I’m mostly lying low this fall working on a new book, which should be announced very soon. But I’m still doing an event here and there.
My first novel Warp, which originally came out in 1997, is being republished this month, so I’ll be doing a few appearances connected to that:
- September 20: Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn, NY, with Dana Schwartz.
- September 21: Barnes & Noble in New York City.
- October 4: Harvard Bookstore in Cambridge, MA.
Then on Friday, September 23, I’ll be taking part in a roundtable on series and serial art at Columbia with A.O. Scott (film critic for the New York Times) and Julie Snyder (who created Serial).
On October 6 I’ll turn up at New York Comic-Con as part of a panel on adapting books for the screen, which will also have Blake Crouch and Patrick Ness on it. There’s also a Magicians panel for the TV show, but that’s on Saturday, and I’ll miss it because…
…on October 8 I’ll be running a workshop in Aspen, CO as part of Aspen Words.
On October 11 I’ll be at the launch of The Artists’ and Writers’ Cookbook at Powerhouse Arena in Brooklyn.
And then starting October 29 I’ll be the Utopiales international science fiction festival in Nantes, France. Allons-y!
As I write this it’s Sunday night. I’m coming off a weekend of chasing my children around the house, and the park, and also of trying to figure out where all the ants in the house are coming from. Also I wrote about six words of my new book.
This coming week gets even more exciting: I’m heading out on the second leg of the Magician’s Land paperback tour. (Note to self: stop giving books titles that start with ‘the,’ as it makes for awkward grammar.)
— On Tuesday, June 16, I’ll be in Portland at the incomparable Powell’s City of Books on Burnside
— On Wednesday, June 17, I’ll be in Seattle at the Elliot Bay Book Co.
— On Thursday, June 18, I’ll be at the Booksmith in San Francisco.
These are (probably) the last Magicians events I’ll ever do, as in future I’ll be promoting whatever monstrosity it is I write next, so I’d love it if you could come. Next week: Burlington, Washington DC, and then Brooklyn.
I should have done a post a while ago, obviously, when the TV show got greenlit. But I didn’t. I was distracted, by among other things the TV show being greenlit. If you post questions in the comments below I’ll try to answer them, but be warned: I will mostly fail, either because I don’t know the answers, or I can’t say.
More news: the paperback of Magician’s Land is out in June, and I’ll be going on tour. Exact details will be posted shortly, but I’ll be coming to Seattle (June 17), Portland (June 16), DC (June 24), San Francisco (June 18), New Haven (June 11), Boston (June 10) and Burlington, VT (June 23). As well as plain old New York (June 9 in Manhattan, June 25 in Brooklyn). (Dates are tentative-ish, but pretty firm.) Also I’ll be in San Diego for Comic-Con in July.
I want to call out the Cambridge event in particular, because it’ll be a conversation with Gregory Maguire, who wrote Wicked, and I’m unspeakably excited about it. It’s at the Brattle Theater, by way of Harvard Bookstore. It’s also a big deal to me because I grew up around there. I hope you’ll come if you can.
Very quick. I wouldn’t even be posting this except that a minor point came up that requires clarification. Totally technical thing.
The Magician’s Land is eligible for a Hugo this year, and obviously I’d be over the moon, way over, if it made the final ballot. I’ve never been on one. But it’s been pointed out to me by a couple of people that technically it might also be possible to nominate the Magicians trilogy as a whole, instead of just the book by itself. (This rule came up last year when the Wheel of Time series was ruled eligible in its entirety.)
But—having talked to a couple of people who understand the process way better than I do (which is basically not at all)—for various reasons I think it’s better not to take the whole-trilogy approach. So just in case you’re a Hugo voter and you think you might want to vote for the books, I’m suggesting that people just vote for The Magician’s Land on its own.
Though it’s probably all academic in a year stuffed full of excellent work by the likes of Jeff Vandermeer, Ann Leckie, John Scalzi, Jo Walton, William Gibson and many, many others — there’s a good list of Hugo-eligible books here. The competition’s beyond stiff. I’ve gotta stop publishing in the same year as these people.
