The Barrow

8/31/06

Crossover Contest @ Pat's Fantasy Hotlist

A contest to win one of two copies of Joel Shepherd's Crossover, first volume of his Cassandra Kresnov series, starts today on Pat's Fantasy Hotlist. Here are the details. Good luck!

(Note: Pat refers to the book as first in a trilogy. It's really more of a stand-alone novel in a series. Each novel builds on the events of the last, but nothing ends "to be continued" in any sense. Just an FYI.)

"Very exciting and impossible-to-put down. I can't wait for the other two to appear." Philadelphia Weekly Press

Life Afer WorldCon, 2006

Last week was the 64th World Science Fiction Convention, this one held in Anaheim, CA and host to about 6,000 fans. This was my busiest convention ever - I've blogged about it in depth at my personal site. Rather than repeat that here, I thought I'd show some of the pictures from the various Pyr events.

Friday 2 PM was also the Pyr Panel, where we spoke to a crowd of some 70 or 80 people (it was hard to tell, but the room was packed). Present were Fiona Avery, David Louis Edelman, Alan Dean Foster, Kay Kenyon, Ian McDonald, John Picacio, Mike Resnick, Chris Roberson, Dave Seeley, Joel Shepherd, and Sean Williams. Despite a shaky start with the PowerPoint projector, and perhaps aided by unexpected fun from the dualing ringtones - Ian McDonald trumped my David Bowie with the theme song from the A-Team - the panel appears to have been a tremendous success. (Thanks to Fiona Avery for the photos!)

Saturday afternoon, the wonderful people of Borderlands Books were kind enough to host a Pyr signing for Ian McDonald, David Louis Edelman, Joel Shepherd, and Sean Williams.(Thanks to Dan Zieber for the photos! Thanks to Alan and Jude for everything!) A shout out to everyone who lent their enthusiasm and their support! I think this whole week was a tremendous success in terms of promoting Pyr-awareness and also tremendous fun.

8/29/06

Home to a Host of Pyr Praise

Just back from WorldCon and playing mad catch up. More on the convention soon. In the meantime, I was thrilled to find a host of positive reviews upon my return:

First up, Rob H Benford posts a lengthy and very enthusiastic review of David Louis Edelman's Infoquake on SFFWorld, wherein he says that "the genre might not be quite the same after this book…a stunning debut novel by a lucid, precise, and talented new voice in the genre...With an already impressive list of authors in their stable, Pyr looks to have nabbed one of, if not, the next big thing in Science Fiction. This may be THE science fiction book of the year.”

Rob compares Edelman to Frank Herbert and Neal Stephenson, adding, "Like Stephenson and Herbert’s work, Edelman’s novel seems to have come along at the right time, capturing a sense of the world as it is now, reacting to and projecting a fully realized extrapolation of it."

And, not done there, over on his personal blog, Rob's Blog o' Stuff, he adds "Infoquake just might be THE Science Fiction novel of the year, if not the past five years. David Louis Edleman has done so many things right in this book, from the plausible next steps in human society to the characters, all the notes ring true. The future history only begs for MORE background, to the Reawakening to the Three Jesuses to the typical lunar colonies, he has it all mapped out and Infoquake is only the tip of the iceberg. Edleman has a fascinating background and timeline mapped out at http://www.infoquake.net... I've said it before and I'll say it again, Pyr is publishing some great books, but this might be the book that puts them over the top in terms of US genre publishing."

Meanwhile, Andi Shechter of January Magazine has some nice things to say about Joel Shepherd's just released Crossover, which she describes as "
an example of a book that brings up the gosh-wow excitement of futuristic ideas at the same time that it -- very sneakily, I might add -- tackles one of the basic themes of modern-day science fiction: what is human? What is it to be a human being?" While admitting that she isn't a fan of protracted battles (she finds blood icky), Andi adds, "This is an exciting story, a well-written adventure, and an impressive debut novel."

What's more, Alan Dean Foster's upcoming Sagramanda draws praise from Publisher's Weekly:

“SF elements make colorful window dressing for this unpredictable thriller, whose multiple threads Foster juggles like the professional he is.”

