"I wanted my readers to feel like they were right there with the characters – right inside their heads, if possible – part of the action rather than floating dispassionately above it. I wanted to tell a story as close-up as possible, so you can smell the sweat, and feel the pain, and understand the emotions. I want a reader to be nailed to the text, chewing their fingernails to find out what happens next, not constantly flipping back to the fly-leaf to check just how far north exactly Carleon is from Uffrith, or whatever. The characters often don’t know what’s going on – they don’t have a conveniently accurate map to hand, why should the reader?"
Meanwhile, check out Joe's new website, and lookee here, we've put the first 63 pages of The Blade Itself online!
Obviously, I'm thrilled that Stephan Martiniere's wonderful illustration for the Pyr edition of Ian McDonald's River of Godstops the list of the "Best Cover Illustration -- Hardback Book." Stephan is nominated again in the category of Award for Artistic Achievement.
Meanwhile, my dear friend and illustrator for all five of my own anthologies, John Picacio, is also up twice, for the amazing work he did on the cover of the Eos reissue of A Canticle for Leibowitzand for the cover of Interzone magazine's 204th issue.
But beyond all that, I'm deeply honored to have shown up on the shortlist myself for Best Art Director. I don't know if this is the first time someone from editorial has made the shortlist, but it's got to be a rare occurrence if not a unique one. So I want to say upfront that while I'm very pleased and proud, what this nomination means is that people think our books look really damn good, and that is a credit to a great many people. Beyond the fabulous illustrators we've had the privilege to work with -- Picacio, Martiniere, Caniglia, Brian W. Dow, Greg Bridges, Bob Eggleton, Jim Burns, Dave Seeley, among others -- my parent company Prometheus Books has a fabulous art department, and one that is very patient to put up with me breathing over their shoulders to the degree that I do. Jaqueline Cooke, Grace M. Conti-Zilsberger, and Nicole Sommer-Lecht are all tremendous, very talented, and I am very grateful to them to work so hard and so well in the service of the Pyr line. What's more, I owe an eternal debt of gratitude to Irene Gallo and John Picacio, who have both been very free with their time and their advice and are much wiser souls than I.
Now, here's the full list:
Best Cover Illustration -- Hardback Book
* Stephan Martiniere, "River of Gods", by Ian McDonald, Pyr, Mar 2006
* Jon Foster, "The Demon and the City", by Liz Williams, Night Shade Books, Aug 2006
* Donato Giancola, "The Thirteenth House", by Sharon Shinn, Ace, Mar 2006
* Todd Lockwood, "Temeraire: In the Service of the King", by Naomi Novik, SFBC, 2006
* James A. Owen, "Here, There Be Dragons (Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica)" by James A. Owen, Simon & Schuster, Sept 2006
Best Cover Illustration -- Paperback Book
* John Picacio, "A Canticle for Leibowitz", by Walter M. Miller, Eos, May 2006
* Daniel Dos Santos, "Moon Called", by Patricia Briggs, Ace, Feb 2006
* Vince Natale, "Queen of Attolia", by Megan Whalen Turner, Eos, Jan 2006
Best Cover Illustration -- Magazine
* Steven Gilberts, "Dark Wisdom: the Magazine of Dark Fiction", Winter 2006
* Renee LeCompte, "Fantasy Magazine", Summer 2006
* John Picacio, "Interzone" #204, May/June 2006
* r.k.post, "Dragon" #336, January 2006
Best Interior Illustration
* Tony Di Terlizzi, "Care and Feeding of Sprites", by Holly Black & Tony Di Terlizzi
* Omar Rayyan, "Cricket Magazine"
* Yvonne Gilbert, "The Ice Dragon", by George R.R. Martin, Starscape, Oct 2006
* Justin Sweet, "Kull: Exile of Atlantis" by Robert E. Howard, Del Rey, Oct 2006
* Ruth Thompson & Lawrence Allen Williams, "The Book Angels" by Todd Jordan, Sterling 2006
* Michael Kaluta, "The Orphan's Tales: In the Night Garden" by Catherynne M. Valente, Spectra, Oct 2006
* James A. Owen, "Here, There Be Dragons (Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica)", by James A. Owen, Simon & Schuster, Sept 2006
Best Color Work -- Unpublished
* Jim Burns, "Dryad of the Oak", acrylic
* Donato Giancola, "Tristan and Isolde", oil
* Stephen Hickman, "Galadriel's Harp"
* Michael Whelan, "Retrospection", acrylic
* Benita Winckler, "Changing", digital
Best Monochrome -- Unpublished
* Donato Giancola, "Red Sonya", pencil & chalk
* Stephanie Pui-Man Law, "Plum Blossoms", ink
* Alex McVey, "Love Bites", pencil
* Tom Fleming, "Spring", pencil
* Joe Bellafatto, "The Great Temptation: Angel of Death"
Best Three Dimensional Art
* Laura Reynolds, "Ice Dragon", mixed
* Gabriel Marquez, "Cthulhu V2", porcelain
* Scott Webb, "Head over Heels", polymert clay
* Forest Rogers, "Sea Maid's Music", clay and misc.
