Take advantage of this late summer sale!

I monitored the big Amazon.co.uk sale last spring for a while, and, naturally, things settled down a bit after all those specials.

But now it appears to be back in full force, so check it out! Titles by GRRM, Feist, Hamilton, Erikson, Esslemont, Lynch, Abercrombie, Campbell, Rothfuss, Pratchett, Hobb, and more are down 40% to 50%.

You can pre-order Terry Pratchett's Making Money (which I'm currently reading) at 40% off, and the same thing goes for Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind. As was the case last spring, Scott Lynch's The Lies of Locke Lamora, Joe Abercrombie's The Blade Itself, and Alan Campbell's Scar Night are all at 50% off.

Too bad Amazon.ca and Amazon.com don't feel the need to emulate their European counterpart. . .:-(

To peruse what's on sale, click on this link.

Scott Lynch contest winner!

Well, many of you wanted to get their hands on this Subterranean Press limited edition! Sadly, only one of you can win this ARC of Scott Lynch's Red Seas under Red Skies (Canada, USA, Europe).

The winner is:

- Matt Brodale, from Coralville, Iowa, USA

Thanks to all the participants!;-)

HUNTER'S RUN contest winners!

Thanks to Voyager Books, these three people will receive the UK hardback edition of Martin, Dozois and Abraham's Hunter's Run (Canada, USA, Europe)!

The winners are:

- Iain Cupples, from St Andrews, Fife, UK (mormont on asoiaf.westeros.org )

- Jacques Corby-Tuech, from Harleston, Norfolk, England (Veilside on malazanempire.com)

- Jay Gallant, from Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Thanks to all the participants!;-)

Daniel Abraham contest winners!

Hi there!

These two lucky Canucks will get their hands on Daniel Abraham's A Betrayal in Winter (Canada, USA, Europe), compliments of Tor Books!

The winners are:

- Howard Benson from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

- Steve Corvy, from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Thanks to all the participants!;-)

New UK cover for Erikson's DEADHOUSE GATES

This isn't really breaking news anymore , but I just realized that I never got around to posting this one.

I haven't been able to get my hands on the other ones yet. . .

Epic fantasy, GRRM, authoritarian thinking, and more. . .

I wanted to post a link to this article sooner, but somehow it slipped my mind.

It sure looks like a lot of people are talking about this one. Read it here.

Most disagree with Jonathan, it seems. And since enough arguments have been exchanged by both sides, I see no need to get involved.:-)

Feel free to add your two cents, though!

About possible translations. . .

I often receive emails from people asking permission to translate some of my interviews in other languages. If you have a website with SFF content and would like to translate an interview or something else in your native tongue, all you have to do is ask!:-)

Email me at the address used for the giveaways, and you're good to go! All I ask is for my name to appear in there and for a link to the blog to be included. This blog's mission is to spread the word about all that's good in speculative fiction. What better way to do that than to have my stuff translated into foreign languages so that more and more people can enjoy an interview with their favorite author!?!

To my knowledge, my reviews/interviews/articles have so far been translated into French, Spanish, Dutch, German, Italian and Russian. . .

Win a copy of R. A. Salvatore's THE ORC KING

Thanks to the kind folks at Wizards of the Coast, I have five copies of R. A. Salvatore's latest, The Orc King (Canada, USA, Europe), up for grabs!

The rules are the same as usual. First off, you need to send an email at reviews@(no-spam)gryphonwood.net with the header "KING." Remember to remove the "no spam" thingy.

Second, your email must contain your full mailing address (that's snail mail!), otherwise your message will be deleted.

Lastly, multiple entries will disqualify whoever sends them. And please include your screen name and the message boards that you frequent using it, if you do hang out on a particular MB.

Good luck to all the participants!

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (August 28th)

In hardcover:

Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson's Sandworms of Dune is down two positions, ending its second week on the charts at number 6. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Sherrilyn Kenyon's Devil May Cry is down six spots, finishing its second week on the NYT list at number 8. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

William Gibson's Spook Country is down three positions, ending its second week on the bestseller list at number 9. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

J. R. R. Tolkien's The Children of Húrin is up five spots, finishing its eighteenth week on the prestigious list at number 21. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

In paperback:

Cormac McCarthy's The Road is up eight positions, ending its 20th week on the charts at number 11. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Interesting SFF article. . .

Thanks to Ken for bringing this to our attention!

Here's a sample of Gabriel Morgan's article:

Describe a subgenre of mimetic fiction, and there are speculative authors doing similar work. Do you prefer fiction that is heavily character-centered? Fiction that explores the human condition, that asks the big questions? Fiction that displays a sense of history, that draws connections between important things? How about fiction that explores what it means to be an American in the 21st century? Speculative authors are writing about all of these things. They, like Pablo Picasso, have every single one of the tools that a "naturalist" (read: mimeticist) has to work with; but they, like Picasso, also have the freedom to abandon the appearance of reality when it suits their vision.

There are other virtues of speculative fiction that are particular to the genre. Truly fine science fiction can teach us about the world we live in, and the worlds we might live in, while satisfying the reader in the traditional ways. Great fabulism can have us reeling from the scope and power of the human imagination. Horror can shine a light on our collective nightmares.

But speculative fiction is, in the end, fiction. It struggles with the same issues, has many of the same goals, grants many of the same rewards. It can be funny, exhilarating, poignant, beautiful. The best of speculative fiction is, like the best of fiction, exactly why you read.


It is my hope that this column, in the coming weeks, will be a guidepost of sorts, allowing readers to separate the chaff from the wheat more easily. I only ask that you approach speculative fiction with an open mind. There are wonders within, if you've the patience and the courage to look.

If you want to read the entire piece, check it out here.

It will be interesting to read Morgan's column in the near future. . .

Submit your questions for a Stephen R. Donaldson interview

To help promote the release of Donaldson's Fatal Revenant (Canada, USA, Europe), I will have the pleasure of interviewing the author next month. I'm really excited about this one, as Donaldson is one of my favorite fantasy authors!

As always, if you have questions you'd like to submit, feel free to do so in the comment section. The most interesting questions will be selected to comprise the Q&A.

Just a reminder: Questions that will automatically receive a RAFO answer will not be considered.

I've just started Fatal Revenant and it's pretty good so far. . .:-)

Win a copy of L. E. Modesitt, jr.'s NATURAL ORDERMAGE

I have a copy of L. E. Modesitt, jr.'s latest Recluce novel, Natural Ordermage (Canada, USA, Europe) for you guys to win, courtesy of Tor Books!:-)

The rules are the same as usual. First off, you need to send an email at reviews@(no-spam)gryphonwood.net with the header "ORDERMAGE." Remember to remove the "no spam" thingy.

