Summer Prince

Usually when I blurb a YA book, I post about it here when it’s published. Alas, I was in the depths of non-blogging when Alaya Dawn Johnson’s Summer Prince came out a month ago. So now I’m making up for that, because it is a very good book indeed. Here’s what I said in my blurb:

A nimble, beautiful novel about risking everything for love and art, both otherworldly and magnificently real.

But now that I have some time, and more space than one gets for a blurb, I have a lot more to say.

summer prince

Summer Prince is set four centuries in the future (roughly the same time frame as Ugies). It’s set mostly in a city-state called Palmares Três, which sits where Rio de Janeiro, Brazil does today. The city is post-scarcity futuristic, but technology is carefully controlled and wealth unequally distributed. It’s also a matriarchy, though one with a peculiar old tradition: every five years, the youngest citizens (under thirty) all vote to elect a Summer King.

Summer King is an honorary position, basically an official rock star of the city. He’s always super charismatic, beautiful, and artistically talented, and has an awesome time being king.

There’s only one drawback: at the end of one year the Summer King is ritually sacrificed.

Here’s something you might not know: The sacred king who reigns for a year and then dies can be found in lots of societies in history. It’s an old pagan tradition. But Johnson uses it to examine our current celebrity culture, in which we build up and tear down famous people, particularly young ones, even as we love them with all our hearts.

Which brings us to June Costas, the protagonist of Summer Prince. She’s eighteen, an artist, and a child of privilege. (Her mother is a high government official; her father was a famous singer who committed suicide.) Thanks to her POV, Summer Prince is all about art. Music, drawings, sculptures, nano-tattoos, large-scale high-tech media manipulations—all of these get deployed by June in her quest to be the best artist in Palmares Três. She’s in rebellion against her mother and the government, still angry at her father, and gloriously egotistical (as one might expect of the self-annointed best artist in Palmares Três).

She’s also gloriously in love with the just-elected Summer King, who’s not only fated to die in a year, but also happens to be in love with June’s best friend, Gil.

Anyway, it’s pretty awesome, and got starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, and Booklist. If you liked the way that the high tech in Uglies empowered its teen characters to do cool things, you will totally love this book. The art in it feels like real art, and the love, both celebrity-crushing and actual face-to-face connection, totally feels like real love.

You can read the opening here.

More Midnighters Covers

Because Russia has to have new covers every year, or something.

Here they are:

russiamid1

russiamid2

russiamid3

I don’t have much to say about these covers, except that I love the darkling dragons in them. For the earlier versions, click here.

Insert here the usual apologies about not blogging lately. Yes, I have been taking rather a long break. But I assure you, it’s only because I’ve been writing loads. I’m at about 70,000 words in my current work in progress, currently titled Afterworlds.

Now, what does 70 kilowords this mean? That this book will be out soon?

Hah! I’m afraid not.Afterworlds is going to be a long piece of work, with two novels wrapped into one in a strange and mystical way. I’m maybe halfway done, so the novel isn’t going to be in anyone’s hands until late next year. (Or later, because art is no science.)

Anyway, thanks to those who continue to hang around my dusty windblown blog. I apologize for letting this space that we’ve all created together lie fallow. But rest assured that some day it will spark back to life, when I have more energy and time, or simply find something to rant about.

Till then, hope you’re all having fun.

Adelaide Writers’ Festival

I’m headed to the Adelaide Writers’ Festival in a few weeks, so I’m hoping to see some of you South Australian fans there.

adfest_logo

Here’s my schedule:

SUNDAY MARCH 3, 5PM
WEST STAGE
Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden
Leviathan: Scott Westerfeld (US/AUS)
This is me having a long chat with my old buddy Sean Williams. We will be talking about All Of The Stuff.
Click here for more.

MONDAY MARCH 4, 5PM
EAST STAGE
Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden
Highways to a War: A Reading
War stories are among our oldest narratives and this session of readings will explore some of our more recent wars. Christopher Koch has taken us to Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia. Peter Robb has introduced us to the mean streets of Italy and Brazil. Tom Keneally has chronicled both the World Wars. Scott Westerfeld explores an alternative First World War and Ross McMullin chronicles the letters home.

It looks like I’ll be doing a reading for this second one, and with Tom Keneally! (AKA the guy who wrote Schindler’s Ark.) Click here for more.

For more details about the festival, click here. Note that these sessions are FREE, and at the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden.

