Wednesday, April 29, 2009

2009 Asimov's Readers' Poll Winner!

Wow, this is a good week for awards news here. SFSignal has the list of the 2009 ASIMOV'S and ANALOG Readers Polls. Both magazines announced their winners at this weekend's Nebula Awards festivities. Very cool -- I tied for first place, along with Tomasz Maronski, for Best Cover Artist in the ASIMOV's Readers Poll! Hurray! Pictured here is my cover art for the Sept. '08 issue, which featured the Locus Award-nominated story "The Ice War" by Stephen Baxter. Thanks very much to the readers who were kind enough to acknowledge my work. Very much appreciated! :)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

2009 Locus Award Finalist!

Good news -- the 2009 Locus Award Finalist List went out yesterday. I'm one of the five finalists in the Artist category!

Here's the Artist list:

Bob Eggleton
John Picacio
Shaun Tan
Michael Whelan
Charles Vess

The Locus Award winners will be announced in late June in Seattle. I'm thrilled and honored to be in this year's top five and it's a heckuva list all around. Very pleased to see Pyr's FAST FORWARD 2 with two stories amongst the finalists: "True Names" by Benjamin Rosenbaum and Cory Doctorow and "The Kindness of Strangers" by Nancy Kress. Congrats to editor Lou Anders for that! I illustrated the cover of the Sept. '08 ASIMOV'S and my cover illo was based on Stephen Baxter's "The Ice War" which is one of the finalists for Best Novelette. Congrats to Stephen and of course, editor Sheila Williams.

Congrats to everyone on the's an honor to be amongst you. :)

Monday, April 27, 2009


There's a slogan about my hometown of San Antonio, and it always irks me when I hear it. "Keep San Antonio Lame". The slogan's been around for about five years or so, and it's supposed to be a pseudo-hipster ironic cash-in on the Austin slogan "Keep Austin Weird". Ironic or not, it reinforces a conservative bent all too prevalent here already, and I hate that. I want to see the urban cultural core here get stronger, and see the arts, the literary scene, and the infrastructure expand and diversify beyond the existing, into a 21st century city. I've lived in both SA and Austin, and while Austin is terrific, SA's got virtues to build upon that no town can match, and lots of untapped, unchanneled potential. However, it's definitely a town that perenially lags five steps behind more progressive, literate cities, and that's long been a disappointment.

I've thought about leaving town more times than I care to remember because SA does seem to drive forward very slowly, while gazing myopically in the rearview mirror. More specifically, from my end of things, the art scene here is definitely limited in scope. It proudly embraces art that lives in a well-trodden past of gesture and kitsch (folk art, religious, traditional, Chicano, etc.), along with art that postures in the mirror all day (a mish-mash of contemporary art that often prides itself on theory over execution, on dogma over craft). Anything beyond that doesn't currently play in SA's art scene.

So why stay? Well, I guess someday I hope that I can be an asset to expand the scope of possibilities here and to contribute via my own art and interests to a community that might actually think it's cool to be literate and live in the 21st century. The good news is there's change in the wind, and cyber action percolating. So without further ado, some San Antonio-based blogs making a difference and worth checking out:

Emvergeoning: Supposedly monickered by the same guy that created the "Keep San Antonio Lame" slogan, but thankfully this blog's anything but lame because of the wide-ranging opinions of San Antonio-based bloggers who post here. I like that the blog oscillates between micro-content about the local scene all the way to a bigger world view and all spaces between.

Sanford Allen: San Antonio-based writer and up-and-coming horror author, who also happens to be the lead singer/guitarist for one of SA's greatest bands, Boxcar Satan. Sanford just overhauled his blog look and promises to update more often. I'm looking forward to it.

GeekSpeak: Rene Guzman runs this San Antonio Express-News blog. He loves heaping helpings of genre film, comics, and toys, and GeekSpeak is a regular stop for me every day. I'd like to see more genre literature and art coverage, but blogs are nothing if not a reflection of their author's views. Gotta respect a man who speaks from his gut and his passions. He's doing a great job as a one-man show. I dig his blog and hope it gets bigger, better and more comments.

SAFun: I just stumbled upon this blog yesterday. I'm not sure what to make of it yet, but it's one San Antonian's articulate, thoughtful view of her life and the world. So far, I like the wide range of content and I like what she has to say. I'll keep checking it out.

