LevGrossman

cool things


Monday, January 9th, 2012

Look: An Incredible thing

The sole purpose of this blog post is to share with you an amazing image. It’s by the artist Christopher Shy, and it’s one of three (so far) he has created based on scenes from The Magicians.

It’s of Alice getting her very first look at Brakebills:

When I saw this, the hair stood up on my arms. I mean, this is it: this is the scene, this is what it would have been like. Click through and take a close look at the roof of Brakebills, the detail is just wild. When I look at it, I feel like I could fall into it. I’ve never met Shy — he just azithromycin online nz read the book, made this, and e-mailed it to me. The original, which is a mega-large file, is even more spectacular and detailed and gorgeous.

And there’s two more like it.

We’re going to make them available as high-quality prints through the CafePress Magicians store, just as soon as I can figure out how to do that and then magic up enough free time to do it in.

p.s. if you’re anywhere within range of Metuchen, NJ, I’m reading there this Saturday night at The Raconteur. I won’t be doing many other events this spring, so do come by and hang out.


Monday, November 28th, 2011

Pure 100% Self-Promotion

Let’s get this out of the way: my book was on The Simpsons!

Now I’ve got Patty, I just have to crack Selma … somehow

Also: if you’re reading this blog, that automatically means you have to vote for my book for a Goodreads zithromax online prescription award. By Wednesday. It doesn’t matter buy hydrocodone if you’ve already voted, this is the final round, so you have to vote again.

It’s OK. Go ahead, I’ll wait.


Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Canada, a Concept Album, Book Court, Other Things Starting with C

This blog post is lacking in any of the Aristotelian unities, but I’m just going to have at it anyway. Take that, Aristotle.

— Here’s an interesting thing. You can send a postcard from Fillory at this website. Even if you’re not actually in Fillory. This may qualify as mail fraud, I’m not sure. At any rate the stamps are gorgeous.

— I’m reading tomorrow night — that’s Thursday night, Sept. 8 — at KGB alongside two fantastically distinguished writers, Lily Tuck (who won the National Book Award for The News from Paraguay) and Francisco Goldman. What were they thinking? I’ll ask them.

— I’ve got more readings in the works: in the immediate future there’s one at Newtonville Books in Newton, MA on Sept. 15 with Sven Birkerts, and one at BookCourt in Brooklyn on Sept. 28 with a player to be named zithromax online with mastercard later. Two fantastic bookstores.

— Still more readings: I’ll be touring Canada in October. I’ll be at the Calgary WordFest, which starts October 11th, then I’ll be at the Vancouver Writers Festival, which starts October 18th. Then I’ll be at the Toronto International Festival of Authors starting October 25th.

— Somewhere in there I’ll also be appearing in Austin, TX twice. Texas is not in Canada, though.

— Finally, if you want to have your brain melted a bit, check this out. A new album by a band called Fiction that is — what? Inspired by? Let’s just say it’s not unrelated to The Magicians. And here’s what else: it’s pretty damn good.

Actually it’s kind of amazing.


Monday, August 29th, 2011

A Partial List of Things People Gave Me on Tour

I’m writing this on a plane from Seattle to Atlanta, whither I am traveling in order to read, sign and blather at the Barnes & Noble in Buckhead on Monday night at 7:00.

The reason I was in Seattle was PAX, the Penny Arcade convention, where I ran a couple of panels. If you’ve never been, PAX is kind of a special thing. It’s a convention for gamers, but it’s more than that too — there’s a real feeling of community at PAX, which you wouldn’t think would be possible with 40,000 strangers in airless corporate convention center, but there it is. It all flows from Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins, the two guys who make Penny Arcade. They are very smart and very not-into-bullshit, and you can be pretty sure that whoever you meet at PAX is going to be like that too. Mike and Jerry are real culture heroes, and you look around at PAX think, yeah, we’re all in Mike and Jerry’s culture.

