Not a Blog

Jetboy Flies Again

April 30, 2009 at 6:58 pm
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Look up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a blimp!! No, it’s FIVE blimps strung together!!! And here comes Jetboy…

That was how the Wild Cards series began, way way back in 1987 before some of you were born. Here we are in 2009, and the series is still going strong. The new books, INSIDE STRAIGHT and BUSTED FLUSH (and don’t forget SUICIDE KINGS, coming this December from Tor) have drawn a lot of new readers to our world of aces and jokers, and many of them have been emailing me to ask where they can find the old books. But with the original series long out of print, the best I could do was suggest that they search on ebay and ABE in hopes of turning up some used copies at a not-too-outrageous price.

Well, all that is about to change. I’m pleased to announce that the response to the new Wild Cards books has been strong enough that our friends at Tor Books are going to start doing new editions of the original series — starting right at the beginning with the first three volumes: WILD CARDS, ACES HIGH, and JOKERS WILD. Our first triad.

Nothing is set in stone yet, but we’re talking about bringing the books out as hardcovers (the old editions from Bantam and Titan were paperback originals, though the Science Fiction Book CLub did reprint volumes one through six as hardcovers)and possibly as omnibus editions. Details on that remain to be explored, but I’ll be sure and keep you posted.

But that’s not even the best part yet.

Longtime fans of the series may recall that the first book, WILD CARDS, was our historical volume, with stories that took us all the way from Dr. Tachyon’s arrival on Earth in 1946 right up to the Wild Card “present,” which back then was 1986. We had forty years to cover, and I like to think we covered it pretty well… but of course, there were gaps. Years and even decades of Wild Card history that we simply did not have the space to dramatize.

Tor’s new edition will help rectify that. We’re not just reprinting the original WILD CARDS, as it was first published; we’re adding three brand-new, original, never-before-published stories set during some of the “lost years” we couldn’t cover last time around. So this edition of WILD CARDS will be the director’s cut, if you will, fortified and expanded with original content, extra fiber, and three news tales:
– Michael Cassutt will take us back to 1956 with, “Captain Cathode v the Secret Ace,”
– David D. Levine will visit 1960, to tell us about “Powers,” and,
– Carrie Vaughn will show us 1981, as “Ghost Girl Takes Manhattan.”

We think these will be three terrific new additions to the Wild Cards saga, and we’re excited about the chance to present them to you. Look for the new expanded WILD CARDS some time in 2010. More details when I have ’em.

We can’t die yet. We haven’t seen THE JOLSON STORY.

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NFL Draft, Day 1

April 25, 2009 at 9:50 pm
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Ah, NFL draft weekend… nothing like it… it still amazes me that ESPN has somehow made an annual television event out of what used to be a bunch of guys sitting around a hotel ballroom writing names on index cards every fifteen minutes or so… but now it’s must-watch TV for all NFL fans, a media extravaganza telecast live on two networks, and covered by all the rest. And god help me, I watch religiously every year, with all the draft magazines and a big bowl of chile con queso (thanks, Phipps!) by my elbow.

So how did my two teams do?

The Giants did their usual solid job. No surprises there. Jerry Reese is not a GM given to bold moves; he sits where he is and makes his picks, just like George Young used to do. And it works well. The big need for the G-Men this year was wide receiver, since Plax went and stuffed a pistol into his sweatpants and shot a hole in his thigh and the Giants’ season. There were five or six top-ranked WRs this year, and my big fear was that all of them would be gone by the time the Giants picked at 29… but the football gods were kind. The Raiders went and reached and picked the fast guy, who can’t catch so good. Michael Crabtree went, and then Macklin, and then the Viking made my day by taking Percy Harvin… who looks to be an amazing player and a real headcase. He may turn out to be sensational, but he may also turn out to be Pacman Jones, and I’m thrilled that he didn’t end up on either of my teams. So when the pick came to the Giants, they had their choice between three very promising wideouts: Kenny Britt from Rutgers, Hakeem Nicks from North Carolina, and the Robiskie kid from Ohio State. All of them will be good players, I think. I was leaning toward the Rutgers kid, Britt, since he’s a Bayonne boy, from my home town, but they went with Nicks instead. That’s okay too. He’s not quite as tall and tough as Britt, but he has better hands, they say… in fact, he has giant mutant hands that help him make incredible catches. Works for me. I am sure Eli will like that too. And if Mario Manningham and Sinorice Moss step up as well, maybe the G-Men won’t miss Plax so much next season. And hey, the last time the Giants drafted a player from North Carolina, it worked out pretty well.

