Dear Mom, Here is what’s been happening

Hi Mom,

I know I told you not to call me anymore because I was going to say everything worth saying in this blog, including what I’m getting Dad for Christmas, because that’s why we got you that tablet LAST Christmas, so you could view this blog and those of the other, less famous members of the family. And okay, maybe I should have bought you an i-Pad instead of a Moldavian Mo-Pad, but the price was unbelievable, and none of the reviews mentioned the overheating issue. No technology is perfect. Besides, Dad says your thigh burns are healing up pretty well, so let’s agree to put that behind us.

I have so much to tell you! True, most of it happened months ago, and the fact that I haven’t updated this blog may be taken by some people that this as a “problem” with my “stupid blog-only policy.” But as I told my sisters, no policy is perfect out of the box. Look at Immigration! Compared to our national immigration policy, my blog communication strategy is going gangbusters.

Titan Books Party CakeWhere was I? Oh, right. The last time I updated this blog, it was August. The UK edition of Afterparty came out, and there was a swell party at the Worldcon in London where the cover of the book was on a cake with a bunch of other covers. I planned to eat my own words–ha ha! Get it? — but someone else ate my cover when I wasn’t looking.

Then We Are All Completely Fine came out from Tachyon and at Audible.com and we got a bunch of nice reviews all around.

WeAreAllCompletelyFineCoverRough-500x800

A couple weeks ago We Are All… was also in something called a Humble Bundle, which is way too complex to explain, but it basically means a bunch of people who normally would never pick up one of my books downloaded it and paid me some money because they got it alongside a Stephen King book, and because they could set their own price, and give some of what they paid to charity. That’s the way the internet works, now.

In November we got a dog. This is Mr. Banks. I know, he looks freakily similar to our previous dog. Don’t judge us.

Mr Banks

What else? Oh, yeah, Harrison Squared, which is coming out in the US in March, also sold to Titan Books in the UK. Yep, the cake people. Not sure what the publication date is, but they just showed me the British cover, and it’s cool. They won’t let me show it to you yet, but here’s the US cover:

Harrison Squared Comp Cover

Kirkus Best of 2014

Then the other day, Kirkus put Afterparty on it’s Best Fiction of 2014 list. Tell Aunt Carolyn that her son isn’t on Kirkus’s best-of list.

And now you’re up to date! Mostly. There were also a bunch of sales to Germany and France and Japan, and Afterparty got optioned by this HBO producer, and a different studio is optioning We Are All… But I promise to talk more about that soon.

Oh, and your grandchildren are fine, doing whatever.

Meanwhile, I have been reconsidering this “blog-only” policy. My sisters may be right that this is not the best way for a son to communicate with his mother, and frankly, it’s too hard to keep updating the site. So I’d like to announce my New Twitter-Only Policy. I’m @darylwriterguy there. I’m pretty sure that the Mo-Pad has a twitter app that’s totally easy to use. Just keep that asbestos pad in place.

Love,

Your son.

P.S.

I’m thinking a cardigan. Dad would look good in a cardigan, right? They’re supposed to be coming back.

Some Completely Fine Reviews

We Are All Completely Fine is not officially out yet (that’s in a week–August 12, 2014), but it has snuck into online stores, and reviews are coming out. I already blog-bragged (blagged? brogged?) the starred review from Publishers Weekly, but a wave of other reviews have come out, and I’m going to link to them here.

If I had a publicist, he or she would do this self-promotion for me. But I have to overcome my native midwestern reticence and share these reviews because (a) I would like to sell more copies, and (b) I need to feel better about myself. This 38,000 word novella took me as long to write as some people take to write a 120K novel. I’m just happy people are reading it.

First something from my favorite critic, and the top reviewer in the field, Gary K. Wolfe. He’s read almost everything I’ve written, and knows exactly what I’m trying to do, which is priceless. Writing in the August issue of Locus Magazine, he ends his review with this:

…Gregory eschews the sort of setpieces that could easily have made this novel five times as long, and that might disappoint some readers expecting a more conventional horror novel. But Gregory is interested more in empathy than revulsion, more in accommodation than heroics, and more in the victim than the monster. The result is his most tightly constructed and compulsively readable novel to date, and a small gem of what we might call post-horror horror.

