Interview with Bradley P. Beaulieu

brad Author Bradley P. Beaulieu (you can read our review here and a short story from him here) has answered some questions for Fantástica Ficción. We encourage you to read his trilogy Lays of Anuskaya and his new projects. (You can read this entry also in Spanish)

When did you know you wanted to become a writer? Which other authors have influenced you? How do you document yourself? Why did you choose that Russian environment for your trilogy?

I came to writing pretty late. I dabbled in high school and college, but didn’t really take things serious until my early thirties, when I started attending various conventions and workshops and conferences. But I’ve always loved fantasy. I didn’t really read much outside of specfic, but I always gravitated toward big, secondary world fantasies like The Lord of the Rings and Dragonlance and Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever and the Coldfire trilogy.
Initially, I stumbled on the Russian flavor of the novel. I was working heavily on worldbuilding at the time. I knew that I wanted the island archipelagos to be cold and inhospitable, and I also knew that I didn’t want the typical Western European setting, because, while I’ve read a lot of those stories and enjoy them, it wasn’t something I really wanted to explore in this tale. I wanted something new, but I also didn’t want it to be completely foreign for the epic fantasy reader. Muscovite Russia seemed like something interesting and exotic to use that matched the “cold and inhospitable” flavor of the islands. And once I’d tried it on for size, I really liked it and it became an inseparable part of the story.

How do you cope with your daytime job and your writing?

It isn’t easy, that’s for sure. I typically give myself about an hour for writing. In that time I can generally get out 1,000 words, or about 4 manuscript pages. That’s enough to easily knock out a novel in a year, which is what I’m shooting to do at this point in my career. If I could break away and do this full-time, I think I could easily do two books a year. But until then, I’ll keep plugging away after the kids are in bed, churning out the words.
The other thing that’s taken up more and more of my time since “The Winds of Khalakovo” came out is marketing and publicity. It takes up quite a bit of time, and sometimes eats into my writing time for the day, but I try to be very diligent about maintaining the writing time, because if I don’t get that out, I won’t be delivering books on time, and that would be much more disastrous than delaying blog posts or not starting the book giveaway I wanted to run.
And I’ve also started the Speculate podcast with Gregory Wilson, which also takes time. It’s all definitely a delicate balance, because I refuse to disconnect from my family. I have two young kids, 3 and 7, and I won’t miss their childhood. And I rather like spending a bit of time with my wife. So juggling all these things is tough. But somehow the days march on and hopefully I’m managing to keep most of the balls in the air.

What did it mean to you winning the Writers of the Future Award?

That was a big break for me. The Writers of the Future Award is well regarded in the specfic community, and winning it is certainly a badge of honor. Perhaps more than the award itself, I really enjoyed my time at the workshop they run for the winners. I was flown out to Hollywood, California to spend a week with Tim Powers, K.D. Wentworth, and my fellow winners and published finalists. That was a wonderful time, and it led to some friendships I still maintain today. I also met Jay Lake and Sean Williams there, and Jerry Pournelle, Anne McCaffrey and Todd McCaffrey and some of the illustrators as well. It was a wonderful time that I will never forget.

How it has been your experiencie with self-publishing? Is the future for the authors to turn hybrid? Do you think that working on things such as your writing´s layout refrains you from writing?

It has been quite a rush to go through the self-publishing route for my story collection and then the third book in my trilogy. It’s very rewarding because the writer has complete control. As long as you’re careful to create a quality product, the rewards can be even greater than in traditional publishing because you’re wearing all of the hats instead of only the writer (and sometimes marketer).
The flipside of this, of course, is that it takes a lot of time. As you say, it does indeed take me away from my writing, and that has been an unfortunate (but not unexpected) side effect. It’s something that all writers need to take into account, because you have to balance the time you’re spending on getting a new book or collection out vs. writing a new book. That’s a big opportunity cost, and each writer should weight it carefully.
But in general, I do thing that more writers will be going the hybrid route. There are just certain types of projects that don’t lend themselves to self-publishing. Short story collections are a good example. They aren’t big sellers for publishers, so many writers will bring those out themselves. Science fantasy and other crossover novels are more good examples, because these are the types of stories that aren’t immediately obvious to publishers how to market, and so you may either get no offers or lowball offers that will make writers head for self-publishing.

