Archive for May, 2012
Yes: celebrating a paperback release is sort of like celebrating your half-birthday, but still. There are no bad excuses to drink in a bookstore. None.
Two good reasons to pick up a copy now, if you haven’t. One, it helps me if I sell copies early, because then bookstores re-order, and the publisher prints more, and the engines keep running … it shouldn’t work like that but seriously it does.
Two, there’s some kind of issue with the blue foil on the cover. Future printings won’t have it. So it’s collectible!
Whether or not you buy a copy, if you’re in New York City (and I realize most of you aren’t) stop by WORD Bookstore tonight at 7. We’re having a party. I’m especially looking forward to this event, because while there’ll be some onstage stuff — Ryan Britt and I are going to have a conversation — mostly it’s just hanging out and talking and drinking. It’s a small space. We’re going to get into it.
Last thing: the Magician King Song Contest has pretty much wrapped up. There was a flurry of really A-list entries yesterday — you might bounce over to the YouTube page and have a listen. The skill and diversity on offer is just astounding. There’s twee-pop, there’s a cappella, there’s screampunk, there’s Minecraft — that’s a musical genre now — there’s synth-metal, there’s a musical instrument I can’t identify, there’s a guy with a horse’s head … it’s pretty awesome.
There’s a whole alternate-lyrics version with a line about fucking elves that’s worth the price of admission all by itself.
Usually I prefer to wait to blog till I actually have, you know, something to say, rather than just moving pre-existing facts around. But I’ve had so many deadlines this week I barely had enough thoughts to fill the stuff I got paid to write. All that’s left over is a thin, viscous residue. But I present it to you here.
First, I’m embedding below the playlist of submissions so far to the Magician King Song Contest. There’s some astounding performances in here, truly astounding. I’ll feel so bad when they totally lose to my awesome cellistical stylings.
But there’s still the long weekend to enter! You’re good up through midnight, May 28. Details here.
By saying “first,” I feel as though I’ve locked myself into a numbered list format, so: second, after reading this article in the New Yorker about literary fiction and genre fiction, I felt compelled to write up my thoughts on the same subject. The post went a little viral.
Third — OK, after this I’m done with the numbers — next Tuesday, the 29th, there’s a party for the paperback release of The Magician King. Come. You’re all invited. I’m going to have an on-stage chat with Ryan Britt, maybe answer a few questions and sign a few books. Then every one will be given drinks and we’ll all hang out.
Finally: I’m doing an AMA on Fantasy Reddit on the night of Wednesday, May 30. AMA stands for Ask Me Anything. Afterwards, to relax, I will have myself torn to pieces by wild dogs.
The other day somebody — in fact, an extremely eminent and excellent fantasy writer whose name I’m dying to drop but won’t (but in effect I just did anyway) — asked me for my favorite quote about fantasy. This request plunged me down a rabbit-hole of Googling and rereading and trying to remember something, anything really, that I read about fantasy in college.
In the end these three quotes were my finalists:
1. C.S. Lewis, from his essay on The Lord of the Rings:
‘But why,’ (some ask), ‘why, if you have a serious comment to make on the real life of men, must you do it by talking about a phantasmagoric never-never land of your own?’ Because, I take it, one of the main things the author wants to say is that the real life of men is of that mythical and heroic quality…And man as a whole, Man pitted against the universe, have we seen him at all till we see that he is like a hero in a fairy tale?
2. Iris Murdoch — this is attributed to Murdoch, and sounds like her, but I can’t find the source for this quote, which floats around the Internet a lot, so it may apocryphal. But I love it, so here it is:
We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality.
3. Ursula K. Le Guin, from The Wave in the Mind:
People who deny the existence of dragons are often eaten by dragons. From within.
That’s what I came up with. Tell me: what did I miss?
I did warn you that I would make a humorous video to promote the Magician King song contest. And now look:
Entries for the Magician King Song Contest have surged since that last post, from zero to I believe two at this point. So that’s a factor of — I don’t even know what that is. They don’t even have math for that. That’s like an irrational number or something.
But you know what’s not an irrational number? 250. Dollars. The fruit is hanging very low here. Do you play something? Anything? Are you in a band? An a cappella group? An orchestra? Do you know someone who is? Do you have a sousaphone? I think you might have one. Seriously. Just check again. I’m pretty sure I saw it.
Do me a favor and spread the info around. Think of it like Kickstarter, only I pay you. Don’t make me produce a humorous video to promote this contest, people. Don’t force my hand. I will do it.
Some other news:
— I’m at the Sweet! Actors Reading Writers series tonight. An actress named Soneela Nankani will perform a Julia passage from The Magician King. Should be cool.
And I’ve been roughing out dates for a summer tour. New York, Boston, Chicago, Orlando, San Francisco (and environs), Milwaukee … you can see the events as they go up here.
I’m not exactly a mad genius of self-promotion here at Magicians LLC, but I did once do something really clever: I asked Parry Gripp of Nerf Herder to write a theme song for the Magicians books. It’s called “I Wanna Be a Magician,” and it is deeply, deeply excellent.
It goes like this:
(I know I just broke the frame of my own blog. I suck at YouTube. And blogs.)
I love that song so much. I love it as much as the books the theme song of which it is (<–professional writer!) I firmly believe that it should be played as often as possible, in as many ways as possible, by as many people as possible.
So with that in mind, and in honor of The Magician King being published in paperback on May 29, I’m holding a contest for the best cover version of “I Wanna Be a Magician.” Parry picks the winner. The winner gets a cool $250.
There are no holds barred here. Any and all instruments are acceptable. Improvisation is encouraged. You can add variations, facemelting solos, virtuoso cadenzas, new lyrics, new verses, whatever you like. As long as we can recognize the song, it’s in. I don’t care if you have a band, or an orchestra, or an a capella ensemble, or a mellotron, or a hammered dulcimer, or a hammered mellotron. Cover the song and you’re in the running.
To enter: upload your entry to YouTube and give it the tag “magiciankingsongs.” I will then add it to this YouTube channel. This may be an awful and klugey way to run the contest, but as I may have mentioned I suck at YouTube, and I couldn’t think of anything else. We’ll announce the winner here on May 29.
Parry has graciously provided the chords and lyrics, as I am a musical idiot:
I WANNA BE A MAGICIAN
[verse] G Bm I wanna be a magician Em G And study at Brakebills Am C Wander though the hedge maze G D And cast magic missile spells [verse] G Bm Wanna go where the clock-trees Em G Are ticking in the breeze Am C 'Neath the shade of Castle Whitespire G D In the laaaaaaand of G Fillory [bridge] Em D Hunt the Seeing Hare and C G The Questing Beast Em D Ride the Cozy Horse with C G Its coat of velveteen Em D Charge the Ember and the Chatwins C G To the Western Sea Am Em And defeat the Watcherwoman D In the land of Fillory [battle section] Em Bm Em Bm [verse] G Bm You can keep New York City, 'Cause Em G there's nothing here for me. Am C Wanna be a magician G Bm D In the laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand of G C Fillory Bm D [outro - repeat X 10,000,000] G C I wanna be a Magician Bm D (in the laaaaaaaaand)
That’s all I got. Go! Questions? I’ll answer’em in comments.