Tor Launches Wild Cards Reread
All you Wild Cards fans old and new... and you future fans as well, who have yet to give the series a try... should head on over to Tor.com, where they will be launching a Wild Cards Reread program on March 1.
Tor has done a number of these rereads of popular series. You can find them all there in their archives. The way it works, a fan of the works in question rereads them, book by book and story by story, and posts their observations, and everyone else chimes in.
It's always fun, and often illuminating as well.
Katy Rask will be leading the reread for Wild Cards, and who better?
So get to reading! The first of March is almost here.
Ed Bryant Talks Wild Cards
Last August the hardcover of HIGH STAKES, the most recent Wild Cards mosaic novel, was released by Tor. We launched the book at MidAmericon II in Kansas City with a huge mass signing sponsored by Rainy Day Books. Most (though not all) of the contributors to HIGH STAKES were on hand, but so were a dozen other Wild Cards writers, even those not in that particular volume. WC fans had a field day, collecting signatures from all the writers present.
Tor also had a video crew on hand, to tape the signing and to interview the writers about their involvement in Wild Cards, and any other projects they might be working on. They got hours of tape, and have been busily splicing and dicing and interweaving snippets of those interviews into a series of short promotional videos. Three of those videos have been released to date, and can be found on our Wild Cards website http://www.wildcardsworld.com/wild-cards-media/ Many more will be coming.
One of the writers interviewed was Edward Bryant.
After we heard about Ed's death, I contacted Tor to ask them if Ed had been one of the writers they had talked with in Kansas City. I am pleased to say he was, and we can now present his interview to you complete and uninterrupted.
All those who knew and loved him will, I hope, appreciate the opportunity to see and hear from Ed one last time... but I should warn you, there is a bittersweet quality to this tape, in light of what was coming. Sad to say, Ed never did finish that last Wild Cards story he was working on, nor any of the other tales that he hoped to write.
Sooner or later, all of us have to see The Jolson Story. Be that as it may, for one last time, I am honored to present my friend Edward Bryant:
((My thanks to Patty Garcia, Sheila, and all the good folks at Tor for making this possible)).
Hugo Thoughts: Best Related Work
The last few weeks have been pretty busy, so it's been awhile since I last made one of my Hugo posts. Right now we are smack in the middle of the nomination period for this year's awards, with about another month to go. To nominate, you need to be a member (attending or supporting) of this year's worldcon in Helsinki (where the awards will be given), last year's worldcon in Kansas City, or next year's worldcon in SanJose. Any one of the three will do... for nominating, at least.
I've been tackling a different category with every post. Today's it is Best Related Work, a sort of grab bag of a category that includes books of criticism, biographies and memoirs, art books, and pretty much everything else that does not fit conveniently in any of the other categories.
Sad to say, Best Related Work is also the category that has been abused most by the slates these past two years. It's the only Hugo category where No Award has come out on top (I won't say 'won,' when No Award comes first, nobody is winning) twice in a row, where the slates swept all before them and forced all the legitimate contenders off the ballot.
Last year was especially sad, I thought, since there were at least three very different books all of which should have been nominees... and would have been, in a normal year. There was the eventual Alfie winner, LETTERS TO TIPTREE. There was the mammoth WHEEL OF TIME COMPANION, edited by Robert Jordan's widow and two of his fans. And there was Felicia Day's delightful YOU'RE NEVER WEIRD ON THE INTERNET, a memoir of her life as a geek girl, fan, and budding actress/ writer/ gamer. It would have been interesting to see the three of them slug it out, but alas, the slates made sure not one of them made the final ballot.
But a new year means a new ballot. Wouldn't it be nice to have something -- at least ONE something and preferably more -- in the Best Related Work category that was worthy of the Hugo award?
I have a couple of Related Works to offer for your consideration.
First one is Kameron Hurley's THE GEEK FEMINIST REVOLUTION, a collection of her essays, thoughts, and personal reflections.
Hurley won two rockets just a couple of years ago, one for Fan Writer and one for her essay "We Have Always Fought," which won for... hey... Best Related Work. That essay is included here, but the book is not all reprint, there's enough original material to make it eligible, if I am reading the rules right. Hurley is a provocative, opinionated, fearless writer, one who says what she thinks and lays it all out there on the page. You may not always agree with all of her opinions (I certainly don't), but she will always make you think. Whether her book leaves you nodding in agreement or muttering in annoyance, it will not leave you unmoved. By rights, this one's got to be a contender.
The other Related Work I really enjoyed last year is a book of interviews -- TRAVELER OF WORLDS: CONVERSATIONS WITH ROBERT SILVERBERG, by Alvaro Zinos-Amaro.