How do you work with illustrators?

I had a wonderful time working with Evgeni Maloshenkov on the interior illustrations for my books. I essentially played art director. I would come up with an art brief, which would include an excerpt from the novel, a description of the scene I want illustrated, and some reference photos I dug up from the internet. Then Evgeni would come up with an initial sketch, which I would comment on. Once we were done going back and forth, Evgeni would created the final illustration and I would make any final tweaks from there.
It was really fun picking my own scenes and having Evgeni illustrate them. It was a nice collaborative effort that turned out some wonderful pieces.
Here are a few examples of the art we came up with for the short story collection and for my third novel:
anuskaya

 

Have you ever been contacted by some Spanish publisher to translate your books?

I haven’t yet been contacted by any Spanish publishers, but I would love for them to reach a new audience in Spain and elsewhere in the world. Hopefully soon!

 

What can you tell us about your new projects?

The Song of the Shattered Sands is a new trilogy that I’ve sold to DAW Books in the US and Gollancz in the UK. It’s a story about a kick-ass female pit fighter who rises up to challenge the rule of the Twelve Kings of Sharakhai. It’s set in a re-imagined Arabian Nights setting filled with sandships, fickle gods, and scheming allies. I’m 2/3 of the way through the first book now, and I’m really excited by the story. It’s a bit of a departure for me, as I’m focusing on a single point-of-view character. It’s still epic fantasy, only told through the voice of a woman who hopes to avenge her mother and her people.

Are social networks important for you relationships with other authors and with your readers?

Absolutely. I don’t know where I’d be today without social networks. I’ve met so many wonderful people, including you, through social networks. Reviewers, readers, fans, podcasters, bloggers, and so on. I didn’t start with much of a fan base, so it’s been important for me to try to leverage social networking to get the word out. I’m glad its around. I can’t imaging trying to do all this face-to-face like writers had to do in years past.

What response has had your article in Whatever about the relationship between your trilogy and the current political situation?

You know, I’m surprised by that. I didn’t get much reaction from it as yet. I do think that it’s an interesting phenomenon, how fiction reflects the social mores and events of our time. We’re all creatures of the world and era in which we live. You can see trends and waves of fiction that follow major events in world history like the World Wars or the Great Depression or the Industrial Revolution or the Cold War. It’s interesting as well how literature can have conversations with itself when works are written in response to others, when the pendulum of common opinion swings back and forth on various topics. In many ways, literature is both a mirror to our time and a shaper of opinion, which is one of the most interesting things about it.

Where did you get the idea for Speculate!? How do you choose the books you talk about?

Gregory Wilson and I got to talking at World Fantasy in Columbus, OH in 2010. It wasn’t about a podcast at all. It was about a piece of fiction—Kij Johnson’s “Spar,” to be exact. We went back and forth on our thoughts about it, and it was such a fun conversation that when Greg started batting around the idea for a podcast, he thought that our verbal sparring would translate well to a podcast.
It’s turned out to be a lot of fun, and it’s allowed me to meet a ton of wonderful authors I might not have been able to meet (or at least, to talk to in depth), and I hope it’s been fun for our fans as well. We have tended to choose the novels or stories that we want to read, or people we find interesting in the field. We do also take suggestions from fans of the show. Lauren Beukes is an example of that—a fan recommendation—who’s coming up on the show very soon.

Do you think your cooking gets reflected in your writing?

