That Time of Year

Everyone is doing their Award Eligibility posts, so I need to remind you that Salon Futura is a fanzine, and therefore eligible in that Hugo category. That makes me an eligible fan writer.

More importantly the excellent Cora Buhlert, whom you should totally vote for in Fan Writer, has decided to do a series of Fanzine Spolights featuring eligible zines that you might want to nominate. You can find the initial posts here, and they will be added to in the coming weeks.

Also, both The Green Man’s Silence by Juliet E. McKenna, and Unjust Cause by Tate Hallaway, are eligible wherever fine fantasy novels are awarded.

Brexit and the Bookstore

Now that a Brexit agreement has been provisionally agreed (pending a possible massive rebellion by Tory backbenchers) it seems likely that new trading rules will apply to sales from the UK into Europe from January. Bascially we are back where we were before Juliet & friends did such wonderful work negotiating a Europe-wide VAT registration limit. As I do hope to continue to visit Europe in future years, I need to avoid intentionally breaking EU law and will therefore have to close to international sales as of January. I have been looking at doing UK sales of print books, so there might be a role for the store in future, but as far as ebooks are concerned I’m afraid it is back to Amazon, Kobo and B&N.

For the last fews days, I thought we might as well have a sale. This is mainly for Aleksandar who has been ill (not COVID). Last I heard he was in hospital, and he may have spent Christmas there, so it would be nice for him to get a bit of a present. For the next few days you can pick up As the Distant Bells Toll at a bargain price.

Also, of course, The Green Man’s Heir and The Green Man’s Silence are on sale at Amazon UK until the end of the month. I figured I should match that, and in our case the offer is good anywhere in the world.

And finally I thought I should extend the sale to those books that came out recently and whose sales have been impacted by my being unable to get to conventions. So you can get Unjust Cause and Airship Shape & Bristol Fashion II cheaply too.

For convenience, here’s a link to the entire sale.

Green Man Sale Reminder


It seems kind of foolish to remind you to buy a book that you almost certainly own, but you might know someone who is looking for a good read over the holidays. It therefore behooves me to mention once more that The Green Man’s Heir and The Green Man’s Silence are both on sale from that great river in the aether to UK customers for a mere 99p each. The Green Man’s Foe is not on sale, but you can get all three books for under £7 which is a ridiculous bargain. ‘Tis the season, so go ye forth and encourage people to buy. The sale ends on Dec. 31st. Linkage here.

Green Men Going Cheap


Amazon really loves Juliet McKenna. Once again they have chosen the Green Man books to feature in a promotion. I can see why. The books do seem to sell remarkably well.

This time it is The Green Man’s Heir and The Green Man’s Silence that are on sale at 99p each. The deals are UK only. I dearly wish that they would put them on sale in the USA as well. I could do it myself, but the books won’t get anywhere near the same visibility on the site as they do as part of an official promotion.

The Green Man’s Foe is still £4.99, but maybe the sale for the other two will be good for sales of that too.

In theory the sale is in place for the whole of December, so I will get quite boring reminding you about it. Sorry.

That Cyber Monday Thing

This is the time of year in which half of the internet is yelling at you to buy stuff, and the other half is yelling at you to boycott all of that awful consumerism. Well, you do you. But if you are in a buying mood, please remember that Wizard’s Tower authors get more money if you buy ebooks direct from us then if you buy from that big river in the aether. Also this is pretty much your last chance to do so, because I’ll have to close the store in January thanks to Brexit.

If paper books are your thing, I’m pleased to report that, after a short distribtion hiccup, Wizard’s Tower books are available again from Bookshop.org UK. If you buy from them, we get a cut, and they give money to independent bookshops in the UK as well.

Žiljak Hardcover Available


With profuse apologies for the delay, I am pleased to announce that the hardcover edition of Aleksandar Žiljak’s As the Distant Bells Toll is now available to purchase. The ISBN, should you need to talk sternly to a bookstore, is 978-1-913892-07-4.

