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05-15-03: Eric Schlosser Cancellation

Exhausted Writer Syndrome Strikes Again

Alas, the interview with Eric Schlosser has been cancelled; no live broadcast this week, though my interview with James Frey, Ira Sher or Jasper Fforde could run in its place. Mr. Schlosser is exhausted, having just returned from a UK tour. I understand totally, and wish him a speedy recovery.

05-14-03: New PS Publishing Titles, New Reviewers

Adam Roberts & Robert Freeman Wexler PS Novellas

Edward Millar is now the house artist for PS Publishing -- a great choice.

The latest PS Publishing titles have arrived. Robert Freeman Wexler's name is familiar to me, but I don't recall where I heard it. No matter -- he's apparently up from the small press, and I utterly trust Peter Crowther's taste in matters of speculative fiction novellas. I or one of my growing force of reviewers will let readers know what's what with this novella RSN -- Real Soon Now! Note the introduction by Lucius Shepard; Shepard is one of the top writers in this or any other genre and even if you drop the genre label entirely. I would consider that a good sign.


One of my most memorable nightmares as a child is illustrated by Edward Millar for the cover of Adam Roberts' new PS Publishing release

When I was a child -- six to eight years old -- I had a nightmare that I never forgot. In the nightmare, I simply looked out the window during the day and saw the planets in the sky above, their huge disks hanging like balloons in the sky. Somehow they had moved closer to the earth. It was just wrong, it woke me up immediately, and I never forgot that image. Now Adam Roberts has written a very odd novella about that event. I say odd because the final chapters are poetry, not the usual tack in a genre fiction release. But Roberts is well beyond the genre. He's experimenting with the forms, like some Greek God putting together chimeras out of random bits of animals. And note that the intro here is by James Lovegrove. I just got an email from my old friend Andy Fairclough, over at HorrorWorld. I'd asked him if there was anything out there he thought I'd like, and he mentioned James Lovegrove's 'Untied Kingdom'. It looks like I'm going to Gollancz crazy next week, after I wrap up the Margaret Weis interview and novel, with Lovegrove's novel and Roberts' 'Polystom'.

05-13-03: "New" Titles from Simon R. Green, Alastair Reynolds, Chaz Brenchley and Patricia McKillip


Redemption Ark now available in US

US Readers have a lot to look forward to in Alastair Reynolds' 'Redemption Ark'.

Alastair Reynolds' should be scooping up the awards with 'Redemption Ark', the direct sequel to 'Revelation Space', and readers should be scooping up copies of this book. Run, don't walk and buy both if you haven't bought the first. This is science fiction that will once again bring the buzz the great works brought you when you were a teenager. This time around, you get to experience every iota of pleasure as an adult. It's intelligent, satisfying and flat-out fun. Read the linked reviews, and from there, go to the columns. Or listen to the Alastair Reynolds interview. Reynolds has joined the top echelon of science fiction writers, and you the readers deserve every bit of enjoyment you can get out of these books.


Patricia McKillip Goes Glossy

The cover of Patricia McKillip's newest novel is not matte finished like the previous ones, but glossy.

Here's another girly-SF book from Patricia McKillip. My ultra-picky reading buddy Jan absolutely loves McKillip, and I'm sure I would too if I could bring myself to read them. These novels no doubt benefit from brevity. What mystifies me is the turn to glossy covers. I really liked the matte finish. The glossy finish just seems so -- slick.


1/6 of Chaz Brenchly's Trilogy

See kids? there is a reason to learn to multiply fractions!

My initial experience with Chaz Brenchley was frankly not so hot. I picked up a UK edition of one of his early books and read through the whole thing waiting for the promised-on-the-cover bit of supernatural, only to be disappointed. These Outremer books, on the other hand, have been getting good press back in the UK. Leave it to US publishers to split each of the three volumes in Brenchley's trilogy into two books. On the other hand, they're also publishing them lickety-split; he's finished the trilogy. These look pretty enticing in this format, frankly, and we don't have to pay extortionate UK paperback prices to get them.


Simon R. Green's New Supernatural Comedy

An arresting cover for the new Simon R. Green supernatural comedy.

I was prepared to be underwhelmed by Green's last supernatural comedy, 'Drinking Midnight Wine'. But I really liked it, and I'm looking forward to reading this one as well -- as soon as my son gets done with it. I love the cover image, but I guess that 'Drinking Midnight Wine' didn't sell so hot in trade paperback, as this one went direct to video, er mass market paperback. It's a shame really -- I think Green is very talented, and I think a lot of readers will find this book a lot of fun. And now even Michael Chabon says it's OK to have fun, so why not?