The Giant picks in the second round look pretty solid too. A linebacker and an OT. Our offensive line is solid now, but depth never hurts, and if the tackle they picked works out well, maybe they can move David Diehl to the other side. He’s not a natural left tackle.

And for the Jets…

Well, you can always count on the Jets to provide some excitement. No standing pat and picking for them, no sir, instead they make a blockbuster trade, give up three players and a second round pick to swap places with the Browns, vault up the board, and grab USC quarterback Mark Sanchez. He’s going to save the franchise. (Just like that Favre guy did last year).

He seems like a great kid. Very personable, certainly, should be a hit with the media (until he throws a pass, at least). But he’s still an unknown quality. Will he be better than Kellen Clemens? Who knows? Will he be better than Brett Ratliffe, who was one of the three players the Jets gave up to get him? No one knows that either… though the fact that it was Eric Mangini, who coached Ratliffe last year, who asked for him in this trade makes me a little worried. Ratliffe looked great in preseason last year, much better than Clemens did, and I was actually thinking he might be the Jets starting QB. Did Mangini see something? Was Ratliffe just a throw-in in the trade, or is he the next Matt Cassell?

Bottom line, the Jets rolled the dice. If Sanchez is indeed a franchise QB, then this was a great move. If he turns out to be the new Matt Leinert… or worse, the new Akili Smith / Andre Ware / David Klinger / Ryan Leaf… then not so much.

Time will tell.

Meanwhile, there’s another day of reading out names to look forward to tomorrow. Whoopee!

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My Tower o’ Babel

April 24, 2009 at 12:10 am
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The renovations on my office house that have been going on since last June are finally almost complete, and I’ve started moving my stuff in at last.

Two stories plus a basement (a big deal in Santa Fe, no one has basements here). The basement is just a basement, with a laundry, a furnace, and a wine cellar. The second story is for my library… books by other people.

The first floor, though, that combines my brag library — the many and various editions of my own books — with lighted glassed-in barrister shelves for my toy soldiers and miniatures.

The displays are mostly in chaos as yet, but I’m looking forward to filling them up with an endless series of eye-popping dioramas.

And the bookshelves… well, I’ll just have to write some books to fill those.

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Fresh Blood for Wild Cards

April 22, 2009 at 11:08 am
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The Wild Cards series began in New Mexico in the mid-80s with a group of writers and friends who all gamed together, players in an epic years-long campaign of the role-playing game SUPERWORLD. That gaming group included me, Melinda Snodgrass, Walter Jon Williams, John Miller and Gail Gerstner Miller, Parris, Chip Wideman, and Victor Milan… but when we decided to pitch Wild Cards as a shared world anthology, I reached out to some other writers who shared our love of comic books and superheroes, and Roger Zelazny, Steve Leigh, Lew Shiner, Bud Simons, Pat Cadigan, Edward Bryant, Leanne C. Harper, Arthur Byron Cover, and Howard Waldrop came aboard. So did Steve Perrin, the creator of the SUPERWORLD game that had inspired us. That core group of writers and creators produced the first seven books in the Wild Cards series.

It’s always been my feeling, however, that any long-running series risks growing stagnant after awhile unless it’s freshened up from time to time… and the best way to do that is by regularly adding new characters, new concepts, new conflicts… new writers. Wild Cards has had a long tradition of dragging new inmates into the asylum (some of them kicking and screaming). Over the years, the original founding members of the Wild Cards consortium were joined by others: William F. Wu, Michael Cassutt, Chris Claremont, Kevin Andrew Murphy, Bob Wayne, Laura J. Mixon, Sage Walker, Daniel Abraham… and most recently the Class of 2007, made up of Caroline Spector, Christopher Rowe, Carrie Vaughn, Ian Tregillis, and S.L. Farrell.

