Matthew Hughes: the Archonate

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Round-up post

All in all, I had a pretty good time at WorldCon in London last week. I didn’t get invited onto any panels – not even the one about Canadian sf – but I got to see some old friends.

Gordon Van Gelder and I had a beer together, I exchanged a few pleasant words with George R.R. Martin, and went to dinner with the legendary Brian Aldiss (courtesy of Pete and Nicky Crowther).

I had two delightful encounters: multi-award-winning author Michael Swanwick came over to the PS Publishing table when I was signing books, to tell me I was an excellent writer; and I got to meet mega-critic John Clute and give him a copy of the Luff Imbry collection.

We also launched, unofficially, Of Whimsies and Noubles, the third and long delayed Luff Imbry novella from PS Publishing. The unsigned limited edition is now out and available. The signed edition will come later, once I receive the signature pages, sign them, and send them back. Next year, there will also be an omnibus edition of all three novellas, to which I will contribute a new, original Imbry story.

I arrived back in France to find a box full of signature sheets for a Subterranean Press limited edition of Rogues, the bestselling George Martin/Gardner Dozois cross-genre anthology.

Between bouts of wearing out my hand signing my scrawl of a signature, I finished the last episode of The Kaslo Chronicles, a serialized novel that Lightspeed Magazine has been running. Down the road, once the last episode has appeared in the magazine, I’ll tidy up the narrative and self-publish it as an ebook and POD paperback.

I’m now about 2,500 words into another Raffalon novelette, but in this one the lead character is Cascor the former provostman turned magic-wielding private eye. As I usually do with a detective story, I started with the character encountering an unusual situation that triggers an investigation – but I have no idea who the bad guy is or how things are going to work out. Still, piece by piece, the guy in the back of my head feeds me scenes and insights, and I write 500 to 1,000 words a day. By the end of the tale, it all pretty well hangs together. I am very grateful to that part of me that actually creates the work.

I’m a member of SF Canada, the association for Canadian sff professionals, and I’ve contributed a story to a new SF Canada feature: free online fiction by our members. I’ve supplied the first story – “Not A Problem” – which was written, tongue firmly in cheek, for the global-warming-theme anthology, Welcome to the Greenhouse, edited by Gordon Van Gelder.

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“Avianca’s Bezel” cover story in Sept/Oct F&SF

My archetypal thief, Raffalon, gets another workout in the upcoming September/October issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.  The novelette, “Avianca’s Bezel,” is also the inspiration for the cover illustration.

Lois Tilton has already reviewed the issue for Locus, and likes the story (although she got the title wrong).  She says, “Hughes is always a lot of fun. The series here is happily one that requires no backgrounding in the previous episodes for readers to enjoy fully. Plots and complications, as always, pile up satisfactorily…”

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Me at WorldCon (LonCon)

I haven’t got a lot of scheduled activities at WorldCon, although I may shamelessly crash a panel or two.  I did that at Melbourne’s WorldCon and it worked out well.

Officially, I’ve got two signings on Saturday:  an all-comers event from 11 to noon at the convention autographing area;  and one for PS Publishing at their table in the dealers room from 2 to 3 pm.

I’ll be spending some time in the convention hospitality room and in the bar.  Feel free to come and say hello.

I’m also going to bring some copies of my Endeavour Award-nominated collection, The Meaning of Luff and Other Stories, to give away.  They’re intended for winning new readers, but I’d probably give one to a devoted fan.

Hope to see you there.

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Third Luff Imbry novella available for pre-order

Back in 2008, I made a deal with the excellent UK small press, PS Publishing, to write three novellas featuring Old Earth’s corpulent master thief and forger, Luff Imbry.  The first two, Quartet and Triptych and The Yellow Cabochon, were published in limited editions.  In 2011, I wrote the third, entitled Of Whimsies and Noubles, and turned it in.  But time went by and it never appeared.

I put the long delay down to the kind of scheduling and production problems that are not uncommon in small presses, where too few people are trying to do too many things while trying to ensure the exemplary quality for which PS is known.  It turned out, though, that the publisher had suffered a computer crash of epic proportions in which all trace of the third novella had disappeared.  And had then been completely forgotten.

At some point, PS saw a post of mine, responding to someone’s query about the long-delayed novella.  They got in touch and asked where it was.  I answered that I had turned it in, years ago.  Palms smacked foreheads, and the production wheels began belatedly to turn.

So now it’s been copyedited, the cover has been created by Ben Baldwin, who did the covers for the previous two novellas as well as for several of my self-published ebooks, and the text is at the printers.  I just have to sign the cover sheets so they can be bound into the finished product, which I expect to do at WorldCon next week.  And then Of Whimsies and Noubles will see daylight at last.

There are two editions, one limited to 100 signed copies.  You can pre-order here.

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The Gist Hunter and Other Stories in paperback

This is one for the completist collectors:  Skyhorse, the publisher that bought out the Nightshade Books list, is releasing tomorrow a paperback edition of The Gist Hunter and Other Stories, my first short story collection, originally published by NS in 2005.  It contains all the sff stories I’d had published up until 2004.  The price is US$12.15.

I’ll be happy if you buy it, and/or the audio book that apparently exists though I’ve never heard it, since I’ll finally get some royalties over the $2500 advance NS paid me ten years ago.  But fans who’ve already bought the Hapthorn or Bandar collections will already have read most of the contents.  There are, however, four non-Archonate stories in the mix that are (I think) pretty cool.  Up to you if they’re worth the price.

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