was an honor to know him, and to work with him.   I miss him so much.

 

 

 

 

Current Mood: melancholy melancholy

Wild Cards, Wild Cards

June 12, 2018 at 10:19 am
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Big week for Wild Cards, boys and girls.

We have a new post just up on the Wild Cards blog, this one by yours truly.   It was my turn in the barrel (we try to upload new content to the blog every two weeks, if not sooner), so I turned out a history of American Hero, our Wild Cards universe hit reality show — from its origins in the fevered imagination of Carrie Vaughn, through its epic first season as chronicled in Inside Straight, and on to the eight seasons that followed.   Lots of cool material there that has never been published before, even in the books themselves, so this is a bit of a peek behind the curtain.  I hope you’ll enjoy it.  And while you’re there, check out some of the other posts on the blog as well, they’re all fascinating in their own ways.

www.wildcardsworld.com

Meanwhile, the official publication date of Wild Cards volume twenty-five, LOW CHICAGO was earlier this week.   Available right now from Amazon, B&N, your favorite online bookseller, or your local bookstore.   You can also order autographed copies from the Jean Cocteau Bookstore, though if you go that route you might have to wait a while to actually read the book, since it will be a few weeks until I have the chance to sign ’em.

LOW CHICAGO has been getting some terrific pre-publication reviews… from BOOKLIST, from PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY, from KIRKUS.   Check them out, they’re all on line.   And we’re thrilled to hear that the Science Fiction Book Club will be featuring it as a main selection.   If you have never tried a Wild Cards book before, this is a great one to start with; it’s a stand-alone, so you do not need to have read any of the preceding twenty-four volumes to enjoy it.  (Of course, many of those preceding twenty-four volumes are available, with autographs, from the Jean Cocteau, should this one pique your interest).  The participating writers this time around include seasoned WC veterans John Jos. Miller, Melinda M. Snodgrass, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Kevin Andrew Murphy, and Paul Cornell, and exciting newcomers (new to Wild Cards at least) Marko Kloos, Christopher Rowe, Saladin Ahmed.   That’s Marko’s new guy Khan on the cover; I like you’re going to love him.

And of course, just a few weeks down the road, Voyager will be releasing the British edition of KNAVES OVER QUEENS, volume twenty-six in the series.  All new stories once again, and another terrific entry point to the series.

Oh, and there’s lots of exciting stuff happening with the Wild Cards television series we have in development… but, alas, I cannot tell you about that yet, or I would have to kill you.

 

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy

HBO Greenlights Goldman Pilot

June 11, 2018 at 9:02 am
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There’s a lot happening these days, so much that some days it feels as if I cannot even keep up with my own life.   So let me beg your indulgence for being late to the party with this news — but, yes, it is true, after more than a year of development, HBO has greenlit the first of the GAME OF THRONES successor shows that we’ve been working on, scripted by the amazing Jane Goldman.

Everybody else has already broken the news, so there’s no sense in me just rehashing.  You can read all about here:

https://www.newsarama.com/40289-hbo-greenlights-game-of-thrones-prequel-series-report.html

or here

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/video/hbo-moves-forward-pilot-order-untitled-game-thrones-prequel-thr-news-1118608

or in half a hundred other places.   Pick the news outlet you like best,

To clarify, what we have here is a pilot order, not as yet a series order.   Though of course we are all hoping that will follow.

Yes, this is a prequel, not a sequel.   None of the characters or actors from GAME OF THRONES will appear in the new show.   All of the successor shows we’ve been developing have been prequels, as I have mentioned before.   This one really puts the PRE in prequel, since it is set not ninety years before GAME OF THRONES (like Dunk & Egg), or a few hundred years, but rather ten thousand years (well, assuming the oral histories of the First Men are accurate, but there are maesters at the Citadel who insist it has only been half that long).   We’re very early in the process, of course, with the pilot order just in, so we don’t have a director yet, or a cast, or a location, or even a title.   (My vote would be THE LONG NIGHT, which says it all, but I’d be surprised if that’s where we end up.  More likely HBO will want to work the phrase “game of thrones” in there somewhere.  We’ll know sooner or later).

We do have a showrunner: Jane Goldman, who penned the pilot script.

All of the news stories about the pilot being greenlit are slapping my own picture up there next to Jane’s, which is very flattering but also a little misleading Remember, they also slapped my picture up on the news stories about the TV development of Nnedi Okarafor’s WHO FEARS DEATH, when they should have been using Nnedi’s picture. I’ve consulted with all of the writers on all of the successor shows, and several of them have visited me in Santa Fe for long days of discussion, and we’ve gone back and forth in email, text, and telephone, so I have definitely been involved… but really, the accolades here should go to Jane.   She has been an absolute thrill to work with… and my god, what a talent.