One of these lives at my house now

One of the panels I did was on being a gamer and a parent – when I was a kid I used games to get away from my parents, but now that I’m a parent video games are part of the culture that I want to pass on to my kids, which is an interesting shift. About 150 people showed up, and I was initially unnerved when no other panelists did, but my friend Evan Narcisse fearlessly joined me on stage, and there was a lot of audience participation, and the whole thing came off very well.

Then on Saturday night I moderated a panel on books and games – what do gamers read, what do books do that games can’t and vice versa, what makes great writing in a game, and why so few novels do games well (Snow Crash and Ender’s Game were at the top of the list, but it wasn’t a long purchase azithromycin 1g list). Basically I think the emotions that games stir up are a lot more complex than most novelists realize, and it turns out they’re really tough to describe, which is why so few writers get it right. The transmedia theory rapidly became very thorny indeed; I did my best to keep up. I didn’t want to do the panel at all unless Marc Laidlaw – a novelist who also wrote Half-Life 2, one of the most wildly atmospheric games I’ve ever played – could come out for it. He did. It was one of those panels where the audience jumped in, and the staff basically had to kick us out of the room to get us to stop talking.

I will close with a partial list of things people have given me since I’ve been on tour. You’re kind of like the tiny prince in Katamari Damacy on tours like this – by the end you’re rolling along a ball of stuff bigger than you are.

1. A fox costume. [Well, fox ears, and a surprisingly substantial fox tail. If they were white – i.e. belonging to an arctic fox – this would have been a mildly tasteless allusion to the infamous fox-sex scene in The Magicians. As it is they are reddish in color, which makes them a hugely tasteless allusion to the total-fox-horror scene in The Magician King. But I’m not saying I didn’t put them on. (There was a bear suit too. I didn’t put that on.)]

2. Four books. [One of them was not only by Terry Brooks, Terry Brooks himself handed it to me. With his own hand.]

3. Two novel manuscripts. [These were from close friends—I can’t take manuscripts from people I don’t know, because they’re such a big commitment.]

4. One dwagon [yellow]

5. One magnificent 10-foot knitted scarf in Brakebills colors

6. Three home-confected Brakebills (and one Brakebills South) t-shirts

7. A magic-button Neitherlands keychain

8. One tiara with ominous, reliquary-like tiara box


Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Things That Are Keeping Me Sane on This Tour

Hark! A Vagrant
— The “Guardians of Sunshine” episode of Adventure Time. Also: all other episodes of Adventure Time, which I didn’t know existed until my friend Zack told me about it a couple of days ago

— Room service
— Twitter (note: Twitter is also driving me insane. Call it a wash.)
“Raw Sugar” by Metric
“The Calamity Song,” by The Decemberists
Erfworld
— Working out. Listen, I know, “working out” isn’t a very “me” thing. And it is appallingly painful. I don’t actually “enjoy” it. But Neil does it! And an engineer friend once told me, look, your brain runs off the rest of your body, and if you don’t exercise you’re just hosing your brain. That stayed with me. I know what a hosed brain looks like. My dad has Alzheimer’s. I ain’t going out like that. Well realistically there’s a fair chance that I am. But I’m going to put it off as long as possible.
Scrabble for the iPhone
Grim Jogger, ditto
— Drinking
— Not drinking. Have you heard generic zithromax for chlamydia about this? I’m trying to skip drinking one night in three. Well, four. OK let’s go one in five. I’ll get back to you.
— Q&A. When I do an event it happens in three parts. I talk. Then I read. Then you guys ask me questions. You would think this would get old, especially since I’m doing three or four interviews a day anyway on top of it, but it never does. It’s the best part. Like, by far.
— P.G. Wodehouse, Right Ho, Jeeves! etc. 1930’s-era comic novels about an aristocrat who is always wrong and his butler who is always right. The BBC made it into a TV show starring Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry, and they nailed a lot of what was good about it, but you really can’t beat the novels, which are in their own way weirdly profound tributes to human indomitability. And drinking, he’s very good on drinking.
— Wellbutrin

Portland tonight, Seattle tomorrow. Come by!


