Not a Blog

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

The British Are Coming!

March 12, 2018 at 8:47 pm
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The British are coming! The British are coming!!

The British Wild Cards, that is. Aces, jokers, deuces, and a few knaves too.

Oh, and an Irish guy as well.

They will be here on June 28. That’s when HarperCollins Voyager has scheduled the hardcover release of the latest Wild Cards anthology, KNAVES OVER QUEENS, edited by yours truly (with the able assistance of Melinda M. Snodgrasss, as usual) and featuring all new stories by veteran Wild Carders Kevin Andrew Murphy, Caroline Spector, Melinda Snodgrass, Paul Cornell, and Marko Stross and newcomers Charlie Stross, Peter Newman, Emma Newman, Mark Lawrence, and Peadar O Gulian.

The one is something new for Wild Cards: the first time that the British edition of one of the books will be published in advance of the American edition. But it’s only fitting in this case, since KNAVES OVER QUEENS harkens back to our very first volume (WILD CARDS, of course), and tells the story of the entire history of the Wild Cards universe in the UK and Ireland, starting back in 1946 and going right up to the present day.

The lineup this time around:

KEVIN ANDREW MURPHY: “A Flint Lies in the Mud” and “But a Flint Holds Fire,”
PEADAR O GUILIN: “The Coming of the Crow,” “Cracks in the City,” and “Feeding on the Entrails,”
CAROLINE SPECTOR: “Needles and Pins,”
PAUL CORNELL: “Night Orders,”
CHARLES STROSS: “Police On My Back,”
MARKO KLOOS: “Probationary,”
PETER NEWMAN: “Twisted Logic,”
MELINDA M. SNODGRASS: “Ceremony of Innocence,”
EMMA NEWMAN: “How to Turn a Girl to Stone,”
MARK LAWRENCE: “The Visitor.”

June will be a huge month for Wild Cards, actually, since we also have LOW CHICAGO scheduled for hardcover publication that month from Tor, on June 12. LOW CHICAGO will be available only in the US edition, and KNAVES OVER QUEENS will be available only in the UK, so completists and first edition collectors are going to have a challenge (yes, there will eventually be a British edition of LOW CHICAGO and an American edition of KNAVES OVER QUEENS, but those will be a bit down the line). Fans of the Wild Cards universe will have a great time, though. Just thing of all those great new stories!

Keep reading, friends. You can’t die yet, you haven’t seen the Jolson Story.

Current Mood: excited excited

See Ya Later, Kids

March 5, 2018 at 12:25 pm
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All’s good, boys and girls… lots of exciting things going on.

LOTS of exciting things.

Maybe too many. I am buried in work, so much that it is starting to overwhelm me. Even with my army of loyal minions.

So I am going to step back from blogging — okay, from NOT-a-blogging — for a while, till I get a few of these monkeys off my back.

In the near future, you’ll likely see fewer posts here. And some of those will be by my minions.

I’ll return eventually. Just don’t know when.

See ya later, alligators.

Current Mood: stressed stressed

Cool New Wild Cards Stuff

February 28, 2018 at 1:48 pm
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Katie Rask has done a lovely tribute to Vic Milan and two of his iconic Wild Cards characters over at Tor.com:

https://www.tor.com/2018/02/28/a-wild-cards-tribute-to-victor-milan/

Do check it out, and feel free to jump in with your own thoughts about Vic’s contributions to Wild Cards, which were numerous and important.

Meanwhile, over on our official Wild Cards website, we’ve added some new blog posts from Max Gladstone, Melinda Snodgrass, and David Anthony Durham. You’ll find them at:

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

In other Wild Cards news, the reissues continue apace, and I’ve just delivered a new and expanded version of volume nine, JOKERTOWN SHUFFLE, to Tor. We’ve added two brand new stories to the original text from the 1991 Bantam edition: a Ramshead tale by Cherie Priest, and a Lady Black story from Carrie Vaughn. JOKERTOWN SHUFFLE has been out of print in English for more twenty years, so we’re pleased to make it available to a new generation of readers… but be careful, if there was ever a Wild Cards book that required trigger warnings, it’s this one.

