Not a Blog

Lords of Fantasy

July 30, 2021 at 8:55 am
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The upcoming World Fantasy Convention has just announced the winners of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Awards:

MEGAN LINDHOLM and HOWARD WALDROP.

I could not possibly think of two more worthy winners.

Megan Lindholm, writing under the name Robin Hobb, is one of the premiere fantastists of the last thirty years.   Her Farseer novels, featuring Fitz and the Fool, are classics of the high fantasy.   If you have not read them, you don’t know what you are missing.   And that’s not the only arrow in her quiver; she has also done some great work under the Megan Lindholm byline, stories that fall more in the realm of urban fantasy and magic realism, just as engrossing and memorable as her epics.    She was long overdue for some major recognition.

And Howard Waldrop… what can I say about Howard Waldrop?  (That I have not already said in my introduction to his collection HOWARD WHO?)  What can anyone say about Howard Waldrop?   H’ard (as Gardner Dozois liked to call him) is one of a kind.   There has never been another writer like him, in fantasy, in science fiction, in literature.   Over the course of a career just as long as my own, he has only produced two novels… and one of those a collaboration… but he has turned out reams of short stories.

And WHAT short stories!   “The Ugly Chickens” won the Nebula and the World Fantasy Award (a long time ago, when it was still the Howie) and lost the Hugo.   A great story, but Howard has produced many other tales just as good.  “Heirs of the Perisphere.”  “Night of the Cooters.”  “Custer’s Last Jump.”  “Black as the Pit, From Pole to Pole.”  “A Dozen Tough Jobs.”   “Fin de Cycle.”  “God’s Hooks.”  “Save a Place in the Lifeboat for Me.”   “Do Ya, Do Ya Wanna Dance?”   “Flying Saucer Rock ‘n Roll.”  “Mary-Margaret Road-Grader.”  “Heart of Whitenesse.”  “Ike at the Mike.”  “Man-Mountain Gentian.”  “Thirty Minutes Over Broadway.”   Oh, and more, and more… I could go on and on.

Waldrop never writes the same story twice.   He writes stories that no one else could possibly write.   Funny, and sad, and whimsical, and erudite, and… words fail me, but they never fail H’ard.   In a just world, he would have a dozen Nebulas and as many Hugos by now.  SFWA would have named him a Grand Master ten years ago, and some worldcon would have made him its Guest of Honor.   But such accolades seldom come to short story writers, no matter how singular and amazing they may be.   This year’s World Fantasy Award panel of judges deserve kudos for recognizing this genius in our midst.

This year’s World Fantasy Convention will be in Montreal in early November.   I hope that both Howard and Megan will be able to make it, to accept their Trees in person.  I doubt that I will be able to make it myself… though I am tempted, I am so tempted… but that sound you hear will be me, applauding madly from afar.

(Oh, and watch this space.  I hope to have some more exciting Howard Waldrop news soon).

Current Mood: happy happy

New Wild Cards original on Tor.com

July 26, 2021 at 1:27 pm
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There’s a brand new Wild Cards original from a brand new Wild Cards author up on Tor.com.

“Skin Deep” is from Alan Brennert.   Who is not a new author at all, of course (( though he was back in the mid-70s, when he was a Campbell Award loser just a few years after me )) but he IS brand new to the world of aces and jokers.   I first had the honor of publishing Alan when I was doing NEW VOICES, the Campbell Award anthology that was my first foray into editing.  A decade or so later, he and I worked together when I got my first gig writing for television, and he helped teach me how to write a teleplay.   In more recent years he has been writing novels — his bestselling Hawaii series, and a really wonderful book about Palisades Park in New Jersey.

So go and check out “Skin Deep” on Tor.com.   It’s FREE.

Skin Deep

And after you’ve enjoyed “Skin Deep,” go check out the rest of the Wild Cards stories on Tor.com, and pick up a couple of Wild Cards books from your favorite bookseller.. along with a few of Alan’s novels.   They’re terrific.

Current Mood: pleased pleased

Back to the Midwest

July 16, 2021 at 4:09 pm
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I am so far behind in my Not A Blogging.   This post should have been posted back in June,  but…  better late than never, right?

ANYWAY… I was on the road for ten days back in June, to Evanston (where I went to school, 1966-1971), Chicago (where I lived after school, 1971-1976), and Dubuque (where I taught school, 1976-1979).   It was the first time I’d left home and/or cabin in a year and a half, since the start of the pandemic and the quarantine.   I have to say, it was great to get away from my office chair, even if it was only for a few days.

