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07-26-03: Douglas Coupland & Dan Simmons Interviews Now Online

Douglas Coupland Interview

In his San Francisco hotel room, Doug was re-creating a design similar to this with small colored pieces of paper.

I didn't spot the cowboy hat.

I talked to Douglas Coupland early last week in San Francisco. It took me a few days to get round to pulling the interview off the DAT; I'm spoiled by what I do in the studio, where I can just record directly onto the laptop. He was a fascinating guy, and his interview is now posted in RealAudio format and MP3 format. Listen to find his thoughts on 9/11, the afterlife, spirituality and spooky Ouija boards.


A nice current picture of Dan Simmons.

Yesterday, I talked to Dan Simmons about literature, his call to arms for SF writers, genre-hopping and the towering figure of J. R. R. Tolkien. Dan is amazingly erudite, funny and knowledgeable. The interview is now online in RealAudio format and MP3 format. We had a lot of fun covering the joys of the science fiction world, and found out when too much violence is just enough violence in his mystery fiction.

07-24-03: Telos Brings in the Big Names for Doctor Who

Paul McAuley,Mark Chadbourn & Simon Clark Pump Up the Volume for Telos

The Doctor is IN!

Telos Publishing have got a pretty amazing set of final books planned for their Doctor Who Novella Series. Already available is Mark Chadbourn's 'Wonderland' -- Doctor Who in Haight Ashbury in the swinging sixties. Don't take the Blue Moonbeams!

The upcoming 'Eye of the Tiger' by Paul McAuley will be extremely spectacular. In the limited edition it will include a full color fontispiece by Jim Burns, Introduction by Neil Gaiman, full color art by noted Who illustrators Walter Howarth, Andrew Skilleter and Fred Gambino. It will also be signed by Paul McGann, who played the Doctor in a recent TV movie (and 'I' of 'Withnail & I'). And finally, below, I snagged this release from a newsfroup. All hail Simon Clark. If anyone can make the Daleks scary again, it's he....




2003 marks the 40th anniversary of the BBC's cult classic DOCTOR WHO, and Telos Publishing are proud to oversee for the first time in five years the return of the greatest baddies the universe has ever seen.

The fifteenth and final Novella in Telos Publishing's acclaimed and innovative range of original DOCTOR WHO books will feature the creatures as readers have never seen them before. The story is called THE DALEK FACTOR and is to be written by award-winning horror and dark fantasy author Simon Clark.

Clark, described by SFX magazine as 'one of the most exciting British horror writers around', is the award-winning author of numerous horror novels, the latest of which, VAMPYRRHIC RITES, was released in July by Hodder and Stoughton.

'I grew up watching DOCTOR WHO,' says Clark. 'I never missed DOCTOR WHO. Not even on my wedding day. DOCTOR WHO fuelled my imagination and my appetite for the fantastic as a child. To get the opportunity to work on a DOCTOR WHO story is a dream come true.'

Being able to work with the Daleks is also a large part of the appeal. 'Like total eclipses, the chance to write a Dalek story only happens once in a blue moon. There was no way I could turn down something like that. But, darn it, I knew if I was going to tackle THE DALEK FACTOR, it would be my mission to make the Daleks frightening again. I want them to be menacing. I want them to be the essence of evil. No more 'stairs' jokes. I'm determined to write a dark, disturbing story where even to catch a glimpse of a Dalek makes the palms sweat, and triggers waves of revulsion and fear.

'Think back to the time when you were last frightened by a DOCTOR WHO episode. My personal quest in writing this novella is to pull that fear trigger again. THE DALEK FACTOR is going to be a journey into the heart of darkness. Not everyone on that journey is going to come back in one piece.'

THE DALEK FACTOR will be published by Telos Publishing in February 2004.

07-23-03: The Ambient Century, Brenchley V3, Digital Dead


The Ambient Century

The forthcoming paperback edition of this important musical history.

Some readers may know that on occasion, I've written and performed electronic music. In the depths of time -- back in the mid-80's -- I even did a soundtrack to a very bad cheap horror movie titled 'Sole Survivor', and had the pleasure of seeing a trailer for the movie with my music broadcast during an Elvira show. The people at Bloomsbury called me up and asked if I'd like to talk to Mark Prendergast, author of 'The Ambient Century'. I hope this will come off, as the book itself is fantastic. Open it just about anywhere to find smart words on weird music. I like ambient music because I find music with any words or lots of activity hard to read to. These days, my favorites include Terre Thaemlitz's Die Roboter Rubato, which is rubato (rhythmless) renditions of Kraftwerk songs on piano. It's utterly gorgeous. I'm also listening to David Bedford's 'The Oddysey', and will do so even more often when I get to start 'Ilium'!

Brenchley V3 and the Digital Dead

That painting is really quite gorgeous.

I get a little afraid when the blurb reads "Buckle Up."

Two new releases from Penguin/Putnam/Ace seem potentially interesting. The third volume of Chaz Brenchley's fantasy trilogy is out. Since I'm currently reading Goodkind's latest, my interest in fantasy has been jump-started, and I think this set looks quite good. Then there's 'The Digital Dead', which looks to get into John Shirley territory, with post-life humans dabbling in bad things. Author Bruce Balfour has a pretty hefty pedigree, having an employment record that includes AI for NASA and videogame design for Neuromancer. But then, you know about all writer's employment records, don't you?

07-22-03: Dennis McMillan's Next Michael Connelly Novel, The Demise of Earthlight, Arthur C. Clarke's new solo novel.

