Fear City by F. Paul Wilson
Rage, terror, and redemption: these are the stones upon which F. Paul Wilson builds the concluding chapter of Repairman Jack: The Early Years, the prequel trilogy focusing on the formative years of Wilson’s globally popular supernatural troubleshooter.
The strands of Jack’s life, established in the first two books, Cold City and Dark City, are now woven into a complete pattern.
Centered around an obscure group of malcontents intent on creating a terrible explosion in New York City in 1993, Fear City shows the final stages of young Jack becoming Repairman Jack. It is a dark and terrible story, full of plots and needless mayhem, with secret agents, a freelance torturer, a secret society as old as human history, love, death, and a very bleak triumph. Jack threads his way through this intricate maze, as people he loves are stripped away from him in a way that presages the later epic series of novels.
Fear City, by F. Paul Wilson, publishes on November 11.
Pre-order Fear City, the next Repairman Jack novel, by F. Paul Wilson and you could be eligible to receive a signed bookplate.
LIMITED TIME OFFER. You must electronically submit proof of purchase of Fear by Tuesday, November 18, 2014 to take advantage of this offer. Offer limited to residents of 50 US states, DC and Canada (excluding Quebec). Void in Quebec, Puerto Rico and where prohibited by law. For Official Rules, go here beginning on Tuesday, October 21, 2014. Sponsor: Tom Doherty Associates.
Pre-order Fear City today and be eligible to receive your signed bookplate!
F. Paul Wilson‘s Fear City, the latest in the Repairman Jack series, is due out on November 11. This month we are making it easy to get started with the series by releasing the first ebook, Cold City, for only $2.99.*
About Cold City: Cold City is the first of three Repairman Jack prequels, revealing the past of one of the most popular characters in contemporary dark fantasy: F. Paul Wilson’s self-styled “fix-it” man who is no stranger to the macabre or the supernatural, hired by victimized people who have no one else to turn to.
We join Jack a few months after his arrival in New York City. He doesn’t own a gun yet, though he’s already connected with Abe. Soon he’ll meet Julio and the Mikulski brothers. He runs afoul of some Dominicans, winds up at the East Side Marriott the night Meir Kahane is shot, gets on the bad side of some Arabs, starts a hot affair, and disrupts the smuggling of preteen sex slaves. And that’s just Book One.
*sale ends October 31
Written by F. Paul Wilson
That would be researching Manhattan in 1990.
Why 1990? Because that’s the year a twenty-one-year old who will go on to become an urban mercenary known as Repairman Jack arrives in New York. Cold City is the first of a trilogy that will chronicle his early years there.
We’re talking less than a quarter century ago, so you wouldn’t think it would require much research. Especially for a guy who’s in and out of Manhattan all the time. My agent is there, my publisher is there, plus I go to conventions, writer gatherings, even an occasional play (no musicals, thank you). I was in Manhattan many, many times during 1990, so what’s the big deal?
Because over the years, all the images stored in your memory bank tend to bleed into each other. I knew 1990 preceded the Disneyfication of Times Square, but what exactly was it like? I Googled, I Binged, I tried all sorts of search strings, but kept coming up with bupkis. Old New York is easy. If I want to know how deep the mud ran in Five Points after a heavy rain in 1850, no problemo.
Top songs of 1990 – easy. Top films – simps. Top TV shows – cake. Technology… that took extra effort. The Internet? Not much going on there. The World Wide Web was still years away, and online activities were limited to bulletin boards and proprietary services like Genie and Prodigy via 14.4 kbs modems through a phone line. As for home entertainment, this was pre-DVD and Netflix, so all movies were on tape, and mom-and-pop videostores were everywhere.
Cellular phones (called car phones or mobile phones back then) existed for the most part in bags or briefcases. The state-of-the-art self-contained models were the size of a brick with a big antenna. (A nifty online article, “The Evolution of Cell Phone Design Between 1983-2009,” answered a lot of questions.) All those bricks did was make calls (no email, no GPS, no Yelp, no Angry Birds) and hardly anyone had them. So if you wanted to make a call, you had to dig out some change and find a phone kiosk. We’re talking less than a quarter century ago but, compared to today, communication was like smoke signals.
All that data was pretty easy to gather, but figuring out what stores lined Times Square in 1990? Fuhgeddaboudit.
Finally one of my search strings got a YouTube hit. YouTube? What the hell, I clicked it and found that someone had posted a home movie of a car or bus ride through Times Square in 1991. Not 1990, but damn close enough. So I started searching for other videos and found one professionally shot right in Times Square in 1990. Happy dance time.