Second, your email must contain your full mailing address (that's snail mail!), otherwise your message will be deleted.

Lastly, multiple entries will disqualify whoever sends them. And please include your screen name and the message boards that you frequent using it, if you do hang out on a particular MB.

Good luck to all the participants!

Just a reminder. . .

Since a lot of newcomers are visiting these parts for the first time, thanks to the interview with GRRM, Dozois and Abraham, I just wanted to point out that there are several ongoing giveaways at the moment, not just the one for the limited edition of Hunter's Run. Since everybody loves winning free stuff, I just thought it would be nice to point this out!;-)

If you scroll down and/or check the archives for July and August, you'll see that you can register to win copies of Daniel Abraham's A Betrayal in Winter (Canada, USA, Europe), the UK edition of Martin, Dozois and Abraham's Hunter's Run (Canada, USA, Europe), the US edition of Joe Abercrombie's The Blade Itself (Canada, USA, Europe), signed by the author no less. As if this wasn't enough, I also have an Advance Reading Copy of the limited edition of Scott Lynch's Red Seas under Red Skies (Canada, USA, Europe).

With multiple giveaways coming soon, so feel free to drop by from time to time!;-)

New interview with George R. R. Martin, Gardner Dozois and Daniel Abraham

Hi there,
This three-way Q&A turned out even better than I ever thought it would. Many thanks to Daniel, Gardner and George for taking the time to answer our questions, and special thanks to Daniel for helping me put it together.
Without further ado, here it is!

- Without giving anything away, what can you tell us about the story that is Hunter's Run?

DA: It's an almost-retro science fiction adventure with elements of psychological allegory and James M. Cain crime noir. But with aliens.

GD: It was primarially conceived of as a rattling good adventure story, but, like most such, if done right, it will, we hope, tell you a bit about the human heart, as it tells you about what we're like under some of the most fundamental stresses: danger, fear of death, greed, anger. Think THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRES. Like Bogart's character Fred C. Dobbs in that movie (like most of US, for that matter!), Ramon is a mixture of good and bad, strengths and weaknesses, and it's always a coin-toss which is going to come out on top.

GRRM: It's a novel about identity, allegiances, and the things that make us human, a manhunt through an alien wilderness that counterpoints the protagonist's own inner journey. I wasn't thinking TREASURE OF SIERRA MADRE myself. My own influences and inspirations tended more toward Huck and Jim on their raft, and Genly Ai and Lord Estraven on the ice. With some monsters and knife fights for seasoning.

- A new benchmark in modern SF -- that's what one can read on the back cover of the ARC. So it's that good!?!

DA: (straightface) Yes. (straightface)

GD: We all think it's a good book, or we wouldn't have let if off our desks. As to whether it's THAT good or not--well, they say a writer's works are like children, and if a proud father tells you his child is the smartest and most handsome and gifted child who has ever been born, you make allowances for that. You especially make allowances if the parent has engaged a professional promotion expert and blurb-writer to make these claims on his behalf...

GRRM: It's the job of cover blurbs to herald every book as the greatest novel set to paper. That being said, yes, of course we think the book is good. How good is something the readers will ultimately have to decide. Read the novel and make up your own mind.

- Are there any plans for a possible sequel?

DA: I don't think the plot of this particular book lends itself to a sequel. In a sense, it's the sequel already to Gardner's novel Strangers. It's a rich world and an interesting universe. I think other stories could be set in the same millieu. But this particular character has been through about as much as I think we can put him through.

GD: Never say never again, one thing both Sean Connery and I have learned over the years. There's certainly a lot more that could be written set in the milieu of Sao Paulo. As to whether there'll ever be a direct sequel about Ramon--well, it looks unlikely at this point, but I wouldn't rule it out dogmatically. Look at how many times Dr. Doom was thrown into the volcano and came back several issues later, for instance.

GRRM: As Daniel points out, HUNTER'S RUN is set in the SF universe that Gardner first explored in his novella-turned-novel STRANGERS, a sadly forgotton masterpiece of the 70s. That's a rich and interesting background, I think, with room for a lot more stories, but Gardner is the one who should be writing them, and given the speed at which he turns out novels... well, let's just say he makes me look fast. A direct sequel about Ramon, though? No. That story's been told.

- What ultimately became Hunter's Run started off as a novella-length project from Subterranean Press titled Shadow Twin. It is said that this novella began its life as a story Gardner had partly written but had difficulty completing when he brought George on board, and then it progressed a bit and then stalled out there as well before Daniel came aboard. If that is indeed the case, what were the difficulties with the story that Gardner and George had that kept them from being able to end it?

DA: Having not been there, I will let the guys answer.

GD: We were old and tired. And busy. And there were always more pressing professional matters that needed attention, especially once I became editor of ASIMOV'S. Somehow the moment slipped away, we lost focus, went stale on the story. It's happened to me at least a number of times (and, I think, to George too)--sometimes a story just stalls; sometimes you get it going again, sometimes you don't.

GRRM: I don't think the difficulty was ever with the story. Shadow Twin was just one of those projects that got put on the back burner, for various complex reasons (you can find all the grisly details in the afterword we did for the Subterranean Press edition, if you're interested), and never quite got off. Sometimes when you step away from a project for too long, it goes cold on you, and then it's very hard to get back into it. Almost every writer has a drawer of abandoned projects and half-written novels tucked away somewhere. (Well, Daniel may not, he's still pretty new at this game, but I know that both Gardner and I have 'broken novels' in our files, his NOTTAMUN TOWN and my own BLACK AND WHITE AND RED ALL OVER). When that happens, sometimes the best thing to do is bring in another writer, for whom the material is new and fresh.

- And then, what did Daniel bring to the table that finally got it moving toward completion?

DA: Um. An ending? I think pretty much an ending.

GD: Youth, energy, ambition, two-fisted virility. Someday HE'LL be a worn-out old fart too, but at the moment, he's not.

GRRM: The story was brand new to Daniel, old news to us. When he got into it, his ideas and enthusiasm reminded Gardner and me of what we'd loved about the project, twenty years ago, and helped to get us fired up again, and pretty soon we were all brainstorming, sparking ideas off one another, and so on.

- At which point did you guys realize that you had enough material for an entire novel and not just a novella? Is the fact that the story was expanded to a novel related to the difficulties in getting it done earlier? Specifically, I'm wondering if the story felt like it needed a lot more room back then.

DA: George always thought there was a novel in it. From the first. My impression was more that there were a lot of possibilities implicit in the novella that we didn't get to play with as much as we'd have liked. We had a whole alien world to explore and invent, and there's a psychological depth that you need a certain amount of length to really draw out. The whole frame story that puts the main action in context was missing from the novella.