* Luke Eldridge, "Gargoyle Descending", wire
Best Gaming Related Illustration
* Carl Critchlow "An Ill Wind Blows"
* Ralph Horsley "Thri-Keen"
* Todd Lockwood, "Dragons of Fearum"
* Richard Sardinha,"Coils of Set"
* Eva Widerman, "Seed of Undead"
* Paul & Michael Bielaczyc, "Knightly Order of Ansalom"
Best Product Illustration
* Douglas Fitch, production design for LA Opera's,"Hansel and Gretel"
* Nathan Crowley, architectural design for the movie, "The Lake House"
* Eugenio Caballero and William Stout, production designer and conceptual designer for the movie "Pan's Labyrinth"
Award for Artistic Achievement
* Stephan Martiniere
* John Jude Palencar
* Kinuko Y. Craft
* John Howe
* Alan Lee
Best Art Director
* Irene Gallo, Tor Books
* Matt Adelsperger, Wizards of the Coast
* Lou Anders, Pyr
* David Stevenson, Del Rey
* Jeremy Jarvis, Wizards of the Coast
* Judith Murello, Berkley Publishing Group
* Nicolas Sica, Bookspan (SFBC)
* Justin Stewart, Apex Magazine
Meanwhile, I've just found a new-to-me review site, Alternative Reality Web Zine, where Andrea Johnson says that McDonald is "Throwing standard American/Western European science fiction on it's head." She describes the novel as "part cyberpunk, part historical narrative, part bladerunner, part parallel universe epic, and part introduction to a culture most Americans know nothing about.... Sure, I've read parallel universe plotlines before, but Brasyl takes it to a whole new level of weirdness. McDonald's characterization is great, the characters feel realistic, fleshed out, and for the most part, unlikeable... Enjoy their stories for what they are, don't rush to the end for the action. The enjoyment of the journey makes the unexpected and bizarre kicker even sweeter."
"... like many fantastical books, it is the universe that Edelman has created that is of equal importance as the story itself that takes place there. And indeed, this is yet something else that many sci-fi fans love about sci-fi, is the vast and consistent environment that is created for these stories to reside; it's what makes Trekkies Trekkies, what keeps Star Wars fans endlessly arguing over what is 'canon' material versus 'non-canon.' And in this case, Edelman creates a whopper of a universe for his characters to inhabit, one filled with an entire glossary of minor figures and obscure historical events, just begging for a little fan-fiction to fill the gaps..."
Amsusingly, the review gives Infoquake a rating broken out by Story, Characters and Style, with an Overall rating of "6.8, or 9.3 for science-fiction fans."
The review also contains a foot-note: "Oh, and speaking of complex backstories and fan-fiction projects, no review of Infoquake is complete without special mention of the absolutely astounding support website Edelman has created for it; ...'astounding' as in the amount of background information Edelman provides about the 'Jump 225' universe, including not only a full reprinting of the paper book's appendices but also almost 10,000 words of backstory not found in the book at all. Imagine if JRR Tolkien had had access to a personal website while writing Lord of the Rings, where he was able to publish his background notes in real time instead of years after his death."
