February 19, 2014
There’s a new Harry and Marlowe story up on Lightspeed!
This was a fun one because we get to see Harry in her Princess Maud role, as well as her family, Princess Alexandra, Crown Prince George, his wife Mary of Teck, and even a quick glimpse of Prince Carl of Denmark. All that research, paying off! I’m on a roll with Harry and Marlowe stories, so I’m giving rein to the impulse — I’ve just sold another one that will probably be out later this year, and I’m gearing up to write yet another. So many stories to tell!
In other news, I’ve been super excited about Guardians of the Galaxy ever since the easter egg featuring the Collector showed up in Thor 2. So weird! So aesthetically different! So intriguing! Well, the full trailer just premiered. I…I….I AM SO SUPER EXCITED ABOUT THIS I CAN HARDLY CONTAIN MYSELF. I’ve never even read the comics. I remember when this movie was announced and everyone was so skeptical, why on earth would they make a movie about some fourth string comic heroes, how is this even going to work? And you know what? I don’t care, because THIS IS THE SPACE OPERA I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR MY WHOLE LIFE. This….it’s…space ships….talking raccoons….tree aliens…humor….action…ooga chucka…
I’m gonna stop now. *takes deep breath*
January 15, 2014
The Dreams of the Golden Age book tour continues this week! Three days, three stops, starting tomorrow:
Thursday, January 16, 7:00pm: Joseph-Beth Books, Cincinnati, OH.
Friday, January 17, 7:30pm: Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.
Saturday, January 18, 1 pm: Eagle Eye Bookshop, Atlanta, GA.
I’m always being asked when I’m going to head out east: here I am, east! At least in a few spots. Hope to see some of you there.
(P.S.: I’ll sign all books you care to bring, not just Golden Age books. I also talk and answer questions. I may geek out over this or that. It’s happened before.)
January 13, 2014
It’s award nomination season for the big genre awards! Everyone’s posting about all kinds of stuff from last year! I posted my own 2013 bibliography a week or so ago. But now I’m going to talk about other stuff that I’m likely to nominate.
I didn’t read a whole lot of new stuff this year, unfortunately. It’s just the way the cards fell. Of what I did read and encounter, here’s what I’m likely to nominate.
Fiction: My recommendations are heavily weighted to what’s online, because that’s what I read in the corners of my time. But there are others.
- “The Last Dignity of Man,” Marjorie Liu’s novelette from The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination is on my list.
- Wild Cards stories “When We Were Heroes” by Daniel Abraham (novelette) and “The Button Man and the Murder Tree” by Cherie Priest (short story) weren’t just good Wild Cards stories, they were good stories.
- “Sing” by Karin Tidbeck (short story) also really good.
- YA novel The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (the follow up to Raven Boys) was excellent, as was middle grade novel Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi. Oh, that twist at the end…
- For the Campbell Award for Best New Writer, I think Max Gladstone is still eligible. I still talk about his series, starting with Three Parts Dead, as demonstrating that genre boundaries are definitely made to be broken.
I was introduced to artist Aaron B. Miller’s work this year. Kinuko Craft is an artist I nominate every year. Galen Dara is up and coming and definitely someone to watch — she did the marvelous piece depicting Harry and Marlowe for Lightspeed.
Best related book: Jeff VanderMeer’s Wonderbook. It’s such an astonishing accomplishment — a fully illustrated book on creativity.
I finally started reading webcomic Strong Female Protagonist this year, after many recommendations. Like many of us these days, it’s picking apart superhero tropes and doing some pretty far-out things. I described it to someone as Watchmen, but with a lawful good alignment instead of chaotic neutral.
Drama Short Form:
- I’m still on the quest to keep Doctor Who out of this category, but if you must nominate Doctor Who, consider “The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot.” Snark with love.
- There’s astronaut Chris Hadfield’s cover of Space Oddity.
- And then there’s the Marvel One Shot as found on the Iron Man 3 DVD: “Agent Carter,” which broke my heart five different ways then built it back up again by the end. I haven’t seen anyone talking about this, but I thought it was fantastic. It’s a year after the war, and Carter is trying to make her way in a world that doesn’t want her anymore.
Drama Long Form: We have a plethora of movies to choose from this year. Here are my choices (I only get 5 nominations on the Hugo ballot):
- Iron Man 3
- The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
- The World’s End
- Pacific Rim
The movie category is going to be way interesting this year, given I left off Gravity (which I don’t think is really science fiction), Europa Report, Ender’s Game, and all those other movies I just didn’t go see. Oh, and Hansel and Gretel: Witchhunters came out last year too! Oh, for one more nominating slot. . . Also the short form, what with Almost Human, Sleepy Hollow, Agents of SHIELD, and Orphan Black all starting up this year. I don’t know where to start with those episodes.