Story Starter

A pre-nanowrimo warmup for you . . .

At the last minute on a Friday afternoon, you and a few friends decide to go camping in the nearby lake district. You throw together a few sleeping bags, one tent, some food, and a few extra clothes. Sure, you’re not the most experienced campers, but you’re going to have fun anyway.

The drive is longer than you think, thanks to some bad navigation and car trouble, so it’s almost midnight when you arrive at the campsite. You eat a cold meal, erect a somewhat shambolic tent, and then all crawl in together for a good night’s sleep. Not a brilliant start to your mini-vacation, but tomorrow is going to be awesome.

The problem is, you’ve managed to pitch your tent right over a rather large rock, which you somehow didn’t notice in the darkness. And now it’s in the middle of your back. The tent’s a bit too crowded to avoid this rock. So finally you climb out, ignoring the protests of your friends, and reach beneath the tent to retrieve it.

And here’s the weird thing: trapped beneath the rock was a piece of paper.

You take this paper back into the tent, where you all crowd around it with a flashlight. It’s a hand-scrawled note that says . . .

a) “I’ll be back just after midnight.”

b) “Here lies Rusty, who asked too many questions.”

c) “This place is plagued with midges.”

d) Put your own story-starting note in the comments thread below!


Don’t forget the meet-up over at the Westerforum. I’ll be there to answer all your questions (within human limits).

Here are the details:

MEET-UP
Saturday
October 20, 2012

7PM Eastern US/4PM US West Coast
Sunday morning at 10AM in Sydney

The Manual Is OUT!

The full-color, slightly larger format, all-singing and all-dancing art book to the Leviathan series, also known as The Manual of Aeronautics, is OUT NOW. Actually, several people have found them on store shelves over the weekend, but today is the official release date. (Well, tomorrow morning in the United States. BUT YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN . . . )

You can go buy the Manual with your monies! Or ask your librarians for it, or get it online at Powell’s, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or IndieBound.

UPDATE: Oh yeah, the paperback of Goliath also came out today!

One of my favorite features of the Leviathan series is that each of the books has a splendid color endpapers by Keith, and the Manual is no exception. Which means I get to follow my tradition of revealing the endpapers on publication day.

As a wrap up of the series, Keith and I wanted to do something that encapsulated the whole series, with pretty much all of the characters in it. Also there was a certain piece of fan art about Deryn and Alek posing for the cover photo on Goliath. So we thought it would be cool for Keith to create the photo shoot for the Clanker/Darwninist Co-Existence Treaty signing!

Most likely, the image below wouldn’t really happen in the world of the Leviathan. I mean, all these characters wouldn’t all get credit for what they did to end the Great War (and all of those machines and beasties in the background would be a bit of a mess). But think of this as a visual confection, a collage that reveals the themes of the book (not unlike the frontispiece of that OTHER Leviathan).

So this is what we went with, and from this humble idea Keith created this awesome image:

Click here for the HUGE and zoomable version. And then see if you can find all the amusing (or sad) details.

Feel free to comment on the Manual in this comment thread, given that there aren’t really spoilers for an art book. (Or are there? Hmm.)


So I guess this is KIND OF THE END. You know? I mean, I’ll certainly post about the Leviathan series again, and people will go on talking about it and cosplaying it, and as new people are born and taught to read, they’ll discover it for the first time. Also, it’s completely possible that someone will make graphic novels or movies or interpretive dances of it, or that I will do more work in that universe someday.

But that doesn’t change the fact that with the Manual finally out, the Leviathan series is kind of . . . over now, at least in its original flavor version. *MAKES SAD FACE WITH TINY TEAR*

It’s been a great five years of working with the awesome Keith Thompson, who really threw his genius into this project, making it much better and bigger and realer than I could ever have hoped it would be. (I’m pretty sure I’ll be working with him again. Steampunk card game!)

It’s also been great having so many voluble, passionate, opinionated, and ridiculously creative fans. Thank you for coming along for the ride, and especially for all the amazing fan art. You are the best.

Seriously. Barking spiders to all of you.

Events, Online and Off

I won’t be formally touring this year, because I don’t have a novel out. But I might get to see some of you, thanks to several events I’ll be doing over the next month.

The first of these is an online chat with Figment.com.

Sunday July 8
8PM US-ET (5PM Pacific Time, 10AM Monday AUS-ET)

I’ll be chatting with Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan, co-authors of the upcoming book, Team Human. Mostly we’ll be discussing what it’s like to collaborate on a novel.

