Thursday, March 31, 2005


"A Romp Through Time"

It looks like Cheryl Morgan has just posted her review of Here, There & Everywhere in the most recent Emerald City. She says nice things about both me and my writing, which I think is the hallmark of any good review, don't you? She also tosses in some well-deserved props for Lou Anders, the brains behind Pyr.



Frank Miller's Sesame Street

A nice bit of humor from a C.A. Bridges entitled Booze, bullets, and the number 3: Frank Miller's Sesame Street, which serves both as an effective parody of Frank Miller's stylistic tics, and a send-up of the long running children's show. Having spent the better part of a year up to my eyeballs in the fictional worlds of each, I found it particularly amusing.

(Thanks to Michael Lark for the tip!)

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


Grandfather Campbell

Well, it's official. There is no "grandfather" clause, or if there is, it'll be for next year's committee to work out.

As the result of an eleventh hour change in the guidelines for the Campbell Award, I went from being in my first year of eligibility for the award to being in my second. The principle change is this: In years previous, a qualifying "professional" publication was one which had a print run of at least 10,000 copies; now, "professional" publication means any work sold for more than a "nominal" amount and published. In 2003, I sold a story to Lou Anders for his anthology Live Without a Net, which had an initial print run of 8,000 copies. In 2004, then, I wasn't eligible to be nominated for the Campbell. Last year, though, I sold stories to Asimov's and Jeanne Cavelos' The Many Faces of Van Helsing (among others), both of which had print runs or circulations in excess of 10,000 copies. So, in 2005 I was in the pool of eligible writers, and a sufficient number of WorldCon attendees included my name on their ballots that I made the final list of nominees. As of last week, I assumed that I would be in my first year of eligibility, and that folks would be able to nominate me again next year (assuming, god forbid, that the unthinkable didn't happen at the award ceremony in Glasgow).

Under this new interpretation, though, the sale to Live Without a Net did count as a qualifying publication, so while I'm still on the ballot, its in my second and last year of eligibility. As near as I can tell, the same thing just happened to David Moles and K.J. Bishop, both of whom were in their "first" year before the voting guidelines changed, but due to "professional" publication in 2003 under the new guidelines are also in their second years.

Given that the award is administered by the Hugo committee, but sponsored by Dell Magazines, there's some confusion (at least on my part) about whom is the ultimate arbiter in all of this, and to whom (if anyone) an appeal might be made. I've no objection in the least to the change in guidelines for the Campbell, quite the opposite; the 10,000 print run requirement meant that many worthy first novelists weren't eligible for the Campbell, especially considering how few first novels have print runs that large. At the same time, though, it would seem only fair that there be a transitional period as the old guidelines are supplanted by the new. Accepting nominations "under both the old and new eligibility criteria" is certainly a good first step; ensuring that all writers still have the same two year period of eligibility as their predecessors is a necessary second step. By all rights, anyone not elibigle in 2004 under the old guidelines should be eligible again in 2006--in other words, a "grandfather" clause.

The official word from the 2005 Hugo committee as to whether David, K.J., or I (or any other potential nominees who are in the same boat, of which I'm sure there are many) might be eligible again next year is that this is a question best answered by the 2006 Hugo committee. I suppose we'll see in another year how this plays out. There's always the chance, though, that one of us won't have to worry about it.

Monday, March 28, 2005


Sample Chapters

Did some considerable redesign on the website over the weekend, trapped indoors by a standard Texas spring wrath-of-god storm, with the most notable addition being a couple of sample chapters, including the prologue to Here, There & Everywhere and the full text to "O One." And I finally got rid of those damned frames! Someday I'll have time to fix up the MonkeyBrain site a bit, but it'll have to do for the time being, at least until Paragaea wraps up.

Sunday, March 27, 2005


Cover Envy

Tim Pratt's posted the cover to his forthcoming Bantam Spectra release, The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl, and I'm terribly envious. Great stuff. I've just preordered the book on the strength of that cover alone, and I'm looking forward to checking it out this winter.

