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Interesting article from on piracy (both of books and music):


Talk to anyone fairly high up in the publishing world and chances are they will tell you piracy is killing the business and driving down revenue. But you have to ask what evidence they have for such statements? Downloads do not directly correlate to lost sales and may actually increase them if this example gets repeated.

Artist Steve Lieber probably agreed with the publishing industry a few days ago, but now he sings a different tune. The Underground graphic novel he illustrated for Image Comics was scanned and uploaded to 4chan in its entirety a few days ago. Rather than getting upset Steve joined in the conversation about his comic and offered to answer questions about it. Here’s the important part of the post he made on the 4chan thread:

As for putting all the pages up here. What can I say? I get that this is how things go, and I’m trying to live in the same decade as everyone else. If nothing else, I’m flattered someone thought enough of the book to take the time to scan and post it.

Anyway, that’s that. If anyone has any questions about the book, post them here or ask me on twitter @steve_lieber

Steve describes the discussion that followed as “genuinely fascinating” but what he didn’t expect was the bump it gave to the sales of the novel. Here’s the image he posted showing exactly how engaging with the 4chan community can have a positive impact on your sales and therefore your income.



Brian M


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Good Paula Guran interview with prolific horror writer, Brian Lumley.



Brian Lumley: His Vampires Do a Lot More Than Just Suck

Brian Lumley doesn’t just write novels (and short stories and poetry) he writes series of novels, and series of series of novels. He’s a seemingly unstoppable force of nature — or perhaps, considering his subject matter, a supernatural force. The prolific British author (over forty books and still counting) is best known for his “Necroscope” series, a rich tapestry of vivid characters and complexity that begins by combining the unforgettable Harry Keogh, a man who can speak to the dead, with Cold War espionage and a race of vampires from another world.

Invaders (published by Hodder and Stoughton in the U. K. as E-Branch: Invaders), just out this spring from Tor, is the first of the “E-Branch” trilogy that will end the Necroscope-related titles at 13 books altogether. The first ten Necroscope books have sold 1,500,000 copies in the U. S. alone and they have been or are in the process of being published in nine other countries. (Lumley’s total sales for Tor overall have now passed the 2,000,000 mark.) Comic books and a role-playing game have been based on Necroscope themes as well.

Lumley waited for two decades to write about vampires. “When I read Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend (God, how many years ago?) it put me off writing my own vampire novel for the first 20 years of my writing career. It was THAT good,” says the author.” But what’s in will out, so eventually I did write it…and as we’ve seen, the thing got to be like Topsy. But I was conscious that quite a few vampire tales were being written, and I wanted vampires that did a lot more than just suck. They had to have histories, they had to have an origin, there had to be a damn good reason why they hadn’t long since taken over the world, and so on. It became very involved, and the more story I told, the more there was to tell.” The complexity of the mythos he has created will, he admits, probably will be the death of it. “The big problem now is that while I used to do lots of historical, geographical, and political (if you will) research, now I have to research my own books! There are so very many threads running through them that if I’m not careful I might easily trip myself up. That’s why the series will probably end with this trilogy. It’s simply getting too complicated to continue.”

A fan of horror and fantasy fiction since his teens, Lumley was almost thirty when he began writing in 1967. He was serving as a Royal Military Policeman in Berlin. “I was on Night Duty on the desk and had nothing much to do in the wee small hours. I read August Derleth-edited Arkham House collections.” (Derleth and his small press, Arkham House, were noted for the posthumous popularization of H. P. Lovecraft.) “They saw me through many a night and shaped the style and contents of my first stories. I actually wrote some of those stories on duty, on that desk in the Olympic Stadium in Berlin. And I typed them up from my scrawly longhand and sent them to Derleth who bought them.”

By then he was no longer a part of the fan scene, “I hadn’t been since I was a kid, 13 or 14 years earlier. I didn’t know a damn thing about professional publishers or publishing. And I definitely didn’t know that Derleth was the dean of macabre publishers, the man who had first published Van Vogt, Bradbury, Bloch, Leiber, Lovecraft (of course), and so many others that they’re literally a Who’s Who of our favorite genres. So these stories of mine were single-spaced things on oddly-sized sheets, unnumbered pages, stapled in one corner, rolled up and stuffed into cardboard tubes, and posted surface mail to Wisconsin … from Berlin! It’s just amazing that they ever got there — let alone that he read them! Can’t you just see him trying to unroll them, and having to nail them to his desk top in order to read them? But it appears I was lucky then, and I’ve stayed lucky ever since.”

