Peter Beagle is one of the finest living fantasy writers. His 1968 novel The Last Unicorn has long been considered a classic, and The Innkeeper’s Song (1993) and Tamsin (1999) were both nominated for the World Fantasy Award. His 2007 novel I’m Afraid You’ve Got Dragons isn’t as well known as some of his others, but it has its fans. It’s currently ranked at 3.88 (out of 5) at Goodreads, and it has five stars at Amazon.com. Beagle has drummed up a lot of interest in it over the years by reading chapters at various conventions (you can watch him do a public reading of the first chapter here).
I’ve been dying to get my hands on a copy myself. But that’s proven to be fairly tricky because, as it turns out, the book doesn’t exist.
I’m sure this has frustrated more than a few Beagle collectors, because it can take a while to figure this out. Even the Internet Speculative Fiction Database thinks this book exists. And, as far as I know, Amazon and Goodreads aren’t generally in the habit of listing books that don’t exist. But trust me. This ain’t a book.
The closest I’ve come to finding an explanation is this brief note at the bottom of an excerpt from the novel at Green Man Review, quoting a defunct section of Beagle’s website:
The story was originally supposed to be a 40,000 word novella, no longer. But it grew. The first draft came in at more than twice that: nearly 90,000 words… I’m Afraid You’ve Got Dragons was originally contracted to Firebird Books, and announced for a Summer 2007 release — but completion of the final draft was delayed as the manuscript insisted on growing, and because of time lost to unavoidable family issues, so the book was rescheduled for Summer 2008. Before it could be turned in, however, a serious business conflict came up between Peter and Penguin USA over the 40th Anniversary Edition of The Last Unicorn. This ultimately led Peter to conclude that after many years of association with Penguin imprints it was time to move on. Since Firebird was a Penguin imprint, that meant pulling I’m Afraid You’ve Got Dragons.
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Back in 2002, Ace Books tried an unusual experiment with Paul Kearney’s The Monarchies of God novels. They were originally published in the UK starting in 1995, but when Ace brought them to the US, they released the books just one month apart.
As I noted in my April article, the experiment wasn’t a success, and the books went out of print fairly quickly. At the time, however, I said that Ace never repeated the experiment, and that’s not actually true. They attempted the same thing at least one more time, with Chaz Brenchley Books of Outremer, originally published in three fat volumes in the UK in 1998-2002, and reprinted as six paperbacks in the US, one every month, between June and November 2003, with covers by John Howe and Barbara Lofthouse.
Near as I can figure out, this experiment wasn’t any more successful. The books were never reprinted, and are now long out of print.
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There’s nothing quite like an exciting debut fantasy novel. Fantasy is a genre of limitless potential, and every new writer takes us in a direction never before explored. Seth Dickinson’s The Traitor Baru Cormorant, to be published in hardcover by Tor in September, tells the tale of a young woman from a conquered people who tries to transform a vast empire from within.
Baru Cormorant believes any price is worth paying to liberate her people — even her soul.
When the Empire of Masks conquers her island home, overwrites her culture, criminalizes her customs, and murders one of her fathers, Baru vows to swallow her hate, join the Empire’s civil service, and claw her way high enough to set her people free.
Sent as an Imperial agent to distant Aurdwynn, another conquered country, Baru discovers it’s on the brink of rebellion. Drawn by the intriguing duchess Tain Hu into a circle of seditious dukes, Baru may be able to use her position to help. As she pursues a precarious balance between the rebels and a shadowy cabal within the Empire, she orchestrates a do-or-die gambit with freedom as the prize.
But the cost of winning the long game of saving her people may be far greater than Baru imagines.
The Traitor Baru Cormorant will be published by Tor Books on September 15, 2015. It is 400 pages, priced at $25.99 in hardcover, and $12.99 for the digital edition. The cover is by Sam Weber. Read an excerpt at Tor.com.
Last weekend I took part in the first ever Limestone Genre Expo in Kingston, Ontario (which is known as the Limestone City, hence the name). I had a wonderful time, reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. There’s nothing like an event like this to remind you how many people among your friends and acquaintance are people you’ve never actually met face-to-face.