John DeNardo of Kirkus Reviews (and the force behind SF Signal) made WAACF a Best Bet for August,  and Paul Goat Allen of the  Barnes & Noble Book Blog selected it as his What to Read in August, saying this:

Gregory (Pandemonium, The Devil’s Alphabet, et. al.) has done it again with yet another singularly unique, genre-blending masterwork about a support group of victims of paranormal violence who realize that their nightmarish traumas are all related. This creepy concoction of supernatural fiction, mystery, and horror is a dark little literary gem that readers will absolutely cherish.

Joe Karpierz  in the July 25, 2014 issue of The MT Void (Vol. 33, No. 4) really dug the ending, saying that after 45 years of reading in the genre, the ending still surprised him: “The big climax of the story is completely satisfying and follows naturally from what we’ve learned throughout the book.”

More snippets:

“I’ve not encountered many authors in the horror genre who flex literary muscle as well as Gregory.” –Chance Maree on Out of My Mind

“This was an intriguing and gripping novella.” Yzabel Ginsberg on Y Logs

“I enjoyed it enough that I am really hoping Gregory is preparing a sequel as we speak.”–Bibliosnark, on Confessions of a Book Whore

There are a few more, but really, I think I’ve exhausted your patience. Thanks for indulging me.

My Worldcon 2014 Schedule

Ooh, I’m getting excited about LonCon 3 — the 2014 World Science Fiction Convention to you civilians. I’ll be launching two books while I’m there: We Are All Completely Fine, and the UK edition of Afterparty, by Titan Books. As well as, you know, drinking beer and eating curry and sweeping chimneys and whatever else you do in London.

The full schedule isn’t out, but here are the two panels I know I’ll be on:

Sympathy for the Zombie Friday 12:00 – 13:30
Me, with Deborah Christie, David Towsey, Laurie Penny, Claudia Kern

According to M John Harrison, “The zombie is the ultimate other in a neoliberal society … they will never embarrass you by revealing their humanity.” To what extent does this reading explain the popularity of zombie franchises? And what are we to make of works such as Warm Blood, The Returned and In The Flesh, that start to rehumanise the zombie?

Imaginative Resistance Saturday 11:00 – 12:00
Me, with Jeff VanderMeer, Robert Jackson Bennett, Pat Cadigan, Sarita Robinson

Hume in his essay ‘Of The Standard of Taste’ asked why we are willing to suspend disbelief when authors make all sorts of wild claims but draw the line when the author makes moral claims contrary to our own. This might be less true today than it was in Hume’s time but we have our own moral rubicons. From sexual taboos to the role of government, what are the sort of things that readers tend to reject regardless of how skillfully the author makes the case? In other words, what sort of stories provoke imaginative resistance? How can this feeling be used to deliberate effect, for example within the horror genre?

Confluence 2014 Schedule

Confluence in Pittsburgh was one of the first cons I went to when I came back to publishing after a ten year break. I had a lot of fun, but in following years something always got in the way, either family vacations or San Diego Comic Con or visits from relatives. I’m so happy to finally get back there this year. And I’ll get to be on a panel with friend, neighbor, writer, and scientist Sarah Goslee!

Fri 7:30 PM Reading. I’ll be reading from “We Are All Completely Fine.”

Fri 9:00 PM A Pack of Apocalypse – How realistic are end-of-Civilization Scenarios?  Ken Chiacchia (M), Alan Katerinsky, Daryl Gregory, Sarah Goslee

Fri 10:00 PM Pine Looking for Something New in SF – the literature of the future D Harlan Wilson Daryl Gregory, Tim Liebe, Herb Kauderer (M)

Sat 10:00 am Kaffee Klatsch

Sat 11:00 am Pine What Makes you Think That? Perception vs Reality D Harlan Wilson, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Daryl Gregory (M), Brea Ludwigson

Sat 7:00 PM Franklin Beyond the Experimental Set SF/F/H going into unexplored Territory D Harlan Wilson (M)Daryl Gregory Tim Liebe Eric Leif Davin

Sun 11:00 am Autographing

Readercon 2014 Schedule

I really should do a better job keeping up with this blog — and also telling people where I’m going to be. In an effort to be a better person, here’s my schedule for Readercon, one of my favorite conventions, starting in just a few days. Next up, my schedule for Confluence and Worldcon!

