New interview & talks at PragoFFest

Martin Šust prepared an interview with me for XB-1. I talk about my upcoming SF trilogy Blíženci (Gemini), the transhumanist anthology Terra nullius and other projects. It’s in Czech, though, and I really don’t recommend Google Translate (yeah, it does seem that human translators will remain unchallenged a bit longer). He surprised me by putting that particular picture there; the award was borrowed for a few seconds at last year’s Worldcon, but hey, maybe I’ll hold my own one day. One can always hope, especially if lots of work are behind that hope.

And if you’re going to PragoFFest next week, you can come to my talks about Kuiper Belt (Friday 1 p.m.) and “paranoid optimists” (on cognitive biases; Saturday 6 p.m.), both in the science&tech section.

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Darkest humor in the new issue of XB-1

The February issue of XB-1 is coming soon a it features the second part of Equoid (Charles Stross), Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma (Alex Shvartsman) and What Doctor Gottlieb Saw (Ian Tregilis) in the foreign stories section. And with so much horror, humor ranging from the darkest tones to the lighter ones and a lot of lovecraftian world, it would be impossible not to build on it in the nonfiction section. Therefore my article “The Darkest Humor from Deep Spacetime” on Lovecraftian pastiches, with emphasis on the ones containing an element rarely if ever found in Lovecraft: humor.

There are hundreds or thousands of pastiches, many of them more or less humorous, some even parodies. But there are two great fiction series I’ve encountered that managed to convey deep horror and despair and season it with moments of wonderful, mostly very dark humor without making the horror seem any less serious, each series in its own brilliant way. One of them are Laundry Files by Stross. Equoid is a part of that series, among more shorter works, but be sure to try the novels as well. The other one is the Johannes Cabal series by Jonathan L. Howard. It’s composed of short stories as well as novels too and again I can recommend reading everything of it.

In light of unseen terrors and gloom, on the very verge of madness, there still can be something to laugh at. And where you’ve got laugher, you’ve got an even tiny spark of hope. Maybe that’s why the combination of true horror and humor works so well.

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The Writing Workshop in Prague

Are you an aspiring author writing in English and based in Prague, and want to join a workshop to improve your craft? You might consider the Writing Workshop, an initiative founded by a successful SF writer and friend of mine, Jan Kotouč. He’s been running the workshop for two years by now and starting with this year, he’s expanding and offering more courses and classes by more lecturers. Jan is teaching the Intro to Creative Writing, Public Speaking and Press Releases. Our marketing expert Honza Felt teaches Internet Marketing for Writers. These are all one-day courses. The six-lesson Creative Writing workshop is taught by Jan and me. We’ll also start offering courses on book promotion and publishing in speculative fiction magazines (by yours truly).

Anyone can join the upcoming courses – the only requirement is being able to communicate in English. We’ve already had students from Russia, Latvia, Finland, Fiji, Croatia and other countries and we are always looking forward to meeting students from the whole world!

New short stories (sort of) and XB-1’s anniversary

In addition to yesterday’s big news, I have some other ones today. Czech translations of my stories The Brass City and Catching A Ride, both of which have been published in English, appear in the upcoming issue of XB-1, along with my translation of Jason Sanford’s brand new column.

It’s also a special 50th issue since the transition of Ikarie into XB-1 (therefore the retro cover) and the readers can look forward especially to the foreign fiction section, which contains all the Hugo-winning short works from last year: Equoid (divided into two issues), The Lady Astronaut of Mars, and The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere.

Another big anniversary is coming up in April – there’s going to be the 250th issue of the whole magazine’s history (Ikarie and XB-1 together)!

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In mood for some hardcore space opera?

Happy new year everyone! I have some good news to share, especially with Czech lovers of modern space opera, hard SF and bio/cyberpunk. I’ve been holding something out in December but now I can finally announce the news. First of all – I’ve edited an anthology of transhumanist-themed stories by Czech authors, Terra nullius, and it should be published in May if all goes according to plan. I’m especially excited about this as the authors I’d picked all sent me really inspiring stories full of brave ideas. Cover coming soon – I had seen the prefinal version and it’s just awe-inspiring!

The other news is that my science fiction trilogy Blíženci (would translate as Gemini) is going to be published this year as well. The covers are already prepared and I was just breathless when I saw them. So brace yourselves for high acceleration into the world of new space opera…

And finally, a short story of mine is appearing in Robert Pilch’s fabulous-looking space opera anthology Capricorn 70.

There are a lot of real delights in the publisher Brokilon’s plan for 2015 – new books by Jan Kotouč, Vladimír Šlechta, Jan Hlávka & Jana Vybíralová and many others, so check it out (if in Czech you can check… sorry, I couldn’t resist; but there’s a Czech version of this website coming sometime soon, so the primarily Czech fiction concerned posts are going to be appearing there).

Happy new year again and be it filled with lots of speculative fiction of your choice!


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‘Tis the Season…

So. It’s this time of year again. Cultists sing about elder gods stirring in their sleepsomething horrible is creeping down the chimney to eat your souls, skeletons dress in red robes and deliver presents (whether the original giver is available or not), things fall apartgiant robots roam the streets after sunset and aliens plot their invasions to Earth. You know, the usual stuff. And if we survive the season with our lives and minds intact, we can look forward to the new year.

And it’s looking like a pretty exciting year ahead of us. We’ll see whether Philae wakes up near 67P’s perihelion, what results Dawn brings about Ceres and how New Horizons‘ flyby of Pluto turns out.

Happy Christmas or whichever other festivity you’re celebrating. As for my Christmas wish for everyone: let’s keep working on gradually making this reality