The Geomancer


Dragon*Con Author Signing Schedule

Dragon*Con attendees! Pyr will be in the Marriott's Marquis Ballroom exhibit hall during Dragon*Con (Atlanta, GA) Friday 9/2 - Monday 9/5.

Visit booth 709/711, where you'll find lots of books available for sale at a great discount (cash or credit card only) and many Pyr authors on hand to sign your purchases too. Once again, we will have a limited quantity sampler book for con attendees, this time featuring not just new and forthcoming titles, but excerpts from some of our hottest books of the past few years.

To aid in your planning, here is a schedule of our in-booth author signings (subject to last minute change, of course.) If there's someone you want to see but you can't make the time that's here, stop by the booth just to check and inquire - many of these authors will make impromptu visits at other times, especially on Sunday and Monday.

Friday, September 2

2:00 – 3:00 pm ANDREW MAYER (The Falling Machine)

3:00 – 4:00 pm ARI MARMELL (The Goblin Corps)

3:30 – 4:30 pm CLAY and SUSAN GRIFFITH (The Rift Walker; The Greyfriar)

4:00 – 5:00 pm MIKE RESNICK (The Buntline Special; others)

4:00 – 5:00 pm SAM SYKES (Black Halo; Tome of the Undergates)

Saturday, September 3

11:00 – Noon JAMES ENGE (The Wolf Age; others)

Noon – 1 pm JON SPRUNK (Shadow’s Lure; Shadow’s Son)

1:00 – 2:00 pm ERIN HOFFMAN (Sword of Fire and Sea)

1:30 – 2:30 pm ANDREW MAYER (The Falling Machine)

2:00 – 3:00 pm JAMES ENGE (The Wolf Age; others)

3:00 – 4:00 pm ARI MARMELL (The Goblin Corps)

4:00 – 5:00 pm MIKE RESNICK (The Buntline Special; others)

5:00 – 6:00 pm CLAY and SUSAN GRIFFITH (The Rift Walker; The Greyfriar)

6:00 – 7:00 pm SAM SYKES (Black Halo; Tome of the Undergates)

Sunday, September 4

Noon – 1 pm JON SPRUNK (Shadow’s Lure; Shadow’s Son)

1:00 – 2:00 ERIN HOFFMAN (Sword of Fire and Sea)

Booth hours are Friday 1:00 – 7:00 pm; Saturday and Sunday 10:00 am – 7:00 pm; and Monday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. We hope to see you there!


Reminder for Dragon*Con

Dragon*Con is a week away! Many of our authors will be joining us at the Pyr Booth (709/711 in the Marriott Marquis Ballroom,) and of course, we'll have books.

Just a reminder to anyone wondering whether you'd like a book, we have sample chapters available on our website.
The books the chapters are from are listed on the right sidebar.

Happy reading! I hope to see you in Atlanta.

For Your Viewing Pleasure: Blackdog

Blackdog by K.V. Johansen
Cover Illustration: © Raymond Swanland
Design by Grace Continue M. Zilsberger

Long ago, in the days of the first kings in the north, there were seven devils...

And long ago, in the days of the first kings in the north, the seven devils, who had deceived and possessed seven of the greatest wizards of the world, were defeated and bound with the help of the Old Great Gods...

And perhaps some of the devils are free in the world, and perhaps some are working to free themselves still…

In a land where gods walk on the hills and goddesses rise from river, lake, and spring, the caravan-guard Holla-Sayan, escaping the bloody conquest of a lakeside town, stops to help an abandoned child and a dying dog. The girl, though, is the incarnation of Attalissa, goddess of Lissavakail, and the dog a shape-changing guardian spirit whose origins have been forgotten. Possessed and nearly driven mad by the Blackdog, Holla-Sayan flees to the desert road, taking the powerless avatar with him.

Necromancy, treachery, massacres, rebellions, and gods dead or lost or mad follow hard on the their heels. But it is Attalissa herself who may be the Blackdog’s—and Holla-Sayan’s—doom.


"Johansen’s characters project believability, and her world is full of rich and vivid detail. High fantasy for lovers of mythology and of powerful beings in human form, this adult fantasy debut should appeal to fans of Robert Jordan’s ‘Wheel of Time’ series.”

