Tuesday, September 7, 2010

August Links & Things (Part Two)

Part Two of my "August Links & Things" blog post is of a more personal nature, primarily on authors with whom I have worked, books I have edited. You can receive these links in real time by following me on Twitter: @martyhalpern -- but here, in addition to the links themselves, I include more detail and occasional comments.

  • RTBookReviews.com [Romantic Times] has "Kage Baker Remembered" -- heartfelt memories of the author as seen "through the eyes of her younger sister, Kathleen Bartholomew." I would like to add that in all the years I've known Kage -- and through lunches, dinners, bookstore readings, convention panels, hotel lobby chats, etc. -- she and Kathleen were inseparable. Reading about Kage through Kathleen's eyes is a pure joy. [Note: I have written my own remembrance of working with Kage Baker.]

Kage Baker at 6
Kage, age 6, with her first typewriter,
and her godfather, Irish actor Sean McClory

  • And if you are a reader and/or fan of Kage's writings, then you'll want to be following Kathleen's blog: Kathleen, Kage and the Company, in which Kathleen is -- to use her word -- "channeling" Kage. In between her fiction writing, Kathleen tells many wonderful stories of growing up with Kage, the two of them living together in various locales, their travels, their hobbies, the food they loved, and more. Kathleen has tons of Kage's notes, and years and years of long discussions with Kage about her stories and characters -- and Kathleen plans to write the novels that Kage was unable to complete. She is currently working on the sequel to The Women of Nell Gwynne's.
  • I'm pleased to announce that The Iron Khan, the fifth novel in the Detective Inspector Chen series, written by Liz Williams, will be published by Morrigan Books in December. The publisher posted a press release on August 20, and following some discussion with the publisher via email, I will be retained as the editor on this title. I have edited all five of the Detective Inspector Chen novels to date, and I hope to be able to work on the sixth novel, Morningstar, when it is published in 2011. It is probably about time that I write a blog post on this series of books, and on working with the very fine writer Liz Williams. The previous four titles in the series -- Snake Agent, The Demon and the City, Precious Dragon, and The Shadow Pavilion -- were published by Night Shade Books.
  • Books/entertainment columnist Linda Esler, in her column entitled "Browsing at the Library" on NorthJersey.com, takes on Andrew Fox's novel The Good Humor Man, or Calorie 3501. Esler writes: "The Good Humor Man is a future history that, despite a few jokes, addresses a serious subject. The subtitle is a reference to Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. Bradbury wrote about a world without books. Fox takes on a world without real food. The book's cover includes a photograph of a huge pile of cheese curls. An epigraph explains that 3,500 is the number of calories required to gain or lose a pound. [The story] begins in the year 2041. After the Second Great Depression, the United States government has outlawed obesity.... The Good Humor Men conduct raids on people who break the food laws. GHM punish the illegal eaters by taking away their health insurance cards. Then they burn the cookies, candy and fried snacks.... It won me with the first line, 'I remember cheese.' Of course, I can't help loving a book in which Elvis saves the world." [Note: I edited The Good Humor Man for Tachyon Publications and wrote about the book in an earlier blog post.]
  • In 2009 I acquired and edited two titles for publisher Fantastic Books: Judith Moffett's Pennterra and Paul Di Filippo's Fuzzy Dice. A blog entitled In Which Our Hero, and subtitled: entertainment, pop culture, and anything else that strikes my fancy, recently reviewed Pennterra: "Earth has nearly destroyed itself -- we're never told the details -- and a small group of Quaker colonists has made its way to a planet they call Pennterra.... It's a difficult life, though, in large part because of the restrictions placed on them by the native sentients, the hrossa.... A new group of colonists has just arrived, though.... It's a promising setup, with lots of opportunity for conflict and misunderstanding among the planet's three communities. And Moffett makes the most of it, creating a society and ecology that are wildly different from our own, and showing us how human and hrossa change one another.... The prudish should be warned that sex and sexuality play a large part in the plot.... Pennterra is a smart and provocative novel that offers a lot to think about, but never becomes so didactic or idea-heavy that it ceases to entertain." [You can read more about Judith Moffett's work in an earlier blog post.]
  • MediaBeat has an article entitled "Writer Neal Stephenson unveils his digital novel The Mongoliad." The novel is being published by Subutai, a startup in which Neal is co-founder and chairman. "The core of the experience is still a text novel, but authors can add additional material like background articles, images, music, and video. There are also social features that allow readers to create their own profiles, earn badges for activity on the site or in the application, and interact with other readers." One of the partners in this project is author Mark Teppo, who -- as part of the PR for the launch of The Mongoliad -- is interviewed by Tim O'Shea on his blog Talking with Tim. Mark chats about his involvement in this project, but he also talks about his Codex of Souls series of books, which includes Lightbreaker and Heartland, both of which I edited for Night Shade Books. When asked the question "is it more flattering or frustrating when readers interpret your intention with a plot or a character in a manner you never intended when writing it?" Mark responded: "I had a friend IM'ing me every day as he read Lightbreaker, and it was fascinating to watch the evolution of his understanding of the protagonist, and he offered a number of insights into the character that hadn't concretely occurred to me. I think I learned as much about the character as my friend did, which proved to be useful when I was doing the final touches on Heartland." When asked about his role as chief creative officer at Subutai, and collaborating with Neal Stephenson and the other partners, Mark stated: "It's my first collaboration with everyone. We've all known each other -- either directly, or by one degree or so of separation -- for a couple of years now.... I was the detail-oriented writer guy who didn't have a book due in the next six months, and after a few months of doing the work, everyone agreed that the position was a good fit for me." To read more of this interview, to learn of Mark's take on "magick" in the Codex of Souls and how he worked on the first two books in the series for more than a decade, please check out the rest of the interview.
  • Last, but certainly not least, a new book is out about my main music man, Neil Young -- and, best of all, the book is available as a free ebook download for the month of September from WOWIO.com. The book, entitled Being Young: Scott, Neil, and Me is written by the musician's half-sister, Astrid Young. WOWIO's Book of the Month version includes an exclusive video interview with the author. (via @eBookNewser) Keep on rockin' in the free world!

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