Robert Silverberg is the only man to have attended EVERY Hugo Awards ceremony, from 1953 to the present. Think of that: all those years, all those rockets, and there's never been one given out without Silverbob in the audience. He's one of our field's great writers, a SFWA Grand Master, a worldcon Guest of Honor. He's won Nebula Awards and Hugo Awards aplenty, but he's also lost more Hugos in the fiction categories than any other writer.
At my very first worldcon -- Noreascon I in Boston, 1971 -- Silverberg was the Toastmaster, and presented the awards with his trademark dry wit while I watched from the balcony (I could not afford the price of a banquet ticket). I remember thinking two things: (1) someday I want to win one of those rockets, and (2) Silverberg is who I want to be when I grow up. I did manage to achieve (1) a few years later. In fact, at the next Noreascon in 1980, Silverberg was once again the Toastmaster and presented me with two, on a night that will live in infamy. I am still working on (2).
In those days, Silverberg was a distant godlike figure to me, but in more recent years, to my delight, we've become friends. This past decade, we get together every year at worldcon for dinner. Bob is just as witty over a steak as he is at a podium, and he knows everything about the history of SF and fandom and all the writers and every book you've ever read and a whole lot you keep meaning to read but haven't gotten to yet.
TRAVELER OF WORLDS is like one of our worldcon dinners turned up to the max. Alvaro Zinos-Amaro must have moved in with Silverberg for a month, and I envy him that. These conversations range far and wide, and every one of them is fascinating. If you have any interest at all in writing, the history of the genre, Silverberg's own life, the classics of literature, the greats of our field both living and dead, there's something for you here. I only wish the book was twice as long. Like my worldcon dinners with Silverberg, it ended far too soon.
One reason that the slates have been able to dominate Best Related Work the past two years, to the exclusion of all else, is that many voters skip over this category. It never gets nearly as many nominations as Best Novel or the drama categories. But we can change that, if we want. I urge you all to take a look at TRAVELER OF WORLDS and THE GEEK FEMINIST REVOLUTION, and -- if you enjoy them as much as I did -- nominate them.
If enough of us do, maybe this year we can actually give a Hugo Award to a Related Work.
(And wouldn't it be a hoot if it was Silverbob. Even though Alvaro Zinos-Amaro would likely get the actual rocket, I would still have to make Bob wear a conehead at the Hugo Losers' Party).
Salsa No More
The Giants released Victor Cruz today.
It was not unexpected. Cruz missed the last two seasons with injuries, and this season, when he finally came back, he had a subpar year. Only 35 catches, way down for him. He had a very high salary number for next year, too high for a third receiver, and by cutting him the Giants saved $7.5 million against the salary cap, money they can now use to improve elsewhere. And they really need to improve elsewhere -- on the offensive line and at tight end, especially -- if they hope to advance further in the playoffs than they did this season.
All the same, the release made me sad. Victor Cruz was my favorite player, and I was hoping he would retire as a Giant. I think Victor was hoping the same. He seemed not only to be a terrific player, but a terrific guy, an undrafted free agent who walked on and made it big.
If it had been up to me, I would have stayed the course and kept Cruz. Ask him to take a salary cut, sure. I think he would have done that. Next year, I would have moved him back to the slot, his best position. He was just not as effective last season playing outside the numbers. And while the rookie Sterling Shepard was a good slot receiver last season, Cruz in his prime was a GREAT slot receiver, one of the best in the league. If the Giants had kept Victor in the slot, and played Shepard outside, both of them might have had better years.
One mediocre year and two years on injured reserve can make us forget -- especially since Odell Beckham Junior has been dazzling Giants fans with spectacular catches during those same three seasons -- just how good Victor Cruz was before his injury. When he was good, he was very very good, as the saying goes. Here, take a look, remember:
We'll miss the salsas...
Good luck, Victor. You earned it.
Croyd Crenson Rules
Walter Jon Williams salutes the late great Roger Zelazny and his iconic Wild Cards character, Croyd Crenson, the Sleeper, in the latest blog post on the new WC website: http://www.wildcardsworld.com/
Check it out!
A Visit From Jimmy...
... or, Leviathan Shows Up. Eventually.
We had a fun afternoon at the JCC with Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. You shoulda been there. They talked, they answered questions, they signed books, they swilled down the Protomolecule.
For those who could not make it, we have hardcover copies of BABYLON'S ASHES signed by both halves of James S.A. Corey available through the Jean Cocteau website. Along with the earlier books in the Expanse series, plus Daniel's solo fantasies THE DAGGER AND THE COIN, and various cool Wild Cards titles autographed by one or t'other of them, along with yours truly and various and sundry other Wild Cards writers.
These titles and many others available from the JCC.
