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.
I’ve had an email from Charlie Finlay, editor of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, to tell me that my Raffalon story, “The Vindicator,” will run in the November/December issue.
This is will be the last Raffalon story to appear in F&SF. When the exclusivity period runs out in the middle of 2017, I’ll put them all together in a collection and put it out as an ebook and POD paperback.
The collection will include the seven stories that have run in the magazine, plus “The Inn of the Seven Blessings,” the original Raffalon story that appeared in the George R.R. Martin anthology, Rogues. And I’ll write a ninth story to appear exclusively in the collection.
While I’m talking about F&SF, Amazon is offering an amazing discount on an annual subscription to the ebook version. If I’m reading it right, the price is US$5 for six big double issues – which is 83 cents an issue. Five bucks for 450,000 words of fiction, plus columns, cartoons, reviews, feature articles, and some interesting classified ads – that’s the best bargain in SFF today.
I’d forgotten about it — my memory is about as strong as your average kids treehouse — but when Song of the Serpent was coming out, Paizo asked me to promote the book by writing a prequel short story, “Krunzle the Quick,” which was published online in briefly weekly episodes.
Anyone who’s interested can read it free at http://paizo.com/pathfinder/tales/serial/krunzleTheQuick
Just click on (show post) in the upper right corner.
The story is also available as a 99-cent ebook from the Paizo store: http://paizo.com/products/btpy8tce/discuss?Pathfinder-Tales-Krunzle-the-Quick-ePub#tabs
For the past little while I’ve been working with a very talented voice artist named Bob Gonzalez who has been converting some of my novels into audio books through a packager named Listen2abook. He’s already done my somewhat-comic suspense novel, Downshift, and it’s available on Amazon and other platforms.
In the next couple of weeks, the audio-book sequel to Downshift, Old Growth, will be on sale. I’ve got the ebook and POD paperback editions of OG ready to go, and I’ll time them to coincide with the audio-book release.
Bob’s next project will be my sff short-story collection, Devil or Angel and Other Stories. More on that as time goes by.
But, just as I’ve put up text excerpts of my novels as free-read teasers, we’re going to do the same with audio samples of the Listen2abook editions.
So as of today a free-to-listen sample of Downshift is on my excerpts page. If you listen to it, you’ll get a sense of what it was like to be me as a scrabbling freelance writer on Vancouver Island in the late 1980s, with some adjustment for hyperbole – I didn’t have all that much to do with mafia-financed real estate developments.
While I’m waiting to be able to announce that the trade and ebook editions of A Wizard’s Henchman are available for order . . .
Back in 2008 at World Fantasy Convention in Calgary, I was in the bar when Erik Mona, publisher of Paizo Books, told me he was a great Jack Vance fan and that he liked my work. He asked me if I had a book for him. As it turned out, I was looking for a publisher for Template, my stand-alone Archonate space opera that had been brought out as limited collector’s editions by PS Publishing.
I sent it to him and he brought it out as part of the series, Planet Stories, which (like Template) were decidedly retro science fiction.
Later, Erik told me that he also published novels set in the Pathfinder RPG universe’s world of Golarion, and asked me if I would be interested in doing one. He also said he would really like it if I would do a Cugel the Clever story. I love the Cugel stories and said I’d be delighted.
So we made a deal and I wrote a novel originally called Out of the Blue that was retitled Song of the Serpent before publication in 2012. It told the tale of a thief named Krunzle the Quick who, like Cugel, is fast on his feet – he has to be because, again like Cugel, he’s not as smart as he thinks he is. Caught trying to rob a plutocrat, he ends up with a magical bronze snake around his neck that chokes him when he tries to deviate from a mission to bring back the rich man’s errant daughter. There are also dwarves, half-orcs, a pack of ne’er do wells running a gold-mining camp with slave labor, and a rather promising young troll named Skanderbrog. The more I wrote about Skanderbrog, the better I got to like him.
Song of the Serpent has not been the most successful of the Pathfinder novel series. I haven’t read any of the others, but I gather that a not very likeable Vancean anti-hero kind of stands out from the crowd. And not in a good way: a lot of head-scratching and two-star reviews on Goodreads.
But readers who are fans of both Vance’s work and mine tell me the book largely satisfies the appetite for a Cugelesque picaresque adventure. But there haven’t been as many of those readers as there might be, because the novel was published under my media tie-in pen name, Hugh Matthews. People who go looking for things I’ve written don’t usually find it.
So I thought I’d mention Song of the Serpent again so that people who might like it can give it a looking over. I don’t expect to make any money from fresh sales, since it will probably never pay out its advance. But I’d like to see Krunzle and Skanderbrog get more attention. I think they deserve it.
I’ve posted the first chapter of A Wizard’s Henchman for a free read.
For quite a few years now, I’ve been imagining a far-future civilization called the Ten Thousand Worlds, which occupies an arm of the galaxy known as The Spray. The time I’ve been writing about is just before the universe suddenly and arbitrarily shifts from a basis of rational cause-and-effect to a new regime based on magic. When that happens, technological civilization will collapse and the age of The Dying Earth will dawn, with its grim thaumaturges, haunted ruins, and louche decadence.
Whether they live on grand old, long-settled worlds or strange little planets in odd corners, virtually none of The Spray’s multitude of inhabitants knows that disaster impends. A handful do, and they are preparing for the great change.
Until now, I’ve written only about the handful and I’ve always taken the overarching story just to the point where the cataclysm is about to break upon the Ten Thousand Worlds. In A Wizard’s Henchman, for the first time, I go all the way.
So the story starts out as hardboiled space opera and transmutes into dark fantasy, from a universe of intelligent space ships to a realm of dragons and demons.