—Library Journal
“I’m hooked. The mix of magic, Tibetan-style religion, and Harold Lamb–style adventure is pretty addicting”

—James Enge
World Fantasy Award–nominated
Author of Blood of Ambrose
and The Wolf Age
“Interesting and absorbing; Blackdog takes as its heart, and its strength, a subject that most fantasy writers shy away from—the Gods themselves.”

—Tom Lloyd
Author of The Twilight Reign series

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Pyr Editorial Director Wins Hugo Award

Contact: Cheryl Krajna

August 23, 2011

Pyr Editorial Director Wins Hugo Award
Lou Anders Recognized

Amherst, NY– Pyr, a science fiction and fantasy imprint of Prometheus Books, is proud to announce a 2011 Hugo Award win by Editorial Director Lou Anders.

Anders received the trophy for “Best Editor–Long Form” at a ceremony on August 20 at the Peppermill Hotel and Casino in Reno, Nevada. Jay Lake and Ken Scholes presided as masters of ceremony, with additional presenters including Renovation Guests of Honor Tim Powers, Boris Vallejo, and Ellen Asher, along with leading genre writers George R. R. Martin and Robert Silverberg.

The Hugos are international, fan-voted awards. All members of the World Science Fiction Society are eligible to vote.

This was the fifth consecutive nomination and the first win for Anders in the category.

“Words cannot express what an honor this award represents to me,” Anders said. “But what I can express is how privileged I feel to work every day with the host of brilliant authors who have made Pyr what it is.”

“Lou’s taste, vision, and stewardship have been instrumental in shaping the Pyr brand,” said Prometheus Books President Jonathan Kurtz. “We’re extremely pleased and grateful for the tremendous reception Pyr has received since its inception.”

Prometheus Books, an independent publisher of thoughtful nonfiction, launched the Pyr imprint in March 2005. Since then, it has become a brand known for books with quality both inside and out, from rich, engrossing narratives to award-winning cover art and design. Although technically an imprint, Pyr was called “one of a very few publishers I know of who have no bad books to their name” by a BiblioBuffet writer, and “one of the most exciting publishers in the business” by Black Gate magazine.

# # #


2011 Hugo Awards


Video streaming by Ustream

This Be Nice Praise

Blackdog"High fantasy for lovers of mythology and of powerful beings in human form, this ... debut should appeal to fans of Robert Jordan's 'Wheel of Time' series."
    -Library Journal on K.V. Johansen's Blackdog


Austin signing

Hey, guys. If any of you are in/around the Austin area, I'll be doing a signing at Dragon's Lair Comics & Games, starting at 6:00 PM on Wednesday (the 17th). In addition to a variety of gaming books, they should have copies of The Goblin Corps available for sale, and of course I'm happy to sign anything of mine that you might already have.

Hope to see at least a few of you there. :-)

Two Very Nice Reviews

BlackdogThe Library Journal has reviewed two forthcoming Pyr tites.

Of K.V. Johansen's Blackdog they say:

"When caravan guard Holla-Sayan comes to the aid of a little girl and her dying dog, he unwittingly becomes the protector of the goddess Attalissa and the vessel for the spirit of her Blackdog guardian. In a world where gods and devils walk the land, a wizard-warrior who was once one of the seven devils and the young goddess find themselves embroiled in a web of necromancy, rebellions, and the inevitable shedding of blood. The author of the YA fantasy “Warlocks of Talverdin” series creates a larger-than-life story of gods and demons at play in the world of humans. Despite their divinity, or lack thereof, Johansen’s characters project believability, and her world is full of rich and vivid detail. VERDICT High fantasy for lovers of mythology and of powerful beings in human form, this adult fantasy debut should appeal to fans of Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time” series."

