see - Qin!

Mar. 23rd, 2011 03:18 pm
realthog: (Default)

The ebook of my Qinmeartha and the Girl-Child LoChi is now available from and, and jolly pleased I am about this!

qinmeartha cover

The e-edition is incredibly cheap -- I'm cutting me own throat even telling yer about it, I am -- so hurry along and buy, BUY, BUY!!!

(If you would be interested in reviewing the book, please lemme know either in a comment or, if you have my e-address, by email.)

In other ebook news, PS Publishing is planning (no date as yet) to issue an e-edition of the novella of mine they published in 2008, The City in These Pages; the "value added" bonus feature is, I think, going to be my novelette "Always More Than You Know", which first appeared in the same year in Des Lewis's anthology Cone Zero.

There are also moves afoot to create ebook versions of my nonfiction books Discarded Science, Corrupted Science and Bogus Science. Exactly how this will be effected is not yet certain -- by the books' original publisher (AAPPL) either solo or in some sort of collaboration. I should know a bit more after the London International Book Fair.

Hm. It seems that I'm finally extracting a digital . . .

realthog: (city in pages)

I've just heard from [ 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 [ 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: (city in pages)

I discovered over the weekend that my novella The City in These Pages has made it to the British Fantasy Award longlist. There are 18 others on the longlist in this category so I'm not getting too excited at the moment; I am, nevertheless, extremely chuffed . . . and Pam's eyes are getting further exercise in rolling.

Numerous pals have likewise made it to the award's longlists; for fear of offending by omission (or could this be just stark laziness on my part?) I'll not recite all the names, although I should definitely mention that D.F. Lewis's Nemonymous 8: Cone Zero, which contains my story "Always More Than You Know", is there in the anthology section -- yay! -- while a couple of its stories are likewise recognized, including [ profile] neilhudson's excellent "The Point of Oswald Masters". (The other, by Kek-W, is every bit as excellent, but I don't think he's on LJ.)

Elsewhere in life, I (yet again!) read extremely late last night (must get round to doing another bukes roundup) so, so far this morning, everything's a bit . . . tentative. Perhaps a vigorous twenty minutes on the elliptical will clear away the cobwebs, and I will have side two of Bread Love & Dreams's The Strange Tale of Captain Shannon and the Hunchback from Ghiza to keep me company as I gasp and sweat (side one was yesterday's treat). Ever since I concluded, in perhaps mid-February or so, that I'd recovered sufficiently from the scissors-and-paste work of the fall to start getting serious about exercise, I've been rampaging through stacks of records/CDs in my collection that ordinarily I don't play often enough, plus some old favourites. I was thinking of perhaps a rafter-raising Cherubini Week sometime soon, because I've been discovering lately that he did more, much more than the D-minor Missa Solemnis and Requiem #2. A bit of Yer Klassical might raise the ton in the exercise room . . .
realthog: (city in pages)

Golly! Thanks to those kindly folk at Google Alerts, I discover that yet another highly favourable review of The City in These Pages has appeared, this time done by Kent Knopp-Schwyn for Hellnotes. What adds an extra frisson to my customary astonished, somewhat incredulous delight on receiving a nice review is that, with the book having been published quite a while ago (just before the turn of the year), I'd assumed all the reviews it was going to get were those that had appeared by the end of February or so. This little flurry over the past few days has been a joyous surprise!

Anyway, here are some representative extracts from what would be better quoted in full except that it's a medium-length piece:

John Grant has penned an amazing tale that stands proud alongside all the 87th Precinct stories. [. . .] replete with snappy dialogue and sharp repartee [. . .] As this is a PS Publication, the reader constantly expects something new or fantastic around every corner or that the tale takes place on a far-flung world set in some strange new universe. Instead, Mr. Grant provides just enough detail to keep the reader off balance continually guessing as to where and when the story actually takes place. [. . .] Make no mistake; this is a very brisk and enjoyable read -- effective on many different levels.