Lumley returned to civilian life in 1981 and became a full-time writer. He produced –among many other titles — the science fictional “Psychomech” trilogy — Psychomech (1984), Psychosphere (1984), and Psychamok! (1985) — in which a hero with enhanced psychic abilities fights bad guys with similar powers; Demogorgon (UK 1987, US 1992) features the spawn of Satan himself using his supernatural powers to fight his dark side and against his unholy father; four books in the heroic fantasy “Dreamlands” series, and, of course, the Necroscope books which began in 1986.

Lumley’s early reputation was linked to his liberal use of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos in both short stories and his earliest novels — the “Titus Crow” series of the mid-to-late-1970s. Crow, an occult detective, tangles with Lovecraft’s monsters in a fantastic extradimensional void in the series. “Without Lovecraft there would never have been a Titus Crow. All Mythos stories are dependent upon HPL, of course. But another big influence was the much-maligned August Derleth, the boss of Arkham House. He viewed the Mythos from a different angle, and if he could do it so could I. Burroughs was probably an influence, likewise Abraham Merritt, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, that whole bunch. But you know, I’ve read and talked Lovecraft until I really can’t do it any more. Why can’t we just say of him that he was an original, one of the greats, and that he influenced so many of us that he probably is the most important cornerstone of the weird fiction tradition today…and leave it at that?”

The Titus Crow and Necroscope books are also a Cold War metaphor. “The Necroscope books were guided by what was going on in the world while they were being written. The new trilogy is set in the future a couple of years, so it’s pretty much guess-work. And it’s mainly ecological as opposed to political. I’ve been lucky in my predictions so far; the Channel Tunnel I mentioned in the second Crow book (Transistion, 1975) is now a reality. But I really can’t say if it’s protected by star-stones from Mnar or not. I suspect not…”

Future worlds? Fantastic other dimensions? Star-stones? Politics? Was Lumley intentionally crossing genre boundaries to synthesize, horror, science fiction, and fantasy? “No, my crossing genres wasn’t planned. It was just me trying to learn the business of writing, experimenting and finding out what I could do best and where it would take me. The first paperback book I did, The Burrowers Beneath, was a horror story “after Lovecraft”. Its sequel, Transition, was a fantasy. The next two sequels were science-fantasy, and the last book in the series, Elysia, was pure fantasy. I was trying ’em all, that’s all. But Necroscope? It has bits of lots of genres, but chiefly horror. Let’s face it, the best of the “horror” movies do much the same thing. Is Bodysnatchers (original and remakes) horror or science fiction? Is The Thing, or Alien or Predator? See what I mean? On the other hand short stories I’ve done — such as Fruiting Bodies and The Sun, The Sea and The Silent Scream — are pure horror. So if you ask me what I am … I’m a horror writer.” Fruiting Bodies won Lumley a British Fantasy Award in 1989 and he was given a Grand Master Award at the 1998 World Horror Convention.

A couple of decades in the military, is not exactly common training ground for most horror writers. Although the author will agree that his first career has enhanced his writing career, he also feels writing offered him an escape from from his military career. “The army took me places, showed me a lot of things, let me meet a great many diverse people — all grist for a writer’s mill. But in places as dreary as Berlin was in 1967, writing did provide something of an escape.”

The military also gave Lumley a taste for travel. He’s visited or lived in the United States, Cyprus, Berlin, Malta, and more than a dozen Greek islands. He and his American-born wife, Barbara Ann, now live in Devon, but they still enjoy travel and Lumley particularly enjoys visits to the Mediterranean where he can indulge a bit in moussaka, and imbibe a little retsina, ouzo, and metaxa.

