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Wednesday, June 3, 2009 7:00 AM

Just got back from a fruitful and exciting road trip, the results of which you'll be hearing Sunday and Monday. And I have a lots of stuff in the hopper for the next five or six days.

I trust readers will remember that I was recently talking about On the Beach. You'll have a chance to watch this superb movie next week at the Variety Children's Charity Theater in San Francisco for SF in SF Film night. They're also showing The Quiet Earth.

China Miéville is on tour.
He's a great reader and a super-nice guy. Make the time and get out to support a writer who even got a WSJ article on weird fiction!

And Terry Bisson has a new collection out from PS Publishing. It's called Billy's Book. Bisson is always worth checking out.

Friday, May 29, 2009 9:20 AM

Sorry folks, busy week! But forget you not:

Lou Anders wants you to read this interview with James Enge. Look at me sending traffic away from my own site. What the hell's the matter with me?

Guillermo Del Toro is making a stop in LA on Tuesday Night to sign The Strain. You might want to mosey by Meldown Comics circa midnight. It's probably going to be a fanboy riot scene with huge lines of guys bearing stacks of DVDs in grocery sacks and boxes. Be prepared!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 11:15 AM

You can vote for the Hugos, if you shelled out the sheckels, online! How convenient. More twiddly details than you'll know what do with at the website.

Monday, May 18, 2009 7:40 AM

Here's the fictional "bloggywood" screenplay, The Fugitive Generation; think fictionalized Mark Rudd in the mid-west.

Don't miss Colson Whitehead at Bookshop santa Cruz tonight.

Word escapes of two literary writers edging ever towards genre fiction, Jonathan Lethem and Margaret "I don't write science fiction, just stories set in the future involving social and scientific speculation" Atwood. More power to 'em.

Coming soon to a baseball stadium near you, Bookstock. (So long as you live in Northern California.) June 6th @ AT&T Park... Great idea, wish there were more than one book at the center of it all. One can only hope.

And finally, SF in SF was sublime last Saturday. Both Richard Kadrey and Heather Shaw read great work, and we'll have it on the podcast as soon as we can get through the audio.

Friday, May 15, 2009 7:59 AM

Well, the power's back, that's good. And, also good the super-glitzy, flash-infested website for Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan's The Strain is up. It'll be interesting to see if they can use the movie marketing techniques to push people to the bookstores as well as the theaters. Books are a much better entertainment bargain. I covered this book a while back, so I hope you were paying attention. TO my mind, the appeal of "the world is falling apart at the friggin' seams" fiction is going to skyrocket in the coming months and years as the world continues to fall apart at the friggin seams. I mean, getting eaten by vampires seems sort of preferable to the 'Boiling a Frog' death-by-economic-slowdown we're currently enjoying.

Thursday, May 14, 2009 9:26 AM

In a season of lightweight, action-oriented blockbusters, isn't it nice to see a cute little independent flick about two very old friends working out some problems?

Of course it is, and thus, how could you ask for more than Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus
? Generally, movies seem to me to be a waste of time better spent reading, but we have to pay attention to the greats, don't we?

The esteemed folks at TTA are starting a new blog for Black Static
magazine. it's definitely a place to look at should you need excellent advice as to how to part with your hardly earned money.

Wednesday, May 13, 8:53 AM

How did it get so late? Legends is still blowing out some great books; I saw some signed LeCarré, and a number of first ed Charles Willeford hardcovers, well worth your valuable time and money. When things start to look good again, all these prices will climb alas.

China Miéville has a new book coming out, The City and the City; at this point I just want to suggest you pick up both the UK and US eds. I'll have much more to say about the book, but I want to be very careful to preserve the fresh reading experience for my readers. Pick it up and read it without knowing anything, as I'm told it is easily spoiled. Or, like revenge, best served cold.

Tuesday, May 12, 9:43 AM

Centipede Press is reprinting The Plastic Nightmare. It'll be illustrated but include the outstanding Ace Paperback cover art somewhere.

Junot Diaz is turning 'The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao' into a play, starting here in San Francisco. It's at the Intersection for the Arts. See it!

Tor UK and SciFiNow are launching the War of the Words. It's a contest wherein the best three-chapters-and-a-summary get a publishing contract. Details aren't up quite yet, but start plishing those old manuscripts or dig 'em up out from their back yard burial plots.

Monday, May 11, 2009 7:32 AM

The National Steinbeck Center has announced the theme of the 29th Steinbeck Festival: Legends, Myth and Magic : A focus on Steinbeck’s life-long passion for King Arthur. Christopher Paolini will be leading the festival's presentations. The Festival runs at the National Steinbeck Center from August 6 — 8, 2009, in Salinas, California (approximately 20 miles east of Monterey). Look to the National Steinbeck Center Website later this month for more information. High fantasy and high literature, what more can you ask for?

Well, a good meal, and there are plenty to be found at the new website by 'Send' co-author William Schwalbe, Cookstr. These recipes seem to be eminently cookable, and the site is nicely laid-out. Keep an eye out, as we hope to speak with Schwable about this new venture.

PW has an article about a new book by Garret Freymann-Weyr which they report is a successful attempt to enter the actual adolescent male mind. I must hasten to say that the difference between the adolescent male mind and the adult male mind, with regards to sex, is greatly exaggerated. But anyone who can elicit this quote has a good handle on matters ... “Wanting her was a given; thinking about her was a shock.” No underestimating the value of shock value.

Now to go dig through the weekend's Forteana to see if this adolescent-level male mind can find any good new monster photos!

Wednesay, May 6, 2009 6:25 AM

In case you were wondering, I created this little section of the website so I could display my terrible typing skills and links like this to a great monster story: Ladies and Gentlemen, I present The Screamin' Demon of Mexico!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009 7:51 AM

I just got done writing about the latest Stephen Baxter book, 'Flood', for Friday, and hell, if the rain doesn't manage to seem apocalyptic now, when really, given the drought, it should b welcome. Science fiction rading can lend one a rather gloomy outlook.