Sunday, August 21st, 2011

Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way

This morning I left Reno and flew to San Diego, where I’m signing tomorrow night (i.e. Monday night) at Mysterious Galaxy

WorldCon was … pretty amazing. I sometimes get alienated and loner-y at conventions, and wind up cowering in my hotel room, but this particular WorldCon sort of wouldn’t let me. Too many nice and interesting things kept happening. You’d go to a perfectly ordinary cocktail party and suddenly it’s why hello, Kim Stanley Robinson, wow, I am shaking your hand. And yes, I am very pleased to meet you, Robert Silverberg.

I watched George R.R. Martin and Parris McBride get married. I had dinner (separately) with Cory Doctorow and Bill Willingham and other genius-level humans. I did an extended Jeremy Paxman impression as the host of Magical University Challenge. (The Brakebills team was bounced in the first round. But they did, later, rush the stage and beat up Harry Potter, so … redemption?)

We threw not one but two highly canonical Magicians-themed parties, complete with drinks from the books. It has been pointed out to me that maybe I should have more delicious drinks in future books, and yes, fair point. But those parties were damn canonical.

I have to add that the parties happened partly because of the generosity of my publisher, Viking, who funded them, but mostly because of the energy and general kick-assery of Leigh Ann Hildenbrand, who is an extraordinary person and a force of nature. If she had been running the Roman empire we would be wearing a great many more togas nowadays. If you were there, you know what she and España Sheriff (and probably many others who deserve to be thanked) accomplished. For those who weren’t, I have no doubt pictures will emerge.

Leigh Ann’s hard work and support are not unrelated to what happened on Saturday night, which is that I won the John W. Campbell award for best new writer at the Hugos.

(more…)


Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

The Tour: OK Now It’s Really On

This isn’t really the start of the tour. The tour already started. Last week I did a couple of readings in New York and another in Boston.

(Thank you everybody who came. So far they’ve been big, sweaty, standing-room-only readings with tons of questions, which is the kind I love. It especially meant a lot to me at Brookline Booksmith, a store I used to haunt in my awful lost post-college years, when buying a hardcover was enough to bust my food budget, but I would do it anyway. Now not only have I read at Brookline Booksmith, I’ve been in the back. I’ve seen the break room. Bookstores are their own kind of Narnia)

But today the tour starts in earnest. I fly to St. Louis, a city where I do not think I have ever been before. I’m reading tomorrow night at the public library. Come zithromax online mastercard out! We’ll nerd it up.

A map of the Neitherlands. More Amy Billingham brilliance ...

And yes, there is an official tour name. Someone came up with it in comments, possibly on Facebook, and it was tremendously witty, and I’ve forgotten it completely. But it was awesome.

From St. Louis I go to Reno for WorldCon. I’m doing all the usual WorldConny things – it’s all on some celestial WorldCon schedule somewhere – but we’re also doing Magicians-themed parties Thursday night and Saturday night. If you’re at WorldCon, I require you to stop by and partake of free alcohol. I’m also hosting a nerded-up version of University Challenge on Thursday afternoon, order cipro online featuring teams from Hogwarts, Brakebills, Miskatonic and Unseen University. We still have a couple of openings, so if you want to play, drop me an e-mail.


Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

The Number One Jam of the Summer: The Magicians Theme Song

The Magician King is officially out today.

I think “tumult of emotion” is the appropriate cliché for how I feel right now.

But that shall not distract us from the task at hand. A bunch of things are going to get announced here over the next few days, but of that bunch this is probably the thing I am most excited about. I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHERE TO BEGIN.

I’ll begin in 1997. That’s when I first got into Nerf Herder, the world’s premier power-pop nerd-rock outfit. Their specialty is setting the woes and joys of the nerdy life to melodies that are just pure pop bliss — “Mr. Spock” is a favorite of mine. They’re also famous for having done the theme song to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but let me tell you, their catalogue runs deep. These guys got me through some rough periods.

I’ve never met their frontman, Parry Gripp, but I’ve interviewed him a couple of times over the years, so I have his e-mail zithromax online bestellen zonder recept address, and I sent him a copy of The Magicians when it came out. A few months ago — it was in April — I e-mailed him and asked him if he’d do a theme song for The Magician King, which at that point I was almost done writing.