First stop was Northwestern, and the convocation for the graduates of the Medill School of Journalism, where I was given an honorary doctorate.   Professor Emeritus Roger Boye gave me a very kind introduction, and presented me with my new hood as Doctor of Humane Letters.   And then it was my turn.

The Northwestern campus has changed a great deal since my days as a student, half a century ago.  So has the city of Evanston.   Old landmarks gone, new buildings everywhere… but still, enough remained to give me some vivid flashes of memory of years gone by and friends and lovers and teachers who changed my life and… for good or ill… helped make me the person I am today.

Thomas Wolfe said that you can’t go home again.   Maybe so, but you can visit.    Thank you, Northwestern.   It was nice to be back, however briefly.

After Evanston, I spent a few days in Chicago, accompanied by my loyal minion, Sid.   That was great as well.   Of course, we had to visit Greektown for some saganaki at the Greek Islands, where I first learned to love flaming cheese while still a student at Northwestern.  OPAA!  OPAA!   I also got to enjoy dinners with Mary Anne Mohanraj, one of my wonderful Wild Card writers, and Eve Ewing, who presented me with the Carl Sandburg Award on my last visit to Chicago, both of them amazing writers.   That was fun too.

While I was in Chicago, I did an interview with the local PBS station.

Next we took to the road, across Illinois and through the scenic and historic town of Galena (Abner Marsh’s home town) to Dubuque, where I once taught journalism at Clarke College and acted as advisor to the student newspaper, the COURIER.   The reason for my visit was… ah, well, no, can’t tell you that, not yet… but I got to see a few old friends, eat chili at Mulgrew’s in East Dubuque and pizza in Dubuque proper, and… take a ride on the riverboat TWILIGHT.   Okay, it’s not a real steamboat, not even a paddlewheeler, but it’s a cool boat all the same, and I loved sailing down the Mississippi for a few hours.   I even got to visit the pilot house and blow the whistle.

We got back home on June 23rd.   It’s always nice to be back in Santa Fe and the Land of Enchantment, but I have to admit, it was great to get away for a few days.

Of course, during my ten days on the road and away from the internet, the email piled up, and I found some eight hundred letters waiting for me on my return.   Which may help explain why I am weeks late in making this post, but…

That’s all for now.   The woods were lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and books to write before I sleep.

 

Current Mood: contemplative contemplative

Rockin’ With the Aces

July 12, 2021 at 9:16 am
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(And the jokers too)

Hey, Wild Carders.   Jason Powell has another of his excellent essays up on Tor.com, this one about the history of rock n roll in the world of the Wild Cards.   Check it out at:

https://www.tor.com/2021/06/28/music-making-mutants-rock-n-roll-in-george-r-r-martins-wild-cards-series/

Current Mood: geeky geeky

A DARK WIND Is Rising

July 9, 2021 at 9:22 pm
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I moved from Iowa to New Mexico in late 1979.   A few months later, Roger Zelazny took me down to Albuquerque to First Friday, the monthly writer’s luncheon at the Albuquerque Press Club, where I met the bestselling mystery writer Tony Hillerman, one of the founders of the group.  Tony was a delight, a great lunch companion and a born storyteller… and, as I soon learned, a marvelous writer.   Once I tried one of his Joe Leaphorn novels, I was hooked.   I read as many as I could get my hands on, and then found myself eagerly awaiting the next, like millions of other readers around the globe.

Now, I am thrilled to report, Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee are returning to television.

We just got word from AMC that they are greenlighting DARK WINDS, based on Tony’s novels about the two Navajo tribal policemen.   The first season will be six episodes long, adapted (largely) from LISTENING WOMAN, one of my favorite books in the series.   If we get the viewers. more seasons will follow, and more books will be adapted.

There’s lots more, but why should I rehash it all when the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER has all the details:

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/tv/tv-news/robert-redford-george-r-r-martin-team-for-dark-winds-zahn-mcclarnon-1234979828/

DARK WINDS will be filmed in and around Santa Fe and Gallup, and on the Navajo reservation, and based out of the Native-owned Camel Rock Studios (the former Camel Rock Casino), right here in the Land of Enchantment.   Filming will begin in August, and continue — we hope — for many years.

Bob Redford and Chris Eyre have put together a great team (with a little help from yours truly), and we hope to make a great show, one that truly captures the magic of this very special place.   Look for DARK WINDS on AMC in 2022.

((Comments allowed, but ONLY about Joe Leaphorn, Jim Chee, DARK WINDS, and the works of Tony Hillerman.   Off topic comments will be deleted by my marvelous minions)).

