Thursday, December 12, 2013

John Steinbeck

"If a story is not about the hearer, he will not listen. And here I make a rule—a great and interesting story is about everyone or it will not last." ~John Steinbeck

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Book Received...Peter Watts

Beyond the Rift Arriving on my doorstep (actually, the mail carrier rang the doorbell, as he always does when there is a package to be delivered) is the most recent release from Tachyon Publications: the short story collection from Canadian SF writer Peter Watts.

I worked on Beyond the Rift back in June, and you can read more about that in my blog post entitled "Wattsworld," published on June 25, 2013.

The collection includes 13 of the author's most notable stories, including the Hugo Award-winning novelette "The Island." In "This Fall's Must-Read Science Fiction and Fantasy Books," Annalee Newitz for io9 writes:
A new book from crazy genius Watts is always cause for celebration — and this collection of short stories brings together some of his greatest work, including his mind-altering retelling of The Thing called "The Things." Known for his pitch-black views on human nature, and a breathtaking ability to explore the weird side of evolution and animal behavior, Watts is one of those writers who gets into your brain and remains lodged there like an angry, sentient tumor.
And author Paul Di Filippo, in his book review column for Barnes & Noble, had this to say about Beyond the Rift:
Canadian author Peter Watts is a biologist by training and a visionary by inclination. His novels are hard-edged yet coolly psychedelic extrapolations of our gene-modded future. Possessing the stern moral acuity of James Tiptree, he also exhibits the intellectual zest of Arthur C. Clarke. His afterword to his new story collection, Beyond the Rift, is one of the best essays in recent memory about the nature of the kind of science fiction that mates these qualities. Watts is expert at inhabiting the mind of the Other, whether it's a Cambellian shape-shifting alien in "The Things," a future soldier high on techno Rapture in "A Word for Heathens," or a deep-sea dweller with mysterious origins in "Home." His killer opening sentences ("First Contact was supposed to solve everything"; "Wescott was glad when it finally stopped breathing") are rabbit holes to strange futures.

Libraries for Booklovers Everywhere

The Escorial Library, San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain
This is only one of the many exquisite photographs of libraries from around the world in a recently published coffee-table book entitled The Library: A World History by James W. P. Campbell and Will Pryce, from University of Chicago Press.

Campbell, from Cambridge University, provides the extensive history of library buildings, each accompanied by Pryce's amazing photographs. But, the book ain't cheap: the hardcover retails for $75.00 and Amazon has it listed for $50.03. But don't let that dissuade you...

Courtesy of, you can take a sneak peek at 15 of these awe-inspiring photographs.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Book Received...Kage Baker

In the Company of ThievesI had actually received my contributor's copy of Kage Baker's In the Company of Thieves nearly a month ago, but I was right in the middle of a deadline project, so I set the book aside for later. When I realized I still hadn't posted the book on this blog, I was in the middle of yet another project (actually two deadline projects, back-to-back). I'm not complaining, mind you, especially when the work involves books by Tad Williams, James Morrow, and Barbara Webb. But now those projects are complete --

In the Company of Thieves may be one of the last -- if not the last -- short story collections by Kage Baker, who passed away at the too-young age of 57 on January 31, 2010.

I worked on this collection this past May for publisher Tachyon Publications and, in fact, I wrote up some notes and thoughts and whatnot that I posted to this blog on May 14. So if you want to read a bit more about the collection, other than what is available on the publisher's website, that's the link to click on.

The collection was compiled by Kage's sister, Kathleen Bartholomew, and the one story original to the collection, "Hollywood Ikons," is a collaboration, as it were, between Kage and Kathleen.

Kage and Kathleen and I go way back... You can read my tribute to Kage, "In the Company of Kage Baker," which I posted on January 27, 2010.