ibd2016Tomorrow is Independent Bookstore Day, and to help celebrate, I’ll be appearing on a Speculative Fiction Panel at the University Book Store, along with authors Greg Bear, Robin Hobb, and Elliott Kay. The panel starts at 6:30 PM; feel free to come by and heckle us.

In other news:

* Romona Williams interviewed me for the Women Write About Comics online magazine.

* For its upcoming Dr. Strange movie, Marvel reportedly replaced a Tibetan character with Tilda Swinton in order to avoid offending Chinese government censors.

* Clickhole: We Put a GoPro on a Sparrow.

 

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Witch-haunted Salem, Oregon

by Matt Ruff on April 18, 2016

rose

Rose the bookstore cat does her “Jones watching the Alien creep up behind Harry Dean Stanton” impression

I was in Salem, Oregon, last Friday for a reading at the Book Bin. As I wandered around town before the event, my brain kept trying to reference memories from a trip I made to Salem, Massachusetts more than a quarter century ago. Although Oregon’s Salem is inland, there’s enough similarity in the architecture and the landscape that you can kind of confuse one for the other, at least on certain streets. It’s a cool little city.

Salem was, appropriately enough, the last stop on the Lovecraft Country book tour. My thanks to the Book Bin staff and the staffs of the other book stores that hosted me this time around.

My next public event will be in July, when I’ll be making a special appearance at the LoveCraft Brewing Company in Bremerton. Until then, you can still order signed copies of Lovecraft Country and my other novels from Secret Garden Bookshop.

In other news:

* Today’s New York Times has a story about the resurgence of the “contract for deed” market. A contract for deed, also known as a land contract or installment sale agreement, is an alternative form of home financing sometimes used by people who cannot get traditional mortgages (e.g., African-Americans during the era of redlining). Although the payment structure is similar to a mortgage, the seller retains ownership of the property until it is completely paid off, and in the event of a default can simply evict the buyer, keeping whatever money they have already paid—a feature that has historically been exploited by unscrupulous real-estate dealers.

* In Buzzfeed, Adam Serwer writes about “The Secret History of the Photo at the Center of the Black Confederate Myth.”

* On the train ride home from Salem, I stumbled across this Twitter thread about the controversial decision to cast Scarlet Johansson in the upcoming Paramount/Dreamworks adaptation of Ghost in the Shell. I’m not an anime fan and I know nothing about the source material, but Jon Tsuei’s comments certainly made me curious.

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Reading in Salem, Oregon this Friday evening

by Matt Ruff on April 13, 2016

lovecraftblogcovI’ll be reading and signing books at The Book Bin in downtown Salem, Oregon this Friday, starting at 7 PM. I’m told the bookstore also has a cat that shares a birthday with H.P. Lovecraft, so really, how could you not come by?

In other news:

* I had fun at Comicon last Friday. It’s been a long time since I’ve been around cosplayers, and it was interesting to see what costumes are popular now. No surprise, Star Wars is big (especially Rey), and I must have seen half a dozen Captain Americas and a slew of Ghostbusters with proton backpacks. Star Trek, on the other hand, seems to be in a slump: I didn’t spot a single Vulcan.

* I’ve belatedly discovered a Twitter account called Black Metal Cats, which is exactly what it sounds like.

* I just got word that the new edition of Fool on the Hill is back from the printers. This means that the corrected ebook should be available very soon, too; I’ll post a notice as soon as I’ve got confirmation.

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At Emerald City Comicon this Friday

by Matt Ruff on April 5, 2016

eccclogoIf you are attending Emerald City Comicon in Seattle this Friday, I’ll be signing copies of Lovecraft Country at the University Book Store booth (booth #5100, on level 6) from 11 AM to noon.

In other news:

* The first issue of the Ta-Nehisi Coates–authored Black Panther is out this week.

* Working to inspire the next generation of J-horror: Radioactive wild boar are “running rampage” in the countryside around the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

* Any day I’m mentioned in the same article as Libba Bray and The Witch is a good day. Thanks, Mary Sue!

 

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Talking with Victor LaValle about Lovecraft

by Matt Ruff on March 30, 2016

blacktomThe same day Lovecraft Country first appeared in book stores, Tor.com Books published Victor LaValle’s The Ballad of Black Tom, which takes H.P. Lovecraft’s short story “The Horror at Red Hook” and retells it from the point of view of a black protagonist. I’d been hearing rumblings about Black Tom for several months, and for obvious reasons I was intrigued. Nor was I the only one struck by the coincidence of two such similarly themed books coming out on the same dayBill Tipper from the Barnes & Noble Review blog got in touch to ask whether Victor and I would be interested in having an online dialogue about our work. We’ve been emailing back and forth for the past few weeks, and the resulting conversation has just been posted on the B&N blog. Check it out.

You can read more about Victor LaValle and his books on his website, here.

 

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In which I return from Canada, bearing gifts

by Matt Ruff on March 21, 2016

LCcustom

binding by Richard Smart

As usual, I had a wonderful time reading at Pulpfiction Books in Vancouver, BC last Friday. Store owner Chris Brayshaw and his significant other Lisa Jean Helps took me out to dinner and let me know that, in the event of a Donald Trump regency, they’d be happy to sponsor me and my Lisa for Canadian citizenship. I love Vancouver, so if I ever did have to flee the U.S. I could see settling there, though given current real estate prices I’d probably have to sell the family Picasso to afford it. (Note to self: acquire a family Picasso.)

