Lizard Brain is a shared blog about Science Fiction and Fantasy from Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck.

A Worldcon Clarification

by Daniel Abraham

Because it came up elsewhere:

Yes, I am only appearing on one panel at Worldcon.  No, it is not because I was unwilling to do more.  If you check out how much I’m doing at Bubonicon this weekend, you’ll see it’s much more than one panel.

I ain’t saying success won’t spoil me, just that I’m holding out for more success before I get all spoilt.  🙂

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Caliban Speaks!

by Daniel Abraham

Which is to say has Caliban’s War as an audiobook releasing today, complete with Jefferson May.


Valente, von Trier, and Obstructions

by Daniel Abraham

So it happened like this.  A few years back I was at Walter Jon Williams’ Rio Hondo Workshop with Catherynne Valente.  Now I’d just read her Orphan’s Tales books, and had been delighted and blown away.  Structurally there were (and are) some of the prettiest, most elegant books I’ve ever seen.  Reading them was like watching some gorgeous clockwork move through a predetermined and unpredictable course.  I’m a hard sell for books these days, but I loved those.  Working with her at the workshop was a real treat.

“Out of limitations comes creativity.” — Debbie Allen

In the course of the week, she brought up a film I hadn’t heard of before.  The Five Obstructions.  It’s a documentary of sorts by Lars von Trier.

So yeah.  Lars vor Trier.  Lemme tell you about me and Lars von Trier.  The first time I came across him, I was living on Staten Island and working in Manhattan.  The Angelika is this wonderful little movie house on the edge of Soho, and it showed films that weren’t on anyplace else.  My fiance at the time (not my wife now — long story) and I went there to see something called The Kingdom.  I knew pretty much nothing about it.  It turned out to be four episodes of a Danish miniseries directed by this fella named Lars von Trier.  It was grim and it was horrific and it was funny as hell.  The production looked like it had been done with no money, and the editing jerked and jumped.  The special effects were minimalist and surprisingly effective.  I loved it, and declared myself a lifelong von Trier fan.

It took Lars years to talk me out of that, but he managed.  I sat through Breaking the Waves, which I almost couldn’t watch because of the Blair Witch-level of unsteady camerawork.  I watch Zentropa, which I tried hard to love and managed almost up to the end.  I read his Dogme95 manifesto and wasn’t particularly impressed.  When Dancer in the Dark came out . . . honestly, I just didn’t have it in me.  The films he’s done since, I’ve just taken a pass on.  Antichrist.  Melancholia.  Nah, man.  I’m done.

Except The Five Obstructions.  Because it’s freaking brilliant.

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Another Terrible Idea in Free Verse

by Daniel Abraham

The attacks are inevitable

and insure its survival

whatever the paperwork shows

whatever the paperwork shows.


Below all the mudslinging lies a real divide

We’re falling behind

whatever the paperwork shows

whatever the paperwork shows.


Half-truths and weak arguments

whatever the paperwork shows

what the numbers show

whatever the paperwork shows.

Four Pinocchios.


(All phrases in the above doggerel are taken directly from a Fareed Zakaria article and remixed, mostly as an in-joke with a former editor of mine.  Continue walking, citizen.  There’s nothing to see here.)


Where in the World is Daniel Abraham?

by Daniel Abraham

I’m going to be at Bubonicon in Albuquerque and Worldcon in Chicago by the end of the month.  If any of y’all are in the vicinity, here’s what it looks like:


Friday, August 24:

7:30 PM  55 Minutes with Daniel Abraham (Reading)

9:30 PM  PUMP UP THE VOLUME: WRITING BIG SCIENCE FICTION: D Abraham, M Cassutt, B Sanderson, WJ Williams. Moderator: S.M. Stirling

Saturday, August 25:

D Abraham, S Gwylan, S Krinard, J Saberhagen. Moderator: C. Willis

3 PM Panel #15 – ADAPTATION: FROM EXISTING STORY TO FILM SCRIPT/GRAPHIC NOVEL D Abraham, M Cassutt, S Phillips, M Snodgrass. Moderator: I. Tregillis

Sunday, August 26

10 AM Panel #18 – WHAT’S SPACE OPERA, DOC? THE FAT LADY’S NOT DONE SINGING S Broom, LJ Mixon, M Snodgrass, WJ Williams. Moderator: D. Abraham

Bubonicon also sports a mass autographing and an extra signing just for George and Brandon.