I’m not going to publish anything at all this year, except for journalism (and blog posts). It’s a writing year for me, not a publishing year. But I do have a few public appearances coming up. On Wednesday, February 18, I’ll be doing an extremely fun event called Person Place Thing in Brooklyn, where I’ll be talking and telling stories, and there’ll be music by Mamie Minch. Then on March 9 I’ll be reading as part of the 6th anniversary of the Franklin Park Reading Series, which is a great series. Its name notwithstanding, it happens in a bar, not a park.
But first: The Magician’s Land is finally out for Kindle in the UK.
Why did it take so long? Long boring story. Businessy things that had very little to do with me. But it’s out. There will be a paper edition early next year.
I’ll be appearing in Nashville this Sunday, October 12, at the Southern Festival of Books. On the 13th I’ll be in Santa Fe at the Jean Cocteau theater with George R.R. Martin. This is something George does for other writers — he hosts them at his theater. His pitch-dark fiction to the contrary, he is an unbelievably kind and generous person.
The following week I’ve got a few New York events. On October 20th I’ll be talking about essay-writing (which I rarely talk about) with Leslie Jamison and Heidi Julavits at McNally Jackson as part of the launch of the Believer’s new book of essays, which I’m really, really happy to be in. Then on the 23rd I’ll be having a conversation on stage with Emily St. John Mandel, who wrote the great Station Eleven. And I think I’ve got one more … but it doesn’t appear to have been announced yet, so I’ll skip it for now.
I wish I could talk about what’s going on with the TV show, because it’s pretty cool, but it’s mostly under wraps for now, except that Mike Cahill is directing the pilot. Casting decisions, shooting locations etc. anon.
I published a book! On Tuesday. I haven’t had time to blog since then.
We had a fantastic launch event in Brooklyn, in which I talked a lot and we drank wine and there was an epic Magicians trivia showdown. The winner won one of these.
Also some of my author friends acted out a scene from the books. Erin Morgenstern played Quentin. [>drops mic<] If you live in: Minneapolis, Houston, LA, San Francisco, Chapel Hill, or Atlanta, check the Events Page, because I’m coming to your city in the next couple of weeks.
Publishing a book is by definition something only writers experience, but even writers, or anyway this writer, lack the words to express what it’s really like. You feel proud, and vulnerable, and exhilarated, and satisfied, and ecstatic, and a tiny bit sad that this thing you made is now going out into the world, where its fortunes, like the fortunes of everything and everybody everywhere, are beyond your control. But it’s amazing and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
It’s been made easier this time by the fact that the reviews have been good. In fact they’re the best reviews I’ve ever gotten—I think now that people have seen the full arc of the trilogy, it’s easier to get the point of it all. The New York Times, Boston Globe, Washington Post, LA Times, New York Times (again!), Miami Herald … I don’t actually read the reviews, you understand, but people tell me they’re good and send me tiny snippets of them, which is all I really want to see. Here’s a good snippet from the New York Times:
If the Narnia books were like catnip for a certain kind of kid, these books are like crack for a certain kind of adult. By the end, after some truly wondrous scenes that have to do with the dawn (and the end) of existence, ricocheting back and forth between the extraordinary and the quotidian, you feel that breathless, stay-up-all-night, thrumming excitement that you, too, experienced as a child, and that you felt all over again when you first opened up “The Magicians” and fell headlong into Mr. Grossman’s world.
I’ve given a lot of interviews too, including this one about my influences (which I especially like), and this one about how great C.S. Lewis is (worth a click for the beautiful illustration), and this one on NPR, which I gave from Comic-Con. And this is my account of hitting rock bottom in my first attempts to write a novel.
Must run. More nice things to come, including a small-but-interesting announcement.
One: it’s happening. Tomorrow. Tuesday. I’m excited.
Two: you can order signed copies. A lot of indie bookstores will do this for you, but if you’re in New York I’m going to recommend Greenlight, which is my local neighborhood bookstore, and they’ve been very supportive of the books. Order from them and I’ll just wander over to the store and personalize it for you.
Three: there is now such a thing as a boxed set of the Magicians trilogy. It looks like this:
I’ve got one sitting on my dining room table. It’s a good-looking item.
Four: don’t forget about this incredible Magicians print by Jillian Nickell.
Four: If you’re in Brooklyn, or within striking distance of it, come out to the launch event tomorrow night (Tuesday) in Fort Greene. There will be trivia, prizes, reading, signing, and (I think) wine. There will be hella special guests: Margaret Stohl, Erin Morgenstern, Lauren Oliver, Michelle Hodkin and my very own twin brother, Austin Grossman. Don’t miss it.
