Category Archives: Awards

Prizes! Given to us! For our books!

Fortnight to When Words Collide and Mythcon 45

Both When Words Collide in Calgary, Alberta and Mythcon 45 in Norton, Massachusetts will have Atomic Fez’s Authors in attendance!

Mythcon: Wheaton College, Norton, Massachusetts, USA, August 8 – 11

[click to enlarge / reduce]
Mark H. Williams [photo by Simon Gough]
The author of Sleepless Knights, Mark H. Williams, [photo, left; so as to aid the spotting of same in the wild], will be attending Mythcon 45. Part of the proceedings of the event is the announcement of the winners of the Mythopoeic Awards, Mr. Williams being a nominee for the “Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature,” alongside Yangsze Choo (The Ghost Bride, William Morrow), Neil Gaiman (The Ocean at the End of the Lane, William Morrow), Max Gladstone (Three Parts Dead, Tor), and Helene Wecker (The Golem and the Jinni, Harper). Should the winner be Sleepless Knights, it’s best to seek the location of Mr. Williams by looking directly at the ceiling to locate him.

Other events and panels Mr. Williams may be involved with /​ attending at Mythcon 45 are readings and the following panel:

  • The Inklings and King Arthur
    The 2013 publication of The Fall of Arthur complicated the generic complexities of Tolkien’s work: how does Tolkien’s Arthurian poem fit into the palimpsest of Arthurian legends? how does it map onto Middle-​​earth? How does it interact with Arthurian works by other Inklings? This panel represents The Inklings and King Arthur, an upcoming academic collection edited by Sørina Higgins. The panelists discuss Lewis, Tolkien, Williams, Barfield, Arthurian source materials, MacDonald, and Chesterton.

    • Panelists: Chris Gaertner, Yannick Imbert, Cory Lowell Grewell, Benjamin Shogren, Brenton D. G. Dickieson, Sørina Higgins (Moderator).
WWC: Carriage House Inn, Calgary, Alberta, August 8 – 12

Mark Leslie Lefebvre
Mark Leslie Lefebvre [photo by John Robbie]
Attendees of the 4th Annual When Words Collide can rub elbows with such luminaries as the author of I, Death, Mark Leslie (Lefebvre) [image, left], who is also a Guest of Honour; Chris Rothe, the author of Dirk Danger Loves Life. While Mr. Leslie’s schedule is easily followed on the event’s site – for the panels and presentations he is participating in are numerous – Mr. Rothe’s are equally easy: look for the young man wearing flippers and other snorkelling equipment, or possibly making dinosaur noises.

Atomic Fez’s Publisher /​ Proprietor, Ian Alexander Martin is also attending, and during the event will be participating in the following panel discussions (subject to change) explaining how Everyone Else is Very Very Wrong (this, sadly, is subject to inevitability):

  • HOW TO WRITE A GOOD PITCH AND QUERY (Friday, 2pm)
    You can write the greatest novel ever written, but you still need to get it into the hands of a publisher. Our panel tells you how.
  • BLENDING SF AND FANTASY (Saturday, 10am)
    The world of Science Fiction is one extended from the principles of known science; the Fantasy world is based in unknowable magic. There was a time when never the twain could meet, but writers love to break down this barrier. Can they? Should they? Are there examples where this hybrid has worked? Are there spectacular failures?
  • GRIPING ABOUT GRAMMAR (Saturday, 7pm)
    Who VS That. Who VS Whom. The apostrophe goes where? And what does subjunctive mean, anyway? Bring your grammar questions for our Grammar Gurus to debate, debunk, and decipher. Be prepared to take notes.
  • THE PUBLISHERSPANEL: NOVELS (Sunday, 10am)
    Novels Publishers and editors discuss industry trends, their working relationship with authors and agents, the impact of ePublishing on their business, and other questions raised from the audience.
  • THOUGHTS ON THE eBOOK REVOLUTION (Sunday, 2pm)
    The popularization of eReaders, such as the Kobo and Kindle reader, has changed the way books are read and has caused major upheavals in the publishing industry. This panel looks at some of the ramifications for readers, authors, and publishers, with special attention to issues that remain in flux.

I,Death Launch Final (Half)Between those points in the schedule, have a look in the Merchants’ Room near the table with EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing books on it, because that’s where you’ll also find copies of Atomic Fez’s books; including copies of I, Death: freshly created for WWC, and only available there! Attend the launch at 3pm on Saturday and witness the author read words aloud!

