It’s been a rough year, 2016. So at the beginning of this last full month before the official onset of the apocalypse, we’re grateful at least that everything’s coming up normal. As in Normal, by Warren Ellis. Which is, perhaps, appropriate—Ellis is after all the man now being credited for having predicted Trump, etc, twenty years ago in Transmetropolitan.
But Normal is actually a book of right now. And while we can’t promise that the future now looks incredibly rosy for us humans (and others), there are few bright spots for us to point out: The book made the Indie Next List for December (it’s “1984 meets One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” says Randy Schiller of Left Bank Books in St Louis—see, rosy!) and one of Amazon’s Best Books of December (“a mind-blowing morsel of paranoia…or prescience” according to Amazon’s Adrian Liang)—and, in fact, one of Amazon’s Top 100 Best Books of the Year!
But for all you internet nerds actually visiting our website, the brightest spot of all is the news that the one and only John Hodgman agreed to lend his dulcet tones to the audiobook edition of Normal.
In 2016, one of FSG Originals’ most ambitious and rewarding challenges was the publication of all four volumes of Lian Hearn’s Tale of Shikanoko across the course of the year. With the publication of Tengu’s Game of Go, the set is now complete. And—just to toot our own horn for a moment, excuse us—it is glorious to behold, utterly gorgeous and deeply satisfying, inside and out.
The first book of The Tale of Shikanoko arrives on US shores today, and Emperor of the Eight Islands comes on waves of praise. During its Australian publication a few weeks ago, it was hailed in the mainstream press—The Sydney Morning Herald wrote, “It is easy to let the book sweep the reader away, to engage with strange events, but very compelling characters…there is huge imaginative vitality.”—and the, um, geek media, too—here’s The Geek of Oz: “Emperor of the Eight Islands is masterstroke for Lian Hearn…you’ll want the next book in front of you right now.”
For the record, we’re doing our very best to get the next book in front of you right now. The first book comes out today; the second, Autumn Princess, Dragon Child, will be out the first week of June; and the whole series—all four books—will be available by the end of September. (Yes, in true FSG Originals fashion, it’s not just the books themselves that are an adventure, it’s the publications, too.)
In the meantime, we have more waves or praise to share with you.
In what reads like a missing chapter from his just-published A Burglar’s Guide to the City, Geoff Manaugh details the (maybe-true) story of a convicted bank robber hired to steal al Qaeda’s liquid assets. The article, published just last week in The Daily Beast, was optioned by Studio 8.
Two pieces of very exciting news for FSG Originals authors: Catherine Lacey wins a Whiting Award and Amelia Gray is a finalist for the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award!
We’ve known that Eli Horowitz is some kind of storytelling genius for a while now—as Miranda July says, “Everyone who knows him thinks of him as their secret weapon”—but we’re glad the secret is finally out (we’ve been trying to tell people for years!) thanks to this terrific profile in Buzzfeed by Anne Helen Petersen.The piece perfectly captures much of what makes us so happy and proud to publish Eli. As Petersen writes, “It sounds hyperbolic, but it’s true: He’s radically rethinking the boundaries of narrative and our expectations for the technology that surrounds us.”
Yes, we can confirm: True.
Over the course of the profile, Horowitz opens up to Petersen about his days at McSweeney’s, about the surprise benefits of his carpentry skills and the shortcomings of his homemade dumbwaiter, about the specialness of Sonoma County’s newest socialist restaurant, Russia House Number #1, and about his new book, The Pickle Index, which, she notes, “aims to effectively reconceptualize the book—in its digital and printed forms alike.”
The printed book! That’s where we come in!
We heartily recommend the whole piece to you, not least for the animated GIF of the aforementioned dumbwaiter.