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10-31-03: June 2004 Publication Date for Steve Erikson

Gardens of the Moon from Tor

A UK paperback of the first volume of Erikson's well-received series.

Those of us who are waiting for the US release of Steve Erikson's critically acclaimed fantasy series now have a date -- June 2004. Some of us have come to Erikson only recently, with his UK release from PS Publishing, 'Blood Follows'. I loved that book enough to go out and find the UK releases, but I must admit the thickness of the paperback version multiplied the tininess of the print has kept me away; that and about ten thousand other books to read. But in shiny new Hardcovers from Tor, edited by Jim Minz, they could easily climb the list. I've just confirmed all this with Tor.

[Note layer of dust on top of book below. Yes, I wish I was a better person.]

My now-furry copy of the other Steve Erikson's work.

When I first heard about these books, I thought that they were by the same gent who wrote a series of slipstream novels back in the 1980's and 1990's. I guess the ending "n" is our clue they're different. Back in the stacks, I found a rather furry-with dust copy of the other Steve Erikson's 'Rubicon Beach'. As opposed to the ever-popular submerged New York, it's a submerged LA. Hope sinks eternal!

10-30-03: Jack Yeovil Pulls Silver Nails, Literary Spam

Kim Newman in the Games Workshop Again

A cheesy cover for another fine work of fiction by one of SF&F's top writers.

Readers should by now know that I'm not fond of vampire novels and that video and other game tie-ins give me the heebies. I can, of course, withstand the onslught of a good cheesy cover. In the case of Jack Yeovil, who is the result of Kim Newman's ingestion of a dose Doctor Jekyll's Health-Improving Elixir, I can overlook the first two items above and say 'Bring it on!' I still remember looking at those original Drachenfels trade paperbacks in the LA outlet of 'Forbidden Planet' and wondering jsut what they were, being almost tempted to buy them. I didn't of course, back then, because I didn't know the medicinal relationship between Yeovil and Newman. So I count myself extremely lucky to have eventually unearthed them from Logos books here in Santa Cruz, California as used volumes.

All of this simply to inform you that there's another Jack Yeovil volume written for Games Workshop, the publishing arm of which calls itself The Black Library. This is a full-on Games Workshop deal, with an advertisement for Warhammer on inside back cover. Get over it. You know Kim Newman is one of the top writers to have ever worked in the horror genre, and his GW stuff is among the best.


Frederick, Your Customized Book Awaits You

Literary spam from a prominent on-line bookseller.

It's just a coincidence that I got this literary spam from a prominent though super-expensive online bookseller. I know that this is spam cos they called me Frederick in the email, which they got off my sign-up information. I'm being subssumed into my own vision of Lem's vision of the future. I'm wondering they would put this image on the front of my copy of 'America 247'. What America is doing 24-frigging-7 is selling crap to anyone who seems to have money. Gimme. Gimme! Bring it on! That's right, gimme!

One of my pseudo literary friends once sent in his annual Xmas spam that this was his favorite website. Upon closer examination, he'd never actually used it or been there, but he did like the name. I know I'm glad they've got my name.

10-29-03: Remainder Alert: Terry Pratchett

The Truth on the Cheap

My Remaindered copy of 'The Truth'.

As a service of the Trashotron Broadcast Network, we present this remainder alert. Those of you who, like me, are late coming to Terry Pratchett, will be happy to know that you can find an eye-saving hardcover copy of 'The Truth' at your local independent bookseller. Well, at least I did, at Logos. They only had three, so it might not be available everywhere. You may have to weigh the moral value of going to a chain bookstore to see if they've got some in their piles. Try not to. Yes, I know the book has a big black mark on the bottom of the pages, but hell, until I can afford the $8K 1st/1st hardcover of 'The Color of Magic', I'm not going to sweat it.


10-28-03: The Revenge of the Angry Penguins

Peter Carey's 'My Life as a Fake'

Don't mess with these surrealist birds. A shot of the cover of the magazine where the works of created poet Ern (as in Ernest) Malley (mal as in bad) were published.

