Frankfurt Book Fair

October 16th, 2014

The main event of last week was Frankfurt Book Fair and, successively, BuCon, the Book Fair Convention. The actual fair saw me only for one day. But this was enough to show my face and to meet some nice people. Towards the evening it was getting even more interesting. After the traditional fantasy authors’ Chinese food run, we continued to party at the Galactic Forum. This promising name has been given to the annual Perry Rhodan Publisher’s Party. It was the second time they invited me – Thank you, I hope you will invite me again, folks!)

I’m not really an ardent party goer and tend to feel lost and overwhelmed very quickly at big dos. But this party is really nice: cozy enough to feel welcome and frequented enough to meet everyone who is someone in this scene and in this genre. I won’t go into name-dropping mode here. Favourable result: a new and interesting short story project did come my way, because at this meeting you have more direct contact with your “peers” than at the huge trade fair itself.

As always, the Saturday belonged to BuCon the “Buchmesse (=Book Fair) Convent”. If you are used to calling this type of event a convention, please be advised by veteran German SF fans that this is all wrong (in German). At this point I will refrain from joining a time-worn (and very boring) discussion about grammar and etymology. Whoever organises the event is free to decide what it should be called. However, the term “Convent” to me always tends to convey the image of colourful young men in full 19th century student union regalia or non-colourful old women with a pious mien.

Neither of the aforementioned were present, though. Gathered here was the speculative fiction family for their very own kind of autumn rite. If I started name-dropping at this point, I would have to expand this blog post by several pages. Let’s try a different approach. Had Noah wanted to save all German speculative fiction writers from the flood he would have been able to tick off his list here without having to hunt around for stray specimens. And he would not even miss out on the dinosaurs.

I did a reading at lunch time and enjoyed it quite a bit. So, I hope, did the audience. Well, they bought quite a number of my books afterwards, so one can assume that they might not have been too bored.

Eventually I lost track of the event a little. I still had fun, though. Mind you, maybe I should plan my conversations a tiny bit more diligently in the future, because for some reason I obviously succeeded in NOT making it onto a single photograph or video clip, let alone managed to engage the media people for an interview or article (newspaper or blog). I am still a little miffed at that – or rather at me for my sudden PR-unawareness. Obviously I am good at being invisible. Should I need to establish an alibi for Saturday the police would scan the photos and report material and not find any hint that I was there at all. So: go to jail, directly.

But I was there. Honest.

The highlight of the evening was, as always, the German Speculative Fiction Award (Deutscher Phantastik Preis) Ceremony. The winners are listed here . I congratulate all those who won and of course all the final nominees.

As an additional event Tom Finn got awarded the “BuCon Preis”, which was given out for the first time this year. It is a kind of general creativity award for lifetime achievement (to date. We hope Tom Finn goes on being creative many more years.).

Later that evening I went out to dinner with the short story authors of “Eis & Dampf” (Ice & Steam), who I would like to again congratulate for winning the German Speculative Fiction Award for the best anthology. Nice people. Nice food. Dreadful drive home.

Now it is over again, that fifth season for book lovers. So now we can once again focus on the aspect of book-biz which is closest to our hearts: the actual writing.

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Once and future readings

October 1st, 2014

I went to two readings last month. The first one took place at Fark Convention , a wonderfully nerdy event in an old mine near Saarbrücken. I can only recommend it to everyone. There was role playing, a post-apocalyptic camp with impressive homemade end of time cars, much Steampunk, much costuming, a humungous dealers’ area and of course: readings. And it was all for a good cause, too. The event managed to make – and donate over € 20,000 to a children’s hospice. So not just fun, but help for those who need it. What could be better?


I was scheduled for two readings. I read from my novel “Schwingen aus Stein” and also from my “Cinderella” interpretation published in the photopraphic + short story project “Wahre Märchen 2” (True Fairy Tales). I had a nice, interested audience both times.


This is unfortunately not always the case. Only two weeks later a reading scored 2:0. Two authors – zero audience. That too can happen to writers sometimes, and one may be miffed about it, but if it turns out that there had been no advertising done for the event, then it can hardly be surprising. If no one knows that will be reading somewhere, no one will show up. Obviously.

The next reading will certainly not lack an audience. It will take place at this year’s BuCon (Frankfurt Book Fair convention). On Book Fair Saturday at 12:00 a.m., you can come and hear me read.

In any case, I strongly recommend this entire event. It’s been going and growing for many years, and it is the meeting point of pretty much all the German fantasy-authors, bloggers, critics, specialist publishers, etc. In the evening, the Deutsche Phantastik Preis (German Speculative Fiction Award – comparable to the Hugo) is awarded to the deserving winners, and you can enjoy an awards ceremony that could not be more unlike the Oscar night. And I mean that with a wink and a smile.

This time I’m not nominated. But I have already been awarded the SERAPH in March. Two awards for the same book would probably be immodest. And, dear me, we can’t allow that.

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Loncon 3

August 29th, 2014

LonCon is over and both memories and souvenirs are good

– met lots of friends
– met interesting new people
– listened to enlightening discussions
– listened to wonderful concerts
– was part of – hopefully – enlightening discussions wonderful concerts
– two new books
– one new hat
and on the down side_
– con crud.

