The Big Move

Well, we did it.

After several years of nebulous dreaming, a year and a half of actual planning, six months of mind-numbingly arduous mortgage loan nonsense, and a frenzy of packing, Elizabeth Bear and I have taken up permanent residence together at our new home in the beautiful Pioneer Valley of western/central Massachusetts. I’ve been a lifelong upper midwesterner, so the relocation has involved some cultural and geographical acclimation.

Bear managed to move most of her stuff a few months ago (since she previously lived less than an hour away). I, however, was coming from western Wisconsin, about fourteen hundred miles. We made the trip in a three-day drive, hitting seven states along the way. Most of my possessions aren’t here yet– dealing with U-Haul has been one logistical nightmare after another. We were supposed to be unloading everything today, in fact, but won’t see the U-Boxes until Monday at the earliest, a fact that was unknown to me until 8:30 this morning, when I called the local office directly to ask why there’d been no phone calls, texts, or e-mails about their plans, as specified by the service contract. U-Haul, in my experience, is fine when you’re renting something to drive or haul yourself, but if you have any option other than getting U-Box service through them, I would solemnly advise you to pursue that other option.

Moving has been a crushing distraction and a massive time commitment, and it has thrown much of my schedule into disarray. It has ended (or nearly ended, since I’m still waiting on most of my worldly goods) well, with a great house and a great new workspace, but getting to this point has been a trial, and it’s going to have some consequences on the rest of my year, which I will detail very, very shortly.

For now– we’re safe, and mostly content, and hoping nothing else gets fucked up, because we have a very narrow window to fix anything before we head out for GenCon next week. Fingers crossed.

Thorn of Emberlain Schedule Shift

Dear readers and fans of the Gentlemen Bastards—

I’ll lay it out as plainly as I can.

With the utmost regret, we have been compelled to move The Thorn of Emberlain from its expected autumn 2015 release date to a 2016 date. I requested an opportunity to write this note so I could emphasize how little this is the fault of anyone but myself. My publishers around the world have, in fact, held the door open for a length of time that is somewhere between heroic and insane. The fault is mine; the severity of my ongoing anxiety attacks has simply made it impossible to turn the manuscript in and commit to the accelerated production process our original release date would have required.

While this is not the outcome we’d hoped for, we have every expectation that this will ultimately do more good than harm. I will continue to try to keep you more closely informed of Thorn’s progress, and I don’t think it will be long before we’ll be able to announce that the manuscript is secure and the production process has begun. We’re very close.

Although I withdrew from several public appearances in early July on account of those same anxiety issues, I am now fairly confident that I’ll be able to maintain the rest of my planned public appearances for 2015, including WorldCon, World Fantasy, and a few others yet to be announced.

Cheers, and many thanks for your continued patience and support.



This week, Elizabeth Bear and myself will be in Boston for two events.

First, we’ll be at Pandemonium Books from 7:00 – 9:30 PM on Thursday, February 12. This will be the launch party for Bear’s excellent new novel, KAREN MEMORY, and we’ll have a bonus author in the form of Charlie Stross, whose original appearance at Pandemonium was pre-empted by a weather emergency. There will be cookies from Flour Bakery!

Next, we’ll all be at BOSKONE 52 over the weekend, February 13-15.

My panel and appearance schedule:

Friday, 5:00 PM

Friday, 6:00 PM

Saturday, 10:00 AM

Saturday, 1:00 PM

Saturday, 3:00 PM

Saturday, 4:30 PM

2014 Appearance Schedule. Facebook Page.

Here’s where I’ll probably be in 2014. This list is incomplete and tentative. I do not presently have information on where I might be signing or doing book touring, if any. Another convention or two are in contemplation but the decisions won’t be made for a few months.