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

Current Mood: contemplative contemplative

Hugo Nominations Open

February 7, 2018 at 2:53 pm
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Nominations for the 2018 Hugo Awards have now opened, I am informed. If you are a member of last year’s worldcon in Helsinki, this year’s worldcon in San Jose, or next year’s worldcon in Dublin, you are eligible to nominate. You should be receiving an email with a link to the ballot. (I have not actually received mine yet, but I’m told that others have, so I expect mine Real Soon Now).

I have a few things eligible for nomination myself this year… more for editing than writing, however.

GAME OF THRONES is eligible in the Dramatic Presentation category, of course. The whole of Season 7 can be nominated in Dramatic Presentation, Long Form, and any or all of the individual episodes can be nominated in Short Form. GOT has won in both categories in the past. Last year in Helsinki, three episodes actually had enough votes to make the ballot, but the new rule limits any series to no more than two places on the ballot, so we had to withdraw one. But you can nominate as many episodes as you like.

Wild Cards had a big year last year. We celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the series, and our twenty-fourth mosaic novel, MISSISSIPPI ROLL, was published in the fall. A couple of the older books were reissued, and we had two original Wild Cards story on Tor.com — “When the Devil Drives” by Melinda M. Snodgrass, and “The Atonement Tango” by Stephen Leigh. The two Tor.com stories are both novelettes and are eligible in that category. MISSISSIPPI ROLL is a more complex case. Like most Wild Cards books, it is a mosaic novel, with individual stories by half a dozen writers woven together to make a whole that is, we hope, more than the sum of its parts. One could argue that our mosaics are anthologies, I suppose… but they feel more like collaborative novels to me. If the former view prevails, the individual components of MISSISSIPPI ROLL are eligible in the short fiction categories, Steve Leigh’s “In the Shadow of Tall Stacks” in novella, the other stories as novelettes. If the latter, the volume as a whole could be nominated in novel.

In either case, I’m eligible for nomination in the editing categories. Short Form, most likely, for the stories in Tor.com as well as the book. (If you consider MISSISSIPPI ROLL a novel, then it counts for me as a Long Form editor, but I don’t think one book is enough to make me eligible in that category). My Wild Cards work was the only editing I did in 2017. The big cross-genre anthologies I co-edited with Gardner Dozois all came out in previous years.

Wild Cards as a whole is definitely eligible for nomination as Best Series. That’s a new category that first appeared on the ballot last year, as an experiment, but now it has been made permanent.

The only writing I had published in 2017 was “The Sons of the Dragon,” which was published in THE BOOK OF SWORDS, Gardner Dozois’s massive anthology of original sword & sorcery stories. Like “The Rogue Prince” and “The Princess and the Queen” before it, “Sons” is more of my (fake) history of the Targaryen kings of Westeros. By length, it is a novella… but it’s not a traditional narrative. By design, it reads like history, not fiction; but since the history is entirely imaginative, it’s still fiction, even if dressed up as (fake) non-fiction.

It has been pointed out to me that the publication of “The Sons of the Dragon” makes the entirety of A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE eligible to be nominated as Best Series. I suppose that’s so. All I can say to that is : please don’t. If you like fake history and enjoyed “The Sons of the Dragon,” by all means nominate the story as a novella… but it’s really not part of A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, and sneaking in the entire series by means of a technicality seems wrong to me.

If I may broaden the discussion a bit, while I think it is good that the Hugo Awards now have a category to recognize series books, I would quibble somewhat with how a “series” is defined. The rules were written very broadly, to include not only true series, like last year’s winner, the Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold, but also any grouping of stories set against a common background, what we used to call “future histories,” as well as what I’d term “mega-novels,” those massive epics too long to be contained in a single volume. Three-quarters of the SF I wrote back in the 70s was set against a common background, but I never considered that I was writing a series when I visited the Thousand Worlds; it was a future history, made up of stories set hundreds of years apart, on planets separated by thousands of light years (though within the future history there was a series, the Haviland Tuf stories). On the other extreme, I don’t consider A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE a series either; it’s one single story, being published in (we hope) seven volumes. FWIW, Tolkien wasn’t writing a series when he wrote LORD OF THE RINGS either. He wrote a big novel and his publisher divided it into three parts, none of which stands on its own.