Jimmy Is Coming
Come join us at the Jean Cocteau tomorrow.
James S.A. Corey -- that famous two-headed science fiction writer, otherwise known as Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck -- will be on hand at 1 pm to talk about his/ their latest installment in the Expanse series, BABYLON'S ASHES. And of course he/ they will be scribbling in books afterwards.
The fun starts at 1pm. Admission is free with the purchase of a hardcover book, $5 with the purchase of a paperback, and $10 without book purchase. You can call ahead and reserve a book if you like, and I do advise it; stocks are limited.
Daniel and Ty are also Wild Cards contributors (though Jimmy is not), the creators, respectively, of Jonathan Hive (Bugsy) on the one hand, and Tinkerbill and Horrorshow on t'other. And of course we'll have piles of Wild Cards titles on hand for them to sign as well, along with the earlier books in the Expanse sequence, and lots of Daniel's solo fantasy novels.
For what it's worth, I loved BABYLON'S ASHES. One of the best Expanse books yet, and a novel that will certainly be on my own Hugo nomination ballot. If there's any justice at all, it ought to be a finalist this year.
Might also mention that we have lots of other great guests and special events coming up at the JCC in the weeks and months to come. Comedian CARLOS MEDINA will be here on Tuesday, February 14, if you'd like to spend Valentine's Day laughing. On March 13, Joe R. Lansdale His Own Self will be returning for a special screening of the second season of HAP & LEONARD... and of course to sign some of His Own Books as well. Further down the road, we're expecting visits from JOHN NICHOLS and from TERRY BROOKS (not the same night, no), dates and details to come. And yes, we have MAX HEADROOM and H.P. LOVECRAFT coming as well! Visit the JCC website at http://jeancocteaucinema.com/ and sign up for our newsletter and e-mail blasts, and you'll never need to miss one of our special events.
See you at the movies.
One of Our Aces Has Fallen
Very sad news out of Denver for all readers of science fiction and fantasy, and for Wild Cards fans in particular. We've just received word that Ed Bryant has died.
Ed did reviews for LOCUS for years, and they've posted an excellent obituary for him... more complete than what I could have cobbled together. Find it here: http://www.locusmag.com/News/2017/02/edward-bryant-1945-2017/
In addition to all his other considerable accomplishments, however, Ed was also one of my Wild Cards writers. He's been part of the series since the very beginning, contributing a story (a collaboration with his dear friend Leanne C. Harper) to the very first anthology, and appearing off and on in other volumes over the years. He created or co-created numerous Wild Cards characters, but the one he used most was Sewer Jack, the gay Cajun subway worker who turned into a twelve-foot long alligator in times of crisis.
Always a fan favorite, Sewer Jack was last seen in volume twelve, DEALER'S CHOICE... but, perhaps fittingly, he will be back for one last hurrah in the forthcoming volume MISSISSIPPI ROLL, in a story penned by David D. Levine. Ed read and approved David's handling of his character, and was pleased to see him back on stage.
Here's Ed at happier times, from the 1988 worldcon in New Orleans, when WILD CARDS was a finalist for a Hugo Award. We all dressed to the nines that night, and had a hell of a celebration afterwards, even though we lost to Alan Moore's WATCHMEN.
I first met Ed in 1971 or 1972, either at a worldcon or perhaps at Harlan Ellison's house. After so many decades, the details fade. But he's been a friend for decades. We partied together at more cons than I can recall, competed for Hugos and Nebulas and occasionally for women, attended Milfords together and critiqued each other's work. He visited Santa Fe and stayed at my house, I visited Denver and stayed at his.
Out here in the west, Ed was often asked to preside at cons as a toastmaster and master of ceremonies, a task at which he excelled. He had a wry, dry wit, always funny, never cruel. No one who attended the 1981 worldcon in Denver will ever forget Ed in his maroon tails presenting the Hugo Awards on roller skates. So far as I'm concerned, he's right up there with Connie Willis and Robert Silverberg as the Best Hugo Hosts Ever.
Ed's health had been failing for some years, sadly, and he was not able to attend as many cons as he had in the past. But I was fortunate enough to see him in November at Tuscon in Tucson, Arizona, where he was once again the toastmaster, and at MidAmericon II in Kansas City a few months before that. He was frailer than he used to be, but still the same old Ed, sharp and funny as ever
Fandom and the world of science fiction will miss his gentle wit, his easy laugh, his talent. For for those of us who were his brothers and sisters in Wild Cards, our universe will never be the same. One of our aces has fallen.
Wild Cards Coming Atcha
Got some cool stuff coming down the pike for Wild Cards fans... especially those of you who came in with INSIDE STRAIGHT or FORT FREAK or one of our other recent Tor originals, and have been seeking high and low for the older books ever since.