Boston, MA | February 14-16
Cambridge, MA | March 21-23
Minneapolis, MN | April 17-20
Indiana | May 2-4
Oshkosh, WI | May 9-10
Minneapolis, MN | June 20-22
Minneapolis, MN | July 3-6
Jyvaskla, Finland | July 11-13
London, UK | August 8-10
London, UK | August 14-18
New York City | October 10-13
Cedar Rapids, IA | October 31-November 2
Illinois | Some time in November

Also, I have at last set up a proper author Facebook page, which can be found at:

Please give it a like if you’re interested in following my wacky shenanigans across the social media interwebz tubes.

World Fantasy Convention 2013

From Thursday, October 31st to Sunday, November 3rd I will be attending the 2013 World Fantasy Convention in Brighton.

There has been a lot of noise lately about the con, and I have to say that I’m neither pleased nor impressed with certain aspects of it. I’m confident the vast majority of the people running it are quietly excelling, in the usual fannish fashion, at pulling off complex, thankless tasks for no real compensation. Whoever has been responsible for the tone of the convention’s PR materials, however, has tarred the hard work and good faith of everyone else involved. As Patrick Nielsen Hayden says (and I heartily concur): “I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen a con whose communications were more hectoring, reproving, and admonitory.”

This bafflingly unfriendly tone has limned the con’s less sensible decisions with an aura of apparent malice, while complicating the acceptance of policies that should have been routine and uncontroversial (and doubtless would have been if they had simply been presented with less of a sneer). I readily understand the desire to be firm and clear in the presentation of convention policies, but the gap between clarity and tactless disdain is a pretty wide and well-lit space. Or so you’d think.

I have already publicly and privately expressed my distaste with the handling of the Kaffeeklatsch situation. All other considerations aside, what rankles most in the end is that ‘klatsching, which is a decades-old standard practice at fan-run conventions across the world, has been touted as some sort of bold new experiment allowing the great unwashed a rare chance to breathe the same air as the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. To which I say many impolite things… the point of Kaffeeklatsch culture is that it’s a chance to sit down and chat with someone in a relaxed, informal, and human fashion, not to be shocked and awed by design.

Far more serious than that excess of hyperbole is the con’s sluggish attitude toward accessibility issues; only in the very latest WFC Progress Report was the world treated to the admission that oh, by the way, the registration area was not actually wheelchair-accessible. Sweet Jesus in an interstellar battleship. I sincerely hope the con’s announced work-around of having a staff member specially in place to handle the paperwork for those that can’t make it into the room is a robust solution; it does however beg the question of whether this is a sensible allotment of staffing for a con that previously made such a big deal about being unable to eyeball the freaking sign-up lists for the Kaffeeklatsches.

Last and not least is the very real sense* that the con has responded to complaints with a pervasive habit of a) first ignoring them as long as possible before b) proclaiming that few, if any, corroborating complaints have been received. It’s almost as though whoever is responsible for this (and look, I honestly don’t know who to blame) keeps failing to realize that attendees are perfectly capable of comparing notes and communications among themselves and spotting the inconsistencies. This dovetails pretty neatly with the overall PR approach, which seems predicated on the presumption that attendees are something less than adults.

That said… I support the idea of WFC in general, even if it’s a con that has not one but several lingering identity crises it ought to eventually try to shake out. I’m doing my best to be a good con citizen by sitting on a panel (my first ever at a WFC) and performing a reading. I’ll be at the awards banquet, too. The heart and soul of any WFC is the fact that hundreds of really cool, personable folks, pro and fan alike, descend on the site and make the best of it regardless of circumstances. It’s important for my publishers and quite a few of my readers that I be in Brighton, so I’m going to be in Brighton, and I’m going to do my damnedest to make the shindig as cool as I can for those around me.

So, here’s my appearance schedule:

FRIDAY, 8 PM: Mass Signing

I will be at the mass signing starting at 8 PM and will make an effort to stay until at least 9:30. Please don’t be shy if you have stuff you want me to sign and don’t be put off by the tone of the con’s PR. I don’t bite. Often.

SATURDAY, 11:30 AM: Reading (Hall 8B)

I will be reading a great and secret something, possibly from THE THORN OF EMBERLAIN.


