Publishers Weekly has reviewed the forthcoming Fantastic Books anthology Jewish Futures, saying, in part “[Editor Michael A.] Burstein brings together 16 appealing stories extrapolating Jewish themes into near- and far-future settings.… These stories open diverse and challenging vistas for sci-fi fans—Jewish and gentile alike.” See the full review at this link.
Back-to-back science fiction conventions
I’m hitting the road on Friday for a couple of weeks. It started with two science fiction conventions on successive weekends, and I’ve decided to extend the in-between and after time, so I’ll be away for a while (with, probably, intermittent on-line access).
This weekend, I’ll be at Balticon in Baltimore, Maryland. As usual, I’ll be at the Fantastic Books table in the dealers’ room for a lot of the time. But programming put me on a slew of panels while the dealers’ room is open, so I hope to have friends staffing the table while I’m elsewhere panelizing. (That’s also a round-about way of saying I might have to miss one or two of the panels I expect to be on.)
If you’re looking for me on those panels, my schedule is:
Friday at 4:00 PM in Gibson: “So, you want to be a writer?” with Joshua Bilmes, Monica Louzon, and Michael A. Ventrella.
Saturday at 2:30 PM in Club Lounge: “Are classics still relevant? Is older SFF ‘unreadable’?” with AD Boorman, Max Baskin, Randee Dawn, and Mark Roth-Whitroth.
Saturday at 4:00 PM in James: “Making Old Hats New” with Eric Hardenbrook and Mark L. Van Name.
Sunday at 1:00 PM in Mount Washington: “Editors Can Be Your Friends” with Scott H. Andrews, Joshua Bilmes, Bjorn E. Hasseler, and Joy Ward.
Sunday at 2:30 PM in James: “Honing the Writer’s Craft Through Short Stories” with Scott H. Andrews, Elektra Hammond, and Alex Shvartsman.
Sunday at 4:00 PM in Club Lounge: “The New World of Publishing” with Joshua Bilmes, Shahid Mahmud, and Alex Shvartsman.
Sunday at 8:30 PM in Guilford: “Plot a story from audience input” with Randee Dawn, Michael M. Jones, Ken Schrader, and Mary G. Thompson.
The convention wraps up Monday, and then I expect to overnight somewhere in Virginia with friends, and then drive down to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for a couple days.
The following weekend, June 2-4, I’ll be at ConCarolinas for the first time (in Charlotte, North Carolina). I don’t have a table in the dealers’ room, but I will have a table in what they call Authors’ Alley. I fear the table space may be limited, meaning I’ll only be able to show a smattering of the Fantastic Books books that are available. We’ll see. New convention: new experiences.
The panels I’m scheduled to be on at ConCarolinas are:
Friday at 10 PM in Olmstead: “The Ethics of Using AI and Machine Learning in Content Creation” with Bishop O’Connell, William C. Tracy, and Brandon N. Whitworth.
Saturday at 12:30 PM in Olmstead: “How to Destroy the World” with Charlie Kaufman, Darin Kennedy, Cisca Small, and Mel Todd.
Sunday at 12:30 PM in Keynes: “Walking On Sunshine and Where’s the Beef” with Samantha Bryant, Nancy Northcott, and Amy Ravenel.
Sunday at 1:30 PM in Walden: “Mars Wants What?” with R.M. Hamrick, Michael Mammay, Edward McKeown, and Sumiko Saulson.
After that convention, I’ll probably spend another week or so in the Carolinas, before heading back home to New York. Should be quite an adventure! Hope to see lots of you there (and there, and there…).
Asimov’s reviews Three Time Travelers Walk Into…
In his review in Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine, Peter Heck recommends Three Time Travelers Walk Into… (edited by Michael A. Ventrella, published by Fantastic Books in May), calling it “highly entertaining” and “thoroughly readable.” He also includes specific mentions of Gail Martin’s “The Mystic Lamb,” Peter David’s “A Christmas Prelude,” Jonathan Maberry’s “The Adventure of the Confounded Writer,” and says “one writer—no spoilers here—gives a younger version of himself a chance to alter history after meeting two of his mentors and the version of himself who has lived through our history—a tour de force of time-travel twists and turns.”
