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Come Back to Jokertown

April 30, 2019 at 7:32 am
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A heads up for all you Wild Carders out there — another publication day has rolled around.

Check out your favorite local bookstore or on-line bookseller.  Today’s the day Tor releases its long-awaited reissue of JOKERTOWN SHUFFLE, volume nine of the overall series and the second book in the Rox/ jumper sequence.   Originally published in August, 1991, this one has been out of print for the more than two decades, available only from used book stores and auction sites at inflated prices… and that for a mass market.  The new Tor edition will be a trade paperback, featuring a lovely new cover paining of Lady Black by David Palumbo.

The original lineup of JOKERTOWN SHUFFLE (1991 edition) was:

STEPHEN LEIGH     “The Temptation of Hieronymous Bloat”
JOHN JOS. MILLER   “And Hope to Die”
MELINDA M. SNODGRASS          “Lovers”
VICTOR MILAN  “Madman Across the Water”
WALTER JON WILLIAMS  “Whilst Night’s Black Agents To Their Preys Do Rouse”
LEWIS SHINER  “Riders”
WALTON (BUD) SIMONS  “Nobody Does It Alone”

Featured characters include Bloat, Yeoman, Dr. Tachyon, Cap’n Trips, Black Shadow, Veronica, and Mr. Nobody.

But that’s not all.   Just as we did with volumes one, four, and eight, we’ve added some brand new original content to JOKERTOWN SHUFFLE in the form of two original stories from CARRIE VAUGHN and CHERIE PRIEST, starring Fort Freak’s joker detective Leo Storgman (Ramshead) and SCARE agent Joanne Jefferson (Lady Black).  So even if you’ve read the book in the mists of time, you haven’t read it all.   The new tales are entitled “The Unintended” (by Cherie) and “Unraveling” (by Carrie).  You won’t want to miss them.

[[Times have changed since 1991, so I had best mention here that JOKERTOWN SHUFFLE is probably the darkest volume of the original series and includes some very strong stuff, including sexual violence.  So consider this a trigger warning for those who prefer not to go there]].

So here’s your chance to complete your Wild Cards collection by filling in a long-missing volume… or maybe to start a Wild Cards collection.

And once you’ve read it, head over to Tor.com and join the discussion with Katy Rask and the Wild Cards reread:

Stolen Bodies, Warped Minds—Wild Cards IX: Jokertown Shuffle

The mean streets of Jokertown and the madness of the Rox await…

Current Mood: pleased pleased

GRRM Talks JRRT

April 29, 2019 at 3:57 pm
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Modern fantasy would not exist without J.R.R. Tolkien and LORD OF THE RINGS… and that most definitely includes my own A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE.   Tolkien’s work redefined fantasy, and all of us who have followed in his footsteps owe him a profound debt.

But who was the man behind the Shire, the Hobbits, and the One Ring?

TOLKIEN, the new motion picture about JRRT’s early life, aspires to answer that question.

I’m thrilled to say that I’m heading out to LA for the premiere, May 8 at the Regency Westwood Village.   After the film, I will be moderating a discussion and Q-and-A with stars Nicholas Hoult, Lily Collins, and director Dome Karukoski.

 

For those of you who cannot make it to the premiere in person, have no fear.   We’ll be streaming the Q&A on Facebook.

 Head to the TOLKIEN Facebook page (@TolkienFilm) and tune into the Live Stream that will start at 9PM PST. Here is the link to the Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/TolkienFilm/  

See you in the Shire!

 

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy

Day One

April 26, 2019 at 1:36 pm
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Okay, the first day of the NFL Draft is in the books.   The Jets had one pick, the Giants had three.

Gang Green took Quinnen Williams, the monster Alabama defensive tackle, with the third pick overall.  Lots of analysts had ranked him as the best player in the entire draft, so he seems a good get.   Still… if it had been me, I would have taken Josh Allen, the edge rusher.   The Jets have not had an edge rusher worth his salt since… could the last one have been Mark Gastineau?  Surely not.  Maybe John Abraham.   The thing is, they need sacks and QB pressures.   And they already had a monster defensive tackle named Williams (Leonard).   Now they have two.   I hope it works out.   The main thing is to give Tom Brady nightmares, though, and I am not sure Quinnen will do that.   Time will tell.   Overall, though, a very solid pick.

