The New Space Opera 2

The New Space Opera 2 hits bookstore shelves all across the US of A today.  I’m tempted to say ‘Calloo, callay, oh, Frabjous day!’, but instead I’ll focus a little and tell you that it’s a spiffy new book filled to bursting with brilliant new stories of space(!) with adventure(!) and humor(!) and spaceships(!).  It’s an edifying mixture of ‘Ye Olde Spacey Opera-ey’ and new, spiffy titanium plated ‘New Space Opera’.New Space Opera 2

It features stories by Neal Asher, John Barnes, Cory Doctorow, John Kessel, Jay Lake, John Meaney, Elizabeth Moon, Garth Nix, Mike Resnick, Justina Robson, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, John Scalzi, Bruce Sterling, Peter Watts, Sean Williams, Tad Williams, Bill Willingham, Robert Charles Wilson, and John C. Wright.

Each and every story is written to enlighten, edify, delight and amuse. What more could you ask for in a startlingly handsome book? Nope. I can’t think of anything else either.  If you’ve ever loved a story where a paper spaceship is launched into the darkest heart of the imagination, then this one might be for you.

I know Gardner would join me in thanking all of the contributors for their stories. No-one writes short stories for the money, and we’re very grateful. We’d also thank the brilliantly talented Stephan Martiniere for the cover and, of course, the wondrous Diana Gill at HarperEos and Stephanie Smith at HarperAustralia for publishing the book!

And yes, we’re hoping to do a third one.

Oh, and reviews are coming in!

Three days since…

It’s been three days since we spoke. I’ve been up, I’ve been down, but I haven’t been in touch. I am sorry about that. I was at the day job on Friday, working away, enjoying the company of my colleagues, but my thoughts were ever somewhat elsewhere. Perhaps it was the looming deadlines, perhaps the chance to spend time with family. The truth is, we shall never know.

So, what happened, you ask? Well, Friday evening was supposed to be wet and wild and windy. I headed home early and prepared for a night of children tucked safe in bed and quiet enjoyment of a good movie over a better bottle of wine.  The younger generation were wonderful, the dinner was fine. I didn’t love the movie. I know you did. I’d not seen it. Perhaps I needed to have seen it – Withnail and I – when I was in my twenties and the world was still in the ’80s. That’s not what happened, though, and I was bored. The wine was poor, too.

Saturday was another day. Up early, out for breakfast with the loved ones at Esprezzo (ahhh, the heady pleasures of Noranda Palms Shopping Village), then some shopping. I’d already JB’d, so not that day. House and family things were done, of course. Oh, and Gordon and I went and spent a couple thousand dollars on a pile of computer bits (pieces, not bytes). It should make for something spiffy, but after a friend bought a new MacBook and another got my hooked on some Mac only software I wondered about my wisdom.

I know, I know, my tale drags.  The rest of the day was fine.  My mother came over – you remember her – and babysat while we met the Gang at the Place for dinner. The Gang were wonderful, as they always are, but this Place shall never become a regular Place, I fear. They had a singer, at dinner time. Gauche. Poor form. We shouted. In the end, the Gang decamped to another place (where it was Wild and Windy and perhaps briefly reminiscent of Old Providence, but coffee and chatter were available in abundance). And thence, to bed.

Sunday was a work day. That piece of software, Scrivener, came to the fore. Manuscripts poured in, and bundled out. Suddenly rough manuscripts for Eclipse and Subterranean and many other things exist. I realised errors I’d made, shuffled things, mailed contracts. I was, and you’ll remember how this can be, Extremely Productive. For several hours. Then more of the Gang – not all of them, but some – came around for chatter and coffee. The children were terrific, until they weren’t. Tiredness came to town, and things fell somewhat apart. I know you know how that is.

And that’s where I’ve been since last we spoke. I’m overwhelmed a little, right now. Suddenly too MANY stories where once there were too few. Still, that can’t be a bad thing. I shall shuffle, I shall hustle, and we’ll see how many we can make feel at home. More soon!  (Oh, and how were things There with You and Yours?)

Brighten up!

I’m gonna, honest. You guys must thing the world is ending down here in sunny Perth. Well, it ain’t. We’re all healthy at Merton Way, we got not bills we can’t pay, and all of the stresses and strains are temporary. It IS busy (I always say that) and I probably am stupidly overcommitted (which means I’m not enjoying things as much, but all is basically fine. Especially if you get your story in by the deadline…

Thursday? Now which god was that? Thor! Yeah.

Hmm.  Thursday.  Not sure about Thursday at all, fellow campers.  This one started at my not-favorite cafe being nagged by my beloved 71-year-old mother over home maintenance issues and ended with an unexpected bloody tax bill. Along the way there was my least favorite day job work task, a less than joyful friend correspondence, and issues of international copyright.  All of this lead to your humble correspondent adopting a less than sunny demeanour and being generally poor company all round.

Now, I know that I should cope with such things in a mature and calm manner. I do. The thing is, though, I don’t feel terribly mature about then.  I felt stressed, anxious and on edge.  Still, I am now carefully applying a veneer of maturity using a very nice glass of Chardonnay, a few moments of calm, and a copy of Rod Stewart’s Every Picture Tells a Story. This will work.

How are things otherwise? Well, I read a manuscript that has sat unpublished for a quarter century today over a reheated pasta bake lunch and found it good. I bought, or am in the process of buying, a bunch of stories. I had some very nice authors confirm they were still paddling in the right direction, and were going to send stories.  Frankly, the rest was ok.

So, you ask, is there a solution to your woes, for you have sounded less than joyful of late?  The answer is yes, there is, and it won’t require an enormous funds injection.  The solution is to dump unloved jobs that I don’t have to do, get fit and healthy, and spend more time with the ones I love. I also need some real down time. For example, I realized the other day that I’ve been reviews editor for a particular fair journal since early 2002. That means I haven’t had a single month since when I wasn’t working at some level.  My all new goal for 2010 is to arrange one full month when I’m doing nothing: no anthologies, no required reading, no review – just time on the metaphorical beach unwinding and not thinking. That will get me back to where I need to be.

And tomorrow? Well, let me tell you, dead reader, tomorrow I shall contact a certain Australian air carrier and attempt once again to renegotiate my flights to the US.  Why, you ask? Well, it’s like this. When I booked my flights to the US my priority was to make the journey as comfortable as possible. A few days here, a few days there, and so on. Now, on reflection, what I realise is that I’m most eager to increase the number of  days I spend on the Locus back deck with CHARLES.  He is very dear to me and our time is running out.  A few extra sunny summer evenings, sipping wine, watching the sun set and feeling the Oakland air slowly turn cool as the squirrels chatter in the nearby trees suddenly seems incredibly precious to me.  If the cost is not too steep, I shall spend my time there instead, I think.  It would be a fine thing to do.


Worked from home today. Connected to the day job network and did some various things, mostly having to do with stuff that won’t make much sense to anyone not using the particular piece of proprietary content management software that we do, but it kept me busy.

I re-heated some of last night’s pasta bake for lunch (yum), and did some much needed administrivia on divers projects. Still much to do, but a little bit has been done so we continue in the right direction.

And now the girls are out at a playdate, and I’m home reading on what has become a cold, darkening wintry afternoon. I’m half way through Leviathan and loving it. I can tell how much because I find myself not wanting to read some of the bad stuff. It’s a captivating joy ride. I wish I had all three volumes now, but I can tell you this much: this one’s special.