Finally home, to two good reviews

After nearly a fortnight on the road, to Florida for the AG, and then to Massachusetts for Readercon, I’ve finally returned home, and waiting for me were two good reviews of Up the Rainbow: the Complete Short Fiction of Susan Casper. Makes coming home pretty nice!

Publishers Weekly says: “This collection… showcases both [Susan Casper’s] talent and the potential… that was lost when she abruptly stopped writing.… The completed short stories are worthy reading for any fan of science fiction or darker fantasy.… there’s a lot here for genre fans to enjoy.”casper rainbow thumbnail

Paul Di Filippo in Locus writes: “It is a testament to the high regard in which [Susan Casper] was held that this commemorative volume was so quickly assembled and issued.… The opening three stories—her first sale was in 1983—serve almost as a mini-trilogy of horror or the Weird, showing Casper’s interest in eruptions of the uncanny into everyday life. Exemplars like Robert Bloch and Lisa Tuttle come to mind.… the trip reports—a longstanding fannish tradition—reveal Casper’s zest for life, a keen observer’s eye, and a flair for journalistic concision. These travelogues show a whimsical acceptance of the world’s pleasures, with no itchy unease or greed for more than some simple relaxations in novel settings can provide.… As [Michael] Swanwick has observed [in his introduction], Casper’s career was relatively compact: from 1983 to 2003. At that endpoint, for unexplained and perhaps ultimately inexplicable reasons, with many potential tales still at her fingertips, she ceased writing, although during her final fourteen years she still had many opportunities to do so. If one can hazard a guess as to why, based on the contents of this book, I’d say that Casper felt she had plumbed most of the rewards that writing fiction at a journeyman level could provide, and then made the decision that ramping up to master class was just not an effort she was willing to make. It’s a decision that others before her have chosen, and one that requires self-knowledge, sternness of character, and a willingness to let go of unrealistic daydreams. All qualities which the stories she did give us reveal she possessed to repletion.”

At Readercon, with Gardner Dozois’ able help, we sold out of all the copies of Up the Rainbow that I had. At the same time, Fantastic Books launched Science Fiction for the Throne, with the help of editors Tom Easton and Judith K. Dial. We did not sell out of those books, but made a nice dent in the pile I had on hand.

Still in Florida, thinking about Readercon

I’m still in Florida after American Mensa‘s Annual Gathering, where I spent a lot of time in meetings (since I just took office as RVC1), and presented two different talks (one on the Presidents, one on alternate history), but I still had a wonderful, nearly sleepless, time. In fact, I didn’t bother sleeping at all the last night, and the photo below, of sunrise Sunday morning, is the result. Taken from the beach at the Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood, Florida, it was a great finale to a week of spending time with friends and making new friends.

I’m spending a couple of days relaxing in Florida, but I’ve got another convention coming up in a few days: Readercon. As always at Readercon, I’m not on much programming. In fact, I’m only on one panel: “Deep Time,” Saturday at 2pm in room 6, with Glenn Grant, Jeff Hecht, Sioban Krzywicki, Tom Purdom, and Vandana Singh. I think I’m also scheduled for a kaffeeklatsch. But beyond that, of course I’ll be in the dealers’ room at the Fantastic Books table, launching two books: Up the Rainbow: the Complete Short Fiction of Susan Casper edited by Gardner Dozois; and Science Fiction for the Throne: One Sitting Reads edited by Tom Easton and Judith K. Dial. At the moment, it looks like I won’t have copies of SFftT until Saturday. Hope to see some of you there!

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My Schedule at the AG

Normally, I post my upcoming convention schedules only for science fiction conventions, but as my role has changed (as of July 1st, I am RVC1 of American Mensa), and I have a very full schedule planned, I’m doing the same for the upcoming American Mensa Annual Gathering (July 5-9 in Hollywood, Florida). If you’re also going to be attending, and are looking for me, I’ll by at the following:

Wednesday, July 5, 6pm: AMC Chair Reception, in Diplomat 3

Thursday, July 6, 9am-5pm: American Mensa Committee Meeting, in the Regency Ballroom

Thursday, July 6, 7:30-8:45pm: I’ll be presenting a talk on the Presidents and Presidency of the United States, entitled “Any President But Donald Trump,” in Regency Ballroom 3

Friday, July 7, 9-11am: American Mensa Annual Business Meeting, in Regency Ballroom 2

Friday, July 7, 1:30-2:45pm: Region 1 Meet & Greet, in Room 216 – Even if you’re not looking specifically for me, I invite and urge all members of Region 1 to attend this session (Region 1 includes all of New England, all of New York State except Western New York, and Northern New Jersey).