Or if you do miss it, you can come see me Wednesday night at the Barnes & Noble on the Upper West Side.
And if you’re in Boston, the wretched hive of villainy that spawned me, come out to Brookline! I’ll be there on Thursday night at the Brookline Booksmith.
Don’t screw me on this one, Boston. I come from you.
I’m hitting the road.
This site has an events page which is pretty up-to-date, but for the sake of thoroughness here’s a brief user’s guide to the tour, or the first leg of it anyway. I’m sure I’ll be consulting it myself in the next month to figure out where I am. The events will be as fun as I know how to make them: very informal, lots of Q&A. Come hang out.
July 19: Brooklyn. I’ll be at the Barnes & Noble in Park Slope, reading and talking and signing. This is like the pre-tour tour. I won’t have copies of The Magician’s Land yet—it’s not out till August 5—but I’ll be handing out booklets of the first chapter and the map.
July 24-26: San Diego. I’ll be at Comic-Con from Thursday to Saturday, doing events all three days, panels and signings. Saturday I’m on a real monster fantasy panel with George R.R. Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, Joe Abercrombie and Diana Gabaldon. Come find me if you’re there.
July 29-August 1: Orlando. When it comes to conventions I play favorites, and LeakyCon is my favorite. It’s chill, it’s authentic, it’s hilariously fun, John Green will be there, Rainbow Rowell, Holly Black … If you can get there, get there.
August 5: Brooklyn again. This is the official launch event, so if you’re going to one event in New York City, I’d say come to this one. There’ll be trivia, special guests, and a surprise or two. I’m not even making it sound as fun as it’s going to be. It’ll be funner. Come.
August 6: Manhattan. For the uptown crowd, I’ll be at the 82nd St. Barnes & Noble.
August 7: Boston. This is my hometown, and I used to live around the corner from the Brookline Booksmith, where I would read books and not buy them because I couldn’t afford to. Now I’m going to speak there.
August 11: Minneapolis. I’ll be at the Roseville Library.
August 12: Houston. Unless I’m mis-remembering, this is my first event here ever. It’s at Murder by the Book.
August 13: Los Angeles. I’m in the TV business now, so LA is now where my soul is stored. I have visitation rights. Afterwards I’ll be reading at Vroman’s in Pasadena.
August 14-15: San Francisco. I’m here for two nights, first at Rakestraw in Danville, then at Kepler’s in Menlo Park.
And then there’s a nice long break. Later this summer/fall I’ll be in Atlanta, Brooklyn several more times, Chapel Hill, Toronto, Austin, Nashville, and Santa Fe, all of which I will post about in good time. If I have failed to come to your town, it’s only because Viking didn’t send me there. I don’t get to choose! If I did I would have included Seattle and Portland. But I don’t.
See you on the other side.
Einstein said that the reason we have time is so that everything won’t happen at once. This last couple of weeks, I’ve felt like there wasn’t quite enough time to go round.
Two weeks ago I turned 45. The next day — June 27 — my younger daughter turned 4. That same morning, my father died. He was 82.
My father was a brilliant, charismatic, strange, intimidating, driven and sometimes very funny man. He may have been the best-read person I have ever met, and believe me I’ve met some well-read people. He was the son of a Chevrolet dealer in Minneapolis, and the first person in his family to go to college, and he grew up to be a major poet and an intellectual force of nature.
He and I had a complicated relationship. We both made our careers reading and writing, but he was an avatar of high culture whereas I dropped out of graduate school to write fantasy novels and glossy magazine articles. We chose different paths. There was some distance between us. It’s something I’m still thinking about and trying to understand, even after his death, and will be for a long time.
By rights that should be the end of this post. If you’ve lost a loved one then you know how incredible it is that life keeps going, but it just does. It won’t stop. Life is fucking callous that way.
The first copies of The Magician’s Land arrived. The Magician’s Land trailer, which we’ve been working on for a few months now, went up online:
I’m so happy with how it came out. It racked up 16,000 views on Buzzfeed in the first 24 hours, so something must have gone right. I only wish we could have used everybody’s videos, we left some fantastic readings on the cutting-room floor. I argued for releasing a whole slew of different trailers, remixed with different clips, but apparently Viking’s budget for video production isn’t infinite. Go figure.