Dennis McMillan's Next Michael Connelly Novel

Michael Connelly's famous novel is getting a sequel.

The author of the Harry Bosch series smiles.

There's been a bit of controversy over the upcoming new Michael Connelly novel. Someone on rec.arts.mystery pointed out the that *.com had this rather pointed summary:

"Harry Bosch investigates the murder of Terry McCaleb, hero of BLOODWORK, in a superb new novel from this international bestseller."

Well, could he kill this popular character? What does 'The Poet' have to do with all this? I went to MAIN MAN D-RAY McMillan, sent him this quote and asked him essentially if he knew what was up. Here's what he told me:

"Yeah, it's a sequel to THE POET, and is called THE NARROWS, and I'll bring it out in Dec., I think. I wasn't aware of the plot, but that sounds like something Connelly would come up with! He (Connelly) suggested that I might do a double, boxed set, with a reprint of THE POET accompanying this new one, but after thinking about it, I don't want to charge more than my usual $250 for the morocco copies (or more than $125. for the cloth ones, either, for that matter), and I'd have to, if I did another volume--I just couldn't absorb the cost without selling the thing for almost double what I do now, and I think that would really put people off, so I'm not going to do it that way, although it would certainly be cool."

So start volunteering now to buy the reprinted version of THE POET, make me happy -- I'd love to have a D-Ray apaproved version of that novel -- and let's get cracking. Write me and pass on your numbers to D-Ray. This guy needs to make another wonderful book.

Turning off the EarthLight

"EARTHLIGHT: Here, Now, but with No Future..." From Nash's email to me...

Sometimes good publishers make bad decisions, but I'm betting that Simon and Schuster are setting themselves up for a massive foot-shot syndrome.

For five years, their imprint EarthLight, headed by the ingenious Darren Nash, has brought the world some of the best science fiction it could ask for. Their most recent release, 'The Light Ages' by Ian R. Macleod is on my shortlist for a Hugo nomination next year. So I had to pick myself up off the floor when Darren sent me this announcement early this morning....

"Simon & Schuster UK Restructure Announcement

Managing Director Ian Chapman announced this week the restructure of key departments within the Adult Trade Division of Simon & Schuster UK, from editorial through to rights, sales, marketing and finance.


Under the new arrangement, Earthlight, the science fiction and fantasy list started up five years ago, will cease to exist as an imprint from the end of this year. Its authors will be published on the Simon & Schuster and Pocket lists where they will be given the same profile and commitment as before, but will enjoy the benefits of belonging to the main body of the fiction list. As a consequence of this, Darren Nash, Senior Editor, will be leaving the company at the end of September."

Nash is one of the top editors in the SF world, and this is going to be a decision that S&S regrets. Like it or not, readers use imprints to choose books. The guiding hand of a great editor in conjunction with an imprint has lead to much of the best SF published ever. Look for more news on this as it comes to me.

Arthur C. Clarke's New Novel

Sir Arthur C. Clarke has been elevated to a Knight of the Realm.

Kevin Ahearn sent me this blurb from PW. I'm stoked. Like many I cut my teeth on Arthur C. Clarke. It was really the first modern science fiction I read, and once I went throug that door I didn't leave until the mid-80's.

Now I havent read much of Mr. Clarke's recent work, though I did run out and buy the Victor Gollancz imprint version of his 'Collected Stories'. But this novel sounds positively wonderful.

"Arthur C. Clarke's THE LAST THEOREM, his first new novel in ten years, the fictional biography of a master mathematician whose work alters the course of history, [sold] to Shelly Shapiro at Ballantine, in a significant ($250,000 - $500,000) deal, by Russell Galen at Scovil Chichak Galen (NA)."

Thius sound much more like the Stanislaw Lem-style Clarke that I loved in the early years, before the collabrative years. I hope Ballantine sends me one early.

07-21-03: Authors on Tour,Singularity Sky in sight!

Terry Goodkins and Dan Simmons on Tour

Terry Goodkind from his latest novel.

Dan Simmons from last year -- look for an update soon.

If you're interested in meeting your favorite writer, there's a good chance that they're on tour. Wild as that assertionmay sound, it seems that way to the writers. Two writers showing up soon in my general neighborhood that I plan to meet are probably coming soon to yours. Terry Goodkind is touring for his new novel 'Naked Empire', which I'm currently reading. I left it in the car while I went to buy a mouse to feed our milk snake, and my wife was plowing it through it when I got back. Thus it comes highly recommended.

Dan Simmons is out touring for his latest literary opus 'Ilium'. Widely rumored to have won next year's Hugo before it was published, it sounds like another home run. I met Dan last year at 'M for Mystery', and his signing was extremely fun. He's very witty and fast on his feet.

Terry Goodkind's latest novel.

Dan Simmons' newest novel.

As for the novels -- well I'm barely into 'Naked Empire' but Goodkind does have an easy way about him. I should be getting Ilium soon, and of course a report will rapidly follow. You can check with Terry Goodkind's web site for his tour dates and places. Likewise, Dan Simmons' tour dates and stop are here at his website.

Singularity Sky in sight!

Only two more more weeks to wait...

Fellow sysadmin Charlie Stross managed to get me a copy of this novel a bit early. With Ilium, this looks to be one of the barn-burning crop of space operas for this year. I'll be covering this and the other standouts from this year, which has a distinctly different feel from last year's space opera -- so far.