Sunday, June 30, 2013

Awards -- Stoker & Locus

I'm trying to clean up everything I have saved in Google Reader -- since it goes away tomorrow -- and that includes these recent genre-fiction awards, which you may well have already heard about:

2013 Bram Stoker Awards

These were announced two weeks ago by the Horror Writers Association at the World Horror Convention:

  • Superior Achievement in a NOVEL: The Drowning Girl by Caitlín R. Kiernan (Roc)
  • Superior Achievement in a FIRST NOVEL: Life Rage by L.L. Soares (Nightscape Press)
  • Superior Achievement in a YOUNG ADULT NOVEL: Flesh & Bone by Jonathan Maberry (Simon & Schuster)
  • Superior Achievement in a GRAPHIC NOVEL: Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times by Rocky Wood and Lisa Morton (McFarland and Co., Inc.)
  • Superior Achievement in LONG FICTION: The Blue Heron by Gene O’Neill (Dark Regions Press)
  • Superior Achievement in SHORT FICTION: "Magdala Amygdala" by Lucy Snyder (Dark Faith: Invocations, Apex Book Company)
  • Superior Achievement in a SCREENPLAY: The Cabin in the Woods by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard (Mutant Enemy Productions, Lionsgate)
  • Superior Achievement in an ANTHOLOGY: Shadow Show edited by Mort Castle and Sam Weller (HarperCollins)
  • Superior Achievement in a FICTION COLLECTION (tie):
    • New Moon on the Water by Mort Castle (Dark Regions Press)
    • Black Dahlia and White Rose: Stories by Joyce Carol Oates (Ecco Press)
  • Superior Achievement in NON-FICTION: Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween by Lisa Morton (Reaktion Books)
  • Superior Achievement in a POETRY COLLECTION: Vampires, Zombies & Wanton Souls by Marge Simon (Elektrik Milk Bath Press)
(via SF Signal)

2013 Locus Awards

These were announced yesterday -- I'm catching up, more or less -- at a gala ceremony in Seattle. (I was supposed to attend a Locus Awards ceremony in Seattle, back in '07, but the job disappeared just before the conference.)

  • SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL: Redshirts, John Scalzi (Tor; Gollancz)
  • FANTASY NOVEL: The Apocalypse Codex, Charles Stross (Ace; Orbit UK)
  • YOUNG ADULT BOOK: Railsea, China Miéville (Del Rey; Macmillan)
  •  FIRST NOVEL: Throne of the Crescent Moon, Saladin Ahmed (DAW; Gollancz ’13)
  • NOVELLA: “After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall,” Nancy Kress (Tachyon) 
  • NOVELETTE: “The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi,” Pat Cadigan (Edge of Infinity)
  • SHORT STORY: “Immersion,” Aliette de Bodard (Clarkesworld 6/12)
  • ANTHOLOGY: Edge of Infinity, Jonathan Strahan, ed. (Solaris US; Solaris UK)
  • COLLECTION: Shoggoths in Bloom, Elizabeth Bear (Prime)
  • MAGAZINE: Asimov’s
  • PUBLISHER: Tor Books
  • EDITOR: Ellen Datlow
  • ARTIST: Michael Whelan
  • NON-FICTION: Distrust That Particular Flavor, William Gibson (Putnam)
  • ART BOOK: Spectrum 19: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, Cathy Fenner & Arnie Fenner, eds. (Underwood)

(I saw this first at

Congratulations to all of the winners.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Incoming Books: June 14-16

Yes, I'm running late -- and I'm not blind to the irony that this blog is turning into a thinly updated series of lists of books I haven't read. But I like writing about stacks of books, so I'll keep doing that, and see if I can get myself back into doing more.

The following came home with me from a weekend away with The Wife, to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. We went off to New Hope, where we used to vacation pre-kids, and I found my way into four decent used bookstores (two each in Lambertville, NJ and Doylestown, PA, each pair immediately adjacent, too), and brought home the following:

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon -- a big novel about comics and fantasy and history and so forth; it won the Pulitzer and got glowing reviews and I had a hardcover that I hadn't managed to read before the Flood. (And I've read and enjoyed several Chabon books --  see my reviews of The Yiddish Policemen's Union, The Final Solution, and Manhood for Amateurs, for examples.) So maybe this trade paperback will be more likely to make it in front of my eyeballs.

