Author Tags: Fiction
A university drop-out 'from a working poor background', and a lapsed member of Mensa, Hughes is a journalist who has doubled as a political staff speechwriter to Canadian Ministers of Justice, Small Business and Environment. He has been a freelance corporate and political speechwriter in British Columbia since 1979. "Before I got into newspapers, I worked in a factory that made school desks, drove a grocery delivery truck, was night janitor in a GM dealership, and was briefly an orderly in a private mental hospital." In his teens he volunteered with the Company of Young Canadians, spending six months living in a log cabin in northern Alberta with a Métis family and two weeks fighting a forest fire.
Hughes' first novel Downshift is a humourous thriller in the style of Elmore Leonard. Fools Errant is a fantasy novel that follows the adventures of a layabout aristocrat Filidor and a wizened old dwarf Gaskarth. The third of the Archonate science fantasy series, Matthew Hughes’ Black Brillion: A Novel of the Archonate (Tor, 2004 $33.95) blends science fiction and fantasy and crosses Jack Vance with Carl Jung. A peacekeeper of Old Earth, Baro Harkless reluctantly joins forces with the stylish swindler Luff Imbry. Their common enemy is Horselan Gebbling, a notorious con-man who may hold the cure for the fatal ailment known as the lassitude. Black Brillion was shortlisted for the Aurora Award for best long form work in English. In The Commons, Guth Bandar must fight within the darkest recesses of humanity's collective mind in order to save the world.
DATE OF BIRTH: May 27, 1949
PLACE OF BIRTH: Liverpool, UK
ARRIVAL IN CANADA: 1954
ARRIVAL IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: 1963
ANCESTRAL BACKGROUND: Anglo/Irish/Welsh
Arthur Ellis Award
Surrey International Writers Festival Special Achievement Award
Devil or Angel and Other Stories (2015)
The Compleat Guth Bandar (2014)
To Hell and Back: Hell to Pay (2013 Angry Robot Books)
Old Growth (2013 Five Rivers Publishing)
9 Tales of Henghis Hapthorn (2013)
The Meaning of Luff and Other Stories (2013)
Song of the Serpent (2012 Paizo Publishing)
To Hell and Back: Costume Not Included (2012 Angry Robot Books)
The Other (2011 Underland Press)
To Hell and Back: The Damned Busters (2011 Angry Robot Books)
Template (PS Publishing, 2008)
Hespira (2008 Night Shade Books)
The Commons (Robert J. Sawyer Books, 2007).
Majestrum (San Francisco: Night Shade Books, 2006). 1-59780-061-9
The Gist Hunter & Other Stories (San Francisco: Night Shade Books, $33.95). 1-597800-20-1
Black Brillion: A Novel of the Archonate, Tor Book, 2004 0765308-65-7
Gullible's Travels, SFBC, NY, 2001
Fool Me Twice, Warner Aspect, NY, 2001
Fools Errant, Warner Aspect, NY, 2001; Maxwell Macmillan Canada, Don Mills, 1994
Breaking Trail (With Len Marchand), Caitlin Press, Prince George, 2000
Downshift, Doubleday Canada, Toronto, 1997
[BCBW 2016] "Fiction" "Science Fiction" "Mystery" "Short Stories"
Matt Hughes of Comox has signed a two-book deal with Warner Aspect for a mass-market edition of his first novel, a comic fantasy called Fools Errant, along with a sequel. His short story ‘One More Kill’ has won the Crime Writers of Canada’s Arthur Ellis Award for best short story of 1999.
[BCBW SUMMER 2000]
Downshift (Doubleday $18.95)
As a struggling screenwriter in Downshift (Doubleday $18.95) by Matt Hughes of Comox, Sid Rafferty will write anything for anyone. In this humourous thriller, Rafferty veers easily from Hollywood North to a questionable stock prospectus, to Mafia links, to working for terrorists who want to overthrow the B.C. government.