Click here to find out more.


I’ll also be at San Diego Comic Con

I have three events in San Diego, two signings and a panel.

Thursday July 12
noon-1PM
Mysterious Galaxy Booth
I’ll be signing and chatting to anyone who drops by. Mysterious Galaxy will have plenty of my books for sale.

Sunday July 15th
12:00PM – 1:00PM
Room 25ABC
Panel: What’s Hot in YA
1. Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures series)
2. Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me)
3. Lish McBride (Necromancing The Stone)
4. Leigh Bardugo (Shadow and Bone)
5. Melina Marchetta (The Lumatere Chronicles)
6. Myra McEntire (Hourglass series)
7. James Dashner (The Maze Runner series)
8. Scott Westerfeld (Uglies)
9. Moderator: Nathan Bransford (Jacob Wonderbar series)
Note: Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky) is not appearing on the panel, but will appear at the post-panel signing in the autographing area.

Sunday July 15th
1:30-2:30pm
Autograph area AA09 in the Sails Pavilion
Signing with me will be Nathan Bransford (Jacob Wonderbar for President of the Universe), and featuring Leigh Bardugo (Shadow and Bone), James Dashner (Maze Runner), Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures), Tahereh Mafi (Unravel Me), Melina Marchetta (Froi of the Exiles), Lish McBride (Hold Me Closer, Necromancer), Myra McEntire (Hourglass).


Dalek Week!!!

And finally, those of you who create fan art might want to check out Dalek Week over at Deviant Art, which runs from July 8 to 14. Here’s the scoop:

Dalek week is a seven day challenge where you upload one deviation per day for seven days. Each day has a certain theme that you will need to centre your entry around. . . . After Dalek week, myself and the judges will decide on our favourite entries from each day. There will be one winner per day/theme.

That sounds fun, and I can’t wait to feature some of the winners here.

Click here for more details about Dalek Week.

Russian Behemoth Cover

So the voting on my last post seems to be overwhelmingly in favor of the Leviathan bridge as the first art reveal. Well, it turns out I don’t have a hi-res file for anything in the Manual!

HAH!

So yes, I’ve sent off to Keith, and it should be here soon. In the meantime, please enjoy the Russian cover of Behemoth:

That’s pretty bad-ass. I love the giant Sahmeran sneaking up on Alek from behind.

Okay the BRIDGE ART WILL BE HERE SOON.

Also, don’t forget that tomorrow is my thing at the Sydney Writers Festival:

A Neverending Story: Fantasy Worlds
Sunday, May 20
11:30AM-12:30PM

Scott Westerfeld, Isobelle Carmody, Justine Larbalestier, and Joy Lawn (facilitator)
Sydney Dance 4, Pier 4/5, Hickson Road, Walsh Bay

Here are the details.

First Aeronautics Art Reveal—A Vote!

Okay, the Manual of Aeronautics comes out August 21, a mere three months and a bit from now, so it’s time to start the art reveals!

In keeping with tradition, let’s have us a vote. I’ve chosen three possible pieces of art to reveal, so choose wisely.

Which would you rather see in glorious color?

1) The bridge of the Leviathan

2) A Sultan’s elephant walker

3) A fléchette bat!

Use the comments thread below to vote (by number makes it easier), or simply to cajole, convince and coerce your fellow commenters about how they should vote.

Sydneysiders! Don’t forget that Justine, Isobelle Carmody and I will be at the Sydney Writers Festival this Sunday. Come see us talk. It’s free!

A Neverending Story: Fantasy Worlds
Sunday, May 20
11:30AM-12:30PM

Scott Westerfeld, Isobelle Carmody, Justine Larbalestier, and Joy Lawn (facilitator)
Sydney Dance 4, Pier 4/5, Hickson Road, Walsh Bay

From steampunk to the supernatural, from urban fantasies to dystopian futures, our love affair with speculative fiction is all-consuming.

Three authors who create imagined worlds explore our enduring fascination with fantasy and unpick the complexities of the genre. Isobelle Carmody, Scott Westerfeld and Justine Larbalestier talk to Joy Lawn.

Here are the online details for this event.

FAF (Mostly Monochromatic Edition)

Here’s a round up of fan art from the last two weeks, mostly in a black and white mode, with some BONUS NEWS at the end.

Let’s start with the art that was handed to me at my Free Comic Book Day event at Kinokuniya in Sydney. Thanks again to everyone who came and said nice things to me on my birthday, and especially to those who handed me art and cake.

