I think this counts as my first fan art! Heather Seevers of NW Handspun Yarns knitted a Finn Fancy gnome hat! And she created a pattern so you can do the same!
Here’s the knitting pattern:
I know that Heather’s also working with some folks on a new line of yarn specifically dyed in geek-friendly colors, like Police Box Blue, or based off of comic book colors, etcetera, so if you knit, keep a lookout for those!
There’s definitely some special knitting that goes on in Bigfootloose. So I would LOVE for others to knit gnome hats and send me pictures of them. Or, if you want to get crazy, you could knit a Bigfoot I suppose. But they probably don’t look as nice on your head.Originally posted at my Mirror Blog at: http://www.randy-henderson.com/2016/02/f
It’s award nomination time! AND THANK GAWD, I don’t need to ask you fine folks to nominate or vote for me or anything, because I already know all the awards I’m going to win this year. The people behind the people behind the scenes have told me I’m a shoe-in. So here’s the list. Don’t be jealous.
2016 Locus Award for “Best Use of Magical 80’s Tech versus PTA Blood Witches”: (magical Casio calculator watch) from Finn Fancy Necromancy, by Randy Henderson.
2016 Ricky for Best Line to Read in an Alan Rickman Voice*: “Bloody Mary, and make it as spicy as Shakira shaking her hips in a jalapeño field, please.” From Finn Fancy Necromancy, by Randy Henderson.
2016 Nebula for: Depiction of Gnomes Almost Awesome Enough to Make Us Forget the Travesty that was Gnomeo and Juliet: Finn Fancy Necromancy, by Randy Henderson.
The 2016 Ziggy Award for Four Completely Random Lines of Dialogue from a Novel Best Sung Together like a Ziggy Stardust Song:
“Feet too, Stormer,” I said. “You’re a loner, a rebel.”
“He drew me close and snuffled my head, surrounding me with his musky cedar scent.”
“I like that you look at me like I’m still that girl who didn’t know The Clash from The Cure.”
And Petey said,
“I took your Pacman watch.”
All lines from: Finn Fancy Necromancy by Randy Henderson
2016 Hugo for Best Novel Idea about Use of a Hugo: “Condom demonstration prop in sexual education class for cyborgs“, submitted by Randy Henderson, author of Finn Fancy Necromancy.**
Now I suppose if you have an empty slot after you realize that City of Stairs was 2014, and All the Birds in the Sky is 2016, you can actually add Finn Fancy Necromancy to your nomination ballot. Not that I have any expectation of winning but oh boy could I have some fun pretending like I might for that brief month or so.
Or if not me, you can add your deserving-writer-friend-whose-book-you-h
(On a completely unrelated note, I define “deserving-writer-friends…” as folks who have eligible works for award nomination and happen to take me to a delicious meal and/ or offer a really good neck and shoulder massage. Just saying. No reason.)
There. Done. Phew. Now I don’t have to do all that uncomfortable promotiony stuff about awards for the next several months.
PS: All joking and Finn Fancy aside, you really should nominate the stuff you read and liked in 2015. Those folks worked hard, are no doubt mired in Imposter Syndrome, and it really makes them feel good to have that work validated by nominations.
Ending Soonish Nomination details:
If you are a SFWA member, you can nominate for the Nebula Award until February 15th. Note the word-counts when nominating. And you can also nominate for the Andre Norton award for YA books as well.
If you’re a member of the 2015, 2016, or 2017 WorldCons, you can nominate for the Hugo awards. You’ll need your membership number (emailed to you by MidAmeriCon if you’re registered for 2016, or by Sasquan if you went 2015 but not going 2016). And you’ll need a PIN, emailed to you by MidAmeriCon (and if you haven’t received it by Feb 5th you’re supposed to email them at email@example.com).
Have fun! And good luck to all the amazing authors who really do deserve an award. I’ll probably list a few suggestions when I find the time again.
*You know you tried it.
**EDIT NOTE: I realized upon re-reading my post that the Hugo bit may be seen as me devaluing or desecrating the Hugo, a sensitive topic after last year. Just wanted to say that’s not the case, I think the Hugos are awesome, and hope truly great works and good folks win the awards this year. Left the joke though.Originally posted at my Mirror Blog at: http://www.randy-henderson.com/2016/01/2
I’m having a blast visiting book clubs to discuss the Finn Fancy series. Here’s a couple of photos (more to come):
Greater Tacoma Scifi/ Fantasy Book Club
Bellingham Scifi/Fantasy Concern Bookclub
Other Realms Book Group, Seattle
If you are in a book club, might I humbly suggest this is a great time for you to pick Finn Fancy to read? Here’s why:
* Reviews describe it as a fast paced and fun read full of laughs, laughs and more laughs — a great way to stave off those post-holiday winter blues!