Anyway, that’s my own perspective on the matter. Obviously, the good folks who drafted the Best Series rules disagree. Ultimately I think the fans will decide the matter by what they choose to nominate. Worldcon committees have traditionally been reluctant to overrule the fans, even in cases where a nominated work would seem to be ineligible for one reason or other.

FWIW, Wild Cards is a series, plainly, so if you want to consider any of my work for Best Series, that’s the one I’d ask you to look at. Thirty-one years and twenty=four books is something to be proud of, and I am.

Regardless of whether or not you nominate any of my own work, I do urge all the worldcon members reading this to be sure to nominate. There are a lot of awards being given in SF, fantasy, and horror these days, but the Hugo was the first, and it’s still the one that means the most. It is, of course, important to vote on the final ballot too… but you can’t vote for works that have not been nominated, and it is crucial to have widespread participation in the nominating stage.

((Comments and debate allowed, but ONLY on these subjects. Stay on topic)).

Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful

Wild Cards Goodness

July 19, 2017 at 10:12 pm
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Some cool new stuff out there for Wild Cards fans.

Over at Tor.com, the Wild Cards Reread continues with Katie Rask’s insightful look at the fourth volume of the original series, ACES ABROAD. Check it out and join the discussion at:

https://www.tor.com/2017/07/18/religion-revolution-and-80s-politics-wild-cards-iv-aces-abroad/

And there’s some new content on the Wild Cards website as well. A new blog post by Mary Anne Mohanraj about writing an intertwined story

http://www.wildcardsworld.com/how-do-you-tell-an-interlinked-story/

and some great art uploads of work by some of our favorite artists: John Picacio, Marc Simonetti, and Michael Komarck.

((Meanwhile, development continues on the Wild Cards television series. I could tell you all about that as well, but then I’d have to kill you. Oh, yes, and the latest Wild Cards mosaic novel is nearing completion as well. Seven of ten stories in, and the last three expected soon)).

Current Mood: pleased pleased

Hugo Thoughts: Best Professional Editor, Long Form

February 26, 2017 at 5:03 pm
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We are creeping closer and closer to the close of Hugo nominations for That Finnish Worldcon. I hope that all of you reading this who are eligible to nominate will do so. Even if you only nominated one or two of your favorite things in one or two categories, that’s better than not nominating at all.

Last year I put up several long long posts about the two editorial categories, their history, their controversies, some candidates. I don’t have the time or the energy to rehash all that again, but there’s no need… almost all I what I said last time around is still true, and you can find it (if you’re interested) just by searching for the Hugo Award tag in my Not A Blog, downstream.

Today I will limit myself to recommending three outstanding book editors for your consideration. All three are more than worthy of a nomination for Best Professional Editor, Long Form.

Let’s start with my own editor — well, actually, I have a whole bunch of editors, but she’s my main American editor — ANNE LESLEY GROELL.

Anne is the SF and fantasy editor for what used to be Bantam Spectra, and is now Random Penguin or something like that. You know what I mean. She’s edited all my ICE & FIRE books, for starts, plus several of the anthologies I’ve done with Gardner Dozois, and lots of other stuff besides. If you read any SF books from Bantam Spectra or Random Penguin last year, you’ve read work that she’s edited. Anne was nominated for the Hugo once before, but she lost, so she’s a Hugo Loser in good standing. It’s past time she was nominated again.

Next up, let me point you at JOE MONTI.

Joe is the editor at Saga, the SF fantasy imprint of Simon & Schuster. He’s had a long career in the genre, starting as a YA buyer for Barnes & Noble, then working as an agent for several years, before joining the editorial ranks with S&S, where he was giving the assignment of building a new SF line from scratch for a publisher who had been absent from the genre since the end of Timescape. He’s done that, and in fine style. Look at the books Saga published last year and you’ll see his work. Joe has never been nominated for a Hugo. Time he was.