Memories of pre-Disney, pre-Giuliani midtown flooded back. I remembered the now-extinct grindhouse theaters that lined the Deuce (42nd Street) between Eighth Avenue and Broadway, all the XXX peep shows in Times Square and on Eighth Avenue, and the prostitutes on Ninth behind the Port Authority who’d lift their tops as you drove past to show they were really female.
(Altogether now: “Those were the days, my friend, we’d thought they’d never end…”)
So here’s the moral to this tale: Don’t neglect videos in your research. They’re gold mines. They allowed me revisit the grit of 1990 Manhattan and translate it to the page. Just for you.
From the Tor/Forge December newsletter. Sign up to receive our newsletter via email.
More from the December Tor/Forge newsletter:
- A Letter from Harry Ransom by Felix Gilman
- Crying Bully by J. A. Souders
- What if? Two little words that created the world of S. J. Day’s Eve of Darkness
- Big Fat Books for the Holidays Sweepstakes
About The Tomb: Much to the chagrin of his girlfriend, Gia, Repairman Jack doesn’t deal with electronic appliances—he fixes situations for people, situations that usually involve putting himself in deadly danger. His latest project is recovering a stolen necklace, which carries with it an ancient curse that may unleash a horde of Bengali demons. Jack is used to danger, but this time Gia’s daughter Vicky is threatened. Can Jack overcome the curse of the yellow necklace and bring Vicky safely back home?
*sale ends November 7
Celebrating LOCUS Magazine’s Best Publisher for the 25th year in a row!
Once again, we continue our popular *in-booth signings and giveaways, offering you a chance to meet your favorite authors up close and personal! There will also be panels, autographings and spotlight stages including New York Times Bestselling author CORY DOCTOROW!
Stop by Tor’s Booth (#920), and pick up a schedule for a full listing of events!
Thursday, October 11
5pm – 6pm | JUSTICE IS SERVED | Room 1A14
Cops, P.I.’s, government agents and regular Joe’s fight for all that is good and just in these Science-Fiction and Fantasy tales, even if the villains are vam | pires, telepaths, and the magically gifted. These protagonists solve crimes, kick-ass, and don’t let anyone – supernatural or otherwise – stand in the way of justice.
With Christopher L. Bennett (Only Superhuman), moderated by Michael P. Spradlin.
Friday, October 12
11am | CHARACTERS: HARDCORE vs. BADASS | Author Spotlight Stage
What makes one character HARDCORE and another BADASS? Is there really a difference? Novelist Max Gladstone breaks it down by dissecting some of the greatest heroes and villains from books, gaming, comics, film, and television, revealing the unique alchemy of each one and what every writer needs to think about in order to create truly unforgettable characters.
With Max Gladstone (Three Parts Dead).
4pm – 5pm | PUBLISHER’S PARADISE: ADULT PUBLISHER SPOTLIGHT | Room 1A06
Get the inside scoop on upcoming SF/F novels publishing houses are buzzing about! Editors from Harper Voyager, Orbit, Del Rey Spectra, Ace and Roc, and Tor dish on forthcoming books from our exciting authors and licensed properties. You can expect lots of giveaways you won’t see anywhere else at the convention, including free advance reading copies!
With Tor’s own Melissa Frain.
SIGNINGS & GIVEAWAYS
2pm – Tor Booth Way of Kings (by #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson) giveaway! First 25 fans in line will receive a Wheel of Time® bag.
3:30pm – Tor Booth signing with Max Gladstone, signing copies of Three Parts Dead, his brilliant debut novel (October).
5pm – Tor Booth signing with Christopher L. Bennett, signing copies of Only Superhuman, described by Kevin J. Anderson as a “heady comic book fix for the discerning SF reader” (October).
5pm – You can also head over to the autographing area and meet New York Times bestselling author, Cory Doctorow. Barnes and Noble will be on hand with a variety of books from his back list.
Saturday, October 13
12pm | INFORMATION DOESN’T WANT TO BE FREE, BUT KIDS DO | Author Spotlight Stage
Every single kid in America is a presumed copyright criminal. We spy on them in school, we raid their parents’ life savings, we censor their creative works. And oh, how we LIE to them: “It’s not creative if you’re copying something else.” “All great art starts with permission and ends with a lawyer.” “Giving more money to the record industry will make musicians richer.” Kids are in the streets over SOPA, PIPA and ACTA. They know that the locks we put on their information aren’t for their benefit – because we won’t give them the keys.
With Cory Doctorow (Pirate Cinema).
