So: books. You know, I spend most of my time these days writing and designing “immersive entertainment” – from casual games to bleeding edge “mixed reality” experiences.
But if want really immersive entertainment – if you want to leave your body and live in another world – there is still no art form that can touch a great book.
A book hacks into you; it uses your own brain to draw the settings and voice the characters. It’s a virus, man. A great book isn’t something you watch – it’s something you come down with, like yellow fever, and sometimes you’re never the same again.
Here are the novels…
So I was standing at a bus stop in Vancouver and I suddenly thought, “Wouldn’t it be amazing if you had a book where the first scene was the hero performing an autopsy on himself?”
This is also the book for which Neal Stephenson wrote my favorite blurb ever. “Stephen King meets Ibsen. Trust me.”
Download the illustrated e-book edition, with gorgeous drawings by my friend Marc Holmes…
The Cathy Books (with Jordan Weisman)
What we said was, if all you do is read the book, you should have a great experience. The rest – the doodles on the pages and the torn photographs inside, the websites you can visit and the phone number on the front – yep, still working ten years later – that stuff is all great fun, but first and foremost, you’ve got to like Cathy and Emma and want to know what happens next.
Finalist for the Nebula and World Fantasy Awards.
So that scene in the gun range, the one where the concessionaire – completely unprovoked – yells out, “You might consider doing a little reading, my friend – like the CONSTITUTION OF THESE UNITED STATES!” … that totally happened. The friend who took me said, “Don’t mind
<name redacted>. He’s a character.”
And I said, “You got that right…”
Fun Fact: my working title for this book was The Sith Who Came In From the Cold.I
I loved writing it. It’s my eldest daughter’s favorite of my books. That said, when the whole thing started, I was rather perplexed…
So my agent calls and tells me that the editors in charge of the Star Wars line are in trouble with one of the books. They go to lunch to talk it out. “Who could even write that?” one says to the other. “I mean, who could you get to write a whole novel about Yoda?”
And then, I am told, they looked up at one another at the same moment and said, “Sean!”
So… how did that happen? I mean how, exactly, did I become the answer to that question?
Winner of the World Fantasy Award
So the people at World Fantasy called to see if I was coming to the awards that year. I said I was unfortunately booked. They said, “Um, you should really think about coming.”
But here’s the thing: it was the tournament weekend for my daughter’s soccer team – and I was the coach.
Long story short, I was handing out orange slices as the Animaniacs went on a dominating run through the Girls U-12 playoffs before falling 0 – 1 in the final. They got medals and I got a statue of HP Lovecraft. All in all, it was a pretty great weekend.
Finalist for the World Fantasy Award
I started this book right after we moved to Houston. Early on I went into the bank to set up accounts and so on. I’m chatting with the teller, who asks where we’re moving from. I said Vancouver. Concern beaded up on her face like fog on a window. “Well, I do hope you’ll be happy here,” she said, “but I must tell you I fear you have traded in an outpost of heaven for a suburb of Hell.”
So I went all in on this one – High Sci-Fantasy Industrial Animist maximalism. And there were probably some things just out of my scope at the time, plus a ton of stuff got cut at the very last minute – including the Duct Weasel and the Elevator and their chapter “Monsters Contemplate the Revolution” – which slays me to this day.
But the even-numbered chapters through the middle of the book? I still think those are as good as anything I’ve ever done.
So I’ve been dating the same girl since I was 16 years old. Christine has had to read everything – I mean all of it. A year before our first child was born I had just finished my sixth unpublished novel manuscript(1) and I asked her what I needed to do next.
She said, “I think maybe the next thing is … you need to put a little more of yourself on the line.”
This book is what happened.
Winner of the Aurora Award and Canadian Library Association YA Novel of the Year
It’s very simple: What happens after Happily Ever After…?
Winner of the Aurora Award and Arthur Ellis Award for Best Debut Mystery Novel