And there's a repeat of the call for fan fiction: "... just begging for some smart fan-fiction to fill in the narrative gaps. So how about it, Edelman? You claim to be a big fan of the Web 2.0; how about open-sourcing the background universe of Jump 225, and allowing others to write and publish their own stories that take place in it? We nerdy slashfic Sigh fans anxiously await your answer!"
We discuss her move to Wenatchee, Washington; the plot of Bright of the Sky;why she thinks the good old fashioned hero has been missing from science fiction; why the protagonasit, Titus Quinn, suffers from amnesia; the two universes of Bright of the Sky; why the denizens of The Entire refer to Earth as The Rose; why she chose to emulate ancient Mandarin culture in her book; other cultures she has incoporated into her stories; my interview with Lou Anders of Pyr books; Flash Gordon; writing the scene of Titus Quinn’s heinous crime; the challenge of developing Titus Quinn’s daughter, Sydney; themes she will be exploring in future books in the series; why she began writing fiction and science fiction; why she thinks more women are writing and enjoying science ficiton.
"I walk away from this book convinced that he's lived it all. I absolutely believe that this middle-aged white Irishman is also an indian boy, a self-absorbed Latin American woman, a Jesuit priest, and a walker between the universes. There's no other explanation."
Then, after a bit of plot description he summarizes McDonald's accomplishment thusly:
"...the brilliance lies in how MacDonald marries these tropes of radical Hard SF to the South American traditional themes of Latin American magical realism, melding it all together and spitting out something that feels like it's never been done before. And on top of that, there's probably at least two new ideas on every page that stops you cold in your tracks, where you put the book down and just stare into space. ...you just end up hating this guy for being so damn clever."
DragonCon (Atlanta, GA.) - August 30-September 3, 2007
ConText (Columbus, OH.) - September 28-30, 2007
WindyCon (Chicago, IL.) - November 9-11, 2007
ConFusion (Flint, MI.) - January 18-20, 2008
CoSine (Colorado Springs, CO.) - January 25-27, 2008
CapriCon (Chicago, IL.) - February 14-17, 2008
OmegaCon (Birmingham, AL.) - March 14-16, 2008
ConCarolinas (Charlotte, NC.) - May 30-June 1, 2008
Midwestcon (Cincinnati, OH.) - June 26-June 29, 2008
WorldCon (Denver, CO.) - August 6-10, 2008
Moving on to Kay Kenyon's Bright of the Sky, Jeff writes that it is, "a splendid fantasy quest as compelling as anything by Stephen R. Donaldson, Philip José Farmer or, yes, J.R.R. Tolkien." He has some reservations about the Earth-centered sections of the novel, but concedes that, "Once in The Bright, you can actually feel the grasses and smell the smoke from the trains and experience great wonder in the cities of this impossible yet beautiful universe." Meanwhile, over on his blog, Ecstatic Days, Jeff comments that Bright of the Sky " could well become a classic in the field." Which is certainly okay by us.
As John says above, Chris's novels occur in one big, interconnected multiverse, much like those of his influences Michael Moorcock and Philip José Farmer and his contemporary Kage Baker. Chris himself expands on the relationship between these two particular novels on his blog, Roberson's Interminable Ramble. Meanwhile, he is also interviewed over on Heidi's Pick Six, a blog that asks an author to pick six out of fifteen standard questions. How standard? Question number three is "coffee, tea, or milk?"
Meanwhile, here is the final full jacket of the book. This was composed by Jaqueline Cooke, following the original design by Laura Brett. Astute readers will notice font changes from the UK edition, though we share the letter "h." Also the final printed version will see gold foil used to limn the title and author's name, with the arrow design and the words "the first law: book one" in solid foil.
