realthog: (Default)

I discovered by accident a couple of days ago that my story "Only One Ghost", which appeared in the 2010 Peter Crowther/Nick Gevers anthology The Company He Keeps, got a jolly friendly review at the time from none other than Locus's estimable reviewer Lois Tilton. Here's what she says:

Richard suddenly finds that all his books have his own signature written in them, in faded ink that is older than he is. The discovery seriously unnerves him. His wife Lynda minimizes the situation until she sees that her books now have her own signature in them as well.

Only old dip pens and fountain pens had those bifurcated nibs. Perhaps lawyers still used them. No ordinary human beings ever did — we used rollerballs and ballpoints and gels. Pens that had not been in widespread use, if invented at all, when Lynda’s books were signed, to judge by the fading of the ink…

Here is a bit of strangeness that remains unexplained, although the narrator proposes a number of possible theories. Seemingly a small thing, yet it shakes their sense of self and threatens to undermine their relationship with each other. It is a bibliophile’s story, and a large part of the enjoyment is in going through the bookshelves, full of nineteenth-century novels, that mean so much to these characters. Very nicely done.
 
I was, of course, completely calm about this -- no running around the house telling the long-suffering Pam that a reviewer had spotted exactly what the story was about. Instead I was just, you know, like, cool. Discovering good reviews you never knew you had is one of the great pleasures all those dumb self-help books never mention.

Today's my birthday; it's been declared a public holiday. And I got a good review. Pope Benny, Ross Douthat and various others have made idiots of themselves. A friend said I got an early birthday present a couple of weeks ago and shared it with the rest of the American people. My Thanksgiving blessings are counted.

realthog: (city in pages)

I've just heard from Peter Crowther that he and Nick Gevers would like to buy my dark urban fantasy novelette "Memoryville Blues" for The Anthology Series Formerly Known as Postscripts.

I am, of course, absolutely cock-a-hoop about this. So I'll shut up and stop irritating you.

realthog: (leavingfortusa)

PS Publishing has announced the Table of Contents for The Company He Keeps (aka Postscripts #22/#23), the bumper anthology (31 stories, 150,000 words) that's edited by Peter Crowther and Nick Gevers and due out this summer:

THE COMPANY HE KEEPS -- Lucius Shepard
THE HUMAN ELEMENT -- Eric Brown
BULLY -- Jack Ketchum
MOVING DAY – Robert Edric
NE CADANT IN OBSCURUM -- David Hoing
THE HOLLOW FRAMEWORK FOR THE COTTON MAN -- Catherine J. Gardner
NEVER ALWAYS COMES -- Joel Lane
THE MAN WHO SCARED LOVECRAFT -- Don Webb
THE MEN AT THE MOUND -- Jonathan Thomas
HARVESTING THE MOON -- Ursula Pflug
ONE HUNDRED SENTENCES ABOUT THE CITY OF THE FUTURE: A JEREMIAD -- Alex Irvine
MARCO THE MAGNIFICENT -- P.D. Cacek
ALICE BLEEDING -- Rio Youers
DREAMSPACE -- Quentin S. Crisp
THE FISHES SPEAK -- Michaela Roessner
ONLY ONE GHOST -- John Grant
OSMOTIC PRESSURE -- Jack Deighton
THE RESCUE -- Holly Phillips
SIGNS ALONG THE ROAD -- Richard Parks
THE DESICCATED MAN -- Chris Beckett
THE FIGURE IN MOTION -- Steve Rasnic Tem
SINNERS, SAINTS, DRAGONS, AND HAINTS, IN THE CITY BENEATH THE STILL WATERS -- N.K. Jemisin
ARE YOU SANNATA3159? -- Vandana Singh
THE TIME TRAVELLER’S BREAKDOWN -- Gregory Norminton
THE FOREVER FOREST -- Rhys Hughes
PILLAR OF SALT -- Robert Swartwood
THE FARMER’S WIFE -- James Cooper
DRIVE-IN -- Peter Hardy
ADAM IN AMBER -- Gary Fry
PAGES FROM AN INVISIBLE BOOK -- Darrell Schweitzer
OF HEARTS AND MONKEYS -- Nick Wood

The cover illustration is to be by J.K. Potter, a fave artist of mine; I'll aim to post it once it becomes available. Needless to say, I'm pretty excited about being a part of this book.


realthog: (city in pages)

I've sold my recently completed novella The Lonely Hunter (the one whose working title was The 5000 Spirits) to Pete Crowther and Nick Gevers at PS Publishing for standalone publication in 2011.

I'm absolutely hopping with delight about this, since I can't imagine there could ever be
a better home for the piece -- which I love inordinately. It's a sort of slipstream/interstitial story, slightly displaced into the future although not science fiction, a fantasy-of-perception about literary creativity and loneliness and alienation and obsession, and maybe it's a murder mystery as well. Such items, especially when 25,000 words long, are, ahem, a hard sell to the genre magazines . . . It's an enormous credit to Pete and Nick that they've created somewhere that's as welcoming to the unclassifiable as it is to more obviously genre material. And they're a joy to work with.

At the same time, of course, there's always that sense of slight panic I have on making a sale to PS or The Anthology Once Named Postscripts. PS Publishing's standards are so goddam high, and their stable of authors so imposing and terrific, that I feel quite intimidated: come 2011, my humble offering is going to be judged by all the world in that context. Ulp. On the other hand, PS's publication
last winter of The City in These Pages (see icon) didn't bring too many brickbats my way, so . . . yeah, maybe I'll survive the experience.

realthog: (city in pages)

I've just heard from [livejournal.com profile] hutch0 that three of the stories I published last year have received Hon Menshes in Gardner Dozois's Best New Science Fiction 26. The three are

"Will the Real Veronica LeBarr Please Stand Down?", published in Postscripts #16 ed Peter Crowther and Nick Gevers

"All the Little Gods We Are", published in Clockwork Phoenix, ed Mike Allen ([profile] time_shark)

The City in These Pages, published solo by PS Publishing

Since I think it's the case that I published only four stories last year, I feel I've achieved a fairly high batting average . . . especially since I'd been under the impression that The City in These Pages was published in January '09. (The copyright date reads '08, but I think the book may not have been physically published until '09.)