You can probably also find Atomic Fez’s Publisher /​ Proprietor in the pub with a pint of beer in his hand. Failing that, have a look under one of the tables; you might be rewarded for helping him to his room.

Eagle's idea of 1949 Northrop Flying Wing
Artist’s impression of Northrop Flying Wing, c.1949 [Illustration originally by L. Ashwell Wood for the comic book Eagle (via XRay Delta on Flickr)]
Thankfully the Atomic Fez Flying Wing [artist’s impression, left] is going through final air-​​worthiness checks so as to be ready to whisk those involved thither and yon in the pursuit of spreading the good news of books!! The Publisher /​ Proprietor is looking forward to spending much of his time in #15 and #16, so as to properly receive other passengers as some are picked-​​up here, others are dropped off there, and so on.

Sleepless Knights Finalist for Mythopoeic Award

Cover by Jimmy Broxton [click to enlarge/close]
Cover by Jimmy Broxton [click to enlarge/​close]
Lost in the shuffle of excitement of the last two weeks is the news that Sleepless Knights, by Mark H. Williams, has been named a finalist in the 2014 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature!

The Mythopoeic Society is a non-​​profit organization promoting the study, discussion, and enjoyment of fantastic and mythopoeic literature through books and periodicals, annual conferences, discussion groups, awards, and more. They are especially interested in the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Charles Williams, prominent members of the informal Oxford literary circle known as the “Inklings” (1930s – 1950s).

Thus, quite logically, the “Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature” is given to the fantasy novel, multi-​​volume novel, or single-​​author story collection for adults published during the previous year that best exemplifies the myth-​​making tradition of the ‘Inklings.’

CLICK to learn about the awards [new tab or window]The award may not be widely known, but the authors and works named are quite prestigious, whether declared winners or not.

Previous winners include Mary Stewart (twice), Orson Scott Card, Elizabeth Hand, Neil Gaiman (twice), Salman Rushdie, Michael Chabon, Terry Pratchett, Jonathan Stroud, and J.K. Rowling. Those who made the “short list” and never won are an equally interesting list; Michael Moorcock, Tanith Lee (twice), Charles de Lint (four times), Guy Gavriel Kay (five times), Connie Willis (twice), Elizabeth Hand, and Margaret Atwood.

More details about the award right here.

This year’s nominees for the award are as follows:

  • Yangsze Choo, The Ghost Bride (William Morrow)
  • Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane (William Morrow)
  • Max Gladstone, Three Parts Dead (Tor)
  • Helene Wecker, The Golem and the Jinni (Harper)
  • Mark H. Williams, Sleepless Knights (Atomic Fez Publishing)

The winners of this year’s awards will be announced during Mythcon 45, to be held August 8 – 11, 2014, at Wheaton College, Norton, Massachusetts.

CONTEST: Sleepless Knights Name the Knights Competition!

To celebrate the launch of Sleepless Knights on 5th August, Atomic Fez have put together a prize-​​packed Questing Kit for the winner of our “Name the Knights Competition!” A goody bag-​​full of Arthurian delights can be yours, featuring variations of Jimmy Broxton’s Sleepless Knights artwork – including: a T-​​shirt and Hoodie in your choice of colour & design, a set of buttons*, a mug, and a signed Advance Reading Copy [or ‘ARC’] of the book. Plus a tote bag of your choice to put it all in, perfect for ease of access for any questing knight in the field. To be in with a chance of being the envy of Camelot, just follow these steps…

Download and read the 42-​​page Part One for free, here. “Day One” of Sleepless Knights introduces the main characters, as Sir Lucas the Butler attempts to round them all up for their annual get-​​together, while the clock ticks, tempers fray, and chaos escalates…

Next, jot down your own cover art Who’s Who, using the following character names:

Knight Contest Key
Knight Contest Key
  • Lucas
  • Kay
  • Pellinore
  • Perceval
  • Gawain
  • Lancelot, and
  • Arthur

To (hopefully) avoid any confusion, we’ve given each figure on the cover a brief description, corresponding to the numbers in the picture to the right. 

So all you have to do is complete the following…

  1. Knight behind long shield is…
  2. Background knight, clutching kebab is…
  3. Knight with moustache is…
  4. Central knight with white face & sword is…
  5. Background knight, with stabbed roast chicken is…
  6. Knight in full armour is…
  7. Knight peeking out in front of starred shield is…

Once you’ve done that, email your seven named knights to Image used to foil SPAM by Friday 2nd August.

