Sunday, November 25, 2007

Tesseracts Eleven gets launched...

... on schedule and without a hitch. About eight of us author types made it to Bakka Phoenix on Queen Street West Saturday afternoon to give Tesseracts Eleven (edited by Cory Doctorow and Holly Phillips) a proper launch. And what fun it was!

We all talked a bit and read a bit, sold a stink of a lot of books and got everyone's name right. As you can see from the picture showing the gigantic crowd, that was no small accomplishment.

Karen Fernandez (not in the pictures) snapped these photographs (in addition to the one up top) of the bunch of us.

From left to right:Claude Lalumière, David Nickle (me!), Kate Reidel and Hugh Spencer.

From left to right:
Madeline Ashby, Lisa Carriero, Susan Deefholts and Steven Kotowych.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Festive Reading

For those of you who can't make it to the Tesseracts Eleven anthology launch this coming Saturday November 24 at Bakka Pheonix Books (697 Queen Street West) in Toronto after 3 p.m., but still want to hear me talking too loudly before the Holiday season's done with us, might I commend you to this event: The Merril Collection Christmas Cream Tea.

The Merril Collection is, for those who don't know about it, the Toronto Public Library's massive speculative fiction collection, formerly known as the Spaced Out Library. It's one of the most comprehensive collections of sf in North America, and you can read more about it here.

But this isn't a blog entry about the Merril Collection, so much as it is about how Karl Schroeder and I will be there on the eighth of December, to read from our Christmas story "The Toy Mill" --
which forms the first part of our novel The Claus Effect (pictured here).

Here are the particulars, written up by someone other than me:
* * *

The Friends of the Merril Collection invite you to attend the
22nd Annual Christmas Cream Tea
Saturday, 8 December at 1:30

Dave Nickle and Karl Schroeder will perform
(with dramatic gestures and pathos)
Vastly entertaining scenes from their Award Winning Christmas Story
The Toy Mill

All taking place at The Merril Collection of Science Fiction,
Speculation and Fantasy
Toronto Public Library
239 College St., 3rd floor
Toronto, Ontario M5T 1R5

Refreshments, including whipped cream, scones and jam

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Swamp Witch lives...

... or is the closest thing that a work of fiction can be to alive - it's available and in print. Tesseracts Eleven (edited by Cory Doctorow and Holly Phillips), the latest edition of the venerable Canadian speculative fiction anthology, is on the shelves, at least here in Canada, and my story "Swamp Witch and the Tea-Drinking Man" (excerpted here) is on the shelves with it.

So by all means, if you're an instant-gratification type, rush right out and buy it. If you're one of those people who never buy books if you're not at a party, then stop by Bakka Phoenix Books November 24 and bring some money. That's the Toronto launch, and I'll be there (there being 697 Queen Street West, just west of Bathurst Street, after 3 p.m.) signing books and talking too loudly.

Or, if you're one of those people who never buy books at a party in Toronto but might consider doing so at parties in other cities, here are the westerly launches that Edge has set up:

Tesseracts Eleven Calgary Book Launch
Nov. 30, 7 p.m.
Part of Hot off the Press Fall Book Launch
Historiic Fire Hall
1111 Memorial Drive

Tesseracts Eleven Vancouver Book Launch
Dec. 2, 3 p.m.
White Dwarf Books
3715 West Tenth Ave.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Why Halloween is the happiest day of the year

Well, one of the reasons. This video is only a little less terrifying than yesterday's cat video, if only because there's no cat in it. Far as I can tell, it's an amateur animation based on the Silent Hill video game series. But that doesn't do it justice. It's a nasty piece of business, in fact - and if you watch it, the terrifying cat video and (scrolling back a bit) The Devil's Chair trailer, then go check out one or two of the Free Lies on the website, you should be as primed as I can get you for the big night tonight...

(With thanks to Madeline Ashby for the heads-up)

* * *

Important addendum: For those of you who can't get enough screaming horror, turns out that little film is a trailer for this big one. Haven't watched it yet, but for those of you with some time and bandwidth on your hands, here are links to the other youTube fragments...

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part Va

Part Vb

Part VIa

Part VIb


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

There's nowhere to go but up when...

... a blog starts posting cat videos.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Do Americans really say bathroom?

I don't ask this question idly, but in response to this very kind (and kindly appreciated) blog-review of The Claus Effect, which I came across - erm, idly typing my name into Ice Rocket for no particularly good reason again and again while I should have been revising Mister Juke.

The blogger (who frustratingly, does not identify herself by name) liked the book fine, but pointed this out:

"... in one scene, Neil (American) and Emily (Canadian) are sneaking around the old military installation and looking for a place to hide when Neil says in frustration that a place like that has GOT to have washrooms.