"If you're fond of bloodless, turgid fantasy with characters as thin as newspaper and as boring as plaster saints, Joe Abercrombie is really going to ruin your day. A long career for this guy would be a gift to our genre."- Scott Lynch, author of The Lies of Locke Lamora
"We have to keep struggling in order to maintain justice -- the Balance," says Mike. "The price of freedom is to quote again, eternal vigilance. My next book, The Metatemporal Detective (due in October from Pyr), might otherwise be different from anything I've done before, but ultimately that's the same message it offers."
Meanwhile, over on his blog On the Front, John Picacio talks about the cover, posting the final front cover image, the image sans type, and the spine/back cover wrap. Elsewhere on John's blog, he discusses the Death Ray issue and - for Elric fans - he gives a glimpse of one of his interior illustrations for the upcoming Del Rey reissue, Elric The Stealer of Souls. Together with the image on the right, these represent the first look at "the Picacio Elric."
For more of Kay's wit and wisdom, visit her LiveJournal.
Quill nominee, Salon.com's Summer Reading Recommendation, Starred Review in PW, Starred Review in Booklist, A grade in SciFi Weekly, B+ in Entertainment Weekly. Ranked # 5 on the bestselling hardcover list at San Francisco-based independent genre bookstore Borderlands Books for May 2007
- Boing Boing: "...his finest novel to date"
- Salon.com: "...you will delight in Brasyl."
- Amazon's Bookstore Blog: "McDonald deserves to be going up against most of the world’s top fiction writers, period."
- Sci Fi Weekly: "...hot and tropical and full of music."
- Publishers Weekly: "Chaotic, heartbreaking and joyous, ... must-read"
- Locus: "...without doubt one of the major SF books of 2007."
BSFA Award winner, Arthur C. Clarke nominee, Hugo nominee, starred review in Library Journal
- Washington Post: "...a major achievement from a writer who is becoming one of the best sf novelists of our time."
- Library Journal: "Highly Recommended.”
- Asimov's: "A literary masterpiece."
- San Francisco Chronicle: "...one of the best science fiction novels published in the United States this year.”
- Publishers Weekly: "...sure to be one of the more talked-about SF novels of the year."
Locus Recommended Read, Starburst Five Star Review
- Entertainment Weekly: ""For fans of Tolkien, had he gone electric, dropped acid, and discovered tantric sex."
- Ain't It Cool News: "This isn't SF for SF readers. This is SF for a generation raised on anime, manga, and MMORPGs. This is SF for the Wii gamer. "
- Monsters & Critics: "This action-packed futuristic sci-fi that will appeal to techies and fantasy fans alike."
- Library Journal: "...skillfully builds a seamless connection between sf and fantasy in this fast-paced series opener featuring a strong, action-oriented heroine and a unique world setting."
- SFX: "...a novel packed with memorable characters and ideas but that doubles as holiday-reading escapism.”
Starred Review in Publishers Weekly, A grade in SciFi Weekly
- Publishers Weekly: “Kenyon’s vision of a unique universe ranks with those of such science fiction greats as Frank Herbert and Orson Scott Card.”
- Sci Fi Weekly: ""a bravura concept bolstered by fine writing; lots of plausible, thrilling action; old-fashioned heroism; and strong emotional hooks."
- Booklist: "...a fascinating and gratifying feat of worldbuilding... a grand epic, indeed. "
- Library Journal: "Reminiscent of the groundbreaking novels of Philip K. Dick, Philip Jose Farmer, and Dan Simmons."
Barnes & Noble's # 1 Editor's Choice Top 10 SF&F Novels for 2006, John W. Campbell Memorial Award Nominee for Best Novel 2006, Bookgasm's 5 Best SciFi Books of 2006
- Publishers Weekly: "Bursting with invention and panache."
- B&N Explorations: "The love child of Donald Trump and Vernor Vinge."
- SFFWorld: "This may be THE science fiction book of the year."
- Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show: "Like a more accessible Charles Stross."
- Asimov's: "A high-speed, high-spirited tale of capitalist skullduggery."