As I said, this was the first year for this event, and Liz Strange, Barry King and their minions did an excellent job of organization. For one, the event lived up to its billing, in that it was a genre expo. Most of the time there were three tracks, with full panels on Fantasy, SF, Mystery, Horror and Romance, along with readings and workshops
I’ve run small conferences myself, and people always find it strange when I tell them that often the most popular individual events are the workshops. Yes, they are primarily attended by people at one stage or another of a writing career, but a small percentage of attendees are people who are curious about some of the nuts and bolts of writing, and who are looking for insights into literary analysis. There was a wide variety in subject matter from “First Page Critiques” where people came prepared to share their first 250 words with editor and author Caro Soles, to “Building Tension” with Matt Moore, to “How to Market and Sell Short Fiction” with Douglas Smith, a man who knows. Author and editor Nancy Kilpatrick’s workshop was titled “Novel Idea Pitch” in the program, but she herself describes it as “a workshop on brain storming.” I like her version better.
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I’m a sucker for a great fantasy setting. Plot, character, sparkling prose… these all appeal to me as much as the next guy. But give me a fresh, innovative setting, and you’ve got my attention from page one.
One of the most intriguing and innovative settings I’ve come across recently is the fantastical, gaslit underground city of Recoletta, where mankind huddles after a mysterious apocalypse, and whose true origins are shrouded in mystery. It is the setting for two novels (so far) from debut author Carrie Patel: The Buried Life and Cities and Thrones, both published this year by Angry Robot. Here’s a brief bit of enticing description from the starred review at Publishers Weekly:
With Regency-era sensibilities and Agatha Christie’s flair for the subtle conundrum, Patel’s debut novel introduces readers to a subterranean city of the future, centuries after what is dubbed ‘The Catastrophe’, and beautifully manages the delicate balance between entertainment and social commentary. The subtly fantastical story is resplendent with surprisingly deep villains, political corruption, and a gripping whodunit feel.
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(With sincerest apologies to H. P. Lovecraft)
Original title, Watdiz Rafaflafla — Rafaflafla being the word used by residents of the greater Pittsburgh area to designate that harrowing sound (made by insects and tiny flying horses) suppos’d to resemble the flatulence of daemons who have been tuned to the key of B flat.
Composed by Haminah Haminah H. Haminah, Esq., a sad clown and learned scholar of the Peoria, in the American caliphate of the Illinois, who is said to have flourished during the early period of the Flock of Seagulls and the A-ha, circa 1983 A.D. He visited the ruins of the Cleveland and he explored subterranean secrets of the Memphis and spent ten years alone in the great southern desert of the Phoenix — the Hoolenah Whooleenah or “Artificially Irrigated Space” of the ancients, which is held to be inhabited by evil blue-haired spirits and sundry other monsters of the retirement catacombs. Of this desert many tedious and mediocre marvels are told by those who have much time on their hands and are usually about two and a half sheets to the wind.
In his last years H. Haminah dwelt in Topeka, where the Necronomicon II was written, and of his final death or disappearance (c. 1989 A.D.) many random and pointless things are told. He is said by Reebeeh Bopaloola (his biographer) to have been seized by an unspeakably vile monster with breath that would stop a tank in broad daylight in the produce aisle of the Safeway and devoured horribly before a smattering of bored witnesses. Who just wanted some arugula and really didn’t want to get mixed up in yet another one of those supermarket devouring incidents.
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Editor Dominik Parisien has just announced the Table of Contents for his upcoming anthology Clockwork Canada, to be published by Exile Editions, a Canadian small press, next year.
Exile began publishing Canadian genre anthologies in 2013; so far they’ve published Dead North: Canadian Zombie Fiction (edited by Silvia Moreno-Garcia), Fractured: Tales of the Canadian Post-Apocalypse (edited by Silvia Moreno-Garcia), and New Canadian Noir (edited by Claude Lalumière and David Nickle). They are currently reading submissions for a fifth anthology: Those Who Make Us: Canadian Creature, Myth, and Monster Stories, edited by Kelsi Morris and Kaitlin Tremblay.
Here’s the description:
Clockwork Canada runs the gamut of steampunk, showcasing a wide variety of genre elements, from purely technological contraptions to combinations of the mechanical and magical. The stories in the anthology reimagine important Canadian historical events, provide us with alternate Canadas, and gather inspiration from the Canadian landscape to make us wonder: what if history had gone a different way?