Those of you who are fans of not just GAME OF THRONES, but of television, film, and sf and fantasy in the broader sense are already well familiar with her work, whether you know it or not.   She’s wrote the KINGSMEN movies, scripted one X-MEN film and did the story for another, did the screenplay for the adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s STARDUST, and for the superhero satire KICKASS as well.   Among lots of other credits.  Oh, and she’s written the script for Disney’s forthcoming live action version of THE LITTLE MERMAID too.   Can’t wait for that one.

I will try to keep you all informed as work progresses on the new show (whatever we end up calling it)… though, given the amount of stuff I am trying to juggle right now, news will probably break on a dozen other places before I get around to it, as happened here.

As for the other successor shows… if you have been following along, you know that we started with four, and eventually went to five.   One of those has been shelved, I am given to understand, and of course Jane’s pilot is now moving to film.   But that does not mean the others are dead.   Three more GAME OF THRONES prequels, set in different periods and featuring different characters and storylines, remain in active development.   Everything I am told indicates that we could film at least one more pilot, and maybe more than one, in the years to come.   We do have an entire world and tens of thousands of years of history to play with, after all.   But this is television, so nothing is certain.

(Oh, and WHO FEARS DEATH is moving along well too, and I am very excited about that one as well.  Selwyn Seyfu Hinds did a terrific job with his first draft of the pilot, based on Nnedi’s novel).

(And yes, before you ask, work on WINDS OF WINTER continues, and remains my top priority.   It is ridiculous to think otherwise.   If I wasn’t busy with WINDS, don’t you think I’d be scripting one or more of these pilots myself?  It’s not as if I’ve never written for TV… )

So cross your fingers and your toes, fantasy fans.   Some good stuff is coming.   And let’s have a round of applause for Jane Goldman.

 

 

Current Mood: excited excited

Ace or Joker?

June 4, 2018 at 10:13 pm
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Are you an ace or a joker?

The team over at Tor has prepared a fun new on-line quiz to help you find out.

If you’re a fan of Wild Cards… or maybe just curious… head over to

Are you an Ace or a Joker?

and take the test for yourself.

I did.

Alas.  I drew a black queen.

Current Mood: awake awake

Goodbye, Gargy

May 29, 2018 at 11:21 pm
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Gardner Dozois died on Sunday.

I cannot tell you how hard it was for me to write those words.   I probably should have posted something Sunday night, or yesterday for sure, but I just couldn’t.  It almost felt as if writing it would make it real, and there’s a part of me, a BIG part of me, that still does not want to believe it is real.   It can’t be real.   I just spoke to Gardner a few days earlier.   He was in the hospital after a fall that had left him “bruised but not broken” (his words), but he was still Gardner, Gargy, the Great Gargoo, funny, lively, full of plans.   We talked about getting together for a visit when I came east in July, either at Thrillerfest in NYC or down in Philadelphia where he expected to be in rehab.  We talked about his latest anthology, and I tried to convince him to come to San Jose for worldcon, and we joked.  This came on so quick…

I need to write a proper appreciation of Gardner, and I will, I will… but not just now.   The wound is still too raw.  I keep wanting to pick up the phone and call him and hear his voice again.

Gardner and I go back a long way.   He was my second oldest friend in the field (I’ve known Howard Waldrop longer, though I actually MET Gardner earlier, since Howard and I knew each other only by mail for the first decade or so).   Gardner is the reason I am here.   He was the assistant editor at GALAXY in 1970 who fished my story “The Hero” out of the slush pile and recommended it as a buy to editor Ejler Jakobsson (who always took his recommendations).  That was my first professional sale.  And in the spring of 1971, when I walked into Disclave, the first SF con I ever attended, Gardner was the first person I met.   He was working the registration desk.

Lots of people are posting and publishing appreciations of Gardner now, telling you that he was a great writer, and a great editor.  All true.   But right now it is not the editor or the writer I am mourning, it is my friend.  He was the warmest, kindest, gentlest soul you’ll ever met, larger than life, bawdy, funny… so funny.   When I remember Gardner, I remember laughter.   If you were walking through the halls at any con and you heard a group of people laughing, odds are Gargy was in the middle of it, with a jellybean or a cheese doodle up his nose, telling his old Army stories.   I heard those stories a hundred times, and they always made me laugh just as much as the first time.    “Do not piss on the third rail, or YOU WILL DIE.”

It breaks my heart to know that I will never laugh with him again.

And you know what else breaks my heart?   NIGHTFLYERS came out today, in two editions, one from Tor (with extra stories) and one from Bantam (with illustrations).   The book is dedicated to Gardner.   “Manatees!”   I was going to send him copies as a surprise… and now I can’t.

Ah, damn… this is too hard.

