Thursday, October 11, 2012

Dorchester Publishing May Be Looking for You!

Earlier this year, Dorchester Publishing closed its doors and sold approximately 1,000 titles to

Dorchester is now trying to transfer rights back to authors, but they have a huge list of authors for whom they have no contact information. You may be on this list -- or you may know someone who is and could put them in touch with Dorchester. Here's what the publisher has to say:
Thank you for your support over the last 75 years.

At this time, we are completing the reversion process, transferring all titles back to their respective authors. Though we have made great strides, our research has uncovered a number of authors for whom we have no contact information. In addition, there are a number of titles without corresponding authors. To complete this reversion process, we will need your help.

So check out Dorchester Publishing's full list of authors and titles. You just may be on that list.

Note: A lot of the authors are deceased, so agents and estates need to review this list as well.

(Thanks to @StaciaKane and @galleycat.)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

How to Survive an Atomic Bomb...

A January 1951 advertisement from the Mutual of Omaha insurance company, courtesy of "v. valenti" on flickr, and

How to Survive an Atomic Bomb

The flickr link above provides a much larger image.

You gotta love this text in the header: "GAMMA RAYS VIRTUALLY HARMLESS OVER 7000 FT."

I assume this type of propaganda was initiated by the government to give the population a false sense of hope that an atomic attack was, in fact, survivable simply by following this "duck and cover" procedure. Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha....

Monday, October 1, 2012

Charles Stross and Five Loads of Laundry

I'll begin with a couple references to previous blog posts: the first post details my work on Charles Stross's The Apocalypse Codex, book four in his Laundry Files series, for Ace Books. The second post excerpts, and links to, a couple reviews of this novel.

In the intervening two months since that second blog post, The Apocalypse Codex has again been reviewed a number of times, and I would like to share with you a brief excerpt from just five of those reviews, in order of their publication. So, if you haven't picked up a copy of TAC as yet, if you're still undecided whether the Laundry Files novels are for you, then please read on; hopefully these reviews will help you decide that this series of books, and The Apocalypse Codex in particular, are a must read (and a must have).

I'll begin with the review by NancyO on oddly weird fiction (subtitled: "the fantasy, sci-fi and other weird books from my reading year"). What's so very cool about this particular review -- especially if you are new to the Laundry Files series -- is that NancyO reviews all four books in the series. So instead of focusing on TAC, I would like to quote from the introduction to her review:
There's something to be said about a guy who can combine HP Lovecraft, various writers of spy fiction, computer geekness and a little of the management nitwitedness of Office Space and come up with a series of consistently good novels that incorporate all of the above.... Along the way he throws pointed barbs at iPhones, cults, Power Point presentations, evangelical Christians, handguns and other sources of irritation -- all of which come off as funny, but only because you realize that some of the things he pokes sarcastic fun at resonate with your own fears, peeves, and annoyances. This guy is Charles Stross, who is the author of four books that comprise The Laundry Files, one of my favorite series of novels ever written. If you'll pardon the expletive, I don't know he manages to keep coming up with this amazing shit -- each book is different, sending the main character Bob Howard, computational demonologist, into perilous adventures as he and the Laundry, the super-secret civil service organization Bob works for, prepare to save humanity from the onslaught of CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN -- an apocalypse arriving from the multiverse. The people at the Laundry have developed some very modern and secret technologies that combine the most high-tech electronics with the occult to keep Bob and others like him safe to defend the world -- all based on magic as a form of mathematics. These novels remind me of old-time adventure stories with a hopped-up occult/geek/horror twist that for some reason unknown to myself I just can't seem to get enough of.
I couldn't have asked for a better recap of the Laundry Files series. And as I said, NancyO goes on to review all four books in the series.

This next review of TAC is on mentatjack (subtitled: "sff book reviews and subversive ontology"). MentatJack writes:
Stross likes to play with point of view.... At the start of The Apocalypse Codex, Bob Howard (protagonist) is established formally as an unreliable narrator:

If it happened to me, I'll describe it in the first person... If it happened to someone else I'll describe it in the third person… And if there's something you really need to understand... I'll [use second person.]

Bob tells us that in the prologue and then we're dropped immediately into a 3rd person section.... The super spy, Persephone, gives us a glimpse of what Bob is being trained to be.

Bob's accelerated training is a big part of the British defense against the future and it'll be interesting to see how Stross handles the inevitable "hell on earth" he’s forecasting. He does a great job with his central characters and the bits of insanity they encounter, but there's a distinct fog of war hovering over the rest of the world these stories are set in.
The Apocalypse Codex isn't your typical spy novel, or Lovecratian novel, or geek/hacker novel, or any combination thereof, simply because of the style in which it is written, which is dependent on the point of view of the content at any point in the story: first person, second person, and third person.