Renewal is a never-ending process, however. With SUICIDE KINGS in the pipeline and the Committee triad wrapped up, the time was ideal to go out and recruit some more poor damned fools for the Wild Cards projects to come (which I can’t talk about, not just yet, but watch this space, we’ll have news for you soon).

So let me introduce all you Wild Cards fans (and those who aren’t yet, but soon will be) to the Wild Cards Class of 2009.


David is the Hugo-winnning author of “Tk’tk’tk'” and many other fine short stories, a graduate of Clarion West and the Writers of the Future contest, a Nebula and Campbell Award loser, hailing from Portland, Oregon.


“Southern gothic historical horror fantasy” is as close as I can come to describing Cherie’s work. She was born in Tampa and schooled in Chattanooga, but lives in Seattle at present. She’s also an associate editor for Subterranean Press.


Born in Sri Lanka, Mary Anne presently lives in Chicago (my old stomping grounds), where she’s a Ph.D. candidate. She’s written novels and short stories, edited anthologies and a Hugo-nominated ezine. Her work includes science fiction, fantasy, poetry, erotica, even a cookbook.


A two-time Campbell Award nominee for Best New Writer, David has written both fantasy (ACACIA) and historical novels (THE PRIDE OF CARTHAGE). He lives in Fresno, but he’s getting out as soon as he can.


Novelist, short story writer, screenwriter, and comic book scripter, Paul comes to us from England, where he’s written episodes of DR. WHO and TORCHWOOD. He’s currently scripting Captain Britain and MI-13 for Marvel Comics.

I could tell you about their cool new characters as well… but I’d rather make you wait and meet them in the books. But we’re all excited to have them aboard, and we expect they’ll make some great contributions to the future of Wild Cards.

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Winter Is Coming… to HBO

April 21, 2009 at 11:38 pm
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At last it can be told.

The news has finally been made public, so I’m finally free to whoop and holler and share the great news — the HBO pilot of A GAME OF THRONES will start filming in October, in Northern Ireland. The announcement was made in Belfast. Here you go:

Yes, I’m thrilled. Ireland should be a great place to film. And the facility we’ll be using, the Paint Hall, is amazing as well:

Before it was a film studio, the Paint Hall was part of Belfast’s famous Harland & Wolff Shipyards, where the TITANIC and many other ships were constructed. The facility is pretty titanic as well. Of course, all of us connected with A GAME OF THRONES are hoping we’ll fare somewhat better on our own maiden voyage.

Yes, Parris and I will be going over to Ireland this fall to see at least part of the filming. Not for the whole shoot, alas, I don’t have time for that… but we have to be there for at least part of it. Maybe we’ll see some of you in a Belfast pub.

There’s lots of other exciting news on the pilot as well, but nothing I can share. Sorry, lips are sealed. You’ll have to wait for Mr. Benioff and Mr. Weiss… and HBO.

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Signed Calendars Mailed

April 21, 2009 at 4:57 pm
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Just got an email from Les Dabel, who assures me that, “ALL the signed Calendars are now out except 60 of them which we will drop off the post office tomorrow morning. Thanks.”

So those of you who ordered an autographed calendar should be getting those soon. These are the calendars with the Jon Snow cover. I know there was confusion about the covers and which was which and which was limited and which was not. I wasn’t involved in any of that, so I won’t elaborate. I know I signed 250 copies of the Jon Snow cover and none of the Ned Stark cover, so the signed calendars are the Snows.

I would like to put this whole mess behind me, so I am closing comments on this post. I have no more information on the calendars beyond what I have just posted, and I have no information whatsover on the prints, which I was never involved with. You might write to Michael Komarck about those, I understand he is considering selling them directly from his own website. If there is enough demand, I am sure he will.

I hope that everyone who is still waiting gets their calendars soon.

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April 21, 2009 at 11:57 am
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Thought I’d share a few pictures from last month’s mass signing for BUSTED FLUSH at Page One Bookstore in Albuquerque. We had a good crowd, lots of enthusiasm, and the whole gang had a great time. And afterwards there was barbeque at Powdrell’s, nothing wrong there.