Whew! Meanwhile, I have a couple of weeks to catch up on some more reading. We’ll see if anything else squeaks on to my list.
January 10, 2014
Dreams of the Golden Age is out! You know what’s a good way to start the new year? Book release! This is my seventeenth published novel. Holy cow! Sometimes it still feels like I just started all this a couple of years ago. This must be why people look at me funny when I say I still feel like a newbie.
I’ve got a few events lined up. The first one will be tonight at 7 pm at The Book Bin in Salem, Oregon. Please note, this is at their new location in East Salem.
Other events are coming up next week:
January 16, 7:00pm: Joseph-Beth Books, Cincinnati, OH.
January 17, 7:30pm: Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.
January 18, 1 pm: Eagle Eye Bookshop, Atlanta, GA.
These are new stores and new territories for me, which is exciting, and I hope to see some of you there!
Oh, and I finished draft zero of a new novel this week. Excelsior!
January 6, 2014
Tomorrow’s the day: Dreams of the Golden Age is out in the wild. Huzzah! Don’t forget to check out the appearances page, directly to your right, for my signings and bookstore appearances. I’ll be in Salem, Cincinnati, Raleigh, and Atlanta. I hope to see some of you there!
As I’ve mentioned before, while the Kitty books have full-on playlists, other books I write usually have one or two main songs that set the tone of the story for me, and become the novel’s soundtrack. Dreams has two songs, one for each of the viewpoint characters. Here they are:
I gotta tell you, I kind of really love these two songs together. Youth and age, hope and cynicism, the perspective of someone who’s about to walk into the crucible versus someone who’s been through it and come out the other side.
Thank you in advance for giving Dreams a try. It’s the sequel I wanted to write, and it makes me happy.
January 3, 2014
It’s that time of year again! I had a lot of stuff out in 2013. Good stuff! Pretty cool! Here’s the summary:
Kitty Rocks the House
Kitty in the Underworld
“Raisa Stepanova,” in Dangerous Women, ed. by Gardner Dozois and George R.R. Martin (this story is straight-up historical and not eligible for genre awards)
“Game of Chance,” in Unfettered, ed. by Shawn Speakman, reprinted on Lightspeed
“The Art of Homecoming,” in Asimov’s Science Fiction
“The Best We Can,” Tor.com, (already picked up for a couple of year’s best SF anthologies)
“Fishwife,” on Nightmare (picked up for a year’s best horror antho)
“Harry and Marlowe Meet the Founder of the Aetherian Revolution,” in The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination, ed. by John Joseph Adams
“Unternehmen Werwolf,” in Halloween: Magic, Mystery, and the Macabre, ed. by Paula Guran
Four short stories, four novelettes, two novels — very respectable! This year was a short fiction avalanche — for some reason everything got scheduled in 2013. But I do have some neat stories coming up — starting with Dreams of the Golden Age, due out on Tuesday!
December 4, 2013
SNOW! Current count on the ongoing snowstorm: 3″, which is moderately less than predicted, but it’s not over yet. I have the great good fortune of getting to stay home, and I’m hoping to get enough work done this morning that I can take a break this afternoon, maybe pop some popcorn, mull some cider, and sit with the Georgette Heyer book I’m reading. (I’m reading Georgette Heyer right now. Because once you’ve read all of Jane Austen you’ve got to do something. Also, I maybe be planning a Regency story. Maybe.)
Yesterday was the release day for DANGEROUS WOMEN, the giant cross genre anthology edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. There’s an audiobook version as well, that I kind of can’t wait to get my hands on, because Stana Katic reads a couple of the stories. (Not mine, alas, but that’s okay, because my story is read by Inna Korobkina, a Russian actress for my story about Russian pilots. Yay!)
Monday at 7 pm is the big launch party for the anthology at the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe, NM. The editors and many of the authors — including me! — will be there for a panel discussion and readings and other good stuff!
And One More Thing! On December 17 at 6:30, I’ll be doing an online Q&A about short story writing through the Delve online workshops and the Pikes Peak Writers. This is free and open to all, but you must RSVP at this link, because numbers will be limited.
And with that: Snow, snow, snow, snow….
November 22, 2013
I have news! I have upcoming appearances to publicize! Here they are!
December 9, 7 pm, Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe, NM: “Dangerous Talk About Dangerous Women.” Many authors from the Dangerous Women anthology, along with editors George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, will be here reading from and talking about their stories. The theater is also running films on the theme of “dangerous women.” Here’s the event listing, scroll down to find this one.
January 10, 7 pm: The Book Bin in Salem, Oregon. Please note, this is at their new location in East Salem.
January 16, 7:00pm: Joseph-Beth Books, Cincinnati, OH.
January 17, 7:30pm: Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.
January 18, 1 pm: Eagle Eye Bookshop, Atlanta, GA.
I’m also scheduled to be guests at two conventions next year:
April 25-27, ConStellation, Lincoln, NE. I’ll be the Author Guest of Honor.