Rina Weisman of SF in SF reminds us that Wednesday, May 13, is movie night, with two Henson greats: The Dark Crystal (I LOVE the Crystal Method song that uses a clip from tha movie) and Labyrinth, which introduced the world to Jeniffer Conolly. The Website has details on that gig and the upcoming to-do Saturday May 16 with Richard Kadrey and Heather Shaw.

And I've never been, but Baycon is coming up, Friday, May 22 through Monday, May 25. Here's the website.

Monday, May 4, 2009 9:35 AM

Omnidawn feaures new poetry from Rob Schlegel. Think of it — new poetry! This world is a place worth living in after all!

Anticipation grows for Anticipation, that is WorldCon. Here's a link to the progress reports, and you'll also find new writing about the Guest of Honor: "Michael Swanwick on David Hartwell; Orson Scott Card on Tom Doherty, and Cory Doctorow on Neil Gaiman." And let me say what a joy it is being a total Press Release rehash hack!

Coming someday soon, a not-so-brief rant about the non-joys of being offered PDFs to rad in lieu of hardcopy ARCs.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009 9:19 AM

Last Saturday, I attended the memorial service for James D. Houston in Santa Cruz. It takes time to get through, to get to these things. Jim is and always will be a wonderful friend, a great writer. Bit by bit, I chip away at the walls 'round my feelings.

Borderlands Press seems to be applhying writelry creativity to its business model as it explands into offering "Boot Camp" writing workshop weekends that actually sound kind of tempting. It ain't cheap, but the whole package sounds a bit more manageable than some of the longer workshops like Clarion. It's kinda ironic though, that if books aren't selling so hot, publishers turn to teaching the Great Unwashed to write more of 'em, that also, presumably, won't sell so hot. That said, this looks like a do-able deal, and generously they say "any and all genres are acceptable." There are some superb folks in the teachers list and it is a chance to make some great connections.

Elmore Leonard and Harper Collins are hosting a competition to create a video trailer for his latest book, Road Dogs, which gathers three characters from earlier novels and throws 'em together to see what happens. That means snappy dialogue and crisp action. In the kinda ironic column, chock up the fact that the winner of the Book Trailer contest gets that Evil Book Killer, the Kindle, so you never need to buy a book again!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 7:11 AM

Get ready for another Three Books with Alan Cheuse, coming this Friday...

I must admit, that the cycles of awards in genre fiction sometimes start to seem a bit like backslappin' exhibitions to me. There are just so many of 'em! Well, they do us the favor of bringing good titles to light, and so you might want to pop over to the Locus website and check out their short list. There are lots of good titles on there worth checking out; even a few outside the list of Usual Suspects.

Now here's something that's really intriguing ... Look at this M for Mystery weekly update, scroll down and note that Carlos Ruiz Zafón is coming to Northern California, and presumably a few other places, this summer. Now that is very cool!

Pyr has a look at the cover of the new novel by Mark Chadbourn. Chadbourn's FINALLY getting his due here in the US thanks to Anders (and we mustn't forget Simon Spanton in the UK). The novel looks like it might have the potential for a breakthrough, and what a gorgeous cover by Chris McGrath.

Monday, April 27, 2009 4:24 AM

Well, I confess I find this whole pandemic deal a lot more interesting than the Nebula Awards. But in case you do care, follow the above link.

Laurie R. King's new novel The Language of Bees comes out on Tuesday, and he's got a lot going on to celebrate it. From her newsletter ... "Want to see your name in a LRK novel? If you make a donation of two beehives ($60) to Heifer International, you could be a character in the next Russell and Holmes novel. I usually make this name-a-character offer to the chosen nonprofit at that year's BoucherCon but this year, it's Heifer. That same two-hive donation brings not only a pot of Heifer honey (neat trick that, yes?) but a copy of these beautifully presented excerpts from Sherlock Holmes' long-lost book on beekeeping from The Language of Bees." Check out this bit of her website, it's a to-die-for facsimile.

By the bye ... wash your hands. And start re-reading that massive expanded edition of Stephen King's The Stand before it becomes non-fiction.

Thursday, April 23, 2009 8:20 AM

If you're wondering why I didn't show up here yesterday, well, I had a really big shew planned out in Hayward. I went out to the Cal State there with Peter McGettigan, videographer, to tape a presentation by and interview with Mark Rudd. He was supposed to read and answer questions, but I don't think he expected a batch of agenda-driven right-wing ex-cops to show up expecting him to confess to murder. Nor did he expect the FBI snitch who turned in two Weathermen back in thwe 1970's to show up. It was kind of a circus, but Rudd was quite the steady-eddy guy. Suffice it to say that the visiting folks were not going to take yes, no or any answer; they were there to shout, disrupt and generally get their fifteen minutes. I've got it all on tape.

In more positive news, the stack of insanel great books is growing at an astonishing pace. New stuff by Peter Straub, John Farris ... It's like the 1980's never went away. Hell, Duran Duran and Heaven 17 are even on tour! And finally, in news that shoould surely empty your bankbook, I'm just going to quote the Centipede Press release about their new edition of Ramsey Campbell's seminal work (and possibly his best, aside from the next one) 'The Influence.' The linked review mentions the proposed Scream/Press edition that I've been waiting for for over 20 years. Seems like it's arrived.

"One of Ramsey Campbell's most well-paced and unsettling novels, The Influence was published in 1988 and has a long history. Scream/Press was to do the original limited edition, for which JK Potter created a number of his photographs. However, the Scream edition never appeared. This new edition features Potter's photographs, a new introduction by Peter Atkins, new afterwords by Ramsey Campbell and J.K. Potter, outtakes, and a 50 page interview with Ramsey Campbell by Stefan Dziemianowicz."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 10:25 AM

Nothing but the facts today ....

Works and portfolio samples from a number of individuals under consideration for the 2009 Hugo and Campbell Awards are now available at for download by those eligible to vote for the 2009 Hugo Awards, to help them inform themselves about the work under consideration before voting.