Well, I do try to create interesting dishes in my worlds. And it’s been fun to research the cooking techniques of various cultures, their traditional recipes, their drinks, both alcoholic and non, their desserts, the customs that are built around the meal, and so on. Food is such a wonderful touchstone to any civilized society. It reveals so much about them and about their world. The spices they have and their relative price can show where that particular society sits in respect to the trade routes. Food is closely related to religious rites, and so can reveal things about their religious beliefs. The basic staples often show what type of land the people live upon, whether its seashore or mountain plateau or barren desert. The implications of food are much more far reaching than people give it credit for sometimes.
So it’s been a fun and interesting journey to imagine the foods that belong in a story along with the story itself. It’s something I think I’ll always include in my stories, because I love cooking and its history so much.
I want to thank again Brad for giving us his precious time.

Portada Locus Julio 2013

La portada de la revista Locus de este mes rinde homenaje a dos grandes autores que nos dejaron hace poco para navegar por las estrellas. Desde aquí un pequeño homenaje a Iain y a Jack.

LocusJulio

Nominados a los Chesley Awards

Se han anunciado los nominados a los premios Chesley relacionados con la ilustración de ciencia ficción y fantasía, concedidos por la ASFA, Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artist. Me gusta mucho esta entrada después de alguna que otra polémica sobre portadas feas. Los nominados son los siguientes:

Mejor portada: Libro en rústica

  • Dehong He: Lance of Earth and Sky de Erin Hoffman, Pyr, April 2012
  • Todd Lockwood: The Dusk Watchman de Tom Lloyd, Pyr, August 2012
  • John Jude Palencar: The Palencar Project editado por David G. Hartwell, Tor ebook, February 2012
  • John Picacio: The Creative Fire de Brenda Cooper, Pyr, November 2012
  • Elena Vizerskaya: Flying in the Heart of the Lafayette Escadrille de James Van Pelt, Fairwood Press, November 2012

palencar thedusk lance of earth flying creative

Mejor portada: Libro en tapa dura

  • J.K. Drummond: Deadhouse Gates de Steven Erikson, Subterranean Press, March 2012
  • Bob Eggleton: Gods of Opar de Philip José Farmer & Christopher Paul Carey, Subterranean Press, June 2012
  • Donato Giancola: Range of Ghosts de Elizabeth Bear, Tor, March 2012
  • Todd Lockwood: The Wild Road de Jennifer Roberson, DAW, September 2012
  • John Picacio: Hyperion de Dan Simmons, Subterranean Press, April 2012
  • Sam Weber: Quantum Coin de E. C. Myers, Pyr, October 2012

wildroad rangeofghosts gods-of-opar quantumcoin Hyperion

Mejor portada: Revista

  • Ken Barthelmey: Clarkesworld #74 November 2012
  • Julie Dillon: Clarkesworld #73 October 2012
  • Bob Eggleton: Famous Masters of Filmland #262 July/August 2012
  • Martin Faragasso: Clarkesworld #71 August 2012
  • David Palumbo: Creepy #9 Dark Horse, July 2012
  • Craig J. Spearing: Dragon #418 December 2012

Mejor ilustración interior

  • Brom: Krampus de Brom Harper, Voyager, Oct. 2012
  • Sam Burley: “Brother. Prince. Snake.” de Cecil Castellucci, Tor.com, July 2012
  • J. K. Drummond: Deadhouse Gates de Steven Erikson, Subterranean Press, Mar. 2012
  • Bob Eggleton: Tarzan of the Apes de Edgar Rice Burroughs, MBI/Easton Press, Dec. 2012
  • William O’Connor: Dracopedia The Great Dragons: An Artist’s Field Guide and Drawing Journal de William O’Connor, Impact, June 2012

Mejor monocromático sin publicar

  • Larry Elmore: “By the River,” oil
  • Travis Lewis: “Deep,” oil & mixed media
  • Joāo Ruas “Sides,” graphite
  • Raoul Vitale: “Last of His Kind,” pencil
  • Allen Williams: “Fawn,” graphite

Mejor trabajo a color sin publicar

  • Julie Bell: “A Passion for the Future,” oil
  • Donato Giancola: “Joan of Arc,” oil
  • Lucas Graciano: “Guardianship,” oil
  • Michael C. Hayes: “Procession,” oil
  • Mark Poole: “Waiting on a Memory,” oil
  • Soutchay Sougpradith: “Peacock Prophecy,” oil
  • Raoul Vitale: “Safe,” oil