First there was some Midnighters art from (appropriately) Melissa:

Yes, that’s Rex looking pretty cool, and I like how Melissa seems a bit annoyed at having to pose for the drawing.

And from Christina, a triptych of Tallys:

The hot air balloons are a cool touch, as are the necklace, interface cuff, and knife for each Tallyversion.

And finally, from Meshell, I got Alek and Deryn as lovebirds:

It’s cool that I got fan art from every trilogy at that event. You’re all doing a good job of coordinating! Plus: OBLIGATORY LORIS WITH MUSTACHE.

And now return to the regular mode of art delivery, these were all sent to me via the internets.

Here from Laura is a bit of Darwinist fashion design!

One of the coolest thing about Keith’s art is how it hints that there would be a whole different Darwinist culture out there, with clothes, furniture, and whatnot all influenced by the Victorian biotechnology at the base of Darwinist society. This hat is a great example of what all that might look like, complete with bee and nautilus-shell motifs.

And here’s a very a spunky-looking Deryn from Lilly.

I like her haircut, and the way she’s leaning forward, ready to go.

And briefly leaving the monochrome, here’s some Deryn cosplay from Alexa, showing before and after:

Pretty amazing difference. According to Alexa, this transformation required “two rolls of athletic tape, half a can of hairspray, and many uncountable bobby pins.” Just remember that the next time you’re cross-dressing: Never say die!

And finally, here’s a lovely still life in the stack-of-books mode, which for some reason I have lost all attribution to except the letter “g”:

Please identify yourself, G!

And now for the NEWS . . .

Given that the Manual of Aeronautics, the all-color large-format guide to the world of Leviathan, will be appearing on August 21, it’s almost time to start THE OBLIGATORY ART REVEALS. I’ve decided to do one twice a month, on the 1st and 15th. (I hope that’s not too much for you guys.)

May 15 will be the first of these, or maybe that’s when we’ll do some voting for the first reveal. BUT SOON.

And finally, Sydneysiders can see me tonight at:

The Aurealis Awards
Saturday, May 12
7:30 for an 8PM start
Independent Theatre
269 Miller Street
North Sydney NSW 2060

The Aurealis Awards celebrate the achievements of Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror writers every year. Kate Forsyth with be mistress of ceremonies, and I’ll be presenting the award for Best Illustrated Book or Graphic Novel.

You can get tickets here.

Willful Impropriety

Just finished my forward for an anthology called Willful Impropriety: 13 Tales of Society, Scandal, and Romance. As you can tell from the subtitle, it’s a set of stories about people young people flouting Victorian-era convention in various ways. There are a few girls-dressed-as-boys tales in the bunch, which is perhaps why I got the chance to read it early and write a forward.

Here’s the rather awesome cover:

And the cover copy:

The Season has finally arrived, filled with the magnificent balls, scandalous gossip, and clandestine romances that every lord and lady in good society has come to expect. But far within the walls of lavish estates and in the dark corners of the city lies a world that the aristocracy dares not touch, with rules and risks that glamour cannot overpower. Yet true love has no boundaries, and heiresses and street thieves alike must use their savvy and strength to create new beginnings and happily-ever-afters. Sometimes luck is enough, but every once in a while, a touch of magic may be needed.

Deliciously alluring, these thirteen historical romances from a talented array of YA authors will make even the most cynical heart swoon.

How can you resist it?

Edited by Ekaterina Sedia, Willful Impropriety comes out September 4, 2012.

Oh, and here’s the full roster of writers:

AT WILL by Leanna Renee Hieber
THE UNLADYLIKE EDUCATION OF AGATHA TREMAIN by Stephanie Burgis
NUSSBAUM’S GOLDEN FORTUNE by M. K. Hobson
THE COLONEL’S DAUGHTER by Barbara Roden
MERCURY RETROGRADE by Mary Robinette Kowal
FALSE COLOURS by Marie Brennan
MRS BEETON’S BOOK OF MAGICKAL MANAGEMENT by Karen Healey
THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS by Caroline Stevermer
THE DANCING MASTER by Genevieve Valentine
THE GARDEN OF ENGLAND by Sandra McDonald
RESURRECTION by Tiffany Trent
OUTSIDE THE ABSOLUTE by Seth Cadin
STEEPED IN DEBT TO THE CHIMNEY POTS by Steve Berman