From the January 1 edition of Library Journal, another positive advance review for The Destroyer of Worlds:
Readers can expect the same genre-blending, dark humor, and creepy atmosphere from the first book, but this time Ruff presents each character and their compelling journey in alternating chapters. As the narratives overlap and come together, readers will be held captive until the thrilling conclusion. This series excels in how it continues to draw parallels between its pulpy plot and the entire civil rights movement. The cosmic dilemmas make for a great read, but the unease is amplified by readers’ knowledge that these Black characters are about to be thrust into a very real fight for freedom.
Where its predecessor was constructed of separate stories focusing on different family members, this book operates with more interwoven narratives that Ruff manages to yoke together into one ripping yarn with shocks and surprises at every turn… The best news this book delivers is that we’ll likely be seeing more from its vivid cast.
We’re still four months away from publication, but Publishers Weekly has an advance review of The Destroyer of Worlds, and it’s a rave:
Ruff’s sequel to 2016’s Lovecraft Country delivers another virtuoso blend of horror, action, and humor… Ruff makes the most of his inventive concept and his care in crafting memorable characters means that the fates of even minor cast members make an impact. Fans will find this a worthy sequel.
The premiere of the Lovecraft Country HBO series is just a week away now. The review embargo lifted this past Friday, and the advance reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.
First out of the gate is this rave from Alan Sepinwall at Rolling Stone, who says Lovecraft Country is “one of the best shows HBO has made in a long, long time.” Time magazine calls it “stunning” and “an absolutely wild ride.” And there’s a lot more in this vein.
Needless to say, I’m over the moon about all this—and I can’t wait till next Sunday.
Over at the Washington Post, Paul Di Filippo has some nice things to say about 88 Names:
Ruff presents his story in John Chu’s first-person voice, and the creation of this engaging, engrossing persona is his first major achievement… [Chu’s] relationships with his crew, with Darla, with his dad, and above all with his brilliant, ruthless mother, offer the reader a chance to savor a kind of well-done family drama… Ruff’s second major victory is in making the reader care about virtual reality. Whenever a novel plunges too deeply into this kind of artificial turf, it risks losing the reader’s interest because of a lack of sensory grounding and the notion that when anything can happen, nothing matters. Ruff overcomes this by making his adventures fashioned from electrons and bytes read as authentically as any naturalism… Ruff’s fast-flowing, fascinating narrative is full of amusing topical and pop culture referents without being overburdened by allusiveness. His witty, often snarky dialogue crackles, and every aspect of the gaming experience—which Ruff has been immersed in for 40 years—is sharply rendered and explicated… Any novel that can bridge these disparate worlds and appeal to gamers and literary fans alike is a treasure greater than the loot in a cyber-dragon’s cave.
My seventh novel, 88 Names, will be published on March 17. The folks at Goodreads are giving away 50 advance copies at the end of this month. You can enter the giveaway lottery here.
Early buzz about the novel has been very good. Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Kirkus all liked it, and Booklist just gave it a starred review: “Ruff is an expert at keeping readers off-balance and providing entertaining stories that cross genres… The action inside the virtual gaming world is sleek and exciting, but the extrapolation of identity, friendship, and human relationships makes the narrative shine.”
You can read more about the novel here. A list of confirmed book tour dates can be found on my appearances page.
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!
Lovecraft Country got a brief but positive review in yesterday’s New York Times: “Ruff has great fun pitting mid-20th-century horror and sci-fi clichés against the banal and ever-present bigotry of the era.” Victor LaValle’s similarly themed The Ballad of Black Tom also got a thumbs up: “This darkly witty tale is right in the belly of the genre beast.”
In other news:
* Lovecraft Country made the Locus magazine bestseller list for both May and June.
* I will be attending the Locus Awards in Seattle on the weekend of June 24-26. If you’d like to get a book signed, come by the autograph session at noon on June 25.
* Despite the rain, we had nice turnout for Friday’s event at University Book Store. For those of you who missed it, I left behind a stack of signed books, and a video of the reading and Q&A should be online soon.
* On Saturday, Lisa and I attended the Literary Lions Gala, a fundraiser for the King County library system. Nancy Pearl emceed and Ruth Reichl was the featured speaker, but the high point of the evening for me was meeting GeekGirlCon cofounder and all-around superfan Adrienne Fox, who showed up at my signing table with Lovecraft Country inspired Cthulhu nails.
* The other high point of the evening was Nancy Pearl giving Lovecraft Country a special shout-out from the stage. And here she is on the podcast That Stack of Books, saying more nice things. Thanks, Nancy!
* Locus magazine, which already gave Lovecraft Country a thumbs-up in their January issue, has another glowing review this month, this time by Tim Pratt: “[The] characters are some of the most fully realized and human I’ve ever encountered, neither idealized nor stereotyped: they are people, with their own flaws and virtues, all shaped by their experiences with systemic oppression and personal prejudice, and all coping in different ways that consistently ring true psychologically. The sections of the novel are interwoven beautifully, telling miniature stories while advancing the overall plot, and provide an array of differing viewpoints and visions of a complex and dangerous world. The book is often harrowing, yes, but it’s also a testament to the power of family, community, ingenuity, and love to overcome (or at least cope with) unendurable horrors. It might be my favorite Matt Ruff novel yet, and that’s saying something.”