A couple of years ago at Capclave, Gardner and I and Howard Waldrop did a panel that was really just the three of us telling stories.   It’s on YouTube now:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvdsmhQYTyc&t=657s

Have a look.  Have a laugh.  Stick a jellybean up your nose.

That was Gardner.

God, I loved that man.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current Mood: sad sad

NIGHT FLYERS RELEASED TODAY

May 29, 2018 at 7:28 am
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THIS MESSAGE IS BEING BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE MINIONS OF FEVRE RIVER

The illustrated edition of Nightflyers is available today here in the US in TWO different formats

One featuring fifteen gorgeously haunting illustrations by David Palumbo from Random House Publishing.

…And for those of you not into pretty pictures…

The other edition of Nightflyers Available today from Tor Books will include 8 other Science Fiction short stories that will entice your imagination.

This book is soon to be an original series on The SYFY Channel 😀

 

 

 

THIS MESSAGE HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE MINIONS OF FEVRE RIVER

Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

THE ICE DRAGON IN WORKS FOR THE BIG SCREEN

May 24, 2018 at 10:05 am
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THIS MESSAGE IS BEING BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE MINIONS OF FEVRE RIVER 

First published 1979 in Orson Scott Card’s short story collection entitled “Dragons of Light”.  The Ice Dragon holds a special place in George’s heart as one of his favorite short stories. Naturally he, and all of us at Fevre River, is thrilled with the announcement:  The Ice Dragon, a fully animated feature film headed by Warner Bros, is in development.

Read more on this story at Variety:

Since it’s inception the story of the ice dragon has taken on many forms, first as mentioned above as part of a collection of short stories.  In 2007 it was received well as a stand alone children’s book illustrated by Yvonne Gilbert.

 See more of Yvonne’s work at her website. 

More recently republished in 2014, in most countries, by Luis Royo.  Later that same year by Italian artist, Paolo Barbieri.

See more of their work at their home websites and be on the look out for more news on the animated Ice Dragon!

THIS MESSAGE HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE MINIONS OF FEVRE RIVER 

Current Mood: creative creative

The Great American Read is On!

May 22, 2018 at 8:30 am
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THIS MESSAGE BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE MINIONS OF FEVRE RIVER 

Tonight the eight part series that celebrates the power of reading begins on PBS.

Watch the two-hour launch episode reveal the list of 100 books, follow along with the five one-hour theme episodes that examine concepts common to groups of books on the list, and a finale, in which the results of a nationwide vote to choose America’s best-loved book is announced. 

Check out the PBS home page to see the list of all 100 books and vote for your favorite read.  

http://www.pbs.org/the-great-american-read/home/

We Minions noticed Game of Thrones floating around on the list along with some of our other all time favorites, such as; The Great Gatsby, Outlander, Catch – 22, The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Tales of the City, Ready Player One and Many more, too many to list here. 

 😉 

Follow the link to learn how you can vote for your favorite book on The Great American Read. 

http://www.pbs.org/the-great-american-read/books/#/

Read on, America READ ON!

#greatreadpbs

@GreatAmericanReadPBS

THIS MESSAGE HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE MINIONS OF FEVRE RIVER 

 

Current Mood: energetic energetic

Wild Cards Gets Wilder

May 14, 2018 at 3:00 pm
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There’s some cool new content out there for all of you Wild Cards fans reading this.

Over on Tor.com, Katie Rask has uploaded a wonderful piece on the archaeology of the Wild Cards version of New York City, post Jetboy and all that followed.  Katie is a professional archaeologist in her real life and knows whereof she speaks.   Check it out:

SFF Archaeology: Excavating the Superhero World of the Wild Card Series

((And while you’re there, check out the Wild Cards Reread posts as well, and weigh in with your own two cents.   The reread is up to volume seven, DEAD MAN’S HAND, with many more on the way)).

Meanwhile, on the official Wild Cards website, there’s an amazing and exhaustive new blog post by Kevin Andrew Murphy, creator of Rosa Loteria (and half a hundred other characters), about Rosa’s origins and the history of the  ‘Mexican bingo’ card game, loteria, that inspired her.   Lots of wonderful loteria art is included, some of it from the incredible deck that John Picacio has been working on these past few years.   It’s at:

http://www.wildcardsworld.com/blog/

Next month will be a big one for Wild Cards, with two new books being released:  LOW CHICAGO by Tor in the USA, KNAVES OVER QUEENS by HarperCollins Voyager in the UK.   Both of them are available for preorder now from your favorite online booksellers.

You can check out a FREE excerpt from LOW CHICAGO over at Tor.com at

Low Chicago

 

And do remember, signed copies of all the Wild Cards book (well, all the ones currently in print, anyway) are available from the bookstore at the Jean Cocteau Cinema.   All autographed by me… and in many cases by various of the contributing writers as well.

((Comments permitted, on Wild Cards only)).

 

Current Mood: cheerful cheerful