We signed a lot of extra stock before we left, so if there’s anyone out there who’d like to get an autographed copy of BUSTED FLUSH in hardcover, contact Darrek at Page One Bookstore in Albuquerque.

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Calendar Cancelled

April 19, 2009 at 1:55 pm
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I regret to announce that Michael Kaluta will not be illustrating the 2010 Ice & Fire calendar for DB Productions. I’ve seen some of the work Mike had done on the calendar to date, and it was gorgeous… but he’s pulled out, and his reasons for doing so are good and sufficient. I am in complete support of his decision to wash his hands of this, and regret all the problems that his involvement in this project has caused him.

I have reached the end of my patience as well. I have instructed my agent to ask the Dabel Brothers for an immediate termination of our contract.

Unless another publisher suddenly hoves into sight, the problem-plagued 2009 Ice & Fire calendar may be the only one there ever is.

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Maurice Druon, RIP

April 17, 2009 at 12:38 am
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French novelist, historian, and World War II resistance fighter Maurice Druon has died at 90. He lived a pretty extraordinary life. You can read his obit here:

I never had the honor of meeting M. Druon, and I have not even read all of his work (yet). But I am a huge fan of his best known novels, the wonderful “Accursed Kings” series of historical novels. I have often said that my own SONG OF ICE AND FIRE was inspired as much by historical fiction as by fantasy, and Druon’s series was one of my major inspirations (along with the work of other favorites like Thomas B. Costain, Mika Waltari, Bernard Cornwell, and many more). The ACCURSED KINGS is great stuff. Philip the Fair, the Curse of the Templars, the end of the Capetians and the roots of the Hundred Years War… I don’t read French, but even in translation these are great reads. (Although I don’t believe the last volume has ever been published in English, which some publisher should rectify).

Every writer hopes that he will still be read after his death. Here’s your chance to make M. Druon’s dream come true, and do yourself a favor at the same time. Go off to ebay or ABE books and find yourself a copy of THE IRON KING, the first volume of the series. You won’t regret it.

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Back in Business, Kinda Sorta

April 16, 2009 at 6:16 pm
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Well, Ty returned to work today and was able to effect a partial salvage of my computer disaster.

First he hunted down and killed the malware. Took half the day. And it turns out that this particular virus had nothing to do with the loss of my saved emails. (Just as some of you commenters had suggested). The timing of it all was just a coincidence. Still, it’s nice to have a clean machine again.

Then he was able to restore my lost emails. Well, some of them, anyway. Turns out that AOL can only restore to the last time it did an auto backup, and it only does those every four weeks. In my case the last backup was March 24. So I lost all the emails that I received from that date to this one… but I did get thousands back. (Of course, I also got back all the emails that I had responded to and deleted from March 24 until now, so now I have to find them and delete them again). Restoration took the other half of the day.

I still hate computers.

To all of you worried about my backing up my fiction. I write on a DOS machine that is physically separate from my Windows machine and has no connection to the internet. It cannot get a virus. Assuming someone was writing viruses for WordStar 4.0, which I think unlikely. It also has a built in mirrored drive, so everything I write is automatically copied to two hard drives. I back up frequently to floppy disks, less frequently to CD/ROM, every blue moon to a Zip drive. So I think I am pretty well backed up. The one vulnerability I have is that all these backups share the same physical location, so if my house burned down, I’d be screwed. I have looked into offsite backup systems, yes, but unfortunately none of them will work with DOS/ WordStar. (And no, don’t ask, I’m not going to send any of you a disk for “safekeeping,” I’m on to that trick).

I am going to look into new email systems. I need to do it, I know, but changing over is such a bloody pain, and I do not adapt quickly to such changes. This old dog likes his old tricks.

Anyway, bottom line — if any of you has sent me an important email in the last three weeks, it’s likely gone. If I haven’t responded yet, I won’t. So resend if it was important. But PLEASE, do NOT resend if the content wasn’t crucial. This has left me with enough to clean up already.

Thanks for your understanding. And thanks for all the comments and suggestions in reply to my last message. A lot of good info there, and it was much appreciated.

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