Americans don’t say “washroom.” Americans say “bathroom.”"

So I put this out to the World Squid Jamboree (what we Canadians call the Internet): Do Americans not say washroom? Is this an idiom unique to Canadians, and possibly the Welsh?

Speaking of squid... witness, if you will, this photograph from my link buddy Peter Watts' Rifters blog - because it's freaky horrific, and as far as I can tell an entirely real manifestation of every nightmare every boy ever had:


So boo. And if I don't post again 'til then, Happy Halloween.

* * *


It turns out that yes, Americans really do say bathroom, and never (or so very seldom as to amount to never) washroom. This according to my clever expat pal Madeline Ashby. Her theory has something to do with the enduring influence of the French -- who use the term salle de bain (room of bath) not salle de lave, (room of washing) -- on American culture. I will leave it to the reader to try and square this with the phenomenon of Freedom Fries.

Oh yes. And here are some more factoids on the man-squid -- as if mere science will drive the horror of the grinning Promachoteuthis sulcus from your dreams...

(Halloween: two days and counting)

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Mention - Honourable

Just got my copy of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror - Twentieth Annual Collection, an anthology series that's had a warm place in my heart since the eighth one, which contained my story "The Sloan Men." No stories by me in this one, but I note that one was noted, by long-time YBFH co-editor Ellen Datlow: "The Delilah Party," which appeared in Cemetery Dance #56.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Cosmetic changes count!

... particularly when they're also content. I've put up a couple more Lawrence Nickle paintings in the body of the Devil's Exercise Yard, illustrating "The Pit Heads" and "The Sloan Men." These are cosmetic changes, I guess, for those of you stopping by for the fiction; more content, for those of you art-fanciers who come to the Yard by typing "Lawrence Nickle" into Google, hoping to see paintings like this one here:

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Devil's Chair trailer

Just in case my post a couple of days back didn't convince you that The Devil's Chair is nice and comfy - here's the trailer, up on YouTube.

So what are you waiting for? Have a seat.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I would get so much more writing done if they stopped having film festivals...

... on the other hand, if that happened, I wouldn't be in a position to recommend The Devil's Chair, a dandy little screamer by Brit director Adam Mason that had its premier at the Toronto International Film Festival's Midnight Madness stream.

Riffing on everything from The Haunting to Hellraiser - with a thick dollop of Session 9 and a chunky bit of drool from Trainspotting - it's a clever gore-fest that manages to wag its finger at we bloodthirsty audience-members at the same time as it indulges our every sick whim. We are bad little gore-hounds, and Mr. Mason is not above pointing it out.

Whether this tactic will result in wide release or not remains to be seen - TIFF is a place where distribution deals are struck, not always announced - but even if it goes straight to video, which these things often do (can you say Dagon?), check it out.

There. You've been told.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Kind words are always appreciated...

More people blog about my short-short story The Mayor Will Make A Brief Statement And Then Take Questions than just me, you know. In addition to my friend here, I recently came across this guy from South Africa, David de Beer, who said a nice thing about the story not long ago. Here's the review:

The mayor will make a brief statement and then take questions – David Nickle:

"Nicholas speaks to us from the dark corners, the cold spaces—but they are shadows amid light, a chill draft by a glowing hearth.

What starts off as an almost rote public speech by the mayor of a city turns very personal and very, very chilling.
Too short a tale to say anymore except one simply has to read that final paragraph. Gave me the shivers.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Cobalt, Ontario: Not as much fun as the sign indicates...

... but still some fun. Those of you who've read The Pit-Heads over at The Devil's Exercise Yard may have been wondering: is there really a vampire-infested mining town called Cobalt, Ontario with some of the prettiest industrial ruins in Northern Ontario? Did this town really supply 44 per cent of the world's silver at one point? Was there really:

"a grocery, built on top of an old mine shaft, a three-hundred-foot deep root cellar where the owners dangle their overstock of meat and cheese against the improbable heat of high summer in northern Ontario"?

In answer: Yes, Yes and It's a restaurant now but Yes, and it looks like this:

Friday, July 13, 2007

Edging towards publication...

I note that EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing, the gang that does Tesseracts these days, has put up a pretty comprehensive web page for Tesseracts Eleven - the Cory Doctorow/Holly Phillips edition of the Canadian spec-fic anthology series. It's here, and proves to any of you doubters out there that I wasn't just fooling around when I claimed here and here that I'd sold my story "Swamp Witch and the Tea-Drinking Man" to them. Or when I claimed that Madeline Ashby's story beat snot out of Swamp Witch - the table of content shows her story, "In Which Joe and Laurie Save Rock and Roll," in the all-important lead-off spot. The witch is in the appropriately snot-beat spot of number two.