* It came out in paperback January 5th! Or you can get the Hardback for nearly the same price with all the deep discounts — WHAT A DEAL! But wait, there’s more … 😉
* The sequel, BIGFOOTLOOSE AND FINN FANCY FREE, comes out February 16th! So no long wait to see what happens next!
* If your book club is within reasonable driving distance, I’ll happily come join your discussion of the book if you’d like, and answer any questions you have!
* If your book club is in distant lands, or is online, I will happily participate in any online Ask Me Anything-style discussion you set up (e.g. via Skype, Google Hangouts, or invite me to your Meetup group or email thread, etc).
So when you all go to vote for what to read in next month, might I humbly suggest that Finn Fancy Necromancy (or Bigfootloose) is, if not the best choice, then the even besterest choice!
In my social media feed, a lot of people were sharing this post about City on Fire, a book with sentences so bad they are funny (much like entries into the Bulwer-Lytton “Dark and Stormy Night” contest but not intentionally so).
I laughed. Then I learned about the author, and the history of the book.
I think we can learn a lot from this example, but not just about bad sentences.
WHEN I FIRST READ THE HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE SENTENCES:
First, yes, these sentences are pretty bad. As in, this is a master class in bad sentences. I think an annotated version of this list that breaks down just why each is so bad would be very helpful for writers.
The examples range from pretty common writer errors like:
“But that was where the drawing ended. Below was just white space.” The problem here is stating something so redundant and obvious that it becomes ridiculous. So we can take this, and learn from it to make sure, for example, you don’t write something like “His heart beat in his chest,” because if you are human, where else would it be beating?
To a wide range of other issues as in these examples:
“Just then, a horripilating Scaramouche appeared at her elbow.”
“Breasts like bronzed mangoes.”
In fact, there appears to be a lot of bad breast descriptions in the book.
“So, this is your apartment? Nice. Where can I slip into something more comfortable?”
“Right over there, in the door past that copy of Finn Fancy Necromancy. Oh my gosh, have you read it? It’s REALLY exciting and funny an — uh, like you. I’ll get the wine.”
Why do I give this fine example of Finn Fancy love? Well, let’s play a quick Choose Your Own Finnventure:
You come across a dark and quirky contemporary fantasy series that features lots of humor, magic, action, romance, sasquatches, gnomes, Fey, social unrest, family drama, 80s and 90s references, and more.
If you find that uninteresting, fair enough, turn back to page Facetweet and have an awesome day.
If you think it might be cool for the series to continue past book 3, continue reading.
The Finn Fancy series is not in trouble, but it has reached its first critical test. Whether or not Tor wants to publish more Finn Fancy books will likely be based on sales of book 1 and pre-sales of book 2 over the next few weeks. Just because that’s how the industry works.
What this is: Me asking you to take a few minutes to support Finn Fancy if you’ve read and enjoyed it, OR if dark and quirky contemporary fantasy is something that interests you and you MIGHT read it someday. Or if you are just feeling generous toward me and want to support my dream, I suppose.
So if you DO want to help guarantee more Finn Fancy books, here’s what you can do, in rough order from most impact to least. I’ve tried to make it easy:
1) BUY THE BOOKS. You can buy Book 1: FINN FANCY NECROMANCY, and/or Book 2: BIGFOOTLOOSE AND FINN FANCY FREE in your preferred format at any of the links below. Or if you plan to attend one of my readings for Bigfootloose and intend to buy the book, pre-order from that bookstore and let them know.
Finn Fancy Necromancy:
Bigfootloose Available for Pre-Order (Releases February 16, 2016):
2) PROMOTE THE BOOKS on your social media. Here’s some images and sample 140 character text you can copy/paste and then tweak to make your own, or you can of course just let the inspiration flow.
I loved Finn Fancy Necromancy, and so excited for Bigfootloose and Finn Fancy Free! If you like fun, funny fantasy: http://amzn.to/20bfYWg
3) REVIEW THE BOOKS. If you’ve read them, give them honest reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes (at the same links as listed above for purchasing), and Goodreads (links below). (I can’t give you words to copy/paste here, that would feel wrong. And not in a good way.).
4) TELL PEOPLE in live conversations that you enjoyed/ are interested in the Finn Fancy series. In addition to the fine example in the opening of this post, here’s a couple more:
“Read anything good lately?”
“Yes, Finn Fancy Necromancy! It was really fun and funny, you should totally read it!”