Opened Ground: Selected Poems, 1966-1996 by Seamus Heaney -- I don't read as much poetry as I'd like -- I'm in the middle of a long-stalled attempt on all of Browning, and have a shelf of Larkin and Pound and Bishop and Auden and others I want to get to as well -- but I keep buying it, and someday I will have read as much poetry as I wish I already had.

An Everyman's Library omnibus of three "Ripley" novels by Patricia Highsmith -- Talented, Under Ground, and Game. I either had this exact book or some other Ripley omnibus pre-deluge, but never got to it.

The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes -- I read this history of the early years of Australia a decade or more ago, and enjoyed it then. And it was 95 cents in one of those stores, so I grabbed it again.

Home Town by Tracy Kidder -- I can't remember if the book clubs I worked for at the time (1999, just before the merger) won this or lost it, but it was a topic of discussion at editorial meetings for a while, and it sounded interesting. Kidder's the author of a number of nonfiction books -- Soul of a New Machine is probably the most iconic -- and this was his look at the small Massachusetts town where he lives. (Well, lives part of the time -- like all moderately famous writers, his bio feels the need to cite two places of residence.)

Country Matters by Michael Korda -- one publishing executive buys a summer home near Poughkeepsie, and the usual rural shenanigans ensue. I read a couple of Korda books on publishing and bestsellers, which weren't nearly as windy and full of his own ego as I'd heard Korda was, so I'm willing to try again. (That was a long time ago, though -- this book is from 2001, and I think it's later than anything I read.) I do wonder if he means the Shakespearean dirty pun in the title.

The Undertaking by Thomas Lynch -- Lynch is a poet, but he's also funeral director of a family company in Michigan, and has been for his entire adult life. This little book of meditations on death and its attendants is exactly the kind of unexpected discovery that used-book stores are made for.

Story of My Life by Jay McInerney -- Among the many things I'm under-read in is the serious non-genre novelists of my own generation; I started out with McInerney with Bright Lights, but never read him again. I also have vague thoughts of collecting all of the early Vintage Contemporaries, since everyone needs a silly book-collecting plan.

River Dogs by Robert Olmstead -- Speaking of early VCs, here's another one. I bet it was on a recommended reading list when I was at Vassar -- the writing-oriented profs were always trying to get us English major to read contemporary short-story writers -- but I got it now purely as part of that possible VC plan.

And then we get into Calvin Trillin -- Uncivil Liberties, Travels with Alice, Deadline Poet, and Too Soon To Tell. Uncivil and Too Soon are collections of his column -- which I never read when it ran, though I've loved all of the collections. Alice is a lovely travel/family book, which I re-read and reviewed a few years back. And Deadline Poet collects the beginning of the least significant of his careers -- he's since put out four or so collections of usually politically-themed doggerel -- but this one, as I recall, was the best of that bunch. I lost every single Trillin book I had in the flood, and he's a writer I do expect to re-read now and then -- so I have to rebuild.

Submission Policy

I haven't needed a written policy before, but I've been getting more and more requests recently, so I now want something to point people to. Slightly updated July 27, 2014.

Guest Posts

Antick Musings has never had any guest posts, co-written posts, or sponsored posts.

I do not intend to ever have any posts in those categories, or any other kind of posts other than the ones that come out of my own fingers.

Do not query in these areas; I'll just ignore you.

Book Reviews

Antick Musings is, at least in part, a book-review blog. And I do take submissions, and at least a few of those eventually turn into reviews here. But I don't review even as much as 10% of the books I see, and I read and/or review a lot of books that aren't sent as submissions.

If you're a publisher, please feel free to send me a query at gbhhornswoggler (at) gmail (dot) com. If you're at a large publisher, my address is probably in your publicity system already, so you could just send me stuff. I do list all of the books I receive in the Monday-morning Reviewing the Mail posts, so anything sent to me will at least get mentioned that once.

