Sunday, June 14, 2009

Mid-June Links & Things

These links are from my previous tweets to date for the month. I've listed them here, all in one post, and with additional detail (and occasional editorial comment, since I am an editor!). This allows me to have a somewhat permanent file of all these links. And hopefully you'll find something of interest here, especially if you're not following me on Twitter.

I especially wanted to post now, before Monday, June 15, because of the very first entry that follows:

  • Author Catherynne M. Valente is in a bit of a financial difficulty. As a way of earning some income, she has decided to write a much-requested novel, and post chapters online every Monday beginning June 15. Ms. Valente writes on her blog: "Over the course of the Palimpsest [Bantam Books, 2009] tour, people asked me one thing more than anything else. What about The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland? Is it a real book? Will you write it? And I said no. It's impossible, a YA book that is a book-within-a-book in a deeply non-YA novel. I even said no to a very sweet six-year-old.... [But] Starting Monday, I will start posting chapters of a full-length novel version of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. I will be writing it in real time, posting every Monday. It will be free to read -- but please know that the sheer calories to make my brain create it require funding, and I would very much appreciate your support. Pay whatever you like for it, whatever you think it's worth. It's kind of like an old-fashioned rent party.... This is a book about a little girl named September who gets herself a ticket to Fairyland on the back of The Green Wind and a somewhat cranky Leopard. There she discovers the realm of the capricious Marquess and the dangers of the Perverse and Perilous Sea. It is going to be something else. And yes, you can read it to your kids."

    Ms. Valente is also the author of the two-volume The Orphan's Tales series (In the Night Garden and In the Cities of Coin and Spice), which as a whole or in part won the 2006 James Tiptree Jr. Award and the 2008 Mythopoeic Award, and was a finalist for the 2007 World Fantasy Award.

  • "In the parodic future dystopia of Andrew Fox's The Good Humor Man [Tachyon Publications] (whose influences include classics like Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 and a lot of mid-20th-century popular culture/kitsch), there's a major government clampdown on all fattening foods, which naturally generates both a thriving black market and a force like sanctioned vigilantes dedicated to stamping out such villainy. First-person narrator Dr. Louis Schmalzberg, a former liposuctionist and founder of this movement, ironically dubbed Good Humor Men, has begun to lose his faith in their brutal raids on ordinary citizens who just happen to have a sweet tooth. He also feels some nostalgia for the lost days of Fat America: jumbo cars, supersized meals, McMansions, singers like Fats Waller, Fats Domino and, toward the end of his career, Fat Elvis....Going beyond the wonderfully irreverent parodic horror of his 'Fat White Vampire' books into new realms of farce and social satire, Fox also tackles the SF thriller mode with panache. Can Elvis's belly fat save the world? Read it and see!" – Faren Miller, Locus magazine, June 2009.

  • "Everything You Need to Know About Self-Publishing" by the Writer's Digest staff. This information changes constantly, but as of May 1, 2009, this is what WD had to say about the subject matter. The 8 topics include: The Truth About Self-Publishing; The Reality of Self-Publishing: An Agent's Perspective; What Can Your Publisher Do for You?; Book Publishing Stats (2009); An Insider's Look at Self-Publishing; How to Create a Cover Package; 2009 Directory of Self-Publishing Companies; and Future Self-Publishing Models.

  • Dave Eggers, the McSweeney's magnate, gave a speech at the Authors Guild in Manhattan where he offered an email address where folks could contact him if they were ever losing faith, despairing, that print media was dying. John Lingan, of, contacted Eggers at that email addy and received a form letter in which Eggers stated: "As long as newspapers offer less each day -- less news, less great writing, less graphic innovation, fewer photos -- then they're giving readers few reasons to pay for the paper itself." However, Lingan, in his article entitled "Dave Eggers and The Myth of Print's Importance," argues that "Dave Eggers, insofar as can be gleaned from this email, has his head up his ass with regards to the decline of print media." Lingan concludes his piece with: "Let the medium die; it's the writing that matters."

  • Here's a lovely and wonderful tribute to the oddball characters who frequent bookstores: "An Example Remembered" by Brad Craft: "It is not the delusional or the frighteningly unhappy I am thinking of just here, rather it is the gentler folk for whom the bookstore is a quiet refuge."

