Falling Sky

12/31/08

MultiReal makes io9's Best of 2008

David Louis Edelman's MultiRealmakes io9.com's Best Science Fiction Books of 2008 list, alongside such prestigious names as Neal Stephenson, Nancy Kress, Ken MacLeod, Cory Doctorow and others. They say:
An amazing hard scifi tale, this is the second in an action-packed series from Edelman. ...With so much mass-media science fiction featuring anti-science heroes who battle to stop science from 'going too far,' it's great to read a really smart novel about a hero who's fighting to save scientific progress from being suppressed. David Louis Edelman's MultiReal, the second volume in the trilogy that begins with Infoquake,is a welcome cure to the Fringe/Eleventh Hour science-bashing, even though it presents both the pro- and con- arguments about radical progress. But MultiReal is also way more entertaining than the science bashers.

12/29/08

Best of 2008: FF2 is Bookgasm's Best Book of the Year

Ryun Patterson, at Bookgasm, publishes his 5 Best Sci-Fi Books of 2008, and Fast Forward 2is the pick for the # 1 book of the year!
"Up until last year, I would never have believed that an anthology of new science fiction could be the best sci-fi book put out in a given year. First of all, is there even a demand for such a beast? It seems that a budding anthologist could make a far more successful book by picking a theme, say 'green aliens with tentacles who are really children in search of their parents but are thought of as evil because of a cultural misunderstanding,' and find awesome tales from the genre’s creaky grandmasters that would guarantee an endcap placement at Borders...

But Anders, who has paid his dues many times over in the science-fiction trenches, doesn’t seem to do the predictable thing, and his risk-taking has paid off. Fast Forward 2 is even more electric than last year’s first: Anders has assembled some of the best and brightest current stars of the genre, and they turned in stories that, as a whole, really do represent the cutting edge of fiction. From a fashion designer who grows living gowns to a raid on the doomsday seed bank to a young man getting Cyrano-with-a-twist dating advice in the India of the future, Fast Forward 2 is the book to read this year. It’s the surest of sure things, and a bargain, to boot."
Deeply honored.

12/26/08

Watch Real Live Authors Talk, Breath, Shrug and Scratch Themselves

Two video interviews with Pyr authors have cropped up recently.

David Louis Edelman is interviewed by the long-running show Fast Forward.

Joe Abercrombie is interviewed by Sci-Fi-London.

Both interviews are worthwhile and informative. Who knew these guys could talk as well as type?

12/23/08

End of the Century Rawks

From Library Journal: "The author of Here, There & Everywhere and The Voyage of Night Shining White blends high fantasy, Victorian mystery, and urban fantasy into one mesmerizing story that refreshes the Arthurian legend. "

From Publishers Weekly: "This ambitious fantasy combines three very British stories: an Arthurian fable, a Victorian murder mystery and a modern-day YA adventure tale. ...The hinted interconnections between the three tales are complex and fascinating... a rollicking ride."

From Booklist: "...a spectacular collection of secrets, murky underworld organizations, and everything from time travel to magical swords. In the dizzying conclusion, time lines converge in a satisfying reimagining of a very old story."

From Geek Monthly: "What do a soldier from the 6th century, a sleuth from the 19th century and an American teenager in 1999 all have in common? They are all characters in Chris Roberson’s ambitious quest for the Holy Grail that intermingles all three ages to truly entertaining effect."

Excited yet?

12/22/08

I've been busy...

A host of recent acquisitions, which, since they have appeared in Locus and are being talked about on various websites, I might as well aggregate here to whet your collective appetites:

The Ghosts
of Manhattan
, and an untitled sequel, a "steampunk superhero" tale from George Mann (The Affinity Bridge).

The Grave Thief, Book Three of the Twilight Reign, gritty epic fantasy from Tom Lloyd.

The Quiet War, brilliant near-future space opera from Paul McAuley.

Sasha: A Trial of Blood & Steel, book one of a epic fantasy quartet, from Joel Shepherd. Very politically savvy stuff and more of that "gritty" fantasy we love so much.

Diving into the Wreck, from Kristine Kathryn Rusch, wonderful space opera adventure based on her Asimov's Readers Choice Award-winning novella of the same name.

Dawnthief, Noonshade, and Nightchild, the Chronicles of the Raven trilogy - more (yes) "gritty" epic fantasy from James Barlcay.

The Office of Shadow, espionage meets epic fantasy in this sequel to Midwinter, from DC/Vertigo author Matthew Sturges.

Excited? I am.

12/21/08

Podcast: SF in SF

Anyone with a sincere interest in science fiction, its past and its future, its problems and its promise, needs to check out The Agony Column Podcast, Episode 519 right now. It's a taping of the panel discussion from SF in SF, this one featuring Kim Stanley Robinson, Cecilia Holland, and Barry Malzberg. I found it one of the most interesting and stimulating discussions of SF I've heard in ages, and it reminded me that a really good discussion of SF can be as exciting as reading the stuff. Here's the direct link (also on iTunes).

12/19/08

FF2: An Instant Classic

Ryun Patterson, of Bookgasm, on Fast Forward 2:
...a worthy successor [to Fast Forward 1]: Anders has assembled a batch of stories that span the breadth of modern science fiction and provide a better introduction to today’s scene than the musty copies of Fahrenheit 451 lingering in high school English classes ever could. ...anybody that loves science fiction (and fans of the recent outpouring of well-written sci-fi television and movies looking for literary sustenence) can put their trust into Mr. Anders and this instant classic.
And I'm grateful that Ryun took time to mention the cover art:
John Picacio’s ridiculously cool jet-legs-ape-in-front-of-rampaging-mob cover infers a story all its own, and readers can use their own imaginations to come up with the plot for that one.

12/18/08

Mike Moorcock Turns 69

SF Grandmaster and living legend Michael Moorcock is blowing out the b-day candles today. If you don't have a copy of his Pyr release THE METATEMPORAL DETECTIVE, the gift-giving season is a great time to rectify that (gentle holiday nudge...;)). Have a good one, Mike!

12/12/08

Cover Debut: the trade paperback edition of A World Too Near

Here is the jacket for the trade paperback edition of Kay Kenyon's A World Too Near,a book of which Realms of Fantasy said, "It would be criminal if this book didn't make year's best lists at the end of 2008."
As with the hardcover, art is by Stephan Martiniere, design by Jacqueline Cooke.

12/10/08

Mind Meld: Best of 2008

SF Signal asks, "Q: What were the best genre-related books, movies and/or shows you consumed in 2008?" Their panel of experts include Mary Robinette Kowal, Ted Kosmatka, John Picacio, Paul McAuley, Marc Gascoigne, and Bob Eggelton.

Very happy to see several Pyr books get a mention: Fast Forward 2, Brasyl, River of Gods (even though it wasn't a 2008 book) and even the forthcoming Age of Misrule trilogy.

And of course, in the film category, I'm always happy to see The Dark Knight get mentioned.

12/5/08

Sandy Collora's Hunter Prey

I have a soft spot for commercial director and filmmaker Sandy Collora's short and very professional fan film, Batman: Dead End. And you know I am always excited about indicators that SF filmmaking is becoming more affordable, thus leading to more of every kind of SF film. So I was excited to see this piece on io9.com interviewing Sandy about his new feature-length original film, Hunter Prey. Apparently the film -- about "a crew of special forces commandos who must recapture an alien prisoner that has escaped after the military transport ship carrying it crashes on a desolate and hostile planet" -- has even attracted the attention of Guillermo Del Toro. So hopefully this will lead to more and bigger things from a director who says that science fiction has the power to make you think about "things like war, politics and current events, by presenting them in situations cinematically from a uniquely different perspective. That's one of the great things about Science Fiction; You can tell the audience something in a very unique way by using the guise of a futuristic world or society that can reflect our own."

12/4/08

Buy Books Like Life Depended On It! (Maybe Not Yours, But Someone's.)

So, if you haven't heard the news, or seen Andrew Wheeler's rundown, yesterday was publishing's "Black Wednesday," with layoffs and changes at Random House, Thomas Nelson, Simon & Schuster, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, others. Prompting in part this good advice from John Scalzi:
Buy some damn books.

Fortunately, this advice is well-timed: Books are inexpensive yet valued objects, which means that they make lovely gifts for whatever holiday festivities you subscribe to this time of year. Now is a fine time to introduce friends and loved ones to some of your favorite authors — and in doing so, you’re boosting that author’s sales, which will make his or her publisher marginally less liable to dump their shivering ass onto the street. You’re giving a gift a loved one will appreciate, you’re doing your favorite authors a favor, and you’re doing your part to keep editors and publishers from hurling themselves out of high-rise windows. Truly, everybody wins.

So, go: Make this a bookish holiday season. You know you want to anyway. I, my fellow authors and a grateful publishing industry thank you in advance for your cooperation, and for your seasonal purchases.

Amen.

For our part, my wife and I have decided to give everyone books and bookstore gift cards this Xmas. It has the added bonus of making our shopping really quick and easy too.

12/3/08

Pyr on Facebook

Pyr has a Facebook page now. For those of you who are on the social networking site/time sink, please become a "fan" and help us spread the love.

