The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

A Couple Of Very Nice People

Posted on | September 11, 2015 | 6 Comments

— by Wombat-socho

I’m not sure when I first became aware of Tim Powers. It’s entirely possible that it wasn’t until he was Guest of Honor at Arcana, a small dark fantasy/horror convention in St. Paul that I can’t recommend highly enough. Anyhow, Mr. Powers was Guest of Honor for Arcana 34 back in 2004, and was a very nice, congenial fellow; he’s also a hell of a writer, skilfully manuevering between science fiction and the supernatural. He’s probably best known for his horror novel On Stranger Tides, which became one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies (if you look carefully, you can see Mr. Powers as one of the extras), or if you’re a fan of Charles Stross’ Laundry series, you probably saw the reference to Powers’ Declare which like Stross’ novels blends Le Carre with supernatural horror. I am currently reading Earthquake Weather, which combines the legend of the Fisher King with the wild ghost story of Expiration Date and the mystical poker game of Last Call. I think part of what gets me excited about Powers is his gift for taking the ordinary everyday world of buses and taxicabs and day laborers and suddenly shifting your point of view to include all the things lurking in the spaces between, or perhaps right out in plain sight. From the Siege of Vienna (The Drawing of the Dark) to the wild adventures of Lord Byron among the vampires (The Stress of Her Regard) and to the modern day, where a father and daughter struggle to comprehend Einstein’s deadliest invention, more terrible than nuclear weapons (Three Days to Never), there’s not a clunker in the lot. For a while, his books were terribly difficult to find, but fortunately Del Rey has brought them out in Kindle editions. A wonderful man who writes wonderful books.

Maggie Hogarth, on the other hand, likes to write about aliens, and apparently does so quite well, though she came to my attention as a result of political tussles on LiveJournal some years ago. Which is how I wound up signing on to the Kickstarter for her novel/script Spots the Space Marine: Defense of the Fiddler, which concerns a middle-aged Marine reservist sent to reinforce a guard company protecting an extremely valuable target. It’s also how I became aware of her taking a quirky webcomic about art, business and life (that hadn’t really earned its keep online) and bringing out a print edition. I have to say, The Three Jaguars: A Comic About Business, Art, and Life works a LOT better as a graphic novel (for reasons that Hogarth explains) and has additional material not previously published online. It’s instructive, funny, and occasionally heart-wrenching (if you’re familiar with the lawsuit by Games Workshop after Spots was published, you’ll understand, and if not you should look it up) by turns, and well worth your money. Not quite as entertaining, but possibly more helpful in a specific way, is From Spark to Finish: Running Your Kickstarter Campaign, which takes you through the steps you need to follow to run a Kickstarter campaign to get people to support you while you’re writing something they want to read, or creating some other kind of art that people want to pay actual $ (and hopefully $$ or even $$$$$) for. There aren’t a lot of people who can write well, and in this degenerate age, it seems there are even fewer who can draw and paint well, but Ms. Hogarth is blessed with both those talents. Buy her stuff.


6 Responses to “A Couple Of Very Nice People”

  1. alanstorm
    September 11th, 2015 @ 10:00 am

    Don’t forget “The Annubis Gates”! One of the best time travel stories ever.

  2. Wombat_socho
    September 11th, 2015 @ 10:28 am

    It is indeed!

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  4. craig henry
    September 12th, 2015 @ 2:13 pm

    “Declare” is a startling achievement. I recommend it to everyone who reads.

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