Bookshop.org doesn’t have it listed yet, but that should happen soon. I remind you that if you buy from them you a) get a discount, b) make money for Wizard’s Tower, and c) make money for UK independent bookstores. You can find the paperback here.

New Salon Futura


The October issue of Salon Futura went live over the weekend. It includes reviews of books by Hao Jinfang, Elizabeth Bear, P Djèlí Clark, Linden A Lewis, and Elizabeth May & Laura Lam. There’s also a review of the Lovecraft Country TV series, and no less than three separate convention reports. You can read the whole thing here.

New as of last night, I have puchase links to Bookshop.org in the UK. Unlike the Amazon links, these are affiliate links, and of course any sales made means money going to independent bookstores, as well as to Wizards’ Tower. So if you are in the UK, I’d appreciate you using them.

A New Bookstore

If you are part of the UK book community then your social media will have been filled over the past few days with posts about a new online bookstore, cunningly called “Bookstore”, and touted as a rival to Amazon. They launched today, complete with a big article in the Guardian explaining how they support UK bookstores. Lots of people are encouraging you to buy from them, and some have even suggested that you might be a scab if you still have links to Amazon. Well, here’s a publisher view.

The first thing to note is that they are not a replacement for Amazon because they only sell paper books. Wizard’s Tower was founded as an ebook company, and the majority of our sales are still ebooks. The majority of those are through Amazon. I do try to encourage Kindle owners to buy direct from us, but most won’t do so because we can’t offer direct download, and in any case I’ll probably have to close the bookstore in January because of Brexit. So I am not going to stop linking to Amazon from Wizard’s Tower.

Secondly these folks are UK only. Apparently they have a US website as well, but I think I need to spoof a US location before I can look at that. This is the internet. I have readers and customers all over the world. So while I am keen to support UK boosktores, I will have readers and customers who will need to buy elsewhere.

The final issue is making sure that the books are listed. I started by doing a search for Juliet and it only came up with some of her books, but if you search for books by title I think they are all there. I will get on with putting up links to the books on the Wizard’s Tower website. I will also check out the US site. Because we are a Print-on-Demand company, they will put up warning messages about titles being out of stock, but that just means it will take them a few days to get the book to you. I’ll look into signing up as an affiliate, as they have a very good commission rate (10%), and they also donate 10% of the cover price to a fund to support UK bookstores. That’s a good thing.

Welcome, Chaz Brenchley

I am delighted to announce that we have a new author joining the Wizard’s Tower family. I have been a fan of Chaz Brenchley’s writing, and his cooking, for many years. When he mentioned on an interview for Coode Street that he was looking for a publisher for his Crater School books, I jumped at the opportunity. My thanks are due to Chaz’s agent, John Jarrold, for making this happen smoothly and quickly. The press release is here.

The books that we will be publishing are Chaz’s Crater School series, which are set in a 1930s girls’ boarding school, on Mars. This, then, is a post-steampunk world. Britain has colonised Mars, Russia has colonised Venus. There has been a Great War. Now there is peace, but uneasy tension between the interplanetary empires.

The books are unshamedly based on the famous Chalet School novels by Elinor M Brent-Dyer. A key aspect of the books is that while young boys are sent off by aetherflier to be educated on Earth, young girls go to school on Mars. So if there are adventures to be had, it is mostly teenage girls who get to have them.

By the way, if you are worried about a bloke writing this stuff, you need to be aware that Chaz got his start on a literary career by writing romance stories for teen girl magazines.

Of course there are adventures. Mars is not the desolate planet inhabited by NASA robots that we know. Chaz’s Mars has canals, it has native flora and fauna. Some of the fauna appears to be intelligent in a strange, very non-human way.

Our heroines, as teenage girls do, are determined to fight for justice. If that brings them into conflict with unreasonable parents, or with Russian spies, so be it. Crater School girls are afraid of nothing, even when perhaps they should be.

