Not a Blog

DEALER’S CHOICE Returns

September 1, 2020 at 9:38 am
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The last days of the Rox are at hand (again).   Bloat’s dream of a joker homeland on Ellis Island faces its ultimate test.

DEALER’S CHOICE was the eleventh volume in the original run of Wild Cards from Bantam Books, and the third and concluding volume in the Rox Triad.   This one is a fully interwoven mosaic novel, written by Stephen Leigh, Walter Jon Williams, John Jos. Miller, the late great Edward Bryant, and George R.R. Martin, action from start to finish. Out of print for more than twenty-five years, it returns today in a new trade paperback edition from our friends at Tor, with spectacular new cover art from Michael Komarck (who really should be contending for Hugos).

Bloat, the governor of the Rox, occupies center stage this time around, as he and his strange community of jokers and jumpers fight for survival.  Starring with him are fan favorites Modular Man, Carnifex, Wyungare, and the Great and Powerful Turtle.  Co-stars and supporting players include Sewer Jack, Legion, Herne the Huntsman, Cameo, Mr. Nobody, Elephant Girl, Mistral and Cyclone, the bodysnatcher, Detroit Steel, Snotman (the REFLECTOR, dammit!) and many many more.

Copies should be available at any good bookshop still open, or from your favorite on-line bookseller.

Current Mood: satisfied satisfied

Life After Death

August 26, 2020 at 9:01 am
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Even the greatest of minds may disagree about what to do with those who came before us, fallible fellows all.

The Bard of Avon put the truth in the mouth of Mark Antony.   That was the way the world worked in the late Roman Republic when JULIUS CAESAR was set, that was the way the world worked in Elizabethan England when the play was written, and that, alas, is the way the world seems to work now, despite the passage of centuries.  Shakespeare was a pretty smart fellow.   He told it like it is.

Gandhi was an idealist.   The world he imagined, dreamed of, and worked to create was a better world than Shakespeare’s; a gentler, kinder, more loving world, a peaceful and non-violent world.   We are not there yet.   We are a long way off, I fear, centuries off.   But Gandhi moved us toward it.   Before a better world can be created, it must first be dreamed.

Dwelling where I am now, deep in the heart of Westeros, I find myself surrounded by my characters, the children of my mind and heart and soul.   They are real to me, as I write them, and I struggle to make them real to my readers as well.   All of them are flawed, from the best to the worst.  They do heroic things, they do selfish things.   Some are strong and some are weak, some smart and some stupid.  The smartest may do stupid things.  The bravest may have moments when their courage fails.   Great harms may be done from the noblest motives, great good from motives vile and venal.   Life is like that, and art should reflect that, if it is to remain true.   Ours is a world of contradiction and unintended consequences.

Boromir is my favorite member of the Fellowship.   The tragic hero.   Shakespeare’s Brutus speaks to me as well (more so than the real one); the noblest Roman of them all, whose nobility — and gullibility — lead him to commit a vile crime.   Captain Ahab, Wolf Larsen, Gatsby, Falstaff and Hotspur and Prince Hal (those plays are full of flawed characters, each with his own failings), Ebeneezer Scrooge and Sydney Carton, Gully Foyle, Roger’s Sam, Dr. Doom and Dr. Jekyll and Dr. Moreau, Morbius of Altair IV, Huckleberry Finn, Sir Lancelot and Sir Gawain (but not Sir Galahad, so perfect, so empty) and Guinevere and Arthur and even Mordred, that little shit.. oh, the list is long.   And when my reading turns to history, biography, memoirs, my response is much the same.

I am not blind to the flaws of those who went before us, and I recognize the truth of Mark Antony’s words.   But Gandhi’s words are nobler, and those are the words I choose to live by… to treasure the memory of the good they did.

Our world needs more empathy, less anger.

 

 

 

Current Mood: melancholy melancholy

THE EXPANSE Rules

August 24, 2020 at 10:34 am
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Jimmy Corey — aka James S.A. Corey — aka Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck — is another friend(s) who kicked ass and took names at CoNZealand’s Hugo Awards, taking home the rocket ship for BEST SERIES over some very worthy competitors.

Maybe you’ve seen the TV show.   It’s great.   But the books are even better…

… and we have signed copies of all of them at Beastly Books, beside the Jean Cocteau.

To order yourself a set head over the the Beastly Books website at  https://jeancocteaucinema.com/beastlybooks/

And take a look at our other offerings while you are there.   The Jean Cocteau has hosted author events with some amazing writers, and ALL our books are autographed.

Current Mood: pleased pleased

The Amazing Ellen

August 22, 2020 at 8:23 am
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Ellen Datlow won another Hugo at the Virtual Worldcon that was supposed to be in New Zealand, but wasn’t.   For Best Editor, Short Form.    I have lost track of how many rockets Ellen has racked up at this point, but it’s a hell of a lot, and all very well deserved.  She’s an amazing editor and anthologist.

