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An Evening with Joe

We had a great fun evening last night at the JCC with Joe R. Lansdale and the premiere episode of season 3 of HAP & LEONARD. Joe brought along writer director Jim Mickle and actor Douglas M. Griffin, and a terrific time was had by all.

The first two seasons of HAP & LEONARD were very entertaining, but if the opening episode is any indication, this third season is really going to kick ass. It's based on Joe's novel TWO BEAR MAMBO, for those of you who've read the books.

And speaking of the books, we have lots of AUTOGRAPHED Joe Lansdale title available at the JCC Bookstore. Check it out at http://jeancocteaucinema.com/product-category/author/i-l/lansdale-joe-r/

Cool New Wild Cards Stuff

Katie Rask has done a lovely tribute to Vic Milan and two of his iconic Wild Cards characters over at Tor.com:

https://www.tor.com/2018/02/28/a-wild-cards-tribute-to-victor-milan/

Do check it out, and feel free to jump in with your own thoughts about Vic's contributions to Wild Cards, which were numerous and important.

Meanwhile, over on our official Wild Cards website, we've added some new blog posts from Max Gladstone, Melinda Snodgrass, and David Anthony Durham. You'll find them at:

http://www.wildcardsworld.com/blog/

In other Wild Cards news, the reissues continue apace, and I've just delivered a new and expanded version of volume nine, JOKERTOWN SHUFFLE, to Tor. We've added two brand new stories to the original text from the 1991 Bantam edition: a Ramshead tale by Cherie Priest, and a Lady Black story from Carrie Vaughn. JOKERTOWN SHUFFLE has been out of print in English for more twenty years, so we're pleased to make it available to a new generation of readers... but be careful, if there was ever a Wild Cards book that required trigger warnings, it's this one.

((Comments permitted, on Wild Cards only. Stay on topic)).

Hap & Leonard Are Coming...

Hap & Leonard are coming back to the Jean Cocteau Cinema, and they're bringing Joe Lansdale with them.

Put it in your calendars. Thursday, March 1, 7:00 pm at the JCC. We'll have a special screening of the premiere episode of HAP & LEONARD, season 3.



Joe Lansdale His Own Self will be joining us once again, to shoot some sh*t with me, answer your questions, and sign a bunch of his books.



Joe is always a hoot and a half, and we're thrilled to have him back in Santa Fe. Come join the fun.

Reading Vic

Vic Milan has left us... but his words and his work live on, so long as he is being read.

Tor has asked me to announce that his new story, "EverNight," is now available to purchase in ebook on Amazon and other retailers. Here are the links:

https://www.amazon.com/Evernight-Tor-com-Original-Victor-Mil%C3%A1n-ebook/dp/B079Y7NC1N/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1519227187&sr=8-1&keywords=evernight+victor+milan

http://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250198167

For those looking for his recent books, the first three volumes of his DINOSAUR LORDS series are available via mailorder from the Jean Cocteau Cinema:

http://jeancocteaucinema.com/product-category/author/m-p/milan-victor/

All the dinosaur books are autographed.

Some of his fans have emailed to ask if there will be more dinosaur books coming. My understanding is that he had done an outline for three more volumes, and had written some portion of the first of those, but did not have a contract to continue the series. How much material he left behind, or whether he would have wanted someone else to finish the books, I cannot say. If I learn more, I'll be sure and let his readers know.

He does have one more Wild Cards story coming out in TEXAS HOLD 'EM, scheduled for release in hardcover in October. It features a new character, Dust, and Candace Sessou, the protagonist of "EverNight," and I know Vic was very pleased with it.

Another Ace Falls

Our writing community here in New Mexico, and the world of SF and fantasy in general, took a blow this afternoon when our friend Victor Milan died after two months of suffering and struggle in a series of Albuquerque hospitals.

I first met Vic not long after I moved to Santa Fe in 1979. Outgoing, funny, friendly, and incredibly bright, he was one of the cornerstones of the New Mexico SF crowd for decades, a regular at Bubonicon in Albuquerque, the perennial masquerade host at Archon in St. Louis, a fan, a lover of ferrets and collector of guns, a gamer (I can't tell you how many times we stayed up till dawn playing Superworld, Call of Cthulhu, and other RPGs with Vic, and laughing at the outrageous antics of the characters he created). But above all, he was a writer.



He wrote all sorts of things, in and out of our genre: westerns, historicals, men's action adventure, more books than I could possibly list... but it was in science fiction that he did his best work. CYBERNETIC SAMURAI and CYBERNETIC SHOGAN were two of the best known from the old days. More recently, he was finding new readers by the score all around the world with his DINOSAUR LORDS series.