The first novel is due out in spring next year, with two more novels and a short story collection to follow. There are also plans for a cookbook, featuring the recipes of the Crater School’s legendary head cook, Mrs. Bailey. Fear not, though, readers, if you can’t find the right Martian ingredients there will be Terrestrial equivalents suggested.

I am going to have so much fun publishing these books. And yes, the first two novels do appear to qualify as YA.

The Bells Are Tolling


The latest book from Wizard’s Tower, Aleksandar Žiljak’s fantasy collection, As the Distant Bells Toll, is now available in the usual places. Ebooks went live in stores on Friday and the paperback was available from Monday. There will be a hardcover in due course, but I’m taking my time with the paper because I want to make sure that the quality of the illustrations is OK. Aleksandar is a fabulous artist and each story in the book is accompanied by a beautiful illustration.

Purchase links can be found here.

And we have our first review, here (thanks Womble!).

Eurocon – Day 2


Well, that’s a wrap. Many thanks to Fox, Igor and the crew, and special thanks to Nela for the beautiful artwork.

We used Zoom for my panel today, which was much better all round. Thanks to Aleksander and Mihaela for their input, and to everyone who tuned in to listen. Once again, the purchase links are: for Aleksandar’s book, and for Kontakt. Croatia has some great writers, and I’m honoured to be able to help bring them to an English-speaking audience.

The ESFS Awards took place last night after I had blogged. The Irish had a great evening, winning both the adult and YA fiction awards, the art award and the fanzine award, plus a few others as well. Good Omens won the dramatic presentation category. The full list of winners can be found here.

Many of the panels were pre-recorded, and the live ones were all recorded. I understand that there are plans to make them available, at least to registered members, at a later date. This is a real bonus of online conventions. There are several good panels that I missed because of scheduling clashes.

Next year’s Eurocon will be in Fiuggi near Rome. I very much hope I make that in person, partly because they have promised a focus on food, and partly because I will undoubtledly spend a few days in Rome peering at the archaeology as part of the trip.

Futuricon set new standards in brevity for the closing ceremonies. I think that my feed may have cut out slightly early, Fox, but I believe it was supposed to go a bit like this…

“David, press the button…”

Eurocon – Day 1


More like day 1.5 actually as the con started yesterday afternoon, but today isn’t over yet.

Anyway, the con is a lot of fun thus far. There have been the inevitable technical glitches. Some of them are down to using Jitsi for some of the tech. If anyone suggests that you use this platform for an online event, just say no. It doesn’t always work when you connect, and the picture quality is often poor. I don’t like the interface either.

Having said that, the ConCom is working hard at keeping us entertained, the chat on Discord is good, and the programming is very interesting.

I did my queer animals talk. It seemed to go down well, despite a few glitches. Something else to bear in mind for online events is that the latest versions of PowerPoint seem to break screen-sharing when in display mode. If you drop back to edit mode you’ll be fine. It also works fine if someone else is doing the screen sharing and you are just talking. I’ve also seen display mode refuse to work with older projectors, so it isn’t just a screen-sharing issue. If someone knows of a hidden setting in PowerPoint that can fix this, please let me know.

Tomorrow I will be joining up with Aleksandar Žiljak and Mihaela Perković to talk about Croatian fiction in English translation, both that which is available now and that which will be forthcoming next year.

Eurocon Schedule

The full schedule for this year’s Eurocon, known as Futuricon, has been published. I’m sad to be missing a trip to Croatia, but I’m absolutely delighted to be doing two panels. Here they are:

Saturday, October 3rd – 15:40
Worldbuilding with sex and gender
Otherwise known as my weird animals talk

Sunday, October 4th – 12:15
The Wizard’s Tower panel
The title in the schedule is in Croatian, but the panel will be in English. I’ll be talking with Aleksandar Žiljak about his new book, As the Distant Bells Toll, which will be published on Friday. Also on the panel is Mihaela Marija Perković. I’ll be talking to her about an anthology of feminist SF titled Empress of the Housework which will be forthcoming from Wizard’s Tower next year.

