2014 Locus Recommended Reading List

Locus Magazine have published their annual recommended reading list.

  • A Man Lies Dreaming makes the list in Novels – Fantasy
  • Kur-a-len (from Black Gods Kiss) makes the novella list
  • “Vladimir Chong Chooses to Die” (from Analog) makes the list in the short fiction list

ETA:

Some very nice quotes from Locus in this issue, which also reviews Black Gods Kiss:

“One of the most flamboyantly entertaining collections of the year… what [the stories] are is almost the pure essence of pulp – violent, action-packed, paced like a runaway freight train, politically incorrect and socially unredeemable.”

Escape From Baghdad! by Saad Z. Hossain

I got sent this book by the publisher – it’s coming out in March – and I really can’t recommend it enough. Escape From Baghdad! is kind of the mirror image of any American war movie ever made, mixed in with a healthy dose of secret history and gonzo pulp fantasy – an Apocalypse Now with Djinns, maybe, but from the side of the invaded.

It’s heartbreaking in parts – Hossain does a fantastic job of capturing the horror of the invasion and the bloodied aftermath – but it’s also laugh-out-loud funny, and it does a few things I like very much. One is how it begins (much like Will Wiles’ The Way Inn, which I read recently and also loved), as a realist novel only to take an increasingly bizarre turn to the fantastic. The other is that it uses the tools of pulp fiction to tell something that is political and relevant – which is of course the sort of thing I strive for myself, at least on my better mornings.

Some of it made me think of Jerusalem Poker, and some of it reminded me a little of Angelmaker, but with the whimsy underlined by more heft, perhaps – more heart. But it’s very much its own work. Honestly, I loved it – I really hope it gets the attention it deserves. It’s the perfect antidote to Jarhead or American Sniper, though it’s of course the one book Hollywood is unlikely to ever turn into a movie.

When I finished reading The Teleportation Accident last year, I wanted to stand up and applaud it. I haven’t had the same reaction to a book again until I read this one. If you get a chance, get hold of a copy – it’s worth it.

Announcing The Apex Book of World SF 4

I’m delighted to say I’ve agreed with Apex Publications for a fourth volume in The Apex Book of World SF series. This unlikely anthology series has occupied me since 2008, when it seemed like just about the most ridiculous thing anyone could ever think of, and I have to give Jason Sizemore of Apex massive kudos for enthusiastically supporting this quixotic endeavour from the start. Together, I think we created something unique and, I hope, long-lasting.

Back in 2008, it seemed impossible to imagine we could get one volume out, let alone three. Yet, marvelously, here we are.

There were two things that concerned me around this time. One was that I wanted the series to continue. The second was that, after three volumes, I felt should no longer be the one to edit them. It occurs to me that the key for the anthologies from the start was diversity, a sort encompassing, global perspective. One rule in editing them was not to repeat writers, but use the space as a showcase for different people. The danger with remaining on is to allow my own possible biases to eventually get in the way. And after 3 volumes and nearly 300,000 words, surely it was time for someone else have their say!

What I needed was that unlikely someone who was so enthusiastic that they’d actually want to take this on – and there my plans kind of floundered…

…Until Mahvesh Murad came along. She had initially interviewed me for her radio show in Pakistan, and I met up with her later in London in August, when she came for the World Science Fiction Convention. She has been super enthusiastic about the anthologies, in a way I’d not seen anyone do before, and she asked if we were going to continue doing them, and if so, did we need any help editing…

At this point, Jason and I have been cautiously floating the idea of a fourth volume, as something that won’t completely ruin Apex or what remained of my sanity. We kept going back and forth but eventually Jason gave me the green light, I asked Mahvesh, she gave me a resounding yes! – and here we are!

I’m really excited about the next volume. I’m remaining on as Series Editor, which is a sort of oversight and support role combined, but the next book is going to be all Mahvesh, and I can’t wait to see it! It’s been fantastic to get this far, and I’m delighted that we are once more moving forward.

The Apex Book of World SF 4, edited by Mahvesh Murad, is tentatively scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2015, in trade paperback and e-book.

The Year’s Best SF 32

My Central Station story, “Vladimir Chong Chooses To Die”, originally published in Analog, will be in the latest edition of The Year’s Best Science Fiction, edited by Gardner Dozois.

Here is the full table of contents:

The Year’s Best Science Fiction, Thirty-Second Annual Collection,
Edited by Gardner Dozois

The Fifth Dragon, Ian McDonald (Reach for Infinity)
The Rider, Jérôme Cigut (F&SF)
The Days of the War, as Red as Blood, as Dark as Bile, Aliette de Bodard (Subterranean Online)
The Burial of Sir John Mawe at Cassini, Chaz Brenchley (Subterranean Online)
The Regular, Ken Liu (Upgraded)
The Woman from the Ocean, Karl Bunker (Asimov’s)
Shooting the Apocalypse, Paolo Bachigalupi (The End Is Nigh)
Weather, Susan Palwick (Clarkesworld)
The Hand Is Quicker, Elizabeth Bear (The Book of Robert Silverberg)
The Man Who Sold the Moon, Cory Doctorow (Hieroglyph)
Vladimir Chong Chooses To Die, Lavie Tidhar (Analog)
Beside the Damned River, D.J. Cockburn (Interzone)
The Colonel, Peter Watts (Tor.com)
Entanglement, Vandana Singh (Hieroglyph)
White Curtain, Pavel Amnuel (F&SF)
Slipping, Lauren Beukes (Twelve Tomorrows)
Passage of Earth, Michael Swanwick (Clarkesworld)
Amicae Aeternum, Ellen Klages (Reach for Infinity)
In Babelsberg, Alastair Reynolds (Reach for Infinity)
Sadness, Timons Esaias (Analog)
West to East, Jay Lake (Subterranean Online)
Grand Jeté (The Great Leap), Rachel Swirsky (Subterranean Online)
Covenent, Elizabeth Bear (Hieroglyph)
Jubilee, Karl Schroeder (Tor.com)
Los Pirates del Mar de Plastico (Pirates of the Plastic Ocean), Paul Graham Raven (Twelve Tomorrorws)
Red Light, and Rain, Gareth L. Powell (Solaris Rising 3)
Coma Kings, Jessica Barber (Lightspeed)
The Prodigal Son, Allen M. Steele (Asimov’s)
God Decay, Rich Larson (Upgraded)
Blood Wedding, Robert Reed (Asimov’s)
The Long Haul, from the Annals of Transportation, The Pacific Monthly, May 2009, Ken Liu (Clarkesworld)
Shadow Flock, Greg Egan (Coming Soon Enough)
Thing and Sick, Adam Roberts (Solaris Rising 3)
Communion, Mary Anne Mohanraj (Clarkesworld)
Someday, James Patrick Kelly (Asimov’s)
Yesterday’s Kin, Nancy Kress (Tachyon)

