The Geomancer


James Enge Sits Down with the Dragon

James Enge, author of Blood of Ambrose,is the guest of episode 364A of the Dragon Page Cover to Cover podcast. Their description: "James Enge joins Michael and Michael this week to discuss his new book, Blood of Ambrose from Pyr. They chat about story outline and structure, intentional and circumstantial comedy and planning out multivolume series. Chaos enters, hilarity ensues!"

Give Hope, and Ian McDonald, a Chance

Derek Shearer, Professor of Diplomacy at Occidental College and former US ambassador, writing in The Huffington Post, on "Give Hope A Chance: The Renewal of Summer." He speaks of his wife's faith in Obama, the poignant feelings from his sister's recent passing, and, his summer reading:

"I've also begun reading novels by British 'science fiction' writer Ian McDonald about other rising powers -- India and Brazil. In River of Godsand the sequel, Cyberabad Days,the writer depicts the India of 2047 as a superpower of one-and-a-half billion in an age of climate change and technological advance -- water wars, genetically improved children -- and a country that has fractured into a dozen separatist states. Similarly, McDonald's novel Brasylis a portrait of near-future Brazil and the lives of a Rio TV producer, a self-made businessman up from the slums of Sao Paulo, and a Jesuit missionary on a mission in the 18th century. It won the British Science Fiction award. The books are well written, semi-plausible and offer a non-American-centric view of the near future -- something that is hard to get from reading or listening to US media cover how the President killed a fly on the air, what Newt Gingrich has to say, or the continuing adventures of Sarah Palin and her family."

Very glad you are enjoying the books, Derek. Next year will see the release of The Dervish House, set in Turkey in an even-nearer future. In the meantime, I hope you get your wish!


Blood of Ambrose & Stalking the Vampire: Now in Kindle Format

James Enge's Blood of Ambrose and Mike Resnick's Stalking the Vampireare the latest Pyr books to appear in the Amazon Kindle Store.

(The Fictionwise version of the first book in the John Justin Mallory series, Stalking the Unicorn, is also in the Kindle store for those who haven't read book one.)


You're Going to Love Eva Forge

One of the best books I've read in a while that I didn't edit/publish at Pyr was Tim Akers' absolutely brilliant, Heart of Veridon, a steampunk noir forthcoming from Solaris in August. The book is fantasticly imaginative, the dialogue pitch perfect, the story screaming to be an Alex Proyas film. In fact, it impressed me so much that I chased Tim down for his next one.

Thus, I am very happy to inform you all that we concluded a deal last Friday to publish his novel, The Horns of Ruin, which mixes those same elements of steampunk and crime noir that he does so well with both high fantasy and urban fantasy. I was hooked from the first line of the pitch:

Eva Forge is the last paladin of a dead god.

Cue the Keanu Reeves "whoa." And if that doesn't get you, Tim elaborates, "You know, paladins with jetpacks. Clockwork monasteries besieged by revenants."

Excited? I sure am. Tim's writing it at the moment, so we're looking at late 2010 for a pub date at the earliest, but you can pick up Heart of Veridon in August, and then you can get as excited as I am.

Now, why not head over to Tim's blog and congratulate him?


Denis Bayle

Denis Bayle is less well-known as a science fiction writer than he ought to be ... personally, we at the AR Project think Lou should think about reissuing his entire backlist under the Pyr imprint. Until that happy day, we have to make do with books like this 'fictionalised' version of Bayle’s biography over at Futurismic. This 'fictional' account is supposedly written by one ‘Thomas Hedgekin’, presumably a pseudonym of some kind. For the record, the Adam Roberts Project has a low opinion of pseudonyms.


2009 Chesley Award Nominations

The 2009 Chesley Award Nominations are up.

And I am very pleased to announce that we have no less than 3 book covers up for awards.

In the hardcover category: Dan Dos Santos is up for his cover for Mike Resnick's Stalking the Vampire (wonderful design by Nicole Sommer-Lecht).

And for paperback: Todd Lockwood is up for his cover for Tom Lloyd's The Stormcaller (wonderful design by Grace Conti-Zilsberger ), while John Picacio is also up for his cover for my anthology, Fast Forward 2 (wonderful design by Jaqueline Cooke)

Of lesser interest, and a testament to the wonderful illustrators and in-house designers we have on our covers, I am also on the ballot. More important, I think, is that in a field that may produce 1000 original covers in a year, we have a whoppin' three Pyr books in the list.

