San Francisco Loves Thelma. But do you?

The San Francisco Chronicle just named Pandemonium as one of its 10 SF Holiday Books for 2008. This is positive news for Do it for Thelma Day, but frankly it’s not enough. The population of the earth is about 6.72 billion. And the Thelma Day supporting Facebook group is only up to 75 as of November 24.

Now sure, you may say that Thelma Day is about buying the book on December 15, and most of the globe isn’t even on Facebook. True, true. But as an indicator of planetary participation, it’s worrisome. And I don’t like to make Mom worry.

But we can turn this around for her. By the end of Thanksgiving weekend, if the Facebook group adds only, say, 20% of the world’s population — 1,344,000,000 people, give or take — can you imagine how proud Thelma will be?

I’ll be seeing Mom next Thursday for the big day. Nobody wants to see a grown woman cry.  So sign up your friends, pets, and ancestors for Facebook and the group, and let’s give Thelma something to be thankful for.

Write Now! No, wait…

I don’t usually write about my day job here. It’s web programming, if you want to know. And starting Monday I’m going to Philly for a week-long, 13-hour a day, programming concentration camp on the extreme reaches of .net — basically, Nothin’ but Semi-Colons for 65 hours. 

So, no fiction writing next week, which sucks, because I’m in the middle of editing the second book, Oh You Pretty Things and trying to get a couple short stories jump-started. After the World Fantasy Convention in Calgary a couple weeks ago I came back with the Eye of the Tiger, the Heart of a Lion, the Ants in My Pants, and other general animal metaphors for motivation. (The ants can only be killed by sitting down on them and writing for hours a day.)  

Why so motivated, Daryl? I’m glad you asked. At WFC  I got to hang out with writers and editors and publishers, have Writerly Conversations (Chris Roberson is my new guru of the bar stool), hang out with great friends like Heather Lindsley, Sam Butler, and Tim Akers, get career advice from Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders, have fan boy moments meeting comics legend Bill Willingham (Fables, The Elementals) and Dr. Who writer Paul Cornell (who also writes Captain Britain, and possesses some weird power of hilarity which — without him having to speak at all — renders waitresses helpless). Then Heather finished reading Oh You Pretty Things and gave me particularly perceptive notes which made me want to sit down and start rewriting immediately. (Also, it’s embarrassing to be asked about a plot point and not be able to remember  — time to go back and see what I actually wrote.)

It was also a jolt to find out that people had been reading Pandemonium and liking it. The book was talked about it on panels — I found out the book had made the Locus Recommended Reading List for the year — a few luminaries were recomnending my short fiction. Then at parties editors were hitting me up to write stories for their anthologies.

This is deeply weird. I’ve been going to cons for a few years now feeling like a Spy in the House of SF, so it’s disconcerting to walk into a party actually knowing some of these people, and weirder, having them act like I belong there. 

So, I came back primed to write. And then got almost nothing done as I caught up on the day job. 

However, a few good things did appear on fiction front. First, the New York Review of Science Fiction, one of the oldest (the oldest?)  and well-regarded and — get this — print  magazines for criticism in the field ran a pretty damn nice review of Pandemonium. Greg Johnson said the book

…swims confidently against the tide of grand space opera and epic fantasy that dominates much of current science fiction and fantasy. And like the Minister Faust novel [mentioned earlier in the review] is the work of a young writer willing to play with the conventions of science fiction and fantasy and turn them in to a fresh, new vision of the world we live in. (Full Review)

That’s right, baby. Young writer. Which is true, career-wise, but when you’re 43 it’s always nice to sound like a young turk. 

Also last week, Aaron Hughes of the Fantastic Reviews website ran the long rambling interview we did when I was in Denver for WorldCon. I cringe at some of my run-on sentences, the points that don’t quite come to a point, etc — but you can certainly tell it was done in person and that I was having a lot of fun talking about myself. Oh, and you can read Aaron’s review of Pandemonium that he ran earlier in the year.

Okay, I’m out of minutes again. It’s time to put on my programmer hat. See you on the other side, people.

Do it for Thelma on December 15

The other day I answered Five Questions over on Neth Space. Ken Fergason dares to ask the questions no else dares to, such as, “If JoePa were a demonic archetype, what role would he play in your fiction?” 

Question #5 was this:

 

Why should Pandemonium be the next book that everyone reads?

DJG: Do it for my mother. When I started my writing career, she said, You know what you ought to do, DJ? (My family calls me DJ.) You should write a best-seller.This seemed like excellent advice. But how to execute it?

Your question, Ken, points the way. If everyone—and I mean everyone, each man, woman, and child on this planet, plus any Russians and billionaires currently in orbit—makesPandemonium the next book they read, then my mother’s dream can become a reality. You don’t even have to read the book, you just have to buy it. Let’s pick a day in December. December 15th. On that day, go out or get online and buy a copy for yourself and one for any relative that is bed-ridden and/or computer illiterate.

Come on, people, we can do this. If we can just put aside our petty excuses—for example, that you don’t like science fiction, or that you don’t read English, or that your refugee camp doesn’t have a decent internet connection—if we can just stop all that whining for a minute and buy my book, then, finally, my mother, Thelma Gregory, will know I’m a success. For more information on Do It For Thelma Day, see my website.

And now Emily Balistrieri, a woman I’ve never met before, has started a facebook event group called Buy Daryl Gregory’s Pandemonium Dec 15th.  There are already 21 members, some of whom aren’t even relatives. Emily is also blipping it. It’s an Obama-like groundswell of support, people!

We are only a billion or so buyers short of making my mom’s dream a reality. So join the group, blip the event, buy a book on December 15, and make a grown woman cry. With happiness. 

Do it for Thelma