On Dhalgren, electronically
A while back, Fantastic Books published On Samuel R. Delany’s Dhalgren: the definitive collection of reviews, commentary, and discussions of the classic novel. I was (and still am) thrilled to have been a part of this book, working closely with Delany himself to see that it was published in the form he wanted.
Publishers Weekly said of the book “Samuel R. Delany’s influential and divisive 1975 novel Dhalgren gets a full critical treatment in this immersive and comprehensive collection.… Fans of Delaney’s classic will want to snap this up.”
It is, however, one of the more expensive books we’ve published, because it contains a bunch of color illustrations. So for those of you who wanted the book, but couldn’t justify the price tag, the ebook version is now available. As with all of our titles, we’re selling the ebook directly from our new web site. It’s also available from the usual retailers.
Electronic Eye of Argon
Due to some outrageous formatting in the printed book, there’s no way to produce a standard ebook of Fantastic Books’ The Eye of Argon and the Further Adventure of Grignr the Barbarian. But due to the popularity of the book — and the new Fantastic Books web site — I decided to offer a pdf version of the book. It’s available, as of five minutes ago, for download only from the site, at this link: https://www.fantasticbooks.biz/product-page/the-eye-of-argon-and-the-further-adventures-of-grignr-the-barbarian
Conspiracies and Cryptids
Multiminded Press Release:
Let me ask you a question:
What if it’s all true?
Hitch a ride with some straight-6 witches, with a motorcycle club, on a rocket to the moon… Show up on the back of a sea creature, carried by a bigfoot, in the thrall of a fairy, or maybe on the wings of the children of the night. However you get here, hurry.
Gray Rabbit Publications is pleased to present the first book published under Mutiminded, our newest imprint.
Conspiracies and Cryptids, Volume 1: Everything Is True was edited by Charles Barouch, Jerry Wang, and Sylvia Goldin, and features stories by B.J. Thrower, Eric Avedissian, Marcy Arlin, Robert Dawson, Holly Schofield, James Ryan, Charles Barouch, Greg Cox, and Ef Deal.
Conspiracies and Cryptids, Volume 1: Everything Is True
edited by Charles Barouch, Jerry Wang, and Sylvia Goldin
$13.99, 128 pages (trade paperback), ISBN: 978-1-5154-4796-2
Conspiracies and Cryptids—and all Gray Rabbit books—are distributed via Ingram, and available through all major online retailers and specialty sf shops via direct order from the publisher.
Science Fiction Convention Weekend
This weekend is Arisia, at the Westin Boston Seaport District in Boston, Massachusetts. As I usually do at conventions, I’ll be on several panels, including:
Friday at 8:30pm: “Our Favorite Fictional Scientists” in Alcott (3W), with Timothy Luz, AJ Odasso, Charity Southworth, and Stephen R. Wilk
Saturday at 5:30pm: “So You Want to Be a Writer?” in Faneuil (3W), with M. Dalto, J.F. Holmes, Jadie Jang, and Amy J. Murphy
Saturday at 8:30pm: “Our Favorite Robots” in Stone (2W), with Michael A. Burstein, Shana Jean Hausman, Timothy Luz, and Danny Miller
Sunday at 1:00pm: “How Much ‘Alien’ is Too Much?” in Marina Ballroom 4 (2E), with Elaine Isaak, Alexander Jablokov, W.A. Thomasson, and Stephen R. Wilk
I’ll also be running the Fantastic Books table in the dealers’ room, which is open Friday, 5-9pm; Saturday and Sunday, 10am-7pm; and Monday, 10am-2:30pm. And yes, that Friday panel overlaps with the time the dealers’ room closes; I’ll have to figure out that bilocation thing.
Hope to see many of you there!
Convention Weekend, November 2022
Next Friday starts my last scheduled sf convention on the calendar year (though I’m always open to more, if you’ve got any to suggest). This time, it will be, once again, Philcon (at the Doubletree by Hilton in Cherry Hill, New Jersey [that’s the same hotel it’s been at the past bunch of years, but under a new name]).