GD: As Daniel says, George saw it as a potential novel practically from the beginning, certainly long before the novella was actually finished. Once we'd finished the novella version, I myself began to wish we'd had a little more room (we were bumping up against the commercially feasible limits for a novella in the magazine market), since I found myself wanting to see more of the interchange between Ramon and Maneck--I missed him when he disappeared from the story--and, even more so, wanting to see more interaction between Ramon and RAMON. I think in those two sets of relationships is where much of the real meat of the story lies.

GRRM: Yeah, I believe it was around 1982 or so when I first told Gardner that the story ought to be a novel. He had sent me the opening of it, and I'd been working on it, trying to finish it, but more I realized that we would never be able to fit all that we wanted to do into a novella. Story-wise, the part where I left off felt like the end of the beginning... but if this was indeed to be a novella, it was going to need to be the beginning of the end. I did not see how to wrap up everything satisfactorily in the wordage remaining, so I shipped it back to Gardner and made my pitch for doing it as a novel. I did manage to convince him... but a novel is such a large undertaking that neither of us got back to it for decades.

- Daniel: Did you simply pick up where George and Gardner had left off with the story, or did you find things that needed to be restructured or otherwise revised before the story could move forward? It must have felt pretty sweet to be the one to get this tale back on track!?!

DA: Well the absolute first thing I did was retype it into a word processing program. You have to understand that the original manuscript was done on a manual typewriter. After that, I had to viciously cut about a third of the original (some of which made its way back into the novel). The fragment they gave me was 20,000 words long, and that's about the same length as the final novella. I didn't wind up restructuring much, apart from the condensing, though. And given the start that they had, I thought the ending was pretty obvious. That's often the case, though. Any good story, the ending is sort of implicit even at the beginning. And this is more than a merely good story, you know. It's a benchmark in modern SF. Says so right on the cover.

GD: Actually, I did my initial bit so long ago that we didn't have even manual typewriters, just carved things out on stone tablets. Sending the stone tablets to Daniel was quite expensive. Lots of stamps.

GRRM: Daniel is not quite accurate here. Gardner's original fragment was done on a manual typewriter, yes. (Gargy did not believe in margins either, so the words filled every inch of every page). When I got hold of the story, however, I retyped the whole thing and added my own contribution on an electric typewriter. I was very modern. (Then). I even added margins, which made the story seem much longer.

- Are there any other collaborations between you three in the works?

DA: There have been some vague rumblings and noises, but I think they were mostly George's fans sharpening knives in case he took on a project that wasn't ASOIAF.

GD: As said above, Never say never again. Actually, I think there's a decent possibility that we could do something again someday, although if Daniel keeps selling novels--he's committed to about 25 of them at this point, I think--he may not have the time.

GRRM: Another three-way? Not likely... although ever since we sold HUNTER'S RUN, I have been half-expecting that one day I will open my mailbox and find Gardner's legendary unfinished novel NOTTAMUN TOWN, the one he has been working on since the early 70s. I do expect that I will continue to work with both Daniel and Gardner separately, however. I lured Daniel into my WILD CARDS shared anthology series a couple of years ago, and I hope he will continue to be a part of the series for years to come. And the Great Gargoo and I are co-editing a couple of original anthology (more on those below), and will probably do more in the future if those are successful.

- One would think that collaborative efforts are much more difficult than individual writing endeavors. Some would be concerned with the style, pace, cohesion, etc, and think that it may influence their own part in the project. From an author's perspective, how did you approach this undertaking and how did the others (if at all) influence your own writing? Was it difficult to find consensus during the project or was there general agreement on where the story would go and a mutual agreement to allow artistic freedom to the other writer to take it and run with it?

DA: This sounds weird, but it wasn't actually something that came up much. We all contributed ideas on the main plot and the final product just grew out of it. There were some things that we didn't agree on stylistically. Gardner and I in particular have very different voices and attitudes toward things like description. But I figured if I wanted it to sound exactly the way I'd have written it, I should have done it myself. Collaboration means having a final product that is different from what any one writer would have done alone. Otherwise, what's the point?

GD: As a good modernist and therefore a minimalist, Daniel kept taking a lot of the color out, thinking of it as overwriting, but since both George and I are writers whose effect largely DEPENDS on the use of flamboyent local color, I kept putting it back in, and even adding more. I think it helped smooth out difference in style that one person--me--did the final smoothing and consolidating draft, as I could edit anything that seemed to veer too much from the overall "voice" of the book. I've found that it's best with three-way collaborations--of which I've done several, with various combinations of writers--to have one person do the final smoothing draft, ensuring reasonable consistency.

GRRM: Every collaboration is different. In the past, I have collaborated with Howard Waldrop, Lisa Tuttle, George Guthridge, Melinda Snodgrass, Michael Cassutt, David Peckinpah, Howard Gordon & Alex Gansa, and all the myriad writers of the Wild Cards Consortium, and it's never been the same experience twice. You have to change your working methods to match the personalities involved. And yes, Gardner is right, it does help if one of the participants has "final cut," so you don't find yourself stalemated by creative differences. HUNTER'S RUN began with Gardner and grew out of his universe, so it was appropriate that he have the final say. That being said, I don't think there were any major disagreements on this one.

- Shadow Twin was a limited edition novella from Subterranean Press. Was it difficult to find a publisher interested in the novel-length Hunter's Run?

DA: It was by New York Times Bestselling Author George RR Martin, Mayor of Science Fiction Gardner Dozois, and some spear carrier no one had ever heard of. Editors were pretty willing to at least take a peek. And then, of course, the quality of the manuscript carried some weight. It is, you know, a new benchmark in modern SF.

GD: Since we were working with an 800-pound gorilla such as George, a mega bestseller, it wasn't hard at all. About a week and a half after I'd finished working on the novel, we had an English sale, and several days after that, an American sale as well. If it had been a solo novel of mine, it could well still be out there making the rounds of publishers. (Of course, this being the computer age helped a lot, too--now you can send an entire novel manuscript thousands of miles away in the blink of an eye; in the old days, the hardcopy manuscript would have taken weeks just getting across the Atlantic.)

GRRM: We had a lot of interest right from the start. Of course, the novella version had been quite successful. Before the Subterranean Press edition, "Shadow Twin" had appeared online in SCI-FICTION and in paper in ASIMOV'S, and had been very well reviewed, so the publishers were primed and ready when we offered them the novel version. It also helped that we had a finished novel to show them, rather than trying to sell the book as chapters-and-outline. An unfinished book would have encountered much more resistance, I think -- after all, I am a couple years late delivering my solo novel, and Gardner is a couple decades late delivering his, so the editors might justifiably have wondered whether they would ever actually see a book, despite Daniel's splendid record of meeting all his deadlines. By presenting them with a finished book, we removed those doubts.

