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Posts Tagged ‘craft sequence’

Author Duels and AMAs and Kickstarters Oh My

Hello friends!

I’m recovering from the Odinsleep here, but here are some fun things to share!  If you want the full Tor Tour experience, it turns out that our entire Author Duel at Phoenix Books in Burlington, VT was filmed and has made it onto the web.  Check out Elizabeth Bear, Brian Staveley, Jim Cambias, and I in full high-def and well-miked glory!

I’m pretty excited by this—it’s not often that I hear my own voice on a recording without flinching.

I’ve embedded the video above, but embeds don’t seem to transfer very well to the RSS feed or to Goodreads—if you don’t see a video, try watching on Youtube via this link!

Also last week I did an epic four hour long AMA on the fantasy subreddit.  I’ve done one of these for each release so far, and it’s been enormously entertaining each time.  This round the questions (and answers) were off the wall, and included some excellent speculation on skeleton sex.  Tor.com did a roundup here, and you can read the full AMA here.

Outside of that I’ve been catching up on the many, many balls I dropped while on tour, and starting edits on The Highway Kind, which feels pretty great.  I enjoy travel, meeting readers, catching up with friends—but there’s no feeling quite like getting back to The Real Work.

Speaking of The Real Work: Uncanny Magazine is Kickstarting its second year!  Lynn and Michael Thomas and their team put together a really fantastic first year of the magazine—I mean, yes, they published a short story by me, so they have that flaw in their judgment, but otherwise Uncanny’s first year collected a great, expansive cast of fantastic writers and poets and artists, and I’m proud to be supporting their second year’s run.  I can’t wait to see their plans for Year Two.  Check out the Kickstarter! I’m part of two backer rewards: I’m offering a 5,000 word manuscript critique—warning: I ain’t gentle—and a dinner sort of thing—check it out!  Uncanny feels to me like a bright vision of where SF is going.  Scan their first year if you’re interested, and do consider backing the Kickstarter.

Craft Sequence Gaming at AnonyCon!

Hello, dear friends, and please take care not to fall into the enormous pit in the center of my website!  Also, be careful when sampling the cream-filled pastries, some of which may have been filled with Grimwald Variegated Industries Nanite Superweapon Lifelike Cream Substitute [tm, pat. pend.] due to a catering mishap.  All of which is to say: I’ll be updating the site over the course of the next week or so, and as Wordpress hackery goes, I’m one hell of a hack.  I’ll do my best to offer a seamless transition, but I’m not exactly the Lord King of UX Testing, so if something breaks for your edge-case browser, please do let me know.

I had a wonderful time at the World Fantasy Convention this year, though I think I’ll be the next week or two recovering from the sleep debt incurred those four days.  Cons, as I may have observed on this site before, are ritual spaces—for three days a dedicated corps of acolytes creates a space which is by definition tangent to all other ritual spaces of the same tradition.  (Though it occurs to me that this view of ritual space may be particularly Abrahamic, or maybe even post-Christian—the opposition of ritual space and holy place… Fruit for further research & / or blog entries.)  Cons transform otherwise unassuming Marriotts to lands of adventure—or at least to places where staying up until 4 AM talking about social dynamics in live action roleplaying makes sense.  I had a wonderful time with too many people to list—though I tried on Facebook as soon as I came back from the con, and of course left out a bunch of people and as a result now feel kinda like a heel.  Anyway!

My next con follows hot on the heels of World Fantasy: AnonyCon in Stamford, CT, from Dec. 5 – 7.  AnonyCon is a gaming convention I’ve attended with friends off and on since college.  For the last couple years we’ve been working on games in the Craft Sequence universe—an announcement I’m happy to make today!

Michael Seidman has been working on a Craft Sequence d20 system which we’ll be road-testing this con—and I’ll run a God Wars game using, naturally, Mythender, the only con-weight system I know with a power level high enough.  If you’ve ever wanted to game in the Craft world, this is your chance.  Here are the games!  The Mythender game’s on the schedule already, and the d20 games should be there soon:

God Wars – Mythender

2-6 PM Saturday, Dec 6

Max Gladstone

Welcome to the God Wars. You and your teammates are Craftsmen, once-human magic-users fighting for human freedom from the dark gods that rule the world. Create a lich king, a demon accountant, a bankruptcy necromancer—and go punch a God of Thunder in the face. But will the destruction you wreak loose your already-fragile hold on humanity? Characters created at session. Come with concepts. Some familiarity with the Craft Sequence preferred; general desire to murder gods a plus.

God Wars is a game using the Mythender system. If you prefer to use your own dice, bring d6s. Bring lots of d6s. You may not own enough d6s for this game. The rulebook suggests a four-player group can get by with 170 dice. The GM will bring dice cubes.

