My novella, Jesus and the Eightfold Path, was first published as a free serial online. Then Immersion Press brought out a hardcover edition limited to 200 copies. These have sold out and seem pretty hard to get (prices on Amazon marketplace seem to start at $190), so – finally – we got an e-book edition out!
THREE WISE MEN CAME FROM THE EAST for the infant Jesus in The New Testament. Three brave companions accompany the Buddha in the Chinese classic A Journey to the West. Could they have been the same three? Guided by a star, three strange companions arrive in the barbarous land of Judea to seek a newborn child–a possible messiah to some, and the reincarnation of the Budda to others.
When the child’s life is threatened, his family and new guardians escape to Egypt, returning years later, to a Jewish land on the cusp of annihilation by the Roman Empire.
Once a general in the Judean army, now a Roman agent, Josephus Flavius is sent by Caesar back to his home land to observe and report on the actions of the troubling young man now preaching sedition in the Galilee–a boy with the unsettling powers of kung-fu…
Their lives would collide in a cataclysmic confrontation between Romans and Jews, between empire and rebels–and change the world forever…
It’s finally – almost! – here – and I’m delighted to announce the cover and table of contents for The Apex Book of World SF 3, published next month by Apex Book Company. This is the third in the series began in 2009.
To celebrate, Apex are offering a special pre-order deal – just $30 for all 3 volumes in paperback+ebooks (with free US shipping!) or, and especially for international readers, all 3 volumes for just $10!
Or you can get The Apex Book of World SF 3 for $15 paperback or $4.99 e-book.
The full set contains 287,000 words, in 58 stories, from 34 different countries!
Table of Contents:
- Courtship in the Country of Machine-Gods by Benjanun Sriduangkaew (Thailand)
- A Hundred Ghosts Parade Tonight by Xia Jia (China)
- Act of Faith by Fadzlishah Johanabas (Malaysia)
- The Foreigner by Uko Bendi Udo (Nigeria)
- The City of Silence by Ma Boyong (China)
- Planetfall by Athena Andreadis (Greece)
- Jungle Fever by Zulaikha Nurain Mudzar (Malaysia)
- To Follow the Waves by Amal El-Mohtar (Lebanon/Canada)
- Ahuizotl by Nelly Geraldine Garcia-Rosas (Mexico)
- The Rare Earth by Biram Mboob (Gambia)
- Spider’s Nest by Myra Çakan (Germany)
- Waiting with Mortals by Crystal Koo (Philippines)
- Three Little Children by Ange (France)
- Brita’s Holiday Village by Karin Tidbeck (Sweden)
- Regressions by Swapna Kishore (India)
- Dancing on the Red Planet by Berit Ellingsen (South Korea/Norway)
Cover by Sophia Tuska.
I was sure I posted it a long time ago, but it seems to have gone missing, so anyway, my one football story, for the World Cup. Sort of.
The Elders of Safed
By Lavie Tidhar
In Israel, when a winter is particularly savage, when something hadn’t happened in many years, such as freak snow or a tornado, they say that even the Elders of Safed don’t remember such a winter. There is a caveat. The cynics add that the Elders of Safed can’t even remember what they had for breakfast that morning. That is not true.
Safed lies in the mountains above the Sea of Galilee. It is the home of kaballah, the secret, mystical wisdom of the Jews. It is (with the exception of Jerusalem) the closest place to heaven, on Earth. Its residents paint the walls of their houses blue. Old men float down the street, deep in concentration, hovering several feet above the ground. Rare flowers blossom on street corners and grow upside-down and send bright petals blowing across windows and fill the air with the scents of Africa and Asia and Atlantis. There are alligators in the water supply. At certain times of the morning one can spot a herd of elephants, half-translucent, crossing the main street. An old English lady takes tea with God every afternoon in her backyard.
The Elders of Safed know when the sun will set and when it will rise, and have calculated down to several decimal points when the last ever sunset would be, and the time of the messiah’s arrival, which they keep secret but say, when pushed – ‘Don’t you worry, it won’t be any time soon.’ The Elders of Safed read the book of the Zohar every day and grow their beards long and some of them never cut their toenails. The children of Safed play soccer in the streets and they never stop to think that the Elders of Safed must have been children once, too, and were made to wash and go to bed early and weren’t allowed to get their shorts muddied. Every morning the Elders of Safed communicate telepathically with the monks of a hidden monastery that lies in a secret valley in Nepal, and they discuss the Overall Plan, and argue theology. Every four years the Elders of Safed watch the soccer world cup and lay bets and they use all their secret wisdom, but despite everything Israel had never made it past the preliminary stage.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that once a detective acquires two concurrent cases, they must be related.
Ah, 2013. The year I stopped reading paper books and started reading on my… phone.
Welcome to the future!