While I was at the bookstore I got a surprise visit from Richard Smart of the Old English Bindery, who’d been commissioned by my friend Ed Smith to do a custom-bound version of Lovecraft Country. Richard has previously done special bindings for The Mirage and Bad Monkeys, but this one is particularly cool, with a definite Lovecraftian grimoire vibe.

In other good news, Charlie Jane Anders wrote a wonderful review of Lovecraft Country for io9.com, declaring it “one of the most thrilling books of the year.” (Thanks, Charlie Jane!) Lovecraft’s hometown Providence Journal has also weighed in, calling Lovecraft Country an “adventure-stuffed, often terrifying, always thrilling, rollicking roller coaster of a novel.”

My next public appearance will be here in Seattle, at Emerald City Comicon, where I’ll be signing books at the University Book Store booth (#5100) on Friday, April 8, from 11 AM to noon. And a week later I’ll be taking another trip down to Oregon, to read at the Book Bin in downtown Salem, OR on April 15 at 7 PM. Hope to see you there!

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In Vancouver tomorrow night

by Matt Ruff on March 17, 2016

lovecraftblogcovEarlier this week I chatted on the phone with April Snellings of Rue Morgue magazine. The interview is up on the magazine’s website today.

Tomorrow I head up to Canada for a reading and signing at Pulpfiction Books in Vancouver, BC; I’ll be at the Main Street store, starting at 7 PM. Should be an exciting trip. The train tracks north of Seattle have been closed for the past couple days due to landslides. They’re open again now, but if I get bored with the Amtrak wifi, I can watch for falling rocks.

This will the last official stop in the Lovecraft Country book tour, but I’ve got a couple other events coming up in the months ahead:

On Friday, April 8, from 11 AM to noon, I’ll be at Emerald City Comicon, signing books at the University Book Store booth (#5100).

On Saturday, July 23, starting at 4:30 PM, I’ll be reading and signing books at the LoveCraft Brewing Company (yes, really!) in Bremerton, WA.

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Bavaria NW

by Matt Ruff on March 14, 2016

leavenworth

Willkommen to America

Over the weekend I was in Leavenworth, Washington, a former railroad-and-timber town that reimagined itself as a Bavarian theme village in the late 1960s. The local indie bookstore, A Book For All Seasons, is always one of my favorite tour stops.

I also gave a reading at the Wenatchee Public Library. It turns out Nancy Pearl had been there a week earlier, saying nice things about Lovecraft Country and The Mirage, so we had a great crowd. Thanks to everyone who showed up!

My next event will be this Friday, March 18, at Pulpfiction Books on Main Street in Vancouver, BC, starting at 7 PM.

In related news:

* A recently discovered typewritten manuscript of The Cancer of Superstition, coauthored by H.P. Lovecraft and Harry Houdini, will be offered at auction by Chicago’s Potter & Potter Auctions on Saturday, April 9. For an estimated $25,000-$40,000, it could be yours! You can download a copy of the auction catalog here.

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Lovecraft Country, now on YouTube

by Matt Ruff on March 10, 2016

As promised, here’s the video of last Friday’s reading and Q&A at the University Book Store.

My next two live appearances will be this Saturday, March 12, at A Book for All Seasons in Leavenworth, WA (signing books, 11 AM-1 PM) and the Wenatchee Public Library (reading & signing, 2 PM).

Also:

* On Tuesday, I did an online interview with Bill Kenower of Author Magazine. You can listen to that here.

* Paul Di Filippo reviewed Lovecraft Country for Locus online. Spoiler: he liked it.

* Via @bylisagold, a story about the Neglected Books blog, which seeks to rescue forgotten books from obscurity. New Yorker article here, actual blog here.

* And finally, this week’s cute odd couple tale comes from Brazil, where a retired bricklayer and a Magellanic penguin have adopted one another.

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Monday notes, with bonus tentacles

by Matt Ruff on March 7, 2016

cthulhunails* Despite the rain, we had nice turnout for Friday’s event at University Book Store. For those of you who missed it, I left behind a stack of signed books, and a video of the reading and Q&A should be online soon.

* On Saturday, Lisa and I attended the Literary Lions Gala, a fundraiser for the King County library system. Nancy Pearl emceed and Ruth Reichl was the featured speaker, but the high point of the evening for me was meeting GeekGirlCon cofounder and all-around superfan Adrienne Fox, who showed up at my signing table with Lovecraft Country inspired Cthulhu nails.

* The other high point of the evening was Nancy Pearl giving Lovecraft Country a special shout-out from the stage. And here she is on the podcast That Stack of Books, saying more nice things. Thanks, Nancy!

* Locus magazine, which already gave Lovecraft Country a thumbs-up in their January issue, has another glowing review this month, this time by Tim Pratt: “[The] characters are some of the most fully realized and human I’ve ever encountered, neither idealized nor stereotyped: they are people, with their own flaws and virtues, all shaped by their experiences with systemic oppression and personal prejudice, and all coping in different ways that consistently ring true psychologically. The sections of the novel are interwoven beautifully, telling miniature stories while advancing the overall plot, and provide an array of differing viewpoints and visions of a complex and dangerous world. The book is often harrowing, yes, but it’s also a testament to the power of family, community, ingenuity, and love to overcome (or at least cope with) unendurable horrors. It might be my favorite Matt Ruff novel yet, and that’s saying something.”

LCtravelposters

* Via io9: artist Steve Thomas has created a set of Lovecraft-themed travel posters. You can buy prints of them here.

* Next Saturday, March 12, I’ll be traveling east of the Cascades for events at A Book for All Seasons in Leavenworth, WA (signing books, 11 AM-1 PM) and the Wenatchee Public Library (reading & signing, 2 PM).

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