realthog: ("no such thing")

Ellen Datlow ([ profile] ellen_datlow) has just circulated contributors to her award-winning 2007 anthology Inferno to let us all know there's been another review of the book, even after all this time. The reviewer is Colin Harvey; the venue is the Black Static site, where Peter Tennant's been running an Anthology Month in which guest reviewers each discuss a favourite anthology. Here's Colin Harvey's contribution:

My favourite anthology is Ellen Datlow's wonderful Inferno. Datlow is one of the best editors in the business, and here she is at the very top of her game. The anthology deservedly won the 2008 Shirley Jackson Award, and featured a wonderful range of tales, several of which were nominated for Locus and World Fantasy Awards on an individual basis.

So many of the twenty stories and novelettes are good, that it's hard to know where to begin -- in fact, there are hardly any that are not outstanding. My particular favourites include John Grant's extraordinary 'Lives' about a very lucky boy and the people he outlives, and his father who finally realizes the truth about his son's secret. Lee Thomas's claustrophobic, erotic 'An Apiary of White Bees' is a close second, while Glen Hirshberg's 'The Janus Tree', set in a Montana mining town is also excellent. But perhaps best of all is Pat Cadigan's stunning 'Stilled Lives'; I defy anyone who visits London to look at the city in quite the same way again. Several Black Static contributors are present as well: Paul Finch and Mike O'Driscoll both contribute fine pieces, in the case of the latter one of his trademark South Wales stories.

realthog: (leavingfortusa)

. . . and there's now a different and somewhat longer interview with me by Chris Redding (author of The Corpse Whisperer, etc.) on display at her blog. Here you will discover more, and more intimate, details of my youthful fling with Marilyn Monroe than I have ever revealed before.

realthog: (city in pages)

Thanks to my having, er, Puddled, I've now been interviewed by [ profile] jongibbs for his An Englishman in New Jersey blog: you can, if masochistically inclined, read all about me here.

realthog: (Default)

It's an Amazon reader review, so the four-page illustrated spectacular in The New York Times has yet to come, but it's very pleasing. Grab a chair, make sure you have a long drink by your side, and prepare to thrill to the juicy bits:

John Grant's BOGUS SCIENCE is even more fun than his two earlier books in this series, DISCARDED SCIENCE and CORRUPTED SCIENCE, but it's also an earnest reminder that knowledge and progress, like free speech and freedom of the press, come with a price. [. . .]

Grant provides splendid entertainment as he regales us with accounts of doomsday cults, Bigfoot hoaxes, flying saucers, the Bermuda Triangle, and flat-earthers [. . .] The larger question is what separates bogus science from genuine science? As Grant eloquently illustrates, it's a matter of trying to make the evidence fit the Procrustean bed of predetermined hypotheses, rather than constructing hypotheses in light of the facts. [. . .]

Like the first two volumes, this is a very reasonably priced hardcover, well organized and attractively presented. I intend to read it again and recommend it highly to any curious reader.

realthog: (leavingfortusa)

I've known about this for some little while but it's only now that my lips have been unsealed.

'Way back in the 1980s and 1990s I wrote alongside Joe Dever the 11 novels and one novella collection to go with Joe's astonishingly successful Lone Wolf gamebooks.

The gamebooks (awarded the Gamemaster International "All Time Great" award in 1991 and Game Book of the Year awards in 1985, 1986 and 1987) have been published in over 30 countries and been translated into 18 languages, and have racked up sales to date of over 10 million copies. The Legends of Lone Wolf, as the novels are called, didn't do (ahem) quite that well, but they were performing pretty healthily when, in the mid-1990s, the publisher pulled the plug on Lone Wolfish enterprises in general in response to the overall downturn in the market for gamebooks. (This downturn affected the novels' sales as well because the publisher had been oh so cleverly marketing them into the gamebook section of bookstores, not the f/sf section . . .)

That was in the UK. In the US, the publisher of the gamebooks released only the first four of the Legends, splitting one of them arbitrarily so that there were five vols in all. I don't think I've got file copies of any of this edition: the production standards were so extraordinarily disgusting that I didn't even like touching the books! The contrast was pretty keen with the UK versions, which had natty Peter Jones covers and were generally pleasing to handle.

Ever since, there's been a fairly dedicated fan following for the Legends, and copies of the UK editions, especially of the later, rarer volumes, have traded on eBay for what I regard as astonishingly high prices. A few years ago the Italian publisher Armenia decided to translate the Legends and release them in the form of five omnibuses; these are pretty damn' handsome, and according to my royalty statements have performed well. For the Italian edition I prepared "director's cut" versions of the texts, re-editing quite a lot and in particular restoring some elements that had been chopped out at a time when our editor, at what was essentially a mainstream children's/YA publisher, couldn't believe anyone would ever want to read a fantasy novel that was over 256 pages long, well maybe 320 at the outside . . .

And now, at last, there's going to be an English-language reissue of the entire set of The Legends of Lone Wolf using those revised texts. Well, more or less: I'm an inveterate tinkerer, so I'll doubtless fiddle with them a bit more . . .

An extra source of joy is that at last the books will be coming from a publisher with expertise in this field: Dark Quest Books, the fiction-publishing offshoot of celebrated games creators Dark Quest (whose publisher, the excellent Neal Levin, is on LJ: dqg_neal
). It's as if they've finally come home.

The plan is to issue the novels at least initially in omnibus form, Italian-style, with the first volume appearing early next year; whether there'll be an individual-volumes version in the wake of the omnibuses will, I imagine, depend upon reader demand for such a thing.

If only I could get hold of a few bottles of Chateau Tesco Grand Cru in this benighted land there'd be champagne corks a-popping in Snarl Towers, I can tell you. This is the first time in my life I've signed a twelve-book contract, and I really like the feeling: more, please.

March 2013

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