Monday, June 17, 2019

Another Ten Best Dragon Book List

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Pictured above is one of Anne McCaffrey's dragons. Her dragons and mine have very little in common. Though the artist of the original cover of The Iron Dragon's Mother was very obviously told to make it look as much like one of her dragons as possible--and, so far as I can tell, nothing more about the novel at all. Which is why the cover shows a human figure that could be either male or female lying face-down in a forest glade, possibly sleeping and possibly wounded, in a kind-medievelish outfit but maybe contemporary with a gracile green dragon crouching either protectively or menacingly over the figure. (All credit to the artist for making the most of a vague assignment.)

But today I have something in common with Ms. McCaffrey. We're both on a list of the Ten Best Dragon Novels on The Portalist, which is the website for Open Road Media.  Since The Iron Dragon's Daughter ebook is published by Open Road, I'm guessing the rest are as well.

No matter. It's a Ten Best list and those are always fun to argue with. I personally think that R. A. McAvoy's Tea With the Black Dragon is an excellent choice. It's quirky, fun to read, and above all original. On the other hand, on the other hand, one book I would definitely kick off the list is...

Oh, come on. You didn't seriously think I was going to tell you that? I have to live in this field.

You see and argue with the list here.


And meanwhile, back at the Image Book . . .




Text: The Dowager (two candids) and Segundis

Those are not very flattering pictures of the Dowager, though they do capture a fraction of her glamour and her spite. She is a lot nastier and more dangerous than she ever lets show.

I have no idea what I meant by Segundis.



Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 8 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.
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Sunday, June 16, 2019

It's Father's Day!

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Today is Father's Day which, for me, is Son's Day. Many years ago, the midwife handed a small and perfect baby to Marianne. Then, after Marianne had cuddled and marveled for a time, Heather (that was the midwife's name), picked him up again and, turning to me, said, "Do you want to hold him?"
I was young and stunned--how often do you get to be present for a miracle?--and didn't want to be in the way, so I said, "Oh, no, that's okay."
"Take your son, Michael!" Heather said, and thrust the infant into my arms.
I looked down at Sean and he looked up at me. He was born curious and looked oupon all he saw with calm interest. And, looking into his eyes, I thought, "Someday, my son, you will grow up and turn me into an old man and then I'll die. But that's all right. It's a small price to pay for having you in the world."
This was not a writerly notion. It was what I actually thought and what I honestly felt. It's what I still think and feel.
So, Happy Son's Day, Sean! I loved you the instant I set eyes on you, and I've loved you ever since.

And from the Image Book . . .

The caption reads: Helen V. (Publicity Photo)
Okay, that's actually Lauren Bacall, and it's doubtful that Helen V. ever looked that good. But it captures some of the intensity and seriousness and (but I may be reading this into the photo) hidden sense of humor that Helen V. has.
Presumably, she told the photographer to make her look good. I hope he got a bonus for that particular session.

Top above: Las year's Google Doodle for Father's Day. Credit where it's due, Google makes the world a better place by commissioning such things.
Middle above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 9 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.

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Saturday's Blog Post

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Again, this is a day late.

Shown above is Chateau Sans Merci, a major locale in The Iron Dragon's Mother. As I keep saying, these are impressions rather than representations. Here's how the chateau where Caitlin was raised is described in the novel:

Château Sans Merci was situated in the fold of the valley where graceful hills shaped like a giantess’ thighs met in a bosky thicket. Against this verdant backdrop, the dome and orange roof tiles of the château gleamed in the sun. The formal gardens surrounding the manor house, Caitlin knew from experience, swarmed with dragonflies, humblebees, fairies, and wasps. Not far below, the Amberwine emptied into a small artificial lake with a marble shrine to Astarte at the upper end and a decorative mill at the bottom. There was a dock on one side of the lake and a red lacquered moon bridge on the other giving access to a modest wooded island that the family used for picnics and the occasional midnight tryst   

And here's how the novel's protagonist reacts to seeing exactly that from the limousine that has been sent to fetch her home:

It was the pleasantest aspect imaginable. Caitlin had to blink away tears – not of pleasure – at the sight of it.   

It's not an easy business being the heroine of a fantasy novel.



Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 10 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.


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Friday's Blog Post

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Once again, mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. I skipped two days of blogging and I have no excuse for it. Yes, I am working on a dozen projects at once. Yes, things have gotten strange around the edges. (More on that when I'm free to comment on various developments.) But I really have no adequate excuse for neglecting you.

So I apologize.

Meanwhile, up above is the latest from the Image Book. Not really sure who or what this guy is. It might be a night gaunt. They're nightmarish creatures but, being nocturnal, are rarely seen and to my knowledge never described in any of the Iron Dragon books.



Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 11days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.


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Thursday, June 13, 2019

In Which I Have Books Which You Do Not

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Look what came in the mail!  Mirabile dictu, my copies arrived before publication date--the first time this has ever happened to  me.