If you want to see her editing prowess at work, check out our selections at Beastly Books.   We’ve had the honor of hosting Ms. Datlow on several occasions, and we still have a few AUTOGRAPHED copies of some of her anthologies in stock.

Mad hats and creepy dolls, what could be more fun!  Both terrific books, and signed.

For those, and many many many more titles, check out the Beastly Books website at https://jeancocteaucinema.com/beastlybooks/

We have a fabulous selection of titles, and almost ALL our books are autographed.

IAIA Scholarships

August 19, 2020 at 10:33 am
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IAIA — the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe — recently had its annual fundraising event.

Virtually, of course.

It seemed to be a great success.

There’s a video of the event.   You can even catch a glimpse of yours truly at 1:58 minute mark, talking about the annual scholarships I sponsor there, through my foundation.   There are brief statements from this year’s scholarship winners as well.

 

2020 IAIA Virtual Scholarship Event—Scholarships Shape Futures

Though the annual fund-raising event is over, the need for funds is not.   IAIA does great work, so if any of you reading it have a few extra dollars, please do send them their way.   It would be much appreciated.

 

Current Mood: pleased pleased

FIRE & BLOOD Comes to Paperback

August 17, 2020 at 8:59 am
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FIRE & BLOOD, the first volume of Archmaester Gyldayn’s history of the Targaryen kings of Westeros, has just been released in trade paperback by my friends at Random House.   If you missed the hardcover (shame on you), here’s your chance to catch up.

But let me say, as I have a hundred times before, this is not a novel.   It is an imaginary history.   If you like reading history, real or fantastic, you will probably enjoy it.   If you go in expecting a conventional novel, you won’t.

We have autographed copies of the new trade paperback edition available from Beastly Books.  We also have some stock of the hardcover, for those of you who would prefer that.   Check them out — with all our other offerings — at https://jeancocteaucinema.com/beastlybooks/

Of course, the book is also available from your favorite online bookseller and your local brick-and-mortar bookshop.  (If they are open).   Those guys don’t have the signed copies, though.

FIRE & BLOOD covers the Targaryens from Aegon’s Conquest through the regency of the boy king Aegon III.

And if you’re curious as to what the new HBO show HOUSE OF THE DRAGON will cover… yeah, you want to pick this one up.

Happy history.

Current Mood: satisfied satisfied

Back in Westeros

August 15, 2020 at 9:10 am
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I am back in my fortress of solitude again, my isolated mountain cabin.   I’d returned to Santa Fe for a short visit, to spend some time with Parris, deal with some local business that had piled up during my months away, and of course fulfill my duties to CoNZealand, the virtual worldcon.   But all that is behind me now, and I am back on the mountain again… which means I am back in Westeros again, once more moving ahead with WINDS OF WINTER.

It is curious how my life has evolved.  I mean, once upon a time, I actually wrote my books and stories in the house where I lived, in a home office.   But some decades ago, wanting more solitude, I bought the house across the street and made THAT my writer’s retreat.   No longer would I write all day in my red flannel bathrobe; now I would have to dress and put on shoes and walk all the way across the street to write.  But that worked for a while.

Things started getting busier, though.   So busy that I needed a full-time assistant.   Then the office house had someone else in it, not just me and my characters.   And then I hired a second assistant, and a third, and… there was more mail, more email, more phone calls (we put in a new phone system), more people coming by.   By now I am up to five assistants… and somewhere in there I also acquired a movie theatre, a bookstore, a charitable foundation, investments, a business manager… and…

Despite all the help, I was drowning till I found the mountain cabin.

My life up here is very boring, it must be said.  Truth be told, I hardly can be said to have a life.   I have one assistant with me at all times (minions, I call them).  The assistants do two-week shifts, and have to stay in quarantine at home before starting a shift.   Everyone morning I wake up and go straight to the computer, where my minion brings me coffee (I am utterly useless and incoherent without my morning coffee) and juice, and sometimes a light breakfast.  Then I start to write.   Sometimes I stay at it until dark.   Other days I break off in late afternoon to answer emails or return urgent phone calls.   My assistant brings me food and drink from time to time.   When I finally break off for the day, usually around sunset, there’s dinner.   Then we watch television or screen a movie.  The wi-fi sucks up on the mountain, though, so the choices are limited.   Some nights I read instead.   I always read a bit before going to sleep; when a book really grabs hold of me, I may read half the night, but that’s rare.

I sleep.  The next day, I wake up, and do the same.  The next day, the next day, the next day.   Before Covid, I would usually get out once a week or so to eat at a restaurant or go to the movies.   That all ended in March.   Since then, weeks and months go by when I never leave the cabin, or see another human being except whoever is on duty that week.  I lose track of what day it is, what week it is, what month it is.   The time seems to by very fast.   It is now August, and I don’t know what happened to July.

But it is good for the writing.