The Rift Walker (Vampire Empire, Book 2)Of Clay & Susan Griffith's The Rift Walker (Vampire Empire Book Two) they write:
"An arranged marriage to the boorish, militaristic Senator Clark of the American Republic proves more than Princess Adele of the Equatorian Empire can stand. As Clark’s plan for victory over the British vampire clan that rules most of the Northern Hemisphere evolves into a genocidal campaign, Adele flees her husband and returns to her true love, the enigmatic Greyfriar. With its steampunk setting, enhanced by the mysteries of geomancy and ley lines, this title advances the Griffiths’ chronicle of an alternate Earth forever changed by the ­emergence of a clan of vampires bent on conquest. VERDICT Pulp adventure, steam­punk, and gothic romance meet in this luscious tale of intrigue and derring-do, the sequel to The Greyfriar."


Lost in translation

I have, on more than one occasion, seen this fantasy author or that criticized for word choice. Not that they picked the wrong word for their intended meaning, but they picked a word that didn't "feel" fantasy enough. It shattered a given reader's suspension of disbelief; it broke the fourth wall, and tore them out of the novel.

I have been accused of such myself, in fact.

And I'm not suggesting that such complaints are automatically invalid. It's absolutely possible for a fantasy author to go too far. Particularly modern slang, for instance, sounds woefully out of place in a fantasy setting. I don't ever want to see a knight in a medieval-style Feudal society utter the phrase "That was the bomb, yo!" or hear an elf refer to the actions of his rival as "Whack."

(Well, I usually don't. Now I suddenly have a perverse urge to read, or even write, a short story in which everyone talks like that. But that's beside the point.)

But the criticism I'm speaking of doesn't extend to examples that egregious. They are complaints such as "You should never have puns in fantasy, because the characters aren't really speaking English, so the puns wouldn't actually work in whatever language they are speaking." Or things like "Timothy Zahn shouldn't have used the word 'katana' in his Star Wars trilogy." Or, to bring the example closer to home, a reviewer who said I shouldn't have used the word "origami" in Agents of Artifice. (Just to be clear, I don't want anyone to get the impression I'm calling the guy out. I'm not; it's just a convenient example. Heck, the overall review was quite positive.)

And while I understand these arguments, I utterly--even vehemently--disagree with them.

Let's take the latter two complaints first. Why shouldn't those terms be used? Because there's no Japan in the universes of Star Wars or Magic: the Gathering? Well, no. But there's also no England, yet we don't mind the fact that most of the terms come from English. Are we suggesting that in none of the Star Wars worlds has anyone ever developed a sword like the katana? And if they have, why is it any less appropriate to use that word for it than it is to use the word "sabre" or "sword" when describing lightsabres?

Magic: the Gathering does include at least one world that is very heavily based on feudal Japan. So there's zero reason to think the art of origami doesn't exist. Again, if it does, why should the author go about finding a brand new word for that art form--which he then needs to take time to explain to the reader--when a perfectly good word exists and already has an accepted meaning (albeit a borrowed one) in English?

It's inefficient. It wastes word count and the reader's time. Now, if there was truly a major flavor difference--if the word in question was something incredibly modern, with major pop culture connotations--that might be worth it. But most of the time, it just isn't. Especially since, even if the author does provide the new meaning to the reader, it still may not have the same impact or recognition as a word they already know.

What about puns and wordplay, though? Okay, that argument holds a little more merit. To use an old, traditional example, there's no reason that the words for "threw" and "through" sound alike in the language of some fantasy culture, even though they do in English. Therefore, characters shouldn't be making puns that rely on that sound, right?

Well, no. It's true that the communal illusion of fantasy, accepted by readers and writers both, is that the characters usually aren't really speaking English, so (in a sense) the author is "translating" the character's dialogue into a language the reader can understand. It's not something most of us think about actively or consciously, but it's the only way the whole setup actually works.

But as any translator will tell you, translating dialogue or fiction from one language to another isn't just about swapping out words. You have to rewrite things. Phrases that flow in one language don't in another. Slang and metaphor don't carry across. Humor doesn't always translate. The act of translation is one of conveying intended meaning and feel, not just precise word choice.

So yes, "threw" and "through" may not sound at all alike in the language of, say, the wood elves of Hippie-Grove Forest. On the other hand, perhaps in their language, the words for "thumb" and "xylophone" do sound the same. Thing is, there's no way to convey that particular pun to English speakers.

