Link Round-up: Max Gladstone

51eskyhyrol._ac_sy400_On Thursday evening, we welcome K. Chess and Max Gladstone to Trident for our summer reading series event, and it’s going to rock multiple parallel universes and possibly various time streams!

Max Gladstone is a very busy author. His latest releases are the standalone novel Empress of Forever (released in June) and the novella This Is How You Lose The Time War (released this month!), co-authored with Amal El-Mohtar. Today we’re bringing you a round-up of just a few of the interviews and reviews from recent weeks.

Come see Max on August 1st at Trident Books! RSVP here.

Empress of Forever reviewed at Lightspeed Magazine:

“As if Simon R. Green’s pulp Deathstalker novels and Iain Banks’ Culture novels had a glorious, star-smashing baby, one filled with amazing set-pieces that wouldn’t look out of place on a big-screen blockbuster, but also one filled with insights on sacrifice, fate, and friendship.”

A wide-ranging interview with Max at Den of Geek:

“I knew this would be a story about—well, a lot of things, but among them genius, power, personal will, and the way genre fiction relates to these things…. I also liked the underdog aspect: someone at the top of her game taken back to square one in an unfamiliar context. To get what she wants, she has to conquer the world—again.”

A co-interview with Amal El-Mohtar at Clarkesworld, by Chris Urie:

No one gave me this advice, but for years now I’ve had on my desktop a Post-it note saying in all caps: YOU DO NOT NEED PERMISSION. Obviously not comprehensive life advice! I mean, permission is important for any activity that involves more than one person! But when creating in solitude or in a tight pair, it’s important to remember that, yes, you can write this sentence, make this comparison, turn the scene in just this way.

And finally, Max and Amal interviewed each other at Bookish:

AE: What is Red’s ideal beverage? Her preference, I mean, given the vastness of all time and space.

MG: In all time and space, huh? I see Red as a whiskey-inclined individual. I was about to say “but you can’t drink whiskey forever,” but with her augments, she probably could!

Max Gladstone has been thrown from a horse in Mongolia and nominated twice for the John W Campbell Best New Writer Award. Tor Books published FOUR ROADS CROSS, the fifth novel in Max’s Craft Sequence (preceded by THREE PARTS DEAD, TWO SERPENTS RISE, FULL FATHOM FIVE, and LAST FIRST SNOW) in July 2016. Max’s game CHOICE OF THE DEATHLESS was nominated for a XYZZY Award, and FULL FATHOM FIVE was nominated for the Lambda Award. His short fiction has appeared on and in Uncanny Magazine.  His most recent project is the globetrotting urban fantasy serial BOOKBURNERS, available in ebook and audio from Serial Box, and in print from Saga Press.

Quick Questions with K. Chess

Famous Men Cover 060718.inddK. Chess is the author of Famous Men Who Never Lived, a fresh take on parallel worlds, refugees, and the power of art. Ian Mond at Locus called it a “nuanced, smart, and intimate” novel.

Come see K on August 1st at Trident Books! RSVP here.

Tell us about your latest release in five words or fewer, or in one image/gif.

What book do you wish more people knew about?

The Ear, the Eye and the Arm by Nancy Farmer, a middle grade Afrofuturist adventure story about siblings from a wealthy Harare family on the run across the city’s slums and suburbs. I read it in seventh grade — the first speculative book I’d ever encountered with a non-western setting that incorporated non-Judeo-Christian mythology — and I’ve never forgotten it.

What was the first story you ever wrote?

It was Buffy: the Vampire Slayer fanfiction. That’s all you’ll ever get out of me!

What appeals to you about the genre you work in? (or a genre you work in?)

At an event recently, I was sitting next to someone who was being really dismissive of the worth of any writing that wasn’t literary. I didn’t know what to say. I mean, my formal writing education focused on literary fiction, too, but my allegiance to sci fi feels deeper and older. I wish I’d told this person is that what I most value about speculative fiction is the immense freedom — a freedom of imagination, but not a freedom from logic or consequences or human truths. (Of course, I couldn’t come up with that at the time.)

What do you like to listen to when you write?

I listen to the same albums on repeat — if I already know the words, they don’t distract me. I wrote Famous Men Who Never Lived to Angel Olsen’s album Burn Your Fire for No Witness and edited to Kid Cudi’s Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager.

K Chess is the author of FAMOUS MEN WHO NEVER LIVED (Tin House Books, 2019). Her writing has appeared in The Chicago Tribune’s Printer’s Row Journal, PANK, Salon, and other outlets. Her short stories have been honored by the Nelson Algren Literary Award and the Pushcart Prize. K earned a BA from Vassar College and an MFA from Southern Illinois University. She was awarded a W.K. Rose Fellowship in the Creative Arts. She reads fiction for Quarterly West and teaches writing at GrubStreet in Boston and Rhode Island.

Quick Questions for Theodora Goss

Theodora Goss is our last interview before we gather at Trident! Her new collection, Snow White Learns Witchcraft, contains “an abundance of lace, roses and porcelain contrasting with fur, snow and blood.” (New York Times Book Review)

Come see Theodora on April 25th at Trident Books! RSVP here.

Tell us about your latest release in five words or fewer, or in one image/gif.

Mirror Mirror Poem Quote

What book do you wish more people knew about?

Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner. It’s about a woman living in post–World War I England who never married, and serves as a sort of helpful aunt to her annoying sister and her family. But one day she decides that she’s had enough, so she moves to the country by herself. There, she realizes that she’s really a witch. Once she has gotten herself a familiar and made a pact with the Devil, she can have the life she always wanted. I think of it as a story with a realistic happy ending!

What appeals to you about the genre you work in? (or a genre you work in?)