Friday, July 7, 7-10pm: I’ll be attending the Gala Dinner (tickets required)

Saturday, July 8, 12n-1:15pm: I’ll be presenting a talk on Alternate History, entitled “How I Came to Write ‘Shall Not Perish from the Earth’,” in Atlantic Ballroom 3

Other than these scheduled events, I hope to be around and about the convention. I’m arriving in Florida Tuesday afternoon (and looking for a good place and a good crew to see the fireworks somewhere), and leaving the AG Sunday afternoon. Hope to see a lot of you there!

Good review of forthcoming Susan Casper collection

casper rainbow thumbnailThe newest edition of True Review just posted, and in it, publisher Andrew Andrews says some very nice things about The Complete Short Fiction of Susan Casper, which Fantastic Books is publishing in July. In part, he says: “Up the Rainbow is a very gorgeous single-author collection from the unfortunately late Susan Casper, and the SF field has lost a Talent. Fortunately her husband, Gardner, was able to collect her fiction and nonfiction into this massive and very worthwhile volume, reminding us all that Susan could certainly shine.… This collection is proof that Susan remains an uncelebrated, underappreciated Tall Talent.”

Nice review for Fantastic Books’ “Non-Parallel Universes” by Bud Sparhawk

151541020xThe new edition of True Review has been posted, and in it, publisher Andrew Andrews writes of Bud Sparhawk’s new collection: “[Sparhawk] writes some amazing stories.… In ‘Astronomic Distance/Geologic Time,’ Sparhawk sends us on a journey as far as distance and time can stretch… The story itself makes you realize how small, trivial and possibly soon-to-be-forgotten our own era will be.”

Time to grab the limited-edition chapbook with SFftT

There’s one scant week left to get in on Fantastic Books’ first Kickstarter project. The book is funded, and we’re more than half-way to our first stretch goal, which will add in a super-special, limited edition chapbook for everyone pledging $14 or more (bascially, those who are in for a printed copy of the book, or more).

I’d love to have a reason to produce that chapbook: it didn’t feel right to have any of my own stories in the book (or Tom’s or Judith’s), but this chapbook makes it feel okay. And Tom’s is a really great story, and Judith’s is a fascinating essay.

So please, help me tell everyone we know about the project. All it takes is a “share” click. Thanks!

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Today’s Excitement

Apparently, there’s this game show called Cash Cab, and apparently, it’s coming back on the air (on Discovery Channel), and apparently, you know someone who’s going to be on the show!

Had a fascinating time today riding in the Cash Cab! Thanks, Greg Draves and Anton Spivack! I think we made a great team.

Thanks, Ben Bailey, for not crashing while driving, and for being a fun person to hang with. And everyone on the staff we interacted with was fun and friendly. A great experience!

Part of the show, one of the questions we couldn’t answer, we used a “Facebook Shout Out,” which was a live on Facebook thing. The video is available on Facebook (don’t know if you need to log in to view it) here

cash-cab!

Balticon this weekend

Leaving for Balticon 51 way too early tomorrow morning. It’s going to be a jam-packed weekend for me. And if you’re hoping to see me, my schedule includes:

9:30am Saturday – Kaffeeklatsch in room 8029

4-5pm Saturday: “The Art of the Pitch” in room 7029, with Meg Eden, Phil Kahn, K.M. Szpara, and Michael R. Underwood.

11am-12n Sunday: “Is the Past (of SF) Another Country?” in the 5th floor Mt. Washington room, with Jack Campbell, Robert “Bob” Chase, Meriah L. Crawford, and Kim Hargan.

5-6pm Sunday: “Writing Better Villains” in the 5th floor Homeland room, with Christiana Ellis, Dave Robison, Joy Ward, and S.L. Wideman.

And most especially, the book launch party from 1 to 3 pm Sunday in the 12th Floor Club Lounge. Join us as we debut Bud Sparhawk’s collection Non-Parallel Universes, Brian Koscienski and Chris Pisano’s novel The Biggest Bounty, and Fortress Publishing’s anthology TV Gods – Summer Programming (in which I have a story).

I’m also involved in the eSpec Books launch party Sunday night, 7 to 9pm in the hospitality suite. They’re launching several books, including If We Had Known, in which I have a story.

And as always, I’ll be spending all the other hours we’re open in the dealers’ room behind the Fantastic Books table. Hope to see you there!