Following her Orange Prize shortlisting, Bloomsbury Publishing is making Kamila Shamsie’s Burnt Shadows available as a FREE download (UK only) for 24 hours from 12 noon, Wednesday 22nd April. The Burnt Shadows promotional download will also be available for iPhone users with Stanza through iTunes. To access the download, users simply need to go to the Bloomsbury website and follow the instructions.

RainDog -- R. D. Armstrong -- tells me: "I'm going to be reading from Fire and Rain sometime between noon and 1:30 this coming Sunday -- a perfect way to catch me if you can't make it to any of my SoCal readings this year. More inforamtion on the event, a live webcast of Strangers with poetry, at THEPRIMESPOT.COM.

And if you just can't get enuf of my lustrous voice, tune in to The Jane Crown Show ( at 2 PM (PDT) to hear me interview Todd Moore.

Monday, April 20, 2009 6:47 AM

SF in SF on Saturday was both superb and packed. It was standing room only, and the authors lived up to the demand. BOtht he readings were hilarious; Peter Beagle and Dick Lupoff were totaly entertaining, and Terry Bisson provided great counterpoints in the panel discussion. I'll be rolling out the podcasts starting on Wednesday.

Legends Books has some great sales that really speak volumes about the volatility of the book market. On one hand, I have to say that I'm rather happy to see first eds of that book sink to the sub-300$ range; on the other hand, I think it's soprt of a shame (and a great bargain) that you can get first eds of WIlliam Burroughs without taking out a second on your house. As ever, it does go to show that one should buy books one hopes to read and re-read. Books you care about.

My new buddy Bob Feldman wrote an intersting piece on the hard influence of big publishing money in politics. He calls it the Obama Bookgate scandal, and while I think the whole "Thisandthat-gate" label is abused beyond recognition, I do take to what he's saying. There's another side of this however, because I don't really think the poubishers in this case wield a lot of influence over the poltiicians. But what we are seeing is another example of what happens when industries consolidate; to wit, in this economy they all of a sudden find that they have to eviscerate the staff of the subsidiaries they bought in good times. Meanwhile, folks like Night Shade, Pyr and Subterranean Press keep on keepin' on. 'Tis better to be small and solvent than Big and Bankrupt.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009 7:59 AM

Reader and listener Steve Weintz is well ahead of the curve with what looks like the next series to hit the Cartoon Neckwork's* Adult Swim hours. Here's a trailer for The Lost Heiroglyph, the first of the "Brackett and Burroughs" adventures (Leigh Brackett? Edgar Rice Burroughs?). He describes it as "2001 as imagined in 1949".

I must say it always really throws me for a loop when I open up a Philip K. Dick classic and encounter Martian colonies in the 1990's. I love that retro-SF feel. I just wish the future we lived in was less exciting in some ways (war and economic depression) and more exciting in others (space travel and documentation concerning UFOs). Calling Edgar Mitchell, do you read me?

*My son long ago called it the Cartoon Neckwork and the name stuck.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 7:14 AM

Omnidawn has an interview up, Joshua Marie Wilkinson interviews Tyrone Wiliams about his new
book of poetry, On Spec, at their blog.

Centipede Press makes beautiful books which they're trying to get out the door. Check out their website for a bunch of deadly stuff that will tempt you to overspend. Sorry.

We lost all phones last Thursday, which interrupted my flow. It was a pretty Twilight-Zone experience to be cut off so easily. The folks who did it are being tagged as "vandals," who went down four separate manholes in four separate locations, found digital fiber-optic cables and cut them. Last I heard, there was a $250K award for information leading to their arrest.

I just got a huge cache of great stuff from Wm Morrow, including the new Elmore Leonard, the new Michael Marshall (Smith), and a new very Fortean piece of fiction about the Voynich Manuscript. I'm lookin' at roundup for Thursday, just to make sure nothing gets left behind, and we have a book review from Mario coming soon as well. Now less talkin' -- more walkin'!

Friday, April 10, 2009 2:37 PM

Get'em while you can! Use HTTRACK to grab the archive over at of their fiction — amazing work that they're taking offline because, well, Syfy isn't about science fiction, folks!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009 6:20 AM

Tim Kendall-Carpenter Books has a new list out. I love his lists because they have lots of oddball UK literature on them. They're worth reading just for what's on them. TimKC also manages to find some pretty pricey but as well unique limited editions of literary works.

Bob Feldman interviewed Mark Rudd via email for the Toward Freedom Website. The title: Pacifism and The Military-Industrial-University Complex: Interviewing Mark Rudd. Interesting stuff, especially here in the Bay Area where we have an on-going dispute of the ROTC in schools.

Blossoms into Gold: The Croatians in the Pajaro Valley is the title of the new book by Donna F. Mekis and Kathryn Mekis Miller. They're signing books and doing a slide show presentation on Saturday, April 11, at 3 PM at the Henry Mello Center at 230 East Beach Street, in Watsonville, CA. Here's a link to their website. They recently appeared on Talk of the Bay, following my show; I really likied their story and you will as well.

And finally to report this morning my autonomic nervous system continues to function alarmingly well.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009 6:25 AM

I awoke this morning at 1:42 AM. It's not so unusual an event. I've been ripping through 'Fragment' and the various steampunk titles as well. Sleeplessness facilitates this.

I've been looking at a website by a new publishing imprint of HarperCollins, Angry Robot. There's the usual self-congratulatory glad-handing, but I've got to admit some of the titles look sort of intriguing. And furthermore I must admit that they're brave, or already locked into an existing business plan, to be launching the line and site now. But reading is a great passtime, when you're unemployed, sleepless, running a website witihout revenue. Truth to tell, the hellish world of 'Slights' for example, sounds pretty enticing compared to another day of paying bills and waiting for all those other shoes to come clattering down around me. I tihnk I may give 'em a ring and see what they have to say. Until then, I'm back on monster patrol. Where are the flesh-dissolving critters when you need 'em?