He was also a Wild Cards writer, of course; one of my aces. In a sense he was the father of Wild Cards. It was Vic who gave me the Superworld game as a birthday present back in 1983, and it was those long long nights of playing Superworld that eventually inspired me to start Wild Cards.

Vic was an integral part of the series right from the very start, and the characters he created were among our most popular. Among them were the Russian ace Molniya, the Harlem Hammer, the twisted German psychopath Mackie Messer, Dr. Pretorius, Ice Blue Sibyl, Flipper, Dust, the Darkness... and above all, Mark Meadows, aka Cap'n Trips, and his "friends" Jumpin' Jack Flash, Starshine, Moonchild, Aquarius, Cosmic Traveller, Monster... and the Radical. The long saga of Mark Meadows began in volume one, and was brought to a close in volume twenty, SUICIDE KINGS. It was a long strange trip indeed, and every step of it was exciting, thanks to Vic.



Sadly, Vic's health has not been good in the past few years, and it finally gave out on him. But his warmth, his wit, and his talent will be long remembered by everyone who knew him, and his words will live on after him.

And, as irony would have it, he has another story coming out tomorrow on Tor.com. It's a Wild Cards story called "EverNight," set in the catacombs of Paris and featuring Candace Sessou, the Darkness, a character he introduced in SUICIDE KINGS. The link will not go live until 9 am EST tomorrow, but once it does you can read the story here, for free:

https://www.tor.com/2018/02/14/wild-cards-evernight-victor-milan/

It saddens me that Vic did not live long enough to see his story on Tor.com, or appreciate the gorgeous piece of John Picacio art that adorns it (he was a huge fan of John's)... but I hope that many of you will read "EverNight." If you like it, do leave a comment. I think that would have pleased him.

I believe that Vic may have another book or two in his DINOSAUR LORDS sequence coming out, but I am not sure of that. I do know that he will be represented in two more Wild Cards books. He has a story in TEXAS HOLD 'EM, due out in October, and a collaboration in the book we're doing now, JOKER MOON. Would that I could say that there will be many more after that, but I fear those will be the last.

Fare thee well, Vic. It was an honor knowing you.

Hugo Nominations Open

Nominations for the 2018 Hugo Awards have now opened, I am informed. If you are a member of last year's worldcon in Helsinki, this year's worldcon in San Jose, or next year's worldcon in Dublin, you are eligible to nominate. You should be receiving an email with a link to the ballot. (I have not actually received mine yet, but I'm told that others have, so I expect mine Real Soon Now).

I have a few things eligible for nomination myself this year... more for editing than writing, however.

GAME OF THRONES is eligible in the Dramatic Presentation category, of course. The whole of Season 7 can be nominated in Dramatic Presentation, Long Form, and any or all of the individual episodes can be nominated in Short Form. GOT has won in both categories in the past. Last year in Helsinki, three episodes actually had enough votes to make the ballot, but the new rule limits any series to no more than two places on the ballot, so we had to withdraw one. But you can nominate as many episodes as you like.

Wild Cards had a big year last year. We celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the series, and our twenty-fourth mosaic novel, MISSISSIPPI ROLL, was published in the fall. A couple of the older books were reissued, and we had two original Wild Cards story on Tor.com -- "When the Devil Drives" by Melinda M. Snodgrass, and "The Atonement Tango" by Stephen Leigh. The two Tor.com stories are both novelettes and are eligible in that category. MISSISSIPPI ROLL is a more complex case. Like most Wild Cards books, it is a mosaic novel, with individual stories by half a dozen writers woven together to make a whole that is, we hope, more than the sum of its parts. One could argue that our mosaics are anthologies, I suppose... but they feel more like collaborative novels to me. If the former view prevails, the individual components of MISSISSIPPI ROLL are eligible in the short fiction categories, Steve Leigh's "In the Shadow of Tall Stacks" in novella, the other stories as novelettes. If the latter, the volume as a whole could be nominated in novel.

In either case, I'm eligible for nomination in the editing categories. Short Form, most likely, for the stories in Tor.com as well as the book. (If you consider MISSISSIPPI ROLL a novel, then it counts for me as a Long Form editor, but I don't think one book is enough to make me eligible in that category). My Wild Cards work was the only editing I did in 2017. The big cross-genre anthologies I co-edited with Gardner Dozois all came out in previous years.

Wild Cards as a whole is definitely eligible for nomination as Best Series. That's a new category that first appeared on the ballot last year, as an experiment, but now it has been made permanent.

