Not a Blog

Sunday Sorrows

October 17, 2021 at 7:47 pm
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Well, at least the Jets did not lose this weekend.

They had a bye.

The less said about the last two Giants games, the better.   It does not help that half the team seems to be injured, including half the offensive line and most of the top wideouts.   We had a rookie who was flashing some great moves at receiver, to be fair, but now he is hurt too.

The past few years — maybe longer than than, the months and years have been flashing by in a blur and I have lost track — I have pretty much forgotten what a “day off” looks like.   I have so much to do, so many projects, books and films and television shows, even a railroad, that I have been working seven days a week for longer than I care to remember.   EXCEPT during the NFL season, when I take Sundays off to watch the Jets and Giants games.   Sundays used to be a nice restorative for me.   The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat… usually, with two teams, there was a good chance that at least one of them would be competitive.

No longer.   The Jets and Giants are both awful, and the rare signs of progress (like two weeks ago) always prove illusory.

I do not have the energy to dissect games like today’s Giants loss to the Rams.

Life is miserable and full of pain.

Might as well work.

Current Mood: depressed depressed

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The Dragons Are Coming

October 8, 2021 at 11:55 am
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Yes, I know, most of you have already seen this.   (What can I say?  I am busy.   Juggling so many balls, so many projects, posting stuff on my Not A Blog is not my highest priority, so things may always be a little bit behind here).

For the handful who have been off the internet the past few days, however… HBO has released the first official teaser/trailer for HOUSE OF THE DRAGON.  Here ’tis.

Enjoy.

(And yes, I love it too.  Ryan and Miguel and their team are kicking ass and taking names).

Current Mood: happy happy

October 4, 2021 at 10:59 pm
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Current Mood: busy busy

Overtime! Overtime!

October 3, 2021 at 6:37 pm
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Gasp.  And gasp again.

Hey, hey, what do you know.   The Giants WON!  And the Jets WON!   On the same day.  Both in overtime.

Of course, the NFL and DirecTV had both games on at the same time, which meant I had to record them both and spend all day switching back and forth between them, while falling further and further behind.   I also had to avoid looking at the scores at the bottom of the screen, lest one game spoil the other, or vice versa.  Both teams entered the day at 0-3, and I had every expectation of them ending it at 0-4.   The Giants had played pretty well through those first three losses, losing the last two on last second field goals as time expired, but they were playing the Saints in the Superdome.  Even without Drew Brees, the Saints are a pretty formidable team, and more so when at home.   As for the Jets, well, they were in Jersey against the Titans, and the Titans are no powerhouse… but Gang Green had looked so absolutely wretched in their first three outings that I figured we’d get crushed anyway.

The way the Jets game opened, it looked like my fears were well placed… but in the second half they came alive, and HOLY HELL our kid quarterback (who has a helluva arm, even if he does look as though he is straight out of high school) started heaving bombs down the field.   To JETS receivers, not the other team.  And suddenly we were winning.   Then, of course, with a game almost won on a 4th and 10, we committed a killer penalty and almost blew it, and the Titans tied it up and sent it into overtime and Parris was charging up our home defibrillator.   My teams have a way of stopping my heart.   (That’s a joke, guys.   A joke.   I feel compelled to add that, for fear of what kind of headlines you might see on the clickbait websites elsewise).

But then, after snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, the Jets went to overtime, won the toss, marched the ball down the field, and snatched it right the hell back.   Whoeee.   A VICTORY!   After last year, Jets fans had mostly forgotten what that felt like.

Meanwhile, over on t’other channel, the Giants were doing the same thing.  That game started tight, with the G-Men holding up well against the New Orleans O, but then the Saints started pulling ahead and I started feeling gloomy.   But NO!  The Giants came back, and Danny Dimes had the best game of his career, making some heart=stopping heaves and earning his nickname.   Could we possibly have turned a corner?  Oh, that would be sweet.   It is only one game, of course… but if Daniel Jones can keep it up, Blue could well get Big again.

Oh, and the throws that Zach Wilson made… DAMN, what an arm.   So that’s why the Jets took him.   He keeps that up, he’ll need a nickname too.  The BYU Bazooka?   Mad Bomber 2.0?  Zach the Cannon?   Some of his heaves took me back to the heyday of the AFL, when Broadway Joe and Darryl Lamonica were firing balls fifty yards downfield.