He said yes. I will never know exactly why, but he said yes.

I’ve spent most of the time between then and now just staring at my Gmail waiting for the song to arrive.

Parry sent through the rough mix last week. I had absolutely no idea what to expect, but whatever I expected was completely blown away and destroyed by the real thing. It’s just so damn cool. I have listened to this song about 90,000 times since then.

Now you can listen to it too:

And unless I’ve scrod up the HTML, you should be able to download it here:

I Wanna Be a Magician

 

 


Monday, June 13th, 2011

Help Me Design the New Brakebills Crest, and Other Things Too

And when I say “help me,” what I mean is “do it for me, because I can’t.”

Here’s the deal. And it’s kind of a big deal to me. CafePress, renowned online retailers of merch, has approached me about setting up an authorized store for Magicians-related stuff. The way I understand it, people will be able to make Magicians-related items and sell them through CafePress, and they’ll also be able to order things like shirts and shot glasses and other useful things with Magicians– and Brakebills- and Fillory-related words and images on them.

This isn’t a money thing. OK, there are tiny bits of money in it for me (and for you), but mostly I just think it would be cool. These are things that I want to own.

But in order for it to work, we need to feed the store art. First and foremost, we need a design for the Brakebills crest — the old key-and-bee shield. Yes, a version of this does crest does already exist — you can see it on the Brakebills website, for example. But the thing of it is, even though I made up Brakebills, I don’t actually own the rights to that particular image, and licensing it  would be expensive. (Don’t try to work out the logic here, you’ll just end up having to make a saving throw vs. madness.)

So we need a new Brakebills crest. We could use a new one anyway — I never thought the old one looked quite heraldic enough, to be honest. I would try it myself, but this project needs someone with actual graphical talent, which I totally lack. If you’re looking for a description of the crest, it’s on p. 49 of The Magicians:

Each jacket had an embroidered coat of arms on it, a golden bee and a golden key on a black background dotted with tiny silver stars.

But that’s not all we need. We need Physical Kids logos, Brakebills South logos, clever t-shirt slogans (“Talking Bear Wants Schnapps,” “Hogwarts + Sex = Brakebills”  — see, like that except clever), maps of the Neitherlands, clock trees fan art, Fillory and Further book covers, Brakebills ties, knitted Brakebills scarves, Two Moons shot glasses, anything at all visual or merchandisable related to or inspired by the books.

If you’re at all artistically talented, which I am totally not, I invite/implore you to take a shot at it. If you teach art classes, you could have your students take a shot at it. If you make fan art and want to get paid for it, now is the time!

For now, since the CafePress Magicians store isn’t officially up yet, submissions have to go through me. I’ve set up a gmail acount for the purpose: magiciansart at gmail dot com.

That’s all I got. Post any questions in the comments? Official image guidelines for CafePress are here, though I don’t know what half of that stuff means. I can’t wait to see what you come up with.


Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Two More Cool Things, and Only One of Them Is Neil Gaiman

First, there’s an illustrator in Boston named Samuel Valentino. He’s into fantasy. Sometimes he illustrates the fantasy he’s into. He made this image of the Watcherwoman from The Magicians, striding through the clock-trees:

It’s really wonderful. He completely nailed that Pauline Baynes look — she did the original illustrations for the Narnia books. (Wouldn’t it be amazing if this and other Magicians-related art could someday be available in merch form? That is a thing that you may live to see.)

OK, one thing down. The other: this June Neil Gaiman’s American Gods is being reissued in a 10th anniversary edition. In honor of that, Neil will be appearing at the 92nd St. Y on June 21st. I will be appearing next to him, to ask him questions.

As everybody knows, Neil is an extraordinarily compelling public speaker. I mean, off the charts compelling. To make this event a success all I will really have to do is stay still, speak English and not burst into flames.

I don’t know if I can promise that. But I’ll do my best.

(If you have questions you want me to ask Neil, feel free to leave them in comments.)