2015 in Publishing

I didn’t have much published this year, relatively speaking, but here is what I did manage to put out.

Novels

I didn’t have a new novel out this year in the UK, but The Violent Century came out in the US in February (and in Japan at the same time). And Chinese and Polish editions are forthcoming.

A Man Lies Dreaming came out in paperback in the UK in March. Round the corner, the Italian edition is due around January, the US edition in March, and there’s also a Czech edition in the works, and I’ve just signed another translation deal for the book. The limited edition came out just recently too, a two-volume signed slipcased edition packed with bonus stuff.

Awards

It was lovely to get a Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize for A Man Lies Dreaming in June, which was completely unexpected. The novel’s currently on the longlist for the International Dublin Literary Award (my second time on the longlist in two years). It was also shortlisted for a British Fantasy Award, and my collection, Black Gods Kiss, was nominated for the same award in the best collection category.

Anthologies

Quite a busy year on that front. After editing the first 3 volumes, I became Series Editor for the Apex Book of World SF 4, edited by Mahvesh Murad. I was very happy with the final result, which also gave us a chance to revamp the series with new covers by Sarah Anne Langton, and to offer an omnibus package of all four volumes. The new volume is not only performing well, but has bumped up the previous volumes, and I think we’re on track to (hopefully!) do a 5th volume sometime in the next couple of years.

Meanwhile, Rebecca Levene and I edited Jews vs Zombies and Jews vs Aliens, two small anthologies in aid of charity. These came out as e-book originals to begin with, but you can now get the snazzy omnibus paperback edition.

Novellas

Lust of the Swastika, a parody of the sort of ‘stalag’ novels that A Man Lies Dreaming engages with, was published in a strictly limited hardcover edition – in fact you can only get it here, as part of the 2-book slipcase bundle of A Man Lies Dreaming. For what it’s worth, the whole thing’s gorgeous, with faultless design by Pedro Marques.

Short Stories

Only 6 7!

  • “Aftermaths”. A bonus short story set some two years after the end of The Violent Century, it is only available as part of the US edition.
  • “The Drowned Celestial”. In Old Venus, ed. George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. This one was fun to do, and I’ve tended to describe it as “Brokeback Mountain on Venus”. Lots of shoutouts to C.L. Moore and other writers of the pulps.
  • “Antarctica”. In The Brand Annual. It was an interesting challenge, as I had quite a specific set of requirements for this, but I was pleased with how it turned out. It’s set in a future London and features a… marketeer.
  • “The Last Dinosaur”. In Shimmer. A little story about the last car ride in the world.
  • “Dynamics of an Asteroid”. In The Mammoth Book of the Adventures of Moriarty, ed. Maxim Jakubowski. This is like a quadruple mashup – think Moriarty meets War of the Worlds meets Jack the Ripper meets Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Yeah.
  • “Cold Blood”. In Innsmouth Nightmares, ed. Lois Gresh. This was fun! What would have happened if Truman Capote and Harper Lee ended up investigating the murder of a family in, well, Innsmouth. Hey it makes sense OK.
  • “Like Bogart”. In Shattered Prism. A vignette set in the world of The Violent Century. The “Atomic Cocktail” thing is all true!

Next Year

A new novel, Central Station, comes out in May (US, with UK distribution); my first non-fiction book, a collaboration with Shimon Adaf called Art and War, comes out in March (US and UK).

A Man Lies Dreaming comes out, as I said, in the US next March. And many other things are, well, afoot… a few announcements in the new year!

2015 Reading

This has not been a great reading year for me – with the exception of a lot of research material of various kinds (pretty weird and obscure, on the whole!), I read relatively little fiction, and what I did read was either skewed comfort-wise, or still work-related to some extent. With these caveats, however:

Possibly my favourite book this year was Saad Z. Hossain’s Escape From Baghdad!, published in the US by Unnamed Press. It starts as a realist novel set in post-invasion Baghdad, and escalates into a madcap secret history involving immortals, the Fates, the Old Man of the Mountains and a climatic, bloody, and hilarious battle scene. A lot of comparisons have been made with Catch-22, but also I think works like Tim Powers’ oeuvre or the obscure but brilliant Jerusalem Poker. It’s a fantastic book, and deserves to be much better known than it currently seems to be. A bravura performance.

I was also touched by Sarah Lotz’s Pompidou Posse (actually the author’s first novel, previously only published in South Africa and now reissued in the UK by Hodder & Stoughton). It brings back a lot of memories for me as a 17 year old backpacker crashing at Shakespeare & Company in Paris – in the (autobiographical) novel, two English girls run away to Paris and live among the homeless. The ending is heart-breaking, but also, I think, strangely hopeful.

Another book I loved this year was Will Wiles’ The Way Inn, which is fantastic – it starts off as a hilarious send up of the convention industry and takes a 90 degree turn into Lovecraftian territory. I love the sort of book that does that and this is wonderfully well written, a novel about contemporary existence and its horrors. It’s another book, I think, that deserved more attention than it perhaps got.