So Sue Me

(Not yet scheduled)

Mike Seidman

Your team has been hired to represent a local colony of intelligent worms in a lawsuit against one of the most powerful firms in the Iskari Empire. What could possibly go wrong?

The next two games may or may not be run, depending on schedule—

Are You Feelin’ Hot, Hot, Hot

An office building in the city of Kol ‘ir, built by the Iskari architectural firm Koralli Consolidated, has suffered significant fire damage despite being warded against such events. Koralli has sent the team to investigate what happened, why the wards failed, and what needs to be done to repair the place and ensure it stays safe. Pre-generated characters provided.

The Iskari Treasure Fleet

The great nation of Iskar is bringing the riches home from its diverse colonial holdings. Despite the powerful magics, curses, and blessings designed to ensure a safe voyage, the trip is not without risk, especially for those newly drafted into service with the Iskari Merchant Marine.

There’s a chance Mike will run revised versions of two other Craft Sequence games, depending on demand and his own availability.  So, yeah—if you’re in the Connecticut area and want to game in the Craft world, hie thee hence!  Also I’ll be hanging around signing books and stuff, so there’s that.

I’ll be updating the con appearance section soon with confirmed dates for 2015.  Stay tuned!  And take a pastry on your way out

Wait, no, not that

-static follows-


Choice of the Deathless—out TODAY!

Do you want to be a skeletal law wizard?  Of course you do.  Who doesn’t?  Well, today your wish comes true.


I’ve written a choose-your-own-path type game set in the world of the Craft Sequence.  As a junior associate in the international necromantic firm of Varkath Nebuchadnezzar Stone, you may:

  • Explore a fantasy realm with a rich and evolving backstory, based my novels Three Parts Dead and Two Serpents Rise.
  • Play as male or female, gay or straight, dead or alive (or both).
  • Build your career on carefully reasoned contracts, or party all night with the skeletal partners at your firm.
  • Navigate intrigue and mystery in a world of scheming magicians and devious monsters.
  • Depose gods!  Battle demons!  Raise the dead!  Catch falling stars!  Get with child a mandrake root!
  • Okay, no actual mandrake roots in the game.  Sorry, Donne / DWJ fans.  But still!
  • Look for love in at least some of the right places.
  • Balance student loans, sleep, daily commute, rent payments, and demonic litigation—hey, nobody said being a wizard was always fun.

The game is out TODAY for iOS and Android, as well as in-browser.  It’s $2.99 for the full game; on Android or in-Browser you get to try the first bit of the game for free!  I had a lot of fun making Choice of the Deathless.  It shows a ton of new facets of the Craft Sequence world, including the actual inner workings of necromantic firms, what’s the deal with demons, and the disturbing luxury of travel-by-dragon.

What are you waiting for?  Check it out!

About the Craft Sequence and the Sequel to Three Parts Dead

In the eight months since Three Parts Dead hit stores, I’ve seen a lot of people wonder if the book was part of a series.  I’ve answered this question in readings and in person, but as I was reading through some material about Two Serpents Rise, and contemplating the Three Parts Dead paperback launch this next month, I realized I’d never discussed the issue on the blog before.  So!  Here we are.

Three Parts Dead and Two Serpents Rise (and Five Eyes Break for that matter, plus the other book of which I just finished a first draft) all take place in the same universe, on the same planet, in the same timeline.  Characters, organizations, and universal properties (like the way the Craft works, or the soulstuff economy) in one book exist in every book.  Sometimes books will have a lot to do with one another, or have a direct causal connection.  Sometimes books will share very few characters, or be connected only by more-or-less continuous spacetime.

If I do my job right, a new reader should be able to read each book on its own, but readers who have read more books will understand more about the world and the context for the actions they describe.

Three Parts Dead and Two Serpents Rise, for example, take place in different cities at different points in time.  Two Serpents Rise (which Publishers Weekly really likes by the way, starred review, “Gladstone has outdone himself,” so that’s cool!) is set a short time before Three Parts Dead, in a city called Dresediel Lex, across the continent from Alt Coulumb.  There aren’t any characters obviously in common between the two books (though the King in Red, who killed Seril in the God Wars, is a central character in this story), but their plots are relevant to one another for reasons that will become clear in the third book and beyond.

