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More Wild Cards Coming Your Way!

John Picacio never disappoints, and neither does Tor.com and their amazing art director, Irene Gallo. We have a couple of brand new original Wild Cards story coming up on Tor.com, with John providing the illustrations, and Irene has just shared his cover for the latest, a Drummer Boy novelette from Stephen Leigh.

Here 'tis. Enjoy.



"The Atonement Tango" will be available -- for free -- on Tor.com on January 18 of the new year.

You don't need to wait quite that long for your Wild Cards fix, however. On December 21, Tor.com will upload another WC story, Carrie Vaughn's "The Thing About Growing Up in Jokertown."

And don't forget to check out the older WC offerings on Tor.com, some amazing original fiction by David D. Levine, Daniel Abraham, Cherie Priest, Carrie Vaughn, Paul Cornell, and Walter Jon Williams. You can find them all with a simple search, and read them all for free. The Recycler, Jonathan Hive, the Button Man, Earth Witch, the Understudy and Elephant Girl and the Sleeper, Pop Tart and Golden Boy... they are all waiting for you on Tor.com.

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Jets Game?

Jets Game? What Jets game?

Did the Jets play a game? On Monday Night Football, you say?

Surely not.

Those were not the Jets. That was the Weehawken High School Junior Varsity dressed up in Jets uniforms, surely.

The hardest hit of the night was the one the security guys put on the streaker.

Oh, well. Bryce Petty came in and showed flashes. That was something. One nice long TD pass... and a lot of misses. We'll see him the rest of the way, I am told. Good. Maybe with some reps in practice, he can improve.

An APB has been put out for Gang Green's once heralded D.

(The Jets being the Jets, now that they have been officially eliminated from the playoffs, they will probably win a few meaningless end-of-season games, just to mess up their draft position).

Life is meaningless and full of pain.

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Speaking of Awards...

As I was saying, 2016 was not a great year. It was not even a good year.

But that is not to say that some good things did not happen.

Worldcon is always one of the highlights of the year for me, and has been since I attended my very first in 1971. One of my favorite worldcons of all time was MidAmericon, the Kansas City worldcon in 1976 (you know how up to date they are in Kansas City, they've gone about as far as they can go). This year's worldcon, MidAmericon II, was alas, not even close to that legendary innovative gathering in '76... but we saw friends, ate barbeque, signed books, enjoyed panels and readings, and had fun in all the ways fans always do when they gather.

In 1976, I lost two Hugo Awards, and held the first Hugo Losers Party in my room (with the help of Gardner Dozois, my fellow loser). That was one of the highlights of the con, beyond a doubt.

As it happens, I reclaimed the Hugo Losers Party last year in Spokane, so I held one once again at Big Mac II. Since my old room in the Muehlebach was no longer available (that whole wing having been demolished in the interim), I rented the Midland Theatre instead and had the bash there. And once again, it was one of my favorite parts of the con.

In 1976, Hugo losers got nothing at the party but a lusty cheer, some cheap booze, and maybe a few cheez puffs. In 2016, however, at least a few of the lucky losers got Alfie Awards. (Which of course did not exist in 1976, since I just made them up last year). They're made of old hood ornaments (as some early Hugos were), polished and replated by Tyler Eugene Smith.

Turns out most of the 2016 Alfie presentation was recorded, and has now been uploaded to YouTube. So for all of you who were not able to attend the Hugo Losers Party, here 'tis.

(Do note that the early part of my talk, where I explain the awards and talk about Alfie Bester and the first Hugo, is missing).



Congrats once more to all the Alfie winners... and to losers everywhere.

Some Hugo Picks

December has come, and the end of 2016 (thank god, what a bloody awful year) will be upon us in a few more weeks. Which means, inevitably, that people will soon be drawing up lists of the year's best books, stories, television shows, and movies... for the Hugo Awards, the Emmys, the Oscars, the Dragons, the Tiptrees, the Nebulas, the World Fantasy Awards... or just for the fun of it.

For my part, I already know what two of my Hugo nominations for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form will be.

