March 24, 2017
So I recently lined up all my editions of the first six Wild Cards books. The reissue of #6, Ace in the Hole, just came out from Tor. I’ve got mine!
So awesome. Up top are the original, wacky airbrushed collage covers. I love those so much. I realize they’re a bit dated now, but they’re very 1980’s and I think they really evoke the tone of the books: stylish, moody, full of intriguing characters and surreal hints of darkness. The reason I picked up Wild Cards in the first place was because of those covers, which didn’t look like anything else on the shelves at the time. Credits say the art is by Stan Watts while the border is by Frank Riley.
On book 6 the series changed to a more comic-book style illustration depicting more literal scenes. I was never a fan of these. Too cartoonish to me, and they never captured the mood the way those earlier covers did. These are by Timothy Truman.
I understand I’m in the minority opinion on this, and that a lot of folks never liked the first edition illustrations as much. Bantam re-issued the first five books with new covers by Truman. I don’t have those. But I pick up copies of the originals whenever I stumble across them in used bookstores, and then give them away with impunity.
Next row: the British editions, and the amazing covers by Brian Bolland. Such great character pieces, with enough mood to evoke what you’ll find inside.
And now, the Tor editions with the really amazing art by Michael Komarck. And what’s so interesting is that, like the original UK covers, these feature individual characters. But they’re action shots, not portraits. They combine all the impulses of the previous iterations of covers.
And isn’t it interesting that Wraith is the only one who has two covers? Something about chicks in bikinis, I guess. Wait, no! Puppetman also has two. Almost three! (The new volume six is almost another portrait of Gregg Hartmann. Except that’s actually the horrible Mackie Messer emerging through his campaign poster. I hate that guy.)
So that’s my collection. AREN’T THEY ALL SO PRETTY WHEN YOU LINE THEM ALL UP YAY!
December 21, 2016
I have a new Wild Cards story up at Tor.com. “The Thing About Growing Up in Jokertown” is essentially a YA story, which I’m not sure has been done before in Wild Cards. I hope it’s a fun read for people.
Lots more ahead for Wild Cards. Over on his Not a Blog, George has announced what we’re calling the American Triad, exploring parts of the Wild Cards world outside of New York City. First up there will be Mississippi Roll, in which I have a story.
And did I mention there’s a brand-new official Wild Cards website? This will be the place to go for news and awesome content, like the comic strip I did to commemorate writing my first Wild Cards story.
August 15, 2016
At long last, here it is. Most of my stuff is concentrated on Thursday and Friday, but I’ll be around all weekend. It’s a big weekend: we’re celebrating the launch of Amaryllis and Other Stories as well as the newest Wild Cards novel, High Stakes (I’m not in this one, but Earth Witch is!). I’m looking forward to seeing people with new books in hand!
1 pm: Signing at the Fairwood Press table in the Dealers Room. I’ll be dropping in throughout the weekend to sign Amaryllis and Other Stories.
3-4 pm (15:00 – 16:00): Kaffeeklatsch, 2211 (KKs) (Kansas City Convention Center) Folks generally need to sign up for these ahead of time.
10-10:30 am: Reading, 2202 (Readings) (Kansas City Convention Center)
12-1 pm (12:00 – 13:00): Adult and YA Fiction: The Once and Future Teen Friday, 2207 (Kansas City Convention Center)
2-3 pm (14:00 – 15:00): The Steampunk Explosion, 3501H (Kansas City Convention Center)
5-8 pm (17:00 – 20:00): Rainy Day Books Wild Cards Signing Event for the release of High Stakes. Count Basie Ballroom (Kansas City Marriott Downtown) REQUIRES ADVANCED TICKET, which includes purchase of High Stakes. See the website for event procedures. (Note — I’m going to have to leave early so won’t be there the whole 3 hours.)
8 pm: Fairwood Press Book Release Party, in the party area of the Exhibit Hall. You can buy Amaryllis and all of Fairwood’s new titles here, and I’ll be on hand to sign. Secret: I’m also baking a bunch of cookies. Come and partake!
