Neil Clarke

The Award-Winning Editor of Clarkesworld Magazine, Forever Magazine, The Best Science Fiction of the Year, and More

Month: January 2007 Page 2 of 3

A Weekend with the Kids

My wife has been off enjoying an artist’s retreat of sorts.  The Polymer Clay Guild she belongs to decided to take over a hotel somewhere around Atlantic City for the weekend.  She’s been down there claying her hands off while the boys and I hold down the fort.  Aidan and Eamonn are 6 and 3 and behave like typical brothers at that age, which is to say they can get on one another’s nerves from time to time.  Interestingly enough, they’ve been on their best behavior all weekend, probably saving a huge meltdown for mommy’s return.

Since the post office is closed today, I haven’t had to deal with orders for most of the weekend.  Instead I took the time to play with the boys and get the house cleaned up.  We’ve watched countless episodes of Ultraman Tiga (Aidan’s favorite show) and I think I might scream if I have to see the Curious George movie again.  It’s reached the point where I have most of the dialog memorized.  We’ve played Connect Four, I Spy Bingo, Chuzzle and I Spy Treasure Hunt.  Mommy recorded herself singing some bedtime songs, so we played those and then I stayed with the boys until they stopped crying and went to sleep.  (Ok, so the songs may not have been the best idea.)

Lisa comes home in a few hours.  The boys are dressed.  Dishes and laundry are done.  The bathrooms and kitchen are cleaner than when she left.  The TV is off and the kids have wandered off to draw pictures. 

Time to go back to work. 

*sigh*

IROSF Reviews Clarkesworld Magazine Issues 2 & 3

Reviews for issues two and three are now up at the Internet Review of Science Fiction.   Congratulations to Catherynne M. Valente for getting a “recommended” for her story “Urchins, While Swimming”

And the house is finally gone

This week brought news worthy of another update on my brother’s house (the one that was destroyed by fire months ago).  The insurance companies paid, the permits were issued, and the house came down this week….

The blueprints are in the hands of the builders and they should break ground in the next week.  It’s going to be a beautiful house and the perfect home for my brother and his wife.

Almost too late, but Happy Little Drummer Boy Day!

According to Rankin and Bass, the official chroniclers of the life of the Little Drummer Boy, January 6th is the fateful day that the Ra Pa Pum Pum’s were unleashed upon the recently born baby Jesus.  We know this because he arrived on the scene as the Magi were presenting their gifts.  That event is recognized by the celebration of the Epiphany and occurs 12 days after the birth of Jesus.  According to R&B, one of the Magi, after presenting his gift, told the Little Drummer Boy (Aaron, who hated people) that only the King among kings, the babe, could help save the little sheep Bah-bah, who had moments earlier been run down by a Roman chariot.  Having no other gift to give, the Little Drummer Boy played his drums and if we are to believe R&B, everyone smiled and the sheep was resurrected/healed.

As a parent, I find it hard to accept the R&B reaction to the Little Drummer Boy’s drum solo.  Ok, assume you have a newborn baby and everyone has been poking in on him for the last 12 days.  He’s finally settling down and BLAM here comes some local orphan (yeah, his family is killed, and probably worse at the start of the tale) and he starts banging loudly on his drum.   Those first couple of weeks of parenthood, especially with a newborn, who even assuming that he was very well behaved (as one would hope from the son of God), are particularly rough.  No self-respecting parent would ever allow a little boy to play the drums in front of their hopefully-soon-to-be-sleeping baby.  Even if by some chance, he did get to play the drums, they certainingly  wouldn’t be smiling.  Imagine what you would do.  Yeah, I thought so.

When R&B were presented with the only surviving scroll containing this piece of history, they saw a story with potential.   The early Church, however, didn’t see this particular story as good PR.  The Little Drummer Boy Incident was excised from history, his story buried for ages.  To this day, you will not find the Little Drummer Boy in a Church-sanctioned manger scene.  Previously, the closest thing to verification of these events was a tale about the Knight’s Templar being sent to “take care of the Sect of the Boy”, but records of the actual events were eradicated when the Templars themselves met their own fateful demise. 

Anyhow, desperate for a success to go follow their Rudulph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman TV specials, Rankin and Bass twisted the tale so it had a happy ending that became a Christmas classic in song and video.  While the tale was turned into good PR, it sent shockwaves through the Vatican.  Under pressure, R&B created a sequel to the Little Drummer Boy to further muddle the story and eventually both versions would fade from broadcast TV.

Happy Little Drummer Boy Day!

Clarkesworld Books 2006 Bestsellers – Part Three

The following is based on 2006 sales data from Clarkesworld Books. All books and magazines were sold online or at conventions. Where possible, I have listed 2005 sales data rankings.

Books Sold by Author
1 – Keene, Brian (2)
2 – Erikson, Steven (1)
3 – Powers, Tim (-)
4 – Martin, George R. R. (8)
5 – Hill, Joe (-)
6 – Esslemont, Ian Cameron (3)
7 – Kiernan, Caitlin R. (-)
8 – Lumley, Brian (-)
9 – Moore, Christopher (-)
10 – Stross, Charles (-)

Brian Keene and Steven Erikson switched places this year.  Brian is a great supporter of our store.  He regularly plugs us on his blog, forum, and website.  He also made us the sole place (outside of his signings) where you can get inscriptions.  He had a few limited editions and all his paperbacks continue to do well for us.

