Matthew Hughes: the Archonate

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Free read: “Not a Problem”

A few years back, Gordon Van Gelder was putting together an anthology of bespoke stories about global warming.  He called it Welcome to the Greenhouse, a title reminiscent of Kurt Vonnegut’s famous short story, “Welcome to the Monkey House.”

He asked me for a story.  I realized, and still do, that global warming is a big problem.  I’ve been anticipating it since the 1960s when J.G. Ballard published The Drowned World.  So I tried to come up with something grim and gritty, but nothing good came to mind.  The only idea I’d had was something a little goofy that did sort address the issue that the kind of thinking that gets you into a problem is probably not the kind that will get you out.

Then Gordon emailed me to ask how I was doing and I told him I was only coming up with goofy stuff, at which point I understood from his reply that comic relief was what he was expecting me to deliver.  So I wrote the story and sent it in.

It’s called “Not a Problem,” and it’s now available for a free read on the SF Canada site.  When you’ve finished reading it, you might stick around the site and get to know some of Canada’s up and coming new sff authors.

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“Myrmelon” review and interview

There’s a nice review of my latest F&SF story “Curse of the Myrmelon” over at SF Revu.  Sam Tomaino calls it, a “fun detective story. Another delightful tale from Hughes.”

Meanwhile, I’ve done an interview about the genesis of the story and what people call “the writing process” with Stephen Mazur for the F&SF blog.

Tomorrow, I start the long drive from Brittany to my new housesit in central Italy. So I may not post anything for a while.

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For the Jack Vance fans

Over the past few months, I’ve been writing blurbs and then narrating them for a series of YouTube promotional videos extolling the works of Jack Vance, upon whose literary shoulders I teeter.

The videos are produced by Koen Vyverman, Vance aficionado and one of the forces behind the Vance Integral Project, which restored all of Jack’s novels and stories to their original form, removing edits which were often crudely performed by editors whose only concern was the space available in their magazines.

Spatterlight Press is run by Jack’s son John, who has become a long-distance friend.  If you wnt to read Vance — and everybody should — it’s the place to go for ebooks.  And you’ll be reading Vance as he wanted to be read.

Here’s a link to the YouTube channel.


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90k and counting

Nothing much to report except that I’ve passed 90,000 words on the historical novel and it’s coming along well.  I expect to have a finely polished draft of some 150,000 words by the end of the year and then we’ll see what happens.  It looks as if the title will be What the Wind Brings.


The only other news is a couple of nice reviews of “Curse of the Myrmelon,” the new Raffalon/Cascor story in the latest issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.  Lois Tilton reviewed it for Locus online and Martha Burns did so for Tangent Online, adding “the banter was delightful.”


It’s true.  I do give good banter.


“Curse” is my twenty-sixth appearance in F&SF (twenty-seventh if you make allowances for my Neb-nominated Guth Bandar novella, “The Helper and his Hero) having been serialized over two issues).  If you’d told me fifty years ago, when I was sixteen and dreaming of being an sf writer, that I’d become one the magazine’s regulars, I would have been over the moon.  Hell, even at the fully ripened age of sixty-six, I’m still pretty chuffed.

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Fourth Imbry novella in October/November

The fourth Luff Imbry novella, “Epiphanies,” is now scheduled to be published by PS Publishing in October or November.  If there are any changes to the schedule, I’ll let people know.

Originally, “Epiphanies” was to be included in an omnibus of the previous three Imbry novellas — “Quartet and Triptych,” “The Yellow Cabochon,” and “Of Whimsies and Noubles” — but now it will come out as an independent title in limited editions.  That means there will be a hardcover without dust jacket of a few hundred copies, and a jacketed, signed hardcover of one hundred copies.  Being PS products, the books will be of excellent quality.

The omnibus, which will include all four novellas, will now be pushed back to sometime in 2016.  It will be a paperback.

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