Tachyon tidbits featuring Bruce Sterling, Joe R. Lansdale, Hannu Rajaniemi, and Patricia A. McKillip
The latest reviews and mentions of Tachyon titles and authors from around the web.
George Orwell’s HOMAGE TO CATALONIA is a wonderful piece of journalism recounting the civil conflicts in Spain prior to WWII. Detailing the plights of the communists, marxists, fascists, anarchists, nationalists, and the conservative and liberal sub-units each consist of, it provides a fascinating view into how complex political ideologies can be in practice. The Spanish civil wars something little discussed globally in the years since, they have become almost a footnote to the world war erupting soon after. Another politically complex conflict nearly elided by time is the happenings in the Free State of Fiume in the years directly following the first world war. Likewise a milieu of anarchists, liberals, fascists, etc., the small region was a hotbed of human political interest for a short period of time, and almost as a natural expansion, military tension. The 1920s simultaneously blustering for the wonders of the future modernism seemed to promise, it was wild times in Europe. Satirically glamorous, Bruce Sterling’s PIRATE UTOPIA (2016, Tachyon) captures a comically refined view of the proceedings as only Bruce Sterling can.
A book may ultimately be just words on the page, but Tachyon’s investment into the production of PIRATE UTOPIA makes a strong case for books being something more. The story’s ideology rooted in radical Futurism, it’s only appropriate that the art fit the scene. And the work of John Coulthart is spot on. The edgy, advertisement/propaganda-style page inserts and chapter breaks, as well as bits of real-world Futurist art, flesh out the story in abstract style. Emphasizing the era while providing great eye candy, his art makes PIRATE UTOPIA a visual treat. (See examples here.) And not only does Coulthart provide art, he also provides a commentary on his work in the book in the reference material. The novella likewise featuring an Introduction by Warren Ellis and Afterword by Christopher Brown, topping matters off is a lengthy interview with Sterling, himself. In short, what was a roughly 130 page story becomes almost 200 pages of rich, varied content—art to fiction to non-fiction.
It is unfortunate
when first impressions form final expectations. For many readers in
science fiction, Bruce Sterling, with his novels THE ARTIFICIAL KID
and ISLANDS IN THE NET, and perhaps most particularly due to editing
the MIRRORSHADES anthology, will forever be tied—anchored, even—to
the aesthetic of cyberpunk. Wary of the artistic limits of the
sub-genre, however, Sterling took steps away in the 90s. Trying new
ideas and combining politics and technology in deceivingly satirical
fashion, Sterling has since singularized his m.o.. No longer part of
a larger wave of sub-genre, there is absolutely nothing like
DISTRACTION, THE CARYATIDS, and LOVE IS STRANGE: A PARANORMAL ROMANCE
in genre. A Bruce Sterling story is now identifiable by style alone.
With its idiosyncratic sense of humor, abstracted reality, political
depth, and overall peanut-gallery perspective, PIRATE UTOPIA is
another perfect example.
Denise Petski at DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD reports that Brian Dennehy and others have joined the cast for the second season of SundanceTV’s HAP AND LEONARD.
Brian Dennehy has joined the Season 2 cast of SundanceTV’s HAP AND LEONARD in a recurring role. He’ll play Valentine Otis, a sheriff and all-around boss-hog in Marvel Creek.
Along with Dennehy,
the network announced additional cast as production begins on the
second season. Irma P. Hall (A FAMILY THING) joins as recurring,
along with Dohn Norwood (ALL THE WAY, HELL ON WHEELS) and Evan Gamble
(THE VAMPIRE DIARIES), and Tiffany Mack (WICKED LOVE) and Cranston
Johnson who board as series regulars. Episodes will be directed by
Maurice Marable (VEEP), Abe Sylvia (NURSE JACKIE) and Tim Southam
(HELL ON WHEELS).
James Purefoy and Michael K. Williams as the titular HAP AND LEONARD (James Minchin/SundanceTV)
HAP AND LEONARD was
created by director-writer Jim Mickle and writer Nick Damici based on
Joe R. Lansdale’s novels. Season 2 will be based on Lansdale’s
1994 book MUCHO MOJO, the second in the Hap and Leonard series, which
revolves around the death of Leonard Pine’s Uncle Chester.
WIRED’s GEEK’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY interviews Hannu Rajaniemi.
Hannu Rajaniemi is a science fiction author, a self-described “recovering string theorist,” and co-founder of the biotech startup Helix Nano. Recently he and his friend Sam Halliday got their hands on an EMOTIV Epoc headset—a very simple brain scanner—and started wondering how it might be used to tell stories. The result was a piece of experimental writing called “Snow White is Dead.”
“‘Snow White is Dead’ is what we ended up calling ‘neurofiction,‘” Rajaniemi says in Episode 220 of the GEEK’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY podcast. “It’s an interactive fiction piece, like a Choose Your Own Adventure, but without conscious choice.”
It appears that Barnes and Noble has new copies of the out of print HANNU RAJANIEMI: COLLECTED FICTION for sale on their site. We at Tachyon have no idea where those copies came from since we sold out of the 2,000 limited copies shortly after its publication last year. So if you’re looking for copies of this amazing collection, head over there and get yourself a copy. Just be warned that YMMV.
For TOR.COM, Ilana C. Myer revisits Patricia A. McKillip’s classic short story, “Snow Queen.”
Once upon a time, in a metropolis in deep winter, a girl had her heart broken. She gathered her things from a high-end rental overlooking Times Square into a wheelie suitcase. She took the subway back to the basement apartment she shared with two other women, looked ahead to a plethora of winter days, and wondered how to go on. That was when she discovered a short story, “The Snow Queen” by Patricia McKillip. The girl was saved for another day. One day followed the next. And the winter did pass—eventually.
Cover by Thomas Canty
So I admit that when I first discovered this short story about heartbreak, self-reliance, and healing, I was probably its ideal audience. I came across it in SNOW WHITE, BLOOD RED, an anthology of fairy tale retellings edited by Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow. Returning again more than a decade later and in quite a different frame of mind, I was wondering how it would hold up to scrutiny. It turns out, so many lines and phrases stuck in my head down the years, not only due to emotional resonance but because the story is exquisite, luminous and delicate as the tracery of ice filaments on a windowpane. Masterful rhythms make it into a prose poem, laced with knife-edge wit and psychological insights. Take for example the Snow Queen’s assessment of a girl’s face: “How sweet, Neva thought, to have kept that expression, like one’s first kiss treasured in tissue paper.”
For more info on PIRATE UTOPIA, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover and image by John Coulthart
For more info about HANNU RAJANIEMI: COLLECTED FICTION, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover art by Lius Lasahido
Design by Elizabeth Story