Monday, April 6, 2009 9:56 AM

Tor UK has just released their hardcover version of Neal Asher's 'The Shadow of the Scorpion' and the mass-market paperback of the latest Ian Cormac novel, 'Line War.' If you're an Asher UK edition completist, better line up. Seeing this just reminds me of the joy of discovering 'Gridlinked' so long ago. And for me, Asher still delivers; monsters, weirdness, big adventure and big ideas.

I'm whipping through a pretty decent monster novel, 'Fragment.' Can't go wrong with lotsa monsters, can you? And these are quite imaginative!

And, I just go the ARC of the latest Stross short story collection from Ace, 'Wireless.' Here's how you judge success in the publishing world: Ace is publishing Stross' short stories as a hardcover original. In this economic environment, that's like a fireworks show of support. We have some exciting new features for the podcast coming up, so stay tuned. We now return you to war, crisis and rampant self-puffery.

Friday, April 3, 2009 8:02 AM

Some notes on my Donburi adventure ... So far, I've made three dishes from this book, and they were all a) easy and b) delicious. That said, there are some unique aspects to this cookbook.

Kobayashi likes to have you make what he calls "mixes." You'll want little bowls around to make them in. He's also prone to ask you to use "bunching onions," which are pretty much like green onions. But I bet a decent Oriental market will have something they call out as "bunching onions." Unfortunately, the nearest decent Oriental market to me is like, 40 minutes away. But if you substitute green onions, you'll be fine.

Now, as to portions ... What Kobayashi calls "dinner for two" is a pretty light dinner for two. You may want to scale portions up by about 50% ... but do try them as prescripted first.

Kobayashi is also prone to idiosyncratic measurements; in one recipe he calls for a "nub" of ginger. It allows the cook to call the shots. I took a nub to be about a tablespoon.

And finally, Kobayshi is delightfuly free of prep times. I love this about this book, because so many cookbooks say to "Saute onions for two minutes until browned," and to me that's friggin' crazy! It takes me 15-60 minutes tso get decent browned onions. But having made the dishes, I'd say from the time you saunter to the kitchen to the time you leave, expect about 45 minutes or so. I'm going to sneak in an image of yesterday's breakfast, Sunny-Side Domburi.
(Which actually takes around ten minutes, tops, providing you have some rice left over from last night.)

Sunny-Side Donburi

Thursday, April 2, 2009 6:27 AM

So I missed a day yesterday; I was busy interviewing for the Friday podcast. That just gives me more to catch up on today. I suppose all that April first stuff pouts me off a bit as well. Readers may or may not have noticed, but I don't pay much attention to holidays here. Or named days on the calendar, as it were.

Laurie R. King and Picador Press are giving away freew e-book versions of her first Russel & Holmes novel, The Beekeeper's Apprentice. You also get the first two chapters of The Language of Bees.

The Man Booker Prizes announce a list of contenders:

Peter Carey (Australia)
Evan S. Connell (USA)
Mahasweta Devi (India)
E.L. Doctorow (USA)
James Kelman (UK)
Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru)
Arnošt Lustig (Czechoslovakia)
Alice Munro (Canada)
V.S. Naipaul (Trinidad/India)
Joyce Carol Oates (USA)
Antonio Tabucchi (Italy)
Ngugi Wa Thiong'O (Kenya)
Dubravka Ugresic (Croatia)
Ludmila Ulitskaya (Russia)

Carmel Valley resident Jane Smiley heads of the judging panel. She was joined by Amit Chaudhuri, writer, academic and musician; and writer, film script writer and essayist, Andrey Kurkov.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 6:59 AM

SF in SF is running two wonderful movies this Wednesday. Readers should know I'm a big fan of 80's shtick, so I love the totally cheesy Night oif the Comet, aka, Valley Girls vs The Zombies. On the other side of the quality equation, there's John Sayles' Brother from Another Planet, a perfect low-budget, low-key movie starring Joe Morton. They're free, the theater is really cool, and they serve drinks, what more can you ask, here's the link.

Alan Campbell's God of Clocks, which I wrote about not so long ago, has just hit the shelves. If you like the who SF/fantasy/Miéville/Vance oeuvre, this series is for you.

And let me finally make a very belated mention of the TV series Fringe. Here's a show that actually featured a plot point based on a first edition of Jonathan Carroll's Land of Laughs and showed an actual first edition on television.

Monday, March 30, 2009 8:17 AM

Well, the fur trapper stood there with his arms outstretched to the frozen white wasteland...

This from Rusty Morrison at Omnidawn:

"The 2009 Omnidawn Poetry Contest, judged by Ann Lauterbach, is for a first or second full-length collection of poems by a poet writing in English The winner receives $2,000, Fall 2010 Publication by Omnidawn, & 100 complimentary copies of the book The entry fee of $25 entitles you to one free Omnidawn title of your choice, if you send a priority mail SASE.

Submission period: 3/1/09 - 6/30/09

The prize winning book will be produced, distributed, and advertised to full Omnidawn standards. As with other Omnidawn books, we will encourage the winning poet to participate in the design of the book, including choice of typefaces, cover artwork and design, with all stages subject to the approval of the winning poet. All costs, including production, distribution, and advertising will be fully paid by Omnidawn. The winner of last year's contest, judged by Marjorie Welish, is Michelle Taransky, for her manuscript, Barn Burned, Then, to be published September 2009." Full details at the Omnidawn Website.

Borderlands Press announced a new novella by Peter Straub, something he created in the process of writing his new novel, The Skylark. It's titled A Special Place: The Heart of a Dark Matter, and at $35 it seems like it might be a pretty sweet deal. Check out their website for details.

You know evey time I type something about Borderlands, I see those book racks in the Alhambra Drugstore ... If readers have memories of tgheir favorite drugstore or grocery store racks, write me, and we can runa commentary on them. I also have memories of the racks in the West Covina Lucky store, where I fond lots of the Bantam Adult Fantasy Series edited by Lin Carter. It's such a shame these places are if not extinct, then nearly so.