Excerpt

Something I’m working on.

The man walked through the door with a gun. The gun looked dainty in his enormous hand, like a lollipop he really wanted to chew on. The way he pointed it on me was near apologetic. For a moment we merely stared at each other in silence.

‘It’s very Chandleresque of you,’ I said.

‘I beg your pardon?’

‘Chandler suggested you could always solve a plot problem by having a man walk through the door with a gun.’

‘I never liked Chandler,’ he said. ‘I’m more of a Dashiell Hammett fan.’

A Man Lies Dreaming Best of 2014 Selections

A Man Lies Dreaming is currently on a couple of year’s bests lists: it’s been picked by the Guardian (which previously reviewed it, calling it, in part, “a twisted masterpiece”) for their list of best SF novels of 2014, and also by the Scotland Herald for their list of best crime novels of 2014, saying:

Pushing hard at the boundaries of genre, daring us to classify it neatly, Lavie Tidhar’s A Man Lies Dreaming (Hodder and Stoughton, £18.99) reimagines Adolf Hitler as a deposed dictator forced to work as a private investigator on the mean streets of 1930s London. But as the book progresses we realise that the man called Wolf only exists in the mind of a Jewish writer imprisoned in Auschwitz. It’s bold, often brilliant, and avoids the pitfalls one might expect before crossing into the territory of speculative writers such as Philip K Dick.

2014 In Review

The publication of my short story, “Die”, in the anthology Dangerous Games a few days ago marks my final publication of the year. I thought I’d post a short round-up of everything I’d had out this year, after deciding to take it easy the year before. So.

Novels

I only had one novel out this year, A Man Lies Dreaming. I am very happy with it.

Comics

Adler is moving along… slowly. My only comic this year, as such, was the short A Man Named Wolf, done as a promotional giveaway for the novel. There was a limited print run of 50-70 copies, but you can read it online for free (or get it as a PDF).

Collections

My long delayed guns & sorcery collection, Black Gods Kiss (featuring the titular hero from Gorel & The Pot-Bellied God) finally appeared a short while ago. It’s a gorgeous edition, designed by my long-time artist Pedro Marques, and includes 5 long stories, including the brand-new novella “Kur-a-len” (a murder mystery set in a vast cemetery where both suspects and victim are already dead). And no, there’s no apostrophe.

Short Stories

I had about 20 stories out last year, and the year before. So this year I swore I’ll publish less. I ended up with 8, which isn’t so bad.

  • “Whaliens”. Analog, April 2014. Or how to win a Hugo. You can also read it online.
  • “Murder in the Cathedral”. Asimov’s Science Fiction, June 2014. A novelette “from the lost files of the Bookman Histories!”
  • “Vladimir Chong Chooses To Die”. Analog. September 2014. Final published story from my Central Station cycle. Already picked up for reprint in Gardner Dozois’ Year’s Best SF 32. Which is nice!
  • “The Time-Slip Detective”. Tel Aviv Noir, September 2014. Weird crime story, in an anthology co-edited by Etgar Keret – which I happen to think is incredibly cool.
  • Selfies. Tor.com, September 2014. Horror. I guess September was a busy month.
  • “The Woman Who Fell In Love With The Hungerford Bridge”. Ambit #218 (October 2014). Lit.
  • The Rise and Fall of the Simian Empire. Interfictions, November, 2014. Giant apes.
  • “Die”. Dangerous Games, December 2014. Horror.

Next year

The American edition of The Violent Century will be out in February, and will include an exclusive new short story, “Aftermaths”, as well as a Q&A. You can pre-order it from Amazon. It should also be out at some point in Poland and Japan.

The limited edition of A Man Lies Dreaming will be out in the UK from PS Publishing (I hope!). It includes a huge amount of bonus material, and will also come bundled separately with the infamous Sebastian Bruce nazisploitation novella Lust of the Swastika (with a new scholarly introduction by me). Seriously, it will be an amazing book.

I have two mini-anthologies, co-edited with Rebecca Levene, scheduled for early next year. They’re very cool, with proceeds all going to a good charity. We’ll announce them soon!

I am also hoping to finally bring out a collected edition of all the Central Station stories. It’s not quite a collection and not quite a novel, but something in between…

At the moment I only have a couple of short stories scheduled for publication next year, one in the Brand Perfect Annual, and one in the George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois anthology Old Venus. And a short comic, with artist Sarah Ann Langton, provisionally titled “New Swabia”, in a forthcoming comics anthology.

Other plans include writing a new novel (finally!) as well as a non-fiction book with my friend Shimon Adaf, about Israeli fiction, pulp, poetry and politics. Sounds riveting, I know!

And, as always, lots of other things.