Many of those older books are, alas, still out of print. But Tor has reissued the first five volumes in trade paperback, and now we're bring back volumes six and seven as well.
ACE IN THE HOLE is our sixth volume. Set during the dramatic (and bloody) Democratic National Convention of 1988, this one is a full mosaic, weaving together stories from Melinda M. Snodgrass (Dr. Tachyon), Walton Simons (Demise), Stephen Leigh (Puppetman), Walter Jon Williams (Golden Boy), and Victor Milan (Mackie Messer). Look for the new trade paperback on FEBRUARY 28.
DEAD MAN'S HAND, volume seven, is a companion piece to ACE IN THE HOLE. In fact, the two were actually one book, until it got too big and our publisher asked for a split. DMH takes place during the same week as AITH, the former mostly in New York City, the latter mostly in Atlanta. This one is a mosaic too, but with only two writers: John Jos. Miller writing Yeoman, and yours truly with Jay Ackroyd, aka Popinjay. Which makes it more of a collaborative novel, really. This is our noir novel, a classic mean streets murder mystery with superpowers. It will be great to have it back in print after so long. Look for it on JUNE 13.
((Both of those covers are by the amazing Michael Komarck. Do remember that name when you're making your Hugo nominations for Best Professional Artist, Komarck is way overdue)).
OH, and hey... on other Wild Card fronts, there's a cool new post up on the WC website, wherein David Anthony Durham confesses how he stole his IBT character from his son. ;) You can check it out here:
Fight the good fight, boys and girls. And remember, you can't die yet, so haven't seen the Jolson story.
Meow Wolf Gets Even Cooler
Just wanted to give the locals... and anyone passing through the Land of Enchantment... the heads up that Meow Wolf is open again. The attraction was closed from January 17 to February 1, alas, but for all the best reasons. Not content to rest on their (by now considerable) laurels, the amazing Meow Wolf collective decided to make the House of Eternal Return even cooler by adding some new rooms and revamping some old ones. So now there are even more secrets to uncover and portals to explore.
Come check it out.
It's been an amazing year for Meow Wolf, by the way... less than a year, actually, since we're still a month and a half shy of our first anniversary. You always hope for success when starting any new project, and when the project is as new and different and creative as this one, you cross your fingers and mutter a prayer to whatever deities you believe in. A year ago, as the Meow Wolf artists were madly pushing to finish everything before the scheduled opening, the hope was that we would be able to draw 100,000 visitors to the attraction every year. If we managed 150,000, that would have been occasion for celebration. Well, Meow Wolf hit that mark within the first three months, and by now, some ten and a half months since the opening, more than 400,000 people have visited the House of Eternal Return.
If you're not one of them, hey, you don't know what you're missing. Meow Wolf has become the most Instagramed place in New Mexico, surpassing even White Sands, Carlsbad Caverns, and the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. And the reviews on TripAdvisor and Yelp will blow your mind.
There has been all sorts of incredible recognition as well, even beyond the excitement and pleasure of all our visitors (especially the kids). In November, Meow Wolf won a THEA Award from the Themed Entertainment Association. https://meowwolf.com/2016/11/meow-wolf-wins-thea-award/ They will be collecting that in April at Disneyland. And the American Institute of Architects in Santa Fe voted Meow Wolf an award as well, for its fusion of art and architecture. http://www.aiasantafe.org/2016
It pleases me to observe that Meow Wolf is also reaching out to help other artists. Most recently, in the wake of the tragic Ghost Ship fire in Oakland that claimed the lives of 36 people, Meow Wolf has announced a hundred thousand dollar fund to help DIY (Do It Yourself) art and music spaces improve their venues and bring them up to code, so that horrors like the Oakland fire need never recur http://www.bizjournals.com/albuquerque/news/2016/12/13/meow-wolf-starts-fund-for-diy-artists-in-response.html (And in case you are wondering, the defunct bowling alley that houses Meow Wolf was brought completely up to code before opening, and is inspected regularly. In fact, the fire marshall was there two days ago, when I last visited, testing the ear-splitting fire alarm. There are smoke alarms all over the House of Eternal Return, much of it is fireproofed, and all of it is sprinklered. Wonders are wonderful, but we did all we could to put safety first).
All this success, all this coolness, all this good work... I can't take credit for any of it, really. I am just the landlord. But I am proud to be associated with it. The artists and creators of Meow Wolf are an incredible bunch of people, and they've made Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the world a better place with their energy, imagination, and hard work.
And the best part is, they've just begun. Denver, Austin, Los Angeles, watch out for spiders and giant robots, you never know what might turn up on your doorstep.