10:00 – 11:00 am, The Place of Bookstores. 2204 (Kansas City Convention Center)
3-4 pm (15:00 – 16:00), Superheroes: Oversaturated or Raising the Bar? 2503A (Kansas City Convention Center). So, it turns out Kurt Busiek is also a panelist on this one. Talking about one of my favorite topics with one of my favorite creators of said topic? MASSIVE SQUEE.
5-6 pm (17:00 – 18:00), Lightspeed Magazine Group Reading, 2202 (Readings) (Kansas City Convention Center)
3-4 pm (15:00 – 16:00), Autographing, Autographing Space (Kansas City Convention Center)
And I think that’s it. Please let me not have forgotten anything or left anything out…
July 18, 2016
Hey guys! Next week, we’re having a big Wild Cards group event at the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Sunday July 24, 2 pm. I’ll be there! So will George R.R. Martin and I think 19 authors total. I’m really looking forward to hanging out with everyone. There is a ticket fee — or, you can buy a book! There’ll be plenty for sale and this will be an excellent opportunity to get as many signatures as possible. Check the event link there for details.
It’ll be a zippy whirlwind weekend away for me, and the start of about four weeks of travel. I’m actually looking forward to it — many adventures await. I just hope I can get everything done this week like I need to, like revise my newest Wild Cards story, get my next newsletter out, vote for the Hugos, and so on, and so on…
And I’m so glad the new Ghostbusters film did well this weekend. Maybe we’ll get more, now that the origin story is out of the way…
Hey! So it turns out the first of the string of Wild Cards stories I have coming out went live this week! “Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza” is up at Tor.com. Check it out! I’ve been wanting to do this topic for a while now: deal with the Wild Card virus being passed along through the DNA of victims — people who’ve inherited the virus rather than been newly infected, and what it looks like to have a family with a Wild Cards heritage. (Very rare, granted, given the fatality rate. But still, it happens.)
In other news: I made part of my niece’s Halloween costume this year:
I’m thinking back to when my Mom made me a Wonder Woman costume when I was about 5, and it was all felt because that’s what was available. Now, we’ve got gold lamé, sparkly stickers, all kinds of fancy fancy things to make costumes with. I’m wondering how much of the cosplay revolution is due to the availability of great materials — or if cosplay is driving the availability of great materials? I don’t know.
Speaking of cosplay, I’m making a Thing that I hope to have finished by Mile Hi Con next week. I decided to try to adapt an existing pattern, and it’s kind of kicking my ass — it’s just ever so slightly beyond my skill set. Which I guess is good, because I’m learning something. We’ll see if I can figure it out this weekend. If I can just get the collar to work, the rest will be cake. *rolls up sleeves*
January 27, 2014
Before the book tour, I spent a couple of days in NYC being a tourist and hanging out with writer friends. I stayed in the East Village, and it wasn’t until I got there that I realized I was just a few blocks from Jokertown in the Wild Cards universe, which is a chunk of the Lower East Side.
In fact, when I got home, I checked: in my upcoming story in the next book, Lowball (read a sneak preview of Lowball here!), Ana Cortez, Earth Witch, is living on East 5th Street, also very near Jokertown. This is near where I was staying, a block off 12th Street and 1st Avenue:
Totally in Ana’s neighborhood! I’d never been in this part of NYC before, and it’s one of those parts of the city that looks familiar and iconic — tenements with fire escapes, busy streets full of rushing pedestrians, funky shops and restaurants everywhere you turn. I had some great Indian and Chinese food, and kept looking over my shoulder for characters from the books to walk by.
I also visited the Cloisters, the Met’s storehouse for medieval art and home of the unicorn tapestries, because I’m a medieval culture geek and I’d never been there. It wasn’t until realizing I was staying in Ana’s neighborhood that I also remembered that the big superhero battle in Wild Cards 2: Aces High, takes place at the Cloisters.
It was a gloomy, cloudy day, and I was very glad I brought my umbrella. Atmospheric, but a somber kind of atmosphere. I thought less about the scene in Aces High, and more about what it must be like in the Wild Cards universe to walk there thirty years after the big events. Would anyone even remember? Would the scars still be visible? Would there be a memorial? Maybe something like this:
(I actually imagine Dr. Tachyon on an innocent stroll through the park chancing upon this sign, and collapsing in a fit of uncontrollable, guilt-wracked weeping.)
