If I only ever seem to post about upcoming events anymore, that’s because these days I’m pretty much only posting about upcoming events.
I’m in a weird primordial state right now where I’m super-focused on the early stages of a couple of new projects, and each one is like a tiny planet, where its surface is still molten and malleable, but it’s cooling, slowly, toward the point where it might one day support primitive life-forms.
I feel jealous of my time and energy and only want to focus it on these baby planets. Nevertheless a few interesting things are afoot.
This Wednesday I’m talking to Helen Macdonald about her book H Is for Hawk at Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn. It would be great if you could come. But even if you can’t: find and buy this book, it’s astonishing.
Then next Tuesday, April 14, I’ll be at a literary salon held by an organization called Pen Parentis. More importantly, Kelly Link and Marly Youmans will be there. Almost as importantly, there will be wine.
A couple of months ago I got an e-mail from an artist named Jillian Nickell. She had a proposal: she was going to create a big, beautiful, frameable print to coincide with the release of The Magician’s Land.
What did I think? Good idea?
I looked at her site. I had to agree: it was a good idea. Jillian is one of those rare people who simply knows what magic looks like, and she has the even rarer ability to draw it and show it to other people. A couple of months later we have this gorgeous print that celebrates the whole Magicians trilogy, on sale today:
You can buy it through Jill’s Etsy page here. It’s a limited edition, so they may not last. More on this anon.
So January is the beginning of what — in the accursed, eternally burning nation of TV-land — is known as pilot season. That’s when the networks pick some of the series they have in development and greenlight them, meaning they’re actually going to cast and film a pilot episode.
It’s an exciting time. Except if your series doesn’t get greenlit.
The Magicians show was not greenlit.
This is a hard post to write. I’m really, really disappointed. I also feel bad that I got everybody excited about the project, only onlineusadrugstore24.com to have it immediately fail. I promise you — and I can’t stress this enough — I wouldn’t have done that unless I had some very good reasons to think that the show would in fact be greenlit. In fact I’m pretty stunned that it wasn’t.
I guess those reasons weren’t ironclad. Or maybe they were ironclad but not, I don’t know, adamantium-clad.
At any rate, clearly there was an issue with the cladding.
I’m still in Sydney, still only online once in a while. I’m back February 3. In the meantime look at this image of the Physical Kids encountering their first clock-tree.
If you’ve ever wondered, Alice looks like this.
[And Now an Unrelated Appendix to This Post: I spent a lot of time this weekend thinking about September 11th, which isn’t the sort of thing I usually blog about, but there it is.
It feels like I’m resuming a cover identity that I had temporarily abandoned. Regular posting will continue. It will simply continue covertly.
That is the “reason” for my inserting a picture from Spy vs. Spy, a comic that used to horrify me with its cruelty, but which I nevertheless couldn’t look away from. I longed for one of the spies to finally triumph over the other, or for hostilities to cease, so they could be recalled to the state departments of their nameless countries, but it never happened …
This isn’t going where you think it is. It’s not like I turned up at J.K. Rowling’s house drunk and made a pass at her. Or broke down crying in the middle of our interview. Though the second one crossed my mind.
I did do a fair amount of drinking. Edinburgh: not a city to dry out in. And here’s a fine period detail: you could smoke in bars. I found a punk bar near my hotel and sat in it, wallowing in self-pity and Harry Potter, reading book after book and drinking pint after pint and burning cigarette after cigarette. I missed my daughter. I missed myself — the version of myself that had any idea what was going on.
And then the day came. Two high-ranking Scholastic executives came to my hotel in a limo, scraped me up off the curb, and drove me to Rowling’s house. It wasn’t even a very far drive. The block was nice but not insane. The house was big. It had an electric gate that slid open. We went inside.
I didn’t go up to the house. Instead I was led to a bungalow a few yards away. In the bungalow was a conference room with a big blonde wooden table. At the table was J.K. Rowling.
OK, now it’s February. Here are some things that have happened since October 23:
— The Magicians won an Alex Award. Update: it looks like this:
Yes, it looks like a giant penny. But not in a bad way.