- George: If one looks back upon your writing career, it's obvious that you have a variety of interests that range from writing, collaborating, editing, etc. In recent years the pressure is definitely on you to complete whatever ASOIAF installment you're presently working on to the detriment of anything else that might interest you. How difficult is it to reconcile every project you wish to work on? Do fans' expectations weigh you down on occasions, or is that just the price one must pay for the sort of success you have achieved?

GRRM: A bit of both, actually. I've had a long career, and there have been times when nobody gave a damn what I was working on or when it might come out. I can still remember those days, and believe me, it helps to put it all in perspective when I get snarky emails about A DANCE WITH DRAGONS being late. At least they care. That being said, the pressure does bother me at times, and I have some "fans" who are quite blunt about their disinterest in my other projects. Of course, many other writers have had to deal with the same thing. I once heard Stephen R. Donaldson speak about the day he realized that some of his readers were Donaldson fans and some were Covenant fans, and that the latter far outnumbered the former. Frank Herbert went through it too, with DUNE.

I do have a variety of interests, as you say. I enjoy editing as well as writing, and when I write I like to write different things. You can't just do one thing over and over and over; that way lies creative stagnation and madness. I don't expect that any of my other projects will ever be as successful as A Song of Ice and Fire, but that's cool, they don't need to be. Just to be clear, though, doing other projects does not mean that I have "lost interest" in Ice & Fire, as some of my more obsessive readers seem to fear. It just means I am interested in other things as well. Just because I still love Popinjay and the Turtle and my other Wild Cards characters does not mean I have stopped loving Arya and Tyrion and Dany.

- You all work on personal projects, of course. Yet how much fun is it to have the opportunity to work together on a project such as Hunter's Run?

DA: I thought it was a giggle. I think there's an idea, though, that collaborating somehow makes it less work than a solo project. I have to say that wasn't my experience. There aren't better minds to work with than George and Gardner, though. They understand this genre better than I ever will.

GD: It was a lot of fun. In the places where I was overwriting Daniel's first draft, it was almost more like editing than writing, and I've always found editing easier.

GRRM: Writing is a lonely business for the most part. Just you and the blank sheet of paper... or the blinking cursor, these days. A collaboration is a nice change of pace. It gives you a chance to have some fun, bounce ideas off each other, have someone else come to rescue when you get stuck. The only downside comes when you cash the check, and have to share the money with these other clowns.

- In Law School many teachers forbade teams of three people, because three's a crowd and there's always someone who's not pulling is or her own weight. So who's the slacker in this group?

DA: George. Totally George. He was always sneaking off to work on ASOIAF, leaving us holding the bag. I told him "Look, you just do this chapter, and I'll go decide what happens to Danerys." But no . . .

GD: I've found that in collaborations EVERY collaborator thinks that he's doing the bulk of the work, but, in fact, in successful collaborations, every collaborator is vital, the authors combine strengths rather than weaknesses to produce something than none of them could have produced on their own. I certainly think that's true with HUNTER'S RUN. There's stuff in there that Daniel came up with that George and I never would have thought of in a thousand years if we were writing solo novels, and very probably vice versa. It's a novel none of us could have come up with on our own, which I think is the hallmark of a valid collaboration.

GRRM: Who, moi? A slacker? Well, okay. But I did draw the map.

- Gardner and George: Robin Hobb and Joe Haldeman have recently mentioned that they're signed up to provide stories for an anthology you're both editing titled Warriors. What can you tell us about that?

GD: As you say, the anthology is called WARRIORS, and we've recently sold it to Tor for a six-figure advance. We conceived it from the beginning as a cross-genre anthology, with stories from famous writers from several different genres, including SF, fantasy, historical, mystery, even westerns. In addition to Robin Hobb and Joe Haldeman, we have writers such as Lawrence Block, Peter S. Beagle, Tony Hillerman, Neil Gaiman, Steven Saylor, Cecelia Holland, Tad Williams, Howard Waldrop, and others, as wide a range as possible.

I'll let George tell you about the theme itself, since it was initially his idea.

GRRM: This is way premature, since we've just started work on WARRIORS and the book most likely won't appear until 2009 at the earliest... but Gardner has the basics. This will be a big, landmark anthology with an all-star lineup of writers, almost all of them award winners and bestsellers in their own fields. The theme is war and the warrior ethos. What makes WARRIORS new and different and (we hope) exciting is that this is a cross-genre anthology. People have been telling stories about warriors for as long as they have been telling stories, so that seemed to be the perfect concept for the book we wanted to do. Fantasy swordsmen, space pirates, medieval knights, western cowboys, grunts in Vietnam, doughboys in the trenches, urban gangbangers, Mafia hitmen, gridiron legends, women warriors, child warriors, warriors whose "strength is not to fight" (to quote Mr. Dylan), all of 'em will be fair game in this book. Fantasy, SF, horror, historical fiction, suspense, mainstream, romance, and every possible cross-combination of same will be included. We want to show the readers that it's the story that matters, not the label. And yes, I will writing a story for the book myself, and yes, right now it looks as though it will be the much anticipated third Dunk & Egg story. (Though I reserve the right to change my mind).

- Gardner and George: Dan Simmons recently updated his website to announce that he'll be writing a story for Songs of the Dying Earth, a proposed anthology of stories set in Jack Vance's "Dying Earth" milieu, to be edited by the both of you. What can you tell us about that?

GD: Since George and I are both major, major Jack Vance fans, putting together an anthology to honor him was a natural idea. SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH will invite some of the major writers in the fantasy field to write stories set in the milieu of Vance's most famous work, THE DYING EARTH. In addition to Dan Simmons, we also have commitments from writers such as Robert Silverberg, Michael Moorcock, Tanith Lee, Glen Cook, Elizabeth Hand, Liz Williams, John C. Wright, and others (although of course, as with every original anthology, I should caution that not everybody who has expressed interest in contributing may actually contribute when push comes to shove; most of our writers are pretty enthusiastic about writing in THE DYING EARTH milieu, though, so I expect most of them to come through). The book has been sold in England, but is still looking for an American publisher, so it's a little premature to discuss it.