If I were really going to do a true Wild Cards tour of NYC, after Indian food in the East Village and a stop by the Cloisters, I’d really have to go to Battery Park, the location of Jetboy’s tomb, as well as the Empire State Building, home to the restaurant Aces High in the past, and now Stellar (my own invention for my story in Busted Flush). I’d take a walk down the Bowery to really get into Jokertown proper. I didn’t have time to do all that — maybe next time. I also need to double check, but I’m pretty sure one of the Wild Cards gaming books (such as the one from Green Ronin) has a travel guide to Wild Cards New York. Not a bad way to see the city, really.
I’ll leave off with this, a view to Midtown from Central Park, where I watched a squirrel building a nest and wondered if Bagabond was nearby:
One other thing I did: I got to go to one of the Fantastic Fiction readings at the KGB bar, a series I’ve been hearing about for years, and I was happy to finally get to attend — especially since one of the featured readers was Joe Hill. (Ellen Datlow was there taking pictures, there are a couple of me!)
January 13, 2014
It’s award nomination season for the big genre awards! Everyone’s posting about all kinds of stuff from last year! I posted my own 2013 bibliography a week or so ago. But now I’m going to talk about other stuff that I’m likely to nominate.
I didn’t read a whole lot of new stuff this year, unfortunately. It’s just the way the cards fell. Of what I did read and encounter, here’s what I’m likely to nominate.
Fiction: My recommendations are heavily weighted to what’s online, because that’s what I read in the corners of my time. But there are others.
- “The Last Dignity of Man,” Marjorie Liu’s novelette from The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination is on my list.
- Wild Cards stories “When We Were Heroes” by Daniel Abraham (novelette) and “The Button Man and the Murder Tree” by Cherie Priest (short story) weren’t just good Wild Cards stories, they were good stories.
- “Sing” by Karin Tidbeck (short story) also really good.
- YA novel The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (the follow up to Raven Boys) was excellent, as was middle grade novel Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi. Oh, that twist at the end…
- For the Campbell Award for Best New Writer, I think Max Gladstone is still eligible. I still talk about his series, starting with Three Parts Dead, as demonstrating that genre boundaries are definitely made to be broken.
I was introduced to artist Aaron B. Miller’s work this year. Kinuko Craft is an artist I nominate every year. Galen Dara is up and coming and definitely someone to watch — she did the marvelous piece depicting Harry and Marlowe for Lightspeed.
Best related book: Jeff VanderMeer’s Wonderbook. It’s such an astonishing accomplishment — a fully illustrated book on creativity.
I finally started reading webcomic Strong Female Protagonist this year, after many recommendations. Like many of us these days, it’s picking apart superhero tropes and doing some pretty far-out things. I described it to someone as Watchmen, but with a lawful good alignment instead of chaotic neutral.
Drama Short Form:
- I’m still on the quest to keep Doctor Who out of this category, but if you must nominate Doctor Who, consider “The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot.” Snark with love.
- There’s astronaut Chris Hadfield’s cover of Space Oddity.
- And then there’s the Marvel One Shot as found on the Iron Man 3 DVD: “Agent Carter,” which broke my heart five different ways then built it back up again by the end. I haven’t seen anyone talking about this, but I thought it was fantastic. It’s a year after the war, and Carter is trying to make her way in a world that doesn’t want her anymore.
Drama Long Form: We have a plethora of movies to choose from this year. Here are my choices (I only get 5 nominations on the Hugo ballot):
- Iron Man 3
- The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
- The World’s End
- Pacific Rim
The movie category is going to be way interesting this year, given I left off Gravity (which I don’t think is really science fiction), Europa Report, Ender’s Game, and all those other movies I just didn’t go see. Oh, and Hansel and Gretel: Witchhunters came out last year too! Oh, for one more nominating slot. . . Also the short form, what with Almost Human, Sleepy Hollow, Agents of SHIELD, and Orphan Black all starting up this year. I don’t know where to start with those episodes.
Whew! Meanwhile, I have a couple of weeks to catch up on some more reading. We’ll see if anything else squeaks on to my list.