Friday, March 27, 2009 8:07 AM

Laurie R. King is celebrating her new book, 'The Language of Bees' with Fifteen Weeks of Bees. Yes, it's been fifteen years since I first spotted a new book by a "Local Author" in Aptos Bookworks. It was titled 'The Beekeeper's Apprentice' and who knew it was the beginning of a celebrated and totally enjoyable mystery series? Or a highly sought-after first edition? We all should have known, true, but even here at Bookotron, occasionally our prescient powers slip by. And moreover, fifteen years ago, you would have been using Netscape to view this website. It's a good thing great writers can keep us entertained ... and help relieve the bees in our bonnet.

Thursday, March 26, 2009 7:30 AM

I'm looking at an ARC titled 'Sunnyside' by Glen David Gold, and thinking that I've waited like six years for this book. We're talking a 555 pages of historical fun with Charlie Chaplin. What more can you ask of a novel? Forget the movies, this is where you spend your time!

And for something you don't have to wait for, here's a link to Golden Gryphon's website for 'Empties' by George Zebrowski. Science fiction detection in the manner of Stanislaw Lem's 'The Invesigation'.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 8:35 AM

I'm running really late, as I've got a podcast gig in Oakland this morning, which I hope will be of great interest to readers... More on that when I catually have something!

I got a couple of notices for sopme really itnersting and different-sonding conferences. In the genre fiction world, you tend to get the same-old, same-old, so let me introduce ... Scribbler's Retreat, which offers: May 14-17: How To... (Non-fiction), Aug 13-16: Scifi, Fantasy and Inspirational, Nov 12-15: Novels, Short Stories, Etc. Check out the website, the speakers are not your usual suspects.

And as an antidote to WorldCon, which we love of course, try Imaginales; from the press release: "From May 14th-17th 2009, more than 100 authors, not only from France, but also the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, and Poland will participate in the 8th edition of Les Imaginales, the festival of imaginary worlds organized by the city of Epinal, France. During these 4 days, the entire universe of the imagination (fantasy, historical fiction, science fiction, is welcomed to Epinal, the "cite des images", which is a warm and lively area that blends tradition of images and innovation."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 7:00 AM

Legends Books contintues to clear out old inventory, with lots of signed titles well worth your valuable time and money. Follow this link at your fiscal peril.

Damn Reynaud's Phenomena ... I can barely friggin' type. So instead, I'll cut and paste this list of the Stoker Nominees from Lisa Morton's website.

Superior Achievement in a Novel

COFFIN COUNTY by Gary Braunbeck (Leisure Books)
THE REACH by Nate Kenyon (Leisure Books)
DUMA KEY by Stephen King (Scribner)
JOHNNY GRUESOME by Gregory Lamberson (Bad Moon Books/Medallion Press)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel

MIDNIGHT ON MOURN STREET by Christopher Conlon (Earthling Publications)
THE GENTLING BOX by Lisa Mannetti (Dark Hart Press)
MONSTER BEHIND THE WHEEL by Michael McCarty and Mark McLaughlin (Delirium Books)
THE SUICIDE COLLECTORS by David Oppegaard (St. Martin's Press)
FROZEN BLOOD by Joel A. Sutherland (Lachesis Publishing)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

THE SHALLOW END OF THE POOL by Adam-Troy Castro (Creeping Hemlock Press)
MIRANDA by John R. Little (Bad Moon Books)
REDEMPTION ROADSHOW by Weston Ochse (Burning Effigy Press)
THE CONFESSIONS OF ST. ZACH by Gene O'Neill (Bad Moon Books)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction

PETRIFIED by Scott Edelman (Desolate Souls)
THE LOST by Sarah Langan (Cemetery Dance Publications)
THE DUDE WHO COLLECTED LOVECRAFT by Nick Mamatas, and Tim Pratt (Chizine)
EVIDENCE OF LOVE IN A CASE OF ABANDONMENT by M. Rickert (Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction)
TURTLE by Lee Thomas (Doorways)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology

LIKE A CHINESE TATTOO edited by Bill Breedlove (Dark Arts Books)
HORROR LIBRARY, VOL. 3 edited by R. J. Cavender (Cutting Block Press)
BENEATH THE SURFACE edited by Tim Deal (Shroud Publishing)
UNSPEAKABLE HORROR edited by Vince A. Liaguno and Chad Helder (Dark Scribe Press)

Superior Achievement in a Collection

THE NUMBER 121 TO PENNSYLVANIA by Kealan Patrick Burke (Cemetery Dance Publications)
MAMA’S BOY and Other Dark Tales by Fran Friel (Apex Publications)
JUST AFTER SUNSET by Stephen King (Scribner)
GLEEFULLY MACABRE TALES by Jeff Strand (Delirium Books)

Superior Achievement in Nonfiction

CHEAP SCARES by Gregory Lamberson (McFarland)
ZOMBIE CSU by Jonathan Maberry (Citadel Press)
A HALLOWE'EN ANTHOLOGY by Lisa Morton (McFarland)
THE BOOK OF LISTS: HORROR by Amy Wallace, Del Howison, and Scott Bradley (HarperCollins)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection

THE NIGHTMARE COLLECTION by Bruce Boston (Dark Regions Press)
THE PHANTOM WORLD by Gary William Crawford (Sam's Dot Publishing)
VIRGIN OF THE APOCALYPSE by Corrine De Winter (Sam's Dot Publishing)
ATTACK OF THE TWO-HEADED POETRY MONSTER by Mark McLaughlin and Michael McCarty (Skullvines Press)

Monday, March 23, 2009 7:54 AM

Apropos my article on Mark Rudd, reader Bob Feldman sends a link to his history of the same time period..."It's a parallel history, alternative perspective from a 60s Queens working-class point of view of some of the actual 60s Columbia sds history/Movement history that Mark recounts from a Jersey white middle-class point of view." As well he sends, ""Bloody Minds" protest folk song about Columbia University's complicity with the U.S. War machine in the 1960s that's posted on the "Columbia Songs for a Democratic Society."