GRRM: The Vance anthology actually grew out of WARRIORS, in a sense. It's no secret that Jack Vance is one of my favorite writers, so when Gardner and I started to put together the WARRIORS proposal, I contacted his agent in hopes of getting a story from him. Vance has just turned 91, however, and he is no longer writing. The thought that there might never be another Dying Earth story saddened me more than I can say. That's when the idea of this tribute anthology came to me. Vance has always been a real "writer's writer," and I knew that there were lots of other writers who love the Dying Earth as much as I do, and would sell their firstborn children for the chance to write a story set in that world. I broached the notion to Jack's agent, who took it to Jack and his son John, and I am pleased to say that they gave their consent. So now we're off. As Gardner said, we don't yet have an American publisher lined up, but I believe we'll have one soon. And we've had to beat the writers off with a stick. Vance has a LOT of fans among today's young fantasists and SF writers. Deservedy so. He's one of the greats.

- Speculative fiction is all well and good. Yet is there any chance that, gifted writers that you are, you will use that talent for more "worthwhile" literary endeavors, such as writing about the triumph of the human spirit à la Terry Goodkind!?!

DA: There are several other genres I'd like to play in before I die -- mystery, for instance -- but I've never seen the "worthwhile" section in the bookstore. Is there a place they shelve the worthwhile stuff? More seriously, I plan to write what I enjoy writing. If some of it turns out to be worthwhile, that'll be nice, but I wouldn't set out to make something serious and literary for fear of overshooting and just being pretentious. You know what I mean. "A new benchmark in something or other". Like that.

GD: I've never had much interest in working outside of the fantasy/science fiction field. If I get an idea for something outside the genres, though, I won't rule it out. Never say never again.

GRRM: I think Daniel and Gardner have missed the, ah, irony of your quoting Mr. Goodkind on this point, Pat. Goodkind's disavowal of the fantasy label is nothing new, of course. I suspect it stems from the same desire to be taken seriously as a writer that has motivated similar denials from other authors in years past, talents as diverse as Kurt Vonnegut, Harlan Ellison, and Margaret Atwood. The same sort of denials are being put out right now as regards Cormac McCarthy (of course it's not SF, it's literature). None of us wants to be consigned to the playpen, or have our work dismissed as unworthy of serious consideration as literature because of the label on the spine. Myself, I think a story is a story is a story, and only thing worth writing about is the human heart in conflict with itself. Genre labels are marketing devices, no more. It has been said that I have "changed genres" several times during my career, but from where I sit, I haven't changed at all. I write the stories I want to write, and let the publishers and reviewers worry about what to call them. I plan on continuing to do that.

- Will you guys be touring or making appearances this fall/winter to promote this book?

DA: George was hoping we would. I think he particularly wanted to go to England because you can drive across it.

GD: If so, nobody's told me about it. I think they'd prefer George anyway.

GRRM: I can't think of anything that would be more fun than taking our act on the road and touring with Gardner and Daniel, but somehow I doubt that any of our publishers will be willing to foot the bill for all three of us. Daniel's right, though, a British tour would be easier. I loved touring in the UK for A FEAST FOR CROWS. They give you a car and a driver, and every morning the publisher's liaison picks you up at your comfortable London hotel and you drive to that day's signing. After it's over, you drive back. Touring in the US is much more stressful, since in between your scheduled events you have to fly from stop to stop, so every morning it's up at dawn and off to the airport to fly to another city, meet another escort, check into a new hotel, etc. I'm glad to do it, but it does make me wish I was twenty years younger.

- More and more, authors/editors/publicists/agents are discovering the potential of all the SFF blogs/websites/message boards on the internet. Do you keep an eye on what is being discussed out there, especially if it concerns you? Or is this too much of a distraction?

DA: I probably would follow it more if I didn't take it quite so personally. One bad review on Amazon, and I'm in the dumps for a day or two. What I really like is seeing what folks are saying about other writers, especially ones that I like or really good ones I haven't read yet. There's an idea, I think, that we give up our identities as readers when we start writing, but I'm basically a fan.

GD: I try to avoid being sucked into the blogsphere to any great extent, since blogging and participating in message-boards can be a tremendous eater of time that could be being used instead to work on other projects. That being said, I think that the blogsphere is perhaps THE great new way to promote books here in the 21st Century; if people start talking favorably and excitedly about your book across a wide variety of blogs, I'm sure it could have a big impact on sales, and it's one of the few ways to advertise to a wider audience that doesn't cost any money (unfortunately, they have to actually LIKE your book to start buzzing about it in blogs; there's no way to MAKE them like it if they don't). I also think a wave of the future for promoting books is to put up advertisements for them on YouTube and MySpace; I've tried to talk publishers into doing this with my last several books, but publishers are behind the times, this is an unknown area for most of them, and so there's a lot of resistance to doing this, and so far I haven't managed to talk anyone into it. This is one of the great promotional opportunities that so far is being wasted, though, and one day the publishing world will catch up with it, mark my words.

GRRM: I have a live journal, my Not-A-Blog, and keep it up as time permits. It's fun, aside from the trolls. I am a veteran of GEnie as well, and during GEnie's heydey back in the 80s and 90s, I would often find myself signing on and posting several times a day, and getting drawn into all sorts of discussions (good) and flamewars (not so good). Much as I enjoyed that, it was a huge timesink, so much so that when GEnie folded I made a conscious decision to stay out of similar bulletin boards in the future. I avoid the Ice & Fire boards for some of the same reasons. I do read the reviews of my stuff that appear in newspapers and fanzines and even e-zines and some of the better blogs (like your own, and Stego's), but I don't read the Amazon reviews and I avoid message boards. It is not that I disdain these venues or those who participate in them. I just don't have the time.

- I don't know about Daniel and Gardner, but everyone knows that George is a big NFL football fan. So who's going to win the Super Bowl this year?

GD: Super Bowl? What's that? I know nothing about either American or British football. One of the few current players from either kind whose name I know is Beckham--and that's only because I saw BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM.

GRRM. My dream is to live long enough to see a Subway Superbowl between my beloved Giants and my beloved Jets, but sadly, I don't think it will be this year. I'd like to see the Saints make it from the NFC. Nawlins has been through a lot, and deserves a victory. Once there, they will most likely need to upset the hated Patriots and their coach, Evil Little Bill.

- George: Your rabid fans would castrate me and feed me my own balls if I didn't ask this question. I kind of like my testicles where they are, so I have to ask: What is the current progress report pertaining to A Dance with Dragons? With the way things are progressing now, do you feel confident that the manuscript can be turned in this fall?

