Audible Member Sale!

September 19, 2022

Audible is having a huge sale right now, with most audiobooks deeply discounted (up to 85% off!). That means you can grab the audio version of The Middling Affliction for just $4!

Eridani’s Crown will set you back $7 while a copy of Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma is a princely $8.73

Check out your favorite authors’ books as they’re probably discounted, too.

Now, you do have to be an Audible Plus member to take advantage of these prices (or even to see them on the Audible site!) You can sign up and try Audible Plus and if you do it via this link, Audible will throw me a few bucks. It won’t be enough to offset what I already spent buying audiobooks today. though. 🙂


A Brief Overview of Modern Ukranian SF&F in Clarkesworld

September 1, 2022

My translation of the article on the history and roots of Ukrainian SF/F by Volodymyr Arenev and Mykhailo Nazarenko is now live at Clarkesworld:

The White Tree of Gondor: A Brief Overview of Modern Ukrainian SF&F by Volodymyr Arenev and Mykhailo Nazarenko, translated by Alex Shvartsman

Book 2 of the Conradverse Chronicles Acquired by Caezik SF&F

July 19, 2022

I’m super late in posting this update, since I announced on social media last week, but it was either finish the book the publisher has so kindly bought, or post blog updates. I opted for the former!

I do have actual breaking news to report however: as of a few minutes ago, I delivered the manuscript to Arc Manor/Caezik. The book stands at 85,000 words, and I sincerely hope it will live up to reader expectations, given the incredibly enthusiastic response to The Middling Affliction.

The announcement does not list the book title, since it’s possible that the publisher may want to change it. As it stands right now, it’s Kakistocracy. This is a fancy term for the system of government where the worst and least qualified people are in charge. Those of you who read book 1 may remember a certain individual running for mayor of NYC at the very end of the book? Yeah, so that goes about as well as you might expect. But it’s not even the biggest problem Conrad Brent has to deal with this time.

There are fae serial killers, sidhe vendettas, factions of On High and Down Below quarreling over an unassuming house in Gravesend, and, of course, industrial quantities of snark. During the course of this book you will learn the true nature and purpose of Abaddon, Inc., the fate of Mose after his disappearance will be revealed, the coolest villain from book 1 will get a redemption arc, and Conrad will be forced to make very difficult choices–again.

This book is still about a year away, but I will keep everyone updates when there’s more news!


The Big Idea

June 2, 2022

“The big idea behind The Middling Affliction is actually three middling ideas stacked on top of each other, in a noir-sleuth trench coat.” Thus opens my guest blog post for John Scalzi’s Whatever blog. Huge thanks to John for hosting me, and if you’d like to check out the post, you can read it here:

There are several other cool recent links I must share (so please bear with me!)

I was on Alan R. Warren’s syndicated NBC radio show House of Mystery, and you can listen here:

https://www.alanrwarren.com/hom-podcast-episodes/episode/73210dd0/alex-shvartsman-the-middling-affliction-the-conradverse-chronicles-book-1

Finally, DC Gomez hosted me on her Amazon show The Book Corner:

https://www.amazon.com/shop/dcgomez-author


Liftoff!

June 1, 2022

The book is live! You can buy it in bookstores, online, and in all three formats (print, ebook, and audio.) And if you need an extra reason to do so, here are a few more reviews to sway you!

https://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/book-review/middling-affliction-conradverse-chronicles

https://primmlife.com/2022/05/26/review-the-middling-affliction-by-alex-shvartsman/

https://www.anthonycardno.com/blog/2022/5/6/book-review-the-middling-affliction


Publishers Weekly Reviews AFFLICTION, and Other Good News

March 16, 2022

There’s a fabulous review of THE MIDDLING AFFLICTION over at Publishers Weekly and I’m so very stoked. It’s a treasure trove of great pull quotes to paste onto books, marketing materials, and possibly my forehead:

“Shvartsman delivers a laugh-out-loud, snarky adventure, throwing out pop culture references and wry observations with dizzying frequency.”

