Spectra Pulse and SF Signal’s Underrated Writers

I just got my spiffy contributor’s copy of Spectra Pulse, Bantam Spectra’s new biannual magazine. It features an excerpt from the forthcoming George RR Martin novel, original fiction by Cat Valente, and nonfiction from Elizabeth Bear, Scott Lynch, Tim Pratt, Kelley Armstrong, and me, among others. It really is a nice-looking magazine with real content to it–definitely worth checking out. Juliet Ulman at Bantam says, “We are giving out at several cons–for instance, we handed out several thousand at NY Comic Con last weekend. It is also going to several libraries across the country and some select retail accounts. Some of the exclusive content will be released digitally to this site and through our Myspace and Facebook pages. Those who will not be at, say, Comic Con International or the World Science Fiction convention who are eager to get their hands on the physical magazine itself should keep an eye on those pages, as we’ll be doing some summer reading offers, including the magazine.”

My article was on Unsung Heroes. Given the recent SF Signal feature on underrated writers, which included Ann’s choice of Kathe Koja, here’re my choices from Spectra Pulse. You’ll have to read the mag for the actual text.


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Books Received–April 24

A Tomb of the Periphery by John Domini, described as a “thoughtful thriller” by this Pulitzer-nominated author, is something I requested. Looks very interesting. Similarly, I asked for Life in the Balance, a book by Thomas Graboys as told to/written by Peter Zheutlin. Graboys has Parkinson’s and dementia and wanted to record his degenerating condition. It’s unflinchingly honest.

Books and Beer, Part 2

(Where one of the world’s best beers comes from…)

Following up on Part I of the Amazon book-beer post and the related post here on my blog, it’s Part II at Amazon, including a lot of darker beers. It also includes responses from Graham Joyce, Margo Lanagan, Chip Kidd, Lydia Millet, Hal Duncan, Clare Dudman, T.C. Boyle, Michael Swanwick, Small Beer Press’ Gavin Grant, James Morrow, Rudy Rucker, Nick Mamatas, Thomas Disch, and, er, me (Leffe Brun, Delirium Nocturnum, and Aventinus), because after putting many hours of work on this, well, dammit, I felt I had earned it. Besides, no one mentioned any true Belgian beers, which is blasphemy!

Elsewhere in the blogosphere, you’ll find some interesting thoughts about beer in response to the initial post here, and below some mischief from blog readers…

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Beer and Books Reminder

Just a reminder that if you want to have your photo of your book with the appropriate beer featured here tomorrow, send it in to vanderworld at hotmail.com. I’ll link from the second half of the Amazon feature to my post here, so…


Q: Can the bookless participate by designing a fake best-selling work of unrivalled genius in Photoshop and importing an image of their favourite beer?

A: Yes. In fact, feel free to send me fake beer labels sans books, too.

Last Nabokov Novel to be Published

From Publishers Lunch today. I have to say, I want to read it!


Son Decides to Publish Last Nabokov Novel
Vladimir Nabokov’s son Dmitri has told Germany’s Der Spiegel that he has finally decided to ignore his father’s instructions to burn his final manuscript, THE ORIGINAL OF LAURA, and will instead have it published. Dmitri said, “I’m a loyal son and thought long and seriously about it, then my father appeared before me and said, with an ironic grin, ‘You’re stuck in a right old mess – just go ahead and publish!'” Dmitri has called the manuscript “the most concentrated distillation of [my father’s] creativity.”

Galaxy Blues Review at Sci Fi Weekly

I think “harmless romp” sums up this one.

What really struck me in reading it is how spoiled I’ve been by Al Reynolds and Banksie and all o’ them writing really odd yet fast-paced space opera. The level of detail in those novels is so striking in comparison to something like Galaxy Blues (which reads more like a Heinlein juvenile). Which isn’t to say that Galaxy Blues doesn’t have its charms.


Throughout Galaxy Blues, I kept having moments where I enjoyed what I was reading and then other moments where I was either waiting for something to happen (especially before the characters leave orbit) or thrown out by what seemed like an anachronism. For example, I know they’ll have baseball in the future, but with the world-building in the novel being cursory at best, such a recurring here-and-now cultural reference didn’t work for me. In fact, in general Steele seems to want to create an SF that doesn’t have much to do with the future. Whether it’s literally true or not, I felt as if I’d traveled back to the 1950s and was reading a story written during that era. This isn’t necessarily a criticism, but because of everything from New Space Opera to Doctorow-Tech, I had to ignore the SF elements and focus on the adventure and characters.

Pirate Photo from Locus

In case you missed Locus this month, they ran this photo of us. We’d told them we’d turned in the pirate antho and they asked for a pirate-y photo to accompany it. So we quickly and ‘tardedly complied. (The other photos we took were much, much worse.) Ann’s wearing the pirate mask Howard Waldrop sent us.

You can pre-order Fast Ships, Black Sails here. It’s kinda important on this antho to pre-order, given the balanced mix of new and established writers. Very few anthologies for the commercial marketplace provide this much of a haven for non-names.

Gallery: The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric & Discredited Diseases

The fake disease guide, still available in the Bantam edition, had an earlier Night Shade hardcover edition. The cover wasn’t used for the Bantam edition, but all of the rest of John Coulthart’s amazing design was–and he’s now got samples on his blog. Truly, he is amazing. (Some great work by Mark Roberts, too.)

And one piece subbed-out in the Bantam edition, actually adapted from an old decaying Indian comic book from my childhood:

Australian Radio Interview Tonight

Australian national public radio, for a book show, will be interviewing me live about Steampunk around 8:15-8:20 pm EST. I think that’s about 10:15 in the morning Sydney time?

UPDATE: Here’s the podcast.