And Justina's Mappa Mundi, out any day now, has Booklist -

“Robson’s take on the problems associated with anything that can re-write a human personality is a complex one, and also a solidly written, entertaining story.”

And Bookpage -

“…an engaging pyrotechnic slice of a near future in which computer software for humans is the next big research front…Robson delves into how the aphrodisiac of power can affect individual and social identities. She is a romantic, but the stakes here are high and she pulls no punches.”

-adding themselves to the list of those who sing her praises. Not a bad bit of news to come home from a con to, no?

8/20/06

Fiona Avery Reading & Give Away

Fiona Avery, author of The Crown Rose, which Publishers Weekly called "a superior historical fantasy," will be making only two official appearances at the 64th World Science Fiction Convention, this next week in Anaheim, CA. Fiona will be holding a reading & a separate autographing. She is sometimes hard to catch, so be sure to stop by and say hello. Details as follows:

Panel 2: Wed 8/23 5:00 PM, 60 minutes.
Title: READING: Fiona Avery
Precis: Reading from The Crown Rose. Questions after the reading, and a drawing for the free reader's copy afterward.

Panel 7: Sat 8/26 1:00 PM, 60 minutes.
Title: AUTOGRAPHING: Fiona Avery

Fiona will, however, be appearing with the rest of us on the Pyr: A Look Forward panel, scheduled for Friday at 2:30pm in Room 201-B. See you there!

“Elegant, understated and moodily atmospheric, this is the kind of book that should inspire a small Crusade of followers.” Washington Post

8/15/06

Infoquake is Strong Medicine

John Joseph Adams, in his wonderful "Strong Medicine," a review column for Orson Scott Card's InterGalactic Medicine Show, has some absolutely fantastic things to say about David Louis Edelman's new novel, Infoquake:

"If all novels were as chockfull of ideas as Infoquake is, then science fiction would never have to worry about a shortage of sense of wonder. The author who Edelman reminds me most of is Charles Stross, for the sheer complexity of his ideas and his thrusting of the reader into a new and daringly different, yet plausible future. If anything, Edelman is like a more accessible Stross; whereas Stross's fiction is about as dense as it can get and still be readable, Edelman's style is more inviting, and, to me, more appealing."

Adams further adds, "Few first novelists manage as assured a debut as Infoquake; almost all new authors stumble around a bit in their first novel, but Edelman comes off as a seasoned professional."

Meanwhile, over on his personal blog, The Slush God Speaketh, Adams continues with some praise for our typesetters and designers: "Infoquake's (and all Pyr titles') typesetting on the other hand, is widely-spaced and a pleasure to read. As someone who is both a lover of books as entertainment, and as a lover of books as physical objects, it just has to be said that Pyr puts together some of the finest-looking books on the planet--both on the inside with their lovely typesetting and on the outside with their beautiful covers. Coincidentally, they've also been publishing some of the best books period, so it's a mighty fine combination."

In this instance, Infoquake's jacket was designed by the wonderful Dave Stevenson, while all our interior layouts are done by the incomparable Bruce Carle, whose work always blows me away and who deserves way more credit than he usually gets, so I'm very glad Adams noticed and called him out!

Update: SFReview has also posted their thoughts on Infoquake:

"Edelman has managed to capture the mania and obsession of Internet moguls nicely, and Natch is just the sort of person who can create a market from a new technology...but that doesn't make him lovable, as Natch's closest associated note, or even sympathetic. I found Infoquate interesting, and genuinely wanted to find out what happened next…but the characters in the book are quite like people I’ve known in the world of international entrepreneurship. Work is their life, and much as I channel the puritan ethos myself, it’s hard to do anything other than feel sorry for them as they ramp themselves up for another 36 hour stint to prepare for the next dog and pony show. On the other hand, I know just how compelling it can be to stand in the center of that storm and imagine that you can actually affect the winds of change."

I think that the lack of an endgame for Natch keeps the reader from knowing whether to root for or against him, while the sympathetic characters in the story seem bent to go down roads that lead away from their dreams.