The Giants, on the other hand…

Daniel Jones from Duke at number six?   Yes, they need a young quarterback to groom as Eli’s successor.   But Dwayne Haskins was right there.   Why not him?  I don’t follow college ball, but by every measurable Haskins is way better than Jones.   Jones threw 52 TDs in three years at Duke, Haskins threw 50 in one year at Ohio State.  Within fewer interceptions.   Against much tougher opposition.   Dave Gettleman must have seen something in Jones that no one else could see.   But even if you accept that, taking him at six seems insane.   He would have been there at 17.   Why not take Josh Allen or one of the other defensive studs at 6, and Jones at 17?   Makes much more sense.   Who else was going to nab him?  The Skins?   The Skins preferred Haskins, that was common knowledge.   Everyone in the world except the G-Men preferred Haskins, so far as I can see.

And then we got to number 17, the pick the Giants got for Odell.   What did they pick there?  A huge 342 pound defensive tackle out of Clemson.  Very very strong, they say.   Not going to get a lot of sacks, but terrific against the run.   Who does that sound like?   It sounds like Snacks Harrison to me.  Who the Giants cut in mid-season because… ahem… “all he did” was stop the run, he didn’t get sacks.   After his release, Big Blue spent the rest of the season getting gashed by runs right up the gut.   Had to fix that.   So to fill the Snacks hole, we draft Young Snacks.   All it cost us was a Hall of Fame receiver.

The Giants did trade up late in the round to get a third pick, which we used on a cornerback.   Supposedly the best CB prospect in the draft.   That was good.  They need good cornerbacks in the worst way.   Maybe this kid will help.

Neither the Giants nor  the Jets have a second round pick today.

Big Blue has a couple in the third round, and more later in the draft.   I hope Gettleman can find some gems.   Because right now, the team looks a lot weaker than the one that entered the 2018 season, and that squad finished 5-11.

((Comments permitted, but ONLY on NFL football and the draft))

Current Mood: depressed depressed

The Draft Is Coming

April 23, 2019 at 7:13 pm
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Last year’s regular season was a nightmare for both the Giants and Jets, and thus a double nightmare for yours truly, who suffered through twice as many defeats every Sunday.   But November’s woes are April’s thrills, since that means both New York teams are picking high in this year’s NFL draft.  Gang Green has the third overall pick, behind the Cardinals and the Niners.   Big Blue picks sixth… and also 17th, thanks to trading away Odell Beckham Junior.  That was still a terrible trade imo, the Giants did not get nearly enough for a player of Odell’s calibre… but at least they got something, and now at least we get to find out what.

First round is Thursday night, and I’ll be watching, as I always do.   I’ll be watching the whole thing, actually, but by the time we get down to the fifth and sixth and seventh rounds it is just a bunch of names I have never heard of flashing by, so it’s round one where all the excitement is.

The Jets got their quarterback of the future last year in Sam Darnold so the thought is that they go defense this year.   The key to that is the Arizona Cardinals, picking first.   Almost all the mocks have them taking quarterback Kyler Murray, a small, swift, scrambling signal caller who has been compared to Michael Vick and Baker Mayfield.   Mel Kiper says it is 99.99% certain the Cards take Murray, even though they still have Josh Rosen, the qb they traded up for in the first round last year.   If he’s right, that means the Jets at three will have their pick of the top-rated defensive talents. Nick Bosa, Josh Allen, Quinnen Williams are the names you hear most often.  If the Cards take Murray and the Niners take one of those three, the Jets will have their choice between the other two.   I just hope, if it comes to that, that they pick the right one.   We need the next Lawrence Taylor or the next Reggie White.  The danger is that instead you find yourself with the next Vernon Gholston.

The Jets could also trade down with some qb-hungry team, and regain some of the picks they had to give up last year to snag Darnold.   I wouldn’t mind that… so long as they don’t go TOO far down, and get a good package of picks for moving, not just something lame like a fifth rounder.   But all in all, I think I’d prefer that they stay at #3 and take Josh Allen.   If for no other reason than they are in the same division as the Buffalo Bills, who drafted a quarterback named Josh Allen last year.   We could have years of Josh Allen sacking Josh Allen to look forward to.