12:15pm – 1:15pm | MYTH MIXOLOGY: HOW URBAN FANTASISTS CREATE THE PERFECT COCKTAIL | Room 1A08
Many New Yorkers know their Manhattans, Cosmos, and Long Island Iced Teas. While the average happy hour drink takes gin, rum, or vodka, these authors spice things up with mystics, witches, daemons, Celtic gods, and other magical beings. Join top-shelf authors, F. Paul Wilson, Kevin Hearne, Theo Lawrence, Anton Strout, Faith Hunter, Nancy Holzner, Allison Pang, and Nicole Peeler, as they discuss the elements of mythology that go into making your favorite cocktails of urban fantasy.
With F. Paul Wilson (Repairman Jack Series), moderated by Kim Alexander.
1:30pm – 2:30pm | HOCUS POCUS: MAGIC & MONSTERS IN SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY | Room 1A08
Science-Fiction and Fantasy authors discuss the costs and consequences of “magic” in their novels. Moderator Beth Revis will have authors Andrea Cremer, Jacqueline Carey, Jocelynn Drake, Kim Harrison, Max Gladstone, Cecil Castellucci, Victoria Schwab, and Richard Kadrey dishing about the the scary, hairy, and dangerous creatures that lurk in the worlds they have created.
With Max Gladstone (Three Parts Dead), moderated by Beth Revis. (Signing from 2:45pm – 3:45pm at autographing tables 2, 3, and 4.)
2:45pm – 3:45pm | GENRE BENDERS: OUT-OF-THE-BOX SCIENCE-FICTION AND FANTASY NOVELS THAT BLUR THE LINES OF FANTASY, SF, HORROR, ROMANCE, STEAMPUNK, YOU NAME IT! | Room 1A01
Join authors in a discussion about stories that can’t be bound by the constraints of any genre. Whether mixing elements of romance with horror, or fantasy with thrillers, these authors show that a good tale can be spun from multiple traditions.
With Steven Walker (The Battle of Blood and Ink), moderator Cici James of Singularity & Co. (Signing from 4:45pm – 5:45pm at the autographing area.)
5:15pm – 6:15pm | HERO’S QUEST: SWORDS AND SORCERY IN FANTASY FICTION | Room 1A08
Some of the most unforgettable heroes in literature are characters that embark on a fantastical journey. Whether their tales tell of slaying dragons, overthrowing regimes, or magical lands, these authors put the EPIC in Fantasy fiction. Join authors Joanne Bertin, Peter Brett, Rae Carson, Peter Lerangis, Steve Bein, Stefan Bachmann, Sarah Beth Durst, and Matt Myklush as they discuss all things fantastical, from swords and sorcery to horselords and warlords.
With Joanne Bertin (Bard’s Oath), moderated by Gwen Reyes. (Signing from 11:45am – 12:45pm at autographing tables 2, 3, and 4.)
5:15pm – 6:15pm | GEEK THOUGHTS: TOP BLOGS DISCUSS WRITING ABOUT SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY AND FANDOM | Room 1A01 (otherwise known as The Sauce)
Your favorite Geek Blogs: Live! Join Tor.com, Boing Boing, The Mary Sue, io9, The Beat, and Bleeding Cool as they discuss how their blogs approach the conversation of science fiction, fantasy, genre and fandom online.
With Cyriaque Lamar, Heidi McDonald, Jamie Frevele, Jill Pantozzi, Rich Johnston. Moderated by Ryan Britt of Tor.com.
7:45pm – 8:45pm | THE WORLD OF GRAPHIC NOVELS | Room 1A06
Restaurants, outer space, fantastical worlds, high school – graphic novels today will take readers to all these places and more! How do graphic novelists combine words and pictures to create the worlds within their books? Authors discuss how world-building works in the world of comics.
With Fred Chao (Johnny Hiro: Half Asian, All Hero), moderated by Scott Robins. (Signing from 3:45pm – 4:45pm at autographing tables 4 and 5.)
SIGNINGS & GIVEAWAYS
11am – Tor Booth Dead Space: Martyr (by B. K. Evenson) giveaway!
3pm – Tor Booth signing with Cory Doctorow, signing copies of For the Win, which Scott Westerfeld has called “a rousing tale of techno-geek rebellion.”
5pm – Tor Booth signing with F. Paul Wilson, signing copies of The Tomb, the first in his Repairman Jack series.
