Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last Day of 2008

Wow. Anyone ever read that comic book MISTER X? I always wanted to illustrate a cover or story about that guy. (Cover art at left is by Paul Rivoche.) At any rate, his mantra was, "So much to do, so little time." That line is the story of my year, really. So it's pretty appropriate that today would feel the same. :) I'm looking forward to seeing everyone on the other side tomorrow! Wow, it comes. I'll be posting my 2008 body of work very soon, and it'll be fun to assess the labors of the past twelve months. I'm grateful to all friends who stop by my humble cyber-abode here and who have shared the journey with me so far. Onward into 2009, and best wishes to everyone out there!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Boskone 47 in 2010!!

Exciting news -- I'll be the Artist Guest of Honor for Boskone 47 in Boston, MA, February 12-14, 2010. Boskone is the oldest science fiction in New England, and always reputed to be one of the best regional cons any year. I'm thrilled and honored to be invited. Alastair Reynolds will be the Author GoH. Jim Mann is the chairman for the show and I'm looking forward to working with him and the NESFAns. Before then, Boskone 46 will be this February. Irene Gallo and Stephan Martiniere will be amongst this year's GoHs. I wonder if there's any chance I could make it up there for the '09 show? Hmmmm...might have to look into this....

Charles Tan on Jeff Ford

Charles Tan has posted a personal essay about Jeffrey Ford and his books. If you haven't read Ford before (what are you waiting for?), this is a nice overview of his work. And until now, I had missed out on this terrific interview Tan conducted with Ford earlier this year. Good read!

FAST FORWARD 2 = 2008's Best SF Book!

So says Bookgasm. And note that they're not saying FF2 is the best sf anthology of '08, but the best book -- including novels, collections, anthos, everything. Wow. A stellar short list, compiled by Ryun Patterson. It feels like I blog every week about FF2, but the kudos for this book just keep coming. Congrats to Lou and the authors, once again!

Gentle note -- sf anthologies are notoriously poor sellers for any publishing house. I have no idea how well FF2 is selling, but if you haven't yet bought a copy, please consider doing so. Personally, I'm a fan of sf anthos, and if an excellent series like this is going to continue, then it's gotta sell. Rave reviews alone don't pay the bills. :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Soulful Christmas

Well, it's Xmas Eve, and lots of last-minute giftwrapping and Xmas preparations here. Very best holiday wishes to you and yours!

Here's a YouTube holiday gift to you before I vanish in a flurry of giftwrap and scotch-tape. Every Xmas for the last 12 or 13 years, one CD is a constant standby for me -- JAMES BROWN'S FUNKY CHRISTMAS. You can't miss with tunes like "Go Power at Christmas Time", "Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto", and "Tit for Tat (Ain't No Taking Back)". Trust me -- you won't find a better holiday disc than this, folks. Need proof? I present "Soulful Christmas" by James Brown, with a priceless montage video of JB live in Boston, 1968.

SF Signal on FF2

Terrific review over at SF Signal for the sf antho FAST FORWARD 2, edited by Lou Anders. John DeNardo gives his story-by-story takes, and it's a really fun read. Wow, the FF2 juggernaut just keeps rolling, doesn't it? Congrats to Lou and all of the authors.

Recent raves for FF2:
Discover Magazine

And it's really fun to read the various critical takes on my cover art because frankly, cover art doesn't get reviewed (or even mentioned) in most reviews. 'Wish it did! So thanks to SF Signal, Bookgasm, SciFi Dimensions and Futurismic for the kind consideration. :)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Vincent Villafranca

VV is a very bad man. While the rest of us struggle to eek out a basic round of Xmas cards to our pals, this guy's sending out original hand-made solid bronze elf sculptures as his Xmas greeting. This showed up in my mailbox the other day, and yeah, I was floored. Props, Vince. Happy Holidays to you and Michelle. Many thanks, and again, huge congrats on your first Chesley Award this year in the 3D category. I suspect it won't be your last. :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happy B-Day, Mike Moorcock

He's a living legend and one of our true and few gentle giants. He may not have coined today's hot buzzword "multiverse", but he popularized it, and built entire civilizations there long before today's cool kids arrived. (Edit: MM himself kindly clarifies that he indeed coined the term to describe multiple universes, while William James coined it in 1895 to describe states of mind. The truth -- straight from the source!:)) I don't want to get too gushy, but simply put, Mike's a hero and a true friend, and quite frankly, I'd take a bullet for the man.

I suppose the best b-day gift an author can receive is for folks to buy his/her books, and since we're in the gift-giving season, the new Del Rey editions of Mike's classic ELRIC work make excellent stocking stuffers. :) The first three of a six-book series are available here, here, and here. If you're reading this, please join me in leaving a comment below, or on your own blog, and wishing Mike a birthday salute.