Current Mood: excited excited

I See a JOKER MOON Rising

July 7, 2021 at 1:13 pm
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Is it a bad moon?

Or a new moon, full of hope?

You will need to read our new Wild Cards book, JOKER MOON, to find out.

Our latest volume, number thirty in the overall series, contains stories by Christopher Rowe, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Walton Simons, Melinda M. Snodgrass, Michael Cassutt, Leo Kenden, Steve Perrin, Caroline Spector, David D. Levine… and the last story from the late great Victor Milan, completed by his friend John Jos. Miller.

Theodorus was a dreamer.   As a child, he dreamt of airplanes, rockets, and outer space. When the  wild card virus transformed him into a monstrous snail centaur weighing several tons, his boyhood  dreams seemed out of reach, but a Witherspoon is not so easily defeated.

Years and decades passed, and Theodorus grew to maturity and came into his fortune. . . but still his dream endured.  But now when he looked upward into the night sky, he saw more than just the Moon . . . he saw a joker homeland, a refuge where the outcast children of the wild card could make a place of their own, safe from hate and harm.

An impossible dream, some said. Others, alarmed by the prospect, brought all their power  to bear to oppose him. Theodorus persisted . . .  never dreaming that the Moon  was already inhabited.

And the Moon Maid did not want company.

Copies of JOKER MOON are now available at your favorite local bookstore or online bookseller.

And if you would like an autographed copy, we have those too… at BEASTLY BOOKS.   Go check out the listings at https://www.beastlybooks.com/

 

Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

Meet me at the Hellfire Gala!

June 11, 2021 at 6:45 pm
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Look who gets to join in with the a massive VIP crowd rubbing elbows with the X-Men.  Featured this month in Marvels X-Men #21 myself and my beautiful wife Parris get to be drawn into the the amazing Hellfire Gala event.  What fun,  pick up your issue today.  And a big thanks for including me, what an honor being drawn into a Marvel comic book.  I can’t wait to see what we look like and read the issue!

 

Current Mood: excited excited

Paying It Forward

June 1, 2021 at 10:07 am
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Heinlein said it best.   You can never pay back the people who helped you when you were first starting out, so all you can do is pay it forward, and try to help those who come after.

Those words, and the sentiment behind them, have always resonated with me, and I have done my best to Pay It Forward.  One of the ways I’ve tried to do that is with the scholarships I sponsor — to Clarion and Clarion West, Odyssey, and the Taos Toolbox, to IAIA here in Santa Fe, and through the Stagecoach Foundation.

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from one of those scholarship recipients, who had some exciting news to share:

“My name is Isabel Cañas and I was the first recipient of your Worldbuilder scholarship to attend Clarion West in 2018. I said hello and introduced myself to you briefly after the Hugo Awards ceremony at WorldCon in Dublin in 2019. I’m writing with the wonderful news that my debut Gothic horror novel, The Hacienda, recently sold in a major deal at auction and will be published by Berkley in Spring 2022.

I am also writing to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Attending Clarion West is a life-and career-changing experience for many writers; I can attest the same. It gave me the courage to write in new genres and explore my identity as a Mexican-American writer in a space that was both safe and that pushed me hard to improve my craft. I grew immensely as a writer during those six weeks and the months and years after. Without Clarion West, I do not believe I would have been able to write the novel that will be my debut.

In 2018, I would not have been able to attend Clarion West without financial aid. Because of the doors that the workshop experience has opened for me, I now find myself in a position where I can extend that generosity to the next generation of students: I will be funding one Latinx student to attend Clarion West in 2022. Currently, it is a one-time scholarship, but in the future, I hope to be able to follow your example and fund an annual scholarship.”

I was pleased as hell by Isabel’s big sale, and look forward to reading her novel.

And I am even more delighted to hear that she herself will also be Paying It Forward, by sponsoring an even newer writer at Clarion West in 2022.   I think Heinlein would have been pleased as well.

((Isabel adds, “If it’s not too much trouble to add a link to your post, I am happy to report that The Hacienda is now on Goodreads, if your readers would like to add it: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57840571-the-hacienda  “))

 

 

Current Mood: pleased pleased

The Candle Is Burning

May 21, 2021 at 5:19 pm
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The Candle is back, in “Ripple Effects,” Laura J. Mixon’s great new novella on Tor.com… for all the Wild Cards fans out there, and for everyone who does not know they are Wild Cards fans yet.

Check it out.   It’s free.

Ripple Effects

Current Mood: excited excited

Words For Our Times

May 5, 2021 at 6:49 pm
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Current Mood: contemplative contemplative