If you’re looking for me, I’ll be fairly easy to find. I’ll be at the Fantastic Books table in the dealers’ room Friday (4–7pm), Saturday (10am–6pm), and Sunday (10am–3pm). But I’m also scheduled to be on a bunch of programming. Note especially the first item:
Friday at 9pm in the Grand Ballroom: “The Eye of Argon: The Play” co-starring Keith R.A. DeCandido, Gregory Frost, Peter Prellwitz, Hildy Silverman, Michael A. Ventrella, and Jean Marie Ward. This will also be the official launch of the anthology The Eye of Argon and the Further Adventures of Grignr the Barbarian.
Saturday at 12n in Crystal 2: “Space Colonies ‘Rhyme’ with Space Westerns” with N.E. Lilly, Peter Prellwitz, Tom Purdom, and Kathryn Sullivan.
Saturday at 2pm: “Apocalypse How?!” with Eric Blair, Anton Kukal, Hildy Silverman, and Richard Stout.
Saturday at 3pm: “Flash Fiction Challenge!” with Storm Humbert and Anton Kukal.
Saturday at 8pm: “Foundations of Worldbuilding: Past Political Tensions and Turmoil” with Dee Carter, Storm Humbert, Michael A. Ventrella, and Simone Zelitch.
Sunday at 12n: “Meet the Editors!” with Neil Clarke, Margaret Riley, Ann Stolinsky, and Michael A. Ventrella.
I hope to see many of you there!
A new book that, I guess, doesn’t embarrass me
I’ve been going through gyrations over this one. At first, it was just a joke, I didn’t think we’d do much with it. Then I accepted it as just another book, but not one I was going to push. Then I was a bit embarrassed. But today, the copies arrived from the printer, and I went through it, and now I’m thinking I’m pretty proud of this one. It looks good, and does what it says it’s going to.
So instead of shunning the book (as perhaps the original tale should have been): I’m excited to trumpet from the balconies that Fantastic Books is publishing The Eye of Argon and the Further Adventures of Grignr the Barbarian! Official publication date is November 18, during Philcon, at which we will be performing the original story as a stage play.
And who is we? We’re the troupe that has been reading and performing the story at conventions throughout the northeast for several years. Ringmaster Michael A. Ventrella and wrangled seven other authors (plus the foreword, and wonderful new art by Monica Marier) into producing sequels, prequels, and oy-vey-quels to Jim Theis’ original “The Eye of Argon.”
Make sure to get your copy quickly, before we come to our sense and try to suppress the book!
Table of contents:
Foreword: The Eye of Argon and Associated Earnest Musings by Jody Lynn Nye
Introduction: We Can All Be Grignr; or: How to Appreciate Very Bad Writing by Michael A. Ventrella
Publisher’s Apology by Ian Randal Strock
The Eye of Argon by Jim Theis
Annotation by Ian Randal Strock
The Further Adventures of Grignr the Barbarian:
The Return of the Eye of Argon by Hildy Silverman
The Rat’s Tail by Keith R.A. DeCandido
Grignr and the Drignr by Peter Prellwitz
Grignr in the Land of Er-Urz by Ian Randal Strock
God Quest by Genevieve Iseult Eldredge
Grignr’s Swift Sword of Vengeance by Daniel M. Kimmel
Ouanna’s Rock by Jean Marie Ward
Grignr and the Tomb of Really Bad Evil by Michael A. Ventrella
About the Authors
Not one book, but two!
I’m back from Europe: it was fascinating and tiring and productive and long in a short period of time. Still haven’t had time to go through the 1,517 photos I took in Montenegro and Vienna, but I’ll get to it soon.
Instead, since I’ve been home, I’ve been hard at work catching up on missed deadlines. But one thing I didn’t miss was the Fantastic Books Kickstarter campaign for the anthology Jewish Futures. Somehow, without me ever expecting it, the campaign has surpassed its ultimate stretch goal, meaning that, instead of just one book, we’ll be producing two. We haven’t discussed what the title of the second volume will be, whether it will just be number 2, or if we’ll pick a completely different title. But whatever we call it, everyone who has backed the campaign (at the $5 level or more) will also be receiving a copy of that second book when it’s available (sometime after the first, which is still on schedule for July 2023 publication). And with 46 hours left to go in the campaign, there’s still time to tell people that, at whatever pledge level, you’re now getting two books for the price of one!
I’m just amazed at the number of people who have backed the campaign, who thought as highly of the project as we do. Thank you, all!