There’s even more suspense swirling around the New York Giants with their two first-round picks (and a high second, never forget).   The vast majority of talking heads out there have seemingly given up on Eli Manning (though the Giants themselves clearly haven’t), and are insisting that the G-Men draft a young quarterback as his successor.   The most likely choice is Dwayne Haskins out of Ohio State, who grew up a Giants fan.   I will freely admit I do not follow college ball as I do the NFL. so I can’t claim any expertise… but Haskins does look mighty impressive from what I’ve seen of him leading up to the draft.   He is likely to be there at #6 — unless the Raiders, who are lurking in the weeds at #4, surprise everyone and grab him — but everything we are hearing out of Jersey suggests the Giants are going to go defense with that pick.   Haskins is not likely to last until #17, not with so many other quarterback hungry teams in between (the Dolphins, the Redskins, the Bengals)… but it could be that Dave Gettleman the Giants GM prefers one of the other quarterback prospects, and it is possible that either Drew Locke or Daniel Jones or both will still be there, and Gettleman could snag one of them.   Hell, it could even be that one of them will still be there at the top of round two, for the Giants to draft then.

If Big Blue does not take a quarterback at #6 OR #17, though, prepare for a bloodbath.

Only time will tell who is right.   The thing about the draft is, you never know.   The legendary 1983 draft, when six QBs were taken in round one, is proof of that.   Three of those players turned out to be Hall of Famers.   A couple were solid NFL starters with long careers, though they always labored in the shadow of the three guys who were better.   One was an out-and-out bust.   And then there was the year that Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf went one-two.  Some people insisted that Leaf was better.   Boy, were they wrong.

But that’s the fun of it.   You never know.

Myself, I am hoping that whoever the Giants draft, he spends the year on the bench.  Eli Manning is a class guy, and I’d love nothing better than for him to have a great season and lead the Giants to another SuperBowl, making all his detractors eat a big crow pie along the way.

((Comments permitted, but ONLY on the NFL and the draft.  Off topic comments will be deleted))

 

 

Current Mood: hopeful hopeful

ZHOU WEN WINS TERRAN PRIZE

April 22, 2019 at 8:27 am
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Here’s the latest from Walter Jon Williams and the Taos Toolbox, his advanced “graduate level” SF writer’s workshop (which is actually in Angel Fire now, not Taos, but never mind):

The Terran Prize for 2019, sponsored by George RR Martin and consisting of a scholarship for a foreign writer to this year’s Taos Toolbox Workshop, has been awarded to Chinese author Zhou Wen (昼温.)

Zhou was born in Jinan, Shandong province, and has a double B.A. in English and finance, and a Master’s degree in translation from Shandong University.  She is currently enrolled in the Chinese University of Hong Kong for another Master‘s degree in translation.   She is 24 years old.

 

As a translator, she has translated into Chinese several Marvel and DC comics, including Aquaman Vol. 1: The Trench. 

As an author, she’s been published in the Florilegium: Chinese Literature Today, the magazine Life Week, and the new media account Non-Existence.  Her short story Silent Syllables won the China Science Fiction Readers’ Choice Award.

Zhou says: “I believe language is the most magical product of the human brain, while writing is also a magic with language. I often use linguistic theory as the core of my story, because language can touch everything in the world and every heart of mankind, as well as trigger a strong resonance among lonely souls. In my works, characters often find their way through a deeper understanding of language.”

Walter and his team do great work up at the Toolbox (wherever it is held), and I am pleased to be able to help bring talented young writers from overseas to the Land of Enchantment to take part.   We all share the same world and love the same genre, after all; in the parlance of the SF of my youth, we are all Terrans (or Earthlings, or humans, or men), not Americans or Africans or Chinese.

I look forward to meeting Zhou when I make my annual visit to the Toolbox this summer.

Current Mood: pleased pleased

Denver Beware!

