Thursday, December 31, 2009
Happy New Year, apes. See you on the other side.
Monday, December 28, 2009
"It's customary to end the year with a list of highs and lows. I often get asked to suggest names for these and usually pull a blank. This past year was no exception. A couple of new books that stood out, however, were David Nickle's Monstrous Affections and Jason Guriel's Pure Product. An Honourable Mention list would include a half dozen others."
Alex had written a very kind review of the collection in November's Quill & Quire - kind enough that he put a star beside it - so I knew he liked it. But liked it enough enough to make a Top Two list? Man.
Thank you, Alex!
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
As an author, I'm flattered at the price that this bookseller thinks he/she can fetch for a first-printing copy of my book. For a collector who wants a first-printing copy of Monstrous Affections - maybe $111.48 USD plus shipping is a fair price to pay. But if I were a shopper who doesn't put much stock in first printings and just wants the damn book in time for Christmas, I would be mighty ticked to have put down $111.48 USD, only to check back Tuesday and find the book available on Amazon for $14. I would have appreciated a tip-off.
Well consider yourself tipped-off, American shoppers on Amazon.com. More MA's are on the way.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Okay. Peter Watts is free right now (although that freedom could well be fleeting). And he is not a squid (although that is what his friends call him).
Nonetheless, I'd like to direct you to Free The Squid, a comprehensive website set up by U.S. fan Chris Knall over the past few days: freethesquid.org. It's a page that brings together all the information you need to first decide whether you'd like to help Peter defend against charges that he assaulted a U.S. border guard - and then if you do want to help, it tells how to get Peter the money he needs to pay the considerable costs of that defense. It's got news feeds, showing what the news sites and the bloggers are saying about this case - which is plenty. It doesn't have a comments page, because comments have been getting out-of-hand on this situation, and really...
Chris put the whole thing together himself, with no input or approval from Peter and only minimal consultation with me. I would buy him a beer for his troubles, but I'm not going to be in New York for the forseeable future all things considered... so it will have to wait.
Much thanks, Chris. And once again: here's the link.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
That means we're still at it. And still looking for that "more graceful" way to get money to Peter. Toward that end, Bakka Phoenix Science Fiction Bookstore manager Chris Szego has offered the store's mailing address, for the small but significant number of potential donors who are uneasy about using the PayPal online service and who would rather write a cheque.
Cheques made out to Peter Watts can be mailed to Bakka Phoenix Science Fiction Bookstore at this address:
Bakka-Phoenix Books / 697 Queen St. West / Toronto, Ontario / M6J 1E6
Folks in Toronto can also drop by with cash, and Chris or anyone else on staff there will make sure Peter gets the money.
* * *
(Update December 14). There have been a lot of comments showing up on the various postings about this situation. I'm not weighing in on them - other than to repeat: send money to Peter Watts.
But I am going to link to this one (that very eloquently sums it up), courtesy Robert Ashby (husband of sf writer Madeline Ashby) on her blog, right here.
Friday, December 11, 2009
In fact, officials in Port Huron did transport him back to Canada before leaving him there, coat-less and without a vehicle, in a winter storm.
Just learned this fact after talking with Peter again. I've sent the correction off to John Scalzi and Cory Doctorow. I have also posted it here.
Nonetheless, I will repost the note that I sent to Cory and John - for those few of you who come here but don't care for Boing Boing and Whatever (if for no other reason than to clarify the possibly-obtuse lead paragraph of this post):
Hugo-award-nominated science fiction author Dr. Peter Watts is in serious legal trouble after he was beaten, pepper-sprayed and imprisoned by American border guards at a Canada U.S. border crossing December 8. This is a call to friends, fans and colleagues to help.
Peter, a Canadian citizen, was on his way back to Canada after helping a friend move house to Nebraska over the weekend. He was stopped at the border crossing at Port Huron, Michigan by U.S. border police for a search of his rental vehicle. When Peter got out of the car and questioned the nature of the search, the gang of border guards subjected him to a beating, restrained him and pepper sprayed him. At the end of it, local police laid a felony charge of assault against a federal officer against Peter. On Wednesday, he posted bond and walked across the border to Canada in shirtsleeves (he was released by Port Huron officials with his car and possessions locked in impound, into a winter storm that evening). He's home safe. For now. But he has to go back to Michigan to face the charge brought against him.
The charge is spurious. But it's also very serious. It could mean two years in prison in the United States, and a ban on travel in that country for the rest of Peter's life. Peter is mounting a vigorous defense, but it's going to be expensive - he's effectively going up against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and he needs the best legal help that he can get.
He's got that help, courtesy of one of the top criminal lawyers in the State of Michigan. We, Peter's friends and colleagues here in Canada, want to make sure he gets the help he needs financially to come out of this nightmare whole.
The need for that help is real. While Peter is a critically successful science fiction writer, he is by no means a best-selling author. Without help, the weight of his legal fees could literally put him on the street by spring.
We can't let that happen. So there's going to be fundraising.