— I proposed an idea for a sequel to The Magicians to my publisher, Viking, and they bought it. It will be called The Magician King. I’m really excited about it. I’ve never had a publisher buy a book from me before the actual writing of said book — so for example I spent 5 years writing The Magicians without any particular reassurance from the universe that anybody but me would ever read it. For a publisher to commit to buying the book in advance is a big deal. It takes a lot of pressure off.
Of course Viking has also given me a deadline, which is interesting. I’ve never had one of those before either. They said August. I said October. They said OK. But there was a thought balloon over their head(s) that read “actually we really still mean August.” ETA in bookstores: late summer 2011.
— The paperback of The Magicians is coming out in May. With it comes another book tour. I don’t know all the details yet, but it’ll start at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, and will include stops in San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Phoenix, Minnesota, New York City, Miami, Austin and Washington DC. I’m really hoping to make each of the events kind of special — when I toured last fall I was still pretty freaked out to be in front of an audience, so hopefully I will not look as traumatized on stage as I did on the last outing. I’ve written a new piece just for readings, set in the Magicians-verse but not available in stores! as the TV ads used to say.
Also I’m planning on doing more post-reading drinking this time. So there’s that. The schedule is pretty close to being firm, and I’ll post it in Events as soon as I can.
— More good news associated with the paperback: I’ll be fixing typos and continuity errors! So far all those who’ve pointed out that they couldn’t have driven from the house upstate to Albany and back in the time allotted, if the house is — as I clearly imply — west of the Adirondacks, know this: I’ve got it totally under control.
— Sometimes people point out to me that although The Magicians gets some good reviews, it also gets its share of hate as well, and what’s up with that? I’ve looked into this, and I think I’ve figured it out. See, sometimes demons ascend from a lower realm to this one, possess a human and devour him or her from within, like some hideous larval parasite, leaving behind a hollow, ambulatory man-rind in that person’s place, a humanoid mockery of all that is good and true. Those demons then head straight for a keyboard and review The Magicians online. And some of those demons have really crap taste in books. So I hope that clears that up.
As you can tell from the slackening pace of these updates, we have entered the long and relatively news-free period in between books. Right now most of my energy is focused on an idea for a sequel to The Magicians, about which I’ve probably already said too much. And there are some related projects, ditto.
So some final notes. I don’t want to leave this review of The Magicians on Boing Boing unlinked, because it’s one of my favorite things anyone has written about the book. That it was written by Cory Doctorow, a person I admire a lot, makes me almost painfully proud and happy. Also I want to mention an event I’m doing at The Knitting Factory on November 8. It’s the kickoff of the Largehearted Boy reading series. It’s a great space, and a great series, and there will be music at it, which will make it funner. It’s also probably the last event I’ll do in New York City this year.
And here’s something exciting. Exciting for me that is: over the past 8 weeks, The Magicians was apparently the second-best-selling SF/F book at independent bookstores nationwide. Holy Crow.
The last thing I want to say is about e-mail. I’ve been getting a lot of it, coming in through here and elsewhere. And I’m so grateful for it. When it started, I swore to myself that I would answer all of it, but it turns out I just can’t. I never thought I would have this problem, but there’s just too much. If I answered it all, then answering e-mail would be all I did. I’m really sorry.
OK, so techn-i-cally, a week down the line, The Magicians is still a New York Times bestseller. As I understand it, we came in at #16, but with an asterisk, so close enough to #15 that they’re calling it a tie and sticking us on the main list. That’s not how it looks on the website (where we’re just #16, no asterisk), but I’ve seen a PDF of the page that’s going to be in the paper, and that’s how it is on there. So that’s my story. I’m sticking to it.
Hmmmmm … what else. There’s an interview with me in the Onion AV Club. I was a bit what journalists call “loose” in that one. More obscenities than usual. But I don’t think I said anything I didn’t mean. It got me name-checked by Choire Sicha, so all is right with the world. There’s also an interview that ran in the New Yorker’s book blog, where I discuss my literary cock-blocking by Jonathan Safran Foer. Real Grossman completists can check out the supplemental post featuring a picture of my writing desk.