Notes from New Sodom

... rantings, ravings and ramblings of strange fiction writer, THE.... Sodomite Hal Duncan!!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Am I Famo-- YES, You ARE Famous Now. Sheesh.

So my 2-page feature is out in the new issue of SFX. That would be 2-pages like what Nicole Kidman gets on the pages just before mine. Or like what Maggie Grace from Lost gets in the pages just after. That would be 2-pages in a magazine that--

Nicole Kidman!!!

Sorry. Got a little distracted there by getting the same column inches as, like, the goddamn motherfucking A-list celebrity STAR of Moulin Fuckin Rouge!!! As I was saying that's a 2-page spread in a magazine that--

Nicole Kidman!!!

OK. Deep breath. Caaaaaaaalm. It's not about shallow dreams of fame and fortune, of make-believe imaginings and let's pretend we're rock stars and people will recognise us on the streets and ask for autographs and everything and it'll be just fabulous, it will, it will, it will! It's not about me; it's about the book. It's all about--

Fuck that shit! I got the same fucking column inches as fucking Nicole fucking Kidman! How cool is that? Huh? Huh? How cool is that?

Am I insufferable yet? Yes I am.

OK, more seriously and calmly, this is just stonkingly great news. It's great exposure in a magazine which Borders in the UK stocks at eye height, stepped on three racks of its magazine stands, so what you see is:

Empire SFX Total DVD
Empire SFX Total DVD
Empire SFX Total DVD

I don't know if SFX gets sold in the States (Does SFX get sold in the States? Anyone?) but in terms of the UK market this is a point-blank bullet into the heart of SF/F fandom. And it's a great little article that benchmarks the territory by namechecking Jeff VanderMeer, China Mieville and Steph Swainston. Not to mention the namechecks it gives to fellow GSFWC member, Gary Gibson and my editor, Peter Lavery -- both people who deserve a bit of limelight; for, on the one hand, rip-roaring Space Opera adventures with gritty, chewy thematic cores which address everything from existentialism to Guantanomo Bay; or, on the other hand, for being one of the ballsiest editors out there, IMHO, pushing the boundaries of TOR UK's "science fiction and fantasy" stable with VanderMeer and Mieville -- or for that matter Jeff Ford, whose The Portrait Of Mrs Charbuque is wonderfully borderline in its treatment of fantastic elements that could well be read as having utterly natural explanations. Anyhoo, the point is, it's an article that sets out where I'm coming from on the basis of a solid knowledge of the terrain, rather than just picking a bestseller and saying The New (Strange & Norrell / Harry Potter / Da Vinci Code / All Of The Above). The quote they use on the photograph of me (CND badge prominently visible!), "Grief is something you can't escape, it's something you shouldn't escape from", shows they've actually picked up on what I think is the heart of my writing, my approach to fantasy. So I'm really chuffed.

And, to top it all off, they give Vellum a five star review as this month's Must-Read. Is it bad of me to be chuffed about the fact that it gets a better rating than Accelerando? Yes, that is bad; I know it is. But Dog forgive me, that's gotta boost my Tigger Excitability Rating through the roof. Apologies to Charlie Stross, but hey, he gots da Hugo, so I can't help but be a sad bastard looking to see who gets the better write-up. I'd bet Marlowe was constantly on the lookout for how he fared against The Big Will Shakespeare. Ah, the competitive / comparative obsessions of writers; I'm sure it's an occupational hazard.

Anyhoo, there's that, and then there's a couple of articles in the local papers. My dad, bless him, has clearly been touting my tale around the newspapers down where I was brought up. (I may have to revise my bitter-and-twisted opinion of Hellwinning, now that they're being nice to me... dammit!) First off, there's the Irvine Herald article , which has a few inaccuracies / exaggerations in the way it portrays the book as "storming up the charts". It's a nice thought, but we ain't there yet; it's still just the bound proofs / collector's market craze that's giving the biggest indicator of "success", while actual sales figures are really just a matter of Amazonomancy, watching those sales rankings bounce up and down and trying to judge, from how long the book stays high, just how well it's doing. O, Great Amazon, tell us the future of my book! Reveal your Secret Wisdom to this unworthy supplicant.