“Shvartsman takes a kitchen sink approach to urban fantasy, packing enough plot into this volume to span a whole series.”

“His supernatural New York City is vibrant and authentic, and Conrad fits right in with wisecracking fan favorite heroes like Harry Dresden and Simon Canderous.”

“A thoroughly satisfying romp.”

At the moment, my grin can be seen from space.

Meantime, the audiobook is now available for preorder from all the usual platforms, and you can preorder it for as little as $11, which is super inexpensive for an audiobook! Or just throw a credit at it on Audible. Both paperback and audio can be found here, and I expect the ebook preorder will join them soon.

Meantime, my translation of another century-old Yefim Zozulya story, “The Living Furniture” is live in the current issue of F&SF. And a new translation of “Incommunicado” by Andrej Kokoulin will appear in a forthcoming issue of Analog.

Finally, a new issue of Future Science Fiction Digest is now live. It features the following stories, as well as my editorial on the invasion of Ukraine.

“A Friend on the Inside” by Will McIntosh (USA)
“Four-Letter Word” by Alexy Dumenigo (Cuba), translated by Toshiya Kamei
“Rat’s Tongue” by Xing Fan (China), translated by Judith Huang
“Vagrants” by Lavie Tidhar (UK)
“The Sweetness of Berris and Wine” by Jo Miles (USA)
“Paean for a Branch Ghost” by Filip Wiltgren (Sweden)

Cover art: Oleksandr Kulichenko (Ukraine)
Cover design: Jay O’Connell (USA)


Audio Rights Sold for The Middling Affliction

March 8, 2022

Thrilled to announce that the audio rights to THE MIDDLING AFFLICTION were picked up by Orange Sky in a deal negotiated by Susan Velazquez of Jabberwocky Literary.

I’m being told the audio will likely be published alongside other formats on May 31!


New publication: The Tale of Ak and Humanity by Yefim Zozulya

January 29, 2022

My latest translation is up at Tor.com and while this story is new to the Anglophone readers, it was written and published in Russian over 100 years ago! It also happened to have inspired Zamyatin’s We and launched the anti-utopian genre!

If you like this story, there are two more Zozulya translations forthcoming this year. “The Living Furniture” at F&SF, and “Cain and Abel” at Galaxy’s Edge.

Read it here:


New Publication: A Dark and Stormy Night (A Conradverse Tale)

January 14, 2022

While we all anxiously await the publication date for The Middling Affliction (which is currently May 31, mark your calendars!) a brand new Conradverse story was published today! This story appears in Silence in the City, an anthology edited by Shaun Kilgore.

“A Dark and Stormy Night” is chronologically set after book 2 in the series (Kakistocracy, which is written and I’m revising now, and you will likely get to read in 2023) and gives you a sneak preview of one of the many problems Conrad will have to deal with in book 3.

The story is written in such a way that you do not have to have read any previous Conradverse stuff to enjoy it, and there’s only one minor spoiler that reveals something that happens to a minor character in book 2, so it should be safe to read before you delve into the novel.

Here’s a little preview:

A Dark and Stormy Night

A Conradverse Tale

by Alex Shvartsman

IT WAS RAINING in Brooklyn. Scratch that, it was pouring cats and dogs, raining men, drizzling grizzly bears, showering wallabies, and sprinkling an occasional elephant out there. I peeked out the window and could hardly see the street through the torrential downpour. It seemed I could take an evening off from patrolling the borough. Even monsters and warlocks generally preferred to hatch their dastardly schemes while wearing dry socks. I settled onto the couch and reached for a TV remote.

My phone rang.

“Hello?” I dearly hoped the unfamiliar number was only a scammer trying to sell me an extended car warranty, and not a cry for help that would result in me chasing a slime elemental through the sewers. Again.

“Conrad Brent,” the familiar voice grated in my ear. “Beware the gathering storm. The forces of darkness are amassing in the deep. The three islands face deluge. In order to save us all you must open your heart to an old enemy.”