We have a pretty nice following from Steven Erikson’s fans too.  They’ve routinely pushed us on their forum and a lot of his US fans come to us to get the UK limited and trades of books that won’t be available here for a while.  Ian Cameron Esslemont (the only author in the top ten who had a single book earn them their place in this list)  writes in the same world  (the world he co-developed) as Erikson.  So the fan base overlaps considerably.  Imports did VERY well.

A lot of new people in the list, but people like Tim Powers and GRRM can go some time between books, so it’s anyone guess if they can come back next here.  As a fan and reader, I certainly hope so.  I don’t think we have any worries about Charles Stross publishing a good amount of new books.

Joe Hill had 20th Century Ghosts (which shows now sign of slowing) racking up sales for what seems like forever.  Still one of the best collections I’ve read.  Yet another import. 

Caitlin R. Kiernan, Christopher Moore, and Brian Lumley certainly have more books scheduled for 2007.  Brian had a good bump in this years standing thanks to some older limited editions that we had in stock.  Caitlin received a similar boost, her sales on current books are much better.  Most of Christopher Moore’s sales this year were due to the signed copies of A Dirty Job.  Will Love Bites do as well? 


Bestselling Books by Title

1 – The Bonehunters by Steven Erikson (tpb, hc)
2 – Night of Knives by Ian Cameron Esslemont (tpb, hc)
3 – The Ice Dragon by George R. R. Martin
4 – Three Days to Never by Tim Powers (hc, limited hc)
5 – Twentieth Century Ghosts by Joe Hill (tpb, hc, slipcased hc)
6 – The Rutting Season by Brian Keene (tpb, hc)
7 – Take the Long Way Home by Brian Keene
8 – The Healthy Dead by Steven Erikson (pb, hc)
9 – The Thousandfold Thought by R. Scott Bakker
10 – Blindsight by Peter Watts

Yes, this is a little unusual.  Any edition of the book was counted as a sale for that title.  I’ve indicated the formats of copies sold that were used to create the totals.  I considered three separate lists and that might have been more fair to the mass market paperback authors, but looking at the final numbers, all the combinations of formats were simultaneous or near simultaneous releases.

Three of the top five books sold in our store were imports.  That should tell me something and it will certainly be something I think about over the next few weeks.

Interestingly enough, our #1 author doesn’t have a book in the top five, but he has two in the top ten and all his paperbacks fell into the top 20.  Our #2 author had the #2 and #8 books and one other in the top 20.

Signed books definitely made a difference in sales.  We had signed copies of books numbers 3 through 9 in different editions.

I’m very pleased that Blindsight made the top 10.  I’ve made no secret that this was my favorite novel of the year.  Quite a few people seemed to be paying attention to all the yapping I did about this book and we often had trouble keeping it in stock or even getting copies from the publisher.  I think I used every source I had at my disposal to keep making it available again.

And that’s the end of my year in review at Clarkesworld Books.  I’ll be doing a lot of financial stats over the next couple of weeks that won’t get posted, but will set the direction for the store in the next year.  Should be interesting to see if my perceptions match reality.

Clarkesworld Books 2006 Bestsellers – Part Two

The following is based on 2006 sales data from Clarkesworld Books. All books and magazines were sold online or at conventions. Where possible, I have listed 2005 sales data rankings.

Bestselling Magazines

1 – Fantasy Magazine (-)
2 – Fantasy & Science Fiction (1)
3 – Weird Tales (2)
4 – Asimov’s (3)
5 – Analog (4)
6 – Interzone (5)
7 – Subterranean (9)
8 – Cemetery Dance (8)
9 – H.P. Lovecraft’s Magazine of Horror (7)
10 – Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine (-)

Magazine sales included single issue, back issue, and subscription sales, basically anything we received money for.  A subscription counted the same as a single issue.  We take subscriptions for three of the magazines listed (Fantasy, Weird Tales, and Subterranean).

The big surprise this time is probably Fantasy Magazine.  I’ll tell you that the difference between 1st and 2nd was in the single digits, so if you’re one of those people who thinks I’m crazy for including subscriptions, you can switch the first two and make your own list.  Anyhow, Fantasy was directing people to our site for subscriptions, preorders, covers, for the better part of the year.  It was also one of two magazines that often had multiple copy (of the same issue) sales.  (The other was Interzone.)  These were often friends or family of their contributors.  As it becomes more widely available, I suspect we’ll see a drop in our sales of Fantasy Magazine. It should be interesting to see if it can maintain this spot.

There is no need to explain how F&SF ends up where it is.  Weird Tales, however, is #3 largely because of back issue sales. The same can be said of HPL, which barely did anything new this year.

The gap between Asimovs and Analog is closing.  If I map out the trends, Analog may very well overtake Asimovs in the next year.  Our back issue sales for Analog seem to be growing faster.

Where’s Realms of Fantasy?  We only started stocking that a few months ago, but I’d be willing to bet that they’ll make the list next year.  Same goes for TTA/Black Static if they start publishing again.  2007 will also see the debut of the signed print versions of Clarkesworld Magazine.  Being the publisher of that magazine, I’ll be quite disappointed if we don’t make the cut. 🙂

When we did this last year, I noticed that the majority of our magazine sales were back issues.  This continued to be the case again this year.  It was particularly true with the magazines that are typically available in neighborhood bookstores.  There are also a number of international customers that will buy 2-3 months of issues at a time to save money on shipping.


Still to come:

Bestselling Author
Bestselling Books by Title

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