    And while I'm at it, I'd like to recommend a story by
    Jeff VanderMeer entitled "Greensleeves," though it is about the oddball characters who frequent a library, rather than a bookstore. "Greensleeves" was included in Jeff's collection Secret Life (Golden Gryphon Press, 2004); the story was originally published in Pulphouse: A Fiction Magazine, August 1992. Since it's an older story, possibly if readers bug Jeff enough, he'll post the story electronically.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Books Received

Following is a list of books I have received over the past month or so: some were complimentary copies sent to me by the publisher because I had worked on the book, some were titles that I purchased myself, and others were part of submission packages from their respective authors. (Note: hc=hardcover, tp=trade paperback, mmpb=mass market paperback)

Kage Baker - The Empress of Mars (Subterranean Press, 2009) limited edition hc

Adam-Troy Castro - The Third Claw of God: An Andrea Cort Novel (Harper Collins EOS, 2009) mmpb

Paul Di Filippo - Fuzzy Dice (PS Publishing UK, 2003) limited edition slipcased hc

Andrew Fox - The Good Humor Man, Or, Calorie 3501 (Tachyon Publications, 2009) tp

Warren Lapine & Stephen Pagel, editors - Absolute Magnitude (Tor, 1997) tp

Ian R. MacLeod - Song of Time (PS Publishing UK, 2008) limited edition slipcased hc [winner of the 2009 Arthur C. Clarke Award]

Ian McDonald - Cyberabad Days (Orion Publishing/Golancz UK, 2009) hc

China Miéville - The City & the City (Macmillan UK, 2009) hc

The Best of Michael Moorcock (Tachyon Publications, 2009) tp

Patrick Ness - The Ask and the Answer: Chaos Walking, Book Two (Walker Books UK, 2009) hc

Mark Teppo - Lightbreaker: Book One of the Codex of Souls (Night Shade Books, 2009) mmpb

Catherynne M. Valente - Palimpsest (Bantam Books, 2009) tp

[True confessions follow.]

Do you believe that I am still purchasing books? Of the tweleve titles listed above, I purchased exactly half of them. I have probably 2,000 books that I have yet to read -- and I'm a slow reader, too, unfortunately. If I were to begin reading now, and could successfully read a book every other week, it would take me nearly 80 years to get through my library -- and that's assuming that I don't add any more titles! So you and I both know that most of these books will never get read, and yet I still buy new books. It's a disease: bibliomania, I think, which makes me a bibliomaniac! Or should that be a "biblioholic"? I have books double stacked on ten bookcases; I have books in boxes, the boxes stacked upon each other; books stacked upon the boxes, and books stacked on the floor. And yet I still buy books. Help me! I need help!

One of the major problems is that since I began work as a professional editor, I discovered that the only books I read were the books I was editing. Let's say I acquire a short story collection. Typically, if the collection is to be, say, 120,000 words, then I ask the author for at least 150,000 words of short fiction from which to select. I read all 150K words once, dump the stories I know immediately won't work for me, and then reread all the remaining stories at least once more, often more than once. Then the stories that make up the collection are formatted and printed and read yet again, and edited and/or copyedited. There's back-and-forth between me and the author on the edits. When the editing is complete, I go through the entire manuscript yet another time, just to be sure, because now I've worked out the story order. Then there are the page proofs that get copyedited. Bottom line, by the time I've completed a short story collection, I've probably read every story at least a half-dozen times. And then there are all the submissions that I receive that must eventually be read as well.

As much as I love acquiring and editing books, I really miss reading for myself, for pure enjoyment.

Monday, June 8, 2009

George Alec Effinger - Part Three

I have completed and shipped (and billed!) my previous project: copyediting By Blood We Live, a reprint vampire anthology edited by John Joseph Adams, to be published by Night Shade Books. I'm now working on copyediting another reprint anthology edited by JJA for Night Shade, this one entitled The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (approximately 230,000 words). I've also completed the second round of copyedits for Judith Moffett's novel Pennterra, the first reprint title I acquired for Warren Lapine's Fantastic Books, an imprint of his Wilder Publications. The second title, novel Fuzzy Dice by Paul Di Filippo, is now ready for layout and then copyediting. So, that's why I only blog about once per week or so. To paraphrase the Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam in Frank Herbert's Dune: "The work must flow." And the bills must be paid. Since my blogs tend to be more essay rather than random comments, like blogging about my great cup of coffee this morning, they take longer to compose. If you enjoy reading what I write, then I thank you for your time and patience, and I ask that you just keep checking back -- and/or subscribe to this blog's RSS feed -- for my next entry.