I read 32 books in total. (I should add that I read an awful lot of first-second-third chapters of books before giving up. These are books I actually finished. Also I don’t include reference works). I caught up on some classics – Pynchon’s Inherent Vice, McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (which lent itself to one of the best jokes I think in The Drummer). My favourite book of the year was Ned Beauman’s The Teleportation Accident. I also finally read The Princess Bride! Which is much stranger than I expected, and again, lent some of what it was doing, I think, to The Drummer. And I finally got to read The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril by Paul Malmont, which I almost got to read in 2007, only the last 10 pages of my paperback were missing – and I was halfway over the ocean on my way to Vanuatu!
In crime, I kept going through both Susana Gregory’s Matthew Bartholomew series, and Lindsey Davis’s Falco. And I read the latest Mallory novel from Carol O’Connell. I also read some crime novellas (Drive, The Hunter) and went on a Chester Himes buffet for a while!
Some of the best stuff I read were translated (old and new) novels. These were:
- Sunburnt Faces, Shimon Adaf (PS Publishing, 2013). This is my one cheat – I read it in the original Hebrew, and wrote the introduction for the PS edition. It’s a wonderful book from an incredible writer.
- Monday Begins on Saturday, Arkady & Boris Strugatsky. I read the old translation – the link is to a new translation and new edition from the SF Masterworks series. It’s very very funny. Loved it.
- What Lot’s Wife Saw, Ioanna Bourazopoulou (Black & White Publishing, 2013). I reviewed it here – “a dazzling magic trick of a novel”.
- Rabbit Back Literature Society, Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen (Pushkin Press, 2013). I’ll review it soon, I hope, but it’s fantastic – Twin Peaks meets the Moomins, if that makes any kind of sense. Technically I finished it in 2014 but hey! Read it.
In short stories, I loved China Mieville’s unexpected (it was only released in a limited edition chapbook), “The 9th Technique”, which is brilliant. I also loved 1926 in Brazilian Football, by Aliya Whiteley, which is reprinted in her collection Witchcraft in the Harem (Dog Horn Publishing 2013).
My vote for best new writer of the year is Benjanun Sriduangkaew, who I think is astonishing for a new writer, combining both ambition and the realisation of her ambition – I’m reprinting her Courtship in the Country of Machine-Gods (2012) in the forthcoming The Apex Book of World SF 3, and I highly recommend her 2013 fiction – her latest is Silent Bridge, Pale Cascade in Clarkesworld.
I’m not sure if it’s vain doing this sort of post, or sort of useful if only to me as a way of marking some sort of progress.
That’s a lot of qualifiers.
It’s been a long year.
On the publications front, I had two novels published. My short, weird SF (gonzo-SF?) novel Martian Sands finally saw print in March/April or thereabouts after years of, well, stuff. So I was very pleased to see it out. I also moved on to Hodder & Stoughton with a 2-book deal, the first of which, The Violent Century, came out in late October, to mostly very nice reviews.
Osama came out in Germany, France, Spain and Italy this year. The Bookman and Camera Obscura came out in Japan.
In short stories, I published 20 original stories this year, 19 in English and 1 in Hebrew. I have a more detailed post about them here.
I stopped publishing the World SF Blog in June, after more than four years. Surprisingly, I won a couple of awards for it this year – a BSFA Award for best non-fiction, and a special Kitschies. Which was nice.
I blurbed a few books, and wrote the introduction to the English edition of Shimon Adaf’s Sunburnt Faces. Which you should buy.
On the writing front, it’s been an incredibly busy year. I had my first screenwriting job, co-writing, with a friend, a feature for an Israeli production company. It’s gone through several drafts but a final draft is more or less there, for now.
I also sold my first mainstream comic – Adler, a five-part mini-series, with art by Paul McCaffrey, to Titan Comics, to be published late this year – around October, probably. I’ve delivered the scripts for the first 2 issues, and Paul is hard at work on finishing issue 1’s art at the moment.
I spent most of the year writing my new novel, The Drummer,which I delivered to Hodder just under the deadline a couple of weeks ago. The book was like a black hole, warping time and space around me. I’m pleased to see it gone, for now.
I also, at long last, finished my mosaic short-story cycle, Central Station, which I began around 2010. Individual stories have been published in Analog, Interzone, Clarkesworld and elsewhere. I’ve put the finishing touches on the collection.
I finished a new picture book with artist Adi Elkin.
I wrote about 12 short stories, some of them very short, some of them Central Station stories.
Coming in 2014
If all goes to plan, The Drummer should be out this October. My anthology, The Apex Book of World SF 3, should be out around August (or possibly towards the end of the year). Adler #1 should be out around October. I’ve also been working on a new anthology project, which is coming together very nicely, and should be out sometime in 2014. Apart from that, there’s a possibility that my Guns & Sorcery collection, Black Gods Kiss, will be out from PS Publishing (a companion piece to Gorel & The Pot-Bellied God).
I also have about 9 short stories scheduled to appear in 2014 so far. I am pretty much out of stories now, but I hope to write some new ones, and actually managed to finish 2 after sending off The Drummer. I miss short stories.
Writing-wise, I have a new novel to write, and Adler to finish. I’m also adapting – something – into a screenplay at the moment. I’ve got some more graphic novel/comics things I’m working on.
… but otherwise, I’m probably going to take it easy this year!