Last, but CERTAINLY not least, I present to you JANE JOHNSON.

Jane is the editor and publisher of HarperCollins Voyager, one of the leading publishers of SF and fantasy in the United Kingdom. British editors are eligible for the Hugo, just like their American counterparts, but they are NEVER nominated, no matter how great their accomplishments… and that’s bollocks, as the Brits might say. Jane is one of the towering figures in our field across the pond, yet she’s never been recognized, and it is bloody well time that she was.

Yes, there are plenty of other talented long form editors in the field who did good work last year. Some of them have won Hugo awards in the past, however… some are nominated year after year. Let’s go beyond the usual suspects this year in Helsinki. I am nominating Anne Lesley Groell, Joe Monti, and Jane Johnson for the rocket this year, and I hope you will consider doing the same.

Whoever you nominate, though… NOMINATE.

A Bit More (Fake) History

January 31, 2017 at 5:06 pm
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I had intended to write this post a few days ago, when Bantam gave me the green light, but I got busy, and we had Carrie Vaughn coming to town, and a worldcon/ Hugo deadline approaching, and all that seemed more time-sensitive, so I wrote those instead. Unfortunately, that meant the news below broke from other sources, and inevitably, all sorts of weird distortions crept in, and now the internet is rife with rumors and false reports and misinformation. Pfui. I need to set the record straight.

My friend Gardner Dozois, long-time anthologist and winner (many many times) of the Hugo Award for Best Professional Editor, has a big new fantasy anthology coming out this fall. It’s called THE BOOK OF SWORDS, and it’s about… well… swords. Y’know. “Stick ’em with the pointy end.”

I have a story in the book. “The Sons of the Dragon” is the title. Those of you who enjoyed “The Princess and the Queen” in DANGEROUS WOMEN and “The Rogue Prince” in ROGUES will probably like this one too. It’s water from the same well. A history rather than a traditional narrative. A lot of telling, only a little showing. (The opposite of what I do in my novels). But if you’re fascinated by the politics of Westeros, as many of my readers seem to be, you should enjoy it. As the title suggests, “The Sons of the Dragon” chronicles the reigns of the second and third Targaryen kings, Aenys I and Maegor the Cruel, along with their mothers, wives, sisters, children, friends, enemies, and rivals. If you’re read something to that effect on the web, good, that much is right.

However, there is a lot that’s wrong out there as well. THE BOOK OF SWORDS is not my book. I didn’t write but a small part of it, and I didn’t edit it, nor even co-edit it. Gardner is one of my oldest friends and he and I have co-edited a number of anthologies together. We did OLD MARS and OLD VENUS together. We did SONGS OF LOVE & DEATH and DOWN THESE STRANGE STREETS together. We did the huge award-winning cross-genre anthologies WARRIORS, DANGEROUS WOMEN, and ROGUES together. But we did not do THE BOOK OF SWORDS together.

SWORDS is all the Great Gargoo. I mean, it’s not as if he hasn’t edited a hundred other anthologies all by himself, before he did a few with me. We’re friends, but we are not attached at the hip. I edit Wild Cards without any help from Gardner, and he edits lots of great stuff without any help from me… including THE BOOK OF SWORDS and next year’s THE BOOK OF MAGIC (which will also have a story from me, a reprint).

Truth be told, I loved editing those anthologies with Gardner, and we want to do more together. We’re talked about MORE ROGUES and EVEN MORE DANGEROUS WOMEN, since those two books were hugely successful, and we have definite plans for OLD LUNA and, who knows, maybe eventually OLD MERCURY and OLD PLUTO and OLD URANUS. But we’re not doing any of that NOW. The anthologies, much as I loved them, were taking too much of my time, so I stepped back from them… until I finish THE WINDS OF WINTER, at least. Once that’s done, maybe I can sneak another one in…

The point is, just because I had to step back did not mean Gardner had to. And he hasn’t. Hence THE BOOK OF SWORDS, which I expect to be just as good as ROGUES or DANGEROUS WOMEN.