Worlds Collide: This is actually just a Meetup group of science fiction and fantasy fans. For the most part, they seem to be most motivated by events revolving around genre film, but there seem to be more than a few literary-minded folks around too, and I hope their numbers grow. I'll be really impressed when I start seeing folks fluent in sf/fantasy art too. :) The group started up in January and their energy and enthusiasm is exciting.

Any other good San Antonio-based blogs? Especially enthusiastic for art, books, film and culture?

(Pictured above: A cover illustration I did years ago for THE SAN ANTONIO CURRENT)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

AGE OF MISRULE: Free Reading!

Very cool. Pyr has posted the prologue and first three chapters of Mark Chadbourn's AGE OF MISRULE: BOOK 1 -- WORLD'S END. Early reviews for the new Pyr edition are starting to roll in. Here's some Chadbourn love, courtesy of Neth Space.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The 2009 Hugo Voters Packet

Ever wanted to vote for the Hugo Awards but didn't because you couldn't experience the nominated choices (or at least the vast majority of them)? Well -- this year, you can. John Scalzi has the details about how you can grab a treasure trove of free 2009 Hugo-nominated reading and visuals for your very own.

You still have to register as at least a supporting member of the World Science Fiction Convention ($50US/$55CAN) in order to vote. That nominal fee gets you Hugo voting rights without attending the con. And with that fee, the Worldcon folks are giving you digital access to a packet of free reading and visuals, which is more than worth your money. If you're attending this year's con in Montreal, an attending membership is currently $195US/$250CAN, and even at that rate, the retail value of the packet is at least worth that. So please check it out.

Frankly, it's a great step forward for the Hugo Awards tradition. Creators, publishers and Worldcon volunteers alike worked together to make this happen, but as far as I'm concerned, John Scalzi is the straw that stirred the milk. He coordinated the effort and offered inclusion to all nominees. He also happens to be nominated for three Hugos this year, so please take note of his work.

MISRULE Sighting!

Was browsing Borders Books at Alamo Quarry this past weekend and spotted Mark Chadbourn's AGE OF MISRULE: BOOK 1 -- WORLD'S END. Nice to see it out in stores now. Not only was it in the SF/Fantasy section, but it's front and center on the store's prominent New Fiction shelf.

Up on the genre shelf, I also like the way the spine seems to jump off nicely, when juxtaposed with neighboring titles. Way to go, Pyr. I'm reading Chadbourn's QUEEN OF SINISTER right now and will be doing the cover art for this one later this year.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Remembering George Alec Effinger

Editor Marty Halpern remembers the late, great George Alec Effinger over at MORE RED INK. Check it out. I love the quote up in the masthead -- Jeff Ford on Marty Halpern as editor: "If Marty were Moses, God would be seeing some red ink." Hysterical. LOL :) 'Looking forward to the next two parts of this series. (Pictured above is my wraparound cover art for Effinger's BUDAYEEN NIGHTS (edited by Marty Halpern, published by Golden Gryphon Press, 2003).)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Elric Makes SPECTRUM #16!

Got word today that my cover illustration for Michael Moorcock's ELRIC: THE SLEEPING SORCERESS was selected for SPECTRUM: THE BEST IN CONTEMPORARY FANTASTIC ART #16. I'd heard a few weeks ago that one of my works was selected, but didn't know which one, until today. Very cool! :) SPECTRUM #16 should be available this November.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

AGE OF MISRULE: BOOK 1 / Collectors' Item!

Well, there’s good news, and then there's even better news for fantasy lovers and book collectors everywhere. First, the most exciting news -- the AGE OF MISRULE is finally here in the US. Mark Chadbourn’s AGE OF MISRULE: BOOK ONE / WORLD’S END is back from the printer and it looks gorgeous. This is the stateside debut of Chadbourn’s long-awaited MISRULE novels, and it’s a stunning, epic read. The book will be available by May.

Here's the even better news for all first-edition book collectors — you’ll definitely want to grab your copy of this one right away. Why? According to word from Pyr this week, the printer forgot to place the Pyr logo on the spine of the book. Not the end of the world since Pyr's logo is on the back and inside, and this error will be corrected for the second printing of the book. In the meantime, this is the kind of thing that collectors and Ebayists live for. According to Pyr, orders were already fast and furious for AGE OF MISRULE before this happened. So, go get 'em before they're all gone, book collectors — they won't last long before they end up on Ebay. :)

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Fred Pohl Blogs!

I've known this for a couple of months now, but thought it was worth mentioning for anyone who doesn't already know. SF legend Frederik Pohl is a blogger. I guess that's not that remarkable except that:

1. it's must-reading when one of the seminal writers of sf shares his thoughts publicly.