“Agnes?” I asked gormlessly. The Oracle of Eighty-Sixth Street was a powerful prognosticator but she was not in a habit of unloading her often-alliterative prophecies on unsuspecting people over the phone, especially when those people weren’t paying customers.

“Shush,” said the Oracle. “Time’s running short. You must ride a reluctant steed into battle, ally with a serpent, and when the time comes, choose the left one—”

The line went dead. The lights in my apartment went out, as did all lights outside. It looked like the storm had caused a neighborhood-wide blackout.

I tried to activate the flashlight on my phone, only to discover that it was also dead. I had just charged the battery. Did the oracle’s magic somehow brick a smartphone? I thought that sort of thing only happened in fantasy novels. In the real world clapping doesn’t bring faeries back to life and technology is totally indifferent toward magic.

I reached for the lantern of Diogenes. It was an arcane lie detector, designed to flare up whenever falsehood was spoken within earshot. Under the circumstances, it would make do as a night light. I hefted the lantern and said, “It’s bright and sunny outside.”

Nothing happened.

Exasperated, I tried increasingly bold-faced lies. “Pasadena is the capital of Maryland. Chicago pizza is superior to New York pizza. Nickelback albums are music.”

The lantern remained dead as Diogenes himself. With a sense of dread I reached for an assortment of charms and artifacts on my shelf. Every one of them was equally useless, like a bunch of mundane trinkets.

Something terrible was happening. Something the Oracle had tried to warn me about. Thanks for nothing, Agnes. The trouble with prophecies is that they sound like gibberish until it’s too late. I shambled through my apartment in the dark, getting dressed and knocking into furniture. I retrieved a revolver from my night stand. Although it was loaded with silver bullets doused in holy water, the gun itself was mechanical, which hopefully meant it would still work.

There was an insistent knock on the door. I slid the gun into the pocket of my unbuttoned trench coat and answered it.

Pick up a copy of Silence in the City in ebook or print format to keep reading.


Cover reveal: The Middling Affliction

November 11, 2021

Here’s the cover of my humorous urban fantasy novel The Middling Affliction, forthcoming form Caezik SF&F on April 12, 2022! Art is by Tulio Brito. You can preorder the book now on Amazon, B&N, and BookShop.org

The Dresden Files meets American Gods in New York City.

What would you do if you lost everything that mattered to you, as well as all means to protect yourself and others, but still had to save the day? Conrad Brent is about to find out.

Conrad Brent protects the people of Brooklyn from monsters and magical threats. The snarky, wisecracking guardian also has a dangerous secret: he’s one in a million – literally.

Magical ability comes to about one in every 30,000 and can manifest at any age. Conrad is rarer than this, however. He’s a middling, one of the half-gifted and totally despised. Most of the gifted community feels that middlings should be instantly killed. The few who don’t flat out hate them still aren’t excited to be around middlings. Meaning Conrad can’t tell anyone, not even his best friends, what he really is.

Conrad hides in plain sight by being a part of the volunteer Watch, those magically gifted who protect their cities from dangerous, arcane threats. And, to pay the bills, Conrad moonlights as a private detective and monster hunter for the gifted community. Which helps him keep up his personal fiction – that he’s a magical version of Batman. Conrad does both jobs thanks to charms, artifacts, and his wits, along with copious amounts of coffee. But little does he know that events are about to change his life…forever.

When Conrad discovers the Traveling Fair auction house has another middling who’s just manifested her so-called powers on the auction block, he’s determined to save her, regardless of risk. But what he finds out while doing so is even worse – the winning bidder works for a company that’s just created the most dangerous chemical weapon to ever hit the magical community.

Before Conrad can convince anyone at the Watch of the danger, he’s exposed for what he really is. Now, stripped of rank, magical objects, friends and allies, Conrad has to try to save the world with only his wits. Thankfully though, no one’s taken away his coffee.