All in all… a much sweeter Sunday than the last few.

And the minions all went wild.

Life is magical and full of joy.

This week, at least.

 

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy

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Turn That Card Again

September 27, 2021 at 8:14 am
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November 9 is going to be a big day for Wild Cards fans.

That’s the day that Tor is going to be releasing not one but two classic hard-to-find Wild Cards novels as reissues.   These are not the usual mosaics, but solo novels by two of the mainstays of the series, John Jos. Miller and the late great Victor Milan.

I have already blogged about John’s novel DEATH DRAWS FIVE (take a look downstream if you missed it).  Volume seventeen in the overall series, it was initially released by iBooks a week before the company went under, and later made available by Brick Tower Press as a print on demand title.  The new Tor hardback will be the first edition to get widespread national distribution.   This will be a great chance for all of you who missed DD5 the first time around to fill that hole in your Wild Cards collection.   And it’s a helluva ride.

But that’s only half the news.   Tor will also be releasing Vic Milan’s much sought after Cap’n Trips novel, TURN OF THE CARDS, as a trade paperback the same day, with a stunning new cover by Michael Komarck.

TURN OF THE CARDS was the twelfth volume in the series, and the last to be released by Bantam Spectra, our original publisher.   Our contract was up once Vic delivered the book, and rather than re-up for more volumes, we moved Wild Cards over to Baen Books.   (Which proved to be a huge mistake, but that’s a tale for another time.   Buy me a margarita at a con some day and maybe you can winkle it out of me).

Unsurprisingly, moving the series to a rival house did not endear us much to the old team, and when TURN finally came out as a mass market paperback, only a month before the first of the Baen volumes, promotion was pretty much non-existent, and sales declined sharply from the previous volume.

Which was a disappointment to all, and a real shame.  Vic was one of the stars of Wild Cards, the guy who started the whole thing when he gave me that SuperWorld game, and  TURN OF THE CARDS is some of his very best work.   Over the years Vic created a dozen characters for us, great and small… but the most memorable and popular of them all was Mark Meadows, a blond bearded scarecrow of a hippie who ran a head shop, wore a purple Uncle Sam suit, and went by the nom de guerre Cap’n Trips.   Despite the colorful costume, Trips seemed to have no actual superpowers.   Most of the people in Jokertown regarded him as a colorful eccentric rather than an ace.  Ah, but Mark was also a genius biochemist who had concocted a number of designer drug cocktails… and he had friends.

Jumpin’ Jack Flash (that’s him above, on the cover).  Aquarius.   Starshine.   Moonchild.   Cosmic Traveller.   Monster.   Each with his (or her) own personality, quirks, passions, and powers.   And the Radical, the first and the last, who combined the powers of all of them.

Mark and his friends were among the most popular characters in Wild Cards, right from the start.

TURN OF THE CARDS is his novel, a globe-spanning adventure that takes him halfway across the world to Vietnam, with DEA agents, SCARE heroes, and all manner of other aces in hot pursuit.

Like as not, you missed it the first time around.   Don’t miss it now.

NOVEMBER 9.  From your favorite online bookseller or local brick-and-mortar bookshop.

 

 

 

 

 

Current Mood: pleased pleased

Collecting Stuff

September 23, 2021 at 6:14 pm
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I have a lot of stuff.

I can’t deny it.   I got the bug when I was still a kid.   The collecting bug.   Books, comic books, magazines, trading cards, toys… all sorts of weird stuff.  And y’know, it piles up over the years… and I have seen a LOT of years now.

Thankfully, I am not the only one with this odd affliction.   Ryan Condal, the showrunner on HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, collects movie and television props, and he and his friend David Mandel of VEEP and CURB YOUR ENTHUSIAM fame have a wonderful podcast called THE STUFF THAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF, about their shared passion.   They’ve just launched the second season of the podcast, and invited me to be their guest on the premiere episode.

I don’t actually collect props myself, though I have picked up a few over the years from the shows I have worked on.   I do collect miniature heraldic knights, and of course I still have a zillion books, and… well, it was huge huge fun to talk about collections.

You can check out our conversation on Spotify and Apple, if you’re a collector yourself:

Spotify:
Apple:
If you’re NOT a collector, though, you might want to tread carefully and wear a mask.  The bug can be contagious.

