Two From the Toolbox

by wjw on June 22, 2015

Clash+of+EaglesI’m gearing up for this year’s Taos Toolbox, which starts this weekend.  But before I climb the mountain to begin my yearly two-week struggle for quality genre literature, I thought I’d pass on my congratulations to a couple Toolbox graduates whose books have recently been published.

First up is Alan Smale, whose Clash of Eagles, which was workshopped at Taos Toolbox, has been released from Del Rey.  It’s the first of a trilogy, people, and it’s an alternative history in which Roman legionaries cross to North America and encounter the Mound Builders at the height of their power.

If this is the sort of high concept that sets you drooling, then I recommend you get a copy and drool all over this one.

The+Library+at+Mount+CharNext up is Scott Hawkins’ The Library at Mount Char, which was also workshopped at Toolbox and has just been released from Crown.  This one is a bit hard to describe, because it not only defies all existing genres, it piles the genres into a big heap, douses them with gasoline, sets them alight, and then roasts weenies on them.

It’s sort of indescribable, but I’ll try.  Here goes.

What if God had a library?  And what if he brutally murdered the parents of a bunch of children, then put the children in the library and told them to read whatever they liked?  And what if the children began to develop godlike powers?  And then what if God went missing and is maybe dead?  And then the kids all sort of decided they each wanted to be God and they started fighting and killing each other, except one of them can bring the dead back, and lots of other stuff happens and what happens to mortals who have absolute power anyway?

Plus some Lovecraftian stuff, except set on fire and roasting weenies.

This is the book to read if you want to read a book that you’ve never read before.  Because it’s nothing like.  Honest.

So what credit can I and Taos Toolbox claim for these writers’ success?  How about as much as I can get away with?

But I can’t get away with much, because I didn’t write the books.  Alan and Scott did, and they came up with the ideas, and did all the actual work, and what Nancy and I did was maybe point things in certain directions, and maybe point at some other things that needed to be taken into consideration.  So hurrah for us!  And them!  And everybody!

Toolbox grads don’t just write big novels, of course.  Toolbox grad Kelly Robson has Waters of Versailles at, Shawn Frazier has a new story at SQ Mag, and Jim Meeks-Johnson has By the Numbers at Aurora Wolf.

All of which you can read for free, so don’t say I never gave you anything!

Now on to Taos Toolbox 2015!

Sharon Joss June 24, 2015 at 11:10 am

Can’t wait!

Scott Hawkins June 28, 2015 at 1:36 pm

You and Nancy can legitimately claim a lot of the credit, Walter. Taos Toolbox was a phenomenal workshop. It was four years ago (!!!) and I still go back to my notes every couple of months. Thanks for the mention and for all your help.

Class of 2015, I’m jealous. Have fun! And pay attention.

Kelly Horn July 1, 2015 at 4:24 pm

In addition to the Lovecraftian stuff, the fire, and weenies, there’s this unforgettable line: “The lion wishes me to inform you that this is how you will die.” (Somehow ‘awesome’ doesn’t quite do that justice.)

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