Also, to my very great delight, Gardner mentions my novel Leaving Fortusa, published by [livejournal.com profile] norilanabooks, in his introductory Summation of the year's sf.

And we have no beer in the house . . .


The fourth story, by the way, was "Always More than You Know", published by Des Lewis in his anthology Cone Zero. I'm not sure whether or not Gardner would have seen this book, which could easily -- coming from an exceptionally small UK outlet (it's just taken me several minutes to track down an appropriate URL for the link) -- have flown below his radar. A pity if so, because it's an excellent antho . . . yes, even despite my presence.



realthog: (Default)

The first sale of 2009 and to what is probably my favourite venue: I've just heard from Peter Crowther and Nick Gevers that they'd like to buy my slipstream short story "Only One Ghost" for Postscripts. In a way it's very fitting that this should be so, because the germ of the notion for the story first began slowly to form behind my piggy little eyes a year or so ago while, at Pete's request, I was writing the Foreword for Zoran Zivkovic's PS-published novel The Last Book -- likewise a bookish fantasy.

I'm personally extremely fond of "Only One Ghost"; it's among those rare stories that managed to succeed, very quietly, in doing exactly what I wanted it to do (and in only 3500 words, which is short for me). As for Pam, it's one of her true all-time faves of mine. So, everything considered, there's a deal of singing and dancing going on around here at the moment.

realthog: (Default)


My contributor copies of Postscripts #16 have yet to reach me; the folks at PS Publishing, to their enormous credit, lash out a not-so-small fortune on air mail parcel post for author copies, but these still take a little while to reach the US. My fingers are a-twitching to get hold of the issue, because it contains my noir story "Will the Real Veronica LeBarr Please Stand Down?" -- a story that I love beyond all belief or reason. Added to which, of course, is that it's always an honour to have a story in Postscripts.

Whatever, the indefatigable Charles Tan has reviewed the issue on his Bibliophile Stalker blog. Here are the significant bits of his review:

There are ten stories in this issue and I enjoyed most of them [. . .] I'll focus on my top three. Opening this issue of Postscripts is John Grant's "Will the Real Veronica LeBarr Please Stand Down?" Using his charlatan skills to perform literary legerdemain, Grant creates a compelling character-driven story with multiple twists and turns. What makes it work is that this isn't an easy story to pull off yet the author manages to convince the reader without showing us all his tricks. [. . .] If you want well-written fiction with touches of the horrific, then Postscripts #16 is a good example of how to do it right. [. . .]

So, congrats to editors Pete Crowther and Nick Gevers on what sounds like yet another fine issue!

realthog: (real copies!)


clockworkphoenix

The Mike Allen anthology Clockwork Phoenix, containing my story "All the Little Gods We Are", was published yesterday by Norilana Books, and is already bringing in the reviews.

The Fix has
Elizabeth A. Allen (no relation, one assumes!) reviewing the book; as befits The Fix's policy, she reviews the individual stories -- and mostly very favourably -- rather than the anthology as a whole. Her comments on my own contribution start in such fashion that I was bracing myself for a panning, but in fact she seems to like the piece:

In “All the Little Gods We Are” by John Grant, John loves Justine. They feel utterly familiar to each other, as if they are two halves of the same organism. (To Grant’s credit, he describes John and Justine’s intimate fusion with such precision and matter-of-fact familiarity that the concept of soul mates, upon which this story hangs, feels fresh, original, and convincing.) They grew up together, but time parted them in their adulthood…that is, until John, single now, gets a call from himself in a parallel universe in which he has married and had children with his other half. As single John reflects on his past, we learn what happened to separate him from Justine. Like the authors he follows in this anthology, Grant takes an old trope of science fiction and refurbishes it on two levels. The parallel universes work as an SF construct and also as a powerful metaphor for the strength of wishes, denial, and memory. Another sad and satisfying story.

I'm a little startled (though I'm certainly not grumbling!) to find that "All the Little Gods We Are" is a parallel-universes story, since that wasn't what I thought it was; I thought it was about "the strength of wishes, denial, and memory" to create realities -- an interpretation with which Nick Gevers seems to agree in his exceptionally glowing (and as always neatly perceptive) review of the anthology in the latest edition of Locus. Here are extracts:

. . . a very strong first volume, Clockwork Phoenix, edited by Mike Allen. Established writers and new names all are in good form here . . .
       "All the Little Gods We Are" by John Grant is a rich meditation on the vagaries of romance. The protagonist met a girl at school he was convinced was his other half; and two possible lives unfold for him, one in which he remains inseparable from this heaven sent partner, the other in which he is single, lonely, unfulfilled. One day he makes a phone call, and lines cross between existences, selves are in impossible communication. This prompts deep reflection, a trawling of memory, an inner dispute over how one's will relates to reality, how we make our fates. [. . .]
       These and other contributions mark Clockwork Phoenix as a series of great promise.

All in all, both Mike Allen and Norilana must be feeling very pleased with themselves, especially since the two pre-publication reviews of the book -- by Charles Tan and by Publishers Weekly -- were likewise extremely positive.


 

March 2013

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