Mejor trabajo tridimensional

  • Dan Chudzinski: “Gus Gets a Jetpack,” mixed
  • Michael Defeo: “Octopus,” resin
  • David Meng: “Sashimi,” mixed
  • Michael Parkes: “Startled Sky Nymph,” half life-size bronze
  • James Shoop: “Ramautar,” bronze
  • Vincent Villafranca: “Spaceman on the Verge,” bronze
  • Cindy Wynn: “Alien Chair,” steel

Mejor ilustración relacionada con juegos

  • Lucas Graciano: “Dragon Swarm” (Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Artifacts & Legends) Paizo, October 2012
  • D. Alexander Gregory: “Chandra the Firebrand” (2013 Core Set Magic card) WotC, July 2012
  • David Palumbo: “Ereshkigal, Death Mistress” (“Legend of the Cryptids”) Applibot Inc., April 2012
  • James Ryman: “Princess of the Underworld,” (“Legend of the Cryptids”) Applibot Inc., April 2012
  •  Sverlin Velinov: “Thundermaw Hellkite” (2013 Core Set Magic card) Wizards of the Coast, July 2012

Mejor ilustración de producto

  • Jim Burns: “The Wanderers” (IlluXCon 5 promotional art) Munchkin Press, November 2012
  • Dan Dos Santos:The Dragon Empress” (Dragon*Con promotional poster) August, 2012
  • John Harris: “The Search” (Illuxcon 5 promotional art) Munchkin Press, Nov. 2012
  • Iain McCaig: Concepto y diseño de personaje John Carter, Disney, March 2012
  • John Picacio: La Sirena Loteria card 2012

Mejor director artístico

  • Lou Anders por Pyr Books
  • Irene Gallo por Tor
  • Lauren Panepinto por Orbit Books
  • William Schafer por Subterranean Press
  • Jon Schindehette por Wizards of the Coast

Premio a toda la vida artística

  • Brom
  • Larry Elmore
  • David Hardy
  • John Harris
  • Gary Lippincott

¡Enhorabuena a los nominados!

Mazo de cartas de El nombre del viento

Me he enterado tarde, pero mirad qué cosa más curiosa ha sacado Rothfuss sobre el mundo de “El nombre del viento”. Aquí tenéis toda la información del Kickstarter, que ha sido todo un éxito.

kilvin

La única pega es que Patrick se haya estado entreteniendo en esto en vez de escribir… pero George R.R. Martin ya nos ha enseñado a ser pacientes.

Ganadores Premios Locus 2013

Ayer se anunciaron los ganadores de los premios Locus 2013 y los recojo aquí con un pequeño comentario por mi parte, en aquellos que he leído. Son los siguientes:

Novela de ciencia ficción

  • “Redshirts”, John Scalzi (Tor; Gollancz). Como ya dije en la reseña que le hice, me parece un libro entretenido, pero no es para tanto. Por ejemplo, Ian Sales en su twitter nos dice: “Red Shirts has just won the Locus Award, which apparently means it’s a better novel than 2312. Well, there you go”. No he acabado “2312”, pero si que me parece con más empaque que la de Scalzi para ganar el premio.
Novela de fantasía

  • “The Apocalypse Codex”, Charles Stross (Ace; Orbit UK). No lo he leído y @odo sigue insistiendo, al final caeré. Aunque me duele en el alma que no haya ganado “Hide me among the graves”, que es la estupenda vuelta de Tim Powers por sus fueros.
Novela juvenil

  • “Railsea”, China Miéville (Del Rey; Macmillan)

 

Primera novela

 

Novela corta

Relato

Relato corto

  • Immersion, Aliette de Bodard (Clarkesworld 6/12). ¿Qué queréis que os diga? Es el año de Aliette.