For Your Viewing Pleasure: Gradisil

For your viewing pleasure, the front cover of Adam Roberts' upcoming book, Gradisil, a near-future tale of revenge and nation-building told across three generations, coming from Pyr in March of next year. Cover art is by the wonderful (and Hugo-nominated) Stephan Martiniere, with design by Jacqueline Cooke.

Gradisil has already drawn comparisons to “the best of Robert Heinlein” according to the Times, and SFX says, “Against the backdrop of Gradisil’s nation-building odyssey, Roberts impressively explores a variety of themes. It all adds up to proof, if any were really needed. That Roberts belongs in the front rank of hard SF writers.”

Nine Separate Drafts of Infoquake

David Louis Edelman has done something quite remarkable, and the result may prove very instructive to beginning writers. As he details on Deep Genre in a post entitled From First to Final Draft: A Case Study, David has posted all nine drafts of the first chapter of his novel Infoquake online. Beginning in 1997 (or 98!) and leading through April 17, 2006, David demonstrates just how much of writing is rewriting.

As David says, "Now the point of posting these drafts is not to dazzle everyone with how wise and witty I’ve become. (Although if anyone is dazzled, I’m enough of an egomaniac to take it, no questions asked.) The point is that I thought writing neophytes might be interested in a behind-the-scenes look at what novelists go through in the revision process. These are the actual drafts of chapter 1, unedited, unaltered from their original versions (except to convert them to HTML, naturally). I’ve also added a few footnotes along the way to give some clue as to what I was thinking as I was revising.

"And what lesson are you writing neophytes supposed to take away from this? Well, the obvious lesson, I guess, but also the most important: don’t give up."

8/14/06

The Straight Dope on the Crooked Letter

William Lexner has just posted his thoughts on Sean Williams' award-winning fantasy novel, The Crooked Letter, over on his blog I Hope I Didn't Just Give Away the Ending. William writes, "Set in the same world, as a prequel of sorts, as his previous young adult Book of The Change series, The Crooked Letter is a stark turn towards adult fantasy for Williams. In fact, the book is quite gritty, violent, and very much aimed at a mature audience....Mythologies and religious beliefs are melded and warped in a world not unlike our own in many ways. Narration is divided through the separate realms, but manages to weave itself into a wonderful story. The prose is eloquent and the dialogue is flawless.... I may not have been a Williams fan prior to it's reading, but I certainly count myself amongst that number now."

The follow-up novel to The Crooked Letter, The Blood Debt, will be published this coming October. Cover art for the series is by the wonderful Greg Bridges.

MacLeod Interviews Martin on Infinity

Ian R. MacLeod (The Light Ages, House of Storms) has just interviewed our own Martin Sketchley for the website Infinity Plus. Martin talks about his writing process, the influence of music and mythology on his work, and the future of science fiction:

"I've got a book called Dictionary of World Myth -- An A-Z reference guide to gods, goddesses, heroes, heroines and fabulous beasts. I love all that stuff, and pore over this book quite a lot when I'm developing a new idea. There's evidence of this in the chapter titles in The Affinity Trap and The Destiny Mask. Cerberus was a three-headed dog that guarded the underworld -- that's fantastic! (And I think he might have appeared in one of the Harry Potter films…) And I love the Labours of Herakles. My Favourite is the Stymphalian Birds, which is the title of the first chapter in The Destiny Mask. Herakles has to get rid of vicious man-eating birds with iron claws, wings and beaks that infested lake Stymphalios in Arcadia. He scared them out of the trees with his bronze castanets, then shot them down individually with his bow and arrow. I love anything with bronze castanets."

The third book in Martin's Structure series, The Liberty Gun, will be published this November. All covers shown here are by the wonderful Dave Seeley.

8/13/06

Sketchley and Meaney on & in the Matrix

Martin Sketchley is the author of the Structure Series, a fast-paced and gritty military SF comprised of the books The Affinity Trap, The Destiny Mask, and the forthcoming Liberty Gun (November). The Agony Column describes the series as, "just the sort of dense and intense science fiction space opera that we really love to read - a great combination of shameless entertainment with thought-provoking literature. This is clearly wide-screen, far-flung future science fiction with all the attendant baroque complexity in place."

