Double Whammy

As I left on vacation in May I hinted that when I got back I’d have some exciting news, and then I left you all hanging for two and a half weeks. Well, I had my reasons for that, but as it turns out a happy coincidence will give that wait an even bigger payoff. Ready? Here we go.

I’m going to be writing a new book for Rough Guides, one that, as it happens, is rather well-suited for me: The Rough Guide to Science Fiction Film. Basically the book will be a quick, informative and critical overview of the genre, from Le Voyage Dans La Lune in 1902 through to this year’s summer SF blockbusters, with long looks at science fiction in world cinema and SF’s technological and thematic influences in other film genres. At the heart of the book will be a canonical list of the 50 most significant science fiction films. In addition to dishing out a lot of historical perspective, I’ll also be putting on my critic’s hat to talk about the “canonical” films as well as others, and I can tell you now that I plan to be, well, critical. In short, in additional to being genuinely useful and interesting to read, I think it’s going to be a lot of fun to read, too.

This is a book for which I feel I’m uniquely well-suited, since I am both a professional film critic and a professional science fiction writer — I can come to the topic from both directions. And of course, I’m also opinionated about science fiction and about films. So in all I expect to have a big fat ball of fun writing up this book. I’ve held off announcing it since there were some contractual issues to hammer through, but the contracts are finally off to my non-fiction agent, so basically it’s a done deal.

But wait, there’s more. As I got word from Rough Guides that the contract is on its way, the fine folks at Tor let me know they thought a sequel to Old Man’s War was in order. So, you know, I’ll be doing that too. It’s tentatively titled The Ghost Brigades. My fiction agent is on the case with that right now; its status is somewhat less determined than the SF Film book, but I feel comfortable enough with my working relationship with Tor to make mention of it now.

As you may imagine, I’m very excited about this, too, and not just because I get paid to write another novel. The fact Tor wants a sequel implies that they plan to make a big enough push with OMW to justify having a sequel ready to go; in other words, I figure it bodes well. I’m in the process of sketching out plot details to Ghost Brigades as we speak — I have no details for you other than to say that I pretty much intend to make this a book that’s a companion to OMW rather than a direct sequel. This is to say: Same universe, (mostly) different characters, and you’ll be able to read it and enjoy it fully without having read OMW first. I see enough “third book in a series” tomes sitting alone on my local bookstore shelf to know that you want to make it easy for your potential reader to enter the universe you’ve created with any book in the series, not just the first one.

So, there you have it: Two more books in the pipeline, which makes a total of five (!), two and a half of which are complete (Book of the Dumb 2! Comes out in October! Preorder now!), and two and a half to come. Which means I get to call myself an author at least through 2006. Can’t beat that with a stick.