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?

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PW Starred Review for We Are All…

Hey, so Publisher’s Weekly gave a starred review to We Are All Completely Fine, my novella that’s coming out August 2014. Said the Weekly Ones: “This complex novel—scathingly funny, horrific yet oddly inspiring—constructs a seductive puzzle from torn identities . . . dark, degenerate, and sublime.” You can read the full review.

 

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.

Afterparty is NOT a hoax

…or IS IT?

Let’s say ALIEN INTELLIGENCES want to screw with you, Philip K Dick style. You’re at home, receiving most of your information about the outside world through a screen. You have been told by the screen that your novel will be published next week. This book is all about how you can’t trust anything your brain tells you. It has a character who is PARANOID because she can see PATTERNS in the NOISE. You are almost certain you wrote this book.

The screen brings you EMAIL from REAL PEOPLE who claim to have read the advanced copies of the book. REVIEWS appear on the screen, and you dutifully send links to these pages to other REAL PEOPLE who appear on a screen labeled TWITTER. But what proof do you really have? What if the ALIEN INTELLIGENCES want you to remain CALM and WAIT?

Then, a box arrives in the mail. It is not a metaphorical container, like DropBox. It is REAL.

The BOX contains this:

BoxOfAfterparty

There are many copies of the book you thought you wrote. You are happy, and relieved. The book is REAL!

And then you think, wait a minute. What if this is the ONLY BOX? That’s just the kind of thing that ALIEN INTELLIGENCES would do.

You have a week to wait before it is scheduled to appear in any other bookstore. You can do nothing but wait. Nothing but type this into the screen and click PUBLISH. Because that is something a REAL PERSON would do.

You know only one thing for sure: This will be a LONG WEEK.

Locus Interview, with Angels

Locus April 2014
So the April issue of Locus is out, and I’m on the cover, next to my brain. That’s an angel hiding in the hemispheres, for all you folks who doubted my angelic nature.

Okay, maybe it’s not my brain. The Locus website has an excerpt from the interview, in which I talk about neuroscience, my family, Afterparty, and other things I’ve written.

The issue also has two reviews of Afterparty (snippets below). I’m a lucky man.

Russell Letson: “This is a real science-fiction crime thriller: the old evils and insanities are all there, given new twists by the double-edged blades of science and technology. And, like the best crime and SF novels, those moral and philosophical questions linger, after the mere whodunnit puzzles have been solved.”

Faren Miller: “Well before Afterparty concludes with ‘The Parable of the Faithful Atheist”, it’s clear that Daryl Gregory continues to be one of the top writers in a field where literature works alongside adventure–and both forms benefit from the exchange.”

People who speak for me

Back when I was a high school teacher, I had a 40-minute commute each way, and I listened to a lot of audio books. Most were just okay. But I realized early on that when an audio book is terrible, it’s probably the book’s fault. No actor can save a bad book.

But when an audio book is great, it’s because they’ve found a great actor to go with a great book.

David MarantzWith the audio version of Raising Stony Mayhall, I felt extremely lucky to get David Marantz. He’s great–which means that if the book fails for you, it’s all my fault.

What I love about Dave’s performance is that his rich voice brings so much warmth to the book–which you really need in a novel that’s supposed to be about the nicest zombie in the world.

And Dave likes the book. My friend Marjie Nye pointed this out to me: Audible.com has a page for their voice actors to post videos about The Best Book I’ve Ever Narrated. Scroll down that page to see Dave’s entry about about why he dug Stony.  (Or, just buy the audible version!)

Tavia GilbertAfterparty will also be available from Audible.com. They just finished recording, and while I haven’t heard it yet, I’ve talked to the actor and I’ve got that lucky feeling again.

The fabulous Tavia Gilbert is narrating this one. She contacted me early on to clarify some pronunciations of names in the book, and we talked on the phone a bit about the main character Lyda and her alter ego Dr. Gloria: two voices, one brain. I’m psyched to hear the results, and I’ll post a link when the audio book’s available.

Update: The audible.com version of Afterparty is now available for preorder!

Kirkus joins the party

We were on the road yesterday, coming home from a quick Spring break trip to Tennessee to see my folks. They’re getting older, and I have to confess that I’m worried about my mom. She watched the entire three hours of “The Bachelor” finale. Obviously my sisters and I will have to take steps if this trend continues. I’m not looking forward to that moment that every child of older parents dreads: the day we’re forced to take away the remote.

Anyway, we were somewhere southwest of Winchester, Virginia with Number One Son behind the wheel (it’s good to have another driver in the family), when I checked my mail and got the news that Kirkus Reviews had reviewed Afterparty.

Now, Kirkus has the reputation for giving reviews that are… let’s just say “tough.” So I was relieved to see they’d given it a star. (“Awarded to books of exceptional merit” according to the website, which instantly put me in mind of Boy Scout promotion ceremonies. I want a badge!)

Anyway, the review’s not online yet, but here’s an excerpt:

Kirkus Star“This taut, brisk, gripping narrative, dazzlingly intercut with flashbacks and sidebars, oozes warmth and wit. A hugely entertaining, surprising and perhaps prophetic package that, without seeming to, raises profound questions about the human mind and the nature of perception.”

So that’s nice.

Cosmic Book News On Afterparty

A lot of news rolling in today. Like this review that just came in from Byron Brewer at Cosmic Book News. It’s pretty much what every writer hopes for. Also, Byron and I will also be doing an interview later.

Here’s a snippet from the review:

“It has been a long time since I have read a book of such wide scope, one that defies genre type such as Afterparty. Has writer Daryl Gregory (BOOM! Studios’ Planet of the Apes comic book series) given us another zombie romp, a superhero novella or a supernatural thriller for the ages?

“Yes, yes and yes.”

See what I mean? Now read the full review.