My friend Nisi Shawl’s amazing new novel Everfair arrives in bookstores today. It’s a steampunk novel set in an alternate history where Congolese natives and their allies use steam-powered dirigibles (“aircanoes”) to fight back against the Belgian soldiers of King Leopold. Everfair has battle scenes, lots of cool technology, and more than a little magic (there’s a character named Fwendi who projects her soul into a herd of cats in order to snoop on the bad guys), but the real heart of the story is the politicking and relationships among the various factions seeking to build a true free state in Congo: native Africans, white British socialists, African-American missionaries, Asian laborers and merchants, and a French author, spy, and bicycle enthusiast named Lisette Toutournier.
As I say, it’s amazing; I’m already picturing the BBC miniseries. If you’re a fan of Lovecraft Country you should definitely check it out.
You can read a sample of Everfairhere and an essay about the origins of the story here. You can also catch Nisi on her book tour, which starts tonight with a 7 PM appearance at the U.W. University Book Store.
Last Saturday I was in Bremerton for a reading and signing sponsored by the Kitsap Regional Library. The Library has been experimenting with unusual event venues, and they picked a great one for me: the LoveCraft Brewing Company, a recently opened brewpub that serves artisanal Lovecraft-themed beers. I had the Innsmouth Porter, which I liked; other offerings include the Elder God Beire de Garde, the Dreamlands ESB, and the Dunwich Farmhouse Red Ale. Being me, I spent the trip home thinking up other possibilities: the Kölsch of Cthulhu, Pickman’s Lager, the Pilsner at Martin’s Beach, the Weissbier in Darkness, the Lambic Out of Space, and—OK, not a beer, but someone should totally make this—At the Mountains of Absinthe.
Thanks to Sara Jaffa, the LoveCraft brewers, Liberty Bay Books, and especially the folks who came out to the reading.
* If you missed the reading but wanted a signed copy of Lovecraft Country or one of my other novels, Liberty Bay Books has a few in stock now.
* Nick Mamatas’ new novel, I Am Providence, is finally in stores. As I say in my cover blurb, it’s just what you’d expect from Nick: sharp wit, biting but humane social commentary, and, for the romantics among us, a faceless narrator decomposing at the morgue. Check it out!
Tomorrow is Independent Bookstore Day, and to help celebrate, I’ll be appearing on a Speculative Fiction Panel at the University Book Store, along with authors Greg Bear, Robin Hobb, and Elliott Kay. The panel starts at 6:30 PM; feel free to come by and heckle us.
The same day Lovecraft Country first appeared in book stores, Tor.com Books published Victor LaValle’s The Ballad of Black Tom, which takes H.P. Lovecraft’s short story “The Horror at Red Hook” and retells it from the point of view of a black protagonist. I’d been hearing rumblings about Black Tom for several months, and for obvious reasons I was intrigued. Nor was I the only one struck by the coincidence of two such similarly themed books coming out on the same day—Bill Tipper from the Barnes & Noble Review blog got in touch to ask whether Victor and I would be interested in having an online dialogue about our work. We’ve been emailing back and forth for the past few weeks, and the resulting conversation has just been posted on the B&N blog. Check it out.
You can read more about Victor LaValle and his books on his website, here.
Lovecraft Country goes on sale next Tuesday. Six books into my career you’d think I’d be jaded about this stuff, but in fact I’m excited enough that it’s been difficult to focus lately. So here are some quick notes:
* If you haven’t done so already, you can download a preview of the novel in PDF format. My book tour schedule is here. If you’d like to get a signed copy but can’t make it to any of my appearances, the folks at Secret Garden Bookshop can hook you up (you can contact them by phone at 206-789-5006 or via email, and they do ship internationally).
* The book has been getting some great early buzz: Next week’s Booklist gives Lovecraft Country a starred review, and Bookpage calls it “vastly entertaining.” Amazon.com has selected Lovecraft Country as one of its best science fiction and fantasy books of the month. And today I woke up to find that Aaron Coats at the Chicago Review of Books had written me this nice love letter.
* Also being published next Tuesday: Victor LaValle’s The Ballad of Black Tom, another Lovecraft-themed story with an African-American protagonist. I’ve been hearing rumblings about this one for a while and am very curious to check it out.
* Via this morning’s Twitters: Twentieth Century Fox has given a green light to an adaptation of Margo Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures, about a group of African-American women who worked as computers for NASA during the Cold War.