The person guessing (or closest to guessing) the author’s own Knight-​​identification, will win the coveted Questing Kit, instant promotion to the Round Table, and the eternal fellowship of Camelot.

In the happy event of two or more correct guesses, Atomic Fez proprietor Ian Alexander Martin will randomly select the winner from those entries.

Let the naming begin!

ARC* of SLEEPLESS KNIGHTS
Win an ARC* of SLEEPLESS KNIGHTS signed by the author!
[*Author’s thumb not included]
Knights diorama with mug
Win a Knights mug with a diorama of your creation!
[figurines not included]
Knights only t-shirt
Be a proud wearer of a Sleepless Knights t-​​shirt, just like this lady!
[winner must provide own lady]
 
* People in the United Kingdom will know this as a set of “badges.” 
 

WINNERS: Signed Copies of Two Different Titles

Back a ways, we announced two contests for copies of the two September titles below. Two copies of each book are to be signed and personalised to the winners, one copy of each for “North America” and “UK and Others”. In the case of Terribilis, both winners receive a copy of the book in the ‘hardback binding’ (which is not available in North America).

The winners are:

Dirk Danger Loves Life
Dirk Danger Loves Life
Terribilis
Terribilis

 

Dirk Danger Loves Life

 
Christine Taylor
Newport, UK
 

Renee Johnston
Tweed, Ontario, Canada

 
Terribilis

 
Patricia Esposito
St. Charles, Illinois, USA
 

Renee Johnston
Tweed, Ontario, Canada

[owing to a shortage of valid UK entries, North American
entries were included in the drawing for this title]

Congratulations to those three people (and extra congratulations to Ms. Johnston for her win which defies normal rules about ‘standard variations governing probabilities of occurrence’), as well as sincere thanks to everyone who ordered copies of these titles and others as well.

Hooray for JLP! (or "Promo Proberto: Sound Use of Your Time")

This Saturday John Llewellyn Probert can be seen at The Dracula Society’s autumn meeting in London, who are hosting “An Evening with JLP (and puppets!)”, where he shall read, be interviewed, and then the Lord & Lady Probert shall perform their little stage show again (which explains how the puppets got involved).

For those of you not in London (aka: “the Centre of All Known Culture”) that particular evening, herewith is a videographic record – complete! with colour! and sound! – of the Brighton performance of Blood on Satan’s Claw (The Pantomime), presented for your entertainment by Theatro Proberto! Thanks to Martin Roberts for his mad skillz with video production (not the least of which is his ability to shoot live on-​​stage insanity with nary a clue what’s about to happen).

Those ‘in the know’ regarding Mr. Probert’s writing will recognise this is not the first time he has attended an event of the Dracula Society’s creation. No no! He won the “Children of the Night Award” in 2006 for his collection The Faculty of Terror, which is a dashed good read (even if it was published by some other house [judgemental sniff])

But wait! There’s more JLP fun! You can also revel in his genius by reading THIS INTERVIEW over on the web-​​site Read Horror. It’s a bit of a shock, one realises. “JLP reads… [gasp!] horror?!? It’s too much to take in at once!” Yet, he does. He obviously also writes horror, watches horror, and even performs horror. Rumours of him eating and sleeping with horror have been found to be just that: baseless rumours.

JLP reads Horror!
JLP reads Horror!

I admit to finding the title of the blog Read Horror a tad counter to its aim, frankly. There not being a conjugated verb there, one takes the initial word to be presented in the imperitive, thus we are ordered to rush from the screen and locate something by Poe, Wilkie Collins, or Bram Stoker. If we are to to infer that the site itself presents horror, then we are destined to run from our computers screaming in terror. Adding the pronoun “we” at the front of the title would go a long way to explaining the people responsible for the content are afficianadoes and enthusiasts of the genre.

But, I digress…

In the future, we can look forward to more about Mr. Probert, as the chap at Professor Gruntsplatter’s Spookatorium wants Mr. Probert to read a story and provide a few comments on it. Specifically the good Professor – whose real name is Scott E. Candey, apparently – wants to hear the author “The Iconostasis of Imperfections”, which you can read along with by ordering a copy of Wicked Delights.

Meanwhile, he continues to work on his first novel (which Atomic Fez will publish), and write horror-​​film reviews which you can read on THIS BLOG (see, I told you he watches horror!).

To keep up to date with all things JLP, head to his official site RIGHT HERE.