GRRM: DANCE will be done when it's done. I have given up predicting delivery dates. When I do, I am always wrong. Watch my website. As soon as the book is finished, I will note it there. Meanwhile, I have lots of other stuff coming out. HUNTER'S RUN comes first, in three editions (UK first, then US, then a signed limited from Subterranean), followed by the US hardcover of DREAMSONGS in the fall (in two volumes), then the new Wild Cards book INSIDE STRAIGHT come January. A limited edition of FEVRE DREAM illustrated by Justin Sweet will also appearing in there somewhere. I am going to be all over the bookstores these next six months. And I haven't even talked about the comic books, the miniatures, the replica swords, the minibusts...

- Anything else you wish to share with your fans?

DA: How about a quote from Oscar Wilde. Those are always good. Um. Here.

GD: Go buy lots of copies of HUNTER'S RUN. I could use the money.

GRRM: Either this wallpaper goes, or I do.

To coincide with this interview, I have copy number 1 of the numbered limited edition of Hunter's Run up for grabs, compliments of Subterranean Press. It doesn't get much better than this!;-)

The rules are the same as usual. First off, you need to send an email at reviews@(no-spam)gryphonwood.net with the header "LIMITED." Remember to remove the "no spam" thingy.

Second, your email must contain your full mailing address (that's snail mail!), otherwise your message will be deleted.

Lastly, multiple entries will disqualify whoever sends them. And please include your screen name and the message boards that you frequent using it, if you do hang out on a particular MB.

Good luck to all the participants!:-)

Hunter's Run

This story's first incarnation was a novella titled Shadow Twin, which was a limited edition published by Subterranean Press in 2005. Unfortunately, I haven't read the novella-length version of this book, so I can't draw comparisons between the two versions. All I can say is that Hunter's Run is a damn good read!

With this being a collaboration between George R. R. Martin, Gardner Dozois and Daniel Abraham, I was concerned that their different writing styles would result in a work lacking a certain cohesion. I'm glad to report that such is not the case. The whole tale streamlines quite seamlessly and one can never tell where one author's inspiration or style ends and his collaborators' begin.

Survival, identity and loyalty are probably the three main themes explored within the pages of Hunter's Run. And although there's enough action to satisfy most readers, what with the principal protagonist being pursued by aliens across outlandish wilderness, the underlying storyline which carries this novel remains that of Ramon's inner journey.

Ramon, Hunter's Run's main character, is far from being a likeable fellow. Truth to tell, he's quite antipathetic at the beginning. And yet, as it gradually dawns upon him that he might be more than a fry or two short of a good meal, Ramon slowly grows on you. This character growth is without a doubt the most compelling facet of this book.

Even though the supporting cast consists of a number of characters, only Elena and Maneck play important roles in the greater scheme of things. This doesn't mean that the characterization aspect leaves something to be desired. After all, Hunter's Run is, essentially, Ramon's story.

The worldbuilding, though well-done, is not a predominant characteristic in this novel. I have a feeling that the authors would have liked to flesh out certain things a bit more, but that would likely have hindered the flow of the narrative. As a result, the environment, cultures, and the aliens are interesting, but most of the worldbuilding remains in the background and doesn't intrude on the storytelling.

The pace is somewhat slower at first. But once Ramon -- and the reader -- realizes that something is fundamentally wrong, the story takes off and the rhythm quickens accordingly.

To the nay-sayers out there, there is nothing I can write that will make them want to pick up a GRRM work that isn't ASOIAF. So be it. . . In the end, it's too bad, for Hunter's Run is a solid effort and a fun read. If all of Martin's side-projects are this good, few of his fans should complain! Intelligent yet action-packed, with profanities in both English and Spanish, it's quite a joyride!

The final verdict: 7.5/10
For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe

New Steven Erikson Interview

Hi guys,

I know that many of you have been expecting this Q&A for months now. Needless to say, this one was probably the most eagerly awaited interview I'll be doing this year.

Unfortunately, somewhere between the release of Reaper's Gale and the time I forwarded Steven the questions, his father became ill. And sadly, his father passed away a few days back. I want to take this opportunity to offer my condolences to Steven Erikson and his family. I know how difficult it must be, and my prayers are with them.

I also wish to thank Steven for taking the time to answer our questions. Though the Q&A was delayed for weeks, I can't quite believe that he nevertheless found the time and the energy to go through this interview. He had much more important things on his mind, after all. . .


- Will we get a definitive timeline in any of the upcoming Malazan novels? How about posting something on malazanempire.com?

The thing with our timelines is that they're not definitive; both Cam and I are in the habit of wandering. Ultimately, there will be some kind of timeline, inasmuch as one is possible, but it's not a priority at the moment (for us -- I know the fans feel different!). We're both in the midst of writing the novels and doing our best to avoid anything egregious.

- Probably the most frequently asked questions you hear: Can we expect a map of the entire Malazan universe in the foreseeable future?

I expect so. There's been talk of that at Bantam, as well. We're also looking into an e-version of the Encyclopedia Malazica -- it's very impressive the efforts fans have made in that area and it would be remiss not to acknowledge such efforts.

- This may sound strange, but one of the most popular questions from fans remains how tall is Karsa Orlong. Could you please lay this matter to rest?

Probably a little over eight feet -- that's more or less how I envisage him when I'm writing.

- Your fans are also curious to know whether or not you will be touring to promote REAPER'S GALE. Are there any dates set? I know that Transworld are supposed to be flying you to London this spring. Are there any UK dates in the works, no matter how tentative?

A tad late for that now, huh? There tends to be little in the way of touring, but that might change in the future, as I close in on the end of the series.

- THE LEES OF LAUGHTER'S END was released earlier this spring by PS Publishing. Do you have plans to write more novellas set in the Malazan universe? If so, is there anything you wish to share with your readers to whet their appetite. In addition, will THE LEES OF LAUGHTER'S END be released by an American publisher?

The US publication of Lees is probably a couple years off. I should make clear that, while Lees follows immediately after Blood Follows, The Healthy Dead is a tale that occurs much later -- I have a sequence in mind but I'm not following it in terms of writing -- whichever of the half dozen or so planned tales strikes my fancy is the one I write.

- Speaking of the USA, can you perceive an increase in your readership now that Tor Books have published the first five volumes of the series?

I have no idea, to be honest.

- The Malazan Book of the Fallen is undeniably one of the most ambitious series ever written, if not the most ambitious. And the truth behind some of the plotlines is only now beginning to emerge. Were there times, especially while writing the earlier volumes, when you were forced to tell your editor, "Look, you'll have to trust me on this." Since he was the first person to see the series' potential, can you tell us more about your relationship with Simon Taylor?

Yes, all the time in the first few novels -- he's stopped asking, meaning either he's thrown up his hands in abject surrender or dismay, or both. I could not be more pleased with Simon as my editor. First off, he's one of the nicest individuals I have ever met, and what began as a working relationship is now a friendship. He also took a huge chance on this series -- when so many other publishers were shying away from its complexity -- that my loyalty is absolute. Bantam UK has done a great job with the books and they treat me very well indeed.