One last thing -- this past April, I had the honor (along with Betsy Mitchell) of presenting Mike with SFWA's Grandmaster Award at the Nebula Ceremony. My speech was a collage of tributes from not only myself, but Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Jeff Ford, Jeff Vandermeer and Chris Roberson. In honor of Mike's b-day, here it is again.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

MileHiCon 41 in 2009

Now that I've seen this news posted online, it's safe to let the cat out of the bag. I'll be the Artist GoH next year at MileHiCon 41 in Denver. Barbara Hambly and Nancy Kress will be the Author GoHs. Looking forward to it very much! Even though the show's way down the road (October '09), they're on the ball over there and already registering attendees. If you live in the Rocky Mountain region, mark that show on your calendar...:)

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

In the previous blogpost, ces asked for a better look at the art sans typography for the forthcoming WAR AND SPACE: SELECTED SHORT STORIES OF LESTER DEL REY, VOL. 1. So here you go....:)

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Cover art by me for this one: a forthcoming book from NESFA Press titled WAR AND SPACE: SELECTED SHORT STORIES OF LESTER DEL REY, VOL. 1. Alice Lewis is doing the jacket design and layout. Steven H. Silver is the editor. The book's slated for a 2009 release, and the second volume will be called ROBOTS AND FANTASIES. They're not taking orders for Vol. 1 yet, but I'll post a note here when they are...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

SF Signal: Mind Meld / Best of '08!

The geniuses of SF Signal have posted their latest Mind Meld -- "The Best Genre-Related Books/Films/Shows Consumed in '08". My list is here, if you scroll down a bit. Hey, and thanks to my fellow contributors, I found a couple of cool, new gift-giving ideas to boot! Bob Eggleton, Andy Remic, Paul McAuley, Mary Robinette Kowal, Marc Gascoigne, and Mike Resnick are just a few of the bright sf/fantasy minds that list their faves. Don't miss Part Two of the lists here. Fun stuff all around. :)

Sunday, December 07, 2008

More raves for MUSE OF FIRE! reviews Dan Simmons' forthcoming hardcover MUSE OF FIRE and gives it a big, fat "A"! Paul Di Filippo breaks it down. And the mighty io9 spotlights their December book picks and MUSE is amongst their featured picks. Nice! :)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

James Cawthorn / 1929-2008

Very sad news -- James Cawthorn, the fine sf/fantasy illustrator best known for his seminal visualizations of Elric of Melnibone, died Tuesday. John Coulthart eloquently commemorates Cawthorn's artistic contributions and his impact on the Elric saga. This quote from Mike Moorcock sums up that impact: "Jim Cawthorn and I have been inseparable for over twenty-five years, sometimes to the point where I can't remember which came first--the drawing or the story. It is his drawings of my characters which remain for me the most accurate, both in detail and in atmosphere. His interpretations in strip form will always be, for me, the best."

As for my own thoughts about Cawthorn--he and I never met, but because I'm currently doing illustrations for Del Rey's new editions of the Elric series, I almost feel like we have because I've studied his early Elric drawings so intently. When I visited Mike while preparing to illustrate the Del Rey edition, ELRIC: THE STEALER OF SOULS, I kept pressing him for his favorite visual takes on Elric. He was reluctant because he wanted me to be free to follow my own unbiased path, which is typical of Mike's generosity. Finally, he pointed to the image you see here and said he would always see Cawthorn's Elric as the definitive interpretation. It's a testament to Mike and Jim's genius that Elric so explosively fires the engines of all creators who encounter him. My work doesn't look anything like Cawthorn's, nor does Yoshitaka Amano's, Michael Whelan's, Robert Gould's, or any of the other illustrators that have added to the visual legacy of Elric. We've all tried to contribute our own unique vision to Elric. The angst, majesty, and power of the character never ages. Today, as Mike related the bad news of Jim's passing, I'm working on more Elric illustrations for the forthcoming ELRIC: THE REVENGE OF THE ROSE. The goodness of Jim Cawthorn's Elric drawings will remain in my thoughts as I finish the rest of this work. Thanks for lighting that first match, Jim.

Monday, December 01, 2008


Been so busy here that I just realized Michael Moorcock's ELRIC: THE SLEEPING SORCERESS is now available. If you're keeping score at home, this is the third of a six-volume ELRIC trade paperback series from Del Rey. I illustrated the cover and interiors for the first volume. The great Michael Kaluta did the art chores for the second one. THE SLEEPING SORCERESS features cover art by me and interior illustrations by Steve Ellis.

Speaking of Elric, more good news -- SPECTRUM 15: THE BEST IN CONTEMPORARY FANTASTIC ART is now available, and one of my Elric interiors was selected by the Spectrum jury for inclusion. The drawing is from the first ELRIC volume, ELRIC: THE STEALER OF SOULS. I call this piece, "Elric The Damned." It's 11"x17", pencil on crescent board. If you haven't checked out the latest edition of SPECTRUM, you owe it to yourself. Arnie & Cathy Fenner have assembled another amazing showcase, and if you know anyone who loves genre art, SPECTRUM 15's pretty much the best holiday gift I can imagine.