Friday, July 11 2:00 PM When the Magic Returns. John Chu, Max Gladstone, Daryl Gregory, Lev Grossman, Victoria Janssen (leader). The “return” of magic into a mundane world is one of very few ways in which we see fantasy set in the future. Why is this? What makes fantasy and futurity so incompatible? Why is the return of magic so often associated with apocalypse, while its banishment is usually the consequence of scientific or industrial progress? From Aarne-Thompson tale types like Richard Corbet’s “The Fairies’ Farewell” to Kim Harrison’s Hollows series, panelists will talk about the ways in which magic-as- technology can be explored.

Saturday, July 12 1:00 PM Integrating Exposition. Jeanne Cavelos, Glenn Grant, Daryl Gregory, Mary Rickert, Sarah Smith (leader), Melanie Tem. In a 2013 interview with Paul Holdengräber at the NYPL, William Gibson noted that the description of cyberspace in Neuromancer came not from a character’s dialogue or a block of narrative text, but from a television show for children that Case and Molly encountered while channel-surfing. Gibson described this device as a way of both sneaking exposition into the text and selling it to the reader. As the announcer extols the wonders of cyberspace to the show’s viewers, the reader is encouraged to buy in just as those viewers would, with the credulity of a child. It also helps to set the scene; Gibson said he hears it in the tone of post-WWII PSAs about the wonders of atomic everything, a retrofuturistic touch that contrasts cleverly with Neuromancer’s gritty atmosphere. What are other ways of making exposition work for the narrative rather than interrupting it?

Saturday, July 12 2:30 PM Reading. Daryl Gregory reads an excerpt from a novella coming out from Tachyon in August, “We Are All Completely Fine.”

Afterparty Launch Day

An espresson and water, like any civilized person would have.

An espresson and water, like any civilized person would have.

Greetings from the road. I’m sitting in a Peet’s Coffee in Portland, on the second leg of the Afterparty Tour. Tonight I read and sign at Powell’s in Cedar Hills Crossing at 7pm.

This is my third coffee today — the first was espresso at Spella Cafe (left). Then I walked around downtown, had (at Scott Edelman’s suggestion) a Portland Creme donut at Voodoo Donut, had more coffee, then met up for lunch with pals and fellow writers Chris Roberson and Paul Tobin.  Life is good in Portland, my friends.

Signing at the B&N. Photo courtesy of Monique Nethercott.

Signing at the B&N. Photo courtesy of Monique Nethercott.

Two days ago in Oak Brook I signed and read for the hometown crowd, and it was a blast–especially the part where friends from high school and college came out of the woodwork. The day before that was an SF panel at C2E2 with Gary K. Wolfe, John Scalzi, and Misty (M.D.) Waters, and a fabulous dinner with Tor folk at the City Winery, where Mary Robinette Kowal’s husband is the winemaker.

But I wanted to take a second to talk about the Afterparty Launch Day on April 22, and the many bloggers, reviewers, and friends who put out the word about the book. There were so many interviews, guest blog posts, and reviews that I didn’t have time to even tweet them all. A full list would take a couple pages of scrolling, so let me mention the highlights.

The reviews were quite nice. Karen Burnham over at SF Signal is one of my favorite reviewers–and not just for my books. She has some very thoughtful things to say about Afterparty, and I’m very pleased that she “devoured” the book. Jason Sheehan at NPR also gave the book a “juicy” review; you’ll have to read it to see what I mean.

On the interview front, Amazon Books Blog ran a fun Q&A. I had an extended conversation with Andrew Liptak at SF Signal. And I had great interviews with Sarah at Bookworm Blues with Kristin at My Bookish Ways. There were quite a few more Q&As across the internet–which are all on twitter right now, but I’ll post them here.

Many bloggers opened up their sites to let me write a column. I’d especially like to thank these folks:

Sarah Chorn, who also runs Bookworm Blues, has a series on SF Signal called Special Needs in Strange Worlds. where she allowed me to write about “Minds, Bodies, and the Three D’s.”  John Scalzi gave me space to write about the Big Idea in Afterparty to talk how the brain is lying to us all the time. And Lawrence Schoen gave me a spot at the table in his Eating Authors series to talk about the best meal I ever had, which happened to be in Toronto, where Afterparty is set.

Thanks, everyone. You’re awesome.