In other news, I've finished the first short story I've written for a while; surprisingly, it's only about 3000 words long rather than my usual rock-bottom minimum of 7000ish. Practically yer bleeding flash fiction, innit?

realthog: (city in pages)

And again favourably, this time by I.E. Lester at Polu Texni:

John Grant’s The City in these Pages is a hardboiled crime novella, dressed in science fictional clothes. Set in the city of New Amsterdam - an analogue of New York - two cops investigate a series of bizarre murders where the victims are the heads of the gangster families. Due to its sf overtones this is very unlikely to be read by traditional crime story fans. That’s a great shame for the majority of this book would be just their kind of thing. David Langford’s introduction compares this to Ed McBain’s tales of the 87th Precinct and it’s a very apt one.

But this comparison can also be extended to the classic PI novels. Grant has nailed the style down perfectly. It’s gritty yet full of humour. The city is a grim place and full of danger, yet people love it. You can imagine this is a world where people will compete to tell gory tales, each trying to outdo the next - trying to prove how their neighbourhood is more violent and more scary then everyone else’s. And running through it all is a mystery just as implausible and surreal yet easy to accept as any in the classic pulps.


realthog: (city in pages)

A short but extremely perceptive review of my The City in These Pages, done by Brian (not sure of surname), has just appeared over at Book Spot Central. I regard it as a rave -- I'm ever so pleased he's cottoned on to what I'm up to with the novella. Here's most of the review:

The City in These Pages is a mix of SF/F and a McBain-esque police procedural. Mixed in with this is a healthy dose of absurd. Most of the story is like an oil & vinegar dressing that has been shaken really well because the elements of the story are blended really well. But the separation of the dressing occurs when the story takes a veer at the end that may shake some readers; It’s a fairly abrupt moment that changes the story into something else entirely. I was able to hang on for the change but some may not.

Oh, I do like the idea of readers having to cling on by the fingernails for dear life as the story suddenly caroms out of genre expectations into "something else entirely". That's exactly the effect I wanted to create: to have the real story sneak up on the lulled, unsuspecting reader and suddenly just be there. Oh, yes: Brian's comments are music to this author's ears. He may most certainly claim a free drink should he ever run into me at a con or wherever.


Feb. 19th, 2009 08:30 am
realthog: (city in pages)

Over the past few weeks Rich Horton ([ profile] ecbatan) has been publishing on his The Elephant Forgets LJ blog his annual roundup reviews of short fiction. A couple of my own offerings have recently come under his eyeglass.

Of my Ed McBain-homage novella The City in These Pages (PS Publishing) he said:

John Grant's "The City in These Pages" is a sort of McBain style police procedural, with some fascinating main characters, that I thought got a bit out of hand with its philosophical conclusion, but that was fun to read on the way.

I'm very pleased with the "got a bit out of hand with its philosophical conclusion" remark because this was the general intention: that the final stages of the piece be (to use the technical term) a bit mind-buggering.

And my story in Mike Allen's ([ profile] time_shark) anthology Clockwork Phoenix (Norilana Books), "All the Little Gods We Are", got a nice mention too:

The best stories included Vandana Singh's "Oblivion: A Journey", which uses Indian mythology in service of a Science Fiction story of epic duration, as the protagonist pursues revenge against an AI; John Grant's "All the Little Gods We Are", about a man regretting his lost opportunity to be with the woman he truly loves; Catherynne M. Valente's "The City of Blind Delight", a wildly weird story about a mysterious train traveling to mysterious cities; and Leah Bobet's "Bell, Book, and Candle", about a trio of people summoned over time again and again for dark purposes. Other nice work came from Tanith Lee and Laird Barron.

All in all, then, it's another of those insufferability moments here at Snarl Towers, especially since Horton earlier -- on Christmas Day, no less! -- gave my "Will the Real Veronica LeBarr Please Stand Down?" (in Postscripts, Autumn 2008) a very kind thumbs-up. [ profile] pds_lit is doing her best to keep the derisive upchucking relatively quiet.

realthog: (real copies!)

The new edition of Steve Upham's FREEEEEEEEE e-zine Estronomicon is now out, and can be downloaded as a PDF in all its 67-page illustrated glory from here.

Stories and stuff are by Tony Richards, Geoff Nelder, Stephen Bacon, Charles Black, Neil Davies, Paul Kane, Marie O'Regan and the ever wonderful Allyson Bird -- whom Pam and I had the very considerable pleasure of meeting for the first time, albeit far too briefly, at this year's FantasyCon in Nottingham, UK.