Centipede Press just announced Knowing Darkness: Artists Inspired by Stephen King, with an original introduction by film director Frank Darabont. Michael Whelan will be drawing remarques for only 50 copies of the deluxe edition. We're talking 448 pages with over 500 illustrations, full color, and 30 pages of double fold-outs. Prices start at $250 and ascend upwards from there. There are lots of over at their website, where yoiu can order the book.

Friday, March 20, 2009 7:42 AM

First some real news ... this via Rina Weisman of SF in SF ... At 111 Minna Gallery (111 Minna Street, San Francisco, CA 94105, 415.974.1719) on Monday, March 23rd at 7:00 PM come hear Cory Doctorow, Rudy Rucker, Charlie Jane Anders and Annalee Newitz perform a reading benefiting the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the leading civil liberties group defending your rights in the digital world. Borderlands Books will be on hand to sell books.

Centipede Press is now shipping a book on the making of the film Videodrome by the extraordinary Tim Lucas. This is one of my favorite films by Cronenburg, one of the few movies that offers the substance of Philip K. Dick without actually being based on any specific work by the author.

Like 10,000 others, I'm happy to fill space with Hugo noms ... Ansd rather glad that they offer up the number of votes cast, which suggests that a rather small cadre casts a large shadow over the speculative fiction world. I'm happy to see the Best editor award split into long and short form. And all in all, a good list of nominees. Here you go, Happy Friday.

799 Total Ballots cast

Best Novel (639 Ballots Cast)
Anathem by Neal Stephenson (Morrow; Atlantic UK)
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins; Bloomsbury)
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (Tor)
Saturn's Children by Charles Stross (Ace; Orbit)
Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi (Tor)

Best Novella (337 Ballots Cast)
"The Erdmann Nexus" by Nancy Kress (Asimov's Oct/Nov 2008)
"The Political Prisoner" by Charles Coleman Finlay (F&SF Aug 2008)
"The Tear" by Ian McDonald (Galactic Empires)
"True Names" by Benjamin Rosenbaum & Cory Doctorow (Fast Forward 2)
"Truth" by Robert Reed (Asimov's Oct/Nov 2008)

Best Novelette (373 Ballots Cast)
"Alastair Baffle's Emporium of Wonders" by Mike Resnick (Asimov's Jan 2008)
"The Gambler" by Paolo Bacigalupi (Fast Forward 2)
"Pride and Prometheus" by John Kessel (F&SF Jan 2008)
"The Ray-Gun: A Love Story" by James Alan Gardner (Asimov's Feb 2008)
"Shoggoths in Bloom" by Elizabeth Bear (Asimov's Mar 2008)

Best Short Story (448 Ballots Cast)
"26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss" by Kij Johnson (Asimov's Jul 2008)
"Article of Faith" by Mike Resnick (Baen's Universe Oct 2008)
"Evil Robot Monkey" by Mary Robinette Kowal (The Solaris Book of New
Science Fiction, Volume Two)
"Exhalation" by Ted Chiang (Eclipse Two)
"From Babel's Fall'n Glory We Fled" by Michael Swanwick (Asimov's Feb 2008)

Best Related Book (263 Ballots Cast)
Rhetorics of Fantasy by Farah Mendlesohn (Wesleyan University Press)
Spectrum 15: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art by Cathy Fenner &
Arnie Fenner, eds. (Underwood Books)
The Vorkosigan Companion: The Universe of Lois McMaster Bujold by
Lillian Stewart Carl & John Helfers, eds. (Baen)
What It Is We Do When We Read Science Fiction by Paul Kincaid (Beccon
Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded: A Decade of Whatever, 1998-2008 by John
Scalzi (Subterranean Press)

Best Graphic Story (212 Ballots Cast)
The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle Written by Jim Butcher, art
by Ardian Syaf (Del Rey/Dabel Brothers Publishing)
Girl Genius, Volume 8: Agatha Heterodyne and the Chapel of Bones
Written by Kaja & Phil Foglio, art by Phil Foglio, colors by Cheyenne
Wright (Airship Entertainment)
Fables: War and Pieces Written by Bill Willingham, pencilled by Mark
Buckingham, art by Steve Leialoha and Andrew Pepoy, color by Lee
Loughridge, letters by Todd Klein (DC/Vertigo Comics)
Schlock Mercenary: The Body Politic Story and art by Howard Tayler
(The Tayler Corporation)
Serenity: Better Days Written by Joss Whedon & Brett Matthews, art by
Will Conrad, color by Michelle Madsen, cover by Jo Chen (Dark Horse
Y: The Last Man, Volume 10: Whys and Wherefores Written/created by
Brian K. Vaughan, pencilled/created by Pia Guerra, inked by Jose
Marzan, Jr. (DC/Vertigo Comics)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form (436 Ballots Cast)
The Dark Knight Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer, story; Jonathan
Nolan and Christopher Nolan, screenplay; based on characters created
by Bob Kane; Christopher Nolan, director (Warner Brothers)
Hellboy II: The Golden Army Guillermo del Toro & Mike Mignola, story;
Guillermo del Toro, screenplay; based on the comic by Mike Mignola;
Guillermo del Toro, director (Dark Horse, Universal)
Iron Man Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby and Art Marcum & Matt Holloway,
screenplay; based on characters created by Stan Lee & Don Heck & Larry
Lieber & Jack Kirby; Jon Favreau, director (Paramount, Marvel Studios)
METAtropolis edited by John Scalzi; Elizabeth Bear, Jay Lake, Tobias
Buckell, John Scalzi, and Karl Schroeder, writers (Audible Inc.)
WALL-E Andrew Stanton & Pete Docter, story; Andrew Stanton & Jim
Reardon, screenplay; Andrew Stanton, director (Pixar/Walt Disney)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form (336 Ballots Cast)
Lost: "The Constant", Carlton Cuse & Damon Lindelof, writers; Jack
Bender, director (Bad Robot, ABC studios)
Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog Joss Whedon, & Zack Whedon, & Jed
Whedon, & Maurissa Tancharoen, writers; Joss Whedon, director (Mutant
Battlestar Galactica: "Revelations", Bradley Thompson & David Weddle,
writers; Michael Rymer, director (NBC Universal)
Doctor Who: "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead", Steven
Moffat, writer; Euros Lyn, director (BBC Wales)
Doctor Who: "Turn Left", Russell T. Davies, writer; Graeme Harper,
director (BBC Wales)