For those of you coming here from Aukland and Oslo and Malaysia (and looking at my Google Analytics, I know there are a few of you), you should know: the Tesseracts anthologies are a big deal in home-grown Canadian speculative fiction. The late golden age sf author/editor Judith Merril edited the first one in the mid-1980s, in so doing attending to the birth of the late 20th-century boom in Canadian speculative fiction (DON'T call it science fiction - we Canadians hate that).

The series has published the work of many fine authors over the years - Margaret Atwood, Candas-Jane Dorsey, Charles de Lint, Robert Charles Wilson, Andrew Weiner and James Alan Gardner; and fine-authors-and-pals-of-mine Karl Schroeder, Michael Skeet, Sara Simmons, Peter Watts, Hugh A.D. Spencer and Sandra Kasturi. And also a few by me - including the first appearance of "The Toy Mill," Karl's and my Christmas fable that mutated into The Claus Effect, about which I've bent your ear enough.

Tesseracts Eleven is available late 2007, I'm told. But don't fuss about dates - I'll let you know here, when it's okay to buy a copy.

Monday, July 2, 2007

A new lie lives!

... or is live.

A couple three weeks ag0 (or one quick scroll down the page) you may recall I let it be known I'd sold a short story, "The Mayor Will Make A Brief Statement And Then Take Questions." To ChiZine, a screaming fine webzine that can be viewed by anyone, here.

I promised at the time to link to the story when it went live. And it has. And I am. It's right here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Great News for Writers of Canadian Horror!

Turns out, the potential readership is more gullible than ever - particularly in my home province of Ontario. According to this piece in Toronto's Globe and Mail newspaper, only 51 per cent of Ontario residents believe that the Earth is millions of years old, and human beings evolved from less complicated forms of life. In Canada, 59 per cent believe in evolution. Otherwise, it's an unequal mix of uncertainty, and the belief that the world's just 10,000 years old, the Grand Canyon is nothing but a trick of Satan, dinosaurs walked the Earth with early humans, and a jealous, all-powerful deity is behind the whole thing.

For writers of supernatural horror fiction - liars to the last one - this is nothing less than a fantastic opportunity. For almost half of our potential readers in Canada, suspension of disbelief - that huge impediment to telling convincing stories about vampires, sentient goo and brain-eating zombies -
is simply not an issue. Why, they're as easy to frighten as a three-year-old without a night-light.

Horror fiction isn't dead. It's dead easy, is what...

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

In case you were sick of the limited number of free lies on the website...

... it looks as though there'll be more soon. But not here. Just got word from Gord Zajac, fiction editor at ChiZine, that my story "The Mayor Will Make A Brief Statement And Then Take Questions" is a go for their next issue. The story itself is only slightly longer than the title, and I wrote it for this Toronto thing called SF Idol, which is exactly what it sounds like (I actually wound up winning said thing, but not with this story), so it won't take more than a few minutes of your time and might just scare your knees backwards.

When the time comes, I'll link to The Mayor..., because ChiZine has dispensed with the formalities of paper and printing and distribution in favour of web publishing and paying its writers well. In the meantime, check out the publication sans Mayor..., here.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Claus-ing Our Way Up The Amazon charts!

Yes - this is how I thank Devil's Exercise Yard readers, for hauling The Claus Effect up from its 2.8 millionth sales ranking oblivion to an unheard-of middle ranking of #333,677 in Books: with a cheesy subject-line pun.

So let's start again: thank you, Devil's Exercise Yard readers, for helping Karl Schroeder's and my 10-year-old Santa Claus novel claw its way up to respectability on the sales ranking charts. I am assuming it's you, because the book has been languishing in seven-figure hell since the day Amazon came up with the ranking system, and it's only been a couple few weeks since I began insisting that Yard-readers do something about that.

So if you're one of the readers that have bought a Claus Effect on after having read this exerpt (possibly, given the uncertainty of how exactly Amazon ratings work, the single reader who did so) pat yourself on the back. If you're not - well, go here, buy the book, then pat yourself on the back.

And accept our thanks. Karl and I are grateful bastards indeed.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Toronto the Good... place to set a story.

Conventional wisdom suggests that this is not so. My hometown has a long history of standing in for various U.S. cities when the dollar is low and the SARS is dormant (we're not New York, but we play one on television); but most people (read, movie and TV people) think Toronto is a little too clean, dull and cold to be a cool spot for an actual tale to take place.

Well, not me. According to Fantastic Toronto, Karen Bennett's comprehensive bibliography of
all things Toronto in speculative fiction, I've written two stories taking place in the shadow of the CN Tower and the wake of amalgamation. I think it's three, but I'll have to email her and check to see if the suburbs count...