Indeed, this issue of Estronomicon is a sort of FantasyCon special; of the issue's many attractions, perhaps most notable of all is the section focusing on the art of British Fantasy Award-winning artist Vincent Chong, whose recent covers include this one for my own The City in These Pages. (See? You knew I'd get in something egobooish somewhere sooner or later, didn't you? And I didn't wish to disappoint.)

Quite how Steve, whose Screaming Dreams Press published my novel The Dragons of Manhattan earlier this year (there! -- that's two bits of egoboo!), manages to pull such distinguished contributors to Estronomicon time after time after time is a mystery to me, especially since it's a free 'zine. Whatever, signing up for a subscription is much to be recommended.

realthog: (Default)

Here's the relevant entry on the HelpVera auction page:



Shortly to be published by PS Publishing, the novella The City in These Pages is my homage to the late, great Ed McBain, taking the form of a police procedural that's also a piece of cosmological fantasy. (Yeah, and people pay me to do this stuff?)

PS Publishing's page for the book is here and the book's cover blurb reads like this:

City Hall is on Lewis-and-Clark Street, so it was the 14th Precinct that got the call, and very soon the 14th Precinct, in the persons of Detective Sergeants Moto and Pincus, was on the spot, bending down and looking into the car at the condom-shrouded figure of Ratty Scarlatti but not touching anything because the m.o. and the scene-of-crime crew hadn't gotten here yet, being stuck in the traffic jam on Eighth thanks to the burst sewer there...

It might seem like just another case for the gallant boys of the 14th but, as the days progress and Moto (look, just don't make any jokes about his name, okay?) and Pincus delve deeper, the body count rises inexorably, with each murder reaching a new height of ludicrous surrealism – if not downright impossibility. It seems there's an avenger on the loose in the enigmatic city.

Yet is the unknown perpetrator truly seeking vengeance? Is the motive instead to patch up this version of reality in the least implausible fashion possible before its inhabitants begin to suspect there's something fundamentally awry? Or are there operators moving at an even deeper level than reality?

John Grant has commented: "I've been a devotee of the works of Ed McBain (Evan Hunter) for decades – since puberty, perhaps longer – so that when the great man died in July 2005 it was almost like losing a family member. I wanted to write my own, very humble tribute to him by way of thanks for all the pleasure he'd given me, but it was some while before the right combination of ideas came along."

The result, The City in These Pages, is a McBain-style police procedural, full of crackling wit and sharp one-liners, that's also a multi-layered cosmological fantasy in whose shifting perspectives nothing is ever quite as it appears. You've never read anything like it.

The book's being published in two editions: an unjacketed hardcover (500 numbered copies signed by just me at £10.00 [$15.00] apiece) and a jacketed hardcover (200 numbered copies signed by both me and Foreword writer Dave Langford at £25.00 [$37.50] apiece). (There was in addition to be a lettered, slipcased edition signed also by cover artist Vincent Chong, but that seems to have been delayed.)

What I'm offering is a rare unnumbered copy of the more expensive, jacketed version from my extremely limited personal stash of just three author copies of this edition. It's signed by both Dave and myself, and I will additionally personalize it to you (or to whomever you buy it as a gift for).

It will definitely remain one of a kind, because I'm damned if I'm giving away any more copies of the jacketed edition: the rest of them are mine to cuddle and adore, okay?

Minimum bid: $25.00
Shipping: on me


If you want to bid on this (or on any of the many other fine items being auctioned for the fund), don't do so here but follow this link.

I'm planning/hoping to put up further items in due course. Would anyone be interested, for example, in a copy of my 1992 novel The World . . . ?
realthog: (corrupted science)

Vera Nazarian has bought my 7000-word story "Breaking Laws" for her forthcoming anthology Sky Whales and Other Wonders. I'm naturally delighted.