The lineup of THE BOOK OF SWORDS is an impressive one:

Introduction by Gardner Dozois
THE BEST MAN WINS, by K.J. Parker
HIS FATHER’S SWORD, by Robin Hobb
THE HIDDEN GIRL, by Ken Liu
THE SWORD OF DESTINY, by Matthew Hughes
“I AM A HANDSOME MAN,” SAID APOLLO CROW, by Kate Elliott
THE TRIUMPH OF VIRTUE, by Walter Jon Williams
THE MOCKING TOWER, by Daniel Abraham
HRUNTING, by C.J. Cherryh
A LONG, COLD TRAIL, by Garth Nix
WHEN I WAS A HIGHWAYMAN, by Ellen Kushner
THE SMOKE OF GOLD IS GLORY by Scott Lynch
THE COLGRID CONUNDRUM, by Rich Larson
THE KING’S EVIL, by Elizabeth Bear
WATERFALLING, by Lavie Tidhar
THE SWORD TYRASTE, by Cecelia Holland
THE SONS OF THE DRAGON, by George R.R. Martin

There’s some amazing writers there. Some of the stories, I expect, will contend for the Hugo and the World Fantasy Award. But I wouldn’t know which, since I haven’t read any of them yet, since I am not the editor. Unlike, say, ROGUES and OLD MARS and the like, where I read every word, because I was the co-editor.

THE BOOK OF SWORDS is scheduled for release on October 10 in hardcover and ebook. (I don’t have the cover art yet, but when I do I will post it here).

As for my own story…

Long-time lurkers on this site will recall that several years ago, when we were working on the gorgeous illustrated worldbook/ concordance that was eventually published as THE WORLD OF ICE & FIRE, I wrote a number of ‘sidebar’s about Westerosi history. Actually, I got rather carried away, until I found I had written 350,000 words of sidebars for a book that was supposed to have only 50,000 words of text (it ended up having a lot more that that, actually). Since I had only reached the regency of Aegon III the Dragonbane, and had largely skipped over Jaehaerys I the Conciliator, however, it became apparent that my sidebars were going to burst the book.

So we pulled them all out, including only severely abridged versions of the main events in THE WORLD OF ICE AND FIRE. The full versions, much longer and unabridged, will eventually be published in a fake history tome to be called FIRE & BLOOD (and sometimes just the GRRMarillion), but since that one is years away, I included excerpts (again abridged, though not as severely) in DANGEROUS WOMEN and ROGUES. That’s where “The Princess and the Queen” and “The Rogue Prince” came from.

“The Sons of the Dragon” came from the same place. Gardner asked me for a story. I told him I did not have the time to write a story. He asked if perhaps I had more like “The Princess and the Queen” lying about… as it happened, I did. So I sent him “The Sons of the Dragon,” he liked it, and there we are. (Fwiw, though “Sons” has never been published before, some of you may have heard me read it at one convention or another. I think I’ve read it twice, though offhand I do not recall when).

Anyway… that’s the story of the story. Don’t believe any other weird crap you may encounter on the web. It’s Gardner’s book, and it should be a fine one. You can’t go wrong with Robin Hobb, Scott Lynch, Lavie Tidhar, Daniel Abraham, Matthew Hughes, and the rest of the contributors that Gargy has assembled. You’ll love their stuff, I know. Maybe you’ll like my contribution as well… if you’re partial to fake history.

GENIUS

January 29, 2017 at 10:20 pm
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A few posts down you’ll find my Hugo Award ruminations for the Dramatic Presentation categories, where I opine at some length about the best films and television shows I saw last year.

Much as I love SF and fantasy, however, not everything I read or view falls into those categories. I wanted to say a few words about another movie I saw recently, and loved.

It’s a film called GENIUS, a period piece set in the 1930s about the relationship between Maxwell Perkins, the legendary Scribners editor, and his most troubled (and troubling) writer, Thomas Wolfe. (No, not Tom Wolfe, the 60s journalist of THE RIGHT STUFF fame, Thomas Wolfe, the doomed 30s novelist of YOU CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN). Stars Colin Firth and Jude Law, both of whom gave brilliant performances. Scripted by John Logan, directed by Michael Grandage.