Best Editor, Short Form (377 Ballots Cast)
Ellen Datlow
Stanley Schmidt
Jonathan Strahan
Gordon Van Gelder
Sheila Williams

Best Editor, Long Form (273 Ballots Cast)
Lou Anders
Ginjer Buchanan
David G. Hartwell
Beth Meacham
Patrick Nielsen Hayden

Best Professional Artist (334 Ballots Cast)
Daniel Dos Santos
Bob Eggleton
Donato Giancola
John Picacio
Shaun Tan

Best Semiprozine (283 Ballots Cast)
Clarkesworld Magazine edited by Neil Clarke, Nick Mamatas, & Sean Wallace
Interzone edited by Andy Cox
Locus edited by Charles N. Brown, Kirsten Gong-Wong, & Liza Groen Trombi
The New York Review of Science Fiction edited by Kathryn Cramer, Kris
Dikeman, David G. Hartwell, & Kevin J. Maroney
Weird Tales edited by Ann VanderMeer & Stephen H. Segal

Best Fan Writer (291 Ballots Cast)
Chris Garcia
John Hertz
Dave Langford
Cheryl Morgan
Steven H Silver

Best Fanzine (257 Ballots Cast)
Argentus edited by Steven H Silver
Banana Wings edited by Claire Brialey and Mark Plummer
Challenger edited by Guy H. Lillian III
The Drink Tank edited by Chris Garcia
Electric Velocipede edited by John Klima
File 770 edited by Mike Glyer

Best Fan Artist (187 Ballots Cast)
Alan F. Beck
Brad W. Foster
Sue Mason
Taral Wayne
Frank Wu

The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (288 Ballots Cast)
Aliette de Bodard*
David Anthony Durham*
Felix Gilman
Tony Pi*
Gord Sellar*

Thursday, March 19, 2009 7:47 AM

I talked to Christopher Moore last night at Capitola Book Cafe, where he spoke to a packed house. It was great to see so many enthusiastic readers out at night. If you get a chance, go to see him, he is, ass ever, both entertaining and very funny. Stay tuned for Monday's podcast -- and a book review.

Legends Books has the latest UK fantasy debut by stephen Deas, 'The Adamantine Palace,' signed from Victor Gollancz Books, undoubtably edited our super star Simon Spanton. Spanton is going to be seen as one of the big names in the re-shaping of modern fantasy.

Meanwhile, Realms of Fantasy is featuring 'Shrike' by Quentin Crisp. This book was recently reviewed by Mario Guslandi, and he rather liked it.

And finally, I just got a message from one "Allison Gayne," informing me that the funeral biz is down, but cremations are up. She offers to put me in contact with a gent who runs a funeral home chain. I think I should be worried.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009 8:04 AM

M for Mystery has some very good books for you, including signed copies of 'The Manual of Detection,' a superb surreal mystery. You'll have to scroll down to find it, but believe me you want this book. It's to die for.

Christopher Moore is on tour; I'll be at Capitola Book Café this evening to speak with him.

Here's a recipe I found in the San Francisco Chronicle and modified slightly to suit my tastes. It's really easy and really good. Salut!

Roasted Lamb Shanks

1-2 Lamb shanks per serving
1-2 Yukon gold potatoes per serving
2-3 Garlic cloves per lamb shank
Olive Oil
White cooking wine (TJ Charles Shaw $2 Sauvignon Blanc)
Optional Honey Lamb Mint Sauce (Reese)

Preheat oven to 400. Line a pan with heavy aluminum foil. Sprinkle olive oil on foil. (About 1 - 1 1/2 tbsp) Add about 2 Tbsp wine. Slice garlic and place in oil and wine mixture.

Place shanks on foil in mixture. Roll shanks to coat them, make sure garlic stays underneath. Salt and pepper each side of shanks. Drizzle shanks with Honey Lamb mint sauce, if desired.

Place in oven and cook at 400 for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 350.

Halve or quarter potatoes, place in pan and roll in liquid.

Cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, turning occasionally. (Every 30 minutes.) If liquid underneath shanks starts to dry out, add a tablespoon of wine.

Serve when meat is easily pulled from the bone, a little crispy outside, tender inside.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 7:44 AM

I find myself forced to mention that sadly, in the tradition of things going from bad to worse, the SciFi Channel is "rebranding" itself as ... The Syfy Channel. With the new slogan "Imagine Greater," which the rebranding makes ... difficult.

Book Passage in Corte Madera is offering a class with David Corbett — Demonstrate Character: Make A Scene. It's a six hour session for $105. Corbett's an outstanding writer. Here's a link to my interview with him. As you can hear, he's smart and literate and an excellent teacher. Well worth your valuable time.

Anticipation, the 67th World Science Fiction Convention is ramping up. Here's a link to the Aurora Nominees.

Monday, March 16, 2009 7:27 AM

Borderlands Press has a "writer's boot camp" for High School students. I still remember finding the original Masques Anthology from Borderlands in a drug store in Monterey Park. (The same place where I bought Clive Barker's The Books of Blood in paperback and a garish UK paperback copy of Robert R. McCammon's They Thirst.)

Just got a pretty damn interesting ARC of a steampunk novel by George Mann (The Affinity Bridge); and what the publishers are hoping is the next The Historian. (The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane. [Thanks Janet.]

And finally, it's pledge week at KUSP. TAC got nada last night, so I'm hoping some intrepid listeners will go to the website and make pledge and mention The Agony Column.

I'm going to try to keep this updated daily, because clearly, I don't have enough to do.

Friday, December 5, 2008 3:36 PM PST

WalMart Infects America, courtesy the Ffortean list ...