In celebration of which, let me share with you the acknowledgements page. This is a strange paraliterary form that has blossomed in recent decades to such a decree that they're routinely mocked online for their pretentiousness. But I enjoy reading them, just to get a sense of some of what goes into a novel, and it's possible that one or two others present here might as well.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I am grateful to the (alas) late Lucius Shepard for giving me permission to quote from “The Scalehunter’s Beautiful Daughter.” To Byron Tetrick for flight protocols. To Tom Purdom for the culture of military life. To Anatoly Belilovsky for the nomenclature of Russian megalizards. To Bill Gibson for once again providing a character with the wristwatch juste. To Marcin Pągowski for help with the Polish language. To Kevin Bolz for help with Breton naming. To Ellen Kushner for Satie’s Gnossiennes. To Barbara Frost for the banker’s calculator. To my son Sean for Faerie realpolitik and for choreographing the dragon-fight. To Barbara Weitbrecht for marine creatures. To Tom Doyle for supplying the motto of the Dragon Corps and to Mario Rups for Latinate grammatical antecedents. To Janis Ian for permission to quote from “Jesse.” To the late and sorely missed Gardner Dozois for teaching me how to write in the first place. And to the M. C. Porter Endowment for the Arts for life, love, and everything else.


And speaking of the Image Book . . .




Okay, yes, this is kinda creepy. But let's be honest here. While there's not a lot of overt sex happening in the novel, there's ton of it crawling around under the surface.

Both pages are collages, both mine.



Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 12 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.


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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Reviews! Reviews! Reviews!

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Last night was my reading--and Lianna Renee Hieber's--at the Galactic Philadelphia event held in the main branch of the Philadelphia Free Library. There was a large audience filled with other writers, important fans, and people who just plain love literature. And, modesty be damned, Lianna and I knocked them out.

I did a fair amount of coffee house singing, back in my teens, back in the Sixties. One man, one guitar, and songs skillfully written to disguise the fact that my singing is terrible. But I took away from that the discovery that all performers learn that when you have a good audience, energy flows from them to you. And I had a great audience. I could see that they were enjoying the reading. Some of them were really enjoying it. So I just want to say to them...

Thank you. You really made my night.

Afterward, everybody went to the Kite & Key, a block away from the library, for food and drinks and conversation. Which is where the above photo of Lianna and me was taken by Marianne Porter.


Ane while I'm bragging . . .

It's Self-Promotion Wednesday! Is that a thing? No? Well, I'll make an exception just this once.

So far, I've gotten three reviews for The Iron Dragon's Mother, coming in less than a fortnight, and they've all been glowing.

Kirkus gave the novel a starred review and, among other things, said: The scintillating narrative, sprinkled with black humor, bulges with symbols and allusions to topics in science, alchemy, magic, folklore, mythology, fantasy/science fiction, and literature. Remarkably, all the major and most of the minor characters are female, not to mention an alluringly innocent protagonist... another bravura performance, with a surprise ending that, after a moment's reflection, isn't so surprising after all."

Publisher's Weekly  wrote:  This epic is full of carefully crafted lands, characters, and creatures, and readers will savor each page. 

And in Locus, reviewer Gary K. Wolfe states that: “the irresistible appeal of Swanwick’s version of Faerie, along with his usual skill at drawing vividly complex and conflicted characters trying to solve a mystery whose stakes keep spiraling outward, lend the novel a density and texture that seems abit surprising, considering all the fun we’re having along the way.”


And from the Image Book . . .




The image above is, if you look closely, of an old woman awhat might be a wheelchair, shaded by umbrellas. But I canted it to the side to make it suggest that she were lofting off into the air in a hot air balloon. Thus making it a picture of Helen V., the old woman who finds herself inhabiting the mind of half-human dragon pilot Caitlin of House Sans Merci. Much to Caitlin's annoyance.



Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 13 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.

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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

READING TONIGHT!





I'm doing a public appearance tonight! I'll be reading from my forthcoming (in only 14 days!) fantasy novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother. I forget whether I've mentioned that event here or not. Anyway, the skinny is:

Leanna Renee Hieber and Michael Swanwick


read from their works

starting at 7pm 

The Parkway Central Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia (Logan Circle), 

1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103.


And I got a good review . . .

In Locus, esteemed critic and reviewer Gary K. Wolfe wrote of The Iron Dragon's Mother, that "the irresistible appeal of Swanwick's version of Faerie, along with his usual skill at drawing vividly complex and conflicted characters trying to solve a mystery whose stakes keep spiraling outward, lend the novel a density and texture that seems a bit surprising, considering all the fun we're having along the way."

I may quote some more gobs of the review tomorrow, depending on how much else I have to say. Suffice it to say, I was happy with it.


And from the Image Book . . .





No, this is not upside-down. Or, rather, the image is deliberately pasted upside-down, for reasons that ought to be obvious by now. Less obvious is that it's a collage made up of four separate photographs.



Above: For those who came in late, my latest novel, The Iron Dragon's Mother, will be published in 14 days. To draw attention to this fact, I'm serializing the Image Book I made to help me imagine a strange world for the book.
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