I will be hanging out at Red Roaster, 1d St. James’ Street, just over three-fourths of a mile from the con hotel, just off the Old Steine and opposite the Royal Pavilion. This is an off-site non-convention event for all Gentlemen Bastards appreciators. I’m not actually taking over the coffee shop or anything, just plunking myself down to chill with anyone who wants to drop by. I’ll chat, sketch stupid cartoons, and sign things. Coffee is on me unless an overwhelming number of people show up. Look for the big goofy-looking American with long blond hair.

SATURDAY, 5 PM: Elvish Has Left the Building (Oxford)

My panel! “Is traditional fantasy finally over? After all these years, could it be in danger of running out of imagination and becoming simply a parody of itself, or will there always be ways of re-inventing the genre for a new generation?” Naturally, I have some opinions…

PANELISTS: Joe Abercrombie, Trudi Canavan, Scott Lynch, Stan Nicholls (mod.), Adrian Stone, Tad Williams.

I will also be in the audience for Elizabeth Bear’s panel at 5 PM on Friday and I encourage you to do likewise.


*This isn’t just loose hearsay. For the record, I believe the accounts of Kameron Hurley, Mari Ness, Farah Mendlesohn, and Amal El-Mohtar, and those are just the ones that I’ve seen in public.

This Week in Indiana

I’m off to GenCon in Indianapolis this week, my first ever.

Mostly, I’ll be a participant in the Writers Symposium programming, and my schedule is as follows.


9 AM … Memorable Characters
2 PM … Reading
3 PM … Should You Plot Or Not?
9:30 PM – Midnight … Author Game Night


12 PM … Signing
6 PM … The Line Between Adversity and Tragedy


1 PM … Stunning Action Scenes
5 PM … Genre Bender
9:30 PM – Midnight … Author Hangout

Sunday, I take off for Lafayette, where I’ll be reading and signing at Robots & Rogues from 4 PM to 6 PM.

Clockwork Universe: Steampunk vs. Aliens

“When aliens reach Earth, they encounter the clockwork mechanisms and Victorian sensibilities of a full-blown steampunk civilization. Inspired by the classic science fiction adventure tales of the nineteenth century, leading fantasy and science fiction authors will bring us tales of first contact with a twist, as steam power meets laser cannons . . . and dirigibles face off against flying saucers . . .”

I’m one of the anchor authors for the new CLOCKWORK UNIVERSE: STEAMPUNK VS. ALIENS Kickstarter anthology, along with Brad Beaulieu, Caitlin Kittredge, Gini Koch, Gail Z. Martin, Seanan McGuire, and Ian Tregillis. If the Kickstarter successfully funds, the seven of us will write the first of the 14 stories planned for the volume, with the balance to come from authors yet to be selected. This is the first Kickstarter I’ve ever been a part of, so please be kind to it if you can!

I can’t say what direction my story will take . . . discussions at Readercon left me wanting to play with steampunk more than ever, and also flex the sensibilities of whatever I set in the milieu. It’ll definitely be a go-big-or-go-home sort of affair, as fits the high concept. Push us past our modest goal of $10,000 and I’ll be forced to get much more specific!

More Amazing Coolness! Statement on Fanfic and Other Forms of Fan Art.

Milena Aijala, known on Tumblr as qwertyprophecy, recently finished creating an animated credits sequence for an imaginary Gentlemen Bastards television series. If you haven’t seen it, do follow that link. It’s lively, gorgeous, and superbly executed.

(Credit for the animated gif, I believe, goes to Tumblr user veecissitudes.)

Milena also has a series of captioned photographs detailing some of the laborious process (Weeks of work! Light tables! An actual tank of water! Her mom!) of creating this thing of beauty.

I’m so deeply pleased and flattered by this, and more or less as dumbstruck as I was by Kathryn Sutcliffe’s insanely beautiful costume sequence based on The Lies of Locke Lamora. It really breaks an author’s heart (well, this author’s heart) in the best possible way to see people with visual skills I can’t dream of possessing hanging such lovely cloth on the bare frames of my words.

