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08-01-03: A Cover For Thackery, King Goes for the Gross-out , no Laughs for EeeeeW

A Cover For Thackery

All Hail John Coulthart!

Yes, I'm going to cop to the fact that I'm in this book, and I *still* think you'll like it. Really! If you've been reading this site for any time n ow, you'd know that this is an utterly "Rick" book. You should order it in advance from; the limiteds will have 62 signatures, including Gaiman's, Moore's, Mieville's...But signature, shmignature! This has got to be one of the most unique concepts that has ever made it to print and it deserves support! Plus, it's heavily illustrated and a hell of a loot of fun to read. Here's the URL:

Thanks -- and let me know what you think!

King Goes for the Gross-out , no Laughs for EeeeeW

Kevin Ahearn sent me this blip from the MediaSphere...and I have to say that I think that Stephen King *can* be funny. Alas (for readers of EeeeeeeW) it's usually when he's going for the gross-out that he gets his best laughs. It is nice to see that he's getting outside of his Literary Big Mac identity, though. And now over to Publisher's Lunch. (Is this the writing equivalent of a 'dog's breakfast'?)


King Turns Columnist

Stephen King will be contributing even more to Entertainment Weekly; he's just signed on for a monthly column about pop culture. King says, "I think I'd like to be funny. In a short period of time, it grabs people more than anything else."

07-31-03: Graham Hurley & Stephen Baxter

Graham Hurley & Stephen Baxter

Graham Hurley's latest gritty novel finds Faraday confronting the violent legacy of the Falklands war.

Graham Hurley is a veteran UK mystery writer whose latest series about DI Joe Faraday finds him confronting the detritus of the Falklands War. Hurley is fast making a name for himself with his Portsmouth police procedurals. Expect a complete report shortly from the mystery staff here at The Agony Column!

Stephen baxter plumbs time, space and humanity in his latest ambitious trilogy.

Stephen Baxter latest trilogy appears to be headed all over the place; from deep space to deep time and back again. I'm currently drooling over a proof of this novel. Here's what my back cover says:

"As the light of the Roman Empire gutters and fails, one woman begins a remarkable quest to protect her family. It is a quest that will last 2000 years and threaten everything we know.

In present day Enland, George Poole is looking for his long lost sister. It is a search that will take him to Rome and into the heart of an ancient secret. A secret that hold a terrifying truth for all our futures."

But this only barely jives with what's over at *, which makes me even more curious. This summer's space opera is shaping up to be very unusual, and that's the best we could hope for.



07-30-03: PAM Logo Preservation Society, Classy New Look for James Barclay, Ilium UK, A. R.R.R. Roberts The Soddit


PAM Logo Preservation Society

"Lord of hosts be with us yet, lest we forget, lest we forget." Rudyard Kipling

They can pull down the website -- the home.html page is already gone, but they haven't yet plucked that image from our eyes. So let's all get a good eyeful of what happens When Statisticians Attack. 'Nuff said!

Classy New Look for James Barclay

A book for intelligent adults.

Terry Goodkind was very passionate in his interview about how his books are shelved. Like Jane Johnson, the controversial head of the Harper-Collins Voyager fantasy imprint in the UK, he would like to see his novels categorized with historical fiction. Simon Spanton at Victor Gollancz has similar ideas, and he's getting his way with these new editions of the James Barclay novels. I've loved every one of these I've read. The new novel reeks of class. The page-edges are tinted red, it's just gorgeous. And inside we get the quality writing of James Barclay. I'd be curious to see how these would fare if racked with the historical fiction. Booksellers have an either or mentality, alas. What would be most efficacious would be for these titles to show up in both standard fiction and in the SF/Fantasy shelves. Will this push from the fantasy imprints result in all fiction being racked in one place? Horror has for the most part lost its place in the tide of regular fiction. Are SF and fantasy to follow? Stay tuned!

Ilium UK

Another classy UK cover.

Those less than thrilled with the rather bright US cover for Dan Simmons' latest epic -- or seeking a sturdy trade paperback version -- might want to spring for the UK version. VG really has their stuff together for this release. Listen to Dan Simmons' interview, in either MP3 or RealAudio format, and find out his feelings on Jane Johnson's plans for SF, and fantasy!

Saving the best for last, Soddit!

Interior and exterior illustrations by Douglas Carrel!

The liquor store where I long ago first encountered HP Lovecraft's 'The Colour Out of Space and Others' is where I also first saw the forbidden fruit of 'Bored of the Rings'. Like many in that grand heyday, I'd read all the Tolkien books. But unlike many, my friends were rabid, rabid fans who used to stand on either side of me in the lunch line at junior high and chant "Frodo Lives!" Thus did the English scholar outlive his welcome, and thus did I pick up 'Bored of the Rings' so long ago. That was when the magazine version of The National Lampoon was approaching its heyday, when SNL was funny (though I never watched it -- never, I was told it was funny), that was when I could see 'Bring Me the head of Alfredo Garcia' in the Covina theater. Halcyon days, halcyon.

As a signal that halcyon days have perhaps returned. talented SF writer Adam Roberts has turned his hand to satire with 'The Soddit'. The illustrations are gorgeous, and the book is a total hoot. If you've overwhelmed with Tolkieannas, here's a nice tart antidote. I can hardly wait to see the whole book; alas, all I've got is a little bitty teaser. But I haven't been so successfully teased since I picked up the Lambshead preview earlier this year. And by the by, order those Lambshead limiteds now. Demand that you independent bookstore stock them.

07-28-03: Terry Goodkind Interview Online

Talking with Terry Goodkind

Terry Goodkind at KUSP.

I had a fantastic interview with Terry Goodkind on Saturday evening. Though we shoot for a 22 minute interview to fit the program slot, we managed to talk for almost an hour. What will air will have to fit the format, but I have the entire unexpurgated interview online, in both MP3 and RealAudio formats. Terry talks about how he has managed to kill off the fantasy genre, the death of the science fiction genre ("it committed suicide"), the importance of Ayn Rand to his fiction and how his books are racked in the bookstores. Enjoy this fascinating interview now -- unedited! Get out your broadband connections and the MP3 will stream without a problem. And write to let me know what you think!