September 26-28, FenCon XI, Dallas, TX. I’ll be the Special Guest leading the writing workshop.
March 28-30, AnomalyCon, Denver’s steampunk convention.
May 13-18, RT Booklovers Convention, New Oreleans LA. This’ll be my first time at this con.
August 14-18, Loncon, the World Science Fiction Convention in London.
I’m also planning MileHi Con, but probably not Bubonicon this year. Too much traveling already…
I’m excited, because the book tour includes several stops I’ve never been to before. For all you folks who are always asking when I’m going to get to the east coast — this is it! I’m heading east! Huzzah!
If you’re wondering why I’m going to some towns and not others, and some stores and not others, there’s a lot of reasons — timing, what works on the schedule… and what stores asked to host an event with me. If you want me to come do an event in your town, find a local independent bookstore that does a lot of events, or a local convention or book festival or such, and put in a request. Tell them you want an event with me. No guarantees that it’ll happen, but the more people make requests like this, the chances increase.
November 8, 2013
This includes my story, “The Best We Can,” and it gives me an excuse to talk about my thoughts on possible first contact scenarios, and why I wrote the story at all.
First off, I do think we’ll find evidence of extraterrestrial life within my lifetime. Fossil microbes on Mars or something swimming under the ice on Titan. Something. But we may even find extraterrestrial intelligence. It’s not going to happen at all like it does in the movies, or like it has on any number of Discovery Channel mockumentary scenarios. In fact, it’s probably not going to be very cinematic at all. It’ll come from the examination of tiny pixels, and the analysis of mountains of data. It’ll take years to confirm.
The search for exoplanets — planets outside our solar system — has been more successful than anyone dreamed. According to Exoplanet.org, 755 planets have been confirmed, along with 3455 unconfirmed planet candidates. That’s over four thousand planets, and the number is constantly growing. (This is one of the reasons I get cranky when people insist that not having a space shuttle means the U.S. doesn’t have a space program. You want a space program? Here, have FOUR THOUSAND EXOPLANETS, BITCHES.) You use this data to extrapolate the numbers in the Drake Equation for determining the likelihood of finding alien civilizations, and the results start to look ridiculously probable. Which leads to the attendant question of course — why haven’t we been able to talk to them yet? And the answer is, to quote Douglas Adams: space is big. Really big. Hugely mindbogglingly big.
Astronomers use a few different methods to find planets: with the transit method, they can track changes in light that occur when a planet passes in front of its star. Tiny little eclipses. They can measure the gravitational pull that planets and stars exert on each other. Direct imaging has also become possible.
I think at some point we’re going to find a star system that obviously has planets, but the data is going to be wonky. Astronomers will find light where it shouldn’t be, on the shadowed side of a planet. They’ll find something orbiting something else that predictions say shouldn’t be there — because it’s artificial. It will be evidence not just of life, but of civilization. And it’ll be dozens and dozens of light years away, and it’ll take a lifetime for our message saying we know about them to get there. Maybe we’ll finally get that radio signal SETI’s been looking for — but it’s not going to be a message meant for us. It’s going to be a random alien thing, noise sent to the stars, like what we’ve been sending out for the last 80+ years. Plus — it will likely have been traveling for many, many years. Whatever evidence we find, whether light or radio or something else on the EM spectrum, will be old by the time we get it. Maybe ancient. It will be a message in a bottle, and likely an accidental one to boot. Discovering extraterrestrial life is going to be like archeology.
And it will be so bloody frustrating, won’t it?! We’ll turn to the heavens, shouting, because what we really want is to talk to them.
This is what was driving my story: the idea that we’re going to find the holy grail, incontrovertible proof of alien civilizations. And we’re not going to be able to do a damn thing about it. We’re not going to be able to talk to them. We’ll just have to gather and catalog the data and try to figure out what it means. I know the story depressed a lot of people because of its depiction of bureaucracy overwhelming the wonder of discovery. But really, I meant there to be a thread of hope as well: because hey, we found life. We found civilization. We aren’t alone. And that’s very likely going to have to be enough, at least at the start.
October 18, 2013
This weekend is Denver’s literary SF&F con. I’ll be there! I’ve got the usual collection of panels, readings, signings, and shenanigans. Plus — Carrie and The Midnight Hour returns, with special secret guests and surprise audience participation activities. Woot! The schedule and all kinds of other info are up at the website.
While I’m on it, I’ve got a couple of other upcoming events:
October 26 I’m taking part in a “Monster Author” book night and panel at the Parker Library for Halloween.
November 2, I’ll be at ReadCon, at the Farr Library in Greeley.
A bit further on, December 9, I’ll be in Santa Fe for a multi-author event promoting the George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois edited anthology Dangerous Women. I’ll get a link up when I have it.
Wow, things are getting busy again…