And you know, now that I reflect on it, I am coming to realize that has always been my pattern.   I moved to Santa Fe at the end of 1979, from Dubuque, Iowa.   My first marriage broke up just before that move, so I arrived in my new house alone, in a town where I knew almost no one.   Roger Zelazny was here, and he became a great friend and mentor, but Roger was married with small kids, so I really did not see him often.   There was no fandom in Santa Fe; that was all down in Albuquerque, an hour away.  I went to the club meetings every month, but that was only one night a month, and required two hours on the road.   And I had no job to meet new people.   My job was in the back room at the house on Declovina Street, so that was where I spent my days.  At night, I watched television.   Alone.   Sometimes I went to the movies.   Alone.

That was my life from December 1979 through September 1981, when Parris finally moved to Santa Fe, following Denvention.   (Not quite so bleak, maybe, I did make some local friends by late 1980 and early 1981, but it was a slow process).   When I think back on my life in 1980-1981, the memories seem to be made up entirely of conventions, interspersed with episodes of LOU GRANT and WKRP IN CINCINNATI.

Ah, but work wise, that same period was tremendously productive for me.   Lisa and I finished WINDHAVEN during that time, Gardner and I did a lot of work on “Shadow Twin,” and then I went right on and wrote all of FEVRE DREAM.   Some short stories as well.     My life, such that it was, was lived in my head, and on the page.

I wonder if it is the same for other writers?   Or is it just me?   I wonder if I will ever figure out the secret of having a life and writing a book at the very same time.

I certainly have not figured it out to date.

For the nonce, it is what it is.   My life is at home, on hold, and I am spending the days in Westeros with my pals Mel and Sam and Vic and  Ty.    And that girl with no name, over there in Braavos.

 

 

 

 

Current Mood: contemplative contemplative

A Railroad Reborn

August 12, 2020 at 9:05 am
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So, about our new train set…

The pandemic has slowed things down, needless to say, but my partners and I are moving ahead with our plans to restore the historic Santa Fe Southern Railway.   There’s a lot of work ahead, and no sure way of knowing whether how long it will all take before we are ready to roll… but at the end, we hope to have something truly unique, a railroad different for the city different.

I thought you guys might enjoy a little peak into the history of the line, and some of our plans for the future.

I think Bill Banowsky speaks for all of us involved in this project when he talks about giving back to the community.  These days I belong to two communities: the world of science fiction, fantasy, and fandom, and the city of Santa Fe and the state of New Mexico.   I love them both, and do what I can to contribute to them both… paying it forward.

It is our hope the our reborn railroad will be a real boost for Santa Fe and Lamy, preserving a wonderful piece of history while creating jobs, promoting tourism, and providing some fun for children of all ages.

Wish us luck.

 

Current Mood: excited excited

Dates and Days and Dragons, Oh My

August 11, 2020 at 10:16 am
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They keep telling me that calendars are on their way out, that nobody uses them any more, that hip folks just check the day and date on their smart phones.   Maybe so, maybe so… but I am old school, and I love them, can’t help myself.  And I love great fantasy art as well, so our annual SONG OF ICE & FIRE illustrated calendar is one of my favorite things.

Every year we feature the work of a different artist, each one bringing their own unique vision to the Seven Kingdoms and my characters.   This year — well, next year, actually, the 2021 calendar — the paintings are the work of an amazing British artist named SAM HOGG… and damn, but they are gorgeous.

 

The calendar is now officially ON SALE, and available at your favorite local bookstore (if they are open) or online bookseller, or wherever fine calendars are sold.

If you’d like an autographed copy, we have them in stock at Beastly Books.   https://jeancocteaucinema.com/beastlybooks/   Write for details.   Those are signed by me, of course.

I believe that our amazing artist, Sam Hogg, also has some copies set aside, signed by her.

She’s in the UK, though, and I’m in the New Mexico, so getting one signed by both of us is… tough.

More of her work can be found at www.artofsamhogg.com

twitter: @zephyri

Instagram: @thewhalergirl

 

 

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy

WILD CARDS Soars On

August 10, 2020 at 8:47 am
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Some cool new content for Wild Cards fans on the official Wild Cards website.

On the blog, Kevin Andrew Murphy takes a detailed look at the history of the Church of Jesus Christ, Joker:

The Church of Jesus Christ, Joker

Meanwhile, our ace interviewer Ti Mikkel has had a sit-down with Daniel Abraham, creator of Jonathan Hive, Spasm, Father Henry Obst, and other fun characters.   That one is worth a look as well:

Daniel Abraham

Meanwhile, congratulations are in order to Daniel and his fellow Wild Card author Ty Franck.   Writing together as James S.A. Corey, they won this year’s Hugo Award for BEST SERIES at CoNZealand, the (virtual) worldcon put on by the fans of New Zealand (but not, alas, held there), for their series of EXPANSE novels.

Congratulations are also due to Max Gladstone, another Wild Carder (creator of Rubberband), who together with his collaborator Amal El-Mohtar took home the Hugo Award for BEST NOVELLA for “This is How You Lose the Time War.”

WILD CARDS itself did not make so much as a dent in the Hugo voting this year, not even on the long list… but it is great to see some of our authors flying high.   We have some damned talented folks contributing to Wild Cards, and we are proud of them all.