Now, writing for the news magazine of the British Science Fiction Association, the Matrix, Martin Sketchley interviews acclaimed author John Meaney, whose Nulapeiron Sequence (Paradox, Context, and Resolution) has drawn comparisons to Frank Herbert's Dune books and racked up critical praise. (Paradox was chosen #2 in Barnes & Nobles' Top Ten SF&F Books of 2005, and won an IPPY award).

In this interview, they talk mostly about martial arts and its intersection with science fiction, with a few words about that famous movie of the same name as the magazine:

"I asked Meaney whether there are any SF books or films in which martial arts featured, and which he thought were particularly well executed? 'You know I’m fond of a good paradox...,' he says. 'I liked the wirework antics of The Matrix, because they’re supposed to be inside VR, and it works like a video game. Otherwise, I detest wirework movies.

'There have been flashes of authentic martial arts in some SF books. Um, Hardwired and Angel Station by Walter Jon Williams, who’s a kempo fourth dan, and Tricia Sullivan’s Someone To Watch Over Me. And there’s the occasional microsecond of fighting in Jon Courtenay Grimwood’s novels. Those moments work because he is the most stylish writer in the world.'"

John Meaney's To Hold Infinity makes its N. American debut this September.

8/8/06

Full Cover Spread for The Blood Debt

Presented for your viewing pleasure, the full jacket for Sean Williams' upcoming fantasy epic, The Blood Debt: Books of the Cataclysm: Two. In this case, we made use of the wonderful art and adapted elements of the design from the Australian edition, artwork by Greg Bridges and design by Gayna Murphy. Our own Jaqueline Cooke - who omits her name from the jacket - does deserve credit for adapting the Australian design on their mass-market paperback to the needs of our hardcover (those foil symbols weren't easy to resize), the wonderful flaps, etc... (Right click the image for a larger view as always)

The most excellent Hal Duncan, whose World Fantasy Award-nominated Vellum has drawn comparisons to the preceding book, The Crooked Letter, has this to say: "Williams's mix of grand metaphysical vision, weird landscapes, and wild adventure makes for a great read, but it's the deeply human story at the heart of The Crooked Letter that really makes it something wonderful."

Pyr WorldCon Panel: Fri 8/25 2:30 PM

8/3/06

9.0 0n the Richter Scale

Infoquake, the new novel from David Louis Edelman, is the subject of a BarnesandNoble.com Spotlight feature. B&N Explorations newsletter editor Paul Goat Allen says, "Brilliantly blending the cutthroat intrigues of the high-tech business world with revolutionary world building, Edelman could quite possibly be the love child of Donald Trump and Vernor Vinge. Infoquake is one of the most impressive science fiction debuts to come along in years -- highly recommended."

The Spotlight includes both B&N's review as well as a short interview with Edelman:


"Like with the character of Natch, there are things to both admire and fear about the future I've come up with. Hunger and disease have essentially vanished, and people take for granted the ability to travel anywhere in the world instantly. On the other hand, the world is ruled by an autocratic military organization that essentially has no checks and balances. I think some people would have been happier if I had written a straightforward novel with a good guy and a bad guy and an easily identifiable political bias. But for better or for worse, my dad taught me to always play the devil's advocate. "

Meanwhile,
Online discussion forums for Infoquake are now open on Yahoo! Groups. David Louis Edelman also has the following readings & appearances scheduled:
  • August 23-27: WorldCon in Anaheim, CA
  • September 1-4: Dragon-Con in Atlanta, GA
  • September 5: Reading and signing at Barnes & Noble in Baltimore, MD (time TBD)
  • September 7: Reading and signing at Barnes & Noble in Reston, VA at 7:30 P.M.
  • October 20-22: CapClave in Silver Spring, MD
Update: David is also interviewed on the live journal talk show here.

Brasyl: Think BLADERUNNER in the Tropics

Presented for your viewing pleasure: the front cover of multiple-award winning author Ian McDonald's much-anticipated next novel, Brasyl. As it was with River of Gods, artwork is once again courtesy of Hugo-nominated artist Stephan Martiniere, with design by Jacqueline Cooke. (Right click to enlarge.)