The only writing I had published in 2017 was "The Sons of the Dragon," which was published in THE BOOK OF SWORDS, Gardner Dozois's massive anthology of original sword & sorcery stories. Like "The Rogue Prince" and "The Princess and the Queen" before it, "Sons" is more of my (fake) history of the Targaryen kings of Westeros. By length, it is a novella... but it's not a traditional narrative. By design, it reads like history, not fiction; but since the history is entirely imaginative, it's still fiction, even if dressed up as (fake) non-fiction.

It has been pointed out to me that the publication of "The Sons of the Dragon" makes the entirety of A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE eligible to be nominated as Best Series. I suppose that's so. All I can say to that is : please don't. If you like fake history and enjoyed "The Sons of the Dragon," by all means nominate the story as a novella... but it's really not part of A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, and sneaking in the entire series by means of a technicality seems wrong to me.

If I may broaden the discussion a bit, while I think it is good that the Hugo Awards now have a category to recognize series books, I would quibble somewhat with how a "series" is defined. The rules were written very broadly, to include not only true series, like last year's winner, the Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold, but also any grouping of stories set against a common background, what we used to call "future histories," as well as what I'd term "mega-novels," those massive epics too long to be contained in a single volume. Three-quarters of the SF I wrote back in the 70s was set against a common background, but I never considered that I was writing a series when I visited the Thousand Worlds; it was a future history, made up of stories set hundreds of years apart, on planets separated by thousands of light years (though within the future history there was a series, the Haviland Tuf stories). On the other extreme, I don't consider A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE a series either; it's one single story, being published in (we hope) seven volumes. FWIW, Tolkien wasn't writing a series when he wrote LORD OF THE RINGS either. He wrote a big novel and his publisher divided it into three parts, none of which stands on its own.

Anyway, that's my own perspective on the matter. Obviously, the good folks who drafted the Best Series rules disagree. Ultimately I think the fans will decide the matter by what they choose to nominate. Worldcon committees have traditionally been reluctant to overrule the fans, even in cases where a nominated work would seem to be ineligible for one reason or other.

FWIW, Wild Cards is a series, plainly, so if you want to consider any of my work for Best Series, that's the one I'd ask you to look at. Thirty-one years and twenty=four books is something to be proud of, and I am.

Regardless of whether or not you nominate any of my own work, I do urge all the worldcon members reading this to be sure to nominate. There are a lot of awards being given in SF, fantasy, and horror these days, but the Hugo was the first, and it's still the one that means the most. It is, of course, important to vote on the final ballot too... but you can't vote for works that have not been nominated, and it is crucial to have widespread participation in the nominating stage.

((Comments and debate allowed, but ONLY on these subjects. Stay on topic)).

Another Night, More Flyers

With the NIGHTFLYERS television series deep in the throes of pre-production and set to start filing over in Limerick soon, my original novella will soon be available again... twice.

Tor is going to reissuing NIGHTFLYERS & OTHER STORIES, the short story collection we released originally in 1985. More details on that one in my post of January 18, below.

Bantam Spectra is also going to be publishing NIGHTFLYERS, as a stand-alone deluxe illustrated hardcover. The text will be the original novella, in its expanded 30,000 word version. The Bantam edition will also include fifteen interior illustrations and two endpapers from the astonishing and talented David Palumbo, printed in four color. Release is scheduled for May 29.

The cover is by Larry Rostant:



A few months later, in late August, Bantam will release a trade paperback tie-in edition, featuring key art from the TV series on the covers, with Palumbo's interior illustrations in black & white.

If you haven't read "Nightflyers" yet, you will have plenty of opportunity. Hope you enjoy it.

((Comments permitted, but stay on topic)).

Worldbuilding in Seattle

Every great story requires interesting characters, an engrossing plot, evocative prose, an important theme... but epic fantasy also requires a memorable setting. A "secondary universe," as J.R.R. Tolkien termed it, a world both like and unlike our own, with its own rich history and geography and customs, its own beauties and terrors. Tolkien himself was a worldbuilder without peer. It was not happenstance that when Lord of the Rings first achieved national popularity on the college campuses of America in the 1960s, the poster that appeared on tens of thousands of dorm rooms across the country featured neither a character portrait nor an action scene, but rather a map of Middle Earth.

