Matthew Hughes: the Archonate

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Barbarians of the Beyond

I’ve completed a fourth draft of Barbarians of the Beyond, the authorized sequel to Jack Vance’s The Demon Princes, and have sent it off to John Vance at Spatterlight Press for his perusal.

Just to be clear, this is not the further adventures of Kirth Gersen, after his enemies “deserted” him.  It does take place mostly on the world Providence, where the community once known as Mount Pleasant has been reoccupied by a mild-manner cult from one of the worlds of the Rigel Concourse.

But the protagonist is a young woman whose parents were enslaved by the Demon Princes and ended up deep in the Beyond, in the household of a notorious pirate.  She escapes and comes to Providence on a mission to recover a precious object with which she hopes to buy her parents’ freedom.

But then, as they do, things get complicated.  The book is intended to appeal both to Vance aficionados and to my own fans, two categories that overlap in any Venn diagram.

I’m pretty proud of it, and grateful to John Vance for the opportunity to dig in his father’s garden.

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Back to Barbarians

I’ve finished a 15,000-word novelette, “The Forlorn,” and submitted it to The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.  It’s the start of a projected series of novelettes about Cascor, a discriminator (private eye) of the Dying Earth milieu, who began life as a supporting character in three of the adventures of Raffalon the thief.

That clears the decks, so tomorrow I return to work on Barbarians of the Beyond, the authorized sequel to Jack Vance’s iconic quintilogy, The Demon Princes, to be published by Spatterlight Press, run by Jack’s son, John.  John has given me some good notes on the earlier draft.  I expect to have a polished draft to turn in sometime next month.

Stay tuned.

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Odd coincidence

Some years ago, Gardner Dozois asked me for a novelette for the anthology Rogues, that he was putting together with George R.R. Martin.  I dreamed up a thief in the Dying Earth and named him Raffalon, riffing on the archetypal gentleman thief, Raffles.  I later wrote eight more stories about my competent but generally unlucky ladrone and sold them to The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, before self-publishing them all as a collection.

Now the coincidence:  it turns out that raffalon is an actual word, albeit medieval Old High German.  It’s a verb and it means “to seize or snatch.”

Go figure.

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What the Wind Brings shortlisted for the Endeavour Award

What the Wind Brings, my magnum opus, the book I waited forty years to write, is a finalist for the Endeavour Award.

The award is given to “a distinguished science fiction or fantasy book, either a novel or a single-author collection, created by a writer living in the Pacific Northwest.”  The 2020 judges are Michael Capobianco, John G. Hemry, and Rosemary Claire Smith.

This is my third time on the Endeavour shortlist.

You can read the opening of WTWB on Curious Fictions:

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