Then there's a feature that's currently being put together for the Irvine Times. This one I'm really looking forward to seeing, since the reporter, Charlie Rowney, and meself had a good long telephone interview today that really got going when she mentioned the fact that she'd read The Time Traveller's Wife 3 or 4 times and, in contrast, didn't think much of The Da Vinci Code. Oh, and she'd just finished rereading Catch-22, which I've raved about both here and elsewhere. Anyhoo... thus ensued a ten minute blatherfest on names like VanderMeer, Whittemore, Danielewski, Lethem, Chabon and all the really cool stuff that's happening right now on the borders between genre and general fiction. It's great to chat with a reporter who blows away yer preconceptions of what a "Showbiz Section" feature might tend to focus on.

It'll be especially interesting to compare & contrast that with an article that should, I hope, be running in tomorrow's Sunday Mail. This is Scotland's main tabloid paper, so again it's a real scoop to get asked, no matter how small the feature turns out to be (and assuming it doesn't get spiked for something else, of course -- fingers crossed). But here there was that tabloid effect, to some extent. When the reporter, Billy Paterson, asked what my ambitions were for the book and I explained I was hoping to reach that wider, non-genre market, sadly, the only comparison I could think of that would be recognisable was, of course, the dreaded Dan Brown. And when the follow-up question comes along, "Well, that's being made into a movie... How would you see Vellum as a film?", we rather quickly establish that "Um, well, if it was directed by Nicolas Roeg" is not perhaps the best reference for the Sunday Mail readership. Ach well, I got to blather about my dream casting for the book (Colin "Potty-Mouth" Farrell for Seamus Finnan, of course; Christian Bale for Jack Flash), so it was fun, anyway.

All of this, of course, is why I'm yet to post my blog entry on Whirled Con 3. It's coming up; I promise it is. Meeting Jed Hartman and David Moles! Talking Mexico with Scott Westerfeld (It's Peeps week, you know, btw; go ye and follow the link). My three hour conversation with Ben Rosenbaum! TV interviews and kaffeeklatsches, panel items and more! Coming soon, I promise. I just don't have the fucking time what with finishing Ink; or finally getting round to reading Christopher Barzak's The Language Of Moths, which HEAR YE ME, ALL MUST READ; or blasting my way through Jim Steel's Babel, for the GSFWC crit session on Tuesday coming (I was up till 4 in the morning last night, unable to stop because the narrative is so driven; somebody get this man an agent, fer fuck's sake). I have no time now. I officially have no time.

And it's fucking great, mes amigos.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your paltry excuses are unacceptable. Whirld Con 3 must be posted. Sharpish.

Oh, and congrats on all the good press. Can't wait to read the book.

8:25 pm  
Blogger paul f cockburn said...

Sheesh! It's a small world. Charlie Rowney used to work for the same company I do. Yeah, she probably really enjoyed talking to you as well - Vellum is the kind of book she'd be really "into".

Hee-hee... There are a couple of things about the SFX interview you didn't mention. Firstly, the fact that they list the web address for your blog - so, expect more hits!

Secondly, according to them, you come from Edinburgh! (Oh, I must stop laughing...!)

9:02 pm  
Blogger John Klima said...

Nicole Kidman!! Yowza! I hear she's single and likes famous guys....

Congrats man!


6:30 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last couple of days I was feeling tired and unmotivated about books...until now! Thanks for an awesome, wonderfully enthusiastic, infectious, arrogant-in-a-good-and-deserving-way blog entry. Can't wait for Ink!

3:50 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope, unlike Marlowe, you won't get killed by being stabbed in the eye. Great book by the way. Best thing I've read since... well actually the book I read before it. Guess what? It was Accelerando, by Charles Stross!

8:17 pm  
Blogger weenie said...

Well done and congrats on the SFX appearance. I use SFX religiously to guide me on which new books/authors to look out for and if they give you five star, well then it justifies your book being on my Amazon wishlist! :)

4:44 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure that we carry SFX as an import at the Barnes & Noble where I work (suburban New York), so yes, it's available in the States.

12:38 am  

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