Terry Pratchett’s Discworld is an obvious inspiration here.  I love the scope of the Disc, and the freedom Pratchett has within it to tell stories that mean something to him and his readers without having to squeeze characters into plots that don’t fit.  There can be more than one interesting event happening on a planet at any given moment, and these events don’t necessarily have anything to do with one another or with the same band of plucky heroes who always happen to be in the right/wrong place at the right/wrong time.  I also love the feeling of writing in a shared universe, like Khazan in the old Fantasy Powers League where I used to write fic: stories sparking off in all directions, and occasionally reconnecting.  I guess you might say that I’m sharing the Craft Sequence with myself.  (Nobody ever accused writers of not being solipsists I guess.  I can only hope I’m as cool a solipsist as, Baccano! spoiler warning, Clare Stanfield.)

Currently, I’m using numbers in the titles to indicate where the books fall on the timeline relative to one another.  Two Serpents Rise is a bit before Three Parts Dead, but only a bit; Five Eyes Break (again, tentative title) is a few years after.  I’m planning to write a direct sequel to Three Parts Dead continuing the specific story of Tara and Abelard from the first book; some characters from both the first two books show up in the third.

As for overplot, arch-villains, and so forth, all I have to say is RAFO.

So that’s the major thing.  I still owe you folks detailed information about Two Serpents Rise—it’s coming, don’t worry.  I do have one question: I’ve been thinking about hosting this information, bio details on characters, and some other frequently asked questions, in its own section on the website.  What do you want to know more about?

Catching Up

Last week’s prep for the Newburyport Literary Festival left me a little frazzled to blog, but let’s bring y’all back up to speed!  The Literary Festival was a wild ride, in the Mr. Toad’s sense.  Lit Fests, it turns out, are quite different animals than cons.  I went the entire weekend without seeing a single ironic slogan t-shirt.  We had a very cool crowd—shoutouts to Jennifer Entwhistle, Nichole Bernier, Sarah J Henry, Pete and Denise, Maryanne O’Hara (Massachusetts Must Read 2013 buddies!) and bunches of other folk who endured my company with humor and aplomb.  Ethan Gisldorf and I delivered an excellent panel on fantasy as literary genre and as a way of life (ranging from D&D to video games to LARPS and the SCA), with an engaged audience and some great questions including the big one, which I’ll abbreviate to Wither Science Fiction, and which I will certainly try to answer in a detailed sense on this blog soon, because I think we’re all (or almost all) thinking about the differences between genres in the wrong way.

I meant to write that longer essay yesterday and today, of course, but what I thought was going to be a nice tight Craft Sequence-adjacent novella is growing before my eyes and beneath my fingertips into something longer… and awesome.  One of the funny things about being two novels ahead of the readership is that I’m really excited to be exploring the backstory of events my readers barely know about yet, making life miserable for the parents of characters only my beta readers know.  This produces a much more Long Game version of the Killer GM feeling.

And don’t worry, dear readers, I have had it out for you from the beginning.


Days of Recovery

Any training program needs recovery time.  Exercise, after all, tears muscles and otherwise stresses the system.  You don’t get better until you give that damage time to heal itself.  For example: after spending seven straight months sprinting toward done on a novel, one should probably take a few days of joyful rest, doing nothing with any particular purpose.

I intended today to be one of those days of rest, but instead, I was so inspired by the book I’m reading that I took a few hours this afternoon to start work on a random short story.  Rushing back into training too soon?  Maybe.  But I’m taking it slow, and more to the point I’m playing around in a world I’ve never touched before, with new characters, a new setting, new issues.  While I do love the Craft Sequence, it’s nice to take a step sideways and break new ground.  And, heck, ‘joyful repose’ can include writing, can’t it?  That’s why I’m in this game after all.

In Which Some Books

Today I split my time between the two next books in the Craft Sequence.  All morning I drafted the third novel, which is taking shaky shape, and in the afternoon, after a brief period of recovery, I dove back into reviewing my publisher’s copy edits for Two Serpents.  I don’t want the copy edit review process to slow down proper writing, and it hasn’t so far.  I wrote as much as usual today, and edited as much as I needed to, and I hope I can keep up that pace.  We Shall See.  One day is hardly a pattern.

I’ve been avoiding reading fiction for the last week or so as I get deeper into the new book, which is an interesting experience, and might not be helpful.  I find myself salivating for new worlds.  I linger over descriptions of books, and run my hands down spines as I pass them.  Sometimes I peek, just a little line from somewhere in the middle.  I already have my Christmas reading list, which I plan to dive into once I put the next book to bed for the holidays.  Shall I share?

Wallace isn’t fiction, sure, but he has such a strong voice I’m wary of reading his essays during the first-drafting process.  That’s what edits are for, I guess—belt-sanding away everyone else’s words from mine.

I noticed that the Wallace book has an essay on David Lynch.  I hope he’ll talk about the Dune movie.  I’m not all that optimistic, but who knows?  The spice may flow!