The website says that times will be displayed in your local timezones, so I’m assuming that the above times are BST, not CEST.

Membership is not free, but it is only €10 and you can buy one here.

As the Distant Bells Toll – Pre-Orders Open


Those of you who watched the Translation and/or Eastern Europe panels at FutureCon yesterday will know that the latest book from Wizard’s Tower, a fantasy collection by the great Croatian writer, Aleksandar Žiljak, is due any day now. Pre-orders were live on B&N and Kobo yesterday, but it always takes longer on Amazon. I’m now pleased to report that we are live everywhere. You can find the links to the stores here.

Please note that this is not quite the final cover. Ben Baldwin and Aleksandar are still discussing a few fine details. But in the meantime you can enjoy some of the fine internal art. Aleksandar has provided illustrations for each story, and this one for his biography.

The Future Happens This Week

Yes folks, FutureCon is upon us. It starts on Thursday and continues on a leisurely schedule through to Sunday. There not a lot of panels, but they are all very interesting. And they are all free to watch. You can find the full list on YouTube.

From my point of view, all of the most exciting stuff happens on Thursday. I have my panel at 16:00 (UK time), and the evening panel features Aleksandar Žiljak whose book, As the Distant Bells Toll, is due out from Wizard’s Tower next month.

Don’t forget to sign up for the Discord channel. The link to do is is on the convention’s home page, near the bottom.

Introducing FutureCon

While we might all be stuck at home wishing that we could sit in a bar with our friends, one of the benefits of the new virtual world in which we find ourselves is that travel is instantaneous and free. This means that we can have conventions that are genuinely global, and very cheap or free to attend.

Into this space comes FutureCon. It is being organised primarily by folks in Brazil, but with a lot of help from Francesco Verso in Italy, and also a bunch more people around the world. It will take place from September 17th-20th, and will be free to all on YouTube. All of the programming will be in English. Confirmed guests include Ann Vandermeer, Aliette de Bodard, Chen Qiufan, Ian McDonald, Lavie Tidhar and Nisi Shawl. But more importantly there will be speakers from over 20 different countries including Argentina, Croatia, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Turkey & Uganda.

Oh, and there will be me, talking about translations, obviously. Also Wizard’s Tower author, Aleksandar Žiljak, will be joining in from Croatia. Both he and I will be talking about the new collection that we will be launching at the Eurocon in October.

This is a brand new thing, and I’m very excited about it. Hopefully it will grow over the years and will help forge a truly international SF&F community.

Francesco can read in many different langauges, and he said something today in a launch meeting for the event that really struck a chord. I’m paraphrasing slightly, but the gist was, “the quality of science fiction is evenly distributed around the world, but it is unevenly visible.” I hope that FutureCon can be an important step along the road to changing that.

If you would like to help, there are three things you can do. The first is to donate some money to help with their running costs. You can do that here. Second, subscribe to their YouTube channel. Apparently you need 100 subscribers to be allowed to have a custom URL, which would be useful. And finally tell all of your friends, especially friends who, for whatever reason, might not be able to attend big, international conventions.

Guesting on Coode Street

As many of you will doubtless know, Gary and Jonathan have been doing a daily series of short interviews throughout the pandemic, each one featuring someone from the SF&F community. Recently it was my turn and, as has become traditional, I spent a good deal more than my alloted 10 minutes chatting. That’s not hard with Gary, of course. We’ve known each other for years and obviously have a lot of similar interests.

What the interview did prove is that my advaned age is leading to me do that thing where I confuse people’s names. So profuse apologies to David Barnett; Paul Barnett is someone entirely different.

Anyway, I wittered on about a bunch of things including flooding, the importance of trying to pronounce people’s names correctly, doing sensitivity reading and, of course, the wonderful Juliet E McKenna. You can find the podcast here.