UPDATE, JUNE 4, 2007:

Turns out it's four. Karen has added two stories - one of which takes place not quite in Toronto, but the Greater Toronto Area, which strikes me as admirably open-minded. She did not, however, include any of the many stories I've written in which Toronto locations are standing in for New York. Then again, I did not ask her to.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Who'd have thought feature film production was so easy?

Well, I'm still not sure it is - but Jim Munroe and his vidoegrapher pals sure made it look easy last night, at the premiere of their $900 feature Infest Wisely. Shot on borrowed cameras, with a script written in seven days, in seven episodes directed by seven directors, it tells the tale of how biological nanites come to infest the world and cause all sorts of trouble. It's got a bicycle chase, a musical number, the most convincing fake bank machine you've ever laid eyes on, hot bathroom sex and an intelligent cat. Overall, a kickass piece of science fiction (they call it a "lo-fi sci-fi movie," so there you go). If there is anything wrong with it, it is the fact that it is not terribly well lit.

So shine a flashlight at your screen. You can watch it on your computer for free, an episode at a time, here.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

One Old Novel = Finished? Not so fast...

There's been a couple of changes at the Devil's Exercise Yard, me pretties. Specifically, two new pages, hand-crafted to convince you to click on over to and buy yourself a copy of The Claus Effect, the best Santa Claus novel 'pon which Karl Schroeder and I have ever collaborated. There are reviews, a bigger picture of
the cover shown here on the right, and even a sample chapter.

We published The Claus Effect 10 years ago, to riotous critical acclaim and less riotous sales: meaning, there are one or two copies of the first print run kicking around. Karl, for those of you who don't read a lot of science fiction, has been doing awfully well with a run of cutting-edge, very cool science fiction novels like Sun of Suns, Ventus, Lady of Mazes and Permanence.

This, one might say, is where it all started.

So go look. Here's the link.

The Claus Effect

Thursday, May 3, 2007

One Novel = finished... sort of.

Does anybody but the author care when a draft of a horror novel that still needs a lot of work is finished? The only way to find out for sure is to blog it when it happens and watch the lauditory comments pile up. Or not...

Here's the birth announcement, as sent out earlier this week to the members of a certain writer's workshop, concerning the completion of Mister Juke - a horror novel about the early American eugenics movement, of which you will hopefully read more in forthcoming months:

A screaming baby Juke was delivered at approximately 8:23 a.m. Tuesday May 1. It is deformed, mis-shapen and extremely agitated, and weighs approximately 136,000 words. However, with a little surgery...


In the spirit of personal/professional blogging that I have seen elsewhere, some details: I am wearing running gear, drinking tepid coffee and not listening to any music, although still trying to decode the very interesting CD label from Year Zero...

Monday, April 23, 2007

Happy Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day - To You and You and You...

Okay - so I don't pretend to have a deep involvement or any particular stake in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, or their red-state - blue-state-like division over electronic publishing and Creative Commons and whatnot. But I know a good fake internet holiday when I see one, and Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day looks like one for the ages. Having just posted a bunch of stories with Creative Commons licences a week ago; and having just figured out that today is the day; and having just worked out that according to this guy, I am a scab (and therefore must spend the rest of the evening atempting to redefine exactly what one means when one says scab) - I will just wish everyone a very Happy Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day, and direct you to the website, where you can read some stories.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Lawrence Nickle pictures posted...

... at least as illustrations, for The Sloan Men and The Pit-Heads for now. I'm going to set up a proper page for my dad on the web site real soon. In the meantime, here's his page at the Ingram Gallery, his dealer in Toronto.

An add to the website...

I've just posted an old essay written by my pal and onetime collaborator Karl Schroeder and I, about the delicate work involved in collaborating on a short story. A version of it was published in On Spec magazine, but the full, collaborators'-cut glory of it is available here.

Monday, April 16, 2007

It's been a good first day in the yard...

With no small thanks due to my pal Cory Doctorow, who was kind enough to sprinkle some magic boingboing dust on The Devil's Exercise Yard; and Peter Watts, who linked me up to his high-tech armature. At least 241 hits on the first day; 541 page views. Almost certainly more, 'cuz I only started counting around 4.

Not. Bad. At. All.

I promise, at some point this blog will have more universally useful content than heartfelt thank-yous to friends that do me good.

The obligatory first post...

... And not much to report on it.

A couple of weeks ago, however, I spent some time at the World Horror Convention here in Toronto. It was easily the most enjoyable and hopefully professionally useful convention I've been into in this town, and certainly one of the best I've been to ever. So I'm happy to launch this thing with an unambiguous shout-out to Amanda Foubister, Steve Jones and Mandy Slater, along with the rest of the con team, for putting on such a professional, enjoyable and just damn rich show in my hometown.