- In an era in which epic fantasy authors such as Jordan, Martin and Williams write a book every two or three years, you somehow manage to release a Malazan installment every year or so. And that's on top of coming up with a novella and producing The Dark to boot! What is your work ethic?

I write four hours a day six or seven days a week. There's no pressure on daily word count or anything like that, just the time invested. It seems to be working. Toll the Hounds is taking a little longer, due primarily to personal issues.

- Speaking of The Dark, can you tell us a little more about that project? Are you happy with the way everything has occurred? What can we expect from The Dark in the coming months?
That form of media is pure chaos -- trying to find a backer, especially here in Canada, is very difficult. Film and television is bound up in something called Telefilm Canada, which is a hotbed of mediocrity intent on perpetuating mediocrity (hence our moribund film productions, not counting Quebec which is on the right track and has balls besides). We've had battles with them on feature film projects as well -- to get funding one needs to sign on a 'script editor' from a rather short list of acceptable people. Now, try to imagine a script editor reading a script and coming back to the producer and saying: 'it's just fine'. If they did that, they'd be out of a job. Therefore, according to the script editor, every script needs reworking. It has to, since that's how they're paid. What kind of system is this? Where the demand is justified by the supplier and the customer (us) has no say in it? It's insane. Make work for shitty writers who can't hack it in the real world and for whom 'ambition' is a pejorative.

Can I go on? I will.

- There has been a palpable momentum shift in both THE BONEHUNTERS and REAPER'S GALE. It looks as though the first five volumes were meant to lay the groundwork for the rest of the series, but in the last two we've seen the storylines coming together and we're starting to get an inkling of how many of them are related. Is there more pressure now, as you must tie all those plotlines together and bring the series to a satisfying close?

No. Don't forget, I've known where this was going all along. The challenge now is to ensure that I deliver to the best of my writing ability.

- Both Cameron and yourself have explained in past interviews how intricately the 15 books you have planned from the start have been mapped out. Still, have the plotlines diverged much since you began writing the series? Were any characters added or further fleshed out beyond your original intention? Have you made any changes to your initial plans during the course of the writing of the series?

The overall arc has not changed, because it was kept rather simple. Specific details that are elaborations on that arc have indeed burgeoned and gone off in unexpected directions -- it's more the case of finding the repercussions and following them no matter where they end up, and this can be surprising and often is, which I suppose is what ensures that we as writers continue to find motivating in a series as long as this one.

- Characters often take a life of their own. Which of your characters do you find the most unpredictable to write about?

Unpredictability usually shows up in actual dialogue. As a writer, I have a fair sense of the characters, since when writing their points of view I am pretty much co-existing in their brains (which can, on occasion, be a scary place). But it's with dialogue that things let loose, generally in a humourous direction, although not always.

- In one of our interviews last year, you have said that following TOLL THE HOUNDS, we're looking at, geographically, new ground for the last two Malazan novels. And yet, events chronicled within the pages of REAPER'S GALE clearly show that many of the Lether storylines are still pretty much up in the air. Will you be returning to Lether again in future books, or will what occurs there be part of the narrative, yet more in a "behind the scene" manner such as developments in Genabackis have been portrayed since MEMORIES OF ICE?

The first part of Dust of Dreams will pick up where Reaper's Gale left off, to wrap up what needs wrapping up. That's the plan, anyway. It was either that or tack another hundred thousand words onto Reaper's Gale.

- Speaking of REAPER'S GALE, certain events demonstrate that a lot has been happening in Genabackis since MEMORIES OF ICE. Will TOLL THE HOUNDS go back in time to explain all that has occurred, or will it more or less follow the "current" timeline of THE BONEHUNTERS and REAPER'S GALE?

Toll the Hounds picks up after Reaper's Gale, although I do flesh in some background details.

- What's the progress report on TOLL THE HOUNDS? Are you confident that it should see the light about a year from now?

Well, as of two days ago (before my father died), I had just completed Book Three. One Book left.

- I'm curious about the spark that generated the idea behind the K'Chain Che'Malle? Who had the idea to turn dinosaurs into masters of technology and mechanisms?

Yikes, my memory's not what it used to be (I think, can't remember, actually). I'm fairly certain the K'chain was my invention; but Moon's Spawn was Cam's, and how the two ended up tied together I just don't recall. The short-tails were Cam's -- I'm fairly sure of that. A good example of how we elaborate on each other's creations, I think.

- Another question to which the answer remains unclear has to do with the Chaining of the Crippled God. In many instances readers are given hints that seem to indicate that there were several Chainings over the millennia. Is that the case?

Yes, several beating downs have occurred. The relevant one is the one where Hood sought to recruit Dassem, was refused, and took his daughter instead, thus triggering an obsessive need for venegeance that, well, persists.

- It's been a long and winding road, yet how satisfying is it to have Cameron's work being published alongside yours by Transworld? How cool is it to now have the opportunity to release the "whole" Malazan tale as it was originally intended between the two of you?

It certainly was the dream form the very first, and while it is indeed satisfying, I think it's worth reminding the readers that Cam and I are not clones -- we each have our styles and while we think they are complimentary, we also recognize that there are differences -- which should be valued rather than the subject of criticism.

- Cover art has become a very hot topic of late, especially in the wake of the uproar caused by the release of the US cover for THE BONEHUNTERS. What are your thoughts pertaining to that facet of a novel, and what do you think of the various covers that have graced your books? Do you have a personal favorite?

I very much liked the new Reaper's Gale cover. The ones with TOR certainly started out on the wrong foot and I think virtually everyone agrees on that. It can be difficult in that, even when I am asked for direction, and when I respond by describing what I'd like to see, an artist's interpretation can often prove very different. As for my ultimate favourite, I'd have to say the UK cover for Deadhouse Gates.

- M. John Harrison recently wrote this post on his blog:

"Every moment of a science fiction story must represent the triumph of writing over worldbuilding.Worldbuilding is dull. Worldbuilding literalises the urge to invent. Worldbuilding gives an unneccessary permission for acts of writing (indeed, for acts of reading). Worldbuilding numbs the reader’s ability to fulfil their part of the bargain, because it believes that it has to do everything around here if anything is going to get done.

Above all, worldbuilding is not technically neccessary. It is the great clomping foot of nerdism. It is the attempt to exhaustively survey a place that isn’t there. A good writer would never try to do that, even with a place that is there. It isn’t possible, & if it was the results wouldn’t be readable: they would constitute not a book but the biggest library ever built, a hallowed place of dedication & lifelong study. This gives us a clue to the psychological type of the worldbuilder & the worldbuilder’s victim, & makes us very afraid."