Antología

  • Edge of Infinity, Jonathan Strahan, ed. (Solaris US; Solaris UK). Me llama mucho la atención esta antología, venía en el Hugo Voter Packet y estoy deseando leerla.

Colección de relatos

  • Shoggoths in Bloom, Elizabeth Bear (Prime)

Revista

  • Asimov’s

Editorial

  • Tor

Editor

  • Ellen Datlow

Ilustrador

  • Michael Whelan

No ficción

  • “Distrust That Particular Flavor”, William Gibson (Putnam)

Libro de ilustraciones

  • “Spectrum 19: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art”, Cathy Fenner & Arnie Fenner, eds. (Underwood)

En este enlace, podéis ver los nominados de todas las categorías. ¡Enhorabuena a los ganadores! Y enhorabuena a Connie Willis por ser capaz de llevar esa flor en el pelo y no morir en el intento (via @lizargall, a quien agradezco su información de primera mano).

connie

Lectura conjunta : The seven Beauties of Science Fiction

sevenbeautiesAlgo que siempre me ha llamado la atención pero que nunca he probado es leer de forma conjunta con otros personas. Creo que puede resultar interesante, porque puedes comentar libros o artículos cuando los tienes recientes en la memoria y puede dar lugar a más de una conversación constructiva.

El Fantascopio anunció hace poco el calendario de lectura para “The seven Beauties of Science Fiction”, de Istvan Csicsery-Ronay Jr. La idea es poner en común nuestras impresiones todos los jueves a partir del primero de julio. El calendario es éste:

Jueves, día 4: Introduction: Science Fiction and This Moment
Jueves, día 11: First Beauty: Fictive Neology
Jueves, día 18: Second Beauty: Fictive Novums
Jueves, día 25: Third Beauty: Future History
Jueves, día 1: Fourth Beauty: Imaginary Science
Jueves, día 8: Fifth Beauty: The Science-Fictional Sublime
Jueves, día 15: Sixth Beauty: The Science-Fictional Grotesque
Jueves, día 22: Seventh Beauty: The Technologiade
Jueves, día 29: Concluding Unscientific Postscript: The Singularity & Beyond

¿Os animáis a leer con nosotros?

ACTUALIZACIÓN: Tenéis más información en La biblioteca de Ilium

Rivers of London podría ser una serie de televisión

Feel Films ha comprado los derechos del libro “Rivers of London” del que ya hicimos una reseña, para hacer una serie de televisión en colaboración posiblemente con alguna cadena británica. Feel Films está trabajando en la actualidad en la adaptación de “Jonathan Strange y el señor Norrell”.

“Rivers of London” es la primera entrega de una serie en la que han aparecido también los títulos “Moon Over Soho” y “Whispers Underground”. La siguiente entrega “Broken Homes”, está prevista para el mes que viene.

Saga

SagaYa le tenía el ojo echado a la edición en español de este tebeo, pero por una razón u otra nunca acababa de comprarlo. Así que cuando vi que venía en el Hugo Voter Packet para ver si lo votaba en los premios Hugo me vino que ni pintado.

Los autores Brian K. Vaughan (guión) y  Fiona Staples (dibujo), nos cuentan una historia de amor prohibido entre dos seres cuyas razas llevan enfrentándose en una guerra de nivel galáctico desde tiempos inmemoriales sin que quede clara la razón. Las primeras viñetas nos muestran el nacimiento del fruto de su unión, una niña que será el narrador omnisciente de lo que sucede en las páginas del cómic. Mención aparte merece la resistencia de la madre, que tras dar a luz sin ayuda es capaz de correr como un gamo por los montes. Biología alienígena, sin duda.

En este trasunto de Romeo (Marko) y Julieta (Alana), los “Montesco” (del satélite Wreath) son de aspecto similar a los faunos (aunque sin patas de cabra) que dominan la magia y la lucha con espadas, mientras que los “Capuleto” (del planeta Landfall) pertenecen a una sociedad avanzada tecnológicamente, regida por una monarquía mezcla entre humanos y robots. Sus orígenes se encuentran en un planeta y su satélite, dependen cosmológicamente el uno del otro y por lo tanto deciden exportar su guerra a otros planetas.

