Monday, January 11, 2010

Guest Author; Lavie Tidhar

Posted by Simcha 8:56 AM, under | 4 comments

I'm excited to start off the week with my very first guest post, from Lavie Tidhar. Lavie is a science fiction author who is originally from Israel but has been living the life of a nomad since he was a teenager, traveling across the world and visiting a variety of interesting and exotic locations.

Lavie's works include The Tel Aviv Dossier, which he co-wrote with Nir Yaniv and The Apex Book of World SF, a collection of science fiction short stories written by authors from all over the world. I recently discovered that Lavie has new book out called The Bookman, a steampunk novel published by Angry Robot (a division of Harper Collins) and so asked him over to talk a little about his book.

And so without any further ado... here's Lavie Tidhar....

I didn't Know That
by Lavie Tidhar

My new book has just come out on Thursday; called The Bookman, it tells of a young man, Orphan, and his quest to bring his love back from the dead. You may have read it in first draft, when it was called Orpheus & Eurydice...

Or not quite. It’s hard for me to come up with “copy” about the book. What do you say about it? That it’s an adventure novel? That it’s a strange and loopy Victorian alternative history? Or that it’s a book about books, or a retelling of Greek mythology, or that it’s a pulp novel?

I guess it’s all of that. It’s a retelling of Greek classics and a pulp novel. Why not? Paprika and cumin go well together. You can put coriander into chicken soup – as shocking as that sounds.

If anything, I’m a little bemused about the book coming out at all. I guess I still think of myself as the guy writing strange short stories and, at best, novellas – things like HebrewPunk, with its Jewish vampires and golems in the fighting ring... or Martian Sands, a short novel forthcoming this year or the next from Apex Books, which can best be described as “Schindler’s List meets Total Recall”... yet suddenly here I am with a three-book contract for one of the major publishers in the business – HarperCollins – with pretty-much world-wide distribution and a cover artist I had long admired.

Also, of course, the fame, the drugs, the groupies – the usual things you get with a book deal.

Which is all very strange.

For the last month of writing (the first draft of) The Bookman, I didn’t even have a place to live. Not as such. I was... well, I’ll spare you the details. I was hunched up in an attic room in someone else’s house, trying to finish it while it was snowing outside. While my hero sailed the seas, being assailed by – variously – pirates, automatons, long-lost relatives and the British army (not to mention Jack the Ripper, sundry revolutionaries and giant lizards) I was dreaming of the South Pacific and escaping to the pub. I did end up in the South Pacific, incidentally – I spent a year in a bamboo hut on the beach in one of the most remote places on Earth, with no electricity, no clean water to drink, and nothing but a view of the volcano in the distance every morning.

Which kind of puts things in perspective, or at least it should. It never does, of course – though my favourite prayer still remains, ‘Thank you, O Lord, for this hot shower I am about to take...”

Hot showers are Godly. Everything else is a bonus.

But anyway. The Bookman got written in London, re-written in South Africa (per instructions of my patient and saintly agent, John) and sold while I was living in Laos. I’m getting ready to leave Laos as the book’s being published, but again, I will be the last person to actually see a copy of the book. Puts it in perceptive, doesn’t it? when you’re thousands of miles away from the nearest bookshop with your book in it.

At least, I’m assuming there are bookshops with the book in them.

I’m assuming there are still bookshops.


The Bookman is the first of – well – who knows? A series? A trilogy? A never-ending trail of paperbacks each growing larger than the other? At this point it is hard to tell. Is it fun? I think so. Does it say something profound about the human condition? Well, that’d be telling... does it have any swearing in it – no, though I’d like to write something that has a lot of that in it, at one point... say, if I see a negative review.

Just kidding. There are other ways.

No, I didn’t get hold of untraceable poison unknown to modern science in the South Pacific and, no, I will not use it to poison critics.

Of course not.

Don’t be ridiculous.

So there we are. The Bookman’s out, rather upsetting my carefully-planned schedule of writing weird-things-no-one-would-want-to-buy by writing a, well, weird thing someone might actually want to buy.

I love the cover.

They say not to judge a book by its cover but I always do. So do you, admit it.

I’m thinking of retiring now. Maybe a place in the desert? Or I could just buy my own island – what? sorry, that’s my agent on the other line. What do you mean I can’t afford my own island? How much did we get paid for this book? Seriously? That’s all?

Oh well. Scrap that one, then.

So I guess maybe I won’t retire just yet. Guess I’ll write a few more books – actually, the second book, Camera Obscura, is just about to be delivered. It’s fun – with 30% more explosions!

They told me to say that.

The voices.

Oh, that’s just the publicist telling me I really need to stop now, so...

Try the book. Or try a book. Any book. It doesn’t matter! The Impossibility of Air Travel is a good one. What an idea! Air travel! What nonsense!

What? You mean... you have something called an “air ship” in your world? How does it work?


I did not know that.


For more information about Lavie Tidhar you can visit his website.
You can also read my review of The Tel Aviv Dossier and Randy Lazarus's review of The Apex Book of World SF


That was fabulous! Now I have to get his book.

Esther, did you ever manage to get a copy of The Tel Aviv Dossier?

I liked the baby with a book and the comment. It was nice to know about Lavie Tidhar. Nice post!
Happy Blogging! :)

Thanks for visiting Chandrika! I also like that baby, though I do wish he would stop getting into my books! :)

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