The best fantasy carries us far from the fields we know, to worlds beyond the hill, worlds that, once visited, live on in our imaginations for the rest of our lives. They assume their own reality, these imaginary worlds. Millions of people have never visited Rome or Paris, yet they know the Colosseum and the Eiffel Tower by sight. Rivendell, the Shire, and the Mines of Moria are instantly recognizable in much the same way to countless readers around the world. The history of fantasy is rich with such imagined landscapes. Robert E. Howard gave us the Hyborian Age, Roger Zelazny showed us the way to Amber, Stephen R. Donaldson the Land, Terry Pratchett the Discworld. Jack Vance took us to the Dying Earth, Fritz Leiber to Lankhmar, Ursula K. Le Guin to Earthsea, Andre Norton to Witchworld. Oz, Neverland, Narnia, Wonderland, Zothique, Gormenghast, the list goes on and on and on...

These days, the world is more need of wonder than ever before. To that end, I am pleased to announce that I am sponsoring a new annual scholarship at the Clarion West Writers Workshop in Seattle. https://www.clarionwest.org/ An intensive six-week course for aspiring authors of science fiction and fantasy, Clarion West is one of the longest-running and most successful workshops in the world. Its instructors and graduates make up an honor roll of the best and the brightest in science fiction and fantasy. This summer the instructors will be Daniel Abraham, Ken MacLeod, Karen Lord, Yoon Ha Lee, Karen Joy Fowler, and Ellen Datlow. The deadline for applying is March 1.

Our new WORLDBUILDER SCHOLARSHIP will cover tuition, fees, and lodging for one student each year. The award will not be limited by age, race, sex, religion, skin color, place of origin, or field of study. The winner will be selected each year in a blind judging to an applicant who demonstrates both financial need and a talent for worldbuilding and the creation of secondary universes. For further details, query Clarion West at info@clarionwest.org

Clarion West offers a wide range of other scholarships and financial aid packages, but you can never have too many. I remember very well what it was like to be a writer starting out, struggling for sales, and counting every dime. It is my hope that the Worldbuilder Scholarship will help the next great fantasist on the long journey ahead. As Tolkien himself wrote, every journey begins with a single step

Ursula K. Le Guin, RIP

I was very saddened to hear of the death of Ursula K. Le Guin, one of the great SF and fantasy writers of the past half century.

Over the years, I had the honor of meeting Le Guin a few times, but I cannot claim to really have known her as a person. Our encounters, such as they were, were all at conventions or Nebula banquets or writer's workshops, and they were all brief and forgettable.

But I certainly knew her work... as anyone who calls themselves an SF fan surely must. She was one of the giants. A gifted storyteller, dedicated to her art, she influenced a whole generation of writers who came after her, including me. THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS ranks as one of the best science fiction novels ever written, in my estimation, and THE DISPOSSESSED and THE LATHE OF HEAVEN were splendid works as well. The original Earthsea trilogy occupies a similar lofty position in the fantasy pantheon (though it was badly served by its television adaptation).

The Golden Age of Science Fiction is usually reckoned to have been the Campbell Era at ASTOUNDING, and its Big Three were Heinlein, Asimov, and Van Vogt. Yet as important as that era was, for me the true Golden Age will always be the late 60s and early 70s, when the Big Three were Roger Zelazny, Samuel R. Delany, and Ursula K. Le Guin. We shall never see their like again.

The world is poorer today.

The Wolf Meows Again

Las Vegas, beware. Meow Wolf is coming.

(That's Las Vegas, Nevada, not Las Vegas, New Mexico. Which is not to say that Las Vegas, New Mexico is not a cool place in its own right).

Hot on the heels of the unveiling of Meow Wolf's expansion to Denver, we're thrilled to reveal that a third permanent exhibition is planned, this time at Bugsy Siegel's favorite oasis in the desert.



The new Las Vegas exhibit will be twice the size of the original here in Santa Fe (though smaller than Denver's), and will anchor the city's new Area 15 development. It's hard to stand out in a city that boasts a castle, a giant pyramid, a Roman palace, a circus, and a volcano that erupt on the hour, but knowing the talents of the men and women of Meow Wolf, Area 15 should be equal to the challenge.

You can find more details here:
https://bestoflasvegas.com/article/meow-wolf-plans-expansion-to-proposed-area-15-in-las-vegas.html
https://www.azcentral.com/story/travel/2018/01/18/meow-wolf-las-vegas-expansion/1046258001/
http://www.westword.com/arts/meow-wolf-las-vegas-will-open-in-2019-meow-wolf-denver-in-2020-9902725

And yes, tickets are already available:
https://lasvegas.meowwolf.com/

It's true... Meow Wolf is taking over the world. I blame those Charter Agents.

((Comemnts allowed, on Meow Wolf only. Stay on topic)).

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