Sunday, October 14
12:15pm – 1:15pm | OTHERWORLDLY WEENIES, TIME TRAVELING TWEENS, UNEXPECTED ADVENTURE, AND OTHER THINGS KIDS LOVE | Room 1A01
From creepy tales set in a spooky pet cemetery, to dreamy stories of time-traveling in style, to epic journeys featuring dynamic young heroes (with swords!), these middle grade authors know the secrets to entertaining the tween set. Join the group as they discuss superpowers, supervillians, and super-hilarious storytelling.
1:30pm – 2:30pm | KIDS/YA PUBLISHER SPOTLIGHT | Room 1A07
Come hear the advance buzz about what’s coming up from Disney-Hyperion, First Second, Macmillan Kids, HarperCollins, Little, Brown, Random House, Penguin Young Readers, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, and Tor! Editors and marketing staff come together to recommend their favorite upcoming books by exciting new authors and illustrators – accompanied with giveaways, trivia, and most of all, FUN!
With Tor’s own Susan Chang.
SIGNINGS & GIVEAWAYS
1pm – Tor Booth signing with Evie Manieri, signing Blood’s Pride, her epic fantasy debut coming in February.
3pm – Tor Booth giveaway of YA dystopian smash hit and series opener Article 5 (by Kristen Simmons)!
*All giveaways are on a first come, first serve basis.
Yeah, I know. Crazy, huh? With Jack’s audience still growing as more and more readers stumble onto his backlist, and each new title selling more than the last, why end the series?
Because it’s time.
I warned everyone from the start that this would be a closed-end series. I didn’t have a specific number of installments in mind, but I knew where it would end: The series would arc out from The Tomb and terminate at Nightworld. The problem was, I’d already written and published Nightworld. Really, how many writers start a series with the last book already in print?
No problem. I assumed that the warring cosmic forces in the multiverse I’d created in the Adversary Cycle—the faceless, formless, nameless entities known only as the Otherness and the Ally—would not stand idle during the span between The Tomb and Nightworld, and neither would Jack. So why not pit Jack against the Otherness and let them butt heads for a couple of years? It took about a decade and a half of real time to chronicle those few years of fiction time. During that period, Jack co-opted my writing career. Which is okay, because I’ve been having a ball.
Along the way, the arc of that cosmic conflict accrued mass and began to dominate the storylines. Jack changed, mellowing in certain ways due to the love of a good woman and her daughter, becoming downright flinty in others due to the horrors he’d seen and the tragic losses he’d endured.
A slew of arcs rose and resolved, but the big arc, the cosmic conflict, persisted and evolved to the point where it reached critical mass. The story demands resolution.
Sure, I could continue writing novel after novel about Repairman Jack, and lots of readers would be delighted go on reading them. But I wouldn’t be delighted writing them. I’ve seen a favorite series or two go on too long, pushed past their expiration dates by authors deluded into thinking they weren’t repeating themselves, or simply cranking by the numbers to collect a paycheck. Those series suffered as a result, with the later, lesser entries tainting all the great work that came before.
I like Jack too much to do that to him. And to tell the truth, I like myself too much as well. I’ve got some 45 books behind me and more to come, but if any of them are destined to be remembered, the Jack series will be at or near the top of the list (along with The Keep). Right now Jack’s saga is pretty tight and focused. Extra books will do little more than pad the storyline. Why not go out on a high note?
I’ve labeled The Dark at the End the last Repairman Jack novel. Well, it is, and it isn’t. Along the course of writing the Adversary Cycle and Jack’s saga, something called The Secret History of the World took shape. The Dark at the End is the last official Repairman Jack novel in the Secret History, followed by Nightworld, which ends the Secret History (and just about everything else). Yes, Jack participates in Nightworld, but he’s just part of a large cast drawn from across the Secret History. A revised Nightworld is due in May. I will write no fiction set after Nightworld.
But… I’ve agreed to write three novels about Jack’s first years in NYC. The working title is Repairman Jack: The Early Years Trilogy. I’m well into the first and enjoying the hell out of it. This callow Jack is a totally different being from the one we’re all used to. He’s connecting with Abe, meeting Julio and lots of other familiar characters. But after those three books, I’m done. You’ll then know all I know about Jack, and we’ll both be moving on.
But for now, be warned. I did not name the new novel The Dark at the End for the mere hell of it. It’s Jack’s darkest hour. The last time you saw him like this was in Harbingers, and this time he’s got an even bigger grudge.
From the Tor/Forge October newsletter. Sign up to receive our newsletter via email.
More from our October newsletter:
- The Easier Part by Vernor Vinge
- Walking in My Character’s Footsteps by Kiki Hamilton
- A Sneak Peek at Dear Creature by Jonathan Case