Wendy Wagner is well-known in genre circles both for her work as the managing editor of Lightspeed Magazine, and, of late, as the author of several novels in the expansive Pathfinder universe (alongside names like Tim Pratt, Sam Sykes, and Max Gladstone). Today, we’re happy to announce that we can look forward to a new book from her soon—one that’s all her own, no less. Angry Robot will publish An Oath of Dogs in July 2017; it’s an original sci-fi novel about corporate misdeeds and the unfortunate four-legged aftereffects of some secret chemical tests. We’ll let the cover blurb do the talking. Then, keep reading for a guest post from Wendy, who discusses the joy of playing with her own literary toys…
Kate Standish has been on Huginn less than a week and she’s already pretty sure her new company murdered her boss.
But extractions corporations dominate the communities of the forest world, and few are willing to threaten their meal tickets to look too closely at corporate misbehavior. The little town of mill workers and neo-Mennonite farmers is more worried about the threat of ecoterrorism and a series of increasingly vicious wild dog attacks than a death most people would like to believe is an accident.
When Standish connects a secret chemical test site to a nearly forgotten disaster in Huginn’s history, she reveals a conspiracy that threatens Standish and everyone she’s come to care about. Even the dogs are out to get her …
… if they’re really dogs …
Playing with My Own Toys
Playing at another kid’s house was always a fraught experience for Kid-Me. I mean, it was always exciting to see what toys they had that I didn’t, like the Castle Grayskull playset or the forbidden-to-me Cabbage Patch Kids. (Mom, I still don’t know why those cuddly little dolls creeped you out so much, but I’m really glad you didn’t feel that way about the Garbage Pail Kids.) But just as I’d pick up something really great, like the Hovercat or She-Ra’s horse, Swiftwind, the friend would swoop in.
“You can’t play with that,” she would begin, and finish with some arcane rule designed to ruin my fun, like: “Swiftwind can never be friends with Starlite. Starlite’s too big.”
“But they’re both horses. Couldn’t Starlite be Swiftwind’s mother?”
“No. And they’re my toys, so what I say goes.”
It was always impossible to argue with “They’re my toys, so what I say goes.” I knew that—I even used it myself when other kids came over, usually to protect my prized collection of My Little Ponies from barbarians who didn’t understand the dangers of exuberant hair brushing. When something belongs to you, you have to take care of it, and you have to screen the people who play with it very carefully.
For the past four years, I’ve been lucky enough to play with some amazing toys belonging to a great company: the world of the Pathfinder role-playing game, created by Paizo Press. I’ve written several short stories for them and two novels. (The newest book is out in August! It’s really fun, I promise!) I’ve had an incredible time learning about the peoples and places Paizo has created and using them in my work. There are so many wonderful monsters and fascinating kinds of magic—writing for Paizo was like hanging out inside a packed toy store and getting to try out all the merchandise.
But I’m still a lot like Kid-Me. Sure, hanging out with my friends was fun. But I’d breathe a sigh of relief when I got home. When I had my own toys and played my own games, my imaginary worlds felt so magical and real to me. As my pair of Monchichi siblings tracked wolverines through waist-deep Arctic snows, I could feel the wind blowing down my neck. As my stuffed elephant stunned circus-goers with her triumphant tight-wire act, my pulse raced.
And when I wrote An Oath of Dogs, I felt like I’d never written anything so close to my heart.
Yes, I’ve had a great time writing tie-in fiction. But writing An Oath of Dogs was an incredible experience, and I’m thrilled to find a home for it with a publisher like Angry Robot. I feel like they just get me. Like they’ll treat my toys as carefully as I do.
This book is packed full of great stuff: Sherbet-colored isopods the size of sheep. Forest giants that explode when they’re sent to the saw mill. A town as full of weird individuals as Twin Peaks or Cicely, Alaska. An amazing assistance dog I wish was real.
And they’re all mine. My very own toys.
I can’t wait to share them with the world.
Wendy N. Wagner grew up in small logging town in the Pacific Northwest that received close to ten feet of rain a year. She has published more than thirty short stories and currently serves as the managing/associate editor at the Hugo award-winning Lightspeed Magazine, as well as its sister magazine, Nightmare, and was the guest editor of Nightmare’s Queers Destroy Horror! special issue. She also writes tie-in fiction for the bestselling Pathfinder role-playing game, including two novels, Skinwalkers and Starspawn. An avid tabletop gamer and gardener, she lives in Portland, Oregon, with her very understanding family.