“Where do you want to eat tonight?”
“Someplace with good light for reading. I just can’t put this book, Finn Fancy Necromancy, down! It’s so good! Just like Greek Pizza, full of exiting and rich flavors, yet also pretty cheesy.”
“Soooo … pizza then?”
“Honey, what safe word should we use?”
“‘Finn Fancy.’ Because it’s a really exciting and adventurous series that isn’t afraid to explore pain and laughter, but sets clear boundaries and expectations.”
Well, you get the idea.
What this is not: desperation, or me asking folks to save my series just because, or me not knowing what I’ll do if Tor doesn’t buy more. I think book 1 sold pretty well*, and if not I’ll be fine if they don’t buy book 4. I’ve been incredibly blessed to be published as is, and I love writing the Finn Fancy books, but if the series ends I will write other things. And Finn will be fine — he can quit getting into danger and drama and go write video games on his Commodore 64 in the Heaven of Retired Characters.
But all the feedback I’ve received is that readers loved Finn Fancy Necromancy, and I’d hate for Finn Fancy to die not because of a lack of interest, but rather just because I dislike doing the self-promotion thing too much**. Especially when there is a very specific sales period like this that can really matter.
So thank you if you’ve taken any of these actions, and thanks so much to all of the readers, booksellers, librarians, and friends who’ve helped Finn Fancy and my writerly dreams live and shine bright.
Footnotes (that might be of informativational interest to writerly types):
*Book 1 sold decently in hardback — “decently” being defined (with my complete lack of previous experience or context in these matters) as enough to sell through its advance and a bit more, but it didn’t require multiple printings or anything — and is now out in Trade Paperback. So while I’m hopeful that Tor isn’t exactly disappointed, I’m also sure they’re not leaping up like meerkats, impressed by this hot new author or anything). I’m in that uncertain area of thinking it is very possible they’ll want more but also very possible they won’t. I honestly believe sales in the next month will be very important in this decision. Book 2 comes out February 16th. Because of the long publishing cycle, Tor really can’t wait and see how books 2 and 3 actually sell over time before deciding whether to contract book 4. The constraints of linear time and temporal integrity directives can be so annoying sometimes. Or to put it another way, I would need to have book 4 written before book 3 even comes out. Traditional publishing cycles are funky that way.
**While Finn ended up on personal fave lists, I didn’t do the work of reminding people about my books as the big names/sites were compiling their 2015 Year’s Best lists or their 2016 Most Anticipated lists or nominating books for awards etc. Not to imply it would have definitely gotten on such lists if I had, yet weirdly, I felt bad for Finn. He deserved better of me. I know it is a perfectly legit and necessary part of the promotion game, but I just didn’t feel comfortable doing so. Which in the end perhaps does the series a disservice, and could harm the potential of more books in a series people seem to enjoy. It’s such a weird circular dance. So I’m biting the bullet and being self-promotiony about this, because this at least is just a direct and meaningful act of reader democracy: if you like the books (or think you might), you can vote with your support to continue the series.Originally posted at my Mirror Blog at: http://www.randy-henderson.com/2016/01/s
When the lights went out in the room due to the lack of bodies, we had to laugh.
I was a panelist at Rustycon this weekend, a lovely small local con run by very dedicated and passionate volunteers. Unfortunately, several factors led to smaller than expected turnout — horrible Friday weather and traffic, every other person in the State apparently having the flu, and a Seahawks game on Sunday among them. As a result, my panels all had two to five attendees. The Guest of Honor’s had maybe fifteen. I was lucky enough to have a handful of people at my reading, but several writers had nobody show.
I’m glad I went.
Like a lot of people, I’ve been crazy busy of late, essentially three-full-time-jobs level busy. So there are those who might question whether a con where only a handful of people attended my panels might be seen as a “waste of time.”
But here’s why I don’t feel it was:
Like most people I think, I read by both taste and mood. Sort of like how I eat. Or make lo — uh, make the food I eat.
While I enjoy dark fantasy and so-called “grimdark” (official term and sponsor of the 2000’s Stuff Nobody Agrees What the Official Term Should Be For-athon), it feels like heavy lifting to me, as it is often filled with a sense of hopelessness, of fear, of pain, etc. that, even when cut with the occasional moment of joy, can still feel draining to read (at least for me). I have to take my dark in small doses, like absinthe, or Carrot Top, or the awareness of my inevitable death.
Swallow My Darkness!!!
