The 88 Names Podcast

Over the past month, I’ve been recording episodes of a limited series 88 Names podcast, in which film critic Blake Collier and I interview various luminaries in the virtual reality tech and creative arts fields. The podcast site is now live, here. The first regular episode, an interview with Academy Award–winning filmmaker Brandon Oldenburg, will drop this Friday, March 13, and an interview with Yours Truly will post on March 17, 88 Names‘ publication day. A teaser episode, in which Blake and I talk briefly about Lovecraft Country, is already available, here.

Future podcast guests include novelist Cory Doctorow; Glassbox Technologies co-founder and CPO Mariana Acuña Acosta; philosopher and ethicist Michael Madary; Hewlett-Packard’s Global Head of Virtual Reality for Location Based Entertainment, Joanna Popper; and No Proscenium founder Noah Nelson. The series will be capped off by a live, virtual reality book reading and author Q&A on the AltspaceVR site (April 17 starting at 5:30 PM Pacific).

The podcast is being produced by Darryl Armstrong and the Threaded Zebra Agency and hosted by Rise Up Daily. Sponsors include Derooted, AltspaceVR, and Creative Mornings.

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The Drax Files Radio Hour

For those of you who missed the livestream, the recording of my appearance on the Drax Files Radio Hour in VR is now up on YouTube. (Note: The show starts at the 5 minute mark, and due to a technical glitch the conversation audio doesn’t kick in until about 25 seconds later.)

There’s also an audio only version, available here.

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Events this Friday and next week

We are now just over two weeks from 88 Names‘ publication date. This Friday, March 6, starting at 11 AM Pacific Time, I will be a guest on the Drax Files Radio Hour, a virtual reality talk show/podcast hosted on the Sansar VR platform. I will be sporting a custom Bad Monkeys inspired mandrill avatar designed by Silas Merlin.

The Drax show will stream live on YouTube, here, so VR goggles are not required if you want to check it out—and if you can’t catch the show live, a recording will be posted to YouTube afterwards.

Next week, I have my first real-life 88 Names event:

On Friday, March 13, from 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM, I’ll be the featured guest at Creative Mornings at Galvanize Seattle, talking, reading, and answering questions. This event is open to the public and admission is free, but because space is limited you need to register in advance. You can register here, starting on March 4.

As always, the full list of my currently scheduled public appearances can be found here.

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We have books

As you can see, I have received my complimentary author’s copies of 88 Names. It’s my seventh published novel, but this part of the process, where what started as a collection of weird story ideas in my head becomes an actual freaking book, never gets old.

Publication is just three weeks away now. You can find my current book tour schedule here. If you can’t make it to any of the in-person appearances, I’ll be doing a number of online events as well, including an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit on Friday, March 27, starting at 9 a.m. Pacific Time.

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Four weeks to 88 Names

The publication date for 88 Names is just four weeks away now. The launch event will be a reading, Q&A, and book signing on March 17 at 7 PM at the Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle. If you’re going to Emerald City Comic Con, I’ll be signing copies at the University Book Store booth on March 12 at 4 PM. A full list of book tour dates can be found here.

I will also be doing some online promotion. In collaboration with the fine folks at Rise Up Daily and the Threaded Zebra Agency, I’ve been recording a limited series 88 Names podcast. One episode will feature an interview with yours truly; in the others, media critic Blake Collier and I will be talking to people in the tech and entertainment industries about the future of virtual reality. Confirmed guests include novelist Cory Doctorow, philosopher and ethicist Michael Madary, Academy Award–winning director and illustrator Brandon Oldenburg, No Proscenium founder Noah J. Nelson, and Glassbox Technologies CPO and co-founder Mariana Acuña Acosta. To cap off the podcast series, I’ll be appearing live in AltspaceVR to do a reading and Q&A. The first podcast episode should drop about a week before publication day; I’ll be posting a detailed schedule soon.

Meanwhile, on March 6 at 11 AM Pacific I will be appearing on the Drax Files Radio Hour in Sansar, the immersive 3D version of Second Life. This is a more general interview about my writing career, but as it will be taking place in virtual reality with me wearing a custom avatar, I imagine the subject of 88 Names will come up. If you can’t catch the show live, don’t worry, a 2D version will be posted to YouTube afterwards.

Last but not least, I’ll be scheduling a purely text-based Ask Me Anything interview on Reddit, sometime around pub date. Details soon.

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88 Names giveaway on Goodreads

Happy 2020, everyone.

My seventh novel, 88 Names, will be published on March 17. The folks at Goodreads are giving away 50 advance copies at the end of this month. You can enter the giveaway lottery here.

Early buzz about the novel has been very good. Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Kirkus all liked it, and Booklist just gave it a starred review: “Ruff is an expert at keeping readers off-balance and providing entertaining stories that cross genres… The action inside the virtual gaming world is sleek and exciting, but the extrapolation of identity, friendship, and human relationships makes the narrative shine.”

You can read more about the novel here. A list of confirmed book tour dates can be found on my appearances page.

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Lovecraft Country will debut on HBO in 2020

Last week, HBO dropped a trailer for its 2020 lineup that included a few seconds of teaser footage from Lovecraft Country. There’s still no official air date yet, but now we know it will be sometime next year.

In other news, I was a guest on Open Source with Christopher Lydon for the Halloween special, which was about the legacy of H.P. Lovecraft. Also on the program were Joyce Carol Oates, Paul La Farge, and Silvia Moreno-Garcia. You can listen to it here.

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Books and more books

Last week I attended the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association’s fall trade show in Portland, Oregon. I was a guest at the Tuesday morning author breakfast and got to pitch 88 Names to a ballroom full of friendly indie booksellers. I also scored complimentary copies of the other guest authors’ books—the new Joy of Cooking, revised by Ethan Becker (grandson of the original author) and Megan Scott; Emily St. John Mandel’s The Glass Hotel, about a Madoff-style Ponzi scheme, with ghosts; and Ruta Sepetys’ The Fountains of Silence, a historical novel about Spain under Franco.

Before heading home I made the obligatory pilgrimage to Powell’s City of Books, signed some stock, and picked up a few more presents:

That’s How to Disappear, by former skip tracers Frank M. Ahearn and Eileen C. Horan; The H.P. Lovecraft Book of Puzzles by Dr. Gareth Moore; and Julio Cortázar’s Literature Class, a collection of lectures on writing Cortázar gave a Berkeley in 1980.

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I’m 54 today

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We have a cover


Behold the cover for my forthcoming novel, 88 Names (details in my last blog post). The artist is Jarrod Taylor, who also did the cover for Lovecraft Country, as well as an early concept cover for The Mirage.

This time around Mr. Taylor delivered a number of cover ideas, all cool in different ways, but this one was my favorite. It’s a great fit for the story, but the thing that really sold me was the visual pun of the paper name tag as VR goggles: Freaking brilliant, as I told my editor.

In related news, yesterday I signed off on the second pass galleys, the last version of the novel I will see before we get bound review copies later this year. So book #7 is done; time for me to start thinking about what I’m going to write next.

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