An interview with Daryl Gregory, author of Afterparty!

Daryl Gregory’s newest book, a scifi-ish thriller-y thing about drugs and gods and love, comes out tomorrow! He was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about Afterparty– thanks so much, DG!

Afterparty blog tour daryl gregory
Your first book, Pandemonium, was horror/fantasy. Was it hard to switch to scifi/thriller for Afterparty?
I’ve jumped from genre to genre with every book. After Pandemonium, my first book, I wrote an SF novel about monsters (The Devil’s Alphabet), then a very science-y novel about zombies (Raising Stony Mayhall.) Afterparty has the structure of a thriller, but all the talk about neuroscience and designer drugs makes it a hard SF novel. Yet, because the main character is “haunted” by a hallucinatory angel, it feels a bit like fantasy.

I’m not sure why I keep doing this to readers. Not only do I write in different genres, but sometimes I switch genres in the middle of books. I think it’s because I read all kinds of books, across all genres, and so nothing feels out of bounds.

What was the most fun part of writing Afterparty?
I love crime novels, especially the books by Elmore Leonard. And so it was tremendous fun to not only write about people breaking the law, but to have those people banter like Leonard characters. There are some scenes that are almost entirely dialogue.

Least fun?
I tell people that in order to be a novelist, you have to have a lack of imagination. When it’s sunny and 78 degrees, you have to be able to think of nothing better to do that sit in front of your laptop and write. That’s always the hardest part: to keep typing, even while all those around you are pouring their gin and tonics.

The author!

The author!

Would you take Numinous? If you did, what do you think you’d see?
I’d be tempted to take Numinous. But I’d be so terrified of overdosing that I’d probably just watch other people do it. If I did take the drug, I’d no doubt be visited by the God of my youth, a frightening old man who was always trying to get me to stop touching myself.

Tell us about your upcoming projects! What are you writing now?
There are several projects in the final stages before going out into the world. In August, Tachyon Publications will be putting out my short horror novel, We Are All Completely Fine. Then early next year, Tor Books will be publishing my first YA novel, a bit of Lovecraftian fun called Harrison Squared and the Dwellers. And in earlier stages are a creator-owned comic called Artificial Gods and an adult SF novel too new to have a title.

Daryl Gregory is an award-winning writer of genre-mixing novels, stories, and comics. His first novel, Pandemonium, won the Crawford Award and was nominated for a World Fantasy Award. His other novels include The Devil’s Alphabet (a Philip K. Dick award finalist), Raising Stony Mayhall (a Library Journal best SF book of the year), and the upcoming Afterparty. Many of his short stories are collected in Unpossible and Other Stories, which was named one of the best books of 2011 by Publishers Weekly. He lives in State College, PA.

Find him at: Website | Twitter | Blog

Paper is tastier than you’d think: a review of Afterparty by Daryl Gregory

Afterparty banner daryl gregory tour

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Paper is tastier than you’d think: a review of Afterparty by Daryl GregoryAfterparty by Daryl Gregory
Published by Tor Books (2014), eARC, 304pg
Filed under: Adult, Fiction, GLBTQ, Sci-fi, Thriller
Got my copy from: Book Tour
Buy your own copy at Amazon or BookDepository (affiliate links | info) or add it to your Goodreads shelf

It begins in Toronto, in the years after the smart drug revolution. Any high school student with a chemjet and internet connection can download recipes and print drugs, or invent them. A seventeen-year-old street girl finds God through a new brain-altering drug called Numinous, used as a sacrament by a new Church that preys on the underclass. But she is arrested and put into detention, and without the drug, commits suicide.Lyda Rose, another patient in that detention facility, has a dark secret: she was one of the original scientists who developed the drug. With the help of an ex-government agent and an imaginary, drug-induced doctor, Lyda sets out to find the other three survivors of the five who made the Numinous in a quest to set things right.A mind-bending and violent chase across Canada and the US, Daryl Gregory's Afterparty is a marvelous mix of William Gibson’s Neuromancer, Philip K. Dick’s Ubik, and perhaps a bit of Peter Watts’s Starfish: a last chance to save civilization, or die trying.

It’s future!Canada! And in future!Canada drugs can be printed on paper! And then you eat them. And then you see God. Literally.

Numinous is a tricky drug; it changes the chemicals (or something) in your brain so you hallucinate religion. It’s like zombies, but they’re high on god instead of turning living corpses.

What I loved most was that the whole book is a kind of meditation on religion and spirituality and if believing in a god makes you crazy or just more attuned to the universe or something. So Lyda thinks she’s crazy, right, because she’s an atheist who hallucinates an angel. But! Her angel is helpful and loving and makes Lyda feel good. And then…

Weekly links & wrap-up (Apr. 20, 2014)

Hello! Happy Sunday and happy Easter! I’m planning to spend the day reading books and scheduling blog posts (hopefully). I don’t want to have another situation like last week’s where I skipped posting for almost five days because I didn’t have anything schedule and no time to get anything up, either. Bleh!

