This coming Memorial Day Weekend, I am guest at Houston’s Comicpalooza. The traditionally comic and media heavy convention as decided to venture into literary programming. Hence, my invite and appearance on several panels.
Friday, May 22
From Frankenstein and Carrie to the Wayward Pines trilogy; what are the best stories a true horror fan should read? Our panelists share which books and authors are on their list and why. Danel Olson, Rick Klaw, Jacqueline Patricks, Chun Lee, Gabrielle Faust
Saturday, May 23
What are the books you should read to have a well-rounded knowledge of science fiction? Come learn which works and authors our panel of experts thinks you should know and maybe you can give them a few suggestions as well! Raymond E. Feist, D.L. Young, Rick Klaw, K. S. O’Neill, H. C. H. Ritz, C. D. Lewis
From Neuromancer to Blade Runner and Elysium; cyberpunk fiction has influenced countless novels and films with its high-tech; low-culture worldview. Join the discussion on the roots of cyberpunk and its influence on sci-fi over the last 30 years. D.L. Young, K. S. O’Neill, Rachael Acks, Rick Klaw, Gabrielle Faust
Monday, May 24
The Twilight Zone; Orphan Black; Star Trek; Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.; Doctor Who” what are the all-time best (and worst) of television’s science fiction shows; and what makes them so great (or not so great)? Come and participate in the discussion! C. D. Lewis, Rick Klaw, Wayne Basta, C. Stuart Hardwick, Diana Dru Botsford
Hope to see everyone one there.
I was looking over the Comicpalooza site, when I happened upon the Autograph and Photo Prices. Even though I find the act of charging for signatures largely deplorable, I was curious what people are demanding. While there are some free, most range from $25 to $50.
Two in particular stood out to me.
Donations accepted for
Donations accepted for
The Hero Initiative is a fantastic and sorely needed organization for comic book creators.
The Hero Initiative is the first-ever federally chartered not-for-profit corporation dedicated strictly to helping comic book creators in need. Hero creates a financial safety net for yesterdays’ creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work. It’s a chance for all of us to give back something to the people who have given us so much enjoyment.
This further cements Walt Simonson as one of my favorite artists. Apparently, he’s a good human being as well.
Let’s take a quick look to see what’s arrived at the Geek Compound.
The Michael Moorcock Library Vol.1: Elric of Melnibone
Script & adaptation by Roy Thomas
Art by Michael T. Gilbert & P. Craig Russell
Collecting the first volume of the classic adaptation of Michael Moorcock’s bestselling fantasy saga, Elric of Melniboné marks the perfect introduction to the series’ iconic antihero, his fabled blade, Stormbringer, and his harrowing adventures across the Dragon Isle. Adapted by former Marvel Comics editor, Roy Thomas, and beautifully rendered by longtime comics illustrator, Michael T. Gilbert, and the multiple Harvey and Eisner award-winning P. Craig Russell, this definitive collection marks an essential read for all fans of sword and sorcery and brings the Moorcock’s epic tales to life with luxuriant imagination.
On the book’s title page they get the artist credits wrong. It’s attributed to Michael T. DAVIS rather than GILBERT.
(Image courtesy of Wikipedia)
Born in New Orleans on May 14, 1897, Sydney Bechet was the first great Jazz clarinetist. He famously performed with many famous musicians including Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, and Josephine Baker. A master of improvisation, Bechet often played lead parts that were usually reserved for trumpets.
In 2004, Tachyon produced a chapbook of Bechet’s OMAR, a tale of of passion, danger, and betrayal in the Bayou. Infused with voodoo, love, music, and death, the chronicle is wrought out of a brutal period in American history, passed down by a family born into slavery. It is jazz legend Sidney Bechet’s story.
Sidney Bechet died in Paris on May 14, 1959 at the age of 62.
For more about Sidney Betchet, visit The Sidney Bechet Society.
For more about OMAR, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by William Reid.
As chronicled here, Hannu Rajaniemi visited the Tachyon offices in San Francisco. Many thanks to the fine folks there who got me this inscribed copy.
Tachyon fearless leader Jacob Weisman aiding Hannu.
There are times that I really love my job as Tachyon’s resident social media maven.
Photo by Jill Roberts
At long last, Rayguns Over Texas comes out in an ebook format.
“In spite of the title, which implies freewheeling space opera, there’s only one raygun to be found in Rayguns Over Texas, an original anthology edited by Richard Klaw; most stories here don’t take us off Earth, and most don’t have anything to do with aliens (attacking or otherwise) or armadas of battling spaceships. That doesn’t mean that the anthology isn’t fun, though.” – Gardner Dozois, Locus Mag
“I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did.” – Bruce Sterling, from his introduction
“I love the cover by Rocky Kelley (no relation)! Bruce Sterling provides a wonderful Introduction. Scott Cupp’s essay on his SF reading is masterful. Neal Barrett, Jr., Joe R. Lansdale, and Michael Moorcock wrote my favorite stories in this collection, but there are plenty of other enjoyable stories here. Pick up a copy soon before they’re all gone!” – George Kelly,GeorgeKelly.org
Since the end of the Civil War, Texans have played an essential role in the history of science fiction. Acclaimed and influential writers such as Bruce Sterling, Michael Moorcock, Howard Waldrop, Walter M. Miller, Jr., Marion Zimmer Bradley, Gene Wolfe, Neal Barrett, Jr., L. Sprague DeCamp, Chad Oliver, John Steakley, and Elizabeth Moon all called The Lone Star State home.
