Thursday, February 19, 2009

Andrew Fox and The Good Humor Man

A very welcome surprise arrived in the mail today: the Advance Reader Copy of Andrew Fox's new novel, The Good Humor Man, Or, Calorie 3501 -- from here on to be referred to as simply GHM (but don't let the simplicity of these three letters detract from the quality of this very fine novel).

Andy emailed me in January 2008, with the subject line: "A Novel Which May Perk Your Interest." And indeed it did! In this novel, the entire health of the world is at stake, but there is just enough wit to take the edge off. To use a well-worn cliché, this book has everything: a Middle Eastern assassin, gun-toting women, high-speed chases, pop culture excesses, mystery, romance, and most important of all -- Elvis Presley! (Elvis himself isn't actually in the novel, but let's just say that part of him is!) The story line moves from Los Angeles, to Memphis, to New Orleans, to Tampa, and finally to -- where else? -- Las Vegas! The story also deals with such issues as government-sponsored health care, anti-obesity laws, elderly dementia, agri-cloning, and body image. Have I left anything out? (Actually, what's left?)

Andy, along with his agent Denise Dumars (of the Ashley Grayson Literary Agency), had been trying to find a home for GHM for quite a while. A number of editors liked the novel but couldn't figure out how to market it, or they felt it was too over-the-top, or they didn't like the humor (or they were really worried their boss -- or his/her boss -- wouldn't like it), ad nauseam. As for me, the "serious yet sardonic" style of the writing reminded me of the work of both Terry Bisson and James Morrow, and thus Tachyon Publications, who regularly publish these two authors, immediately came to mind. I contacted publisher Jacob Weisman, and told him about the novel. To make a long story short, Jacob acquired GHM, I edited it (along with a great effort by the author himself), and now we have the actual book.

The Good Humor Man is a postmodern Fahrenheit 451, with a dash of Carl Hiaasen, that dares to ask the question: Can Elvis save the world sixty-four years after his death?

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Very Best of Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine

I received two very large boxes this week. The first box, from Jill Roberts at Tachyon Publications, contained a whopping 611-page manuscript. The second box, from F&SF Magazine publisher and editor Gordon Van Gelder, contained a stack of back issues (the oldest being June 1966) and three different, old F&SF anthologies (the oldest dated 1953), along with a couple other books and photocopies. And a recent email from Gordon stated that he still needed to send me a few more issues.

As you may have surmised, all of this stuff was sent to me because for my next project...

I will be copyediting the anthology The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction, edited by Gordon Van Gelder for Tachyon Publications. This book is so new -- literally -- that it hasn't even been mentioned as yet on the publisher's web site. So does that mean you've heard it hear first? Maybe...

It has been a very long time since a 600-plus page manuscript has crossed my desk. But the most enjoyable part of a job like this is that I get to read all this wonderful "very best of" F&SF fiction, and get paid for doing so! Ya gotta love it! (Of course, I also have to catch all the typos, missing punctuation, scanning errors, etc. while reading all this great fiction.)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Warren Lapine and Fantastic Books

After a two-year hiatus, editor and publisher Warren Lapine (formerly of DNA Publications) has returned to genre publishing. You can read the full press release courtesy of Ian Randal Strock on SFScope. What I respect most about Lapine's return is that he is taking care of previous business (which legally he is not required to do), and making good on money owed and subscriptions cancelled with the demise of DNA Publications. I bring all of this to your intention because of my new working relationship with Warren Lapine; here is the press release that Warren sent out:

Wilder Publications is pleased and excited to announce that Marty Halpern has accepted a position as a freelance Acquisitions Editor for Wilder Publications genre imprint, Fantastic Books. Marty brings close to a decade of editorial experience with him. He has twice been nominated for the World Fantasy Award, bringing the number of World Fantasy Award nominees currently on staff to two. Books edited by Marty have won the prestigious Hugo Award, World Fantasy Award, and have been selected to Publishers Weekly's Best of the Year List.

So what does this mean for you, the author?

I am currently acquiring out-of-print backlist titles -- sf, fantasy, horror, slipstream, etc. If you have an oop book that you would like to make available to today's readers, so that they don't have to search the used bookstores for a copy (the purchase of which doesn't make you, the author, any money), then please do contact me. Please contact me personally, not by leaving a comment here. My email addy is marty dot halpern at gmail dot com. I would be open, however, to responding to any general comments posted here.

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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Welcome to More Red Ink

I've been debating whether or not to actually begin blogging for a number of months now -- the primary point of contention being the amount of time involved to blog consistently, and to blog with intent/content. Regardless, here I am!

I first want to thank author Bruce McAllister (whose first short fiction collection,
The Girl Who Loved Animals and Other Stories (2007), I acquired and edited for Golden Gryphon Press) for suggesting the blog title "More Red Ink." It's an intriguing title to use in these current economic conditions, when "more red ink" implies yet another financial loss to one's bottom line. With the extreme hit all of our retirement savings have taken over the past year (and which will unfortunately continue through this year), well, Warren Zevon's words, "I'll sleep when I'm dead," take on greater significance for most of us, in that we'll all have to continue working 'til we drop, with no retirement in sight. My intent, however, with this blog title, is that "more red ink" potentially improves the bottom line, so to speak, of any particular written work in which I am involved. But that's really for the authors and the publishers to judge.

I also wish to thank author Jeffrey Ford for allowing me to use his "Marty/Moses and God" quote in the header -- even though Jeff specifically expressed that it not be used in the header. Sorry, Jeff -- really! -- but this is where the quote belongs.

I first met Jeff at the 2000 World Fantasy Convention in Corpus Christi, Texas. I attended his reading, during which he read the yet-to-be-published story "Creation" (which won the 2003 World Fantasy Award for best short story). I was so knocked out by this story that I went up to Jeff after the reading, introduced myself, and told him that I would like to publish his first short fiction collection. I was only familiar with about four of Jeff's other stories, but after hearing "Creation" I knew that he was a writer to watch, and I wanted to be the editor to snag his first collection. It took a number of months for the collection to come together (Jeff's NY publisher had "first look," so we had to wait for the publisher to pass on the collection), and The Fantasy Writer's Assistant and Other Stories was published by Golden Gryphon in 2002; it won the 2003 World Fantasy Award for best single-author collection. For Jeff, that made two World Fantasy Awards in the same year: matching bookends!

So, welcome to "More Red Ink"!