Clockwork Canada will contain fifteen stories; all are steampunk, and all are set in Canada. Here’s the complete table of contents.
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Cthulhu Invictus, the popular 2009 Call of Cthulhu sourcebook from Chaosium, allows players to partake in mythos adventures in the hills and streets of ancient Rome. It was at least partially inspired by one of Lovecraft’s most famous dreams, described in a letter to Donald Wandrei dated Thursday, November 3, 1927. The letter survives (and the relevant fragment, now titled “The Very Old Folk,” is posted online here), and it relates an exceptionally vivid nightmare in which Lovecraft dreamt he was an ancient Roman named Lucius Caelius Rufus, investigating a terrible Iberian hill tribe.
He had killed himself when the horses screamed… He, who had been born and lived all his life in that region, and knew what men whispered about the hills. All the torches now began to dim, and the cries of frightened legionaries mingled with the unceasing screams of the tethered horses. The air grew perceptibly colder, more suddenly so than is usual at November’s brink, and seemed stirred by terrible undulations which I could not help connecting with the beating of huge wings…
Above the nighted screaming of men and horses that dæmonic drumming rose to louder pitch, whilst an ice-cold wind of shocking sentience and deliberateness swept down from those forbidden heights and coiled about each man separately, till all the cohort was struggling and screaming in the dark… Only old Scribonius Libo seemed resigned. He uttered words amidst the screaming, and they echo still in my ears… “Wickedness of old… it is wickedness of old…”
Tales of Cthulhu Invictus is an original anthology of Cthulhu Mythos fiction set in Ancient Rome, the setting of Cthulhu Invictus. It was funded as a stretch goal as part of a successful Kickstarter for De Horrore Cosmico. It is due to be published any day now by Golden Goblin Press.
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Cherry Wilder had a relatively short career as fantasy writers go. Her first novel was The Luck of Brin’s Five (1977), which won the 1978 Ditmar Award for Best Australian Science Fiction Novel, and was the first novel in The Torin Trilogy. She produced two other series, The Rulers of Hylor (four novels, published between 1984 and 2004) and two novels in the Rhomary Land series (in 1986 and 1996), several short stores, and that was it. She died in 2002.
Still, she is very fondly remembered as one of the shining lights of 80s fantasy. Although The Torin Trilogy has all the trappings of fantasy — including sorcerers, far-flung kingdoms, and mystical powers — at heart it’s actually science fiction. It’s the tale of Scott Gale, a space traveler from Earth who finds himself shipwrecked on the world of Torin, where he’s accepted as a family member by Brin’s Five. Before long he finds himself embroiled in a desperate battle against the feared man who rules much of the land, Strangler Tiath Pentroy.
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British horror writer Adam Nevill has been winning over fans here in the US, with books like Last Days and The House of Small Shadows (which Goth Chick reviewed for us here). His latest novel, No One Gets Out Alive, looks like it will continue that trend nicely. It was recently released in hardcover by St. Martin’s Press, and has just been nominated for a 2015 British Fantasy Award.
When Stephanie moves to the notoriously cheap Perry Bar neighborhood of Birmingham, she’s just happy to find an affordable room for rent that’s large enough not to deserve her previous room’s nickname, “the cell.” The eccentric — albeit slightly overly-friendly — landlord seems nice and welcoming enough, the ceilings are high, and all of the other tenants are also girls. Things aren’t great, but they’re stable. Or at least that’s what she tells herself when she impulsively hands over enough money to cover the first month’s rent and decides to give it a go.
But soon after she becomes uneasy about her rash decision. She hears things in the night. Feels them. Things… or people… who aren’t there in the light. Who couldn’t be there, because after-all, her door is locked every night, and the key is still in place in the morning. Concern soon turns to terror when the voices she hears and presence she feels each night become hostile. It’s clear that something very bad has happened in this house. And something even worse is happening now. Stephanie has to find a way out, before whatever’s going on in the house finds her first.
No One Gets Out Alive was published by St. Martin’s Press on April 28. It is 640 pages, priced at $27.99 in hardcover and $14.99 for the digital edition.
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