ARRIVAL, to start with. Terrific adaptation of a classic story by Ted Chiang. Brilliant performance from Amy Adams. (She is always great, I think, but this was her best role to date). A real science fiction story, not a western in space. Intelligent, thought-provoking, with some wonderfully alien aliens.

And WESTWORLD, season one, from HBO. Of course, as with GAME OF THRONES, one can nominate individual episodes of this one in Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form... but for me it makes more sense to nominate the entire season in Long Form. (GAME OF THRONES season one was nominated in this fashion at Chicago, and won). It really is one very long, complex, wonderfully rich story, with great acting, writing, and directing, and the usual spectacular HBO production values. Like ARRIVAL, this is one that bears repeated re-viewing, and requires some thought. The Academy will likely nominate WESTWORLD for a shelf full of Emmys. I hope fandom recognizes its brilliance as well. This is a story about the nature of sentience and the cost of being human, a commentary on our society and (especially) on the ways we choose to entertain ourselves, full of twists and turns and gut punches and reveals and surprises, all masterfully delivered by Jonah Nolan and Lisa Joy.

(GAME OF THRONES is also eligible for Hugo nomination this year, of course. The entire sixth season in Long Form, or individual episodes of same in Short Form. However, because of the air dates and eligibility periods, GOT will not be in the running for the Emmy Awards this year, so WESTWORLD will have a clear run at those... contending, of course, with BETTER CALL SAUL, OUTLANDER, and all of the other terrific dramas out there).

There were other good movies and television shows released in 2016, and I have no doubt that some of them will find places on my own personal Hugo ballot as well... but honestly, I cannot imagine that I will like any of them as well as I liked ARRIVAL and WESTWORLD.

Giants Lose

I returned from Mexico last night just in time to watch the amazing WESTWORLD finale, and the Giants - Steelers game, which Parris had TIVO'd for me.

WESTWORLD won, but the G-Men lost. Can't say I was surprised, but I was disappointed. My fears were confirmed: the six game Giants win streak was more an artifact of weak opposition than it was an indication of the strength of Big Blue.

Against a strong team like Pittsburgh, New York's weaknesses were exposed. There's still no run game -- second worst in the league, at present -- and the offensive line is a turnstile. Eli gets no time to throw, they can't open holes for the RBs, and Flowers is still holding on every other play and getting beat on the others. Injuries have not helped. Justin Pugh was a huge loss. That being said, it would help if Eli threw the ball to someone besides Odell from time to time. Victor Cruz was not targeted once.

The defense still looks stout, but injuries there hurt as well. JPP going out was very worrisome. He's desperately needed.

It should also be said that Odell was not wrong in his postgame comments: the officiating was terrible, and very one-sided. The Steeler DBs got away with mugging ODB repeatedly, but that was far from all. The Pittsburgh O-line was holding flagrantly on several big plays from Big Ben, but was never called on it.

Honest officiating would not have made a difference, however. The Steelers would have won anyway. They were the better team yesterday.

These next four games are all tough ones. The Giants need to step it up, or they could very well lose all four.

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Wild Cards Website Debuts

Here's some cool news for all the Wild Cards fans out there: Wild Cards has a new home on the web.

Our brand-new official Wild Cards website debuts today. (There's been a superb fan site for years at Wild Cards Online, and a great Wild Cards Wikia, and even a Wild Cards Facebook group, but this is the first time in a while that we've had a site that was all our own).

Check it out at:

http://www.wildcardsworld.com/

(We are still tweaking the site, so please forgive any errors or omissions).

There's tons of content there, and we hope to be adding more regularly. Head on over and explore, and mark it down as a place to visit regularly.

And of course we'd love to hear your thoughts. What do you think of the place, and what would you like to see us add in the future? Comments welcome... but ONLY about Wild Cards and the Wild Cards website, please. Stay on topic.

Clear skies and tailwinds....

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South of the Border

Strange to say, although I have lived in New Mexico since 1979, I have never really visited Old Mexico. Oh, I attended a Westercon in El Paso a few years back, and spent an afternoon in Juarez with some other fans and writers. And I spent a few hours in Tijuana back in the late 80s, I believe, while attending Comicon in San Diego. But that hardly counts. There's a lot more to Mexico than the border towns.

