the magician king

Monday, April 18th, 2011

A Lovely Thing: The English Cover of The Magician King

It’s churlish to say it, but it’s the truth: I was never totally satisfied with the English cover of The Magicians. This is partly because I could never tell it apart from the English cover of Codex.

Here, I’ll put them side by side:


There’s a family resemblance. And I never felt like the cover of The Magicians was fantasy-y enough. To put it bluntly, you couldn’t tell there was any damn magic in it.

You can’t really blame Random House UK for that. Codex sold well, and they wanted the people who bought Codex to buy The Magicians, so they made them look alike. I screwed this up for them by making The Magicians a very different buy zithromax online ireland book from Codex, so the people who bought it got something very different from what they were expecting, and the people it was meant for couldn’t find it at all, because it doesn’t look like what it is, which is a fantasy novel, not a literary thriller. I changed brands on them, basically.

Still, The Magicians sold OK in the UK (and other Commonwealth nations!) A lot of publishers would have shrugged and said meh.

But the people at Random House UK thought about it and came up with a totally new look for The Magician King. It looks like this:


Click to embiggen. Pretty, right? I love it. It feels very right to me.

Friday, April 15th, 2011

How to Get Me to Come to Your City Where You Live

Just stare into the mirror, and chant my name five times …

Nah, it’s no good. I can’t make a Candyman joke. It still freaks me out. It’s too soon.

Sometimes people ask me if I’ll come to their local bookstore for the Magician King tour. The answer is, I want to! But I have no control over which bookstores I go to, literally none.

What happens is, bookstores that want me to come read put in a request to my publisher. My publisher — using an arcane algorithm worked out by Bret Easton Ellis in the mid-1980’s — picks some of these, books airfare and hotels, then sends me an e-mail informing me that it has done so. Then I get on a plane. I’m like Perry the Platypus. I go where they send me.

And when I get there I smite evil and lay eggs. Even though I’m a mammal.

So I have no power. But you — you can insert yourself into this process. Suggest to your local bookstore that they request me for the Magician King tour. That can get the ball rolling.

Or you can try the chanting thing. It works for Candyman. Man, that guy has sold a lot of books.

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

The Magician King: This Is What the Cover Looks Like

At long last, The Magician King has a cover. It looks like this:

Like the Magicians cover, it’s the work of Didier Massard. He’s an amazing French artist who builds little scenes in his studio and photographs them. Yes, that’s a photograph of a model. If you were tiny, you could go and live in it! I encourage you to click through to the big version. The level of detail is amazing.

Ages ago — almost a year ago now — we talked where to order zithromax about which of Massard’s images would work as a cover on this blog, and a bunch of you mentioned this one as a contender. And now it’s here! The system works.

I have been suffering from herpes virus since childhood valtrexlab.com. I have 5 relapses in a year.
They have always passed more or less quietly and cause just a point with a diameter of a centimeter on the lips. This time the space from nose to lip is captured with bubbles.

p.s. The grey stuff around the edges of the letters will be silver foil. If you were wondering.

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Delurk: Upcoming Events, etc.

A nanopost: yesterday, through incredible strength of will, I managed to update the Events part of the site, with a list of readings and such that I scheduled back in the rosy past when I thought I’d be done with The Magician King by now.

I updated my events page because I have a heavy cold, and didn’t have enough midichlorians left over yesterday to work on the book. I’m back on it now. Paolo Bacigalupi once told me that time spent writing a novel is always stolen from someone else. That feels very true right now. I’m stealing from everybody around me. I’m pushing people down on the street, who I don’t even know, and stealing their time in broad daylight.

It’s going well though. There’s a point in the development of a book when all the events are in place, and the timeline is solid, and it’s basically an OK book. Then it just starts to expand, the way the universe does, in all directions at once. The structure remains the same, but all the psychologies within it suddenly gel — the characters start feeling things on multiple levels. Then they react to all the new levels in the people around them. Then they react to their own new levels, thereby generating still more levels. It’s just a dynamically ramifying levelfest.