2. he's 89 years young and cooler than a lot of people 1/3 his age.

If you love sf and haven't visited, it's well worth your time. :)
(pictured here: my cover art for the 2004 Del Rey edition of Pohl's classic GATEWAY)

Monday, April 06, 2009

Michaelis on N.C. Wyeth

Rarely time for pleasure reading here. Most of my reading time is for manuscripts I'm cover-illustrating, or am going to be working on. One exception lately -- David Michaelis' 1998 biography, N.C. WYETH. Both pictures seen here are from Wyeth's classic TREASURE ISLAND work. Some words of wisdom here, courtesy of Michealis, regarding the power of N.C.'s pictures. This passage hit home...

Michaelis: "Wyeth used the medium. In literature, as in films, time advances, stories develop. No single paragraph or frame can tell the whole story. In painting, however, everything is visible all at once. The act of 'seeing everything' in one supreme moment has particular potence in childhood, when it feels possible to experience all of time in one moment. For a child, as for the onlooker of a painting, each single, present moment is the whole story. Past and future do not exist; and if emotions are keyed high enough, a single picture can be felt as an eternity."

Michaelis: "Wyeth's paintings for TREASURE ISLAND charge the viewer with the danger and excitement of seeing 'everything all at once.' We are not only seeing forbidden things but seeing without being seen. We are free to look in on terrible happenings, unnoticed by the objects of our gaze. This is universal fantasy: in picture after picture, we find ourselves in the middle of the action, living among menacing people, without ourselves being menaced. Guns are at hand, knives within reach; in Preparing for the Mutiny, one of the cutlasses on the table is held out to us, the hilt almost within our grasp. We are given the erotic power of omnipotent invisibility."

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Whelan & Paul / '09 Hall of Famers!

Really pleased to hear via Locus Online that Michael Whelan & Frank R. Paul are amongst the four new Science Fiction Museum Hall of Famers, along with Connie Willis and Edward L. Ferman. It's great to see not one, but two, of the best sf artists ever amongst this year's inductees. Whelan's reputation as one of the greatest illustrators in the history of sf/fantasy is well-known. Paul is perhaps lesser known to folks who don't draw and paint sf for a living because Paul was the first major science fiction illustrator, and his visionary work happened in the 20's and 30's. (Pictured above: one of his seminal AMAZING STORIES covers.) Hugo-winner Frank Wu sums up Paul's greatness:

"At a time when most Americans didn't even have a telephone, he was painting space stations, robots and aliens from other planets. In an era when Lindbergh made headlines by flying across the Atlantic, Paul envisioned starships plowing across the galaxy. Indeed, he was the guest of honor at the first world science fiction convention, and he was the first person to ever make a living drawing spaceships. What could be cooler than that? The first science fiction image Arthur C. Clarke ever saw was a Frank R. Paul painting. Same for Forrest J. Ackerman and Ray Bradbury. Indeed, his work has inspired countless multitudes to write and dream and explore."

Whelan's greatness as an artist and influence on modern sf/fantasy art is legendary. Most of his recent work is personal gallery efforts (stunning and ever-evolving), while his book cover days are largely behind him. What might not be as well-known is his huge generosity toward fellow illustrators and toward the field itself. His attention to visual detail is unparalleled, but he pays the same attention to detail to how he treats people. Example -- in 2005, I was at the World Horror Convention in NYC and at the time, I'd just received my first Hugo nomination. Even though we'd never met, Whelan walked up, shook my hand and congratulated me. He didn't have to do that, but the fact he'd even take the time to do so, meant a lot. As if that weren't enough, he later asked if we could have breakfast the next morning and even drove me and Traci to the airport right after, so that we didn't have to take a shuttle. Small gestures. Tiny details. But how rarely does someone you barely know do something like that? How rarely do each of us invest time, kindness, and detail on a stranger? Whelan's the ultimate class act, and when I think about how I want to treat people on my best days, he's the example. It's a great day because he's now officially recognized as what we all knew he already is -- an all-time great (who ain't done yet), and officially now, an SFM Hall-of-Famer. :) Congrats to all four inductees, and especially to you, Michael.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Hugo Nominee Spotlight at

Thanks to Irene Gallo and for today's Hugo Nominee feature on my work. Check it out. Irene's running one spotlight per day this week. Shaun Tan and Dan Dos Santos already got the treatment. Bob Eggleton and Donato Giancola will follow. The final Hugo voting period isn't open yet, but the full nominee list is here if you missed it.