Saturday, March 26, 2005


2005 Hugo Nominees

Emerald City - Hugo Awards

Cheryl Morgan has posted the full list of Hugo nominees over on Emerald City, and I'm not too modest to point out my name amongst the list of noms for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. I'm almost as excited, though, to see that John Picacio has broken into the ranks of the nominees for Best Artist! Right on!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005



A hectic two weeks came to a close yesterday, as the galley files for the fall 2005 MonkeyBrain Books titles were sent to the printer. In that time I did the layouts for one anthology, one nonfiction anthology, and an encyclopedia (!). Review copies will start going out later this spring, and will be handed out at BEA in June. I'm really pleased with the way that ADVENTURE came together, in particular, and I'm already looking foward to starting in on the second volume for next year.

In franchise news, the case sides and signatures (read, "covers" and "interiors" in publisher speak) of the two Shark Boy and Lava Girl Adventures books I cowrote arrived this morning, and look better than I'd have hoped. The movie is still due to hit theaters in June, and the books should be in stores by the beginning of May. The making of Sin City book, which I edited, was apparently mentioned on the Ellen Degeneris show this morning, though they neglected to mention the title or release date, and kept the book artfully hidden behind an arrangement of flowers throughout the entire segment.

I'm having to shift gears from editor to writer rather quickly in the coming days, as I've got to start work on writing PARAGAEA: A PLANETARY ROMANCE, due to be handed into Pyr by the first of June. The book, probably best described as "quirky," is one I've been fiddling with on and off for the last three and a half years, but while I've amassed hundreds of pages of notes and outlines--including handdrawn maps, complicated cultural histories, and mythologies--I've only written the first twenty-five thousand words. I've got a bit of reading to finish before I dive back into writing, but I'm really looking forward to getting started. Having only written fiction intended for young readers for the last few months (with a brief foray into writing for teens), the notion of writing for grownups again is an appealing one.

Saturday, March 12, 2005


"The Bridget Jones of time travelers"

Review of Here, There & Everywhere in South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Actually, Bridget Jones' Diary *was* one of the things I read when preparing to write the expanded version of Roxanne's story (the other was Frederick Kohner's Gidget, the book that inspired the movies and television series; the relationship between Gidget and her father, itself inspired by Kohner's with his own daughter, was a significant influence on the relationship between Roxanne Bonaventure and her father). The reviewer has loads of nice things to say about the first half of the story, where most of the relationship stuff is, and not as much about the second half, where a lot of the science fiction happens.

Still, I think "the love child of H.G. Wells and Helen Fielding" is about as apt a description of H,T&E as I've heard yet.


Friday, March 11, 2005


Different Hats

A busy week, taken up with issues largely personal shading somewhat into professional, and the first time I'm able to sit down and get any work done is Friday afternoon. I'm in the process of finishing the introductory material for my anthology ADVENTURE, not due in stores until November '05, but as the galleys are due at the printer in another week or two, I've got to cross and dot the appropriate t's and i's in the next few days.

Rereading in one sitting an anthology that took the better part of a year to assemble is a strange experience. This is my first trek down this particular road, and as enjoyable as I'm finding it, there are a few bumps and hiccups along the way. Most surprisingly, with myself.

I've heard from professional editors for years that one of their primary stumbling blocks in the publishing world can be the marketing department. Nearly every editor I know has at time or another passed on a book of some kind (novel, collection, anthology or other) because the marketing and sales department didn't think they could sell it. Whether the book was too strange, too difficult to categorize, too far off the beaten path, what have you, creative decisions often take a back seat to financial concerns. Publishing is a business, after all, and no one stays in business unless they keep an eye on the bottom line.

In the world of small press, often, there can be a little more freedom. With the smaller quantities involved, one usually operates much nearer the bottom line than larger houses would find comfortable, but smaller financial commitments can often allow small presses to take more risks, too.