"Breaking Laws" is one of a pair of stories I wrote in the months before my heart surgery in which I tried to sort of reshape urban fantasy a little. I used to love this subgenre, but now whatever original work there might be going on in it seems to have been subducted beneath a tectonic slab of template series that feature vampire hunters, witch detectives, werewolf superstuds . . . (Yes, I realize I'm generalizing excessively, and, yes, I know a couple of these series are OK. But, most of them, I can't even get through the cover blurbs, which all seem identical.)

Part of my motivation for writing the two stories was also the connection to my interest in noir, the written fiction as well as the movies, even though "Breaking Laws" itself (despite the title!*) isn't really a noir-influenced piece at all -- unlike my longish story "Will the Real Veronica LeBarr Please Stand Down?", due to appear shortly in Postscripts, which positively reeks of noir influence, as of course does my Ed McBain-inspired novella The City in These Pages, due by the end of the year from PS Publishing. Both of these were written longer ago; the latter is also very definitely a piece of urban fantasy.

Gosh, this all sounds very pompous.

Anyway, I'm obviously thrilled to bits that Vera wants to add my story to what promises to be a highly distinguished contents list for the anthology.

*Talking about the story's title, this may well be changed for the final appearance. At the moment "A Handful of City" is a strong contender.
realthog: (Default)

Further exploration reveals that Vinnie Chong has done a back-cover illustration for the book as well:

my covers 

 I feel very privileged!
realthog: (Default)
Thanks to the patience and kindness shown by [personal profile] al_zorra in explaining the technique to this humble cyber-simpleton, I am now able to bring to you the cover image I was talking about last night:

City in These Pages cover a/w

The book is, once more, called The City in These Pages (well, you guessed that part, didn't you?) and the publisher is PS Publishing. There's more info at

realthog: (Jim's bear pic)
My server,, appears to have taken it into its head to block e-mail from the great PS Publishing, who're releasing my Ed McBain homage, The City in These Pages, soonish. I'll be making another onslaught on the optonline bozoes on Tuesday (a first attempt, on Friday, got exactly nowhere -- someone ought to bring a class action against these dimwits for the time they waste) . . . [256-page rant omitted by popular request]


Tonight, while trying to work out a way of getting in touch with my publisher, I saw for the first time the cover artwork for The City in These Pages . . . and it's wonderful!

My LJ account doesn't allow me to upload the picture here (it's because I'm a cheapskate, you see), but you can gaze in awe at it at

A huge thankyou to Vincent Chong for the fab artwork . . . and of course to the folk at PS for commissioning him!

realthog: (Jim's bear pic)
I picked up Loving Soren  by Caroline Coleman O'Neill on the basis that it had never occurred to me anyone might ever write a novel about Soren Kierkegaard's love life -- and, too, because Kierkegaard is one of those philosophers about whose philosophy I know embarrassingly little. By the time I got to page 103 of Loving Soren I still knew embarrassingly little about Kierkegaard's philosophy and was bored to the point where I no longer cared. Presumably the book does develop a plot at some later stage, but, by the place where I gave up, essentially all that had happened was that Regina Olsen and Soren Kierkegaard had met, exchanged a few adolescent-style smart-aleck comments, and fancied each other. Then they did it all over again in the next chapter. I did not keep a count of how often this basic template was repeated, but it was more times than I could tolerate. The lack of plot wouldn't have bothered me had the exchanges between the enamoured pair been interesting, but they weren't. I guess I'm going to have to glean info about Kierkegaard's philosophy somewhere else . . .

It's unlike me to abandon two books in such a short period of time. In fact, I discarded this one some days ago, so will soon have a newly completed book to chatter about.

In other news, I've got to put my monicker on -- oh jeez -- eleven hundred "signing sheets" over the next day or two. Aargh! A big package of them arrived today from the excellent UK press PS Publishing. These sheets, once signed, will be bound into the fronts of the relevant books. PS are releasing my own novella The City in These Pages sometime soon, so I have to sign 800 sheets for it -- 500 for the limited edition and 300 for the Really Posh limited edition. Also, however, I wrote a Foreword for Zoran Zivkovic's novel The Last Book, which PS are to publish around the same time; so I have to sign 300 sheets for the Really Posh limited edition of that, too.

Once I've finished, I may refuse to go out for a while. I'm not sure I can face all the obvious jokes there'll be about why my wrist is so tired . . .

March 2013

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