Matthew Hughes: the Archonate

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I’m invited again

I can’t say I’m a big name in the sff business — known, certainly, but not a name to conjure with — but every now and then I get a little validation, like being written up in The New York Review of Science Fiction or being shortlisted for a juried award.

Over the weekend, I received another one of those affirmations:  super-editor Gardner Dozois invited me to send him a story for an upcoming theme anthology to be called The Book of Swords.  Assuming Gardner likes what I’ll send him, I’ll be joining K.J. Parker, Scott Lynch, Robin Hobb, Garth Nix, C.J. Cherryh, Elizabeth Bear, Ellen Kushner, Ken Liu, Danial Abraham, Cecelia Holland, and Peter S. Beagle in the table of contents.  And probably more big names who have yet to commit.

Over the past several years, I’ve been in several invitation-only anthos, including the megaseller and World Fantasy Ward-shortlisted Rogues, for which I’ve actually received royalty payments over and above the generous advance.  I’ve also been in Old Mars and Old Venus and Songs of the Dying Earth.

And while those appearances haven’t made me a household name in fandom, they’ve brought me new readers, many of whom have stuck around.  As I often say to fans who email me with kind words, I appreciate the encouragement.


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Fools Errant and Fool Me Twice in paperback

I should have done this back when I started offering print-on-demand paperbacks through Amazon’s CreateSpace subsidiary, but better late than never: my first two fantasy novels, Fools Errant and Fool Me Twice, are now available as POD paperbacks, for $12.99 each, from the CreateSpace store:

Fools Errant

Fool Me Twice

Together, they’re the coming-of-age story of Filidor Vesh, apprentice Archon, who later became a pretty good Archon in his own right and had dealings with Henghis Hapthorn and took an interest in the doings of Luff Imbry.

Fools Errant was written when I was less than half the age I am today and hadn’t yet learned not to go over the top.  Fool Me Twice is a more mature book but still a farce.  But people read them and like them, so who am I to argue?

These editions have been designed and formatted by the exceptionally able Bradley W. Schenck, Hero of the Archonate (he has the medal), and upcoming Tor author.


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A crumb of glory

Rogues, the cross-genre anthology edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, has won the World Fantasy Award for best antho of 2014.

I can claim a small slice of credit because Rogues contains my story, “The Inn of the Seven Blessings,” which is reprinted in Imaginarium 4: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing, now out in paperback from the increasingly brilliant Canadian small press, ChiZine Publications.

Tying it all together, the principals of ChiZine, Sandra Kasturi and Brent Savory, won the Special Award for Professionals.  ChiZine also published Gifts for the One Who Comes After, which won the Best Collection World Fantasy Award for the incredibly impressive Helen Marshall.

A very good night for Canadian specfic, indeed.

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Plug for a new antho

A few years ago, I had a story called “Not a Problem” in an anthology of sf stories about global warming — Welcome to the Greenhouse — edited by Gordon Van Gelder.  It was, frankly, a piece of comic relief in an otherwise pretty serious collection of shape-of-things-to-come science fiction.

Now I’ve resold the same story in another otherwise serious sf anthology, Ecotones, which is a project organized by the mainstays of the SFF World site, where I like to visit and give writing advice and so on. If you’re not familiar with the world, an ecotone is a transitional zone where two different ecological biomes touch each other, such as where savanna meets rainforest.

It’s the fourth antho SFF World has put out, and each table of contents has mixed contributions from established pros (bigger names than mine) with newcomers, some of them making their first sales.

The star names above the title in Ecotones are Lauren Beukes, Ken Liu, and Tobias S. Buckell.

This is a crowdfunded project, through Kickstarter, and the rewards for kicking in are pretty good.  Here’s where to go.

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Epiphanies and Wizard’s Henchman

The fourth and final Luff Imbry novella, “Epiphanies,” is scheduled for publication by PS Publishing in April, 2016.  As with the others, there will be two limited editions, one of them signed and numbered.  There will also be an ebook.

Sometime down the road, all four novellas will be put out as a paperback omnibus.

A Wizard’s Henchman, a novel previously serialized in Lightspeed Magazine, is scheduled for July, 2016.  It, too, will be published in two limiteds, with an ebook version.

For those two tuned in just lately, it was called The Kaslo Chronicles when it ran in Lightspeed, and started out as a Vancean space opera about Erm Kaslo, a hardboiled confidential operative (a private eye) pursuing his career in a far-future civilization spanning the Ten Thousand Worlds of our galactic arm.

But as the story proceeds, it morphs into a science-fantasy as the basic operating principle of the universe shifts from rationalism to magic.  Kaslo’s hard-won skills are rendered inoperative and he finds that he has no talents at all for “sympathetic association.”  He goes to work for a former client who was a rich ninny before the change but is now becoming a powerful proto-thaumaturge.

The plot ties in with elements of the Filidor and Hapthorn series.

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