I will also admit here that I am very bad at replying to queries. One of my favorite writers once asked me to be a beta-reader for a novel, and I didn't manage to get that done.

Self-Published Books

I work in Big Publishing, and still have (utterly impossible) hopes to get back into the fiction end of that business. For that and other reasons -- sixteen years of dealing with submissions at the Science Fiction Book Club strongly among them -- I'm temperamentally disinclined to like self-published books. You can definitely query me about your book, but I'm really not that likely to ask for it. I like the system we have, and want to strengthen that to the point where I can work for a SFF publisher again.

I apologize in advance for standing in the way of your glorious revolution.


I can read e-books -- I've got a device with lots of things on it -- but I generally don't. Personally, piles of actual physical books are what spur me to read them, and e-books are easily forgotten since they don't take up space. So I am happy to take submissions in digital formats, but that means that I'm very likely to forget about them.

I prefer physical books, even when they cause me storage problems.

Again, I apologize in advance for standing in the way of your glorious revolution.


I don't read as much SFF as I used to, and I try to avoid fairly generic work in those areas these days. (I know that no author considers her book "fairly generic," but if you're writing about a small band of heroes battling the Evil Emperor, the spunky redheaded demon-hunter with a complicated love life, or the tough-as-nails Space Marine planet-hopping to defeat The Bugs, you're who I'm talking about.)

I also read mysteries/thrillers/spy stories -- again, I prefer smart and sneaky and intricate to James Patterson-level single-page chapters -- as well as a fair bit of narrative nonfiction and humor/columns, with the same caveats. (I don't see nearly as much in these areas as I'd like to.)

I am a marketer by day, but I'm generally not looking to review books on marketing, or most categories of business books. If you have just scanned this post and glommed onto the words "business books," I will ignore your query.


Again, I am very bad at replying to e-mail, especially if I have to say no to someone. I apologize in advance for dodging your e-mail. If you don't hear from me, it means I'm not interested but can't muster the energy to tell you that.


If your name is Matt Hughes or Harry Connolly, these rules don't apply to you.

There are other exceptions, I'm sure. If you think you might be one (hint: have we ever met?), ask me.

If I've said nice things about your work in the past -- here or at ComicMix or back in the SFBC days -- please do ask.

If I ignore you, see above.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 6/22

I'm writing this early -- on Friday evening, actually, in the middle of packing for another trip on behalf of my liege, Lord John Wiley. That shouldn't effect any of what I write -- I can't see why it would -- but I do have an urge to share the most useless information with you folks, so there you are.

As usual, these are books that showed up on my doorstep, more or less unexpectedly, and they're all coming out in the near future from some of my nation's finer publishing firms. I have not read any of them, but here's what I can tell you anyway:

Sea Change is a first novel, some kind of odd fantasy -- the main character, Lilly, befriends a talking kraken and makes a frightening deal with a witch when he's sold to a circus, which can give you a sense of what kind of odd -- by S.M. Wheeler. She's probably no relation -- though we share a connection with upstate New York, for whatever that's worth -- but she's a Wheeler, which means her books are by definition better than most. Sea Change is a Tor hardcover, which hit stores a few days ago.

Steven Erikson's first novel was This River Awakens, a literary coming-of-age novel set in 1971 in a small Canadian town (and originally published under his real name, Steve Lundin). It is not a fantasy novel -- certainly not along the lines of his bloody, complex epic fantasies that began a couple of years later with Gardens of the Moon -- but it's being published now in the US (for the first time, I think) by his fantasy publisher, Tor, in simultaneous hardcover and trade paperback the first week of July.

Taylor Anderson's Destroyermen series -- in which a WW II destroyer wanders via one of those convenient light-show temporal rifts into an alternate world in which a civilization of talking lemurs is caught up in a gigantic war with a civilization of talking lizards -- reaches its eighth book with Storm Surge, coming as a hardcover from Roc on July 2nd. I can't say for sure, but I'm pretty sure that the cute furry aliens are the good guys and the cold-hearted clammy forked-tongues are the evil ones, as required.