Things You Missed Last Week (№40): The British Fantasy Society

Well, well, well. The British Fantasy Society (of which Atomic Fez is a member) has got itself in the newspaper again, as well as the Daily Mail and Sunday Express *. Oddly, the last time they were given space in the press resulted in a huge push to publish more female authors of horror, fantasy, and of other forms of ‘speculative fiction’, so it’ll be interesting to see what comes of this in the end.

The Logo of the British Fantasy Society
The Logo of the British Fantasy Society

I wasn’t going to say anything about this, but it all seems to be coming to a resolution, and for me not to have some sort of acknowledgement of the existence of the matter as part of this supposed “wrap-​​up of the publishing news” dog-​​and-​​pony show of mine seems a tad remiss. So, now that we can see the end of the thing, let’s whip though the main points.

It all got started when the ‘Short List’ for the British Fantasy Awards was announced and there was a great deal of space taken up in the list by Telos Publishing’s output as well the partner of one of the directors of Telos: David Howe. So far so good, except that he’s not only the chair of the BFS, which oversees the awards, he’s also the Acting Awards Administrator and thus is directly involved in the awarding of awards to winners. The votes are all tallied using a web-​​based spreadsheet, and everyone’s votes are registered using their BFS membership number and/​or their e-​​mail, so there’s no chances of his having done anything untoward at this stage.

Indeed, the BFS’s President Ramsey Campbell stated yesterday the following:

[I]t is our firm belief that no corruption or wrongdoing took place during the administration of the British Fantasy Awards, and that in this respect all awards should still stand as presented. We confirm that the summation of the votes cast was performed electronically and once the results were checked they were confirmed and verified by another member of the committee.

So, we’re all fine there; in retrospect, you understand.

During the awards, as well as right after, there was entirely a different tone to the vox populi. Given that five of the dozen awards – every single award for which they were nominated – went to either the publishing house of the Awards Admin or the lady the Daily Mail terms his “live-​​in lover” (as though the only thing that she does is snog the man silly), grumping was probably bound to occur. It just seemed a tad ‘too perfect’ for some people’s liking.

This is where Stephen Jones’s article on his web-​​site come Tuesday starts making the wheels of things turn, the title alone sufficient to getting eyebrows raised: “Putting the ‘Con’ into FantasyCon”. I urge you to read it, as there are number of excellent points to consider made within it. Note, however that “diplomatic” is not a frequently used word to describe the noted Editor and long-​​time BFS mover and shaker who is Stephen Jones. I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Jones and his accomplishments. His tastes and business acumen are excellent, and – though his selections for stories to include in his anthologies are occasionally at odds with my own – he certainly knows what he’s doing. He’s not known for the most politic in ways of expressing his views, however, and this is something I can certainly nod my head at in complete understanding, as I possess the same trait.

Anyway, the point here is that even though Mr. Howe didn’t do anything at all wrong, everyone agrees that the appearance of something possibly have been fiddled with isn’t something one should permit to exist, as it then permits someone to rightly ask the questions posed by Mr. Jones. For deeper examination of that in this situation, head over to Pádraig Ó Méalóid’s LiveJournal ENTRY HERE, as he’s got a fairly good run-​​down of the ‘optics’ of the matter. Also good is Simon Morden’s entry RIGHT HERE examining both the time line of the decisions as well as a fairly good neutral examination of both sides of ‘the saga’.

As a result of the above: Mr.Howe has resigned as Chairman of the Society; Samantha Stone has returned her “Best Novel (2010)” Award; the next FantasyCon which was to be in Corby now might not be anywhere as the organizers have backed out, there’s no definite replacement for them, and it’s not east to find a venue for 500-​​or-​​so people for a week-​​end event in an Olympic year with a great deal of ease; and Graham Joyce has agreed to take on the position of ‘Acting Chair’ until such time as an Emergency General Meeting can be held in about six weeks’ time or so. Here’s Mr. Joyce’s statement, in which he says the following to put all of the above to rest (hopefully once and for all):

Meanwhile I will charge the committee with a priority agenda, which will include overhauling the Awards system; identifying and recommending new committee members; ensuring that proper records of meetings, decisions and accounts are transparent to all members of the society; and seeking  to enfranchise a wider “Fantasy” base for the Society.
     The proposed Corby FantasyCon will not now go head and we are looking for an alternative for 2012. The situation at this moment is fluid and we will attempt to keep members informed.

