No, sorry, it’s not another Hound novel (argh! we keep asking, he says one of these days), but, it is new McCaffrey. Here’s the description:
1937. A young press photographer for the Daily Mirror falls in love with a crusading reporter. There’s murder before breakfast and a beer and a beating for lunch. Just don’t be late for dinner or a deadline. And remember, sometimes it’s not your best shot, but taking the shot you have that counts. This is Fiorello LaGuardia’s New York, where Thomas Dewey battles Lucky Luciano and the mob, millions are out of work and maybe out of luck, Stalinist is set against Trotskyite and the German American Bund harbors Nazi spies. It’s a time of hard bitten city editors, soft-hearted molls, Seabiscuit and The Babe, when Winchell’s gossip paid the bills for Hearst’s newspaper empire, where a nation moved to the beat of Goodman and Gershwin, and Hepburn and Stanwyck filled our silver dreams, while Hughes and the DC-3 arose, Earhart and the Hindenburg fell, the 20th Century Limited departed and Superman arrives in the nick of time.
and you can start reading here:
or go straight to ordering it in paperback or ebook here.
This coming weekend we (me, Kelly, and our daughter, Ursula) will be at Readercon. I am on a panel on Oblique Strategies. Help! Kelly is on some panels, too, see below. Since we are leaving on Saturday morning for Clarion West (Writer Boot Camp ahoy! We do a reading on Tuesday night in Seattle!) even though the program sched says Kelly will be at the Shirley Jackson Awards, she won’t. And, Jedediah Berry has stepped up to man the Small Beer table. Phew! And Vincent McCaffrey (author of the Hound series) is on a panel about political fiction, Delia Sherman can be found on “When Non-Fantastic Genres Interrogate Themselves,” Greer Gilman is on “Mapping the Parallels,” and so on and on!
The bad news is that the con dropped us from two tables down to one, which means we can’t take as many titles from other publishers to sell: boo! That’s how we got our start with LCRW—people such as Mike Walsh (Old Earth Books) and Greg Ketter (DreamHaven, a real bookstore, how exciting that was!) sold the zine and then our chapbooks off their table, encouraging us to keep going back to the conventions and eventually it all snowballed into BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS! (It is a slippery slide!)
See you in Boston or Seattle!
8:00 PM G Genrecare. Elizabeth Bear (leader), Kathleen Ann Goonan, Kelly Link, Shira Lipkin. In a 2011 review of Harmony by Project Itoh, Adam Roberts suggests that “the concept of ‘healthcare’ in its broadest sense is one of the keys to the modern psyche.” Yet Roberts notes “how poorly genre has tuned in to that particular aspect of contemporary life.” Similarly, in the essay “No Cure for the Future,” Kirk Hampton and Carol MacKay write that “SF is a world almost never concerned with the issues of physical frailty and malfunction.” As writers such as Nalo Hopkinson, Tricia Sullivan, and Kim Stanley Robinson explore the future of the body, how is SF dealing with the concepts of health, medicine, and what it means to be well?
4:00 PM ME Oblique Strategies for Authors. Marilyn “Mattie” Brahen, Gavin J. Grant, Glenn Grant (leader), Katherine MacLean, Eric M. Van, Jo Walton. In 1975 Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt published a deck of cards called “Oblique Strategies.” Each card provides a cryptic directive—such as “Use an old idea” or “Honour thy error as a hidden intention”—intended to help an artist deal with a creative block or dilemma. While many of the original strategies are useful for writers of fiction, others (such as “The tape is now the music”) are perhaps only appropriate for musicians and visual artists. Let’s brainstorm a deck of Oblique Strategies specifically designed to provide unexpected creative kicks for authors who are in a jam.
Proposed by Glenn Grant.
- Gary K. Wolfe in Locus on Geoff Ryman’s Paradise Tales: “In the best of Ryman’s fiction, the world unfolds in ways that are at once astonishing and thoroughly thought out, both radically disorienting and emotionally powerful.”
- Ted Gioia on Ted Chiang. (It’s a TedFest!) “The divide between genre fiction and literary fiction is, blurry at best . . . “
- Catch-up: Matt Kressel interviews Richard Butner for the Shirley Jackson Award site.
- Very sad to read about William Sleator’s death. Many years ago Kelly gave me a copy of his autobiographical collection Oddballs (it’s still one of the books she loves to give people), a hilarious book that only gets more fascinating as I see if from two sides, the child POV and the parental. I haven’t read much of his fiction, but
Ok, so the last two weren’t reviews, but go on, open up some tabs and read them.
Next: a reading! Vincent McCaffrey will read from A Slepyng Hound to Wake at the Brookline Booksmith at 7 PM on Thursday August 25th. We love Vince and we love the Booksmith (and their reading series, they have Lev Grossman there this week) so we are very sad we won’t be there. Slepying Hound is shipping out very nicely. If you want a signed copy, the Booksmith, Poison Pen, or Avenue Victor Hugo are your choices. (On AVH’s site on Biblio.com you can see what else Vincent has published . . . )
Next: Locus! The August issue has:
- an interview with Karen Lord—who can be heard on the Locus roundtable podcast here.
- a review of Geoff Ryman’s collection (ok, that one’s linked above, but I liked having all this stuff together)
- a review by Rich Horton of The Monkey’s Wedding and Other Stories
- and includes Lydia Millet’s The Fires Beneath the Sea in the Notable Books
- and at some point soon, Locus will become available on Weightless
Next: travel! Next week Kelly will be at the Edinburgh Book Festival—apparently their website is down due to a lightning strike on their servers in Ireland!—where she and Audrey Niffenegger will have a lively chat at 8:30 PM on Tuesday, August 16th, and then Kelly will be part of what sounds like a great shindig of a night from 9 PM onward on Thursday the 18th. And since they are very sensibly headquartered in Edinburgh, we also get to go visit Kelly’s UK publisher for Pretty Monsters, Canongate!
Last! Clarion West. Kelly and I are excited to be among next year’s instructor’s at Seattle’s Clarion West:
We are very happy to announce that our instructors for the 2012 Clarion West Writers Workshop are Mary Rosenblum, Hiromi Goto, George R.R. Martin, Connie Willis, Kelly Link and Gavin Grant, and Chuck Palahniuk, the 2012 Susan C. Petrey Fellow.
Although with that line-up, we might just see if we can sit in from week one . . .
Bye! We’re also off to visit family in Scotland, so will be offline for most of this month. We’ll be back—and starting to do events for Steampunk!—at the start of September.
On Writing On by Vincent McCaffrey
Everyone I have ever spoken to or read about who writes has a different reason for doing it. Love is far less complicated.
Some have similar reasons but never exactly the same.
The most often heard and most unlikely reason is money. That situation has more in common with the ’49’s who went to California to strike it rich panning gold and ended up with other lives along the way. Very few, even of the best, get rich.
Another frequently used excuse (they are all excuses after all) is to understand oneself. In a lifetime of reading I have found only a handful of writers who understood themselves and those are the ones who had such knowledge to begin with.
Fame can be dismissed with riches as patently stupid and demonstrably foolish. I can name ten great authors (not good ones–great ones), off the cuff, who are essentially unknown.
We got some lovely news about Poppy Brite’s Second Line: it was selected for the ALA’s Over the Rainbow committee’s inaugural list of LGBTIQ books for adults—along with Sandra McDonald, a Batwoman comic, James Magruder’s Sugarless, Queering the Text, Locas II (still haven’t got this, want!), and titles from the good folks at Midsummer Night’s Press, Chizine, Blind Eye Books. Overall the committee selected 108 titles, which should make for a good reading list (hope my local library adds them all!), and if you want even more reading, here are all the nominated titles.
On Weightless we just added After the Rain: After the Floods edited by Tehani Wessely, which is a fundraiser for the Queensland Flood Relief Appeal—100% of the proceeds go to the Flood Appeal. Queensland has been hit brutally hard and this is a great way to pitch in. Buy one for everyone you know! Anything you can do to help spread the word would be appreciated.
This week we have some of our writers back after the holidays and posting again—the good news is that some will continue throughout winter into spring. Enjoy!
Karen Joy Fowler is back walking the dog after:
Christmas came to town much like the circus, complete with parties, guests, dreadful influenzas, and deadlines. It was either the circus or else the four horseman of the apocalypse. Those are hard to tell apart.
Karen Lord on machines, ghosts, dependence, and what a writer needs:
I suffered (and I do not use the word lightly) two serious computer crashes in the weeks before Christmas. The first one was vexing, but ultimately I was complacent about my files due to my habit of backing up data at various levels and to various degrees in about five different places. The second crash, which killed my main and largest backup drive, destroyed my complacency at last.
Vincent McCaffrey reveals the secret of why writers write:
Having ‘something to say’ is just as silly a reason to write. Why should anyone care what you have to say? Are you rich? Are you famous? Are you wise? No. Well then. Case closed.
I have frequently encountered the ruse ‘I hate to write. I don’t know why I do it.’ Or some such unlikely statement. This is the equivalent of what Br’er Rabbit told Br’er Fox. “Please don’t throw me in that briar patch.”
And Edward Gauvin introduces two more writers from the Belgian school of the strange:
1) There once was a lawyer named Gérald Bertot, who worked all his life in the management of the same flour-milling factory. He held a doctorate in criminology, and a side career in art criticism under the pseudonym Stéphane Rey. Spared service in World War II, he turned to writing mysteries for money, with the encouragement of Stanislas-André Steeman, a celebrated craftsman of Belgian noir. In Tonight at Eight (1941), he introduced the police commissioner Thomas Owen—a character whose name he liked so much he later took it as his own when he embarked on what he has called his true calling, his career as a fantasist.
2) No survey of Belgian fiction can fail to mention Jean Ray, born Raymundus Joannes Maria de Kremer—but where to begin? . . . Ray had a particular fondness for nautical skullduggery, and actively encouraged the proliferation of rumors surrounding his person and past
Mr. Green of the Eastern News by Vincent McCaffrey
When I ran away from home as a kid, it was seldom with any intention of being gone from my mother’s cooking for very long. It was not out of anger that I left, in any case, but frustration. I was a dilettante to the world of ‘runaways.’ A few hours seemed to be sufficient remedy. And by far, the place to which I most often escaped was New York City. About twenty miles, and not much more than twenty minutes by train. Often twice a month. It took that long to save enough lunch money to buy a ticket for the New Haven line.
Bibliomania by Vincent McCaffrey
Consider the size: a mere seven inches tall (less if it was from Dell or Popular Library), four and a quarter inches wide, and half an inch thick. A hundred thousand choice words, more or less, in a soft covered package you could shove in the pocket of your jeans.
I was consuming two or three of these a week in 1963. It was an addiction. I was a poor student, but I could pass almost any test (except math and foreign languages) just on the residual knowledge I was picking up along the way.
And it was more than fiction that possessed me. I read the Bruce Catton historical works on the Civil War, Alan Moorhead’sWhite Nile and Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki, Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage, the poems of Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg and Walt Whitman, and biography by the basket-load. Read more
Holly Black’s giving away copies of The Poison Eaters every day this week.
Aaaaand, we have lovely new posts coming from these fine folks:
The word exotic is merely a way to measure the distance from home to the unknown, and it is my opinion that such a word has no place in the lexicon of the speculative fiction writer
I paid special attention to ‘trashy’ novels.
Some of the keenest pleasures in fiction come from meeting the characters who seem to be moving sideways between the world constructed for them on the page by the writer and the more lasting, more ephemeral world of the readers’ continued imagination.
and Karen Joy Fowler:
This same wild world used to be a source of great comfort to me in times of need. I thought it was eternal, that my place in it (and therefore my troubles) was small and inconsequential. Now I walk along the ocean and I know that I’m looking at a system in peril.
and, at least for this week we have craaaazy sale prices! Git your prezzies here!
Paperboy by Vincent McCaffrey
I was not a very good paperboy. I had a strong arm, but my fold was not always up to the rigors of the aerial journey. Too often I chased the opened and separating sheets of the Mamaroneck Daily Times over one yard and another after a faulty fold broke and the wind caught the contents.
I had a regular route only once and then lost it when I had to leave with my family on a trip and couldn’t find a substitute. A good paperboy is always faithful. My math was frequently faulty. If I had eighty-nine customers, I would have the payments for eighty-six. The papers were ready to go at four, but I was more usually not ready to start until five. And then I dawdled. There were so many things to see and ponder. After all, the universe was expanding they said and I saw proof it there before my eyes. What should have taken an hour and a half at most, took me two. Read more
Boston bookhound Henry Sullivan is back and we think The Second Hound, aka Hound2, or, A Slepyng Hound to Wake, is even better than the first one.
And, the first five people in the US/Canada who promise to review Hound2 in their blogs/on their TV shows/etc. and post something interesting (as despotically judged by us!) about books/bookshops/book hounds or books scouts/etc., in the comments will get a free free free gratis copy sent to them asap.
Spread the word! We have added a bunch (A BUNCH!) of new books to the site. These are the books we’ve been secretly working on this year—well, the ones we’re telling you about. We’ve got contracts going on a few more by authors familiar and not so much and they all share one thing: they are Awesome.
In what way Awesome? Don’t you just want them all now? Yes!
How about Lydia Millet‘s first kid’s book?—and it’s the first of a series! It’s set on Cape Cod where nothing is quite what it seems. Not to be a spoiler, but it has a killer last line. And, we are so proud to be publishing a new Joan Aiken collection! (We have an excellent competition coming with this.) Joan’s stories are unique, they’re so amusing, so unexpected. She’s a little along the lines of Roald Dahl, I suppose. Oh, what an odd and excellent book. And, the cover is by one of our faves, Shelley Jackson.
Also: more Geoff Ryman: The Child Garden is even weirder than you remember. Biopunk London, polar bears, viruses, and more. Wowee. New cover coming on that, too.
Good news for fans of Boston bookhound Henry Sullivan, The Second Hound, aka Hound2, or, A Slepyng Hound to Wake, is even better than the first!
Annnnnnnnd, there’s a chapbook from your friend and mine, Hal Duncan!
Treasure Island by Vincent McCaffrey
I had been reading purposefully on my own for little more than a year when my family moved to a temporary residence at the Bevan Hotel on Park Street in Larchmont. My parents had bought their first house, an older Victorian, and naturally encountered the unexpected difficulties of renovation.
I have used that nearly six-month residence at the Bevan Hotel several times in stories, and key to the impact of the place was the owner, a man about whom I actually know almost nothing.
His name was Frederick Merrow. I have no picture of him now to compare with my memory, so that I see him in my mind somewhat mythically. In any case, what a boy sees in a man has little to do with fact. We often only see what we need in others and little more. Read more
An Embarrassment of Riches by Vincent McCaffrey
I read recently in the Boston Globe that there is too much information. ‘Information overload’ it was called. I am sure the author was speaking from her own point of view, and as a subjective problem, I cannot judge this. But as a generalization of fact, the theory is faulty in too many ways to address in a short essay. It reminds me of the line in the movie ‘Amadeus’ where the Austrian Emperor Joseph II says there are “simply too many notes” in the great composer’s music. Read more
A world in two bits (second bit) by Vincent McCaffrey
At nine, I had not yet begun to truly read. Reading, as I am calling it, is a sole pursuit of the contents of books. Of course, I’d learned about Dick and Jane in the first grade along with everyone else.
I had, however, already been initiated into that cult of worshipers who poured over the pages of latest EC comics and Mad magazine during lunch breaks at school. We collected in tight knots outside the Smoke Shoppe to read any new issue just delivered. I might not have appreciated the subtler themes that were current in the EC’s, but there was no missing the broader wit in Mad. And at the price of a quarter, my recent foray into the crab business had given me the wherewithal to be the kid at the center of the knot.
But my popularity was short lived. Read more
My two bit universe (first bit) by Vincent McCaffrey
It was possible to sell a blue crab or buy a paperback book for a quarter in 1956. And thus my reading career began.
We lived then in a modern (as in antiseptic and geometric) brick apartment complex in Beechhurst, just where the East River meets the Long Island Sound. Across the street, where a wonderful primal wood had lingered long beyond anything else of its kind in that densely populated suburb of New York City, was a place where I had watched bats twirl in the sky over the remains of a great estate while hidden in the enfolding roots of giant oaks, and held the fortress of a fallen gatehouse against the fury of thousands upon millions of snowballs. Read more
The Importance of Being Ernest by Vincent McCaffrey
I sell books for a living today, as I have for most all of my adult life. This has often seemed to me to be destined. A sort of cosmic joke. A perfect example of ‘Be careful of what you wish for.’
As a boy, I wanted to be a writer. Selling the books of the writers I loved seemed quite natural.
Having suddenly begun to read at the age of nine, I became a ‘bookworm,’ in my mother’s phrase, and ruined my eyes by the time I was twelve. Reports of other and possibly better means for doing this reached my ears belatedly.
I admit that my opinions of literature were formed alone and without proper guidance. Given the sheer quantities I read, I might even have been some sort of scholar, had I followed the advice so often offered by others who clearly knew better. But by then I wasn’t listening to anyone who couldn’t write. Read more
The Whale in the Room by Vincent McCaffrey
In my junior year of high school, in 1964, I opted to read Moby Dick as part of my discretionary reading. It was a bit of grandstanding, in fact. I thought I had already read it a year or two before and would use it to impress my teacher and squeeze out a higher mark. I promptly went down to Anderson’s Bookshop in Larchmont and looked around for a copy. What I found there was a humongously fat Signet paperback. I asked the forbearing woman who usually worked the counter what was wrong with it. Where was the ‘regular’ edition I had previously read? She was totally mystified by my objection. She sputtered. She looked at me hopelessly. She shook her head and said, “Looks fine to me.”
A small gathering of patrons encircled us, each offering comments of their own as they in turn took the chunky volume and fanned through the pages. I remember one who helpfully offered the added information that this copy lacked a glossary. It was actually too short. I should buy an edition with a glossary so that I could look up the meaning of unusual words. Under their scrutiny, I could not admit that I had believed it was a much shorter work to begin with. Already committed, I took the advice offered and bought an edition with a glossary.
On the way home that day I stopped at the public library and found the version—the exact volume—that I had read before. It was in fact shorter. It was edited. Abridged. All of the parts of the great book which did not further the immediate advancement of plot, as well as all the too difficult words, were removed. No comic irony. No allegory. No religious metaphor. No slicing of the whale flesh “as thin as Bible-leaves.”
Nice way to end the year in Hound: Jay Strafford at Virginia’s Richmond Times-Dispatch does a nice round-up of some recent debut mystery novels and has this (among other nice things, it’s worth reading the review) to say about Vincent McCaffrey’s:
“If you favor a leisurely but still intriguing mystery with amiable characters and a devotion to the printed word, Hound will provide a pleasant diversion. As much about books — and love and knowledge and family — as about murder, Hound is the first in McCaffrey’s projected trilogy, and book lovers will eagerly await Henry’s next outing.”
Thanks to everyone who blogged and tweeted and got the word out on our sale, it continues apace. The Mike FM radiothon raised $93,700 for Franciscan, which is just amazing. Yay and yay and yay!
And, nice segue, there’s a good review of Interfictions 2 here from King Rat, who, awesomely, donated the cost of the book to Franciscan Hospital for Children. Another review. And David Soyka @ Black Gate.
List-lovers, here’s a good one: io9.com included Carol Emshwiller’s novel The Mount in their 20 Best Science Fiction Books of the Decade. It’s another interesting list (of sf+f) and of course works as a great conversation starter. The Mount received the Philip K. Dick Award and is indeed a
deceptively simple story about humans revolting against a group of alien conquerers who love humanity – as pets they can ride on.
Hound is 20% off at RiverRun and so are all of their Forty Favorite Books of 2009—great list of books; we advise stocking up.
Nancy Pearl always has some good reading recommendations.
Rain Taxi are having their annual auction which is always good for a pressie … or maybe something for yourself.
Kaleidotrope subscriptions are on sale—grab one before Fred changes his mind!
io9 links to the must have squid + owl.
so on. Wait: aren’t all stories made up? No! Because, wait for it, some of them are True. Riiiight, on with the show.
We added a short intro video (see below) to the Writer’s Daily Planner since it is so late to hits stores — managed to post it on Facebook and IndieBound, not sure if it will end up on Powell’s. Used the Flip camera, then upped the sound. Need a better mic!
And: we’ve added discounts! (Not sure if we will get organized enough to do a sale before the year ends. Hmm.)
And: Greer gets some fan art.
Nice review of Hound @ Fictionophile: “If bibliophilia is an illness, then Henry Sullivan is terminal!”
Ed Park pulls a thread and finds a story in American Fantastic Tales.
And, you know, other stuff.
Many ‘ands make light work?
Wed 25 Nov 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., Alan DeNiro, Bruce Sterling, Henry Jenkins, Hound, Interfictions, Interfictions 2, John Kessel, The Baum Plan, Vincent McCaffrey, Zines | 1 Comment| Posted by: Gavin
Publishing seems to take today off as part of the Thanksgiving holiday—maybe everyone on NYC is taking the day off to empty the oven of books so that they can try and cook a turkey?—but we in indie press land don’t recognize your bourgeois concept of “holidays.” All days are holidays here!
And in the meantime, coming up soon we have an interview with Daniel Rabuzzi author of The Choir Boats and we’re looking forward to the new issue of Xerography Debt (with a few reviews by yours truly).
Hilarious post by Elissa Bassist: What We Were Really Saying:
I verb you.
I similarly feel for you in this way, but I’ll never say the word verb in front of you or even behind your back to my friends. I have feelings only sometimes, and only when I feel like it.
Elsewhere, tangentially related to SBP: Alan DeNiro (Skinny Dipping…) is celebrating the release of his first novel, Total Oblivion, More or Less, by hosting a fundraiser for MercyCorps—and if you donate and send Alan an email he’ll send you a piece of postapocalytic ephemera.
Hound is a leisurely mystery, the action is secondary to the pace of life, the thoughtfulness, the focus on books and things literary. This isn’t fast-paced, action-filled. The story develops at it’s own pace, not to be rushed but rather to be savored. Indeed, the crime-solving is secondary to the portrayal of Henry, the sensitive bibliophile’s efforts to make sense of life. This is a “literary” novel with a mystery inside. It’s full of asides and memories of the character’s youth. The reader needs to relax and enjoy. Initially, I wasn’t sure I was going to like this, but my affection for this book and it’s characters grew as I read, until by the end I was quite satisfied. I look forward to the next in this different, intriguing series.
This generic image should make people rethink getting shiny new electronics for Xmas:
Brian at BSC review hit the nail on the head in a review of Vincent McCaffrey’s Hound. The titular bookhound, Henry Sullivan, is a man alone has immersed in the world of books—a world the author is worried might be passing away (or at least in a state of rapid decline)—and Hound explores one reaction to the possibility of that passing. Perhaps the novel should have been subtitled “an investigation into the possible death of the book as a physical object,” but it doesn’t roll off the tongue.
If you missed Vince’s conversation-starting posts at Powell’s (get your cup of tea and biscuits/cookies ready) you can read them here. Here’s a reaction to the reading/panel on the future of the book at Mysterious Bookshop. I think Vince knows that the paper book won’t completely disappear but he is right to wonder and to agitate and to keep the conversation going on what the future will look like and who will make it.
And, yes, you can buy Hound as an ebook. Vincent might be worried about the death of the paper book, but we’re quite aware there is a growing percentage of readers who like to read our books on other substrates.
Or, of course, just start reading Hound.
Over at LitDrift.com they’ll be giving away one of our books a week all month and they’ve started things off with Hound.