My assumption, then--on the rare occasions that I'm bothering to think of it at all--is that, if I come across a pun that wouldn't work in the fantasy language in question, I assume it's a stand in for a pun that would have worked, but wouldn't in our own language.

It may feel a bit convoluted to some of you, and I certainly understand that. But I think it's a necessary leap to maintain the shared fiction. Either we can use the language we're writing in, and justify it, or we can't--and we strip authors of a huge portion of their toolbox, and make their books less flexible, less enjoyable.

Of course, everyone's going to draw their lines in different places. For some, it's the use of words that come from common names. In The Goblin Corps, I used the word "non-euclidean" at one point. I know some people object to it, and I absolutely understand why. I questioned its use myself. After all, there probably wasn't a Euclid in the history of that world. But ultimately, I decided that it was the only efficient way to get that point across, and that I'd just have to assume (if asked) that the name was a "translation" of whatever mathematician invented the concept in that setting. A number of readers won't agree with that choice, but it remains a deliberate one.

(This is also, BTW, why I don't really care for made-up curse words. When it's on TV, or some other medium where you aren't allowed to curse, I can deal with the occasional "frak." But otherwise? Say what you mean, damn it!)

Ultimately, there are always going to be some word choices that pull you, me, or any given reader out of the text. That's just the nature of the beast. Next time it happens, though, give at least a brief bit of thought as to why the author might have chosen that word--and how much it would actually have added, if anything, for him to go back through and have to invent, and then explain, a replacement. I think you'll find that, the vast majority of the time, it wouldn't have been an improvement at all.


Announcing a special Vampire Empire event with actor James Marsters

Actor James Marsters joins Vampire Empire authors for DragonCon reading and panel event

Amherst, NY—Actor James Marsters—best known for his iconic role as “Spike” in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel and familiar to genre fans for his roles in Torchwood and Smallville, among others—has signed on to narrate the Vampire Empire trilogy for the unabridged audio books being produced by Buzzy Multimedia for release in spring 2012. In support of this new collaboration, Marsters has announced a very special reading event for fans at DragonCon in Atlanta, GA, on Sunday, September 4th at 7:00 pm (ET).

This ticketed, limited-seating event will open with authors Clay and Susan Griffith introducing the Vampire Empire series—providing an overview of the characters, the setting, and the themes. For the bulk of the event, Marsters will read from The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire, Book One). After his reading, Marsters will join the Griffiths for a conversation with the audience. There will be a book-signing and autographing session to close the event, at which copies of The Greyfriar and the newly published book two, The Rift Walker, will be available.

Marsters, acclaimed for audio work that includes being the voice of Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files, is ideal casting for The Greyfriar, called “so much more than a vampire novel,” by and “phenomenal . . . from start to finish” with “amazing vampire mythology, a chilling alternate history, and a poignant romance that grips your whole heart and refuses to let go,” by All Things Urban Fantasy.

Tickets for the DragonCon event go on sale next week. Check the James Marsters Facebook page for more details and to order tickets.



For Your Viewing Pleasure: Mirror Maze

Mirror Maze by Michaele Jordan
Cover Illustration: © Cynthia Sheppard
Cover Design by Grace M. Conti-Zilsberger

Coming in October

Jacob Aldridge is still utterly devastated by the death of his fiancĂ©e when he suddenly encounters her doppelganger. Livia Aram’s uncanny resemblance to the late Rhoda Carothers so transcends coincidence that Jacob becomes obsessed with her. The intensity of his passion terrifies her until her compassion is roused by his desperate plight. A demon is stalking him, a succubus-like entity that feeds on human pain and desire. With the help of Jacob’s sister, Cecily, and Livia’s guardian, the mysterious Dr. Chang, they overcome the demon.  Or so it appears. . . .

Jacob, Liva, and Cecily are all victims of a single curse, a curse which entrapped and destroyed their parents before them. Now fate has drawn their descendants together again, and the curse is playing out. Nothing can help them, until Cecily’s husband returns from abroad. Colonel Beckford has been missing for years; he has seen strange things and acquired strange powers in his absence.  Now he will do whatever it takes to free his wife and eliminate the demon and its curse once and for all.