I’m currently reading Seven for a Secret by Lyndsay Faye, sequel to The Gods of Gotham which I read and loved last year. I got it out from my library– I got a LOT of books out from my library, way more than I probably should have out considering I go there almost every day. Surely I don’t need to stockpile books when they’re RIGHT THERE, right? But old habits are hard to get rid of, and I’ve been stockpiling library books since I was a kid. Oh well!

Things to look forward to this week! A review of Daryl Gregory’s newest book Afterparty and an interview with the same. Podcast recommendations parts 2 (Non-Fiction) and 3 (Bloggers). And on Saturday is Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon!

What are you looking forward to this week? And then…

Mysterious and romantic books for mysterious and romantic readers

mysterious romantic books
A library patron asked for some mysterious and romantic books the other day, and I proceeded to overwhelm her with book after book. Most of my recommendations went the “omg this is so good” route, not the best way to sell someone on a book, actually, because it tends to freak them out. She took it well, though, and went home with Legend by Marie Lu.

Here are some of the other mysterious and romantic books I thought of, including a few adult books just for kicks. With more detailed reasonings than just “read it because”! And then…

Science Fiction meets Sleeping Beauty: A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan

Science Fiction meets Sleeping Beauty: A Long, Long Sleep by Anna SheehanA Long, Long Sleep (Rosalinda Fitzroy #1) by Anna Sheehan
Published by Candlewick Press (2011), eBook, 342pg
Filed under: Fiction, Romance, Sci-fi, Young Adult
Got my copy from: Bought
Buy your own copy at Amazon or BookDepository (affiliate links | info) or add it to your Goodreads shelf


It should have been a short suspended-animation sleep. But this time Rose wakes up to find her past is long gone-- and her future full of peril. Rosalinda Fitzroy has been asleep for sixty-two years when she is woken by a kiss. Locked away in the chemically induced slumber of a stasis tube in a forgotten subbasement, sixteen-year-old Rose slept straight through the Dark Times that killed millions and utterly changed the world she knew. Now, her parents and her first love are long gone, and Rose-- hailed upon her awakening as the long-lost heir to an interplanetary empire-- is thrust alone into a future in which she is viewed as either a freak or a threat. Desperate to put the past behind her and adapt to her new world, Rose finds herself drawn to the boy who kissed her awake, hoping that he can help her to start fresh. But when a deadly danger jeopardizes her fragile new existence, Rose must face the ghosts of her past with open eyes-- or be left without any future at all. (from Goodreads)

Sleeping Beauty with a scifi twist! I love fairy tale retellings, especially ones that don’t just retell the same old story with modern characters. A Long, Long Sleep also did that thing I love where it diverts from the original fairy tale in ways that give the female character(s) more agency than they originally had! YAY for books that do that– it keeps it from being the same old boring fairy tale, and it ALSO gives us a new narrative besides “the prince saves the princess.”

A Long, Long Sleep didn’t go the typical YA romance route, either. It’s kind of a trend nowadays to have an OTP established in the first chapter and that’s IT, no diverting from it ever, nothing. Even a love triangle only causes a momentary blip in the path of True Love.

I find that whole trope really boring and unrealistic in a way that feels a little disingenuous. People can fall in love with more than one person, and just because you loved someone at 16 doesn’t necessarily mean you should be with them for the rest of your life. In A Long, Long Sleep, Rose has already had the OTP one true love at a young age thing. She meets Bren (the “prince” who woke her up) and it SEEMS like she’s going to have that again…only there’s a twist.

(This might count as a spoiler, btw, but it’s such an interesting twist to the standard YA storyline that I wanted to talk about it no matter what.) And then…

Weekly links & wrap-up (Apr. 13, 2014)

Hello, happy Sunday! I am super tired, y’all. The LA Times Festival of Books was fun! It got off to a rocky start, with a mostly-boring Saturday, but Sunday was GREAT! And I got to meet up with Kim and Florinda twice! Yay! I’ll be writing more on what I saw/did during the festival later this week. For now, here’s a preview:

Most surreal moment: listening to an author William Shatner his way through various poems (and not in an ironic way).

An unanswered question: why does LA smell so much like a port-a-potty?

Best freebie: Keurig chai latte made fresh by my own hands

Most relaxing booth: the Amida Society, with their Buddhist monk chants(?) CD.

Creepiest booth situation: the Ayn Rand booth neighbored to the dianetics booth.

Best bathroom location: Bovard Auditorium, central to everything and always clean.

Books read

  1. Afterparty – Daryl Gregory

I only finished one book because I’m reading like five at once. I really need to practice focusing on one at a time again! Switching back and forth between all those books is exhausting. And then…