Billed as Bladerunner in the tropics, , Brasyl will do for Brazil what River of Gods does for India. Speaking in the August 2006 issue of Locus, Ian says, "My book Brasyl is set in present-day Brazil (or what seems like it), in Sao Paulo 2032, and in 1732 Brazil just before the Jesuits were expelled. It revolves around the way quantum computing opens up multiple parallel universes... and, of course, a whole lot more besides." Brasyl will be published May, 2007.

8/2/06

Lou Anders WorldCon Schedule

I am on a whoppin' 8 program items this year, including a Pyr panel at which we will talk about our upcoming books, introduce our authors & artists, and debut upcoming arwork:

Panel 1: Wed 8/23 4:00 PM, 60-90 minutes.
Title: FUTURE TRENDS IN SCIENCE FICTION
Participants:
Lou Anders
John-Henri Holmberg
James Patrick Kelly(M)
Mark von Schlegell
Gary K. Wolfe

Precis: Not long ago, we were awash in Splatterpunks, Cyberpunks, and even Steampunks. What happened to those SF literarymovements? What's the next trend?

Panel 2: Thu 8/24 12 Noon, 60 minutes.
Title: AUTOGRAPHING: Lou Anders
Participants:
Lou Anders

Panel 3: Thu 8/24 3:00 PM, 60 minutes.
Title: KAFFEKLATSCH: Lou Anders
Participants:
Lou Anders

Panel 4: Thu 8/24 5:30 PM, 60-90 minutes.
Title: PUBLISHING SCIENCE FICTION
Participants:
Lou Anders
Jaime Levine
Anthony R. Lewis
Alan Rodgers
Michael J. Walsh(M)

Precis: From small press to major publishing houses, science fiction is a popular place to be. What's it take to know the field and to get your books into the stores?

Panel 5: Fri 8/25 2:30 PM, 60-90 minutes.
Title: PYR: A LOOK FORWARD
Participants:
Lou Anders
David Louis Edelman
Kay Kenyon
Ian McDonald
John Picacio
Mike Resnick
Chris Roberson
Dave Seeley
Joel Shepherd
Sean Williams

Precis: One of science fiction's newest major publishers give a look at their future publications.

----------------------------------------
Panel 6: Sat 8/26 1:00 PM, 60-90 minutes.
Title: OMNIBUS PUBLISHING PANEL
Participants:
Lou Anders
Robert Meyer Burnett
Lydia C. Marano
Richard Pini
Evo Terra(M)
Gordon Van Gelder

Precis: Publishers from different areas of publishing -- a major imprint, a small press, an on-line magazine, a prozine --compare the similarities and differences in their tasks.

Panel 7: Sun 8/27 10:00 AM, 60-90 minutes.
Title: THE INFLUENCE OF EDITORS ON THE SF FIELD
Participants:
Lou Anders
Ellen Datlow(M)
David Hartwell
Stanley Schmidt
Sheila Williams

Precis: Do editors publish what the readers want to buy or does the field reflect the editors' tastes?

Panel 8: Sun 8/27 11:30 AM, 60-90 minutes.
Title: IN DEFENSE OF ESCAPIST LITERATURE
Participants:
Lou Anders
Pat Cadigan
Stephen Eley
Kelly L. Perry
Brandon Sanderson(M)

Precis: Science fiction has had a moniker of being junk food for the mind; escapist fare only. Is that true? Not all of it is literature but surely some of it must be? Mustn't it? What literary trends can be found? What will withstand the test of time? And does it matter?

8/1/06

Full Cover Spread for Sagramanda

Here is the full cover for Alan Dean Foster's Sagramanda, a techno-thriller set in near-future India coming this October. Art is by John Picacio, design by Jacqueline Cooke. A bit of a differnt look for us, no? I'm well pleased. (As always, click to enlarge.)

The Full Cover for Mappa Mundi

Here it is: the full cover spread for Justina Robson's upcoming near-future thriller, Mappa Mundi, due out this coming September in trade paperback. Artwork is by Stephan Martiniere with design by Jacqueline Cooke. Click for the large image of course. Nice yes?