Needless to say, a multitude of people disagree with Harrison's postulation. What's your take on Harrison's post and the concept of worldbuilding in general?

I wrote my response to that question some time ago and have pasted it here:

Two observations come to mind. The first is that, with forty years of reading in the genre of fantasy and science fiction, I cannot recall one instance of a writer committing the flaws as described by Harrison, so either I have been extremely lucky or he has been profoundly unlucky. It is unfortunate he cited no examples to support his assertions, making any effort at rebuttal all the more difficult. In fact, the only writer who comes to mind who might be said to have gone overboard in his world-building is James Michener, and of course he set his novels in the 'real' world.

The second observation is this. Every writer world-builds. In every genre, including contemporary literary fiction; and indeed, when writing non-fiction as well. World-building is nothing more or less than the selection of details surrounding the characters, establishing a setting and with it a place in which to immerse those characters and the story of their lives. It is necessary, essential to story-telling. Further, is he asserting the notion that there is something uniquely flawed when world-building in the fantasy or science fiction genre, suggesting perhaps that the process is somehow purer when electing to write tales set in our contemporary world? If so, that would be an extraordinary, laughable conceit.

I generally read nonfiction while writing fiction; among the recent books I have read were two titles that do well to illustrate my point (that world-building exists in all writing); the first is the biography of a child soldier from Sierra Leone. The setting exists, as real as any other in this world, yet the narrative relating the author's harrowing life there is anchored in the details he relates, scene by scene, event by event. Is this a 'perfect' rendition of life in Sierra Leone? We can presume it is close; but we also accept that it is selective (founded on personal experiences): it is a world built exclusively on relevant details recollected by one person at one time and in a sequence of places. It is a rendition of experiences and memories and neither can be said to be purely objective, in that we are all subjective creatures. If this story had been fiction, set on another planet rather than Sierra Leone, and containing all the 'background' information required to give the tale its necessary context, would this be, in Harrison's eyes, yet another example of obsessive, extraneous world-building?

The other book also concerned Africa, and recounted a lifelong exploration of the continent and its peoples by a Polish journalist. Once again, he builds a world, selects his details to support his various interpretations of places, events and cultures. This too is selective and subjective. This too is world-building.

The point is, as far as I can see it, Harrison is beating a straw dog. In the narrow definition of world-building he provides (in the quote given and granted, it may be out of context with further elaborations deleted to the detriment of the author's argument), he ends up in effect railing at something that does not even exist, and if it does, is exemplified so rarely that attacking it is pointless. For what it is worth, I see this as yet another example of how the internet can legitimize virtually anything anyone chooses to say, even when, with a moment's thought, it becomes clear that what is being said is at best irrelevant, at worse nonsensical and fatuous.

Now, I am responding to the quote. I have not read Harrison. If he does not world-build in his fiction then he is unique in the history of literature and should be canonized.

I am not interested in joining some ferocious debate, not with Harrison and not with anyone else with an opinion, so I hereby conclude my commentary on this subject. Don't bring it up again.

- Anything you wish to share with your fans?

Thank you all for reading this series.

Steven Erikson

Very cool website!

I've just been informed that Jeff Somers, author of The Electric Church (Canada, USA, Europe), finally has an up and running website. And kudos to the creators, for it's an extremely cool website! Orbit has done a terrific job, no question!

In my review last month, I was telling you guys that The Electric Church could well be the one of the most interesting books that comprise Orbit USA's launch titles. So you should definitely check it out! It will be released in September. . .

So if you want to learn more, check out: http://the-electric-church.com/

I will be interviewing Somers in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned for that.:-)


One of the most frequently asked questions that comes my way all the time has to do with the reason why there's no picture of myself in my profile. At the beginning, I really didn't see the use of a photo. After all, I was just another nobody with a blog.

And yet, as the Hotlist grew in popularity, my main objective remained to give authors and their work the entire spotlight. Truth to tell, I'd remove the Pat in Pat's Fantasy Hotlist if I could. But at this stage, I don't believe it's possible.

I had a lot of fun reading some loony conspiracy theories about whether or not I was someone in publishing, etc. And the more people wanted to know who Pat really was, the more I wanted to remain anonymous. A bit like the band Kiss in the 70s. . .

But now that some people have met me in person, the "mystique" is gradually evaporating.;-) Last week, after being bugged by pesky individuals who annoyed the hell out of me until I could stand it no longer, I decided to bite the bullet and activated my Facebook account.

So if you want to see who the infamous, Erikson-loving, Goodkind-trashing, epic fantasy aficionado that Pat truly is, you can view an album of my recent trips to New York City and Washington D. C. right here.

Be forewarned, though. Just like Kiss were never the same after being unmasked, so will you never be the same again after seeing those pics!;-) And yes, contrary to what some believe, I am human after all!

Don't expect me to waste too much time on Facebook, but feel free to add me as your friend. . .

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (August 21st)

In hardcover:

Sherrilyn Kenyon's Devil May Cry debuts at number 2. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson's Sandworms of Dune debuts at number 4. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

William Gibson's Spook Country debuts at number 6. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Harry Turtledove's In at the Death is down thirteen positions, ending its second week on the charts at number 25. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

J. R. R. Tolkien's The Children of Húrin is down five spots, finishing its seventeenth week on the NYT list at number 26. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Jasper Fforde's First Among Sequels is down nineteen positions, ending its third week on the bestseller list at number 32. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

In paperback:

Cormac McCarthy's The Road is down six spots, finishing its nineteenth week on the prestigious list at number 19. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Neil Gaiman's Stardust is up twelve positions, ending its second week on the charts at number 23. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Keri Arthur's Embraced by Darkness is down nine spots, finishing its second week on the NYT list at number 28. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

The Wise Man's Fear cover art

Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind (Canada, USA, Europe) is without the shadow of a doubt the fantasy debut of the year. I've just been informed that sales now put the book at about the same level as George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones and Terry Goodkind's Wizard's First Rule. And if sales continue to progress the way they have been since the novel's release, The Name of the Wind could well surpass them!

And with Rothfuss' debut about to be released in the UK by Gollancz, we should hear more about this gifted author throughout the fall and beyond. Could he be the next big thing? It sure looks that way. No matter how many units are ultimately sold, no launch of an epic fantasy author has had that kind of immediate impact in a long time. If you haven't read The Name of the Wind yet, you should definitely check it out!

For those who are eagerly awaiting the sequel, The Wise Man's Fear, here's the cover art! It sure beats the Fabio cover, eh!?!;-)