I’m supremely happy to announce that Ellen Datlow has bought my story “The Last Novelist (or A Dead Lizard in the Yard)” for Tor.com. I’ve been a fan of Tor.com and its regular fiction since its debut, and it’s awesome that my work will appear there. The story concerns a novelist from the far future in a world where few people read anymore, and instead have stories projected into their minds. The story will be published March 15, 2017.
In August I’ll be appearing at the Queens Book Festival and the Writer’s Digest Conference. Hope you can come by to watch the panels, get your book signed, or just to say hi!
Queens Book Festival
Sunday, August 7th, Marquee Stage, 11:00 A.M.
The umbrella genre of speculative fiction, including science fiction and fantasy, has gained a broader popularity over the last decade and has opened the door for authors of various backgrounds to write their own stories more reflective of their worlds. In this panel, authors will discuss their visions for the future of speculative fiction, and how broadening the scope of the genre and engaging with various communities better enriches on the world. Moderated by Jennifer Marie Brissett, with panelists Elizabeth Crowens, Carlos Hernandez, Matthew Kressel, and Steve W Vera.
Writer’s Digest Conference
Saturday, August 13, Mass Autographing Session, 6:30 – 8:00 P.M.
I’ll be here signing books. I’ll also have copies of King of Shards on hand.
Sunday, August 14th, 10:15 – 11:15 A.M., The Art (and Science) of Worldbuilding in Science Fiction and Fantasy
Writing speculative fiction requires a level of imaginative thinking unmatched by other genres. And yet, it’s not simply a matter of wild creativity. The people, places, environments, political systems, flora and fauna must all adhere to an internal logic, being both fantastic, yet believable at the same time. In this panel, we’ll examine what special considerations are required when writing superior fantastic fiction and how to address those considerations properly, without limiting the power, impact, or pace of your story. (Panelists Elizabeth Bear, Debbie Dadey and Matthew Kressel).
Thanks to Noah Beit-Aharon, the video of our “Bible as Fantasy Literature Panel” from Arisia 2016 is now available for your viewing pleasure. This was a lot of fun so I’m happy it’s now online.
Here’s the description:
“What can we gain from viewing the Bible as fantasy literature, rife with active gods, prophecies, and larger-than-life heroes, and complete with centuries of fanfic from Dante to Milton and onward? How is the Bible treated in fantasy?”
It was a great discussion, so I’m glad it’s now available for rewatching.
I put this video from Alexi Murdoch at the top of my post because this is what I want to remind myself and anyone who is on the creative path. I read a blog post from Stephanie Grossman yesterday in which she said she often felt overwhelmed when she entered a bookstore. There are just too many books. Which ones to read? When do we read? What about our job, our families? When do we have time to create?
Today we are inundated with information. Everywhere we look, information assaults us. The difficulty is not in finding new information, but discerning what we should pay attention to and what we should ignore. As we all know, more often than not we ignore the more important things and pay attention to trivialities. How often have we wandered down that internet click-hole when we should have been reading, writing, simply breathing? Too often, for me.
Sometimes I find it necessary to pause. I restrict my social media access. I do not read the news, which is full of tragedies large and small. I avoid television and over-sensitization. For certain creative types, like myself, we are more sensitive to overstimulation. Artists pay attention to the world more intensely than most, typically. We are observers, noticing details others often miss. This results in better art. How can you create if you don’t understand the universe you dwell in? We observe the world and let it penetrate us. And these sensations undergo a psychic alchemy inside our bodies, where they eventually emerge as art. The problem is that when we take in too much, when we oversaturate our senses, for those of us who are already steeped in sensation, this results in burn out.
The solution is taking a break.
Julia Cameron talks about this in The Artist’s Way, and I think she is absolutely correct. Pausing, as an artist, may feel like a betrayal. Don’t we have A,B,C, D and Z to do? Life is short and YOLO and hurry the fuck up because everyone else is rushing, rushing, rushing, and if we don’t get it done then…then….then…
Seriously. Breathe. Pause. Take a moment. Take a few days, if you have to. It’s okay. Life will be there when you return.
At the Washington Independent Review of Books, Craig L. Gidney interviews me about portal fantasies, Syfy’s The Magicians, adapting mythology for fiction. Jewish fantasy, Sybil’s Garage, and the follow up to King of Shards, Queen of Static.
I feel like a whale who has just come up for air or the hermit who has reentered civilization after months of seclusion. The reason? I just turned in the manuscript for Queen of Static, the follow-up to last year’s King of Shards. Queen of Static picks up where Shards left off, and follows Daniel as he seeks a route back to Sheol. More characters are introduced (many in fact) but some familiar ones, like Mashit, Ashmedai, Kokabiel and others return.
And I know I am biased, but I feel Queen of Static is a damn fine book. It goes much further than Shards, and as I was writing I kept discovering synchronicities in the text. Connections I didn’t consciously intend to make kept happening. It seemed, at points, as if the book was writing itself. I also noticed a new fluency in my writing. I’m not sure exactly where it has come from, but I suspect when you spend many hours every day, month after month, year after year, eventually you level up. Something clicked into place, I think. The result is, as you will see, an extraordinary book.
But, as I said, I’m biased of course.
Anyway, it’s good to breathe. Hello. How are you? My, the sun is bright.