April 20, 2019 at 2:47 pm
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Today’s the day.   You ready, Denver?   Meow Wolf has arrived!

No, no, not the BIG Meow Wolf, the massive installation three times the size of Santa Fe’s House of Eternal Return that is going in downtown, just south of I-25 and a mile or so from Mile High.   That one will be mindblowing, but it’s not scheduled to open until 2020.

Today you get just a taste: the dark ride called Kaleidoscape, opening at Elitch Gardens.

The DENVER POST got an advance look.

Meow Wolf ride at Elitch Gardens: Trippy new Kaleidoscape experience is a hallucinogenic gallery of neon art

Sadly, I won’t be there myself to experience Kaleidoscape on its opening day.   (My minions have me chained to a desk writing).   But I will get up there eventually, have no fear.   And knowing the gang at Meow Wolf, I have no doubt the ride will be like nothing you’ve ever seen before.

So go forth, Denverites (Denverians?  Denvites?) and take a trip to another world.

[[ Comments permitted… but ONLY about Meow Wolf and Kaleidoscape]].

Current Mood: excited excited

STAR TALKING with Tyson

April 18, 2019 at 8:20 am
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Neil deGrasse Tyson’s STARTALK season 4 is premiering on Today and George will be featured as a special guest.  Stay tuned on the National Geographic Channel to catch George’s episode!

MESSAGE BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE MINIONS OF FEVRE RIVER

Valar Morghulis

April 15, 2019 at 7:06 pm
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Death is part of life, I know.   But lately it seems to me that there has been far too much of it in SF and fantasy.

Vonda McIntyre passed away last week.  I’ve known Vonda for a long time; we were the same age, part of the same “generation” of writers, breaking in during the early 70s.  Though I can’t claim to have known her well, I admired her writing and always enjoyed her company when I found myself in Seattle.   She was a kind and generous person, and at the Spokane worldcon, where she was guest of honor, she showed herself to be especially humane and tolerant during the ugliness of the Puppy War.   Her novel DREAMSNAKE was a Hugo and Nebula winner, and she won another Nebula at the Santa Fe Nebula banquet that I ran.  I was pleased to read that she finished a new novel just days before she died.

And just now I received word that Gene Wolfe has died as well.   I haven’t seen Gene for a few years, sadly, but I knew him well when I lived in Chicago in the 70s.   When my friends Alex & Phyllis Eisenstein and I founded the Windy City Writer’s Workshop, we assembled a good group of young aspiring writers… and two giants, Gene Wolfe and Algis Budrys.   Gene and Ayjay became mentors of a sort to the whole group of us, attending every monthly workshop and giving us more good advice about the art, craft, and business of writing than I can possibly recall.   I learned so much from Gene, and his praise… not always easily earned… meant so much to me.   He was a magnificent writer as well, one of the best our genre has ever produced.   It is a disgrace that he never won a Hugo (though he was nominated a number of times).   He was, however, a SFWA Grand Master and a worldcon Guest of Honor, the two greatest honors our field can bestow.   His work will be read as long as SF endures, I believe.

We have lost two of the good ones.   SF is poorer for their passing, but their work remains.  Read their books.

 

Current Mood: sad sad

The Regular-Sized Council Meets

April 14, 2019 at 9:33 am
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Current Mood: mischievous mischievous

Authors, Talking

April 13, 2019 at 8:32 am
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We’ve had some great author events of late at the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe.

And for all of you out there who couldn’t be there in person, we’ve started streaming the interviews and posting them.

Here are the two most recent: Alan Brennert on DAUGHTER OF MOLOKAI, and Marlon James on BLACK LEOPARD, RED WOLF.

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George R.R. Martin and Marlon James on fantasy literature

Watch Marlon James and George R.R. Martin talk about fantasy literature on April 10th, exclusively on The Verge.

Posted by The Verge on Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Autographed copies of DAUGHTER OF MOLOKAI and BLACK LEOPARD, RED WOLF are available from the bookstore at the Jean Cocteau Cinema… along with signed copies of all of my own books, and those of every other author who has visited us.

https://jeancocteaucinema.com/product-category/signed-books/

Enjoy the talks, and keep reading!