05-12-03: Eric Schlosser Live Webcast, New Feature: Suggested Reading by Selected Authors, Cory Doctorow's Next Novel

Live Agony Column Interview with Eric Schlosser

Eric Schlosser smiles as he takes down another crumbling edifice of hypocrisy and lies!

Later today, look for a review of Eric Schlosser's 'Reefer Madness', his latest work of literary journalism. It's pretty damn amazing and alarming. I'll be interviewing Eric Schlosser live on Friday, May 16, 2003 at 11 AM PDT. You can tune in via the web at the live broadcast website. If you live in Central California, you can hear it live at 88.9 FM in Monterey, Santa Cruz and south Santa Clara counties, and KBDH 91.7 in south Monterey and northern San Luis Obispo counties. Of course, the Real Audio and MP3 files of the itnerview will go up shortly afterwards for download anytime.

Cory Doctorow's Upcoming Novel: Eastern Standard Tribe

Cory Doctorow sent me a very preliminary version of his latest novel, 'Eastern Standard Tribe'. I haven't read the whole text, and I don't want to give a review quite yet, but I can tell readers that this novel is going to knock down a few walls, blow out a few windows and turn a lot of heads. It's about a Cabalistic society of management consultants who all decide to live their lives by Eastern Standard time, no matter where they happen to reside on the blue marble in black velvet. There were passages I was automatically rereading; the pithy, funny stuff that makes Doctorow's first novel, 'Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom', so enjoyable. This novel looked to be just as funny but more "realistic" than his first. Doctorow has successfully added to his palette of styles. I think this will be a very big novel for Tor and Doctorow. Look for more news here as we get closer to the actual release of the novel. That itself is an event in a future that may well seem science fictionally different from our present; it doesn't happen until January 2004. A lot can happen in those intervening months.

Cory Doctorow's Recent Reading

After getting Ira Sher's fascinating reading list last week, it occurred to me that readers might enjoy a weekly feature of what their favorite writers are reading. And, with no further ado, here is Cory Doctorow's current reading list. There's some fantastic titles on here that I've already ordered -- it's almost as if I can afford them! Over to you, Cory...


"Good stuff I've read recently:

John Varley's "Red Thunder" -- loving tribute to Heinlein's Rocket Ship Galileo

Wil McCarthy's "Hacking Matter" -- mindblowing nonfic about nanotech

Warren Ellis's "Orbiter" -- brilliant space-program inspired graphic novel

John Varley's "Red Thunder" -- loving tribute to Heinlein's Rocket Ship Galileo

Wil McCarthy's "Hacking Matter" -- mindblowing nonfic about nanotech

Eric Bonabeau (et al)'s "Swarm Intelligence" -- even more mindblowing nonfic.

Eric Bonabeau (et al)'s "Swarm Intelligence" -- even more mindblowing nonfic about ant-colony optimization and other techniques that solve hard problems (like traffic jams) by simulating insect colonies, systems that are wildly successful in practice but can't be understood by the people who implement them (i.e., "turn left here, wait five minutes, then do a U-turn and proceed normally")


Karl Schroeder's "Permanence" -- fantastic space-opera.

Rudy Rucker's "As Above, So Below"

Karl Schroeder's "Permanence" -- fantastic space-opera about a universe where light-speed-lagged DRM protocols and billion-year cults vie for economic superiority and the continuation of the human race

Paul McAuley's "Whole Wide World" -- chilling near-future dystopian sf about a UK where Internet regulation and universal surveillance have rendered life unlivable

Rudy Rucker's "As Above, So Below" -- unspeakably brilliant historical novel about the painter Peter Breughel"


Thanks, Cory. I've already ordered 'Swarm Intelligence' -- it reminds me of some stuff I read in Stanislaw Lem's 'One Human Minute'. The rest I'll pick up frommy local independent bookstores. Next week, reading lists from another author -- I don't know who yet, time to start scrambling!

Ira Sher's Recent Reading Part 2/New 4 Walls 8 Windows Collection

The guest list looks very hot in this new collection recommended by Ira Sher.

After getting Ira Sher's fascinating reading list last week, I wrote the folks at 4 Walls 8 Windows to see if I could get a copy of the cover image for his recommendation from their press. Here it is -- and it looks pretty damn rockin' good.