Not a Blog

I Hate Computers

April 15, 2009 at 4:21 pm
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Well, I hate Windows and the internet, anyway.

I’ve wasted all day dealing with a computer catastrophe. I have no idea what’s happened, but all of a sudden I’ve lost all of my saved incoming unanswered emails. Several thousand of them, including important business correspondence from agents, editors, interviewers, convention runners.

I have four different virus protection programs, two of them supposedly running constantly, and Ty just ran a complete scan two days ago. Despite which, somehow, I think I have some bloody virus. This morning when I logged onto AOL to check my email, all my saved emails were there. I read the new mail — and my AOL is set to save every email I read unless I explicitly delete it — and then, suddenly, my Saved Mail I’ve Read folder was empty, except for the sub-folders I’d set up (Business, Conventions, Personal Correspondence, Toy Soldiers, and such) to sort the mail so I can deal with it. Those were still there, along with all their contents. But about six hundred emails that I hadn’t sorted yet were gone.

I spent hours running scans and virus checks, but two different systems found nothing but cookies. However, from time to time one of them warns me of a virus that it can’t delete. Warns me in a pop-up. But when I try to follow its directions to get rid of the thing, well, they’re not followable. (Normally I wouldn’t be doing any of this stuff, but Wednesday is Ty’s day off). And I’m getting strange glitches in the virus protection programs themselves.

Anyway, after four hours and two scans, I’ve deleted hundreds of cookies, but the pop-up is still warning me about something called “Mal Hifrm” which it doesn’t know how to deal with.

Anyone know anything about this sucker?

Oh, and now my AOL “Mail I’ve Read” folder is empty. Not only the unsorted emails, but all of the sub-folders and sorted mails as well. So instead of six hundred emails, I have lost thousands.

That could almost be considered liberating, but damn it, some of those mails were important.

My “Sent Mail” files, with copies of outgoing emails, remain intact for the moment, but those may be next. Who the hell knows? I’ve been busily printing out hardcopy for my files.

Before anyone has a heart attack… I write with WordStar on a DOS computer that is completely separate from the Windows machine I use for email. It doesn’t even have Windows, or any internet connection. So A DANCE WITH DRAGONS and my other work is safe.

This shit never happened when I used a typewriter.

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Calling All Jack Vance Fans

April 14, 2009 at 5:05 pm
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All you Vance fanatics out there… if you’d like a taste of the treats that we have in store for you in the forthcoming Jack Vance tribute anthology, SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH, be sure to check out the new issue of Subterranean Press’s online magazine, SUBTERRANEAN.

This issue was guest edited by Gardner Dozois, the most honored editor in our genre and my partner on the Vance book and WARRIORS. Among other treats, it contains a brand-new Dying Earth story from Lucius Shepard. “Sylgarmo’s Proclamation” is only one the twenty-one original tales of the Dying Earth featured in the anthology. Just a taste to whet your appetite for more. We think you’ll like it.

The issue also features stories by Carrie Vaughn (of Kitty and Wild Cards fame), a novella by Paul McAuley, novelettes by Joe R. Lansdale, Liz Williams, and Ken McLeod, and other good stuff.

To check out a copy, go to

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Hard Call, At Long Last

April 13, 2009 at 11:40 pm
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After a long, unfortunate delay, the fifth issue of the new Wild Card miniseries, “The Hard Call,” is finally out from DB Productions, and should be available soon at your favorite local comics shop. Daniel Abraham wrote the script, and Eric Battle did the art.

Check it out.

One more issue after that one. I have hopes that this time the delay between issues will not be as long… but don’t write that down in blood, please.

Lots of other exciting Wild Cards news as well, but I can’t talk about that as yet. So be patient, all ye aces and jokers.

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Dying Earth Giveaway

April 8, 2009 at 6:15 pm
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Want to be the first kid on your block to read all the swell stories in our Jack Vance tribute anthology, SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH??

Well, here’s your chance. Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist is doing it again, offering up an Advanced Reading Copy of the gorgeous Subterranean Press edition, illustrated by Tom Kidd.

To check out the details of the contest, go to:

Good luck. And remember, cheaters will be blasted with the Excellent Prismatic Spray.

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Writing 101

April 5, 2009 at 2:26 pm
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Spoilers Below

Don’t read this if you haven’t yet watched the season finales of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and/ or LIFE ON MARS. I’ve finally seen both (we are TIVO junkies, so we don’t always watch shows the night they air), and… well…

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA ends with “God Did It.” Looks like somebody skipped Writing 101, when you learn that a deus ex machina is a crappy way to end a story.

And now LIFE ON MARS ends with “It Was All a Dream.” Curiously, I actually found that a bit more satisfying than the end of BSG. But still… really??? C’mon. Writing 101.

Oh, and while I’m at it, let me spoil the new Nicholas Cage movie, KNOWING. I actually enjoyed that one, mostly, although everyone else I know who has seen it hated it. But the ending… this time it was space angels who did it. And when the little kids starting running through the alien grass toward the glowing alien tree, I almost thought the boy was going to say, “My dad used to call me Caleb, but my real name is Adam,” and then the little girl would say… oh, wait, you’ve seen it?