We're going to think of something suitable in the New Year - but immediately, anyone who wants to help can do so easily. Peter's website, rifters.com, has a link to a PayPal account, whimsically named the Niblet Memorial Kibble Fund. He set it up years ago for fans of the Hugo-nominated novel Blindsight and his Rifters books, to cover veterinary bills for the cats he habitually rescues from the mean streets of Toronto. Peter has made it clear that he doesn't want to use the veterinary money to cover his lawsuit. But until we can figure out a more graceful conduit for the legal fund, that's the best place to send donations for now. Just let Peter know that the donation's for his legal defense, and that's where it will go.
Here's the link to the backlist page on Peter's website, rifters.com, or you can just send a PayPal donation to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The link to the Niblet Memorial Kibble Fund is in the middle of the page. The page also links to Creative Commons editions of all his published work, which he's made available free. Peter would approve, we think, if you downloaded one or two or all of them. Whether you make a donation to the legal fund or not.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
We drank tea and ate scones and sang Cthulhu Christmas carols and carried on like the risen dead at the Merril Collection - and as a final Christmas miracle, my laryngitic voice held out long enough to render a uniquely terrifying reading of "The Mayor Will Make A Brief Statement And Then Take Questions." As I said to the crowd before the reading, "I am deathly ill and delighted to be here, and that sentence doesn't come up in conversation very often."
Seriously - it was a great time, and in a minute I'm going to craft a thank-you email to the Friends of the Merril Collection for having me and ChiZine honchos Brett Savory and Sandra Kasturi as guests yesterday at the afternoon tea. For now, here is a shot (courtesy of Yard Ape Do-Ming Lum) of Sandra Kasturi and I, acting out a scene from Nosferatu, in the original Silent.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
In the meantime, however, I note that the Advent Book Blog has posted my review/pitch of Albert Sanchez Pinol's brilliant novel Pandora in the Congo. It was supposed to be 25 words or less. I seem to have gone a little longer -- by, um, a factor of 10. But that's because it's a good and complex book, and saying, Brits Battle Mole Men, Bed Mole Woman, wouldn't do it justice. The editors have indulged me, and it's right here.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Best short story collection: Monstrous Affections by David Nickle. The cover is creepy, tapping into that visceral reaction we have when the 'normal' is slightly twisted. The stories themselves are also very creepy, drawing you into believable, domestic worlds then showing you the blue pulsing intestines of those worlds.
I have conveyed my gratitude privately - and now do so publicly. Inard-felt thanks, Kaaron!
* * *
Also - for those in the United States and the UK wondering where in the world they can get a copy of Monstrous Affections and other fine ChiZine titles: the news is good. Yesterday, the ChiZine team announced a new distribution deal with Diamond Book Distributors, that will see the books sent far and wide.
I'll let them tell you the rest in their own press release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CHIZINE PUBLICATIONS SIGN WITH DIAMOND BOOK DISTRIBUTORS FOR U.S./U.K. DISTRIBUTION
TORONTO, Ontario (November 29, 2009) – Building on its deal with the Literary Press Group and LitDistCo, ChiZine Publications (CZP) has signed a deal with Diamond Book Distributors to have its books placed in U.S. and U.K. bookstores.
One of the U.S.'s leading distributors, Diamond distributes to booksellers like Barnes & Noble, Ingram, Baker & Taylor, WaldenBooks, and Borders. It represents a number of book and comic publishers, including Borderlands Press, Night Shade Books, Prime Books, Subterranean Press, and Random House UK.
"It's another step forward, but a bigger risk," says CZP Co-Publisher Brett Alexander Savory. "Getting books on the shelves means getting those books printed. If they don't sell, we eat that cost. But our experiment with the Literary Press Group worked. Some of our books sold out. So if we're going to grow, we need to be in major markets like the U.S. and U.K."
The announcement comes on the heels of a lengthy article about ChiZine Publications that appeared in The National Post's Afterword literary blog. In the article, Brett, fellow Co-Publisher Sandra Kasturi, and authors David Nickle (Monstrous Affections) and Robert J. Wiersema (The World More Full of Weeping) discuss the origins of CZP and the challenges of being a "genre" publisher at a time when "genre" fiction is assumed to not be "literary" fiction.
Brett says the plan is for CZP titles to be in U.S. and U.K. bookstores by early 2010.
Brett Alexander Savory, Co-Publisher
About ChiZine Publications
ChiZine Publications (CZP) is an independent publisher of weird, subtle, surreal and disturbing dark fiction. It is the book-length, print version outgrowth of ChiZine (www.chizine.com), an online professional market in operation since 1997 focused on the same type of story material. All of CZP’s publications are hand-picked by co-Publishers and Bram Stoker Award-winners Brett Alexander Savory and Sandra Kasturi. Erik Mohr serves as cover artist and graphic designer, with publicity by Matthew Moore.
About Diamond Book Distributors
Diamond Book Distributors is a division of Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc., and is dedicated to making a wide selection of graphic novels and other pop culture collectibles available to the mainstream book market. For more information, visit Diamond Books on the web at www.diamondbookdistributors.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
This award, sponsored by Dark Scribe Magazine, is a young one: it's only the third time out. In the necessarily recent past, it's honored folks like Sarah Langan and Joe Hill (and his dad Steve), John R. Little and Tim Lebbon. This year, it's cast its net to the work of Dan Simmons, Ellen Datlow, Brian Keene and others.
Bottom line: I'm well-stoked to see my name in shadows - particularly such shadows as these - on this list.
Which you can read for yourself, right here.
What an honour!