The name I answer to is Matt Hughes. I write fantasy and suspense fiction. To keep the two genres separate, I now use my full name, Matthew Hughes, for fantasy, and the shorter form for the crime stuff. I also write media tie-ins as Hugh Matthews.
Before he died, Jack Vance and his son, John, set up a webstore to sell Jack’s backlist. I was pleased to be asked to write some blurbs for the titles, some of which are favorites of mine from way back when.
More recently, John, together with Koen Vyverman, created a Jack Vance YouTube channel. Gradually, they are producing individual YT videos a minute or so long, to stimulate interest among the vast and fortunate throng who have never read Vance – I call them fortunate, because I envy them the experience of discovery.
The individual shorts feature artwork and music chosen by Koen and a blurb narrated by John. I’ve been writing quite a few of the texts – I’ve been told I have a knack for such wordsmithery, which is not surprising because I wrote PR materials of all sorts for forty years. More recently, John asked me if I would not only write but narrate the words I’d written. I said sure, and now I’ve done a dozen or so, with more to come.
The first of them promotes Mazirian the Magician, Jack’s preferred title for his seminal work originally released under the publisher’s choice of title: The Dying Earth. If you’re interested in hearing my oddly inflected mid-Atlantic accent trying to stimulate the world to read a Jack Vance classic, tune in here:
Once again, “Greeves and the Evening Star” scores with a reviewer of Old Venus. This time, it’s Cat Fitzpatrick at the UK’s Fantasy Book Review site, who says:
“There are many strong stories here, with Matthew Hughes’ Greeves and the Evening Star being a personal favourite of mine, a superb Wodehouse-style comedy where the English toff [Bartie Gloster] is highly aggrieved to find himself kidnapped by a friend and taken to Venus. His highly capable valet ends up having to rescue the incompetent aristocrats from the attentions of a murderous alien Siren, but only after a decent breakfast of kippers, naturally.”
Once again, my P.G. Wodehouse pastiche, “Greeves and the Evening Star,” gets singled out for special mention in a review of Old Venus, the retro-sf antho co-edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. This time it’s by Cesar R. Bustamante, Jr., (gotta love those hand-me-down American names), the book blogger for the New York Daily News.
He says, “There’s quite a bit of comedy especially in Matthew Hughes’s story about a peculiar man falling for a giant Venusian newt (I’m not judging). ”
People do like the Wodehouse style, although I have a feeling that Mr. Bustamante doesn’t recognize a Jeeves and Bertie story at first glance.
The fellow I’m housesitting for in central Brittany has come home for a few days to tend to some business locally, so my wife and I are off to see St Malo (whence came Jacques Cartier, founder of Quebec City), and Mont St. Michel.
I’ve turned in “Epiphanies,” a new Luff Imbry novella (24,000 words), to PS Publishing. It will go into an omnibus of the previous three novellas to be published in two limited editions sometime this year.
Imbry started out as a supporting character in Black Brillion (Tor, 2004), where he was a high-stakes forger and confidence man forcibly inducted into the Archonate Bureau of Scrutiny and assigned to work with Baro Harkless, a strange but brilliant young scroot. I actually killed him off in the first draft, but my editor, David G. Hartwell, counseled me against it.
Later on, when PS editor Nick Gevers asked me for a story, I decided to revive Luff and produced “The Farouche Assemblage. ” More stories followed, in Interzone and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and then the three PS limited edition novellas.
“Epiphanies” brings Imbry’s career to the point at which he encounters Baro Harkless in Black Brillion.
A first time for me: getting singled out for special mention in a Wall Street Journal review. Tom Shippey says good things about Old Venus, including:
“Much of the collection is just good fun, especially Matt Hughes’s Jeeves-and-Wooster parody, “Greeves and the Evening Star.” Wodehouse fans will recall the prominence of newts in the Wooster world, but not human-sized female ones with fangs, sexy voices and highly unromantic intentions.”