GENIUS came and went last year almost unnoticed. It was certainly unnoticed by me, else I would have tried to book it for the Jean Cocteau. But it’s running on HBO right now, so all those who missed it (virtually everyone) now has another chance to see it.

I hope you do. Especially if you’re a writer, or an editor, or have any interest in 20th Century American literature, Thomas Wolfe, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, or Maxwell Perkins.

The movie got very little notice from the world at large, but I loved loved loved it. Maybe because it’s a writer’s movie. The period is wonderfully evoked, the acting is fine, and there’s one ten minute scene in the middle of the movie… from when Wolfe delivers OF TIME AND THE RIVER till when Perkins gets on that train… that I thought was just hilarious, heart-breaking, poetic, painful, and just all-around… blue. A blue that was deeper than blue, a blue such as never before…

Well, let’s just say it was a great scene in a fine movie.

Lots of fine movies came out last year, in our genre and out of it. Many of them have been nominated for various Oscars. GENIUS was not, but if I were in the Academy I would certainly have nominated it. Much I loved ARRIVAL and MOANA and some of the other big movies of 2016, I think GENIUS was my favorite film from last year.

Wild Cards Take Texas

January 27, 2017 at 3:52 pm
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We’re calling the latest Wild Cards volumes the America Triad. First one up was MISSISSIPPI ROLL, which we completed and turned in back in October. Then came LOW CHICAGO, delivered in December. And now comes the third and final book in our cross country tour: TEXAS HOLD ‘EM.

Another one done. The manuscript went off to our editors at Tor yesterday. Hot damn!

The table of contents for this one:
Caroline Spector “Bubbles and the Band Trip”
Max Gladstone “The Secret Life of Rubberband”
William F. Wu “Jade Blossom’s Brew”
Diana Rowland “Beats, Bugs, and Boys”
Walton Simons “Is Nobody Going to San Antone?”
Victor Milan “Dust and the Darkness”
David Anthony Durham “Drop City”

TEXAS HOLD ‘EM is the final book in the America Triad, and the twenty-sixth volume of the overall series… but no, it’s not necessary to have read the first twenty-five to enjoy this one. In fact, it’s not even necessary to have read MISSISSIPPI ROLL and LOW CHICAGO (though we hope you will). The America books are not a triad in the traditional sense, like the ones we have done before; they are more in the nature of three stand-alones, linked thematically rather than by plot. Aside from a couple of double-dippers, each book of the three has a different roster of writers.

The cast in TEXAS HOLD ‘EM includes long time fan favorites like the Amazing Bubbles, Mr. Nobody, and Rustbelt, and brings back a couple of minor players from past books in much bigger roles (Jade Blossom from INSIDE STRAIGHT, the Darkness from SUICIDE KINGS), but you’ll meet a bunch of fun new characters as well. Diana Rowland and Max Gladstone are here making their Wild Cards debuts (Abandon hope, all ye who enter here). I think you’ll love their work as much as I do.

TEXAS HOLD ‘EM is a departure for us in other ways as well. Like the Marvel and DC universes, the Wild Cards universe is huge, and allows for all sorts of different stories. Last summer’s HIGH STAKES was our horror outing, and one of the darkest we have ever done. TEXAS HOLD ‘EM is the other side of the coin; a romp, light-hearted and frenetic, with touchs of screwball comedy.

Which doesn’t mean it was easy. “Dying is easy. Comedy is hard,” someone once said (just who is a matter of dispute).

Look for TEXAS HOLD ‘EM sometime next year. At last word, Tor is slating MISSISSIPPI ROLL for publication in hardcover in the fall of this year, with Chicago and Texas to follow, but we don’t have hard dates for those two yet, but you’ll know when we do.

Meanwhile, we have further Wild Cards books in mind… and that TV series in the works…

Remember, we can’t die yet. We haven’t seen the Jolson Story.