Don’t get me wrong. I think that Shakespeare guy has a real future with those crazy dark tragedies of his. And when done well, “grimdark” can be satisfying reading in the sense that you feel these complex and sometimes uncomfortable emotions evoked by the work, and feel rewarded for that heavy lifting. It also is able to explore deep and difficult themes and subjects in a more focused way than other fantasy, topics such as the darker side of human nature, moral ambiguity, torture, the origins of cruelty, etc.
In the words of that wise bard Trent Reznor, “I hurt myself today, to see if I still feel.”
In all the craziness of the holidays, I almost forgot — Finn Fancy Necromancy is being released in Trade Paperback any day now!
So if you’re in your local bookstore and spot Finn Fancy Necromancy on the shelf, do me a huge favor and snap a photo and post it to Facebook or Twitter and tag me, or send me an email and let me know? Or if you want to be fancy, you can post it in the comments below using a basic IMG tag: <img src=”url of your image here“>
I’ll send an Advanced Reader Copy of book 2: Bigfootloose and Finn Fancy Free, to the first two people to post pics of FFN trade edition in the wild.
It could appear on bookstore shelves any time between now and early January, depending on when they receive the shipment and decide to shelve it.
Here are just some of the bookstores where you might spot it:
Originally posted at my Mirror Blog at: http://www.randy-henderson.com/2015/12/f
Santa Claus has starred in a lot of movies. I can only assume he uses the money from his acting gigs to upgrade his workshop, what with technology always advancing. Hard to build iPods with chisels, ya know?
But, sadly, not all of his movies are good.
Here are some examples of the not-so-great ones. Some I made up. Some are real movies. And some I made up, and then found out they were real movies. How sad.
See if you can guess which are real, and which are bogus (answers are at the end). And just so the existence of hyperlinks does not give away which are the real ones, the false movies are linked to random Christmas-related material as well. If you are reading this at work, be aware that the YouTube videos will auto-start.
1. SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS (1964)
Let’s just get this one right out of the way. A highly underrated classic that is often (unfairly) cited as the worst Christmas movie ever. But like all of the best science fiction, it was prophetic, with the Martian society reflecting our own future society. Children are treated as adults in small bodies, and medicated with sleep spray when they get too precocious. The concerns of the anti-hero, Voldar, predicted modern issues around the impacts that mass production of frivolous goods have had on our society. If the deep philosophical themes of this film had been taken to heart, it may well have helped us to avoid our current financial crises as caused by credit consumerism.
Indeed, I believe that history will mark this as one of the most important films of the 20th century.
Okay, sure, they have a robot made of a cardboard box and duct tubing. But come on, who’s to say someday we won’t build disposable robots exactly like that, huh? Again, just further proof that this move was revolutionary in its visionizing.
Speaking of Santa battling aliens …
2. SVP (SANTA VS. PREDATOR) (2004)
Santa’s elves, while searching for frozen cookie dough in the tundra of the North Pole, discover a space ship buried in the ice. They are soon plunged into Jingle Hell as a newly awakened Predator begins stalking Santa’s workshop and killing off its inhabitants one by one. But the Predator may have met its match, because Santa is no ordinary prey. If you liked the toy battle scenes from “Toys” or “Small Soldiers,” the body count of every Rambo movie combined, and the taste of Play-Doh, you’ll love this film. For those who are considering watching this with their children, be warned: the final scene, in which the Predator is lured into a giant Hungry Hungry Hippo pit and ripped apart by massive lunging Hippo heads, is particularly terrifying and bloody. Starring Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson as Santa Claus.
Due to cutbacks, the PsyPhy Network’s Holiday Classics Crappy Remake Department and their Scifi Classics Cheesy Remake Department have been merged. Here are some of the resulting projects that are now in various stages of production.
A Charlie Brown War of the Worldsmas
Good grief! Aliens invade the earth, and not even Linus’s nuclear-blue slanket can stop them. Charlie Brown tries to escape his new alien masters, but is caught, and Woodstock is roasted as punishment. Charlie is admonished by Lucy (“Charlie, you bonehead! You’ll get us all killed!”), and then is sent out by his masters to fetch biological samples for preservation.
Charlie wanders the wasteland that is the invasion’s aftermath, where he discovers his old bioengineered smartpet Snoopy decorating a bomb shelter, and mutant children with abnormally large heads try to capture falling ashes on their tongues for the meager nutrients. At last he stumbles across a group of children huddled in a school auditorium where they sing Christmas carols in the hopes that Santa Claus will save them from the aliens. Inspired to teach the aliens the spirit of Christmas, Charlie takes one of the last surviving pine trees back to the mothership. The aliens quickly succumb to Pine Needle Scale (Chionaspis pinifoliae) and all die, whereupon everyone cheers Charlie Brown as a hero.