My first real visit to Mexico starts tomorrow, when I jet down to Guadalajara for the Guadalajara International Book Fair: https://www.fil.com.mx/ingles/i_info/i_info_fil.asp

I'm one of the guests at the conference. I'll be doing interviews, a press conference, a live streaming event, and a signing. I expect I will be doing some tequila tasting as well. I am informed that Guadalajara is the tequila capital of Mexico.

I am looking forward to meeting my Mexican publishers, editors, and fans.

This is my last scheduled event for 2016. My appearance schedule for 2017 is very limited, and will remain so until WINDS is completed. So if you want to meet me or get a book signed, this will be the last chance for a good few months...

See you south of the border.

Six in a Row

The Giants got their sixth win in a row yesterday, which is great. Their longest win streak in years. Of course, it was against the hapless Cleveland Browns, who are racing toward an 0 -16 season and the first overall pick in next year's draft. I'm informed that it still counts.

Odell Beckham had an amazing afternoon, catching two TDs and returning a kick for a third... though the last was called back on a penalty, pfui. And JPP had a monster game on the defensive side of the ball, the best he's had since blowing off half his hand in a Fourth of July fireworks accident. Big Blue's D seems to be getting better every game, and JPP is a big part of that. Victor Cruz had a nice catch as well.

On the other, the win was not nearly as convincing as it should have been, considering the quality of the opposition, and there was plenty to be concerned about as well. The Giants still have no running game to speak of, and the O-line is suspect. They don't run block well, they don't give Eli enough time, and Eric Flowers commits too many holding penalties.

So while I am pleased, I am still far from convinced that the G-Men are juggernauts. The Giants are now 8-3 and well positioned for a playoff run, but the real test for them lies ahead. The easy part of their schedule ended in Cleveland. Their last five games are all tough ones. The acid test will come in their rematch with the Cowboys, who they beat in the season opener. Dallas has not lost since. Rematches with the Redskins and Eagles also await them, along with games against the Steelers and Lions. Every one of those teams is formidable, and Eli and Company will need to be playing at the top of their form to beat any of them. I just hope the Giants have saved their best for last.

As for the Jets... sigh... well, they lost again. To the Patriots. What else is new?

To be fair, Gang Green played a pretty good game. If they had played that well in some of their earlier games, they might not be 3 - 8. But they didn't, and they are. Fitz had a good game, except right at the end when it really counted.

At this point, I just don't see the sense of starting Fitz. He's not going to be with the team next season, and even if he does "give them the best chance to win," winning a few more games this season is not going to make any difference. The Jets need to look to the future and start thinking about next season, and the season after. They need to see what they have in Bryce Petty. Yes, he's young, he's raw, he will make mistakes... but he won't get better sitting on the bench. With rookie QBs like Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott tearing up the league, there's no good reason for not playing Petty, who has been in the league a season longer than either. And if he's NOT the answer, well, better to know that sooner rather than later...

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Black Friday Books

It is Black Friday, the day when Christmas shopping begins in earnest.

So let me say again: books make great Christmas presents, and autographed books are even better. Being hard to fine and all.

We have a great selection at the Jean Cocteau Cinema, including two very special Anniversay Editions. The GAME OF THRONES anniversary hardcover, signed by yours truly, and the OUTLANDER anniversary edition, autographed by Diana Gabaldon.





And if anniversary editions are not your thing, we've got all sorts of other signed books as well. Here are just a few of those.





For these, and many other titles, head to http://www.jeancocteaubooks.com/

And yes, the JCC does now accept international orders... but you'll need to act soon (or pay a lot more) to get the books there by Christmas.

Gobble Gobble

Turkey Day is here.

Friends, family, food, and football. The Four Freedoms. What's not to love?

We will be heading up to Melinda's shortly for her annual feast.

It's been a hard year and a harder month, but I still have a lot to be thankful for. Parris, my friends, my agents, editors, and publishers, my fans and readers.

Here's hoping that everyone reading this has a great Thanksgiving.

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