Pandemonium, my home away from home

Pandemonium Books and Games and I go back a long way. I used to manage the store that became Pandemonium, way back when it was called the Science Fantasy Bookstore. Later, when current owner Tyler Stewart took over the store, I helped out in various capacities, including using my car for book buying runs to local distributors. Later still. when my fellow author Jeffrey Carver and I decided to run a Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing Workshop, we used Pandemonium as our home base, and held the classes in the basement back room.

Now I’m involved in three (count them –3!) events in little more than a month. The first of the three I simply attended; it was a reading and signing for an anthology written and edited by our SF workshop’s former students (that’s the picture of the cover you see accompanying this post.) Not only is the cover way keen, the art and design done by one of the students (the student happens to be named Chris Howard), but the contents are quite good as well. The stories range all over the sf and fantasy spectrum, and I found them to be a particularly entertaining mix. All profits from the book go to the SFWA Hardship Fund, I believe. And I wrote the funny and charming introduction (while Jeff Carver wrote the even more erudite afterword.) I predict you’ll be seeing these writers a lot in the near future (It’s an easy prediction. They’ve already made a number of short story and novel sales.) And you can buy the book on Amazon!

Next up, MISTER OCTOBER. This coming Thursday, October 17, I’ll be appearing at Pandemonium in my horror writer guise. (For those who only know me from my fantasy, I’ve also written a number of horror short stories and even a horror novel or two.) And a bunch of local horror writers, including Christopher Golden, who organized this whole project, will be reading and signing at the store.

MISTER OCTOBER is a horror anthology in honor of Rick Hautula, a fine writer and good friend who passed away unexpectedly a few months back. The book is so large it had to be broken up into two volumes, and features an all-star line-up of contributors, including folks like Clive Barker and Neil Gaiman. It’s available as a limited edition, hardcover, and paperback. And all profits from the book will go to Rick’s family. So why not come down to the bookstore (it’s located in Central Square, Cambridge, right next to the post office.) and hear us read a couple of spooky stories in honor of Rick?

My third Pandemonium appearance is one I’ve already mentioned; a special “best of” edition of the Kirk Polland Memorial Bad Prose Competition (What’s that? Ask anyone who’s ever attended Readercon.) It will be happening on Sunday afternoon, November 3, I believe, probably in the late afternoon. Do I have final confirmation of the exact time on this? No! Is it one of many cool things happening as a part of Pandemonium’s Geek\
Week? Yes. Will I have more specific information on this soon? I certainly hope so!

This is one cool cover, huh?

This is one cool cover, huh?

RASL comes to Cambridge

So the fabulous Million Year Picnic (which, as far as we can figure out is the oldest surviving comic book store in the USA) is having Jeff Smith, bestselling author of BONE and RASL, come to do a signing this Saturday from 5 to 7 pm. The Picnic is located downstairs at 99 Mount Auburn Street, about a block away from the “Coop” in Harvard Square.

BONE is a nine-volume long graphic novel, big on fantasy with funny and scary bits throughout. It’s aimed at kids, but has enough depth that it can be enjoyed by adults (this adult, at least.) I haven’t read RASL yet, but I plan to do just that after I get Jeff to sign a copy.

The Picnic may have been in Harvard Square forever, but they’ve never been all that good at publicity. Which is why I thought I’d mention the signing here. The store’s phone number is 617-492-6763, should you have any questions.

Kirk Polland Returns This November!

I know that many of you were disappointed that there was no Kirk Polland Memorial Bad Prose Competition at this year’s Readercon.  I was disappointed myself.  But all of us suffering from Kirk Polland Withdrawal need suffer no more, since my co-host Eric Van and myself will be bringing a special edition of Kirk to Pandemonium Books’ “Geek Week” celebration.

A quick explanation for those who do not know:  The Kirk Polland Memorial Bad Prose Competition has been held over two dozen times, mostly at local Boston cons, but we’ve also brought the show to a worldcon or two.  And, as you would guess from the title, it is indeed a contest, where the audience gets to hear actual published bad prose from big name science fiction writers.  But these readings always stop mid-sentence, and the audience then gets to hear a number of continuations of that prose,  Only one of the later readings is the actual bad prose, and the audience has to guess which prose is truly bad enough to be the real thing.

The audience generally loses (They have won once, to be fair.  And lost every other time.)  Much hilarity ensues.

If you’ve watched Kirk in the past, you know you’re in for a fun time.  And if you haven’t yet experienced Kirk, now is the time!

Tyler Stewart, Grand Master of Pandemonium, has decreed that our Kirk Best-of will take place on the first Sunday in November, probably sometime in the afternoon.  at the Central Square YMCA.  From what I understand (and you should probably go to the Pandemonium website to confirm this) admission to all Geek Week events (and there are a lot) will cost you $5.00, UNLESS you buy a book from Pandemonium OR wear a Pandemonium T-Shirt, at which point, admission is FREE!

That’s what I know so far.  More details as they become available.

Go Kirk!




My sister is installed

ImageSo I’ve got a sister, name of Anne.  And not only is my sister an honest to goodness American Baptist Minister, but, just this past weekend, she got installed (which still sounds a bit like something you would do in your kitchen, but the verb works well here, too.) as the new pastor of the First Baptist Church of Clifton Springs, New York.

Clifton Springs is a charming town just north of the finger lakes.  About a hundred years ago, it was the sort of place rich and famous people would go to receive the benefits of the “waters” — sulfur springs that gave the town its name.  It’s now a bedroom community a couple Thruway exits outside of Rochester, my old home town.  Clifton Springs is dominated by these great gothic buildings — the very places where the “cure” was dispensed.  And just up the hill from these buildings is a small white church — the First Baptist.  It’s a very pretty church, with big , mostly stained-glass windows that let in a lot of air and light.  And it’s a very warm and friendly church.  I attended both the morning service and the afternoon installation, and I felt very welcomed.  I think Anne’s found a great place to preach, and the church has found a great preacher.

Here’s a picture of me and my sister at the reception after the installation.  As you can see, the two of us share no family resemblance whatsoever.