I’m truly grateful to everyone who submitted, and to my fellow authors, who allowed themselves to be turned into living advertisements for my book. I’m extra-grateful to Ian Dorsch, who volunteered out of the blue to do the soundtrack and delivered a brilliant one. I know the trailer’s not actually for me, it’s for getting attention for the book, but it had the knock-on effect of making me feel very loved and supported by the community at large, at a time when I really needed it.
And the week still wasn’t over. That was Tuesday. On Wednesday night I got a call from my producer and the two geniuses who’ve been working on the pilot script for the Magicians TV show since literally last August. They were standing around a speakerphone yelling. Word had come down: Syfy greenlit us. They’re making the pilot.
This is a big break for me. I’ve been talking to people in Hollywood about The Magicians for five years. I’ve seen writers and producers and directors and agents (four of them) and options come and go, but this is the first time anybody has doubled-down and is going to shoot something. People are going to dress up as Quentin and Alice and Eliot and Julia. Someone is going to build Brakebills (or more likely find some place that already looks like Brakebills). Big expensive computers are going to make it look like magic is happening.
My sole contribution to this has been to kibitz a bit and then cash some checks. The people who are actually making the show happen are Michael London, Sera Gamble and John McNamara, and it’s happening because they are extremely brilliant and surpassingly determined. What makes it even nicer is that I really like them personally.
Meanwhile as all this was going on I was having a professional crisis (can’t talk about it, but it’s over now) and writing and closing the cover story for this week’s issue of Time.
Also I’ve been giving interviews about The Magician’s Land. My promotional schedule is starting to rev up. I ought to be posting about where I’m going to be in the next few weeks, and I will do that, very soon, but right now I just cannot deal. There’s some detail on the Events page but basically in the next couple of months I’ll be doing a national tour, plus I’ll be making appearances at Readercon (that’s tomorrow), Comic-Con in San Diego, LeakyCon and Dragoncon, and a bunch of assorted book festivals.
I will post all the details, but I’ve got an early call tomorrow and really badly need to take a shower and stare at the walls for a while. But for now, two dates to remember. One is next week, July 16 at the Bell House in Brooklyn: I’ll be the VIP at a taping of NPR’s Ask Me Another quiz show. It will be very fun. If you need extra encouragement, John Flansburgh from They Might Be Giants will be there too. There. That should do it.
The other date is August 5, which is the official launch event for The Magician’s Land. Come if you can. It’s going to be a bit special.
Like a small pink comet lightly brushing the Earth’s orbit, I will be more than usually visible in the next couple of weeks. Here’s a quick viewing guide:
May 23, 7pm: Lust for Genre at Singularity & Co. Come to this: I and some other writer-nerds will read/talk about a piece of speculative fiction that was massively important to us for overly personal reasons that we will share. Or at least that’s what I’ll be doing.
May 28, 3:45 pm: A panel on fiction run by Library Journal, in conjunction (I think) with BookExpo America the big publishing trade show. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to say who the other writers on the bill are, but … they’re really good ones. Click through for details (caveat: I think it costs $$$).
May 30: More BEA stuff — you can’t get in if you’re not a publishing person who paid a lot of money, in which case you probably already know about it anyway. But just in case: I’m signing at the Penguin Booth at 10:30 AM, and will be popping up other places too.
May 31: This is what they call BookCon, which is the part of BEA that everybody can go to. In the morning at 11AM I’ll be playing literary trivia games here. If it’s possible to lose I will lose, because I suck at those. Then at 1 pm I’ll be hanging out at the Penguin Truck signing and selling books. Who knew there was a truck?
Then — then — at 2pm I’ll be sitting down for a talk with Deborah Harkness. This will be fun. Come.
June 5: I may have mentioned that I have a piece in When I First Held You, which is an anthology of writers writing about fatherhood. It’s raw and honest and probably not of much interest to non-fathers, but if you are a dad, I would consider it to be of great interest indeed. I’ll be talking about dad-hood at Community Bookstore in Brooklyn at 7:30 PM alongside fellow dads Ben Greenman, Rick Moody, Brian Gresko (who edited the book) and Darin Strauss.
June 6: Same anthology, different night, different bookstore. I’ll be at Powerhouse Books with Ben Greenman and Brian Gresko. I’ll talk about being a father. It will get real.