What would he do if he weren’t writing? “There are lots of other things that I haven’t done, places I haven’t seen. So eventually I’ll have to find time for those things while there still is time. We’ve got one life and the older we get the more we come to realize how short it is. I just like telling stories. Writers are in the entertainment business, and it gives me lots of pleasure to entertain my readers. But I’m no longer driven to write. Now I have to drive myself.” Lumley’s books have inspired music as well as reading. “There’s a British heavy metal group called Necroscope; I’ve never met them. And in the States there are a handful of groups that have dedicated work to me. No mistaking the source of inspiration on tracks with titles like ‘What Will Be Has Been,’ or ‘From Northern Aeries to the Infinite Cycle of the Unborn Lord.’ Those are from a CD by a group called Epoch of Unlight. HEAVY!” One of his close friends in the U. K, is Keith Grant-Evans of The Downliners Sect. “Sect’s been around all of twenty-five years and more; recently did a new CD called Dangerous Ground with yours truly doing voice-overs on ‘Escape From Hong Kong’ and ‘Bookworm’.”

But music’s been an influence on Lumley as well. “Way back when I was 15 and 16, I had three main hobbies: Rock ‘n Roll, the jive (the dance), and SF. I’m talking 1953, ’54 here. I was a founder-member of NEZFEZ, the North-East Science Fiction group. We used to meet in a little town close to Newcastle at a pub called The Red Lion and talk books and like that — you know the scene. I was doing artwork and “poetry” for fanzines (UK and USA) with titles like CAMBER, PEON, SATELLITE, etc. That was the, er, “intellectual” side of me. But I was also buying that vinyl and teaching the jive at a local dance hall. No, really — at 16, yes! Hey, it was a great way to meet the girls!”

“So music has always been in me,” he continues. “I suppose since I was ten and my big brother brought back all those 12 inch records from Germany with him in ’48, after he’d finished his National Service. And was I ever into the big bands! Artie Shaw, Woody Herman, Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, Glenn Miller, the Dorseys, etc! Today, I have this really excellent Ray Charles collection that I started to put together in 1960 in Germany, and been at it ever since. I’m usually listening to Ray while I write.”

And where will the future find Lumley? “The future is a devious thing. We’re all time-travellers, albeit pretty damn slow time-travellers. We only go forward at a speed of one day per day, one step for every step. And maybe that’s the right way to take the future: I’ll just let it sneak up on me. I mean, it’s been doing it for 61 years, so why try to change things now? More to the point: when the E-Branch trilogy is finished, I think I may return to short stories awhile, just to keep my hand in — or even to get my hand BACK in! I mean, it’s quite a long time since I did any short stories. And I think I’m looking forward to it…”



Brian M Logan

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Article by George Gene Gustines for the NY Times. Nice to see the medium of Graphic Novels being expanded with this type of story.Enjoy!


The graphic novel “American Widow,” written by Alissa Torres and illustrated by Sungyoon Choi, is a memoir about the author; her husband, Luis Eduardo Torres; and his death on Sept. 11, 2001. That day is fraught with so many emotional and political landmines for countless people that a critic might hesitate to review such an account, especially if the work is less than stellar. Fortunately, “American Widow” is very good — largely because of the author’s willingness to address difficult issues, including her anger at her husband and her frustration in dealing with relief agencies that at times alternated between being overeager and counterproductive.

‘American Widow,’ by Alissa Torres: A Grief Observed (September 7, 2008) “American Widow” starts quietly, but the mood is deceptive. “September 11, 2001” is printed under the first chapter heading, and the next page is just a field of sea-foam blue, evoking the good weather that began that terrifying, profoundly momentous day. The third page shows two birds gently flying in that tranquil sky. Then disaster: a television set blares, “Turn on your TV!” in multiple languages. The image on the set shows the twin towers billowing with smoke as the news of the World Trade Center’s being hit by a plane is reported.

The next sequence illustrates the power of the graphic-novel format. Four pages shift locales and move forward in time, panel by panel, from Ms. Torres, watching the news alone in her bedroom with a hand on her pregnant belly; to President Bush, reading to elementary school children in Sarasota, Fla.; to reactions around the world as people were glued to their televisions or watched the events from their window.

The fourth page hints at difficulties to come. Three people — a taxi driver, a cook and a man at home with three children — all hear “You’re under arrest” as the process of finding those responsible for the attacks begins.

