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Posts Tagged ‘driftwood’

several bits of publishing news

Five things make a post, right?

* About two hours from when I post this, Alyc and I will be doing an event with Tubby and Coo’s, a New Orleans independent bookseller! We’ll be in conversation with fellow author Bryan Camp, and three attendees will get their very own Rook and Rose astrological chart from Alyc.

* Last summer I was a guest on the Aurora Award-winning Worldshapers podcast. One of the neat things about this podcast is that the guy who runs it, Edward Willett, edited an anthology featuring stories from the guests he had in his first year. Now he’s doing it again, with a Kickstarter to fund the second volume! I’m on deck to provide a story for that, and I’ve also offered some fun goodies in the rewards: signed copies of The Mask of Mirrors, ebooks of Maps to Nowhere, and even some photographic prints.

* The reason I was on Worldshapers last year was because of Driftwood, which is my segue to the next item: my publisher, Tachyon, has teamed up with Humble Bundle and the Carl Brandon Society to offer a truly massive superbundle of Tachyon titles, Driftwood included. The bundle as a whole has a value of $441, and you can get all the levels for just $28. Proceeds support the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Carl Brandon Society, the latter of which helps support readers and writers of color in speculative fiction.

* Publication news! I crowed here when I sold a story to F&SF (after nineteen years of trying); now I can hold the proof of my success in my hands. 😀 They’re having some website problems right now that mean there’s no direct way to buy a physical copy, but ebooks can be gotten through Weightless Books, or you can subscribe here.

* And finally, one of my horror-style flash fairy tale retellings, “The Snow-White Heart,” has been reprinted in Frozen Wavelets! This and its fellow tale “Waiting for Beauty” are among my most-reprinted pieces, which is funny because I don’t generally think of myself as someone who writes horror . . .

I think that’s it for now. But my brain is like a sieve lately, so who knows. 😛

A quick look back

Next year is going to involve more stuff of mine being published in the first two months than I had in the entirety of 2020, but sometimes that’s the way the publication schedule cookie crumbles.

I did, however, publish things this year! Two short stories:

  • “Cruel Sisters” at Daily Science Fiction (wherein I deal with a continuity error in a folksong), and
  • “The City of the Tree” at Uncanny Magazine (wherein I explore a different corner of the world of the Varekai novellas).

Book-wise, I put out Driftwood, which, if not one of the best things I’ve done (and it’s gotten enough rave reception in different places that it might well be up there), is certainly the most timely: this is, after all, the book Publishers Weekly described as “hope in the face of apocalypse.” May it continue to bring light where it is needed — as it likely will be for some time.

Come on, 2021. You will not solve all our woes on January 1st — one at least will need to wait for the 20th — but may you at least be a path up out of the underworld.


Happy book day to me! It feels a little strange saying that on a Friday. 🙂

Driftwood goes on sale today. If you’re getting a print book, I heartily encourage you to order it from a local bookstore; they need your support more than ever right now. I also recommend making use of IndieBound or, both of which can help you support a local business (in the latter case, either directly or through your purchase going to a general pool for participating stores).

I’m . . . frankly astonished at how good the response to this book has been. I could wish it hadn’t hit at the right time for “how do you decide what matters to you and hold into that in the face of destruction?” to be such a resonant question, but here we are, and it’s gotten a trifecta of starred reviews from Publishers’ Weekly, Booklist, and Kirkus, along with positive mentions from a score of other venues so far. The premise may be bleak — worlds crumbling en route to their final destruction — but ultimately this is a book about friendship, community, and not giving up. If that sounds like something you would want to read, maybe not today, but some day, then I heartily encourage you to pick it up.


cover for DRIFTWOOD by Marie Brennan

DRIFTWOOD giveaway!

If you missed yesterday’s Twitter giveaway for Driftwood, never fear; Beneath Ceaseless Skies has another opportunity for you. All you have to do is go to this post and leave a comment naming your favorite short story of mine (whether published in BCS or elsewhere). There are already a number of comments — and I confess, it’s fascinating to see what people choose! You have until midnight Pacific time on Wednesday, August 12th to toss your hat into the ring.

Two weeks to DRIFTWOOD!

August is just around the corner, which means we are a mere two weeks from the release of Driftwood! I’m frankly astonished at how good the reviews have been so far: stars from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Kirkus, and a whole flood of glowing posts in the last week or so from independent bloggers. I knew the short stories tended to attract fans from the very start, but the nature of this novel is peculiar enough (being a fix-up of those short stories) that I wasn’t sure how it would be received. So far the answer is “really, really well” — and come Friday, August 14th, everybody will be able to get their hands on it!

cover for DRIFTWOOD by Marie Brennan

Two months to DRIFTWOOD!

As of right now, we’re about two months from the publication of Driftwood. It’s been getting some amazing reviews: I already linked to the starred review from Publishers Weekly; now that’s been joined by a starred review from KIRKUS, of all places — I think this might only be the second or third star I’ve pried out of them in my career to date. The full text is here, but the quotable bit is:

Through these stories, a portrait of Last as a tragic figure, accidental deity, and distant friend emerges. The patchwork quilt of his acquaintances’ tales mirrors the very nature of Driftwood itself, slowly peeling back the veil to reveal the living—and departed—people who make up this strange and riveting new cosmos. Readers will close the cover aching to read more about Last and his world.

