Fantasy World

Tomorrow morning I’m off to my favorite con, the World Fantasy Convention, being held this year in San Jose, California. (Yes, you can start humming the song now. ) Pandemonium is up for Best Novel, and my goal, when I lose, is to smile manfully in such a way that people buy me consolation drinks. I have to make this pay somehow.

I’ll be appearing at the panel “Contemporary Rural Fantasy” at Sunday  10:00 AM. Everybody’s heard of urban fantasy — these days, that mostly means chicks in leather pants killing vampires — but this panel asks if there is such a thing as rural fantasy. I doubt the panel will answer that question — con panels don’t have a reputation for resolving much of anything — but we can always hope for controversy, right? I shall make the case for Suburban Fantasy being the most important genre of our field, and then storm out in anger.

World Fantasy is my favorite because it’s small (capped by its bylaws, a wonderful thing), it’s professional (mostly writers and editors and agents, with no costumes allowed), and the number of great people this con attracts  is pretty stunning. I’ll be seeing my editor there, hanging out with people I admire, and trying not to say anything -too- stupid.

But what I’m most looking forward to is reconnecting with some good friends, and finally meeting in person some people who I’ve only talked to through teh internets. And if this is like any previous year at WFC, I’ll be meeting one or two strangers who will turn out to be lifelong friends.

Gotta pack!

Sucked into the clockwork!

You know how the other day I was talking about the great stuff at Clockwork Storybook? I swear I didn’t know that they were about to ask me to join their illustrious (literally — some of them are illustrators) group.

The CWSB people–Chris Roberson, Bill Willingham, Matt Sturges, Bill Williams, and Mark Finn — mostly write comics and prose, and that prose is mostly SF and fantasy. They critique each other’s work, support each other, and blog about the writing craft on their website.

I met Chris at the 2008 WorldCon in Denver, and then at last year’s World Fantasy Convention in Calgary he introduced me to his friend Bill Willingham. Cue fanboy moment: I had read Bill’s comic series The Elementals back in college and loved it. He was the first writer I read who put heroes and villains in the real world and showed how complicated that could be. Years later, you can see that influence in my first novel, Pandemonium.

Now, cue second fanboy moment: at the very same table in that bar in Calgary, Chris introduces me to Paul Cornell. He wrote several episodes of the new Dr. Who (including the amazing “Father’s Day” episode ) and also does comics. He just finished a run on Captain Britain and is next working on Dark X-Men. He’s also a gifted prose writer and funny as hell.

Also also, Paul is joining Clockwork Storybook too, along with comic writer and novelist Marjorie Liu, and comics/screenplay/novel writer Mark Andreyko. Call us the class of ’09. And hey, now there are nine of us.

As I just told Matt Sturges, I have a lot more to learn from them than I’ll be able to contribute in return — but that won’t tempt me to turn down their offer. This’ll be fun.

Clockwork Storybook Ticking Again

One of my favorite blogs, Clockwork Storybook, is active again. CS is a group blog by comic and prose writers Chris Roberson, Bill Willingham, Matt Sturges, and Bill Williams. These guys have been friends for years, and their blog is an ongoing discussion about the craft.

So many good discussions going on:

Just great stuff. Tune in.

Publishers Weekly has sympathy for the devil

I’m home today, hanging out with daughter Emma who is herself hanging out with (probably swine) flu, when Chris Roberson sent me news of this new starred review on the Publisher’s Weekly site:

The Devil’s Alphabet Daryl Gregory.

Gregory (Pandemonium) produces a quietly brilliant second novel. As a teen, Paxton Martin left the town of Switchcreek, Tenn., to escape a scandal and the retrovirus that afflicted many of the town’s inhabitants. Many died hideously, and most survivors turned into strange creatures: towering argos, parthenogenic betas, enormously obese charlies. A decade later, Pax returns home to attend the funeral of a close friend who has committed suicide. Hoping to avoid his estranged father, Pax plans to leave immediately after the funeral, but he soon finds himself caught up in both the complexities of his old life and the deep quantum weirdness that Switchcreek has become. A wide variety of believable characters, a well-developed sense of place and some fascinating scientific speculation will earn this understated novel an appreciative audience among fans of literary SF. (Dec.)

So, good news on flu day. I’m thankful.