B in Sci Fi Weekly
- Publishers Weekly: "Readers craving intelligent, character-driven SF need look no further.”
- Analog: "...a fast, smooth, utterly effortless read.”
- SF Reviews: "...simply pure escapism, impossible to resist by anyone who still remembers that good old fashioned sense of wonder.”
- Sci Fi Weekly: "...good old-fashioned space adventure."
- Library Journal: "Snappy dialog, intriguing human and alien characters, and a keen sense of dramatic focus."
- 2007 Quill Award nominee: Ian McDonald, Brasyl
- 2007 Hugo Award nominee - Best Professional Editor - Long Form - Lou Anders
- 2006 World Fantasy Award nominee - Special Award, Professional - Lou Anders
- 2006 John W. Campbell Award for Best Novel nominee - David Louis Edelman, Infoquake
- 2006 Independent Publisher Book Award winner - John Meaney, Paradox
- 2005 Philip K Dick Award nominee - Justina Robson, Silver Screen
- 2006 John W Campbell Best New Writer nominee - Chris Roberson
- 2005 John W Campbell Best New Writer nominee - Chris Roberson
- Locus magazine’s Recommended Reading: 2006 : Joe Abercombie - The Blade Itself, Justina Robson - Keeping It Real
- 3 Pyr Books included in the B&N Editor's Choice: Top Ten SF&F Novels of 2006: David Louis Edelman - Infoquake (#1), Sean Williams -The Crooked Letter, John Meaney - Resolution
- 2 Pyr Books included in Waterstone's Top Ten SF for 2006: Joel Shepherd - Crossover, Chris Roberson - Paragaea: A Planetary Romance
- 3 Pyr Books included in Bookgasm's Top Five SciFi Books of 2006 - Ian McDonald - River of Gods (#1), Joel Shepherd - Crossover, David Louis Edelman - Infoquake
- Sean Williams, The Hanging Mountains selected as a BookSense Notable Book for July
- Kay Kenyon, Bright of the Sky - one of four novels selected by ReaderCon "the con that assigns homework" for their attendees to read pre-convention
- Justina Robson, Silver Screen selected for Kirkus Reviews Best SF&F Books of 2005
- John Meaney, Paradox - #2 on Barnes & Noble's Editor's Choice: Top Ten SF&F Novels of 2005
- 2007 Arthur C Clarke Award nominee - Adam Roberts, Gradisil (Gollancz)
- 2005 Arthur C Clarke Award nominee - Ian McDonald, River of Gods (Simon & Schuster)
- 2004 British Science Fiction Association Award winner - Ian McDonald, River of Gods (Simon & Schuster)
- Spain's Xatafi-Cyberdark Awards. nominees: Mike Resnick, New Dreams for Old and Ian McDonald, River of Gods.
"...the mind-blowing concept is enough to make me want more. " Fantasy Book Critic
"[E]xplores the nature of life, death, and reality. Big subjects, but with the precision of an archaeological expert, Williams is more than up to the task. There is a lot to admire in Williams' epic fantasy, the wide range of global religions and myths of which his afterlife is comprised, to the characterization of the protagonists. The story has the mythic resonance of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman and American Gods, the dark fantasy/horror one might associate with something like Stephen King’s Dark Tower saga, the multiple universes/realities of Moorcock’s Eternal Champion mythos, and the strange, weird creatures one might associate with China Miéville’s Bas-lag novels. Williams imagined world is equal part those novels which preceded his, but fortunately, there is enough newness to both the approach and vision to make this the work of a singular vision...." [R]eading many of the other titles Lou Anders has published with Pyr, I shouldn’t have been surprised with both the quality of the writing and the breadth of Williams’ imagination. Like a lot of the other books published by Pyr, Williams captures what makes a tried and true genre like Epic Fantasy so popular and enjoyable of a genre and spins a tale with his unique voice. This is the type of book you finish and can’t wait to read the sequel."- SFFWorld.com
From the book description:
Seaton Begg and his constant companion, pathologist Dr "Taffy" Sinclair, both head the secret British Home Office section of the Metatemporal Investigation Department--an organization whose function is understood only by the most high-ranking government people around the world--and a number of powerful criminals.