(Also, the beginning of the review calls me a “veteran author.” When the &#$% did that happen? I mean, okay, sure, my first book came out fourteen years ago . . . and okay, sure, I’ve got over a dozen novels out . . . but maaaaaaaan does that feel weird.)

I’ve also gotten some gorgeous blurbs from authors I hugely admire: Karen Lord called it “bittersweet and rich, like fine chocolate,” and both Mary Robinette Kowal and Max Gladstone referred to it as “haunting.” I could wish that the whole “hope in the face of apocalypse” thing (PW’s description) weren’t quite so timely right now, but on the other hand, it also feels like the right timing. While it’s not a great year to be putting out books, if there’s one thing I’ve written that I would want to see in the world right now, it’s this one.

And, I mean. Look at that cover. Don’t you want one of your very own?

cover for DRIFTWOOD by Marie Brennan

DRIFTWOOD in the New Decameron

When all this quarantine business was just getting started, Maya Chhabra had a very clever idea: just as Boccacio’s Decameron was based around the idea of a group of quarantined people in a time of plague telling stories to entertain each other (think Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, but in a house), she would start up a charity Patreon for a New Decameron, posting short stories, poems, and novel excerpts from participating writers, with the bulk of the proceeds going to Cittadini del Mondo, a charity running a library and clinic for refugees in Rome.

As of today, those participating writers include me! A selection from Driftwood is the latest installment, and conveniently, you can get 20% off the book if you pre-order.

While I’m here, I’d like to say something else. Right now and in the next few weeks, a lot of areas in the United States are loosening their pandemic restrictions. In far too many places, they’re not doing it because the disease has been confined to a traceable amount, nor because they’ve got sufficient testing to catch and suppress future surges; they’re doing it because, well, we’ve been doing this for a while now, and we’re bored, or because any number of bodies are worth sacrificing on the altar of our economy. If you live in an area where the virus is still a threat, I urge you to remain as locked-down as you can. Both to protect yourself from the people who think this has all been blown out of proportion and it’s “just a bad flu” (or worse, that it’s a politically-motivated conspiracy), and to do what small part you can to blunt the impact of opening up too much too soon. The New Decameron has been running for fifty-four days now; that’s fifty-four days’ worth of content to entertain you at home. After which there are many ebooks and streaming media and other ways to alleviate the boredom. If you’re someone who can’t remain sequestered at home, I hope you’re able to stay safe regardless.

“Hope in the face of apocalypse”

Driftwood has gotten a review from Publishers Weeklyand it’s starred!

Brennan (the Memoirs of Lady Trent series) plays with the concept of secondary-world fantasy with this fresh, immersive introduction to the land of Driftwood, a patchwork world where other fantasy worlds come to die. As each otherworld is pulled toward the Crush, the churning center of Driftwood where their last vestiges mix and crumble before vanishing forever, its inhabitants must adapt to life in Driftwood or disappear along with their homes. The novel’s form mirrors the cobbled-together nature of its world, composed primarily of self-contained episodes unified only by the shadowy figure of Last, the sole survivor of a world that Driftwood consumed long ago. Many who pass through Driftwood seek Last’s aid, desperate to preserve their cultures and stop the inevitable and believing he knows the secrets to surviving the Crush. Brennan skillfully builds a multiplicity of worlds, painting each unique and fully developed culture with bold, minimalist strokes and, though readers don’t get to spend much time with any single character, rendering each member of the sprawling cast with impressive nuance and subtlety. Exploring found family, adaptation, and hope in the face of apocalypse, Brennan imbues this high-concept fantasy with a strong emotional core. Fantasy fans will be thrilled.

. . . I might have had some discussions with Jaymee Goh, my editor, about the relevance of the subject matter in the current political climate. That was before the pandemic got rolling. I wish it weren’t even more relevant now, but as pull quotes go, I’ll gladly own “hope in the face of apocalypse.”

The pieces come together for DRIFTWOOD!

From the Department of News I’ve Been Sitting on for Ages . . .

Ever since I published the first Driftwood short story, I’ve had people asking me whether I would ever write a novel set there. To which I’ve always said no, because a novel is the antithesis of what Driftwood is about. In a setting about fragments, a large, coherent story seems entirely out of place.

A fix-up, on the other hand — that’s a different matter. 😀

cover for DRIFTWOOD by Marie Brennan

I’ve teamed up with the lovely folks at Tachyon Publications to create Driftwood, Larger Edition: all the existing short fiction, now embedded in and given context by a frame story, with a brand-new novelette to shed light on a heretofore unexplored part of the setting. In other words, a book that sort of epitomizes the nature of Driftwood itself. (With a freaking beautiful cover. Look at that typesetting!)

So fans of the series, rejoice! You’ll be able to get your hands on this July 17th of next year.