Continuing this proud tradition, Rayguns Over Texas features 17 original and two classic tales that reflect the current creative state of Texas sci-fi, alongside historical essays and an introduction by Hugo award-winning, Texas ex-pat Bruce Sterling.
Whatcha waiting for? Hustle you way over and pick up your copy today at Amazon.
By popular demand, I’m resurrecting my books received feature. I don’t get as many physical books as before, but there is still plenty for me to post about.
Let’s take a quick look to see what’s arrived at the Geek Compound.
by B. Catling
Book design by Jaclyn Whalen
Prepare to lose yourself in the heady, mythical expanse of The Vorrh, a daring debut that Alan Moore has called “a phosphorescent masterpiece” and “the current century’s first landmark work of fantasy.”
Next to the colonial town of Essenwald sits the Vorrh, a vast—perhaps endless—forest. It is a place of demons and angels, of warriors and priests. Sentient and magical, the Vorrh bends time and wipes memory. Legend has it that the Garden of Eden still exists at its heart. Now, a renegade English soldier aims to be the first human to traverse its expanse. Armed with only a strange bow, he begins his journey, but some fear the consequences of his mission, and a native marksman has been chosen to stop him. Around them swirl a remarkable cast of characters, including a Cyclops raised by robots and a young girl with tragic curiosity, as well as historical figures, such as writer Raymond Roussel and photographer and Edward Muybridge. While fact and fictional blend, and the hunter will become the hunted, and everyone’s fate hangs in the balance, under the will of the Vorrh.
This sound fascinating. Complete with blurbs from Alan Moore, Terry Gilliam, Tom Waits, and Jeff VanderMeer!
This coming Saturday, April 18 at Austin Books, I’m interviewing Michael Moorcock about his lengthy comics career. Rather than re-iterate his accomplishments (which I did at length in a Nexus Graphica column), I decided to relate this personal and previously untold tale about Michael Moorcock and comics.
I’d know Mike for about 5 years when the idea for a Captain Marvel (or Shazam! as the folks at DC refer to The Big Cheese) comic happened. My buddy John Lucas and I talked with Mike in his home office shooting the shit. This hazy wonderland of geek ephemera delivers a memorable experience with abundance of British pulps, comics (the modern graphic novel variety and the classic Golden Age variety), novels by the famous, talented, and those inbetween, and glass cases of toy soldiers. A cloth-covered table crafted from boxes of books, a comfortable old couch, miscellaneous art, a Gold Record commemorating Hawkwind’s Chronicle of the Black Sword, and the prerequisite overflowing bookcases complete the picture.
The three of us were/are big fan’s of C. C. Beck’s goofy creation and his extended family. I don’t remember the exact story we concocted except it dealt with Sivana sending the Marvels to different periods of history. The proposed four issue series would pick up immediately after the heroes final Golden Age adventure, ignoring all of the ensuing DC continuity for the character. Mike suggested tapping the legendary Walter Simonson as the penciller with Lucas inks.
Though now widely respected for his work on several Marvel, DC, and Dark Horse titles, at the time Lucas was practically a neophyte with his best know output in my Weird Business anthology and some work for Caliber. To say John and I were shocked would be an understatement, but Mike wasn’t done.
He picked up the phone and called Simonson. They became good friends while working together on Michael Moorcock’s Multiverse and held each other in high esteem.
After a brief pitch, Walt was on board.
John and I exchanged amazed glances. Sure, I could call some relatively famous people and get them to work with me (Mike was a good example), but this speed and audacity was a whole new level for us.
He then upped the ante.
He called editor Mike Carlin, who was in charge of a good chunk of the DC mythos. Carlin took Mike’s call and listened to the pitch but politely declined. Apparently DC already had a high profile Captain Marvel project on the horizon, Jeff Smith’s Shazam!: The Monster Society of Evil.
Sadly, the project never got beyond that stage. Lucas still has never inked Walt Simonson but that’s okay, he did eventually get to draw Mary Marvel for DC in Starman: The Mist and now routinely gets work (including a Mark Finn-scripted story in the recent Strange Sports Stories #2). Mike and Simonson worked together on several more projects together including Elric: Making of a Sorcerer. As for me, I’m still close with Mike and John and have worked with both of them numerous times over the years (never all three of us together), but my dreams of writing Captain Marvel are long gone.
The discussion on Saturday starts at 1 at Austin Books. Mike will be signing copies of the recently released graphic novels Michael Moorcock’s Elric Vol. 2: Stormbringer and The Michael Moorcock Library Vol.1: Elric of Melnibone as well as numerous other titles.
Dr. Joan Gordon, co-editor of The Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction and Queer Universes: Sexualities in Science Fiction as well as a frequent writer about the conjunction of science fiction and animal studies, used The Apes of Wrath as the centerpiece for her Hutton House Lectures (Long Island University) five session class “Going Ape in Fiction.”
846. GOING APE IN FICTION Joan Gordon
This seminar will look at the portrayal of our close cousins, the apes, in fiction, as allegories, symbols, mirrors of ourselves, and mindful subjects. We will begin by reading selections from the anthology The Apes of Wrath, edited by Richard Klaw, and conclude with the novel We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, by Karen Joy Fowler. In between, we will discuss relevant short non-fiction readings. For the first class, please read from The Apes of Wrath “The Apes and the Two Travelers” by Aesop, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” by Poe, and “Tarzan’s First Love” by Burroughs. You might want to prepare by visiting the zoo and eating a banana monkey-style.