I am one of those strange hyphenate beasts, the writer-editor-publisher. There are a few of us around (at the moment I can only think of Peter Crowther and Jay Lake, though there must be others), people who publish books, write stories and books other people publish, and edit books published by themselves and others. For ADVENTURE, I'm wearing all three of these hats: I'm publishing it through my MonkeyBrain Books imprint, I'm editing the anthology, and I'm including one of my stories in the lineup. And since I first decided to put together a cross-genre anthology--drawing together stories from new and established names in sf, fantasy, horror, mystery, and western--Chris the Editor and Chris the Publisher were in complete agreement. But now that I'm putting on yet another hat, that of Marketer, I'm finding dissension in the ranks.

Creatively, I couldn't be prouder of the anthology, and I'm eager to see what readers make of it. From a marketing standpoint, though, I'm beginning to think it would have been easier to make the book a little more easily categorized. These concerns are almost entirely geographical, depending upon the layout of most general interest bookstores. If a book shelved in the Mystery section has content that would be of interest to SF readers, would those readers know to seek it out, or pass by unawares? Vice versa, rinse, repeat with all other possible permutations of shelving taxonomy. Publishing categories are not immutable, but they can be extremely useful in helping the buying public locate the kinds of books they might like to purchase, and quickly. Even though my own reading tastes are extremely catholic, encompassing virtually all genres and categories imaginable (even romance, on rare occasion), when I walk into a book store I'll usually make a beeline to the SF/F section first, and hit comics, mystery, horror, and so on only if I've got the time. Most of what I write can be broadly classified as SF, though often using the vocabulary of other modes (historical, mystery, horror, etc).

I'm not sure what the answer is. At the moment, I'm happy focusing on my final functions while wearing my editorial hat, putting together the best anthology I can manage. I'll leave these questions for next month, when the galleys are in hand.

Sunday, March 06, 2005



BBC - Cult Presents: Sherlock Holmes

Just read a splendid little bit of metafiction featuring Sherlock Holmes by my friend Paul Cornell. It was published on a section of the BBC (along with audio versions intended for radio broadcast, perhaps?), along with splendid illustrations by D'Israeli... and now, having typed all that, I find that I'm at pains to think of a single US broadcast outfit--corporate network, public television station, or cable media--that would go to similar trouble for the sake of web exclusive content.

As soon as I have a free minute, I'll be checking out the Kim Newman on the same site, and then onto the Jon Courtenay Grimwood. (I spent yesterday soaking in Jules Verne, through the good graces of The Mammoth Book of New Jules Verne Adventures; looks like tonight might be reserved for Sherlockiana.)

Thursday, March 03, 2005


The Return of Krypto

Cartoon Network Krypto the Superdog

I like comics. No, strike that. I love comics. Sooner or later I'll start running brief reviews of the current books I'm reading (the purchase of which chews up an alarming percentage of my disposable income), but at the moment, I'm thinking more about the old comics that I grew up reading.

I adore Superman. More specifically, the Weisinger-era "Silver Age" Superman, and the whole Superman Family. Bottle Cities, Super-Monkeys, alien android villains and fifth dimensional imps. And, of course, Krypto the Super Dog.

Rao Bless the good people at Cartoon Network. First they save the Dini-Timm universe of DC animation by bringing us the Justice League (now Justice League Unlimited), then they introduced a new generation of viewers to the (underrated) Teen Titans, and now... Super Dog.

Damn, this looks like fun. Aimed squarely at five year olds (like the original Krypto backups in Superboy comics), just as they should be. And with Ace the Bat-Hound and Streaky the Super Cat, to boot!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005


PYR | Here, There & Everywhere

PYR Here, There & Everywhere

Pyr's official website has gone live, including a fairly lengthy Q&A with me about my novel, alternate history, and writing in general.

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