Also, it should be pointed out, our pal John Picacio is nominated in FOUR CATEGORIES!!!

Check out his beautiful black&white artwork for interior illustration here (from Del Rey's Elric: The Stealer of Souls):

"The Chesley Awards were established in 1985 as ASFA's peer awards to recognize individual works and achievements during a given year. The Chesleys were initially called the ASFA Awards, but were later renamed to honor famed astronomical artist Chesley Bonestell after his death in 1986. The awards are presented annually at the World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon)."

Congratulations to all the nominees, and to the authors who are so lucky to have such wonderful art! I have always maintained that the history of SF&F illustration that we enjoy is a unique assetof our genre that should be celebrated, so this is very rewarding to see.

Got Enge?

some thoughts worth sharing:

“James Enge writes Blood of Ambrosewith a subtle elegance that disguises his extraordinary narrative skill. The humor is natural and unforced. The characterization rings true, even under the revelation of shocking realities. The horror is never glorified, and it is all the more horrific for it. And the plot grows with organic grace. You won’t find any quests here, nor the usual clich├ęs or trappings of epic fantasy. No, these pages drip the unexpected, and they will make you laugh and scream and cry and thirst for more…Simply put, Blood of Ambrose is a powerful and fun stand-alone novel. No cliffhangers. No commitment to three or five or twelve book arcs. Savor it. Read it slowly, and prepare your table for This Crooked Way."

-Adventures in SciFi Publishing blog, June 12, 2009

“When, less than a week after picking up the book, David Eddings died, I was shocked by the coincidence, but comforted that I had found such a worthy successor for my time…The standalone novel is such a rarity in the fantasy isle that walking readers through a character’s adolescent in one volume, never mind doing it convincingly, is a feat worthy of recognition in and of itself. But Enge does tell the story convincingly. At its heart, Blood of Ambrose is a coming of age tale that follows the Lathmar the seventh from the tender age of twelve to manhood. In that, this novel succeeds beautifully. The combination of brevity, rapid pacing, and convincing character development mark Enge out as an author to watch and Blood of Ambrose as a future classic of the Young Adult fantasy section.”

-The Great Geek Manual blog, June 7, 2009

“I've long loved Enge's Morlock stories in Black Gate, and this offers a heaping helping of the Ambrosii and their complicated family dynamic. In a way, this is a coming-of-age story, but it's also a study of family relationships, and it's a darn fine sword and sorcery epic as well. I lov
e the sly asides and vivid imagery, but those never overpower the human elements of the story. I'm hanging onto this one--I bet it'll repay a reread down the road.”

- Electronic Leaves blog, June 10, 2009


Adrian Tchaikovsky's Shadows of the Apt Coming to the US

Words do not begin to express how thrilled I am to tell you all that...

Adrian Tchaikovsky's brilliant Shadows of the Apt series is coming to the US!!

We've just done a deal to bring Empire in Black and Gold, Dragonfly Falling, and Blood of the Mantis out here. All three books will be appearing from Pyr in early 2010, published in trade paperback in three consecutive months , March-April-May, so US readers can catch up with this dynamic series fast. Shadows of the Apt is a fantastic fantasy, with steampunk elements, that absolutely blew me away when I read it. Airships, steam trains, giant insects, fantastic characters, great action...

From the book description of Empire in Black and Gold:

Seventeen years ago Stenwold witnessed the Wasp Empire storming the city of Myna in a brutal war of conquest. Since then he has preached vainly against this threat in his home city of Collegium, but now the Empire is on the march, with its spies and its armies everywhere, and the Lowlands lie directly in its path. All the while, Stenwold has been training youthful agents to fight the Wasp advance, and the latest recruits include his niece, Che, and his mysterious ward, Tynisa. When his home is violently attacked, he is forced to send them ahead of him and, hotly pursued, they fly by airship to Helleron, the first city in line for the latest Wasp invasion. Stenwold and Che are Beetle-kinden, one of many human races that take their powers and inspiration each from a totem insect, but he also has allies of many breeds: Mantis, Spider, Ant, with their own particular skills. Foremost is the deadly Mantis-kinden warrior, Tisamon, but other very unlikely allies also join the cause. As things go from bad to worse amid escalating dangers, Stenwold learns that the Wasps intend to use the newly completed railroad between Helleron and Collegium to launch a lightning strike into the heart of the Lowlands. Then he gathers all of his agents to force a final showdown in the engine yard...