And what ends up happening is that suddenly the aforementioned events, which were heretofore of mild interest, start to resonate with serious meaning. They start to sing. And with any luck the reader ends up with a new level or two when it’s all over.

Anyhoo: events. I’ll be reading on Tuesday night in Soho as part of the great New York Review of Science Fiction reading series. Please come! I’ll do a passage from The Magician King.

The following week I’ll be taking part in a launch of event for David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King. (I had a lengthy think about The Pale King in Time last week.) On April 19th I’ll be doing a benefit for Slice magazine, a literary jeopardy thing also involving Paris Review editor Lorin Stein. (Last year at this event I almost made up for all the hundreds of spelling bees and other public competitions I have sucked out in in my life by getting the Final Jeopardy answer right. It was “Titus Andronicus.”)

And so on. In May I’ll do my first-ever public event with my brother (who has two new books in the works), a family-themed event that will also include father-daughter pair Peter and Emma Straub. I’ll also have a public conversation with China Mieville, in which it will be definitively demonstrated that he is exactly 1,000 times smarter than me.

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Australia, Land of Enchantment; Also, The Magician King Is Out August 9

I’m just back from a month in Australia, where it was summer, and the animals are all different. Seriously, they have sulfur-crested cockatoos and blue-tongued lizards and huntsman spiders just running around like it’s no big thing.

Trust me, it’s a big thing. Australians say huntsmen don’t bite. Don’t believe it. I heard them talking about it, they totally do.

I went to Australia for the Perth Writers Festival, which was really terrific. Perth is one of the remotest major cities in the world, and you really feel like you’re at the writer’s festival at the end of the universe. (Prices are comparable to Milliways, because Perth, despite its remoteness, is a mining center and quite wealthy.) I got to sit next to Margo Lanagan onstage, which alone was worth flying 30 hours for.

(Movies watched on the flights to and from Australia: The King’s purchase zithromax Speech, The American, Red, The Town, True Grit, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.)

Then we drove down to the Margaret River, which is one of Australian’s wine regions. If you took a bunch of Hawaiian beaches and spot-welded them onto the Cotes du Rhone, that’s what you’d get. If this place were any closer to civilization it would be mobbed. You taste wine all day, then you go and frolic in the Indian Ocean while dolphins swim by.

I was also in Australia because my wife is Australian, and we wanted to hang out with her family, in the city of her birth (Sydney, not Perth). Plus it’s summer in Australia. And if we don’t start exposing the baby to huntsman venom now, it will never built up an immunity.

Also: The Magician King will be out August 9. More on that in a bit.

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Seasonal Affective Destruction

I’m not so much posting just at present. I’ve gone on leave from Time to finish The Magician King, and it turns out that that has involved really decisively disconnecting https://ampills.com from the Internet and “social” order azithromycin for chlamydia “media” and really reality in general. That combined with the usual seasonal affective disaster has caused me to fall silent.

But fear not. I will rise and blather once again, as the ancient sages foretold.

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

The Brakebills Alumni Newsletter #3

Not everyone who reads this blog may know this, but there’s actually an informational newsletter for Magicians fans that goes out three times a year.

Or at least, it went out three times this year. The first year of its existence.

So if you read this blog, and follow me on Twitter, and like my page on Facebook, and yet you still wake up at night thinking, how can my life be full of more information about Lev Grossman, his works and days? Then sign up here!!!

Now that I’ve just sent out the latest issue, like, seconds ago, I’ve already thought of a few things I got wrong and/or left out of it.

Like for example, when I started it, I realize now that I said it was going to come out four times a year. Not three. So now I have my New Year’s resolution.

