Thursday, September 16, 2010

First two interviews videos are on YouTube.

Well, it's not nearly a podcast, but at least (after 8 months...) the first two interview videos are up on YouTube. Each had to be split into 3 parts to fit the "max 15 minute clips" format there, but, hey, at least they are up!


Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:


Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Third Bear Carnival: a Bull Spec contest with 3 identical prizes. First, the meta contest.

I'm quite late to the festival which is/was Matthew Cheney's Third Bear Carnival. But to make up for this tardiness, I have 3 copies of Jeff VanderMeer's recent collection The Third Bear which need a good home:


Actually, I have 4 copies. But the first 3 copies are for a contest to be determined by a preliminary (meta?) contest, which itself awards the 4th copy as its prize.

Confused? You have barely scratched the surface of bizarre, in any number of ways.

So, contest the first: in a comment on this blog post, design for me a contest which gives away the other 3 copies. You have a little less than one week. At or around noon (Eastern US Time) next Monday (20 September), I will pick the winner and start said contest, to be open for one week. The winner of the first contest gains immortal fame, etc. and also one copy of The Third Bear for themselves. The winner(s) of the second contest gain, of course, immortal fame, etc. and also one copy of The Third Bear as well.

Eligibility: anyone may submit one contest idea and even win, but books are eligible to be sent only where USPS media mail travels. Be creative. Be ... creative.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A sneak peek at issue #4's editorial...

Hey all; while I haven't even put together issue #3's yet, I have something already burning its way out of my mind and into draft for issue #4: the important SF/F books of 2010.

There's still a few months left, but here is a sneak peek at what and why:
  1. The SHINE anthology edited by Jetse de Vries (Solaris). Optimistic SF is hard and important; if we as speculative fiction writers cannot see our way convincingly to something optimistic from where we are, perhaps that is as good an argument as any that we're in a lot of collective trouble here on this shimmering blue rock. SHINE delivered this, but not in a token, "oh, they found some optimistic stories" way. Rather, it was with great stories. So that's important, and hopefully sets the tone for what makes a book important to me.
  2. THE DERVISH HOUSE by Ian McDonald (Pyr). I'm not going to talk to much about this, as I'll let the review in issue #3 from Richard Dansky do that; but while the book has its critics for being labelable as (paraphrasing Saladin Ahmed in late 2009, off-handedly responding to the jacket copy) "yet another terrorism in the near future arabic world book" it does almost the inverse of what the SHINE anthology does. In a way similar (to me) to how THE WINDUP GIRL did so in 2009, THE DERVISH HOUSE shows us, clearly and believable, where we are currently going. It shows a possible positive future in negative space. Of course, that is likely my reading through my incredibly narrow lens into the book, which attempts to fit as many nearly square pegs into a rigidly square hole as possible, but: there it is.
  3. THE ALCHEMIST & THE EXECUTIONESS by Paolo Bacigalupi and Tobias Buckell. This book, a pair of novellas (yes, yes, I heart novellas) by two of this generation's most imaginative authors, would not make this list on its beautiful, dark fantasy alone; or on its deep, convincing worldbuilding; or its touching and very human characters. That is because this list is not about "the best" books -- those qualities I mentioned might indeed put this book onto such a list, but I will not be doing such a list, so that leaves me with my own list. It is something else about this book, combined with its quality, which brings it here. That is: this is not actually a "book". It is produced first and exclusively (so far) as an audiobook from Audible. Let me say this again: two of this generation's most imaginative storytellers took an amazing pair of novellas and it is published directly and only as a digital audiobook. Something about that tips the scales from a "best" list to my "important" list.
And there's still those months left to go. And there are a couple of other books (and "books") already on my radar for consideration:
  1. SACRED SPACE by Douglas E. Cowan (Baylor University Press). This is a non-fiction book which tackles the idea that much of our science fiction is a quest for meaning. Baylor University Press sent it my way some time ago, but I haven't had a chance to dig into to see how it does at its task. It is asking an important question, which gets my attention.
  2. The AETHER AGE anthology edited by Christopher Fletcher and Brandon Bell (Hadley Rille). This book has had my attention since its inception as a "Shared World" anthology -- to be published as a Creative Commons share-alike world. These things have happened before, but this one is really in a position to be interesting and important, as it asks a couple of questions. What might have happened if the printing press and literacy had been widespread as early as 3000 BCE? Can a CC-SA licensed book really be, well, good?
  3. The GATEWAYS anthology edited by Elizabeth Hull (Tor). (Did I mention this was the year of the anthology? It was. So many good ones.) Based on some reviews, this one has me quite curious. Pohl wrote (and writes!) on some important themes (consumerism, overpopulation) and an anthology of work inspired by his is indeed something I hope to find time to check out before the year runs out.
  4. The MONGOLIAD. I don't know at all what to make of this yet. But another attempt at a serialized novel (the last one I followed was King's THE PLANT) along with illustrations, maps, all kinds of odd weird historical fiction goodness. From Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo, and more.
Honorable mention is METATROPOLIS, which came out from Tor this year; but it was first published (in audio!) in late 2008, and first in print last year from Subterranean. So it might not fit into a 2010 list, despite my aforementioned ability desire to squeeze merely square-like pegs into the square hole that is my idea for what makes a 2010 book important. And I might change my mind and put this on the list proper, anyway. Hey, it's my list, right? I make the rules. And a selection of "outsider anarchist fiction" and "the idea of mutual aid economics and horizontal structuring" certainly, certainly fits the bill.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

So many, many things.

First, a "fall" flyer is here, which stretches from mid-September through November. Contents are basically:

FALL 2010

12 McIntyre’s Books hosts Warren Rochelle for a reading and signing of his new novel The Called
21 Duke University hosts William Gibson for a local stop on his tour promoting his new novel Zero History

22 Quail Ridge Books hosts Scott Westerfeld for a reading and signing of his new young adult novel Behemoth, sequel to Leviathan
26 Mark Van Name reads from and talks about his new science fiction novel Children No More at The Regulator Bookshop; author’s proceeds donated to Falling Whistles, a child soldier rehabilitation charity

12 Clay and Susan Griffith will read and sign their upcoming novel The Greyfriar: Vampire Empire at Quail Ridge Books
16 Cate Tiernan will read and sign her new young adult novel Immortal Beloved at The Regulator Bookshop

Not listed there is NC Comicon on 13-14 November in Morrisville. When there's a little more room off the top, I'll get a new flyer put together, hopefully to include the Bull Spec #3 launch and a few more things in the works along the local rumor mill.

OK. Second! Bull Spec #3 has cover art, and Firetower Studios' Jason Strutz is the source. He's posted a nice little walkthrough of starting with a sketch and building it into the finished piece:

You can see how far he came from my original!

Hm. I'm sure there was more to mention when I sat down...