And for those of you wondering why you should wait for the US edition? (And needing another reason other than your karma and the desire to support Pyr in bringing across more such deserving UK authors...)

Well, I'm pleased to announce that the brilliant and talented Jon Sullivan, who did the covers for the 2nd and 3rd books in the UK, is going to be doing brand-new artwork for all three of the US editions. Now that's worth waiting for, isn't it?

Three More Kindle Releases Materialize

Three more Pyr books have appeared for the Kindle.

Ian McDonald's River of Gods

Justina Robson's Mappa Mundi

David Louis Edelman's MultiReal (Volume II of the Jump 225 Trilogy)

That was fast!


Pyr Arrives on the Kindle

That's right. After what for me has been an interminably long period of "hurry up and wait," I woke up this morning to discover that our very first Pyr Kindle books have miraculously appeared. Five titles are available for download in the Kindle store. Oddly, it contains a second book in a series and a third book in a series, but I think these are just the first few to appear. There are a lot more coming in back of this, and the conversion process is on Amazon's end, so I expect we'll see more pop up in the near future as they get to them (and I'll report here as I see them.) Meanwhile, many will be happy to learn that the often-requested Infoquake is in this first list of offerings.

The books:

Silver Screen

Starship: Pirate

Going Under (Quantum Gravity, Book 3)

Infoquake (Volume I of the Jump 225 trilogy)

Fast Forward 1: Future Fiction from the Cutting Edge


Fabio Fernandes on Fast Forward 2

Over on Fantasy Book Critic, an above average anthology" of "strength and quality." Fabio reviews all the stories individually, almost overwhelmingly positively, and then concludes, "The reason I took so long to review this anthology is that I wanted to read it at least twice so I could review all of their stories the way they deserved to be reviewed. Lou Anders has outdone himself as an editor, and all that I have to say is that I´m looking forward to FF 3."

Meet Jon Sprunk - New Fantasy Author

A little while back, I alluded on Twitter (@Pyr_Books) to being about to make someone's day with an offer. Well, that someone was debut novelist Jon Sprunk, and that offer was for his wonderful fantasy trilogy, of Shadow's Son, Shadow's Lure, and Shadow's Master. Sprunk is a Pennsylvania-based author with several small-press short story publications to his credits. He impressed me with the strength of his world-building, how he conjured credibility from a a few impressive details, and with his characterizations and imagination.

The first book, Shadow’s Son, is the story of an assassin thrust into the middle of a political and religious upheaval that threatens to topple the last bastion of civilization. It's got everything that Pyr fantasy is coming to represent - great action, grit & grime, morally ambiguous characters, strong females who are more than foils, complex politics, actual magic, and lots and lots of swordplay. The first book will be out around Summer 2010, which is a while to wait, but I think you guys are going to like it.

Meanwhile, you can visit Jon's website and his Facebook page.


What He Said

Reading Clarkesworld Magazine's round-robin interview with short fiction editors, I was very struck by something Patrick Nielsen Hayden said, which dovetails with my own feelings (bold emphasis mine):

I think the biggest change in SF's overall readership is that it's become much less dominated by hardcore SF buffs whose reading consists largely of SF. Compared to a generation ago, a lot more of our readers are just plain middlebrow readers—people who read a little SF along with a little of a lot of other things, and who don't necessarily regard the SF as alien to the rest of literature, or below the salt, or any of that stuff.

[Today's readers] are probably not connected to the SF social scene, they don't assess their SF and fantasy reading against a huge backdrop of inside-baseball industry lore, they may not have read all of the classics, but they're pretty good at making sense of fairly sophisticated SF storytelling because, guess what, in 2009, hundreds of millions of people are good at making sense of sophisticated SF storytelling. The problem for SF writers and publishers today isn't that there's not a mass audience for high-end SF storytelling; it's that there are immense numbers of other diversions on offer for those hundreds of millions of people.