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.”
A reminder that I’ll be reading and signing books tomorrow night at the University Book Store, starting at 7 PM. This will be my last public Seattle-area event for the current book tour, so if you’ve been wanting to catch my act, come on down. (If you can’t make it to the reading but would like to get a book inscribed, you can call the store in advance and they’ll make sure it’s taken care of.)
My next event for Lovecraft Country will be a reading followed by Q&A and book signing at the Queen Anne Book Company this Thursday night, starting at 7 PM.
Some other quick notes:
* Over the weekend I signed books at the Seattle Mystery Bookshop. Hanging out with the customers and staff was fun as always, and this time I got a ghost story in the bargain—it turns out the Broderick Building, where the bookstore is located, is supposedly haunted by a dead man in a bowler hat.
* The UK travel agency The Co-operative Travel has picked Lovecraft Country as a “fantastic holiday read for 2016.” The whole list is worth checking out—I’m in good company.
* In addition to some very nice reviews of the novel’s contents, I’m also getting a lot of positive comments about Lovecraft Country‘s cover art and physical design. The artist’s name is Jarrod Taylor. You can see more of his work here, including an alternate concept for the cover of The Mirage.
It’s hard to believe, but publication day is finally here! Some quick notes:
* The book should be available at your local indie bookstore, but you can also order online using one of the links on the Lovecraft Countrymain page. For fans outside the U.S., Book Depository is a good bet; or if you want a signed copy, drop an email to Secret Garden Bookshop.
* In addition to the hardcover and ebook editions, there’s also an unabridged audiobook, read by Kevin Kenerly.
* In last Friday’s Seattle Times, Nisi Shawl writes that Lovecraft Country is “bound to appeal to any reader who wants to delve into the strangeness of our land’s racial legacy.” Over at the Seattle Review of Books, Edward Austin Hall has some other very nice things to say about the novel. Sam Reader of the Barnes & Noble SF and Fantasy blog calls it “a compulsively readable horror-fantasy.” At Tor.com, Alex Brown asks, “Is it too early to declare Lovecraft Country my favorite book of 2016?” And Cory Doctorow’s rave review, an advance excerpt of which appears on the book’s back cover, is posted in full today on BoingBoing.net.
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.
Sorry things have been quiet on the blog lately, but I’ve been putting the finishing touches on a new P.S. section—think literary equivalent of DVD extras—for the trade paperback edition of The Mirage.
* I recently did an interview for the Mourning Goats website, which you can read here.
* Matt Mikalatos, an author and self-described evangelical Christian, wrote a review of The Mirage that I really liked.
* A couple years ago, some friends of mine in a local sword-fighting club started writing a historical novel called The Mongoliad, which was initially published in serial form on the web. A complete and definitive version is now being published in print, Kindle, and audiobook formats. Volume one just came out, and can be ordered here.
* Seattle supervillain Rex Velvet released another video on Tuesday. This one has cats in it.
Home, happy but exhausted, from the L.A. Times Festival of Books. I’ll have a report on my adventures there shortly, but in the meantime, while I was away, the San Francisco Chronicle weighed in on The Mirage:
The Mirage is a topsy-turvy tour de force, another winner from a truly inventive and unpredictable storyteller.
Over the weekend, the New York Times finally weighed in on The Mirage. It’s not the rave I was hoping for, and my secret wish that they’d tap Salman Rushdie to write it didn’t come true either, but they did give it three-quarters of a page. Be warned that the review contains significant SPOILERS. (Link here.)
Then this morning, I found out that the Rain Taxi online quarterly has given The Mirage the rare honor of a double review (both positive!):
With his latest novel, Matt Ruff shows yet again that he is a master of crafting intricate, complex plots that read as effortless dreams. The Mirage is a book that should not be able to exist — it should just be too damn hard to pull off — and yet in it Ruff gives readers a modern day thriller with real characters who pick everything apart, solve the mystery, and face a new day in the most satisfying ending I have read in, well, forever. Ruff is phenomenal, he is like no one else, and he should be at the top of the award and bestseller lists because he writes for everyone and he does it very well…
He does something with The Mirage that is compelling and elegant. Older teens who have only known the post-9/11 world should read it as an echo of earlier satires on war and politics but also for the great gripping story it provides. And anyone who looks at our world and wonders what we have gotten into will find The Mirage illuminating. I remain deeply impressed by what Matt Ruff has accomplished here and hope he receives all of the attention for it that he deserves. I am, in a word, amazed.