And last is a big book of the art of Atsushi Ohkubo, best known (to me, at least) as the creator of the Soul Eater series, with the unsurprising title Soul Eater Soul Art. It's coming from Yen Press this month -- which means it's probably out in all the places you might want to buy it -- and it has a neat clear plastic slipcase and lots of nice Ohkubo art (though not so much in the way of captions or text of any kind).

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Incoming Books: June 13

Last Thursday, after a more-hectic-than-expected day of working at home (which wasn't a euphemism this time, as it so often is in the corporate world), I finally managed to get over to the Montclair Book Center, my favorite indy bookstore for the past twenty years or so. Since it had been so long, I had to buy a whole lot of stuff:

Insane City, Dave Barry's third solo comic novel, which I think it's fair to call long-awaited, since Tricky Business is more than a decade ago now. (I'm sure his collaborative books are perfectly good in their own right, but I want the pure Barry stuff, and that's hard to find since he stopped writing his column.)

Hit Me, the fifth Keller book by Lawrence Block -- it calls itself a novel, but it's a collection of stories, which even the lack of a table of contents can't hide. (Books of stories are wonderful, excellent things, but they shouldn't pretend to be novels.) I read & reviewed this a couple of months ago, but Block is one of the few authors where I still have a substantial collection in hardcover (since the flood of '11), so I want to keep going.

The Cursing Mommy's Book of Days is Ian Frazier's first novel, though he's written a lot of serious nonfiction (Travels in Siberia, Family) and a lot of funny nonfiction (Dating Your Mom, Coyote V. Acme, Gone to New York) and been a New Yorker staff writer for the past couple of decades. This, in fact, grew out of a series of comic pieces there, in the voice of the Cursing Mommy, who is now free to tell her story at great length.

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John Le Carre. Surely you already know what this book is, even if you (like me) haven't read it? Since I read all of the Fleming James Bond novels a couple of years back, I've felt an itch to get into Le Carre, so maybe now I will.

Live by Night by Dennis Lehane, a big fat historical mystery by an excellent writer that won the Edgar for Best Novel a couple of years ago. I loved Lehane's Kenzie/Gennaro mysteries -- they're about as dark and uncompromising as series fiction can ever be, the crime-writing world's equivalent of "Song of Ice & Fire" -- but I haven't kept up with him as he's written one-off novels over the last decade.

Walking Back the Cat by Robert Littell. Another spy novel, though three decades more recent than Spy. I suspect the clubs did it at the time (1996), and I might have had a copy of it, buried deep on a shelf, before the flood. Littell is a highly respected spy novelist, and I always liked this title.

Cool, Calm & Contentious is an essay collection by Merrill Markoe, whose writing I've enjoyed since I was young and she was head writer for the show David Letterman did before he got old, cynical, and tired.

Uncle Boris in the Yukon and Other Shaggy Dog Stories is a Daniel Pinkwater book I haven't read, and that's all I need to say.

Merchants of Culture is a serious look at the publishing business by John B. Thompson -- and that interests me, because it's my business. (Even if I suspect this book will devote very little time to the serious and scholarly and nonfictional and boring.)

Mississippi Writings by Mark Twain, the Library of America volume with Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer and Life on the Mississippi in it. (And Pudd'nhead Wilson, too, but nobody's perfect.) I had a copy of this, pre-flood, and I may want to read any or all of those books at a moment's notice.

Shriek: An Afterword looks to me like Jeff VanderMeer's most complicated and literary novel, so of course that's the one I'd want to read. (I know Jeff slightly, and am embarrassed that I gathered up nearly all of his books -- pre-flood -- but only managed to read Finch so far.)

Two more P.G. Wodehouse books from the excellent Overlook series -- Psmith in the City and Psmith, Journalist-- because that's yet another collection I'm still rebuilding from the flood.

And last was James Wood's How Fiction Works, because I do occasionally feel the urge to get really theoretical.