That’s a tale, however, for another book. Instead Ms. Torres shares, in flashbacks, the story of the life of her husband, known as Eddie. We see his journey to the United States from Colombia, his struggles to find work and his arrival at Cantor Fitzgerald, where he began a job on Sept. 10, 2001. Those scenes are interwoven with Ms. Torres’s new life as a 9/11 widow, first waiting to learn of Eddie’s fate and then having to cope with the bureaucracies offering aid earmarked for the victims’ families.

The account of the couple’s courtship is brief, mercifully so, because the details of their domestic relationship are more compelling. In 12 pages the Torreses go from meeting in August 1998 to marrying and moving to Queens to conceiving a child in early 2001. In August of that year, Eddie loses a job, and an image wonderfully captures the anxiety Ms. Torres feels. “How will we pay our bills?” she wonders, as the panel borders overflow with papers indicating their mounting debt.

A scene in the predawn of Sept. 11 shows the couple in bed. He is exhausted and sleeping soundly; she is staring at the clock, still fuming after a fight they had hours before. In the morning, still angry, she daydreams. “Maybe I should leave him … go to Hawaii and start again,” she thinks as she walks down the street, her head filled with visions of a lush luau, a well-built surfer and a romantic sunset. She comes home, upset that there is no message of apology, only to receive a phone call with more terrible news.

In this scene and throughout the book, which is black and white with bursts of sea-foam blue and the occasional red and blue, Ms. Choi’s illustrations are sharply observed. She does a great job of distinguishing a large cast of characters and settings. She’s also called upon to draw images of the towers as they fell and the aftermath at the site. One of the most evocative drawings is a full page that shows the void in the wake of the collapse.

The day after Sept. 11 — which Ms. Torres spends primarily hoping Eddie will come home to her — she begins a quest for information about him: is he still alive? If there was anything good in that time, it was “those magical days when all lines parted for me,” she recalls. Being seven months pregnant with a missing husband earns her extra sympathy from relief agencies.

But that initial warmth slowly turns into frustration as the days elapse. Page 50, which shows an unidentified burn victim she visits — just in case it is Eddie — captures the mounting tension. The reactions from those who want to assist range from simply stating, “What can I do?” to shouting “I want to help!” to hysterically screeching, “Please, what can I do to help?”

‘American Widow,’ by Alissa Torres: A Grief Observed (September 7, 2008) It seems as if for every cranky volunteer she meets, there is a good Samaritan who assists her. But it’s the bad experiences that linger. When Ms. Torres goes to the Red Cross for financial aid in bringing her husband’s family to New York for his funeral, the red tape is almost more than she can bear.

“I can’t stand looking at her,” she thinks of the administrator processing her request. “Why is she so mean?” Ultimately, the organization will cover the expenses, but not tell her precisely when — despite the fact that the funeral is that weekend. “That’s our policy,” the administrator says. “Be thankful that we’re at least offering you this assistance.”

Ms. Torres also recounts her struggle to receive benefits from Cantor Fitzgerald. Her relationship with the company begins positively on Sept. 11 when she speaks to its chief executive, Howard W. Lutnick, but weeks later she is still at sea, trying to prove that Eddie was employed by the company. It’s not until Oct. 24 — when she says, “Look, if we can’t straighten this thing out today, I’ll talk to the press” — that the wheels start spinning in her favor.

As the first anniversary of the attack draws close, Ms. Torres is filled with dread. “New York was our home,” she thinks, “but I just can’t be here this week.” Who can blame her when banners reading “Just 21 More Days” seem more appropriate for a countdown of the shopping days before Christmas?

She is also still filled with anger. “You told me, ‘I want to turn 90 beside you,’ but you didn’t,” she thinks. “I am still so mad at you.”

On Sept. 11, 2002, Ms. Torres is in Hawaii with their son. In four panels, a page shows her writing a note in her hotel room; staring at the moon with arms crossed; a close-up of the note (“Dearest, sorry we fought about nothing”); and a boat setting off to sea. The view slowly pans out until the book’s final sea-foam-blue page, this time evoking a more peaceful day.





Brian M Logan

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