SFWA Annual NY Reception 2009

Attended the SFWA event on Monday night, the annual NY gathering of SF-ish folks at a new location, Planet Hollywood in Times Square, although I loved the Society of Illustrators location on East 63rd street, where it had been for several previous years.

Returning to 1540 Broadway was a bit nostalgic for me, having started there as an Editorial Assistant for the Mystery Guild back in 1997 on a rainy day in May, and eventually working my way to become one of the Editors of the Science Fiction Book Club. In fact, several SFBC editor alumni were in attendance as well [Ellen, Moshe, and Andy].

I had a good time, enjoying the flowing red wine and conversing with old friends as well as make a few new ones, like Lauren P. from Orbit Books, whom I chatted with for a while about book design, SI, and comics, of course. The locale worked out fine, albeit with the backdrop of tourists dining below us, amid dated Hollywood memorabilia, little of which I'm sure is authentic anymore.

The good folks at SFScope posted some photos here. I appear in the upper right hand corner of the 12th photo, in full beard. And with that, I bid you Happy Thanksgiving.


The New York Times asks what is the future of e-reading...

In my new guise, I've been pondering the very same question that the Times reported on in their Technology section yesterday: here. What is the future of e-reading?

This question seems to be on everyone's mind working with ebooks of one kind or another. And I'm sure we'll soon see a convergence, as I discussed with a publishing contact of mine over lunch yesterday on 24th street.

Sure, a bookish fellow like myself will continue to buy actual books--and of course comic books. But I plan to walk in both worlds, reading digitally as well as carrying around printed  books as well.

I want to embrace the technology that will continue to usher us into a new era. And at the same time, keep an eye on the very objects that have been such a large part of my life--and which also take up a large amount of the space within my home.

The story continues...


A conversation about tie-in fiction

The Angry Robot blog just posted a link to a conversation between Mark Charan Newton and Dan Abnett, which took place on Jeff Vandermeer's blog. The topic of conversation is the tie-in novel. It is a fascinating read if you're at all interested in this part of sf/f related books.
I'm one of those people interested in such things.

Not only because for many years I was responsible for acquiring tie-in books while an editor for the SFBC, and had the pleasure of finding many great reads over the years, which serviced many a fan base of the respective tie-in properties. But also because I'll soon be involved with developing tie-in fiction, which I'm psyched about.

Unfortunately there is a stigma associated with this type of writing. Some of it rings true of course, as with any work-for-hire work can be "hacked out" by a writer looking for little more than a pay check. But I feel that can be true of any segment of publishing whether it be other categories of fiction, or writing in general. My experience has been that certain authors take this work very seriously and fans of the tie-in property can spot a writer not giving his all.

Dan Abnett, having made his bones writing both comics and fiction on both sides of the pond, makes an interesting point how writing as work-for-hire for big comics companies is something everyone aspires to, and how this is the complete opposite with most tie-in novel work. There is a long history of it being looked down on. And that is sad, because if you're a fan of, say, Star Wars, there are so many more adventures waiting for you in the pages of the tie-ins.

I really enjoyed the post, and comments section, and I'm glad to see people in the field discussing this important part of SF-related writing.

I'll end with one of my favorite tie-in novels, in this case a comics tie-in by the man who wrote the original story in the comics, the legendary, Marv Wolfman. I read and bought for SFBC the Crisis on Infinite Earths novel tie-in published by ibooks, and found it to be amazing.

As a fan, it was incredible to see the story through the Flash's perspective, and the detail really added to the legacy of that infamous DC storyline. I'm sure several fans may have missed this book simply because it was a novel tie-in, but I thought it was brilliant.

As a publishing professional who is about to step back into the ring with tie-in novels, and be involved in their development, there is no greater conversation for me to see taking place right now.


Stephen King Library 2010 Desk Calendars are in. Thanks are in order.

As a freelance editor over the past few years, I've worked on a wide variety of projects. Some fun, some tedious, others quite somewhere in between. But such is the life of a freelancer, you make due, seek and accept jobs where you can find them, and learn to be Charlie Hustle.

At one point late last year I was asked to edit Book-of-the-Month Club's--exclusive to memebers--2010 Stephen King Library desk calendar. This sounded like, and turned out to be, one of the most enjoyable projects I been involved in to date.

The hardest part was following up the terrfic work of the ultra-talented Robin Furth, former King research assistant, writer of various books about King, as well as scribe of several of the new Marvel and Del Rey comic book adaptations/miniseries of King's work. In my humble opinion she is a marvel and I was quite intimidated to talk to her, but when we spoke she was very cool and totally supportive-and even willing to contribute an essay to my project. Fantastic, I thought, what a great way to start on this exciting project.

Then it was several months of planning, reading, researching, and writing essays, trivia, finding excerpts, etc. I'd like to personally thank my sister, Jill, for help. See, she's a life-long King fanatic and had a copy of almost every novel and short story collection out there. She was my own personal King library. And working with her on one essay was a real thrill. I showed up at her apartment one day and left with pretty much her entire collection in addition to the books I already had.

Brainstorming ideas was the most fun. I mean, this is the kind of thing every bookish person dreams about. Take a favorite author, write about the little bits of this and that, the juicy details, the odd connections. Find fanatical people to contribute and pull it all together.

I also have to thank my personal "editorial assistant-at-large" and that would be my lovely wife, Fotini. She is also a contributor, with her own personal story about traveling to Greece as a teen and dearly grasping onto those King paperbacks to get her through long boat rides and flights. King was her personal salvation and she is also responsible for many essay ideas and helped me develop them into the readable bits within. For this, I am eternally grateful.

The other great part of editing this project was that I got to commission authors and King fanactics to write articles. This was great as there were already so many great contributors, the project soon became a delicate balance of previous collaborators and new entries, each with a personal angle which added to the depth of the collection.

In addition to the wonderful essay by the aforementioned Robin Furth, there are also return contributions such as: Stephen Jewell, an Australian born, London-based writer; comic book illustrator Jae Lee; Bev Vincent, a contributor to Cemetery Dance magazine and Bram Stoker-nominated author of The Road to the Dark Tower; Brian Freeman, author of many terrific books; Dan Kimmel, a Boston-based film critic and writer; and Rocky Wood, celebrated Australian writer of non-fiction and member of the HWA (Horror Writers Association).

Also I was able to invite others to contribute, including edged-weapon master and fantasy author, Peter V. Brett, and Jeff Somers, veritable SF writer and the kind of guy who'd have your back in a saloon fight. Everyone had great personal stories how King's work touched them in some way [I realize that sounds naughtier than it should]. I'd also like to thanks all the other contributors: Matt B., Nancy, Tom, Matt D., Beth, Jenn Huff, and Gary - you're all aces.
Here is a sample of one of the wonderful layout pages by freelance designer, Shonna Dowers, who did a wonderful job on the entire project. It was a pleasure work with you.

Last but not least I'd like to thank Deborah Sinclaire, EIC of Book-of-the-Month Club, without whom this project would not have come to me. Deb is a former boss, turned trusted colleague and confidant, and her confidence in me is something I've always valued and appreciated. Thanks.

Little did I know when I was asked to contribute one small article for the 2008 calendar, while I was an editor for the Science Fiction Book Club, [where I wrote about seeing King at NY Comic Con that year], that this entire project would come to me just a short time later. But for me, it's been all about the journey.

DEAR CYBORGS by Eugene Lim, a little review

I had read a great little article on LitHub.com about this new novel from Eugene Lim and went to seek it out. Soon after I had acquired...