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.
I’ll be reading and signing books at The Book Bin in downtown Salem, Oregon this Friday, starting at 7 PM. I’m told the bookstore also has a cat that shares a birthday with H.P. Lovecraft, so really, how could you not come by?
In other news:
* I had fun at Comicon last Friday. It’s been a long time since I’ve been around cosplayers, and it was interesting to see what costumes are popular now. No surprise, Star Wars is big (especially Rey), and I must have seen half a dozen Captain Americas and a slew of Ghostbusters with proton backpacks. Star Trek, on the other hand, seems to be in a slump: I didn’t spot a single Vulcan.
* I just got word that the new edition of Fool on the Hill is back from the printers. This means that the corrected ebook should be available very soon, too; I’ll post a notice as soon as I’ve got confirmation.
Lisa and I saw Iron Man 3 over the holiday weekend. Some quick (and mildly spoilery) thoughts:
* It was a lot of fun—much better than Iron Man 2—and a good end to the series, assuming, as both he and Gwyneth Paltrow have been hinting, that this is Robert Downey Jr.’s last non-Avengers turn in the suit.
* Obviously Marvel is going to want to continue to mint money make sequels, but RDJ is so integral to the character of Tony Stark that I don’t think swapping in another actor would work. Better they have him hand the suit off to someone else. The obvious choice would be Rhodey Rhodes, and if I’m not more enthusiastic about that idea, it’s only because the character as written so far has been pretty much Generic Black Sidekick. Don Cheadle’s great, though (if you haven’t seen House of Lies yet, do), and if they give him an actual backstory to work with, a War Machine/Iron Patriot movie could work.
* Pepper in the suit—and later, as the girl who was on fire—was a nice bit. (Did she get to keep her regenerative powers at the end, or did Tony “cure” her? The film seemed unclear about that.) Like a lot of geeks who grew up in the ’70s and ’80s, I am predisposed to want to see women in power armor, so the idea of a Rescue spin-off intrigues me, but I don’t know if Gwyneth or the money people would really go for that. (What I’d really like to see is Jenette Goldstein in power armor, but good luck pitching that movie: “She’s a fiftysomething ex-Marine who runs a custom bra shop in L.A. and designs military hardware as a hobby…”)
* I wish they’d done more with Rebecca Hall’s character, Maya Hansen. She struck me as more of a plot device than a person, and her last-minute change of heart seemed like a contrivance—a pointless one, since it accomplished nothing.
A heads-up for my German fans who’ve been emailing to ask if and when The Mirage would be available in translation: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag has officially set publication for March 2014. The novel will be available in both hardcover and ebook editions.
* The American ebook of The Mirage is still on sale for $1.99.
* Just finished watching season 2 of The Borgias. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, this is like the non-fantasy version, with Charles VIII’s army replacing the ice zombies and Machiavelli’s The Prince serving as the tie-in book. Really well done.
* Last Saturday was the 2013 championships for the Rat City Rollergirls. Grave Danger beat the Sockit Wenches 202-167 in a close-fought bout. But the best moment of the evening came during the mid-bout break, when Method of Madness proposed to Jalapeño Business. Jalapeño said yes, and the crowd went wild. This tops the previous coolest thing to happen off-track this season, Nancy Pearl’s Feb. 9 halftime appearance where she did a live reading of Where the Wild Things Are. Mazel tov to the happy couple!
The regular derby season is over, but the post-season bouts start next month, with visiting Montreal and London teams going up against the Rat City all stars. Full schedule is here.
Breaking radio silence for a quick heads-up: The Mirage ebook is on sale for $1.99 this month at Amazon (where it’s part of their “100 Kindle Books for $3.99 or less” promotion), the iTunes store, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. (ETA:Google too, now.)
In other news:
* As you’ve probably guessed from the lack of recent posts, I’m hard at work on Lovecraft Country. Long way to go yet, but so far all is well.
* Lisa and I watched Lincoln the other night. Daniel Day-Lewis is phenomenal, and Sally Field is great too in the handful of scenes they gave her, but otherwise we were underwhelmed. Beyond the obvious criticism—this is a film about the end of slavery in which black people serve only as bit players—it felt like Spielberg was trying to have it both ways, portraying Lincoln as a flesh-and-blood politician, as willing to engage in corruption as any other, while still hanging to the notion of Lincoln as a sainted, larger-than-life figure who of course transcends the moral judgments that apply to lesser Republicans: “When Lincoln does it, it’s not a crime.”
* Django Unchained, on the other hand, was great. (Yes, Kerry Washington needed more to do.) And now I really want to see the remake of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter starring Daniel Day-Lewis and written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. Though Tarantino’s version would probably be Frederick Douglass: Vampire Hunter. Which I’d also be up for.
The deadline to apply for a 2014 NEA Literature Fellowship is next Thursday, February 28. Fellowship applications must be filed electronically, which means if you wait till the last minute and the NEA’s computers happen to go down you’ll be out of luck. Procrastination is part of the artist’s job description but do yourself a favor and get it done this weekend. More details about the Fellowship here.
* I had a good reading last night at the University Book Store. If you missed it, you can catch me on February 28 at 7 PM at the Elliott Bay Book Company.
* The Queen Anne Book Company is celebrating its grand opening on the weekend of March 1-3. I plan to attend as part of their “cavalcade of local authors,” though I don’t know yet exactly when I’ll be there.
Locus magazine’s February 2013 issue, on newsstands now, includes their 2012 recommended reading list, and The Mirage is on it. Quoth senior editor Tim Pratt: “[The Mirage] is more than a clever inversion of the War on Terror… in my review I called it a modern answer to Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, and I stand by that.”
In other news:
* The Mirage trade paperback will be on sale next Tuesday, February 12. (Links for online preorder here.)
* I’ve been getting a lot of emails from fans in Germany asking when a German translation of The Mirage will be available. I don’t have an exact date yet, but my current understanding is that Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag will be publishing it sometime late this year or very early in 2014.
* The latest in procrastination technology: Bradley W. Schenck’s Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual website presents the Pulp-o-Mizer, which lets you create custom pulp sci-fi magazine covers and download them as .jpgs or, for a fee, have them printed on posters, cards, and coffee mugs. It’s a cool thing, and I hope the ‘Mizer is expanded to include other pulp genres. (Assuming my current book proposal goes well, I’ll be in the market for a horror/weird tales version.)
* Stewie, the world’s longest house cat (4 feet from nose to tail) has died at age 8.