Something to keep in mind at this point is that the BFS is a dashed-​​fine organization and has had far more influence than it’s often given credit. The terms “horror” or “fantasy” fiction cause people to either picture a giant, blood-​​covered chainsaw; or a dragon flying above an impossibly-​​magenta mountain peak. Both images are incorrect for about ninety percent of the literary form. The UK is especially downwards in their glance when considering the genres, seeing either of them as ‘not actually literature, you know’, yet will happily praise Edgar Allan Poe, Jules Verne, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Mervyn Peake for their Great Works of Literature. To form a society which aims to promote those sorts of works is quite brave, really. To continue to do this for so very many years is laudable, and hopefully the world of the ‘legitimate literature’ will re-​​welcome them to the fold.

If you need any more convincing of the worth of the BFS, have a look at THIS ARTICLE on the aforementioned site of Mr. Jones, and perhaps you’ll get a deeper understanding of the importance the Society has had in his career as well as the careers of others over the years. Another view on the same subject is THIS POST on the Theaker’s Quarterly and Paperbacks blog of Stephen Theaker which goes a long way to explain what effect the BFS can have on those who are less involved in the ‘pointy-​​end of the stick’ when it comes to creating or publishing ‘fantasy’, and simply like reading the stuff.

Atomic Fez is proud to be a member of the BFS and to play a part in supporting it both financially through that membership and adverts, as well as supporting its goal of promoting ‘weird’ and ‘fantastical’ fiction in all its forms.

LINKS FROM THIS ARTICLE

“This Week’s Fish Wrap” is an on-​​​​going series of posts summing up the news of the previous seven days in the publishing industry, and/​or announce the latest news Atomic Fez has about the publishing house, and appears here each Monday. It’s also quite possible that the posts merely serve as a dumping ground of links so that Atomic Fez Proprietor Ian Alexander Martin can find articles later to include in his occasional rants about how ‘EVERYONE ELSE IS ENTIRELY WRONG’ about various things.

* Non-​​UK residents ought to know that the Sunday Express is read by people who think they run the country, the Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who actually do run the country, and the Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country. Those who read London’s Sun don’t care who runs it as long as she’s got a good-​​sized pair of “fun bags”. [Full credit to the writers of Yes, MinisterRETURN ↑

VCon 36, Vendor Room (via HDR technology)

This Week's Fish Wrap (№39): That Went Well, Didn't It?

Gracious me, that was fun! VCon, I mean! What’s that? You weren’t there? You didn’t LIVE THE EXCITEMENT!?!

VCon 36, Vendor Room (via HDR technology)
VCon 36, Vendor Room (via HDR technology)

Okay, no sarcasm: this really was a fun event. The energy level was really good this year, after last year’s slightly tetchy mood of grumbly “why can’t I find the room my panel is in and why are all these people ahead of me in a line-​​up for something I’m not sure I’m even interested in?” Not that last year was a disaster; far from it! Just that there seemed to be a general air of muttering around many areas (or, possibly, around areas in which I manoeuvred).

Certainly this year I enjoyed  myself more than last year,  for whatever reason that was.

Particularly fun were the panels I got to participate in.

The one which I dreaded the most was “Are You Prepared to be Published?” with EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing brainchild Brian Hades. Given the panel was set for 11 PM – Midnight, was concurrent with the dance, and a Saturday night infamous for its room parties, we anticipated an audience of three, all of whom hadn’t seen the outside world in the eight years it has taken to complete their 16-​​volume saga about space-​​exploring cats with ray-​​guns, all sitting in the front row, staring unblinking at us with intense expressions of “answer my question or I will follow you home and eat your entire garden.” Thankfully, instead we had a room of 25 people who all asked reasonably intelligent questions and were interested in the discussion without being scary enough to make me want to run screaming for my life at any point.

A happy addition to the panel was Barbara Gordon (no, not that one; the one who’s a mostly unpublished author living in Victoria). Providing the author’s perspective about the process of submitting to a publisher was a welcome one, and also something which made the variety of content more interesting. Granted, both she and her boy are a bundle of laughs, so it was good to have the warmth of them attending the panel in the first place, but dragging her up on the platform to help out was a brilliant idea and I’m glad Brian had it.