I also said that as a special bonus, subscribers would receive a vanishingly rare, painfully intimate photo of me from high school, when I still had hair. That was before I realized that I couldn’t figure out how to attach a file to a MailChimp newsletter, if that’s even possible, and not only that, I was too lazy even to figure out how to embed an image in one. So here you go:

That’s my prom date’s burgundy ruffle there in the lower left hand corner.


Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

The Thief and the Soloist: A Very Brief Taxonomy of Writers

This started out as a bullet point from yesterday’s post about how the new book was coming. But then I got too interested in it, and it broke free and took on a hideous life of its own.

As far as I can tell there are two kinds of fiction writers: those who read no fiction while they write, and those who constantly read fiction while they write. Let’s have cute names for them. We’ll call them Soloists and Thieves.

I’m the second kind. I can’t function as a writer unless I’m reading somebody else — somebody better than me — and stripping off parts and reverse-engineering special effects and so on as I go. Maybe I need somebody to compete with, or just somebody to remind me that things that seem impossible are in fact possible (for other people).

Maybe it’s an Oedipal thing a la Bloom’s Anxiety of Influence — I need that primal conflict with a father-in-art in order to be productive.

A more charitable friend — and fellow Thief — calls those other books “sponsor texts.” I just think of them as companions-in-arms. They fight beside you, loyally, and then when things get tough you wait till they fall asleep and then you mug them and roll them for whatever they’ve got.

I don’t understand how the Soloists do it. (more…)

Monday, October 18th, 2010

The Magician King: Interim Progress Report

In the interests of authorial transparency, a quick update on the work in progress.

Weeks on leave from Time: We’re now entering week four. I could get used to this. I could post the amount of salary I’ve lost as a result of this leave, but that would just be depressing.

Confidence: High. If it were low I’d be too freaked out to post. Of course historically, for me, feelings of euphoria during the creative process have often preceded really awful moments where I realized I’d made a critical miscalculation about something I was writing, that required months of brutal work to fix. If I fall off the grid in the next week or so, that’s probably why.

Soundtrack: Still the same. Beta Band, Robyn Hitchcock, Metric. Plus some Mountain Goats. When I’m done I will never want to listen to any of these bands again.

Word count: 113,321. Which actually isn’t that much higher than when I posted about this a week and a half ago (it was 105,850 then). But these words are of significantly higher quality than those old words. Those old words were crap! We will not speak of htem.

Basically what I’ve been doing is, I’ve written about four-fifths of the plot, and I’ve been trying to get ready to write that critical last fifth. But I can’t do it till the first four-fifths are really working — all the characters make sense as people, all the scenes connect up in a coherent arc, I have some idea how the little details I’ve planted throughout are going to pay off, and so on. So I’ve been going over and over those first sections, getting them ready.

The feeling is approximately the same as when you were a kid, and you had one of those toy cars with a friction motor inside, where you had to repeatedly vroom it over the same section of floor until the engine was good and revved up, and then you would let it go and watch it take off and scare your cat or scuff the wainscoting or disappear under a couch or whatever.

That’s what I’m doing, except it’s with this novel. I’m must about finished vrooming it. I’m about to let it go.

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

I.O.U. One Post

It’s coming. It’s long and bone-chillingly confessional. It’s almost here. But not yet.

The reason it’s not here yet is that I’m working frantically on The Magician King. Some fun facts about this as-yet-unfinished book:

— It was due at the publisher six (6) days ago

— It is currently 105,850 words long. I would guess I’ve got somewhere between 35 and 40,000 words to go.

— I expect I’ll have a decent draft by the end of October.

— I have suspended any attempts to control my caffeine intake during the month of October

— These days it is mostly getting written in this armchair:

— On a good day work goes from about 10 in the morning to about 8 at night. That’s a good day. What happens on a bad day? There are no bad days! Who are you? Get out of my office!

— Bands I’m listening to while I work on it include Metric, The Beta Band and Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians

— There is a small creature who lives in my house who actively sabotages work on my book. She looks like this:

Scary, right?