Matt Hughes (2005)
As a jack-of-all-trades wordsmith, Matt Hughes of Comox has juggled journalism and politics with mysteries, crime fiction and the creation of new worlds. A university drop-out “from a working poor background,” Hughes is a lapsed member of Mensa who has worked as a staff speechwriter to Canadian Ministers of Justice, Small Business and Environment. “Before I got into newspapers, I worked in a factory that made school desks, drove a grocery delivery truck, was night janitor in a GM dealership, and was briefly an orderly in a private mental hospital.” Also a ghostwriter for hire, Hughes can’t be easily labelled, and this versatility has not necessarily been a blessing for someone who set out to be an author of hardboiled fiction. The release of his fourth sci-fi volume, The Gist Hunter & Other Stories (Night Shade Books $33.95) is akin to another unplanned but welcome pregnancy. “I admire authors who can make a plan and follow it, the ones who proceed from short stories to a coming-of-age novel then on to prestigious prizes and bestsellers. But, apparently, admire is all I can do. I cannot emulate.”
Combing mystery and sci-fi, The Gist Hunter & Other Stories features nine stories taking place in the universe of The Archonate, plus stories of Henghis Hapthorn, a Holmesian “discriminator” of Old Earth. Hughes’ previous titles include Black Brillion, a novel about a pair of mismatched cops of the far future, plus a ghosted biography of Len Marchand, the first Aboriginal elected to federal parliament since Louis Riel. Hughes’ fiction career was kick-started in 1997 when Doubleday Canada published Downshift, a humourous thriller, that led to short stories in Hitchcock’s magazine and Blue Murder, a web-based zine. Hughes won an Arthur Ellis Award and graduated to a New York agent. While he ghosted a medical thriller for a prominent US heart surgeon along the way, Hughes was also dabbling in an alternate universe. “Years before, I’d entered Arsenal Pulp Press’s three-day novel contest, writing 27,000 words over 72 hours. I called it Fools Errant, an allegorical pastiche in the styles of sci-fi grandmaster Jack Vance and P.G. Wodehouse.” Hughes expanded his hasty tale into 72,000-word fantasy novel that follows the adventures of a layabout aristocrat Filidor and a wizened old dwarf Gaskarth.
He published Fool’s Errant with Maxwell Macmillan Canada only to have his novel plummet into obscurity when Robert Maxwell’s empire promptly collapsed.
“By 1999, Fools Errant was but a faint regret and I was a budding crime writer. Then I saw an interview with a senior editor at Time-Warner’s Aspect imprint who was looking for offbeat fantasies. On a whim, I sent her Fools Errant. She not only bought it, but commissioned a sequel, Fool Me Twice.” Both works appeared in paperback in 2001. Hughes’ agent couldn’t sell any of his thrillers but he was able to sell a third sci-fi novel, Black Brillion, to Tor, the world’s biggest sci-fi publisher. Black Brillion: A Novel of the Archonate blends science fiction and fantasy with touches of Carl Jung. A peacekeeper of Old Earth, Baro Harkless reluctantly joins forces with the stylish swindler Luff Imbry. Their common enemy is Horselan Gebbling, a notorious con-man who may hold the cure for the fatal ailment known as the lassitude. Next, a sci-fi anthology editor asked Hughes for a short story, and suddenly he was selling ‘shorts’ to the mass market pulps, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Asimov’s, and two British mags, Interzone and Postscripts. “Within a year I had sold enough to make a collection,” he says. That’s the gist of how The Gist Hunter & Other Stories came to be published by a San Francisco company. So Matt Hughes has inadvertently played hopscotch with his writing career. “Other authors ascend a golden ladder. I hop, like Pearl Pureheart, from one passing ice floe to the next. “If there is a plan behind any of this, it must be deeply unconscious. But since I honour my unconscious as the guy who actually supplies the creativity, maybe this is the way it has to be.” Gist Hunter 1-597800-20-1
Press Release (2005)
MATT HUGHES SIGNS THREE-NOVEL DEAL WITH US PUBLISHER
COURTENAY, October 18, 2005 -- Local author Matt Hughes has signed a
three-novel deal with Night Shade Books of San Francisco.
