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Author: Tim Pratt

Endings and Beginnings. Oh, and Middles.

The final chapter of Broken Mirrors has been published! The end is upon us. Thanks to everyone who read. (If you want to donate and get fundraiser prizes, you only have a week left to do so. After that, I stop dispensing goodies.) E-book version will follow soon, and the print version will be along in a month or so, I think (assuming I finish going over the page proofs in time!).

Onward to the next project: I’m serializing my science fantasy adventure novel The Nex, starting on September 6. Though next week I’ll post my story “Dream Engine,” which is set earlier in the same world and shares some characters, to whet your appetites. Head over there and sign up for the RSS feed or whatever. This will once again be a reader-funded serial, so pay if you like. There are some fundraiser prizes, but not as many as I had for Broken Mirrors (for one thing, The Nex is shorter! Only 18 chapters/weeks. For another, it doesn’t have the accumulated cool stuff of four previous novels — artwork etc. — for me to give away!)

Now begins the Two Weeks Of Madness. We’re finishing up the September Steampunk issue of A Certain Magazine at work this week, so that’s busy. On Friday, my kid has an examination under anesthesia, which is always stressful. (Wish us luck, and hope for no need for surgery.) Next week Heather’s out of town all week for a wedding, so I’ll be solo parent. Aiee!

Over the weekend I realized the novel I’m writing was proceeding in entirely the wrong direction, so I had to throw out everything I’d written (not too much so far, fortunately) and start over from scratch. On the bright side, the writing should go more smoothly now that I’m on the right track. But I’ve got lots of writing ahead of me.

It was a pretty fun weekend, though. River’s ear infection is better, thanks to antibiotics. (Whoo science!) My lovely wife and I took the kid over to the old neighborhood on Saturday to visit the Farmer’s Market and play in the bounce house, which was great. We did a cookout last night — I grilled four different kinds of animal! One evening I had coffee with a local fan who was cool and fun to hang out with. (And, hey: free coffee.) So it’s not all stress and lost pages.

Not Ready for Crime Time

Science fiction and fantasy are still totally the genres I love the most, and I seem to be incapable of writing stories myself that don’t involve monsters or ancient cults (who were actually really onto something) or weird gods or psychic powers or ghosts or shapechangers, but I’ve been majorly into reading crime fiction in the past year. Having read a couple hundred mystery/crime/etc. books I’m starting to figure out the stuff I like: nihilistic noir about loser criminals (James Cain! Jason Starr!), wisecracking private detectives (the better Spenser novels!), funny caper novels (Donald Westlake!), brutal caper novels (Donald Westlake as Richard Stark!), PIs with horrible personal problems (Ken Bruen! Lawrence Block!), and the occasional procedural novel as long it’s more about the personality of the cop than about, you know, procedure (Ian Rankin!). I’m also trying to read some of the foundational stuff in the genre. Hammett’s novels (in a handy-dandy Library of America omnibus) and his Continental Op stories, the aforementioned James Cain, etc.

It all makes me want to write crime novels. Of various kinds. But I want to read a few hundred more before I try my hand at the genre I think.

I’m also watching the Avatar: the Last Airbender series with my wife (steaming Netflix whoo), and we are in love with the show. It makes me want to write epic fantasy YA. So let me just add that to the to-do list. As if I don’t have enough to do. (This weekend I need to write 7,000 words and check over the page proofs for Broken Mirrors.)

Sometime soon I should be able to announce one or two or maybe all of the cool book projects I have on the horizon. Contracts exist and details are being worked out. Officialness approaches. Then there’s the fantasy series proposal I need to revise, and a couple of short projects I need to tackle… I’m actually busier than ever; it’s just not as readily apparent to the naked eye.

Tonight I plan to go to a cafe and read page proofs, because such endeavors benefit from vast quantities of coffee — and the inability to screw around online or watch TV or clean my kitchen instead of working.

All Is Clear

I’d catch you up on all the excitement in my life, but there’s not much: spent most of last weekend either having a sick kid or being sick myself. Took Monday off work for a festival of sleeping and healing that was mostly successful. I thought I was still sick on Tuesday, until it dawned on me around noon that I hadn’t actually eaten in about 24 hours. After consuming food I felt much better. Today I’m still kind of headachey and generally out-of-it, but I think that’s mostly leftover dehydration. Hope so, anyway.

Pretty much all I did in my conscious moments was read: Ian Rankin’s collection A Good Hanging, which was enjoyable, especially “Sunday”. I also read All Clear by Connie Willis, which concludes the big story she began in Blackout, though I sort of wish I’d re-read the first volume before diving in to the conclusion. It took me a while to remember what was happening in the various time periods covered, but I got up to speed eventually. She does some very cool and audacious stuff.

Yesterday, as I was feeling better, I took River over to Habitot, where he played with rocket ships and splashed water and painted and pretended to grocery shop and cook and did all the other fun stuff on offer there. Afterward we went to a diner for lunch — that was the point where I realized I was dizzy from lack of food — and he sat beside me in the booth. He watched people go by out the window and yelled “Hi people! I eating dinner!” He’s been a really sweet, cute, darling kid lately. We played a lot in the yard in the afternoon, too — digging in the dirt, which we call “Archaeology,” as we excavate cool rocks and such. Having a yard is so awesome. I don’t know how we managed for so long with a toddler in a fourth-floor apartment.