 After stumbling home – completely sober, mind you – at 1:30 AM, I then next appeared almost entirely awake at a panel the next morning at 10:00 AM called “Listen to This! Listen to This!” for which I was entirely un-​​prepared. To begin with, I hadn’t any real idea about the format of the thi9ng, for Programming never replied to my eMail asking for clarification of how much material to bring, or the degree of specificity of SF & F content desired. The three books I considered selecting material from – including Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes and an early scene in the “Gormenghast” trilogy – would have required a goodly chunk of time due to their sheer length of material, as well as a section of text either side to provide framing material for the passage. I explained the latter point to the few people there, including the white-​​haired gentleman sitting directly in front of me in the first row. He looks a tad familiar, I thought to myself, and wondering if he was in fact… and then he sat back up from putting his back-​​pack on the chair next to him, his name tag straightened out on his chest and declared that, yes indeed, I had just explained to Larry Niven that I was a complete loss when it came time to proper participation in the panel he had taken the time to attend. At one point I noticed him staring at my chest to see my name tag, then glancing into the souvenir programme’s section of biographies of those on panels, no doubt memorizing the name of the complete nit-​​wit sitting in front of him, swearing he will avoid all things connected with me henceforth.

Then again, apparently he’s got a bit of a hearing problem, so perhaps he wasn’t able to pick-​​up the conversation at that point so he decided to review the listing for the next panel.

 
British Fantasy Awards

Yes, sadly, the two categories that Atomic Fez was short-​​listed in went to other people: both the “Best Novella (2010)” and the “Best Small Press” awards. That said, getting that far with things in the first year one even qualifies for the awards is pretty dang good: long list in all of the categories but one that apply, and short-​​listing in two, is hardly something to sneeze at.

Thus, while no shiny “WINNER!” graphic gets to be placed on the site, there’s no shame being felt or soul-​​crushing disappointment hanging over the mighty laboratories of Atomic Fez Publishing.

After all, there’s always next year…

“This Week’s Fish Wrap” is an on-​​​​going series of posts summing up the news of the previous seven days in the publishing industry, and/​or announce the latest news Atomic Fez has about the publishing house, and appears here each Monday. It’s also quite possible that the posts merely serve as a dumping ground of links so that Atomic Fez Proprietor Ian Alexander Martin can find articles later to include in his occasional rants about how ‘EVERYONE ELSE IS ENTIRELY WRONG’ about various things.

Works Progress Administration poster

This Week's Fish Wrap (№37): VCon & FCon Anon!

With the autumnal period comes a return to school, a return to the day-​​to-​​day routine of the office drones, and the excitement of the literary conventions organized by the British Fantasy Society and the West Coast Science Fiction Association. Hooray!

’40s-era Works Progress Administration poster
40s-​​era Works Progress Administration poster

This year creates a bit of a problem for Atomic Fez, as both of those organizations have rather inconsiderately scheduled their events on the same week-​​end. As much as we prize our forward-​​thinking, new-​​frontier located technology around here, it’s not yet possible to be in two places at the same time, and travel from Brighton (in the UK) to Richmond (in Canada) isn’t possible under about eleven hours, at least when using commercial air travel.

Thus, while the books Atomic Fez publishes will be available in the Dealers’ Room at FantasyCon 2011 in Brighton, the brains behind Atomic Fez will not be. Instead, the Proprietor /​ Publisher will be spreading the joy of all things “Eclectic and Genre-​​Busting” at VCon №36, held at the beautiful Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel, in exciting Richmond, BC, from Friday, September 30th – Sunday, October 2nd. You can find him in the gigantic Dealers’ Room at the mighty Table 502 (just on your left as you come in the door), or possibly taking part in a panel discussion and explaining to everyone JUST HOW WRONG THEY ALL ARE!

The additional reason that it would be so nice to be beside the sea-​​side is that the prestigious British Fantasy Awards Ceremony is held on Sunday 2nd October 2011 after the fabulous FantasyCon 2011 Banquet. Andrew Hook’s Ponthe Oldenguine is nominated in the “Best Novella (2010)” category, and Atomic Fez is the sole non-​​UK house among those on the “Best Small Press (2010)” short-​​list. The best of luck to everyone on the short-​​list, including that “Steve King” fellah, whoever he might be (but frankly, I think he’s trying to get into the literary game by grabbing his son’s coat-​​tails).

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for something to get you in the mood for the Richmond event, here are three of them.

September is “Science Fiction and Fantasy month” at the Vancouver Public Library, and VCon is partnering with the VPL’s Downtown Branch (350 West Georgia) in three events: “Fantastic Art” on September 19th; a “Vogon Poetry Slam and “Vog-​​Off” on September 22nd; and a panel discussion, “Page to Screen”, on September 27th. All three events are free, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Alice MacKay Room (on the library’s lower level).

