Not a Blog

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

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

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

The Jokers Are Coming, the Jokers Are Going

April 9, 2021 at 4:48 pm
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Hey, Wild Cards fans… the moon is rising in July.

The JOKER MOON, that is.   The latest Wild Cards mosaic novel, volume thirty in the overall series (but you don’t need to read the first twenty-nine to enjoy it,  I promise).

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.

 

 

Tor will be releasing the American hardcover (above) on July 6.

HarperCollins Voyager will release the British hardcover (below) on July 8.

JOKER MOON was edited by yours truly (that’s me, GRRM, and do not believe the assholes out there who are saying that I no longer edit these books), with the able assistance of Melinda M. Snodgrass.   Our contributing authors this time around are Christopher Rowe, Michael Cassutt, Leo Kenden, Steve Perrin, David D. Levine, Victor Milan, John Jos. Miller, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Walton (Bud) Simons, Melinda M. Snodgrass, and Caroline Spector.

It’s a stellar line-up, and they’ve given us some ass-kicking stories.

So note the pub dates on your calendars, and get your pre-orders in now.

The Deuces Return!

January 4, 2021 at 8:10 am
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The deuces are back.  Puddleman and Chuckles, Cash Mitchell, Gary Bushorn, Father Henry Obst, the Jokertown Boys, the Myth Patrol, and all their friends will be returning… with Croyd Crenson and Demise, and some brand new characters that Wild Card readers need to meet.  Come January 5, Tor will be releasing a brand new edition of DEUCES DOWN, one of the scarcer volumes in the Wild Cards series… with three brand new stories, published for the first time.

The wild card virus, as all readers of the series know, affects every victim differently.   Ninety per cent of those stricken draw the black queen, and die.   Those who survive their transformation are generally classified either as jokers, twisted and malformed by the xenovirus, or aces, who emerge with superpowers of one sort or another.   But there is a fourth category: the so-called deuces, whose powers are trivial, seemingly useless, sometimes ludicrous.   DEUCES DOWN tells their stories.

The Wild Cards series got its start in 1987 with a twelve-volume run at Bantam Spectra.   Then we moved to Baen for three books, the “Card Shark” triad.   After that, however, there was a seven year break in our publication history, until Byron Preiss picked the series for iBooks.   Preiss reissued a number of the early Bantam volumes in new editions, and also published two brand new installments in the series: DEUCES DOWN and John Jos. Miller’s solo novel DEATH DRAWS FIVE.   When Byron was killed in a tragic automobile accident, however, iBooks did not long survive him.    With the company going under, neither DEUCES DOWN nor (especially) DEATH DRAWS FIVE received much in the way of distribution.   Brick Tower Press later acquired the iBooks backlist, but the two iBooks originals have remained very difficult to find… so all of us in Wild Cards are thrilled that the two books will now reach the readership they deserve with these new Tor editions.

The original iBooks edition of DEUCES DOWN was pretty much a straight anthology: a collection of stories about deuces largely unrelated to one another, save by theme.   The contributing authors were Melinda M. Snodgrass, Walton (Bud) Simons, Stephen Leigh, Michael Cassutt, Kevin Andrew Murphy, Daniel Abraham, and John J. Miller.

The new Tor edition will include all that and more.   We’ve added new stories from Mary Anne Mohanraj and Caroline Spector… and an original linking interstitial narrative from Carrie Vaughn than brings all the tales together, to transform the book into a true Wild Cards mosaic novel.   I loved the new content, and I hope you will as well.

DEUCES DOWN will be on sale at your local bookstore, and from your favorite on-line bookseller… and of course autographed copies can be had from Beastly Books in Santa Fe at https://jeancocteaucinema.com/beastlybooks/

 

Current Mood: pleased pleased

Back in Print Again

December 29, 2020 at 9:24 am
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I have been an editor almost as long as I have been a professional writer (I have been a writer since forever, but I was not a pro until I made my first sale to GALAXY in 1970).

The first anthology I ever edited was NEW VOICES IN SCIENCE FICTION, featuring original stories by the finalists for the very first John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.  (I was one of those finalists.  I lost, but editing the book made up for that).   That came out in hardcover in 1975.  I would ultimately edit six of those annual (well, in theory) Campbell Award anthologies.   Five were actually published.

My longest running editorial gig is, of course, WILD CARDS, which started in 1987 and is still going strong today.   (We did have a seven year hiatus in there, but never mind).   Over the decades, twenty-nine volumes of Wild Cards have been published, and I’ve edited twenty-seven-and-a-half of them.  (Melinda Snodgrass edited THREE KINGS, and we co-edited LOWBALL).   The thirtieth book in the series, JOKER MOON, will be released in 2021, and the thirty-first, a collection of stories from Tor.com, will follow in short order.   Three more volumes are under contract and I am working on them now; look for them in 2022 and 2023.   Wild Cards is a shared world.   Editing the mosaics, weaving the stories together, is the most difficult and demanding sort of editing there is, in my opinion, but I love it.

The most enjoyable editorial work I’ve ever done, however, was on the crossgenre anthologies I co-edited with Gardner Dozois.

Gardner was an old friend, and a dear friend, the first person I ever met at the very first SF con I ever attended, and the guy who fished me out of the slushpile.  He was also one of the greatest editors in the history of science fiction and fantasy.   He edited ASIMOV’S for decades, and put together his massive landmark BEST volumes annually.   He won the Hugo for Best Professional Editor sixteen times, a record unlikely to be broken.   Working with him was always such a joy.   Gardner and I had hoped to do many more anthologies together… but he was taken from us in 2018.