Fast Forward 2: Catching the Zeitgeist

Paul Raven, of Futurismic, reviews Fast Forward 2,proclaiming it, "an excellent anthology." He reviews each story individually, in order of its Futurismic-relevance, concluding:
 ...if you wanted a good argument for buying anthologies of original short science fiction stories - or even a good defence against those who claim the form is ossified and irrelevant - Fast Forward 2 has your back. The economics of sf magazine publishing may be in question, but the quality of fiction available is riding as high as it has ever been. Sincerely recommended.
However, I'm always thrilled when a reviewer takes the time to consider the cover art, so it's his summation of John Picacio's artwork that I really want to call out here:
 ...a real Zeitgeist catch. Below is strife, carnage, religious angst; thrusting upwards is bionic monkey-man, his chains broken asunder, transcending mundane squabbles for the promise of space and rationalism (bubble chamber tracks?). The religious discord is heightened by the DNA motif, explicitly repeated in the exhaust blast of robomonkey… if you wanted to encapsulate the hope for a triumph (or at least secession) of a rational worldview, I think you’d struggle to make a more arresting and vivid image in the process.
Nice when someone gets it.

12/2/08

Cover Debut: Justina Robson's Chasing the Dragon

Here's the cover for Justina Robson's fourth Quantum Gravity book, Chasing the Dragon.Art once again by Larry Rostant, design by Grace Conti-Zilsberger. Click to enlarge. Sweet, no?

12/1/08

Is There a Silver SFnal Lining to the Recession?

Been talking about the economy as relates to SF with Mark Chadbourn, whose Age of Misrule trilogy we'll be publishing in a few months. He kindly lets me repost his thoughts here:
My joint major at university was economics, and the upshot of that is I'm always out-of-cycle with everyone else. I'm worrying six months ahead of an economic downturn when everyone else is smiling, and I'm smiling when everyone else is miserable, which sometimes doesn't win friends.

It seems we're on a cusp now: a couple of months to see if the measures all Governments are introducing actually start getting people spending (which is the key in any recession - if people save everything goes into a downward spiral). But in six months we should be seeing the very early stages of an up-tick. Any company which weathers the next six months should be in a good position.

Somewhere I've got a talk I occasionally give about how genre is the marker for great social and political events. One of the strands is how SF/F/Crime always does *exceptionally* well in economically difficult times - if you plot it out on a graph, it becomes very clear. But just think with SF in the thirties and seventies. Horror, incidentally, does well in boom-times.

If I was on the stock market, I'd be advising investors to put their cash in SF/F for the next few years because, as you're finding, it's going to do really well. It would be good if someone could pitch this theory to the major chains, because if they got behind it, everyone would benefit (and it would become self-fulfilling).

Fast Forward 2: Best of the Year

In the just-released December issue of Locus, Gardner Dozois breaks down 2008's best sf anthologies in his column, "Gardnerspace".
"This has been an almost unprecedented year for the number of first-rate original SF anthologies published, at least since the heyday of Orbit, New Dimensions, and Universe in the '70's. ...I'd have to say that the three strongest original SF anthologies of the year were Lou Anders' Fast Forward 2,Jonathan Strahan's Eclipse 2, and Strahan's The Starry Rift.... Of these, I think I'd give a very slight edge to Fast Forward 2."
Meanwhile, at Strange Horizons, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro writes:
"Fast Forward 2 proves itself that rare beast among anthologies of the imagination: one whose content actually provides a materialization of its own theoretical blueprint."
Lots of nice things said about each of the individual stories. And (I must add) a very well-written review too, with paragraphs like:

"Catherine Drew" by Paul Cornell is wildly inventive. Its Hero, Hamilton, speaks in a way ("'You've got a problem, Miss Drewe,' he said") that captures the essence of this alternate-history spy thriller in a British Empire-dominated future. The plot, propelled not so much by a single McGuffin as by a combustible gas of intelligent deceptions and counter-deceptions, makes as much sense as it needs to:

'Is that the mission, sir?'
'No. We've created and are ready to plant chaotic information of an unbreakable nature strongly suggesting that this has already happened...' (p. 22)

The alternate history milieu expertly justifies not only the background but the feel of the world that Cornell creates, yet is never so startling as to prove distracting from Hamilton's exploits. Shaken, not stirred? More like vacuum-decompressed.

And then, in a final summation about the purpose of SF:
"What it should do, above all else, is tell stories well, so well that they cannot be disregarded, so well that they cannot but be taken seriously. Fortunately for us, Fast Forward 2 arrives with gifts that do just that. May it be followed by plenty of equally riveting and well-produced sequels."
What a nice start to my Monday.