Saturday, September 1

3 PM Autographing session

Sunday, September 2

10 AM Clarion Call (Panel)

There was going to be a reading, but it was scheduled Monday morning about half an hour after I’m due at Midway airport, but if y’all are hanging out at the airport, I’d be happy to tell you a story.

So upshot?  If you’d like to see me on stage talking with some of the most brilliant minds in the industry, come to Bubonicon.  If you’d like to hang out with me at a bar or coffee shop, come to Worldcon.


Graveyard Child

by Daniel Abraham

Psst.  Want to see the new MLN Hanover cover art?

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New Clarkesworld article up

by Daniel Abraham

“There’s a puzzle I don’t know the answer to, but the more I look around for it, the more I see it. Most of the time, it’s amusing. Sometimes it scares the crap out of me.

So, funny story. Back in 1998, I was at Clarion West. One of my classmates turned in a story about a woman who worked from home, writing up recipes for the local newspaper. The essential problem in the story was that the protagonist’s dog kept digging up space-time wormholes. It was a light, comic piece, and one I remember fondly. But we were there for a workshop, and critics have to criticize. We came together for the morning critique, and our comments were very consistent. We all loved the wormhole dog, but no one was willing to believe in a woman supporting herself writing recipes.”

The whole thing’s up at Clarkesworld.

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by Daniel Abraham

Going to Readercon? So will I!

The Short List of What Daniel’s Up To (quoted from the Readercon program guide, which also has all the cool stuff that I’m not personally doing, and is worth looking over, right?):


All the cool kids will be there. Oh, and we will too…

9:00 PM G Why Is Realistic Fiction Useful? Daniel Abraham, Nathan Ballingrud, Grant C. Carrington, Liz Gorinsky (leader), Alexander Jablokov. In a 2011 blog post, Harry Connolly wrote, “If I want to understand the horrors of war, the pain of divorce, the disappointment of seeing a business fail, I don’t need to read fiction. There’s non-fiction on that very subject…. So forget about justifying the utility of fantasy. How do people justify the utility of realism?” Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried distinguishes between “story truth” and “happening truth”; O’Brien feels that fictionalizing some aspects of his own experience makes them more universal. On the other hand, reality TV, Photoshop, and CGI have proven how blurry the line between fiction and non-fiction can be. How do we tease out these distinctions, and what is realistic fiction’s place in the literary landscape?

FRIDAY 11:00 AM   RI   How We Wrote the Expanse Series. Daniel Abraham, Ty Franck. Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, who collaborate under the name James S. A. Corey, discuss the writing of their mammoth space opera series.

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Sword and Laser: Leviathan Wakes Book Club

by Daniel Abraham

Sword and Laser


Caliban Released

by Daniel Abraham

“You like space monsters, kid?”

Well, the fact of the matter is, it’s been getting shipped for about a week, but today was the official release for Caliban’s War.

Thus far, the response has been mostly positive:

“Compelling characters and a plot that combines political intrigue with military sf create a memorable story that begs for film adaptation.” — Library Journal

“The characters, many familiar from before, grow as the story expands; tension mounts, action explodes and pages turn relentlessly.” — Kirkus

“This breakneck tale will have readers itching for book three.” — Publisher’s Weekly

As always some folks like it better than others, and I’m sure there are going to be some folks that hate it (always are), but all in all (apart from a hacking cough that’s still lingering after a nasty cold over the weekend), things are pretty spiffy.

So tell your friends and neighbors who’ve been on tenterhooks that Caliban’s War is out.  ( amazon | BN | Indiebound )