I still miss him, still mourn him.   I always will.

Editors, like writers, survive in their work, however, and I am pleased to announce that one of the books we did together, SONGS OF LOVE & DEATH, has just been re-released in a new edition.

This one was Gardner’s idea, as I recall.   He wanted to title it STAR-CROSSED LOVERS, which I rather like, but the publisher wanted “Death” in there, and of course the “Songs” in the title evoked many of my own collections.   A rose by any other name, however…. whatever the title, it was a fun book to edit, and we put together a wonderful lineup of contributors.   As with WARRIORS, ROGUES, and DANGEROUS WOMEN, this was a crossgenre book, featuring writers from many different fields.   We were very pleased with how it came out.

If you have not read it, check it out.  Copies available from your local bookstore or favorite online bookseller… and, of course, from Beastly Books at https://jeancocteaucinema.com/beastlybooks/ 

Current Mood: satisfied satisfied

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.

The Knaves Are Back

July 14, 2020 at 7:20 am
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Hey, Wild Carders!   Did you miss KNAVES OVER QUEENS, the first book in our British triad, and the twenty-sixth in the overall series (or possibly the twenty-seventh, depending on whether you go by the British or American release dates)?

Have no fear.  The knaves are coming back.   TODAY is the official release date for Tor’s trade paperback edition.

Come meet the Seamstress, Enigma, the Green Man, Charlie Soper, Badh, Stonemaiden, Archimedes, the Visitor, Allen Crippen, Jenny Three Arms, Pygmalion, Banger & Mash, and Jiniri.   Renew your acquaintance with Double Helix, Captain Flint, and Winston Churchill.

Available TODAY from your local bookshop (if they are open), or your favorite online bookseller.

 

Current Mood: satisfied satisfied

Come On Back to San Antone, Y’All

April 19, 2020 at 6:25 pm
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Did you miss TEXAS HOLD ‘EM when it first came out in hardcover?

No problem.   Come APRIL 28, Tor will be releasing the book in trade paperback.   All the fun, for fewer dollars.

TEXAS HOLD ‘EM is the twenty-seventh volume of the Wild Cards series, and the third in our America Triad… but it stands alone just fine, and you do not have to have read any of the preceding volumes to enjoy it.   It’s the story of a group of kids from Xavier Desmond High in Jokertown travelling to San Antonio for a jazz band competition, and all that befalls them there, starring an all star cast of favorite characters both old (Mr. Nobody, Jade Blossom, and Bubbles) and new (Rubberband, Bacho, Skeeter, The Darkness and The Dust).   Contributing writers on this one were Caroline Spector, William F. Wu, Walton (Bud) Simons, David Anthony Durham, Max Gladstone, Diana Rowland, and — in his last solo outing for Wild Cards — the late great Victor Milan, who helped launch the series back in 1987.  I edited, assisted by Melinda M. Snodgrass,

The Wild Cards universe is vast, and contains both darkness and light.  TEXAS HOLD ‘EM is one of our lighter outings, a good fun read.   If that’s what you are looking for during these grim days of isolation and quarantine, give it a try.   I think you will enjoy it.

You can reserve an autographed paperback, signed by yours truly, from Beastly Books, mailorder.   We also have a good stock remaining of the original Tor hardcover, with signatures by several writers as well.   All at https://jeancocteaucinema.com/beastlybooks/

Current Mood: pleased pleased

Knaves, Knaves Everywhere!

August 13, 2019 at 7:32 am
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The British are coming, the British are coming, the British are..

Oh, wait.  The British are HERE.

Today’s the official publication day for the release of the first American edition of KNAVES OVER QUEENS, in hardcovers from our friends at Tor Books.  ((The British edition came out a year ago, in June 2018)). Look for it at your favorite local bookshop, or order it from your favorite online bookseller.

KNAVES OVER QUEENS is the twenty-sixth volume in the Wild Cards series… and the first to be set (mostly) in the British Isles.  Like our very first volume, the action begins in 1946, when the wild card virus was first unleashed upon the world by Dr. Tod and those dastardly Takisians.   WILD CARDS spanned forty years, from 1946 to 1986, but the focus was on the U.S., and New York City in particular.   KNAVES OVER QUEENS covers an even longer time-span, right up to (almost) the present, but the view is from the other side of the Pond this time.

Our writers are a mix of English and Irish authors, many joining Wild Cards for the first time, and several American Anglophiles.   The lineup:

KEVIN ANDREW MURPHY: “A Flint Lies in the Mud” and “But a Flint Holds Fire,”
PEADAR O GUILIN: “The Coming of the Crow,” “Cracks in the City,” and “Feeding on the Entrails,”
CAROLINE SPECTOR: “Needles and Pins,”
PAUL CORNELL: “Night Orders,”
CHARLES STROSS: “Police On My Back,”
MARKO KLOOS: “Probationary,”
PETER NEWMAN: “Twisted Logic,”
MELINDA M. SNODGRASS: “Ceremony of Innocence,”
EMMA NEWMAN: “How to Turn a Girl to Stone,”
MARK LAWRENCE: “The Visitor.”

Long- time fan favorites Captain Flint and Double Helix return in KNAVES, but you’ll also be meeting some terrific new aces, jokers, and (yes) knaves, including the Seamstress, the blood-thirsty Badh, the Green Man, Stonemaiden, and the Visitor.

Come on in and make their acquaintance.

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy