It must be the season or something. I’m back off to NIH on Tuesday for surgery followed by some extensive and fairly brutal immunotherapy. As recently discussed, this is a very expensive process for me and my family. Not the treatments themselves, which are covered by NIH at no cost to me, but the expense of having my caregivers in Maryland for five weeks while I am being treated. Not to mention the expense already incurred during our two-week visit for enrollment.
Premiums are still being organized. There has been some excellent generosity from various donors, and I’ve put a dozen copies of The January Machine in myself. Hopefully by Monday that will all be up on the fundraising site.
I have very mixed feelings about tapping the generosity of my friends and fans again, but this is where we are. Still fighting for my life, slowly losing, but trying everything we can.
LoneStarCon 3, the 71st World Science Fiction Convention (“Worldcon”) will be featuring the world premiere of the documentary Lakeside about author Jay Lake’s battle with cancer, as well as a special exhibit based on Jay Lake’s genome.
More info in the following press release…
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Can you even fathom what depths of depraved humor it takes to plan your own wake-cum-roast, and then invite the entire world to it?
Jay Lake has done precisely that. His cancer has given him the two-minute warning to end all warnings. Many would sit in a corner and cry. Most would stare blankly at walls. But Jay keeps fighting, knowing the end is in sight and working to stave it off, and he planned a gift for the thousands and thousands whose lives he’s enriched: A party. A chance to say goodbye before the ears you want to hear the words go deaf. He called it JayWake.
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Phil Athans tells us that Amazon has posted the cover art and synopsis of the upcoming writers’ guide Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction: How to Create Out-of-This-World Novels and Short Stories by Orson Scott Card, Philip Athans and Jay Lake. Says Phil: “This is a revised and updated edition of Orson Scott Card’s classic how-to book on the art and craft of SF and fantasy, with a new section on the state of the genres by Philip Athans, and a new section on steampunk by author Jay Lake.”
Full disclosure: I was recently interviewed by Phil for the updated State of the Genre chapter.
Here’s the book description:
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This is going to be something of a different post than our usual SF Signal news item. I would appreciate it if you give it a read, consider it, and (if you can), please help out.
We get a lot out of the people who work in the genre field. They entertain us with books, they write for the television shows we watch, they write the stories that appear in the movies we watch on the big screen.
Unfortunately, it is not all champagne and roses for these folks. Some do work for a company and get benefits that way. Some do attain enough fame and business to make enough to buy their own benefits. Most, however, either pay significantly out of their own pockets or depend on the benefits of a spouse or partner (if they live somewhere where benefits are extended) or take a full-time job (on top of the writing) in order to receive benefits.
Personal backstory time: I lost both my father and my father-in-law to debilitating diseases. The cost on my two respective families was significant, not in terms of money (luckily, both had some benefits as part of a retirement package as well as supplemental help), but in terms of personal (mental, spiritual) cost to our families. But, again, we were lucky in that those benefits were there.
As you may have heard from this episode of the SF Signal Podcast, genre author Jay Lake is fighting cancer. It is taking a toll on his physical health, his mental health, his writing ability, and his finances.
The stress does not end there. They must also navigate the dangerous shoals of all the rules and by-laws for these plans. And put up with silly stuff like this. Click the link. I’ll wait for you to get back. Done reading that? Does your mind boggle as much as mine? I hope so.
Folks, Jay Lake is facing enough as it is. He really doesn’t need to deal with silly
horseshit stuff like this. Let’s all get together and at least give him some peace of mind when it comes to the money end of things. I kicked in $100.00. Could you please hit the “donate” button on his site to help him fight the stupidity of the insurance industry as well as help to pay for what little benefits he gets?
Please get the word out and please consider donating directly - please see his site here, and hit the “tip jar” link in the upper left hand corner. Jay has given us endless hours of entertainment and education, both through his books and through his panels at conventions, participation in interviews, and courses and seminars.
Let’s pay it forward!
UPDATE: There is now a fundraising effort by a number of genre folks to help Jay out. You can win rewards! Tobias S. Buckell will unlock his earliest tale or drink Scotch! Mary Robinette Kowal will put an…interesting…spin on one of her stories! And many more levels all the way up to: Neil Gaiman will perform a cover version of a song from the Magnetic Fields album “69 Love Songs”!
Here is the cover art and synopsis of the upcoming novel Kalimpura by Jay Lake.
Here’s the synopsis:
This sequel to Green and Endurance takes Green back to the city of Kalimpura and the service of the Lily Goddess.
Green is hounded by the gods of Copper Downs and the gods of Kalimpura, who have laid claim to her and her children. She never wanted to be a conduit for the supernatural, but when she killed the Immortal Duke and created the Ox god with the power she released, she came to their notice.
Now she has sworn to retrieve the two girls taken hostage by the Bittern Court, one of Kalimpura’s rival guilds. But the Temple of the Lily Goddess is playing politics with her life.
Book info as per Amazon US:
- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (January 29, 2013)
- ISBN-10: 0765326779
- ISBN-13: 978-0765326775
Jay Lake lives in Portland, Oregon, where he works on numerous writing and editing projects. His books for 2012 and 2013 include Kalimpura from Tor and Love in the Time of Metal and Flesh from Prime. His short fiction appears regularly in literary and genre markets worldwide. Jay is a winner of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and a multiple nominee for the Hugo and World Fantasy Awards.
SF Signal had the opportunity to talk with him about shared worlds and The Fathomless Abyss, a shared world anthology featuring stories from Jay, Mike Resnick, Cat Rambo, J.M. McDermott, Mel Odom, Brad Torgersen and Philip Athans. In The Fathomless Abyss, a bottomless pit opens who-knows-when onto who-knows-where, just long enough for new people from a thousand different worlds and a million different times to fall in and join the fight for survival in a place where the slightest misstep means an everlasting fall into eternity. In this world, the laws of physics work against you, there’s no way out, and time means nothing…
CHARLES TAN: Hi Jay! Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. First off, how did you get involved with The Fathomless Abyss series?
JAY LAKE: Pretty simple. I’d worked with series editor Phil Athans on another project about two years before The Fathomless Abyss started. He liked my words and we both enjoyed working together, so when he and Mel Odom cooked up the concept, they invited me in. I’m always up for something new and fun, so in I jumped.
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The SF Signal Podcast (Episode 141): Cherie Priest, Jay Lake, Gail Carriger, Paul Di Fillipo, Phillipa Ballantine and Tee Morris Talk Steampunk
[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]
Late last year, after John Ottinger wrote a passionate review of John C. Wright’s Count to a Trillion, he was asked by Tor Books publicist Cassandra Ammerman on twitter about why, in his opinion, Space Opera, hadn’t gone more mainstream, like steampunk? (her words.) The question made sense: since Steampunk was The Next Big Thing a few years ago and apparently still hasn’t begun to lose its (steam) power, should science fiction writers and readers worry about its predominance as a subgenre in detriment of Space Opera, even with many new novels fresh in the market?
So, we asked this week’s panelists…
Here’s what they said…
How could anybody think space opera was losing its appeal when we have such stellar practitioners as Iain Banks, Walter Jon Williams, and Lois McMaster Bujold? What I like is that space opera is a big pie-in-the-face to the mundane science fiction movement. Space opera just outright says, so what, it’s unrealistic, it violates the laws of physics, but it’s heart-racingly imaginative (Ooooh, that Culture), so get used to it. And every time I sit down to a really great space opera (a good place to start is that gorgeungous anthology, edited by Kathryn Cramer and David Hartwell, THE SPACE OPERA RENAISSANCE), I feel that I’m going back to my fannish roots — this is how SF started. Think big. Think romantic!
But steampunk is an alluring contender: Tobias Buckell does both genres with all kinds of sparkle. But think of Cheri Priest and even Cory Doctorow. The one appeal steampunk has is the visual: there are whole catalogs featuring steampunk clothing (The Pyramid Collection). Last time I went to my optometrist, I was just so dismayed that he didn’t have any goggles with funny gears on the side. Soon everybody will be wanting steampunk sunglasses. And then there are movies like HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE and HUGO. This isn’t all that new, really; a very stylish 90′s TV show, THE ADVENTURES OF BRISCO COUNTY, JR. is an early contender. Oh, heck, let’s even go back to WILD, WILD WEST. How many fans watched that and said to themselves, “Well, what is this all about? Western? SF?”
As for me, why do I have to choose? I’ll take both, thank you very much, by the bushel! Read the rest of this entry
Aliens are a classic trope dating back to the earliest days of science fiction, so we asked this year’s panelists this question:
Here’s what they said…
I always thought the alien in The Thing was great, because at its heart, it deviated from the ‘actors with bumps on their forehead’ sort of approach you get in movies so much. A parasite, with some intelligence (it builds that spaceship out of spare parts), it really is quite a fun stretch that you don’t see too much of. It never communicates (language is already such a gulf between us, let alone something truly alien). You get a strong sense out of that movie that you’ve encountered something truly alien.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: An anthology of 11 alternate history stories.
PROS: Lucius Shepard’s excellent story, occupying 30% of the book, was the anthology’s centerpiece; Robert Charles Wilson’s story was also excellent; six other worthwhile stories.
CONS: Three stories were mediocre or worse – two of which were more literary experiment than fiction.
BOTTOM LINE: An enjoyable assortment of alternate history stories.
Alternate history is a sub-genre that continues to intrigue and surprise me. Long-feared because of the natural association with history – and the painful reminder of boring, force-fed history classes – it wasn’t until I started reading alternate history short fiction that I came to realize this need not be the case. What I found was that, in some cases, the fictional accounts of real-life events actually prompted research on a topic – quite the opposite reaction I had in school.
Other Earths edited by Nick Gevers and Jay Lake is an anthology of short fiction that presents 11 diverse alternate history stories. The diversity is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the reader is exposed to various authors and styles that broaden reading horizons; on the other there are likely to be some stories that are your cup of tea.
That is a truism for most anthologies, and so it is here. Of the three stories that worked the least, one was hindered by writing style and the other two felt like literary experiments. That said, two other stories were quite excellent: Robert Charles Wilson’s “This Peaceable Land, or, The Unbearable Vision of Harriet Beacher Stowe” and “Dog-Earred Paperback of My Life” by Lucius Shepard. The latter of these is a novella occupying thirty percent of the entire anthology. This weighed heavily of the overall enjoyment of the anthology, which offered 6 other worthwhile stories.
Individual story reviews follow…
Short fiction anthologies come in many flavors: some contain original fiction and some are comprised of reprints; they can be themed or non-themed; they may restrict themselves to a certain sub-genre of speculative fiction… But one thing they all have in common is that it’s Editors that put them together.
This week, we asked a handful of Editors the following question:
Read on to see their illuminating responses…
This is a tough question, because almost every anthology I’ve done with Ann or by myself or with someone else has been different from the others. Even Steampunk and New Weird involved completely different methodologies–in the case of the former, we were trying to identify iconic stories and in the case of the latter we were mapping/documenting the legitimacy of a “movement” that I’d been around to witness the inception of. Our current project, Last Drink Bird Head, is a flash fiction antho for literacy charities with over 80 contributors. Fast Ships, Black Sails was a straightforward commercial pirate story anthology. The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric & Discredited Diseases played around with the whole idea of what’s fiction versus nonfiction and indirectly charted the life of its titular character. The Leviathan anthologies focused on surreal and proto-New Weird or post-New Wave fiction, but each with a different theme and focus. Album Zutique was unabashed Decadent and Surrealist-inspired fiction. Being guest editors for Best American Fantasy was another kind of challenge, because we’d never done a year’s best before, and that carries with it a different set of responsibilities. Our upcoming Clarion charity anthology, The Leonardo Variations, is both an anthology of fiction and a teaching anthology that, through its stories and nonfiction in the back, should be of great use to beginning writers. That poses its own challenges. I guess the point is, behind the scenes each of these books has gone through a different process, both in terms of its creation and in terms of the process of preparation. This keeps things fresh and interesting–I’m not particularly interested in repeating myself with regard to books, whether my own fiction or the anthologies I create with Ann, and I don’t think Ann is, either.
- Adam Roberts reviews Sam Merwin, Jr.’s sexy time travel classic, The Time Shifters. Ack! That painful prose reminds me of Pel Toro!
- Interviews & Profiles:[some via Bibliophile Stalker]
- Rick Kleffel podcast-interviews Kage Baker.
- Darryl Whetter interviews Margaret Atwood.
- Mur Lafferty podcast-interviews Jay Lake, Felix Gilman, Jim Kelly, John Kessel, and Pat Cadigan.
- Suvudu interviews Chris Evans.
- Jeff VanderMeer interviews Caitlin R. Kiernan.
- Stargate Producer John G. Lenic answers reader questions at Joseph Mallozzi’s blog.
- Suite101.com interviews Linnea Sinclair
- If You’re Just Joining Us podcast-interviews SciFi Literary Agent Ginger Clark
- Pyr Books announces a handful of intriguing new forthcoming titles:
- The Buntline Special: A Weird West Tale by Mike Resnick. “Picture a fractured America, steampunk technology, cowboys, rayguns, Native American shamans, and, drum roll please, zombies!”
- The Greyfriar by Clay and Susan Griffith, the first book in the new Vampire Empire series. Elevator pitch: Alternate-History Steampunk Vampire.
- Shadow’s Son by Jon Sprunk, the first in a trilogy that continues with Shadow’s Lure and Shadow’s Master. A swordplay story of “an assassin thrust into the middle of a political and religious upheaval that threatens to topple the last bastion of civilization.”
- Website Facelift of the week: Manybooks.net. [via MobileRead]
- The Daily P.O.P. looks at Michael Moorcock’s Jerry Cornelius and the Final Programme.
- Walter H. Hunt lists his 5 favorite Webcomics.
- SCI FI Wire lists 5 new things you don’t know about Tron Legacy.
- Here’s a fun SF Novel Crossword. [via Science Fiction Brewed Fresh Daily]
- Words that need no further explanation: Indiana Jones Giant R/C Ant.
- 1 Thing you can’t watch: Defying Gravity. Canceled! [UPDATE: Or not.]
- 2 Things you Should Watch Right Now:
- Interviews and Profiles:
- @If You’re Just Joining Us: Jeff VanderMeer.
- In a video over at Angry Robot Books, Dan Abnett talks about writing.
- @The Nebula Awards website: Jeffrey Ford.
- The Los Angeles Times profiles John Twelve Hawks…kinda…since he writes anonymously.
- @Suite101.com: Esther Friesner.
- @BoingBoing: An exit interview with Doctor Who: David Tennant and Russell T. Davies, interviewed by Richard Metzger.
- John Scalzi turns the Whatever mike over to C.L. Anderson, author of Bitter Angels.
- Jay Lake on The Kindle $9.99 boycott vs Green.
- Nancy Kress likes Paolo Bacigalupi’s debut novel, The Windup Girl.
- Jeffrey Somers has sold the film rights to his Avery Cates books: The Electric Church, The Digital Plague, and The Eternal Prison.
- @The Art Department, Irene Gallo shares Jon Foster’s Boneshaker sketches. [Homer Simpson Gurgle Noise...]
- Tim Holman plays amateur (and awesome) statistician again with this Urban Fantasy Growth chart. [via GalleyCat]
- Ian Randal Strock is no slouch when it comes to chartage either. Check out his chart of Number of times Dr. Sam Beckett leaped into various states (and foreign countries) during Quantum Leap.
- George Lucas has been named as a 2009 California Hall of Fame inductee.
- @Wired: Best Science Visualization Videos of 2009.
- @Mental Floss: 7 Space Missions to Remember
- @MTV: Horror Franchises That Rob Zombie Should Tackle After Halloween.
- @Unreality: An Awesome Collection of Star Trek Bloopers. [via Look At This]
[Editor's Note: A while back, SF Signal published a Mind Meld feature on Tomorrow's Big Genre Stars. Patrick at Stomping on Yeti has been profiling these writers and has agreed to cross-post them here.]
In this week’s entry in Keeping An Eye On we have yet another author who needs no introduction. Jay Lake, who can write fiction faster than most people can read it, was one of the most commonly suggested authors SF Signal’s Genre Watchlist. I’m guessing anyone who didn’t name him assumed he was too prominent to qualify. Like many of his fellow Watchlisters, Jay Lake won the Campbell Award for Best New Writer; his award coming back in 2004. Since then, he has published several novels (most recently Green), a number of collections, edited a dozen anthologies, and written countless short stories. I’m not kidding about this, look at his bibliography, there are at least 200 stories there. I’m not counting that. It goes without saying that more than a few of these works have been reprinted in anthologies such as Jonathan Strahan’s The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year and several editions of Gardner Dozois’s The Year’s Best Science Fiction.
Click through for the interview itself…
- Slate finds the graphic novel version of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 worrisome. [via Locus Online]
- Interviews & Profiles [some of these via Bibliophile Stalker]:
- Mur Lafferty interviews Cory Doctorow.
- Meanwhile, At Your Library video-interviews Cory Doctorow.
- @Wow.com: Catherynne M. Valente
- Electric Velocipede interviews John Langan.
- Josh Vogt interviews T.A. Pratt.
- The Crotchety Old Fan interviews Nick Mamatas.
- @PJTV.com: John Ringo.
- @Whatever: Lev Grossman.
- @Stomping on Yeti: Jay Lake, author of Green.
- Over at Suvudu, David J. Williams talks about the demise of Mundane SF.
- Sue Lange talks Steampunk at Polka Dot Banner. Check it out and get a free copy of the a shared-world steampunk anthology Shadow Conspiracy, just by posting a comment!
- Ellen Datlow tells us she’ll not only be attending, but she will be delivering a eulogy at Edgar Allan Poe’s funeral.
- David Weber talks about worldbuilding.
- Lou Anders shows off the cover for This Crooked Way by James Enge.
- Point Reyes Cypress Press has published the memoir-biography Search for Philip K. Dick, Revised 2009, with new material, by Anne R. Dick.
- Advice for Writers: How to Give Public Readings by Mary Robinette Kowal. [via Nancy Kress]
- M-BRANE is in full support of the new GreenPunk movement.
- Jeremiah Tolbert says Be a Positive Force in Fandom, Not an @$$hole. Nick Mamatas responds.
- Scott Edelman continues posting video recently obtained from the 2000 Nebula Awards ceremony, this time with Best Short Story Category. Hilarious stuff.
- Nick Abadzis (Laika) is writing a Torchwood comic strip.
- Are you ready for a remake of Outland?
- Our UK friends can get a sneak peek at Doctor Who‘s Greatest Moments from the BBC.
- Zombaritaville zombifies song lyrics. Cool. [via Boing Boing. Speaking of whom, check out their print advertisement from 10 years ago.]