I have so much work to do that I can’t really afford to lose several days to illness, but that’s the way it goes. Just means I have to write more this weekend. At least it keeps me from being bored…


I’m home sick, having been given a lovely cold by my son, who was sick on Friday. He promptly got his mom sick, too, though she’s over her illness now as well… but I caught it last, and I’m still feeling it. At least I know I should be better in a day or so. I rose from bed to hydrate and eat something and figured I’d update here while I was temporarily vertical.

I just posted chapter 23 of Broken Mirrors, the penultimate chapter, which resolves the principle conflict between my main character Marla and her dark doppelganger the Mason. There’s still one chapter to go, though it’s more than mere falling action…

I’m considering putting up my unsold science fantasy The Nex as a serial/e-book. I think it’s a good book, even though none of the publishers I’ve sent it to want to buy it. It’s gotten lots of complimentary rejections, but the problem seems to be that despite having a young (12 years old) protagonist, it doesn’t really read like middle grade — it’s got lots of adult characters, for one thing. I grew up reading stuff like The Talisman, books where there were young characters but that weren’t necessarily meant for young readers. I may have created something along those lines. I didn’t set out to write a middle grade — it’s a genre I’m pretty ignorant about — and, well, it looks like I succeeded in not writing one!

It’s possible it didn’t sell for some other reason entirely. But I love the book a lot, and would like to see it find an audience. Anyone interested in a non-Marla Mason reader-funded serial from me? The novel is set in the world of my story “Dream Engine”. Could be fun.

Heaven on a Desk

As I write this, I am enjoying a small slice of heaven:

A cup of freshly-brewed Blue Bottle coffee.

A fresh-baked sweet corn muffin (which my two-year-old helped me bake — he’s good at stirring).

A dab of honey butter for the muffin.

Weekends are good.

Social Labyrinths

It’s been an extremely social week, especially by my hermitlike standards. Had a great afternoon out and then dinner on Tuesday with my wonderful agent Ginger, who took my wife Heather and I to Limon, one of our favorite restaurants. Truffle mac and cheese oh my yum.

On Wednesday Heather and my boss and I all went up to Sonoma to have dinner at the indescribably lovely home of a certain poet (and former head of a major arts institution) with whom I’ve corresponded for years but had never met. A couple of prominent science fiction writers of my acquaintance were there, along with other fascinating people. (Afterward my wife noted that, given the people we’d met at the barbecue, we were now only a single degree of separation away from both George W. Bush and Jorge Luis Borges…)

Last night I had dinner with my producer friend Anne, who has the film/TV option for the Marla Mason series. There are no developments I can report, but she has many interesting irons in the fire. It was a pleasure to see her, too, as always, even if the service at the restaurant was so bad it was literally comical. (Like, order a vodka martini with a lemon twist and get gin with olives in it kind of bad. I stuck with beer — it’s hard to screw up beer. Even if you get the wrong beer, it’s still beer.)

I enjoyed every one of those outings, but my introvert tendencies are nevertheless happy that I’ve got no particular plans for the weekend besides writing, and can pretty much stay home.


There are only two weeks left before Broken Mirrors is over. Sadness! The last chapter goes up on August 16, and I’ll stop giving prizes for donations after August 22. (After that I’ll still happily take your money — you just won’t get signed books or prints or chapbooks or bookmarks or artwork or any of the other goodies.) The Kindle edition should go up right after the serialization is done, with other e-book formats to follow (I hope). And the print edition will be along later this fall. Whee!

Bring a Long Spoon

My anthology Sympathy for the Devil is out now, and you can order it from the publisher or from or from anywhere else you want, of course. Publishers Weekly says this about it:

Hugo winner Pratt turns his Locus-honed editing skills to the crowded field of themed anthologies. His chosen unifying element is the Devil, or devils, broadly interpreted in 36 original and reprinted works. Bygone days are represented by an excerpt from Dante’s Inferno; well-known 19th-century tales such as Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” and Stevenson’s “The Bottle Imp”; and stories from the golden age of pulp fantasy, such as Bloch’s “That Hell-Bound Train” and Sturgeon’s “The Professor’s Teddy Bear.” The newer offerings are equally wide-ranging, including Kelly Link’s poignant, recursive “Lull”; Holly Black’s giggle-out-loud “A Reversal of Fortune”; and China MiĆ©ville’s vividly creepy “Details.” Anyone delighted by con games, terrified of damnation, and not offended by Pratt’s cheeky dedication (“Thank you, Satan! I couldn’t have done it without you”) will find plenty to enjoy.

So that’s cool.


I’ve had a blog at Livejournal for years, but I’m going to be cross-posting here as well. If you’d like to see older stuff, feel free to follow the link above and rifle through my archives. And comment at either site; I read it all.