Monday, May 31, 2010

Below The Surface

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

GRRM's Freaky Monkey

A few days ago I got an email from George RR Martin. He was announcing to his Wild Cards authors that the latest book, Fort Freak, was done and dusted, and about to get sent off to Tor to go into production. This made me very, very happy.

You see, I've written a three part story for the book. I went back and forth with George a few times as I developed the character and then wrote the story, and geez there were a ton of things to consider! Quite an experience to be one of several authors writing in an established world with stories about different characters that had to be contained within a unifying plot line with as many arms, legs and eyes as some of its mutant characters...

But, like I said, it's done! My character, a young African-American guy dubbed the Infamous Black Tongue, sees a lot of action. It was, despite the challenges, a lot of fun to write. For me, it was novel to write in a contemporary, urban setting. I hope that when the book comes out some of you give it a try! (That will happen sometime in 2011, by the way.)

And, yes, this would work as a place to enter the Wild Cards world if you're giving it a try for the first time. It's the start of what will, hopefully, be a new cycle of books. Lots of new characters. A return to a gritty, urban setting, with a strong police-procedural element to it...

You can see George's post on it HERE: Freaky Monkey Bites the Dust.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Rendez-vous Ailleurs: La découverte du mois en poche : Acacia

The French pocket edition of Acacia has just been released.

HERE's the Facebook announcement about it!

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Elitist Book Review

Just noticed a rather nice review of Acacia: The War with the Mein at Elitist Book Reviews. The consider themselves "Just a couple of guys with better taste in books than you." Hey, I won't argue with them. (Not based on this review, at least.)

You can read it HERE.

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Friday, May 21, 2010

5 Ways The Google Book Settlement Will Change The Future of Reading

Do you ever feel like forces beyond your control are making deals beyond your control that will effect your life in myriad ways? Or is that just me...

Researching another topic, I came across this post by Annalee Newitz at i09. It's from last month, but it's got some very interesting information in it.

Take a look HERE.

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Nebula Winners!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Steel Remains

Seeing as how I've read four of Richard K Morgan’s novels (and written him saying I enjoyed them) I guess it's safe to say I'm a fan. I entirely acknowledge that they're not for everyone, but I don't think books are supposed to be for everyone. Sometimes they have to push different buttons, hit different high and low notes.

If, for example, you've got no stomach for ultra-violent futuristic warfare, virtual torture and drug-enhance graphic sex... well, Morgan may not be for you. His work decidedly includes all those things. He also writes novels full of interesting ideas. His work is ABOUT stuff, about what makes us tick as humans, about what technology may offer us and what that means for us as a race, about our prejudices and desires and, oh, other stuff... If he wasn't exploring real themes I wouldn't like his work as much as I do.

It was with considerable interest, then, that I looked to his first fantasy novel, The Steel Remains. As with his Takeshi Kovacs novels and as in Thirteen, his protagonist is cranky, damaged, deadly, quick to fight or screw, an anti-hero whose moral core is hidden pretty deeply. Ringil is all those things, this time set down in a fantasy world.

Morgan himself describes it thusly: "The Steel Remains is a grubby, blood-splattered trawl through exactly how unpleasant it might be to actually have to live in the average fantasy universe."

That nails it.

There's another distinguishing feature, though. His protagonist is gay. He's unapologetically homosexual in orientation. Morgan is as blunt and graphic about his sexual adventures as he was in earlier books. This, I imagine, is fairly challenging for some of his readers...

What did I think? I think it was a bold move. As ever, I think there's substance in it. I think Morgan's work is as notable for how it challenges/confronts readers as it is for how it entertains them. I remain a fan.

Some other, more detailed reviews can be found here:

The SF Site

Fantasy Book Critic

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Traumatized Again

I remember the Exxon Valdez very well. I was a young adult. I watched it from afar. But still, in a way it became a environmental accident trauma that has lingered with me ever since.

I don't know. Just felt like mentioning it...


Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Socket’s Got Juice

One time in my eight-grade chemistry class I got bored. Go figure. For some reason, I decided to stick a piece of moistened cardboard (or maybe a paperclip, I'm not sure) into the electrical socket of my table. Ah... I don’t know what drove me to that.

I do know that I got a vibrating, teeth-clenching few seconds of voltage-driven unpleasantness for my efforts. I sat there afterward as my teacher droned on, sitting desperately still, feeling like smoke was puffing out of my ears but unwilling to let anybody know what had just happened. I swallowed down little smoke burps, and promised myself I would never, ever, do that again.

And I haven't. At least, not literally.

That's a rather round about way to introduce a bit of good news. As I've been working on Acacia 3, I've been aware that a couple of the plot threads didn't have juice. The sockets were there, but when I plugged in to them nothing happened. I wasn't sure where that particular aspect of the larger story would go. I just worked on other stuff, hoping that at some point I'd connect the right wires...

Yesterday, I did. One of those sockets sprung to life. I figured out a whole lot of stuff all through one revelation. Weird. I had to take a walk afterward, with my mini-recorder, getting all the little tangential ideas down. Today, I'm at the computer trying to make sense of it. This is a good thing. The socket's got juice, and I'm plugging into it.

Hoping it doesn't blow my head off...

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Friday, May 07, 2010

i Idren

I had the great pleasure last night of seeing my wife and some good friends perform as a band for the first time. The group is called i Idren. It's the brainchild of Gerry "JahGerry" LeBlanc. He put together a group of local, Hilltown Western Massachusetts talent to sing reggae "slanted" tunes. There's a lot of talent in the group, but under Gerry's direction they've come together rather quickly, already performing and getting invited to area festivals. They do a combination of original and classic tunes. Good fun.

This first performance was at the Esselon Cafe in Hadley, MA. It was outside in a lovely garden area, with lots of stonework and lounging space. Great attendance, food and drink. Lots of kids running around barefoot. It was a gusty, beautiful evening, and the band sounded great. It was a happening.

Wanna hear what they sound like? There are several tunes on their website, but I'll offer a few of my favorites here:

Hilltown Rasta

Rudy Rude


Saturday, May 01, 2010

Die Ferne Lande:

Another little milestone...

I just noticed that there's now a Germany Amazon page for the German-language edition of The Other Lands. Funny how a small thing like that seems to validate my existence as a writer...

You can see it HERE: Die Ferne Lande.

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