I reviewed the event in “Zauberspiegel. The article is in German.

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LonCon – The World Science Fiction Convention

August 8th, 2014

Next week I shall be at Loncon. That’s the 2014 World Science Fiction Convention, held in London this time. And as the venue is so relatively easy to reach – the last ones were in Texas or Japan or Australia etc. – I very much wanted to be there. I’m looking forward to this immensely and have been quietly bouncing with anticipation for weeks.

Since the World Con is programmed by the input of the writing scene and the active fandom I have several “gigs” or engagements where I will sit not only sit in the audience but will actively contribute to the show. One concert (with Katy, my duo partner), a “Kaffeeklatsch” (which is a friendly meeting between writers and readers who want to get to know a certain writer personally) and three so-called “panels”. The latter are a kind of talk show for a specific topic with three or four guests and a moderator or talk-master.

Here you can see where I am going to be.

Do come!

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Short fiction – a list

June 26th, 2014

I am probably better known for my rather longish novels. But over the year I wrote quite a lot of short fiction for anthologies. The list (please see below) may not even be quite complete. But if you read German, these are the places where you will find my stories.


• “90 – 60 – 90” in: “Der Arsch auf dem Sessel“, DIANA Verlag, München

• ” Voll schlank” in: “Ich werde nie mehr auseinandergehen“, DIANA Verlag, München

• “Ein Menu aus Salzträume” in: “Die Köche – Biss zum Mittagessen”, Ulrich Burger Verlag, Homburg

• “Innovationen” in: “Geheimnisvolle Geschichten – Steampunk“, Verlag Saphir im Stahl, Bickenbach

• “Schöne Aussicht” in: “Geheimnisvolle Bibliotheken”, Verlag Torsten Low, Meitingen OT Erlingen

• “Nicht tot” in: “Dark Crime Anthologie”, Geisterspiegel/Romantruhe

• “Im Bilde” in: Exotische Welten” O’Connell Press, Weingarten

• “Aschenputtel” in: “Wahre Märchen 2: Elf klassische Märchen in neuem Gewand”, Feder & Schwert, Mannheim

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Meissen Literary Festival

June 8th, 2014

Meissen is a wonderful town, mostly famous for its porcelain manufacture which started out in 1710 at the somewhat brutal instigation of Augustus the Strong (Elector of Saxony and King of Poland). The city also has a marvellous literary festival. Four years ago, I did a reading there. The sun was shining just as brilliantly down on the late medieval buildings which are lined up in perfect historical harmony all the way up to the cathedral hill. Quaint and wonderful. The town looks a bit like the best effort of a mad modeller to whom you would like to give the advice not to overdo it because real towns just aren’t that pretty. You’d be wrong, though.

restaurant-ausschnitt _klein

Our reading was set at the Meissner Obscurum. This is a medieval dungeon-like vaulted cellar and the venue for quite some events. Two vaults invite the horror-fans to stay and enjoy. The larger room was the location for the readings, stylishly arranged in candle light and next to a cut off hand. The other room houses the bar and a nice morgue slab with cut off limbs and an ancient foot pedal driven dentist drill. Fluffy toy rats are livening up the ceiling right above you. And Aunty Kaethe is sitting in an old wicker wheelchair thinking back to those enlightened times when she was more than just a bare skeleton. Well, not totally bare, she is wearing a nice hat which would look well on any (preferably female) steampunker.
skelett_t-kaethe-klein arm-klein

The original schedule included for readings by three Olivers and myself. Unfortunately one of the Olivers got sick and I had to make to with the remaining two.

– Oliver Graute read from „Wahre Märchen 2“ (True fairy tales)
– Oliver Plaschka read from „Kristallpalast“ (The Crystal Palace)
– And I from „Schwingen aus Stein“ (Wings of Stone)

cover-kristallpalast lesung_olli_klein

I don’t think I have ever read in a more horror inspiring setting. It was great fun. And what’s more: the place was packed. They had to turn people away because the dungeon could not hold any more people – not even if we could have arranged them on the slab which we rather used as the book selling platform. Morgue slab, black velvet and good fantasy books – that was truly stylish.

Another nice thing that happened was that I met someone I’d met years ago at a filk con. C. invited me for breakfast the next day and we had a lovely time chatting. It’s great to get reminded that the world is a) a small place and b) full of wonderful people. (Comment from the Olivers: And who is she? –The Lord Mayor’s wife. – And how do you know her? – Filk. – Oh. Filk.)

The journey back was a bit of a drag because my train was delayed by one and a half hours. But what the heck? I had a lovely time. And I do hope they’ll invite me again to Meissen some day.

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Dungeons and Readings

May 27th, 2014

Last year, the Meissen Literature Festival had to be cancelled due to flooding. East Germany and parts of Eastern Bavaria were submerged in rather too much water in places where water was not at all welcome.