Original Classics: A Charlie Brown Christmas & War of the Worlds
The Year that Santa Claus Stood Still
Nobody believes in Santa, so Santa refuses to go anywhere on Christmas Eve. Klatu the elf goes into town with his little reindeer, Gortzen, to give humans one last chance to prove themselves worthy of Christmas. When Klatu is shot and Gortzen is captured by local scientists, it is up to Missus Claus to seek the aid of the Heat Miser, Snow Miser, and Mother Earth to convince the nations of the world to unite in a promise of Christmas cheer, or else die beneath the floods of melted polar ice. In the end, children and grownups everywhere are shouting, “We believe in you Santa! Please, for the love of egg nog, we believe in you!”
Original Classics: The Year without a Santa Claus & The Day the Earth Stood Still
Frosty the Snow Blob
Astrophysicist Professor Hinkle is laughed out of a scientific convention when he claims that his crystal Mayan helmet is really an alien communications device. Frustrated, he throws it away. A group of children find it, and put it on a snowman they made. The snowman promptly comes to life, proclaiming, “Happy birthday! Resistance is futile!” Frosty immediately rolls over the children, absorbing them and growing in size faster than a snowball rolling downhill. Soon, the entire town is threatened, as the snowblob picks up everything in its path like a Christmas Katamari Dam-Icy. Only Santa, a saintly alien who had been guarding against the return of the Frostarians, can stop the snowblob. But can even his vaunted powers succeed?
Original Classics: Frosty the Snow Man & The Blob
Rudolph and This Island Earth of Misfit Toys 2
Rudolph is gifted a bizarre Build a Radio kit. After using his nose to power it he receives a message to fly to the mysterious Island of Misfit Toys, where he finds his old pal Hermey the Elf already there. Rudolph and Hermey are beamed onto a saucer sled by the winged lion Exeter and flown to the planet Northpolia, where they learn that the Northpolians are in danger from the evil Toytakerons.
The Northpolians hope to develop a new weapon to defend their planet before it is destroyed entirely – and the mysterious energy source of Rudolph’s nose is their best hope. But the Toytakerons begin a final assault, bombarding the planet with cheap plastic crap from Christmases past. Rudolf and Hermey battle the abominable snowbrain — a hideous creature made of white fur and a giant exposed brain – and then escape back to earth where they support an entire new merchandising line of toys and Christmas ornaments happily ever after.
Although originally scripted for a 90 minute movie, the actual planned film has been shortened to 17 minutes to allow for more commercial breaks.
Original Classics: Rudolph and the Island of Misfit Toys & This Island Earth
How the Grinch Snatched Bodies
The Grinch, fed up with Whys in Whysville and their constant laughing and singing and playing games during the holidays, sneaks into everyone’s homes and plants grinchpods in their basements. The pods open in the night and send forth creatures that take over the Whys’ sleeping bodies.
Soon, the Grinchified are stripping all personal joy and meaning out of the season, proposing white elephant exchanges of practical household goods even for personal family gatherings, jetting between holiday parties like club hopping celebrities, declaring themselves sick of holiday songs due to mall music inundation, and taking this year to really focus on themselves since they go all out on others every other year. But one Why, Mindy Ly Why, wakes in the night and realizes what is happening, and attempts to stop it. Will she find others who have not been Grinchified and avoid getting caught? Can she succeed in restoring true holiday spirit? Or will she end up as roast beast?
Original Classics: How the Grinch Stole Christmas & Invasion of the Body Snatchers
When Nestor’s Worlds Collide
Nestor the long eared donkey is horrified when his mother (and several national monuments) are smote by falling meteors. He is taken in by a kind pregnant woman, who is a message courier and needs a reliable method of transportation. She delivers messages between three wise scientists and learns that they have spotted a star in the sky – a star that is rapidly getting closer and is destined to consume the earth in fire. They manage to build a spacecraft, an ark of sorts, to carry a select group of humans to the new planet that is orbiting the coming star of doom.
Oh no! The ship is all full, with no seats for the pregnant woman! But wait — the kind-hearted pilot allows the woman and Nestor to stay in the cargo hold with the livestock and supplies. A child is born as the ship lands on the new planet. The child is named Hope, and seen as a symbol of a fresh start – but will she truly be a herald of hope, or will she only help to carry the bigotries, fears, and superstitions of the human race into the new world?
Only the sequel will tell.
Original Classics: Nestor the Long Eared Donkey & When Worlds Collide
I originally published this on Fantasy MagazineOriginally posted at my Mirror Blog at: http://www.randy-henderson.com/2015/12/n