Friday, November 28, 2008 11:44 AM PST

Remember Lincoln Child's 'Terminal Freeze'? Looks like, as usual, he's on to something. Remains of "a sabre-toothed tiger which was the size of a horse" have been found by a trawler in the North Sea. Let's just hope that they're right about this and that it isn't the remains of something rather different and more deadly. It always helps to remember that when originally putting dinosaur skeletons together, they put the thumb on the nose, like a little horn.

Thursday, November 27, 2008 3:55 AM

Pat Holt returns with a new and controversial idea about writer's royalties on Holt Uncensored.

David J. Schow interviewed by Angela Wilson over at Pop Syndicate.

Updated Chip Kidd Interview MP3: I've updated the Chip Kidd interview. Reload it from this link or check our podcast RSS for the update. Monday November 24, 7:30 AM PST.

New Book Lists...Cold Tonnage SF&F and Realms of Fantasy.

The UFO and JFK Assasination Conspiracy Link: One of my favorite stories involves Fred Crisman, who claimed to have emerged onto Maury Island from the Dero caves first seen in the fiction of Richard Shaver, published in Fate Magazine by Ray Palmer. Here's another key in the chain; a link between UFO sightings on Maury Island, Fred Crisman, and the JFK assasination. Read at your own risk. For more information on Shaver, you can get lost in the Shavertron Archives.

New Wovel at Underland Press:
I've been looking at Underland Press for a while now, and they've started a new Wovel ; Web Novel by Jemiah Jefferson, Firstworld. Here's a link to the first installment, they're on installment 3 now.

M for Mystery Newsletter: The latest M for Mystery Newsletter sports some interesting stuff, including the new Facsimile editions of some early Agatha Christie novels, signed editions of Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers and Stewart O'Nan's Songs of the Missing.

PS Publishing has a number of new titles on offer from their web store, including the new Tim Powers Biography and a new issue of Postscripts.

Christopher Moore writes to tell me that "you can order signed, special, leather gift editions of Lamb from Books Inc. (under twenny bucks!)" But, wait — there's Moore! "You can also get signed copies of The Stupidest Angel at this link."

Independent Dreams: A look at two landmark independent California Bookstores from PBS Station KQED.

Book Sale: Legends Books continues clearing out hardcovers at bargain prices. Probably something for everyone here.

New Book List: Tim Kendall-Carpenter just sent out a list of new titles, with lots of Bookerish works and limited editions.

New to the Agony Column

10-26-11: Commentary : Jana Marcus Documents 'Transfigurations' : Transsexual Journeys

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2011 Interview with Jana Marcus : "'Transfigurations' is a real opportunity to stare."

10-20-11: Commentary : My Life in the Bush of Books : Dr. Rick Wilber, Jonathan Lethem and Art Spiegelman Edition

10-25-11: Agony Column Podcast News Report : Podcast Update: Time to Read, Episode 15: Russell Banks : Lost Memory of Skin

10-24-11: Commentary : Five Degrees of Latitude : Literary Ripping Yarns

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2011 Interview with Michael Reynier : "I just started typing..."

10-20-11: Commentary : My Life in the Bush of Books : Dr. Rick Wilber, Jonathan Lethem and Art Spiegelman Edition

Agony Column Podcast News Report : Lisa Goldstein Reads at SF in SF : The Bondmaid's Tale

10-19-11: Commentary : Lisa Goldstein Visits 'The Uncertain Places' : Social Surrealism from Another Direction

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2011 Interview with Lisa Goldstein at SF in SF : "I couldn't put it down, I had to finish it."

10-18-11: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read, Episode 14: Lisa Randall : Knocking on Heaven's Door

10-17-11: Commentary : Russell Banks' 'Lost Memory Of Skin' : Social Surrealism

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2011 Interview with Russell Banks : "They are in a sense, permanently marked and thrown into this darkness..."

10-14-11: Commentary : Jacqueline Novogratz Exports 'The Blue Sweater' : Mind the Gap

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2011 Phone Interview with Jacqueline Novogratz : "I'm sorry...I'm at the airport in Dubai, and it's pretty chaotic."

10-13-11: Commentary : The Business of Unreality : Novels Explore the Virtual World

Agony Column Podcast News Report : The Agony Column Live with Tad Williams and Deborah Beale : "Her style was different, our styles were very different."

10-12-11: Commentary : Mario Guslandi Reviews 'House of Fear' Edited by Jonathan Oliver : "Arguably the Best"

Agony Column Podcast News Report : Three Books With Alan Cheuse : 'IQ84' by Haruki Murakami, 'Assumption' by Percival Everett, 'Zone One' by Colson Whitehead

10-11-11: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Podcast Update: Time to Read, Episode 13: Erin Morgenstern : The Night Circus

10-10-11: Commentary : Lisa Randall is 'Knocking on Heaven's Door' : Science, Particles and Civilization

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2011 Interview with Lisa Randall : "I gave it to religious people, I gave it to non-religious people and both were unhappy with what I wrote."

10-05-11: Commentary : Ruth Rendell Opens 'The Vault' : Wexford Follows Up

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2011 Interview with Ruth Rendell : "Oh, I could kill him."

10-04-11: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Podcast Update: Time to Read, Episode 12: Neal Stephenson : REAMDE

10-03-11: Commentary : Erin Morgenstern Presents 'The Night Circus' : The Supernatural Stage

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2011 Interview with Erin Morgenstern : "I'm always kind of a fantastical writer."

09-29-11: Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2011 Phone Interview with Russell Banks : "I don't find plotting all that hard once I have the characters in place."

09-28-11: Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2011 Interview with Meg Wolitzer : "I really think you need to respect the antsyness of kids."

09-26-11: Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2011 Interview with Neal Stephenson, Plus Live Reading and Q and A : "Here you're asking me to engage into more self-examination than is my wont..."

09-19-11: Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2011 Interview with Lev Grossman : "I'm gonna write it ... and if Viking doesn't publish it, everyone can just come over to my house and look at it on my laptop."

09-12-11: Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2011 Interview with George Pelecanos : "...maybe somebody's trying to tell me to write a book about this guy Spero."

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