Yeah, yeah, sometimes the journey is its own reward. I certainly enjoyed much of the journey with BSG, parts of LIFE ON MARS, and even some stuff in KNOWING. But damn it, doesn’t anybody know how to write an ending any more?

Writing 101, kids. Adam and Eve, God Did It, It Was All a Dream? I’ve seen Clarion students left stunned and bleeding for turning in stories with those endings.


(I sure hope those guys doing LOST have something better up planned for us. Though if it turns out to be They Were All Dead All Along I’m really going to be pissed).

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Cool New Toy

April 4, 2009 at 1:42 pm
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Mostly I collect knights and medieval miniatures, sure, but I’m a science fiction fan and writer too, and every so often I see a space toy I can’t resist.

If any of you are fans of the old 1953 George Pal version of WAR OF THE WORLDS, Pegasus has just released a marvelous model of the Martian war machines, available in both kit and finished form. I picked up two of the finished models from Michigan Toy Soldier, and they’re really seriously stunning, boys and girls.

I know, Pal’s floating manta rays are not as accurate to H.G. Wells as Stephen Spielberg’s tripods. And damn, they just look so cool and menacing… and of course, they’re an icon of my childhood …

Besides, the Pal movie was better than the Spielberg version anyway.

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Well, Not Really

April 2, 2009 at 7:56 am
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Okay, you got me.

Some of you, anyway.

Howard is a swell writer and all, but he’s even slower than me. (By the way, all that stuff about the Wanderer and the Chronicles of Chim-Wazle is true).

Guess I’ll just have to finish Dancing by myself.

See you again next April, boys and girls. Bya, bya, bya.

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A Partner for the Dance

April 1, 2009 at 12:51 pm
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Hiya, kids, hiya, hiya, hiya.

I have some good news for all of you who have been waiting for A DANCE WITH DRAGONS.

It’s no secret that I’ve struggled with this one, that the writing has been going slowly, that I’ve missed several deadlines. Meanwhile, I’ve delivered several Wild Cards books (ably assisted by Melinda M. Snodgrass) and co-edited a couple of major original anthologies with Gardner Dozois. And then there was HUNTER’S RUN, the three-way novel that I did with Dozois and Daniel Abraham. None of those were solo projects, of course. I had help with every one, a partner.

I have finally come to the conclusion that I need a partner for the DANCE as well, a collaborator to help me finish the remaining books in A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE.

Once I reached that realization, there could be only one possible choice — my oldest friend in this field, winner of the Nebula and the World Fantasy Award, multiple Hugo loser, the brilliant, irascible, and ever-stylish Howard Waldrop.

H’ard and I have worked together before, of course. He was part of my Wild Cards series since the beginning, writing the very first story for the very first book, “Thirty Minutes Over Broadway” (JETBOY LIVES!), and he intends to write the last Wild Cards story too, once we decide to wrap up the series. But our collaborative efforts go back decades beyond that. Howard and I first began to correspond in 1963, when we were both in high school and John F. Kennedy was in the White House, but we did not actually meet until 1972, at a convention in Kansas City, Missouri. We took an immediate liking to each other, and sat down at once to write the SF adventure classic that would ultimately be known as “Men of Greywater Station.” I came up with the universe, the planet Greywater, the sentient fungus, and characters named Delvecchio and Granowicz. H’ard contributed the military expertise (he was just out of the army), and characters named Otis and Eldon. (Neither of us remembered to put girls in the story, unfortunately, which was kind of odd when you think on it, since we started writing it in a Playboy Club).

Now, some of you familiar with the Waldrop oevre may object, and argue that H’ard doesn’t write epic fantasy. Tush, tush. You know nothing! Truth be told, Howard was writing epic fantasy long before I was. When the two of us were still in high school, contributing text stories to the dittoed comic fanzines of the day, I was doing superhero stories in prose, but Howard was writing great stuff about musketeers, gladiators, and a whole SERIES of stories about a Sword & Sorcery hero known only as the Wanderer, whose exploits were recorded in the sacred tomes known as the Chronicles of Chim-Wazle (okay, okay, I stole that name for my Jack Vance story, don’t tell Howard). He’s no stranger to swords, not at all.

Howard is as excited as a one-legged man at an ass-kicking contest at the prospect of us working together again, and has promised to jump right into A DANCE WITH DRAGONS and wrap it all up in a month or two, knocking out the remaining chapters with the same speed with which he’s knocked out his own novels, THE MOON WORLD and I, JOHN MANDEVILLE. He has plans for some exciting new characters as well. Wait till you guys meet the mysterious knight with the three dodo birds on the shield and his three goofy serving men!! It’s even possible that the Wanderer himself will make a comeback, which I know would thrill all of you who were reading about him in BATWING and CORTANA back in 1965.

Meanwhile, I’ll be in the hot tube with some babes in bikinis, sipping some Irish Mist and watching my TIVO replay of the Giants victory over the Patriots in the last Super Bowl but one. Hey, maybe I should tell Howard to work in a knight called Ser Tyree…

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