Begg's cases cover a multitude of crimes in dozens of alternate worlds, generally where transport is run by electricity, where the internal combustion engine is unknown, and where giant airships are the chief form of international carrier. He investigates the murder of English Prime Minister "Lady Ratchet," the kidnapping of the king of a country taken over by a totalitarian regime, and the death of Geli Raubel, Adolf Hitler's mistress. Other adventures take him to a wild west where "the Masked Buckaroo" is tracking down a mysterious red-eyed Apache known as the White Wolf; to 1960s' Chicago where a girl has been killed in a sordid disco; and to an independent state of Texas controlled by neocon Christians with oily (and bloody) hands. He visits Paris, where he links up with his French colleagues of the Sûreté du Temps Perdu. In several cases the fanatical Adolf Hitler is his opponent, but his arch-enemy is the mysterious black sword wielding aristocrat known as Zenith the Albino, a drug-dependent, charismatic exile from a distant realm he once ruled.
In each story the Metatemporal Detectives' cases take them to worlds at once like and unlike our own, sometimes at odds with and sometimes in league with the beautiful adventuresses Mrs. Una Persson or Lady Rosie von Bek. At last Begg and Sinclair come face to face with their nemesis on the moonbeam roads which cross between the universes, where the great Eternal Balance itself is threatened with destruction and from which only the luckiest and most daring of metatemporal adventurers will return.These fast-paced mysteries pay homage to Moorcock's many literary enthusiasms for authors as diverse as Clarence E. Mulford, Dashiell Hammett, Georges Simenon, and his boyhood hero, Sexton Blake.
Although he has written outside of it, the vast majority of Chris's published and forthcoming work is set in one of two fictional universes. First, there is his stories of the extended Bonaventure-Carmody clan. Comparable to Michael Moorcock's Beck/Begg dynasty, Chris says, "Along with the von Beck family, the other inspirations for the Bonaventure family (more properly the Bonaventure-Carmody family, though the Carmody side of the clan hasn’t much appeared in print, as yet) are Kim Newman’s Diogenes Club stories, and Philip José Farmer’s Wold-Newton stories. I’ve got a real weakness for stories that mix genres, or at least blend different subgenres, and I’ve always been a sucker for heroes." Novels in this universe include Here, There & Everywhere, Paragaea, Set the Seas on Fire (forthcoming, but featuring a pre-Paragaea Hieronymus Bonaventure) and End of the Century.
His other major universe is that of the Celestial Empire, an alternate history of a space-faring Chinese empire that diverges from our own timeline sometime in the 15th Century and follows the empire as it sets out to colonize Mars. I published the first of these tales, "O One," in my anthology Live Without a Net. Several more have appeared in Asimov's and Postscripts, with the novella The Voyage of Night Shining Whiteout from PS Publishing. Forthcoming is The Dragon's Nine Sons, which I suspect will rocket these tales to widespread attention. Speaking of the universe, Roberson says, "With a timeline that covers a thousand years, the stories I’ve written in it tend to focus on the quieter moments, on people just a little bit off to the side, right before or right after some larger and louder event has taken place. Not the larger-than-life heroes and villains, but regular people caught in the wake of extraordinary events. Even when I try to write about the more pivotal moments in the history, I find myself gravitating to those at the sidelines, for some reason." Novels in this universe include The Voyage of Night Shining White (novella), and the forthcoming The Dragon's Nine Sons and Iron Jaw & Hummingbird.
Check out the interview, and then, if you haven't already, dive into the universe of your choice. Not that you can't visit both.
Speaking of how the three story lines converge in a tale of parallel realities, Stuart says, "Really -- this is exactly what I read science fiction for: to be shown dazzling new things, new worlds -- new thoughts, even; to be immersed in unfamiliar milieux and made aware of the potential wonder of the world around us, whether in a different dimension or just a different timezone."