It also has me thinking about fan activity, repurposing, re-imagining, and so forth. Cecilia Tan has a superb statement on fanfic that I happen to agree with almost entirely. Steve Brust has adopted that exact statement with Cecilia’s permission. It’s been an energetic couple of months for that portion of the Gentleman Bastard readership I’ve been able to track online, and I hope it’s going to stay energetic, so I think it’s time I also made a few things clear forever.

I like non-commercial fan art, fanfic, cosplay, and everything related. I am flattered by these activities and totally copacetic with them. If it brings you pleasure to create anything based on my work, I want you to know that you have my total support and encouragement. Please just keep the following points in mind:

1. All such activities have to be non-commercial.

2. All such activities have to be clearly labelled as non-commercial. They also have to be clearly labelled as not originating from me or being directly endorsed by me. Don’t pretend to be me, and I won’t pretend to be you. Fair?

3. I am not responsible for any laws you bend or break in the commission of your activities. It is possible to post something that is so egregious, in some fashion, or so blatant a misrepresentation of me or my work that I will be compelled to take action if it’s ever brought to my attention.

4. I’m never going to be able to keep track of all fan works posted online. I’m never even going to try. Never mistake my silence for any form of direct endorsement. In fact, never try to read anything into my silence. Don’t try to telepathically divine my intentions and I won’t telepathically make your head explode like in a David Cronenberg movie. Fair?

4a. Did I just imply that I have telepathic powers? Of course I did not. You say you read it with your own eyes? REMEMBER NOTHING. Now keep reading.

5. Understand that you create works based on my work and show them to other people at your own peril; that others may take inspiration from you, and you may find derived works being crafted from your work in turn. If you’re going to play with stuff originated by other people, don’t turn into an asshole when other people want to play with your stuff. Be generous. Give credit. Expect and demand credit be given in exchange.

I didn’t create The Lies of Locke Lamora in a vacuum; I drew from a vast number of public domain sources, including but not limited to the work of Dickens, Dumas, and Shakespeare. I didn’t lift anything directly, of course, but my work is also influenced by the thousands of novels and hundreds of films and TV programs and video games I’ve enjoyed over the years. We all live and create in the midst of a vast cloud of potential influences. The art and culture of the ages is ours to explore at the flip of a page or the touch of a keyboard.

Some day, my work is going into the public domain even if I have to directly will it so and bypass the increasingly ridiculous term extensions of default copyright protection (even if all I get is the traditional threescore and ten, some great-niece or great-nephew of mine could well be curating Weird Uncle Scott’s literary portfolio well into the 22nd century). In the meantime, I absolutely refuse to be the sort of tight-minded asshole who clenches up at the thought of someone re-imagining something I’ve done.

Nobody can take the Gentlemen Bastards away from me. Nobody will ever have to fear that I will refuse to share them (or anything else I ever write), to the limit of my abilities, with those that love ’em.




It’s launch day for FEARSOME JOURNEYS, the Solaris Book of New Fantasy, and you can pick it up from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble or directly from Solaris/Simon & Schuster.

You can also enter a quick little contest to receive one of two free copies I’m giving away by mail! Send an e-mail to:

Make the topic “Contest Entry” and be sure that the e-mail address you’re sending from can be replied to (or that you’ve included a reply-to address of preference in the body of the e-mail).

Two winners will be selected randomly. No further notices, advertisements, spam, etc. will be sent to those that do not win. Your e-mail will not be added to any list, or sold, or any damned underhanded nonsense like that.

If you want to save time in case you win, you can include a postal mailing address, or you can just wait until I write back to you if your entry is selected.

I will take entries until Friday, May 31st, at 11:59 PM CST!

UPDATE: The contest is closed, folks. Thank you to the 300-odd entrants! The winners have been contacted via e-mail.