This year the festival will (hopefully!) be held again. And I’ll be reading there again. I last read in Meissen four years ago, but I remember how pretty and nice everything was. I am sure it still is. This time it is even more thrilling, because this time, Feder & Schwert Publishing has been granted a special event, the “Fantasy Night of Feder & Schwert”: Oliver Plaschka, Oliver Hoffmann, Oliver Graute and I read from our novels. – And even though my name is not Oliver, I shall be there. The Fantasy Night will be held on Friday, 06 June 2014. The entire festival runs from Thursday to Monday.

I am particularly thrilled with the location, the Meissner Obscurum, a vaulted cellar – well “a real dungeon”, which will certainly provide a wonderful setting for works of speculative fiction. So come and listen – and have fun at this very special evening.

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May 18th, 2014

Last weekend I was invited to read in Ilmenau at the local Technical University. Phantopia organised this. They are a quite wonderful club that invites authors regularly and spoils them rotten. It was my second reading there. And again it was thoroughly enjoyable. I went home happy, fed and with some lovely gifts and I hope to be able to read there again someday. Simply wonderful hosts!

Fresh out of the – well, not press but pixel machine – is the e-book “Exotische Welten” (Exotic Worlds) published by O’Connellpress. It’s a wonderful collection of very different stories that fit this topic, from SF to fantasy. My story takes the reader into late 19th century London and from there into a world that is a poem in every sense of the word. Here you can order the e-book directly . It is, of course, in German.

And in June we expect the release of the next story book. It is called ” Wahre Märchen 2 ” (True Fairy Tales 2) and is a wonderful photo book with photographs by Annie Bertram showing a world of dark gothic romanicism. These deep and eerie photographs set the stage for a collection of modern fairy tales by Markus Heitz, Christian von Aster, Julia Becker, Oliver Graute, Diana Kinne, Lea Melcher, Iris Meyer, Björn Springorum, Isa Theobald, Rona Walter – and me. Images and stories intertwine to make this book a work of art. I’d like to say something like that never happened before, but it is already the second volume of this project. Whoever loves the dark romance of our time – this book is just right for you.

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Interview at the Leipzig Book Fair

April 2nd, 2014

When I was at the Leipzig Book Fair, I met two very nicebloggers who quite without a previous plan did an interview with me. None of us had prepared anything, so both the questions and the answers were as impromptu as you get them. I think we did not do too badly for that. – The interview is in German.

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… and the winner is … me …

March 18th, 2014

And what was it like? It was great. Exhausting, but quite overwhelming.

Last week, I went to Leipzig Book Fair. I only tend to go to big fairs, when I have something to do there. Just strolling from booth to booth would be a little too tedious for me. But this year, I really could not complain. Four readings. A Meet & Greet with literary bloggers at the Heyne (Random House) stand. An interview with a nice blogger couple. And several visits to my agent, who this time had his own booth.

The big news, however, is: I won the SERAPH – Best Book 2014 !


Together with Oliver Plaschka , who was also was nominated, I sat in the audience and waited for the decision. I really did not believe I would win the award. Accordingly, I was pretty speechless when “Schwingen aus Stein” (Wings of Stone) was announced to be the winner. A book set in the Bavarian forest – that was a bit weird and unusual, but it may just have helped to make “Schwingen aus Stein” the winner.
I probably spouted a lot of nonsensical blather as I accepted the trophy handed over by Kai Meyer. I truly don’t remember what I said. At least I did not shed any tears, but I truly hope my ramblings will not make the rounds on YouTube.

Anyway, I was happy and overwhelmed and – ah – not speechless although I somehow wish I had been. The pretty statuette now lives on my shelf together with the Deutsche Phantastik Preis (German Speculative Fiction Award) which I got back in 2009 for ” Obsidianherz” (Obsidian Heart), flanked by a SAM and a Pegasus Award, which I got for filk songs I wrote.

The award for the best newcomer novel went to Catherine Hartwell “Das fremde Meer“ (The alien sea).

After the ceremony we went into the city. The special Seraph reading was to take place at the Stadtwerke Leipzig, who had sponsored the newcomer award. It took us a long time to get there after the show because there were traffic jams all around the fair. I was scared that we would never get there. But we somehow managed and the event was very enjoyable. I was rather tired – if you get up at 04:30 clock , travel and run around all day at the show, you are no longer fresh as a daisy – but sleep is for the weak and sickly.

There was a second SERAPH winners’ reading on Saturday morning at the fair. Here we had a really humungous amount of listeners, a fact we probably have to thank Kai Meyer for, who was on before us and sort of shared his numerous fans with us (they were waiting for the signing). Thank you, Kai!

The utter disinterest of the “traditional” press was not precisely a surprise. They either completely forgot about the event or decided not to grace it with their culturally superior attendance. The so called “quality journalism” only reported about those events they predictably feature every single year. NEWS looks much better when it is a little dusty and people know what to expect.

My last reading was at the RPG Exhibitors’ Party. The RPG people always offer gaming rounds at the Leipzig Book Fair. The party was held in the premises of a very cozy student pub – in Leipzig readings are always distributed all across the city. Very nice people. I read from “Die Quellen der Malicorn” (The wells of the Malicorn). I believe the role players liked it.

On the way home on the train on Sunday, I really wanted to work on my new book, but I fear I was wrestled down by Mr. Sandman who had rather convincing arguments.


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