If you think you know what you like, and you like poetry, someday you may find yourself in for a rude surprise. In October, 1943, in an Army barracks in Melbourne, two bored officers with a particular dislike of modern and surrealist poetry decided to create the works of Ern Malley. Lieutenant James McAuley and Corporal Harold Stewart spent a Saturday afternoon having far too much fun as literary DJs. Mixing in bits of Shakespeare, a dictionary of quotations, a report on the breeding grounds of mosquitoes and their own efforts to compose deliberately vague bad verse, they wrote the 16 poems which comprised Ern Malley's "tragic lifework". Their masterstroke was to create a rather dull sister, who was purportedly sending the poetry to 'Angry Penguins' the magazine of Australian Surrealist poet Max Harris. Harris fell for the hoax, published the poems and then found himself being sued for obscenity by the South Australian Police, who presumed words they did not know were obscene. But even when he knew the poems were a hoax, Harris defended their worth, and they've since been used as classroom materials by John Ashberry. Both the hoax itself and the "poetry" created for the hoax turned out to be fine examples of the surrealist movement, and the Angry Penguins had their revenge.


Based on the fascinating story of an actual Australian hoax.

Peter Carey has won two, count 'em two Booker Prizes, and his latest novel 'My Life as a Fake' is out in the UK now. It goes the Ern Malley story one better, with a person who shows up in court claiming to be the created poet. It won't be out in the US till next year, so get your copies now if you want to see them rocket in value. Katie Dean and I will be looking at this book in the coming month. You should as well.

10-27-03: Stanislaw Lem's Prediction Brought to Life by DK, Neil Gaiman's Hardcover Graphic Novel

From One Human Minute to America 24/7

Lem's 1986 collection of meta-fiction may prove to be one of the predictive highlights of science fiction.

While science fiction authors correctly do not like to talk up the predictive nature of their work, it often happens that writers do end up predicting events, customs and machines. One of the most accurate authors to my mind is Stanislaw Lem. Today's prediction brought to life comes from his 1986 (at least in America) collection of meta-fiction, 'One Human Minute'. The "article" lends its name to the title is about a sort of Guiness-style book that collects the statistics of what the entire human race is doing in any given minute. Lem loves his statistics, and his "review" recounts statistics of death, love and much in-between, played mostly for light laughs.


DK Books specializes in oversize picture books. This book is available with a custom cover from your picture, according to today's advertisement in the San Francisco Chronicle.

The real deal, as currently published by DK books, is America 24/7, and offers a week's worth of images from America and includes the very Lemian option of having a custom cover created digitally from your image as submitted to their website. It rates a full page, full color advertisement in today's San Francisco Chronicle, and doubtless other major metropolitan newspapers as well. For $49.95 you can get you personalized copy with the image of your choice on the cover. next year, we can look for 50 different versions, one for each state. How long before we can look for America@60seconds? Of course, with he new surveillance programs being implemented everywhere in our name and for our safety, this should be something of a snap.

Sandman's Endless Nights

It's appropriate that this image is dark as heck. The men and women behind those masks have MBAs and seven savage lawyers from Beverly Hills who will sue until all that's left of you is a shred-covered skeleton in the parking lot.

Neil Gaiman's graphic novels have been issued in hardcover in retrospect, but I believe -- and I'm sure that some some fan will correct me if I'm wrong -- that this is the first time they've come out first in hardcover. This is a beautiful volume and if you're a Neil Gaiman fan, I suspect you've already bought it. It's designed by Dave McKean and illustrated by six artists who each bring their own unique style to the illustration of Gaiman's writing. There's one entire full-color page devoted to the VPs of Finance, Manufacturing, Advertising, Business Development and Licensing and Merchandising who made this title possible. Bow to them. They are truly the spirits of this age, who move unseen behind the fabric of life and shape our vision. Like it or not.