Archive for July, 2011
I don’t know whether I’ve ever produced more words, just by volume, than I’ve done in the past two weeks. Essays, interviews, journalism, radio, etc. etc. I am a processor of words.
It’s all part of the process of “launching” a “book,” which is a weirdly abstract though not unenjoyable activity. Sometimes you wish you could just smash a bottle of champagne over it and say, there, done, launched. I have a doc in my Google docs, prepared for me by Viking, that lists all the Magician King-related things I’m doing over the next month. It’s 22 pages long.
I also have another doc listing the things I’m doing that I haven’t told them about.
[The above image — it’s a Brakebills South crest — is one of a whole slew of Magicians-related designs done by an absolutely brilliant DC-based artist named Amy Billingham. It’s all going into the CafePress store…]
It’s work. I’ve become that guy who brings his MacBook Air on the subway to grab some extra writing time on the way to and from the office. But it’s the kind of work you want. It’s the kind of work I fantasized about having to do when I was 20, Snoopy-style — “here’s the world-famous author … ” This while lying on the roof of my doghouse.
What else? I spent last weekend at Comic-Con. I don’t exactly enjoy Comic-Con as such. When I’m there I’m there to work, and while I’m there, I’m always working. But I do get to see people I don’t see anywhere else. Random House gave a party on Thursday night, and if you stood at the bar — and I did — you could take in, without turning your head, George R.R. Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, David Anthony Durham, Christopher Paolini, Scott Westerfeld and Charles Yu. Among others.
And Christopher Paolini was riding a mechanical bull.
Reviews and other mentions of The Magician King have been popping up online. So far the response has been … pretty great. But I’m spazzy about this stuff, and I’m mostly not reading them. I killed the Google Alert I used to have on myself two years ago. I don’t need any more information about myself. I get more than enough of that just by being me.
I’m just back from Oxford, where I watched my genius sister-in-law get her doctorate in curing cancer.
I love Oxford. My mom went there, and she hated it, and it’s always fun to love the things your parents hate. (In fairness to my mom, as a scholarship student and a woman she ran into a lot of really toxic class and gender prejudice at Oxford. Sorry mom.)
But come on! Tolkien and Lewis taught there. It’s like the Trinity test site for modern fantasy. I made a pilgrimage to the original lamppost that inspired the one in Narnia:
You can’t see the overflowing dumpsters to my left. It’s just as well.
Meanwhile I have shifted modes. My current mode is definitely not my favorite mode, or a mode that I’m any good at it. It is my promotional mode. When you stop writing your book, you have to start forcing everybody to look at it, know about it, and think about it, until their brains are empty of all else.
To that end you give interviews. You write snappy little mini-essays. You go to Comic-Con and sit on panels. (Mine is Thursday at 3. We got the death slot opposite the Game of Thrones panel, but come on! You’ll never get into that one.) It takes up a lot of one’s time that would be better spent blogging. But I will try to keep up better than I have been.
One housekeeping note: I have a story in a new anthology called The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities. I don’t often write short fiction, but I was really proud of the piece. The way the book works is, they gave writers pieces of art to riff of; mine was a lovely sketch by Mike Mignola of Hellboy fame. And there are other, better pieces in the book by the likes of China Mieville and Alan Moore. An excerpt from my story is here.
It’s been a few weeks since this happened. Since then my purpose-built Magicians art mailbox (firstname.lastname@example.org) has been filling up with gorgeous Mags-related artwork — Brakebills crests, a Two Moons pub logo, portraits of the Beast and the Watcherwoman, a Brakebills school scarf … awesome stuff.
If only there were some way you could see it. But there is: I stuck a selection of it in this gallery on Facebook.
(Unrelated: after watching this video I can only hear ‘Facebook’ as ‘Fa-chay-book.’ Because that’s how Voldemort says it.)
Please take a look. You can also do me, and the artists, a favor: hit the ‘like’ button for your favorite pieces. The artists who did the most-liked pieces will get signed copies of The Magician King.
The ultimate destiny of these images is the CafePress Magicians store, which is going to carry shirts and shot glasses and I don’t even know what all else related to the book. It’s not open yet. But it will be. Oh, it will be.
(If you’re interested buy xanax in doing art for it, it’s not too late! Send it to me at email@example.com).
Catch you later, mustache buddies.
I was working on a headline with “link-unabula” but it just got really arcane really fast.
All right, if I posted at a reasonable rate I wouldn’t have to cram all this stuff into one post, but I don’t, do I? I’ll start doing so soon.
— I’m on the cover of Locus this month, along with the incredible Ted Chiang, whom I have long admired from afar.
— I wrote an essay in Time about fan fiction, which I’ve been thinking about for a long time. My first draft was 8,000 words, and that didn’t seem like enough, and it’s running at 3,500 words, so I’m really proud of it, but some caveats apply.
— The first trade review of The Magician King (a bit spoilery, so reader discretion advised) in Kirkus
— Jennifer Weiner recommended The Magician King on The Today Show. She referred to The Magicians as “Dirty Harry,” which I’ve been wanting somebody to do for literally years.
— A propos of nothing (or I guess a bit of that fan fiction essay) I was reminded the other day of my great love for A Very Potter Musical, a fan production that pastiches and parodies the original. (The guy who plays Harry, Darren Criss, has now surfaced as a regular on Glee.) They make a lot of edgy choices, like for example Cho Chang’s entrance at 0:25 in Act 1, Part 2. (I could get into a long discussion of the live YouTube version vs. the vastly inferior studio soundtrack recording … but no.)