(Comments permitted — but ONLY about collecting.   Books, comics, movie props, toys, miniatures — what do you collect?  How did you start?  Tell us about it.   But off topic comments and questions will be deleted).

Current Mood: geeky geeky

Three and Seventy

September 20, 2021 at 9:19 am
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I grow old… I grow old…
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?


I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

((with thanks to T.S. Eliot))

Current Mood: melancholy melancholy

Thursday Night Football

September 16, 2021 at 11:34 pm
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Well, that was a kick in the balls.

I really thought that the Giants and the Jets would be much better this season.   They had (I thought) strong drafts and good offseasons.

A week and a half into the new season, they are a combined 0-3.

Life is meaningless and full of pain.

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Who Is That Strange Dude?

September 11, 2021 at 9:49 am
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There’s a lot of strange stuff on YouTube.   I never know what I’m going to stumble on.

Sometimes I stumble on myself.   As in this interview from 1991 (or so it says), where I pontificate about science fiction and fandom.

(In those days, five years before A GAME OF THRONES was published, science fiction was what they asked about when they interviewed me.   When they bothered to interview me at all).

I have absolutely no memory of this interview.   Where I was, who was intervieweing me, why…  none of that.

I remember those glasses, though.

I don’t remember that hair.   My hair was dark brown when I was young.    When I got older, it went to gray and then white.   Judging from this clip, I guess 1991 was when it changed, but I don’t ever recall it being half-and-half like that, or having a dark beard with white hair.   But I guess I did.

Blasts from the past.

Death Draws Again

September 7, 2021 at 8:57 am
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DEATH DRAWS FIVE is one of the rarest of the Wild Cards series.

The series started with a twelve-volume run at Bantam Spectra, then moved to Baen Books in the early 90s for three books.   (Not the brightest decision I ever made as editor, but that’s a long story for another day).  The Baen books — the Card Sharks triad — were among our strongest, I thought, but for various and sundry reasons they did not sell nearly as well as the Bantam twelve, and afterward Wild Cards was without a publisher.   Seven long years ensued, and for a time it appeared as if Wild Cards might be dead — to the dismay of all of us involved in the series.   Then, as now, we loved the world we had created, and the amazing cast of aces, jokers, and deuces we had created to populate it.

Then Byron Preiss came to the rescue with iBooks (which had nothing whatsoever to do with iPhones, iPads, or iAnythingElse, let me add).  A fan of the series, he stepped up with an offer to reprint some of the old Bantam titles, long out of print, and do two new originals as well.   The first of those was DEUCES DOWN, an anthology of stories about those the Takisian virus had given small, useless, sometimes silly superpowers.   Volume sixteen in the overall series.   The second original, volume seventeen, was a solo novel by long-time Wild Cards stalwart John Jos Miller: DEATH DRAWS FIVE.

Though iBooks was a small publisher with limited distribution, the revived series was doing okay…. until Byron Preiss was killed in a tragic automobile accident on the Long Island Expressway.   His company did not long survive him, alas.  The last book they published was… you guessed it… DEATH DRAWS FIVE.   iBooks closed up shop a week later and soon filed for bankruptcy.   We were told that fewer than six hundred copies of John’s novel ever made it into the bookstores.

That was a shame.  DEATH DRAWS FIVE is a damned good read, and it deserved better.

Later, another small publisher called Brick Tower acquired the assets of iBooks in a bankruptcy sale, and issued their own editions of DEUCES DOWN and DEATH DRAWS FIVE on a print-on-demand basis, but those did not get any distribution to speak of either, and the two volumes remained hard to find even for the most ardent Wild Cards fan.

But now… at long long last… DEATH DRAWS FIVE is getting a new lease on life, as a hardcover from Tor.

 

DEATH DRAWS FIVE features John’s popular ass-kicker Billy Ray, aka, Carnifex, and the long-awaited return of Fortunato, one of the most popular characters from the early days of the series.  This is also the volume that introduces John Nighthawk, the oldest man in the Wild Cards universe, and the Midnight Angel.   It’s a wild ride, and one you won’t want to miss.

On sale NOVEMBER 9 in hardcover from your favorite online bookseller or local bookshop.   And yes, signed copies will be available via mailorder from Beastly Books in Santa Fe.

 

Current Mood: pleased pleased