I finally read Jim Thompson this year (The Killer Inside Me) and Laurent Binet’s HHhH, both of which have much to recommend them. And I caught up on the rest of Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther novels (one of the early inspirations for A Man Lies Dreaming). I also read The Crying of Lot 49, re-read Norstrilia for an article I wrote about it, and managed to finally finish Chuck Palaniuk’s Pgymy. And I enjoyed Nick Mamatas’ forthcoming I am Providence, which is the sort of thing you’d love if you love murder-mysteries-set-in-literary-conventions, which is a sub-genre I adore (and have contributed my own efforts to in the past). On that note, too, I did enjoy Jason Sizemore’s For Exposure: The Life and Times of a Small Press Publisher a great deal – less a structured narrative than a series of increasingly surreal anecdotes set in the world of science fiction small press publishing, the sort of thing that’s in turns very funny, quite scary, and often makes you question the sanity of everyone involved.

In fantasy, I loved Zen Cho’s debut, Sorcerer to the Crown, which combines a sort of Wodehousian attitude with a sharp post-colonial sensibility – it owes obvious debt to Susanna Clarke, and is purposefully lighter, but it is very much its own book and it’s both charming and very funny, while making some pointed observations on both Englishism and fantasy.

And I caught up with Robert Jackson’s Bennett’s books, which I love – it’s the sort of pulp fiction where “pulp” is very much a compliment, from the gorgeous King/Bradbury/Lovecraft mashup of American Elsewhere to the weird circus of The Troupe to secondary world fantasy City of Stairs, these are books that very much show off their influences while remaining distinctly their own, and written in an inimitable style. They’re just incredibly good fun.

Speaking of fun, Cassandra Khaw’s novella, Rupert Wong: Cannibal Chef, from Abaddon Books, is ostensibly set in their shared world of, err, “Gods & Monsters”, but it’s very much its own thing too, a high-octane fantasy and murder mystery featuring the titular chef, the ghost of Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown, the Greek Furies and much more beside. It’s got a near-perfect first chapter, and I’d love to see more in that world.

 

The Violent Century shortlisted for the Gaylactic Spectrum Award

I didn’t even realise it, but it turns out The Violent Century was shortlisted a while back for the Gaylactic Spectrum Award for best novel.

The awards “honor outstanding works of science fiction, fantasy and horror which include significant positive explorations of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered characters, themes, or issues.”

It’s a really valuable award, and though I didn’t win, it really is an honour to have been nominated!

Here is the full list, from the site:

2014/2015 Best Novel Winner and Recommended List – 2013 Published Titles

WINNER:
Death By Silver – Melissa Scott & Amy Griswold (Lethe Press)

SHORT/RECOMMENDED LIST:
Angel on the Ropes – Jill Shultz (Jill Shultz/self)
Blood Oranges – Kathleen Tierney (Caitlin Kiernan) (Roc)
Dead In the Desert – Lou Harper (Harper Books/self)
The Holy Road / His Sacred Bones – Ginn Hale (Blind Eye Books)
Indexing – Seanan McGuire (47North)
The Left Hand of Justice – Jess Faraday (Bold Strokes Books)
The Magpie Lord – KJ Charles (Samhain Publishing)
Something More Than Night – Ian Tregillis (Tor)
The Summer Prince – Alaya Dawn Johnson (Arthur A. Levine Books)
The Violent Century – Lavie Tidhar (Hodder & Stoughton)
Widdershins / Threshold / Stormhaven – Jordan L. Hawk (JLH/Widdershins/self)

Jews vs Omnibus!

Just in time for, err, Christmas? Hannukah! – the slightly-delayed omnibus edition of Jews vs Zombies and Jews vs Aliens is now available, in a snazzy paperback edition! Available on Amazon and Amazon UK.

Now collected into a single volume, editors Lavie Tidhar and Rebecca Levene bring you the groundbreaking anthologies Jews vs Zombiesand Jews vs Aliens, which pose the two most important questions asked in the past 2000 years: what happens when the Chosen People meet aliens… or the living dead?

 With authors ranging from Orange Prize winner Naomi Alderman to The Big Bang Theory’s writer/producer Eric Kaplan, and from BSFA Award winner Adam Roberts and Nebula Award winner Rachel Swirsky to best selling author Sarah Lotz, the stories range from the light-hearted to the profound.

 “If you will it, it is no dream!” as Theodor Herzl said: and no doubt he had just these anthologies in mind. With all proceeds going to charity, Jews vs Aliens and Jews vs Zombies are the must have anthologies of the year.

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Jews vs Omnibus, Jurassic London, 2015

Italian cover for A Man Lies Dreaming!

Hot on the heels of the US edition cover, here is the cover for the forthcoming Italian edition of A Man Lies Dreaming – which has been retitled Wolf for this edition.

Wolf is published by Frassinelli in January, in hardcover.

I love this cover – it catches the essence of the book for me in a very real way, though I have to say I’ve loved all the covers for the book so far. Here it is!

Wolf