Todo esto sirve como transfondo a la huída de nuestros enamorados de sus dos civilizaciones que condenan su amor como algo casi sacrílego, pero que están extremadamente interesados en su hija. Mandan a cazarrecompensas detrás de ellos para matar a los padres pero dejar viva a su vástago. Creo que esta línea argumental del cazarrecompensas se explorará en las siguientes entregas.

La imaginación del autor se hace patente en el desarrollo de la historia, que a mi entender es claramente deudora de las aventuras de Valerian, con esas criaturas que van surgiendo a cada paso que dan los enamorados. Y más adelante en la lectura se hace un homenaje a “Endymion”, de Dan Simmons, pero dejo al lector que descubra cuál es.

En cuanto al apartado gráfico, me parece notable. La idea de dejar los fondos siempre en un plano apartado y casi desdibujados hace que los personajes destaquen de forma patente. Creo que este es el efecto que se busca. Los dos personajes principales son bellos en su propia forma y no es de extrañar que se hayan sentido atraídos el uno por el otro. Las escenas de peleas no resultan confusas y el uso de la magia le da mucho juego al dibujo, así como la aparición de fantasmas y otros seres.

En definitiva un tebeo muy recomendable, no me extraña que haya sido nominado para varios premios Eisner.

Grandville Bête Noire

150px-Grandville_Bete_NoireEsta obra de Bryan Talbot es otro de los nominados a los premios Hugo en la categoría de comic, junto con Locke and Key, Schlock Mercenary, Saga y Saucer Country.

El personaje principal es un tejón, el inspector Archibald “Archie” LeBrock de Scotland Yard. La antropomorfización de los animales es un recurso bastante utilizado en el mundo del cómic, se me vienen a la cabeza dos claros ejemplos, Maus y Blacksad. Por tanto no es extraño que se use este tipo de caracterización de los personajes en la historia que estamos leyendo, aún sin llegar al nivel de los mencionados, que pueden ser denominados obras cumbre del género. Una de las ventajas es la posibilidad de asociar comportamientos humanos a los animales dentro de unos patrones ya establecidos, como el perro fiel, el reptil escurridizo… pero existen otras como la simplificación de las expresiones faciales. Ahora bien, como novedad cabe decir que en este mundo también existen humanos, aunque sean las clases inferiores.

Ésta no es la primera entrega de la serie, pero sin haber leído los anteriores me parece que se puede disfrutar como un todo completo, salvo algunas referencias a hechos del pasado.

El momento en la que se desarrolla la narración es aproximadamente el momento actual pero en una Tierra alternativa que tiene toques de steampunk. Francia ganó las Guerras Napoleónicas e invadió Inglaterra, aunque hace unos veinte años Inglaterra consiguió su independencia. El idioma común por tanto es el francés y el clasismo es muy acentuado.

Es en este entorno en el que LeBrock desarrolla su labor detectivesca, esta vez le piden ayuda para investigar un asesinato en París y acaba destapando una conspiración más profunda. Todo esto mezclado con una clase magistral de Historia del Arte. Hay algunos homenajes poco encubiertos al propio comic, como por ejemplo a los pitufos y a Tintin.

El dibujo me parece bastante bueno y consistente, a pesar de ciertas escenas y de algunos acabados (estoy pensando en los fondos en la conversación que tiene lugar durante la cena) parecen apresurados. El color en cambio no acaba de convencerme, se abusa del degradado. El guión también es un punto fuerte, sobre todo cuando lees el anexo final del propio autor y en qué está basado cada parte del cómic. Quizá la trama sea algo previsible, pero el “misterio” es accesorio y sirve a Talbot para enfatizar la crítica social subyacente a toda la historia.

En resumen un tebeo interesante, al que quizá me acerque en otro momento. Por debajo de Locke and Key en mis votaciones, eso sí.