I write in a sort of in-between space, between fantasy and history and mystery. I love writing about things that are real, such as historical events, clothes, foods, travel. At the same time, I love to include monsters and creatures out of fairy tales. I think we understand our lives best through metaphors. We have all felt monstrous at one time or another, we have all bitten into poisoned apples, we have all wanted happily ever after, whatever that looks like to us. And I love mysteries that pull the reader along–puzzles to solve, clues to follow, things to figure out. I don’t want to write just one thing, so I sort of write everything at once.

What do you like to listen to when you write?

It depends, but some of my favorite musicians and bands include Loreena McKennitt, Cecile Corbel, Ashley Davis, Agnes Obel, First Aid Kit, Marissa Nadler, Salt House, and Rachel Newton. I try to find the right music for the story I’m writing, and sometimes I play the same thing over and over, just to keep the mood I’m in consistent . . .

Theodora Goss was born in Hungary and spent her childhood in various European countries before her family moved to the United States. Although she grew up on the classics of English literature, her writing has been influenced by an Eastern European literary tradition in which the boundaries between realism and the fantastic are often ambiguous. Her publications include the collections In the Forest of Forgetting and Songs for OpheliaThe Thorn and the Blossom, a novella in a two-sided accordion formatdebut novel The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, and its sequel, European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman. She has been a finalist for the Nebula, Crawford, Locus, Seiun, and Mythopoeic Awards, and on the Tiptree Award Honor List. She has won the World Fantasy and Locus awards.

Quick Questions for Christopher Golden

Today’s interview is with Christopher Golden! A New York Times best-selling author, his newest book comes out just days before our event — but he has plenty of spellbinding books to keep you busy until then!

Come see Christopher read on April 25th at Trident Books! RSVP here.

Tell us about your latest release in five words or fewer, or in one image/gif.

golden-pandora room

What book do you wish more people knew about?

The Ocean Dark. It’s a big fat supernatural thriller about the FBI, gun smugglers, and underwater vampires. I love that damn book.

What was the first story you ever wrote?

Hmm. Probably “A Cold Familiar Feeling,” which was about a man driven violently insane by his own paranoia.

What appeals to you about the genre you work in? (or a genre you work in?)

There’s always something wonderfully cathartic about working through your fears and anxieties and thoughts about human nature in the form of horror and fantasy stories.

What do you like to listen to when you write?

I listen to all kinds of music, but typically I’ll have on something from Frank Turner or The Frames, or some classical music. Although lately I’ve been loving the new EP from H.E.R. Fantastic stuff.

Christopher Golden is the New York Times #1 bestselling, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Ararat, Snowblind, Dead Ringers, Of Saints and Shadows, and many other novels. With Mike Mignola, he is the co-creator of two fan favorite comic book series, Baltimore and Joe Golem: Occult Detective. As an editor, his anthologies include Hark! The Herald Angels Scream, Seize the Night, and The New Dead, among others. He has also written screenplays, video games, radio plays, an online animated series, and much more. He lives in Massachusetts.


Quick Questions for Julian K. Jarboe

As we wait impatiently for our next event, we’re running another set of tiny interviews with our fabulous authors.

First up is Julian K. Jarboe! Their short fiction and poetry has been published in Strange Horizons, Fairytale Review, Transcendent 2: The Year’s Best Transgender Speculative Fiction, and more.

Come see Julian on April 25th at Trident Books! RSVP here.

Tell us about your latest release in five words or fewer, or in one image/gif.

What book do you wish more people knew about?

I mostly just wish people poked their noses into each other’s genres a bit more, especially if you are seeking an experience of the ideas you’re interested in that feels like a longer-term conversation. So much of my favorite writing that informs my own speculative fiction is not published by a genre publisher or shelved with the SF/F/H, though I love those too. So I’m going to cheat on this question and throw a bunch of suggestions out (smashing that Great Work construct with a plurality of voices, or, stubbornly ignoring instructions? Who can really say!).

  • If you like quietly brutal rural settings imbued with nature mysticism, read Mary Oliver’s poetry.
  • If you like (criminally, tragically) flawed, unreliable narrators who establish that sense of un-reality through voice rather than a particular novum, read Brontez Purnell’s books and zines.
  • If you (want to) love Italo Calvino but are tired of his chauvinism, read Kristine Ong Muslim or Tom Cho or Eric Gamalinda, which have all the fabulist charm plus refreshingly topical and uncomfortable explorations of climate change, gender, nation/ality, immigration, and technology.
  • One of my favorite epistolary novellas about abuse of power, and which informs whatever it is I do when I’m mucking around in writing “dystopian” stories, is John Darnielle’s Master of Reality, which is officially a book of music criticism about a Black Sabbath album.

What do you like to listen to when you write?

I make playlists on YouTube like it’s eternally 2010. I actually prefer the sort of chaotic nature of a YT playlist over platforms that are specifically for music discovery and sharing because there’s a whole lot of people’s personal demos, projects, live recordings, and mixes on there, including sound effects or miscellany that verges on unlistenable garbage, but keeps me in the mindset I want to be in to work towards what a given story feels like in my head. For example, while writing and revising “I Am a Beautiful Bug!” (see GIF), I listened to a 10-hour loop of the Katamari theme song (and nothing else) because that is exactly that story’s whole deal– menacingly cheerful and eventually overbearing.

Julian K. Jarboe lives in Salem, Massachusetts. They are an Associate Editor at PodCastle magazine, a graduate of the Odyssey Fantasy Writing Workshop, and most recently a fellow at the Writers’ Room of Boston, where they also sit on the board. Their writing can be found in The Atlantic, Strange Horizons, The Fairy Tale Review, and anthologized in the LAMBDA award-winning Year’s Best Transgender Speculative Fiction series, among others. They also produce and co-host Mothers & Others, “the podcast about maternal figures and mommy issues.”