Fantastic Art

 Tonight, September 19th, come to hear George Metzger (“Moondog”) and Tarol Hunt (“Goblins”) discuss Fantastic Art, with an emphasis on sequential art and graphic novels. Then join in some audience-​​participation fun with previews of two VCon favourites: “Pencils at High Noon” and “SF Pictionary”. Both are quick-​​draw competitions that depend more on wit and imagination than artistic ability. On view will be examples of art from VCon-​​s past.

 Vogon Poetry Slam

The (Second Annual) Vogon Poetry Slam and Vog-​​Off is on Thursday, September 22nd. Stormtroopers from The 501st Garrison will be on hand to keep order as contestants vie for cash prizes by reciting their worst possible poems. There’s even a $42 prize for the worst poem by someone under 14. See details at the VPL’s website: Vancouver Public Library – News & Press Releases

Page to Screen

The third event is “Page to Screen”, a discussion of how well – or badly – science fiction works have been adapted for the screen. That’s on Tuesday, September 27th.

By next week details of which panels at VCon №36 the Proprietor /​ Publisher will be participating in, during which time the table in the Dealers’ Room will be ably taken care of by whichever passing gypsies or miscreants have the misfortune to be passing by shortly before the discussion commences. It’s also possible that the site will look a fair bit different at that point, but those sorts of things have a habit of throwing complexities at one when one least expects it, so let’s not get our hopes up for that. A fortnight from now, however, all should look more exciting and the site be easier navigate one’s way around in.

In the meantime, become a “job creator” by buying some books – shipping’s free after $5035 – and then give them to someone who could use some entertainment in these economically challenging times.

“This Week’s Fish Wrap” is an on-​​​​going series of posts summing up the news of the previous seven days in the publishing industry, and/​or announce the latest news Atomic Fez has about the publishing house, and appears here each Monday. It’s also quite possible that the posts merely serve as a dumping ground of links so that Atomic Fez Proprietor Ian Alexander Martin can find articles later to include in his occasional rants about how ‘EVERYONE ELSE IS ENTIRELY WRONG’ about various things.

CLICK HERE to see the official announcement of this (new tab)

This Week's Fish Wrap (№29): Short Lists & Short Wizards

“This Week’s Fish Wrap” is an on-​​​​going series of posts summing up the news of the previous seven days in the publishing industry, and appears here each Monday. It’s also quite possible that the posts merely serve as a dumping ground of links so that Atomic Fez Proprietor Ian Alexander Martin can find articles later to include in his occasional rants about how ‘EVERYONE ELSE IS ENTIRELY WRONG’ about various things.

 

Tiny, One-Man Band in Burnaby Twice Makes Short-List in Far-Away United Kingdom

CLICK HERE to see the official announcement of this (new tab)Well now, this is the way we like to start the week ‚wot?

Not just a British Fantasy Society’s Short-​​List nod for Andrew Hook’s Ponthe Oldenguine in the “Best Novella”, but also a position in the short-​​list for “Best Small Press” for Atomic Fez itself! HUZZAH!

CLICK HERE to get more details and order copies (new tab)Considering the full list of those being considered was massive – and yes, everyone says the next bit, but it’s honestly true – just getting on the list of the “best five” is an achievement-and-a-half.Considering that Atomic Fez is based 13 of the way around the planet to the west of the United Kingdom, and it gets even more amazing. “Right chuffed” is the way the entire offices of Atomic Fez feel just now.

…okay, it’s just me, but all of me feels that way.

While Mr. Hook’s is the only single title to be recognized, obviously the hard-​​work of all the authors in 2010 making their books as good as can be has been noticed, as the publishing house itself has been ‘short-​​listed’ for “Best Small Press”. Thus, the collective effort by all of the authors over the previous year is what made the “Best Small Press” inclusion possible for this publisher. Hooray for all of them as well!

 

Old School Magic-User Goes New-Age High Tech with 'Pottermore'

Right, so we’re probably all sick of hearing about this by now, but let’s step back and brush aside the NEW! EXCITING! HOOPLA! portions of the coverage so far. Yes, the stories are finally available in e-​​Book format, and that’s grand. This ought to mark the way the young folks get hooked on the format now, as well as getting a fresh generation of readers’ eyes staring at the tales already beloved by young & old. All very good, but this was bound to happen with the Harry Potter… stories; and if they don’t hook the young ones, then some story series will do it eventually.

But, as Olivia Solon of The Telegraph pointed out on the 23rd, there’s more to this than meets the eye of just a new format. I’ve said time and time again that e-​​Books are the new and better version of the Mass Market Paperback (better because there’s no shipping cost, no paper wasted, and the RRP is less than printed copies), and that’s all essentially what this is, according to the typical “we’ve got 45 seconds to cover this” media. Lots of copies of the books have been sold in paper, now they’ll be sold electronically as well so that the piratical sites will no longer have PDF copies to shove at those with no money or the willingness to part with some.

But…

We're shakin’ up publishing like The Pastors were shakin’ up Vegas!
We’re shakin’ up publishing like The Pastors were shakin’ up Vegas!

There’s more on offer over at that site of Ms Rowling’s. You will not only have available the books as already released, you’ll have bonus materials as well, just as movies have been offered for quite some time with DVD Extras. She’s apparently written another 18,000 words to expand the information on characters and settings. Additionally, there’s an on-​​line forum to supplement the already extant ones such as “Mugglenet” and permit a central location for people to share their love of Potter arcana. Part of the appeal here is the addition of ‘official extras’ such as being sorted into houses, wand selection, and so on. All of this combined makes it possible for people to scratch their wizardry itch without feeling odd about going to some fringe-​​like message board filled with wackos and repressed adults; this is, after all, a professional and commercial site.

The chief lesson to be learned here is twofold:

  1. you can do it yourself (the rights to the electronic versions are reportedly held exclusively by the author)
  2. you can do more than merely reproduce the words on paper electronically

Mike Cane has repeated called for e-​​Books to do more than merely provide words, but until the tablet came along, it was damned difficult to provide anything fancy, what with a forest of operating systems making cross-​​platform guaranteed delivery of anything nigh-​​on impossible. What with the iPad, Galaxy Tab, and a whole bunch of others operating on three solid programming standards, all should be possible in the new, post-​​PC world of equipment. When you’ve got something as basic as a web-​​browser available (two models of the Barnes and Noble “Nook” can be easily ‘hacked’ to make it live, and even the new Kobo Touch has one if you know simply drill down through the settings to activate it), you’ve got the possibility of audio supplements, video, e-​​mail, coupons, and who knows what else? No, it’s not going to be something you see everyone doing, but if you’ve got source material such as a young wizard, how do you not take advantage of the magical possibilities?  Ms Rowling’s team had started including these sorts of this a years ago, and the tablet revolution was not nearly begun as yet.

Also not yet begun was the Apple v. Big Publisher battle for an open approach to customer data. The idea of them fighting over the 30% of the RRP as the main issue is a joke. Any bookstore that sells copies of authors’ works gets at least that in return for making the book available. Apple could have charged far more, and would be in the same league as Amazon.com, who gets anywhere up to 60% off the RRP for stocking popular books (which is why they can then sell them at such insane sale prices, and destroy your local bookshops in the process). No doubt many executives in New York City and London were relieved to hear it was only 30% that the Cupertino-​​based Apple was expecting for inclusion of catalogues in the iBook Store.

The real desirable thing is the data: customers’ ages, locations, and so on. By creating her own site – or ‘platform’, as the marketing people will chirp – Ms. Rowling has kept everything in her control, and can market directly to her customer base in a broader way possible than were it merely a fan base. This is far more influential to the market, in my view, as this really takes the last of the power from the oligarchical publishing model of the previous centuries. not only can the author write and publish their own works in the same way as an independent band might, they now have a model to provide far more than one form of limited content to their customers.

We all need to challenge ourselves to ‘work harder’. How else can we reach people? How else can we entertain them? How else can we do all of that and maintain the quality of work – in whatever form it takes – and make things exciting and fresh whilst making it worth someone’s time and hard-​​earned money?

These truly are the most revolutionary times since Caxton and Gutenberg.

British Fantasy Awards’ “Long List” approved

British Fantasy Awards’ 2010 “Long List” Announced

CLICK HERE to see the complete ballot (vote ONLY if you qualify)We’re right chuffed! Atomic Fez books are in the running for the British Fantasy Awards!

Books that were published in 2010 by Atomic Fez have been included in the ‘long list’ of titles being considered for awards in five different categories for the British Fantasy Society’s 2010 Awards! HOORAY!

The specific categories and titles are as follows:

Plus, as if that’s not enough, Atomic Fez Publishing has been included in the list for “PS Publishing Best Small Press Award”, along with 16 others. Hooray!

If you’re a member of the British Fantasy Society, or attended their FantasyCon last September in Nottingham, then CLICK HERE and head to the ballot and Vote for the Future! Vote Atomic!!