"I'll be writing three novels about a Sherlock Holmesean character named
Henghis Hapthorn who lives in Old Earth of the far, far future," said
Hughes. "Hapthorn has already appeared in six stories published in The
Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, one of the venerable pulp mags of
the sf field, and fans seem to like him."
Over the course of the six F&SF stories the supremely rational Hapthorn
has been horrified to discover that his world is about to be transformed:
science and rationalism will cease to work and "sympathetic association" --
in other words, magic -- will become dominant.
"I want to explore the idea of what happens to a character who is superbly
acclimated to a particular way of life when his whole world changes
drastically," Hughes said.
The three novels -- their working titles are Majestrum, Down and Around,
and Hespira -- will not be along the lines of the trilogies that have
become so popular with sf publishers in recent years. "They'll be
stand-alone novels that have the same hero and setting. Readers won't have
to buy the first one to enjoy the second."
Night Shade Books has emerged in the past few years as one of America's
leading sf-devoted small presses. It has published novels and story
collections by major authors in the fantasy and science fiction genres,
including Graham Joyce, Iain M. Banks and Kage Baker.
Hughes is the first author to sign a three-novel deal with Night Shade.
What's All This Got to Do With the Price of 2x4's?
A professional forester since 1961, Mike Apsey served as Deputy Minister of Forests in B.C. from 1978 to 1984. He has acted as President and CEO of the Council of Forest Industry, and has sat on the chair of the National Forest Strategy Coalition, Wildlife Habitat Canada, and Tree Canada Foundation. His memoir, What's All This Got to Do With the Price of 2x4's? (University of Calgary, 2006), provides Apsey's perspective on the competing tensions of forestry conservation and international economics. It was completed with co-writers Matt Hughes and the late Ken Drushka.
MATT HUGHES SELLS FOUR MORE NOVELS
Press Release (2006)
COURTENAY, May 18, 2006 -- Vancouver Island author Matt Hughes has sold four
novels to four different publishers in three countries over the past seven
MAJESTRUM is the first of three novels about Henghis Hapthorn, a Sherlock
Holmesean sleuth in a far-future Earth, who discovers that the rational
universe to which he is so perfectly adapted is about to switch its ground
rules to operate on magic.
The novel will be released by Night Shade Books, of San Francisco, in October.
THE COMMONS is a science-fiction novel that follows the adventures of Guth
Bandar, an explorer of the human collective unconscious (aka the Commons) as
he comes to realize that the psychic realm that lies all human dreams, myths
and stories has itself become conscious and is pursuing its own agenda.
The novel will be published by the Canadian publisher Fitzhenry and
Whiteside under its Robert J. Sawyer Books imprint, in time for Christmas of
TEMPLATE is a science-fantasy novel set in a far future when humankind has
spread through many worlds of Earth's arm of the galaxy. It tells the story
of Conn Labro, a professional duelist on a world completely given over to
gaming, as he seeks to uncover the mysterious circumstances of his birth,
while a sinister cult tries to steal his birthright.
It will be released by the UK firm, PS Publishing, in the fall of 2007.
WOLVERINE:LIFEBLOOD is a novel about Marvel Comix's Canadian X-Man, James
Howlett (aka Logan, aka Wolverine). His memories stolen from him by
sinister government agencies, Logan follows clues into his own hidden past,
fighting Nazis in World War II, Meanwhile, an old enemy plots to use his
mutant abilities to pull off a daring assassination plot targeting the
President of the United States.
The book will be released by Pocket Books of New York in the fall of 2007.
Hughes is writing this novel under the pen name, Hugh Matthews.
The four books represent Hughes's fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth novel
sales. His 2004 novel, Black Brillion, and his 2005 short story collection,
The Gist Hunter and Other Stories, are in stores now.