At least for now, this will be my final blog post on author George Alec Effinger; one blog entry for each of the three collections of his work that I acquired and edited for Golden Gryphon Press between 2001 and 2007. Part One of this series focused on Budayeen Nights; and Part Two pertained to collection Live! From Planet Earth. I have a couple ideas for possible future projects of Effinger's work, but only time -- and the economy -- will tell if these ever come to pass.

In late 2002, once I had completed Budayeen Nights, and the book was in the hands of the typesetter, and then the printer, I began thinking about the next Effinger collection. During my email communications with George between 2001 and 2002, I promised him that I would do my best to help him bring his work back into print -- and even though George was no longer alive at this point in time, I felt a personal responsibility to honor that promise.

Obviously the second collection published by Golden Gryphon Press was George Alec Effinger Live! From Planet Earth -- but this wasn't the book I had initially intended to publish next.

In the latter part of 2002, I had written Barbara Hambly, executrix of Effinger's literary estate, for a list of her favorite GAE stories. On December 2, 2002, Barb wrote: "I've sorted through George's story titles, cut out all the Maureen Birnbaum and Sandor Courane stories (which have or are getting anthologies of their own) and still have quite a few." Of course, I knew about the Birnbaum collection, but a collection of Sandor Courane stories? This was a complete surprise to me. So I inquired further of Barb about the Courane collection, and later that same day she responded: "There's a fellow in the Midwest who's doing Sandor Courane -- George was working on it with him at the time of his death." Unfortunately, Barb could not recall this fellow's name. Now I was intrigued: during my email communications with George before he passed away, when he spoke so personally about all of his work being long out-of-print, he made no mention whatsoever of another editor working on a collection of his short fiction.

And so my search began.

Eventually my net searching found a website for Wunzenzierohs Publishing Company1, which noted a "forthcoming" GAE collection entitled A Thousand Deaths. But then the announcement went on to state that the collection was currently in limbo due to Effinger's passing. Using the "Email Us" link on the home page, I contacted the publisher on December 19, 2002. I expressed my interest in seeing GAE's short fiction back in print, and I asked if the publisher still planned to pursue this particular collection of Sandor Courane stories. I also requested a list of the proposed stories to be included in the book. I was thinking that if the publisher was willing to give up the rights to this collection so that it could be published by Golden Gryphon -- and if he had all the stories pretty much ready to go and was willing to share them with me -- then I could get this book into print more quickly than the other collection I was planning (Live! From Planet Earth), which I was having to start from scratch.

Gordie Meyer, Wunzenzierohs publisher, responded to my email the following day. Apparently, WunzPub (to use Gordie's abbreviation) was more of a hobby venture, and he had, in fact, been considering if he really had the time to do the Sandor Courane collection. Gordie wrote: "I've known George from his being online at Delphi long ago, and we'd occasionally touch base via email or meet in person at a con, but I didn't really know him all that well. Mike [Resnick], however, did, and when I mentioned that I thought it was a shame that all of George's work was OOP, he suggested that I consider a collection of . . . the Sandor Courane stories, as they were an identifiable group to collect and were some of Mike's favorite Effinger stories. So I ran the idea past George at a con, he and Barbara [Hambly] liked the idea . . ." Evidently this all occurred four years earlier, in 1998. Gordie went on to say: "If you'd be interested in taking over the publication of A Thousand Deaths (which both George and I came up with independently -- cue Twilight Zone theme . . .), it'd make my decision a bit easier. . . . It was [always] about getting George's work back into print. So if I can make that happen, even without actually publishing it myself, I'd still feel good about the project. . . . Barbara has already approved having Mike Resnick do the introduction. And actually, Mike threatened physical violence if he didn't get to do the intro. {g}"