Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net


Book Recs & a Link

January 30th, 2016

I admit:
It’s happened more than once over the years that I’ve picked up a popular, acclaimed novel in the genre and completely failed to see the appeal. This is a disconcerting experience. It makes me question myself and my place in the field. How can my tastes be so different from the majority? Do I really understand this genre? Is my concept of what makes a good story too out of date or too far afield?

But then I’ll pick up another popular, acclaimed novel, often one I’ve hesitated to read for some reason or other, and discover that it totally works for me — which always makes me happy.

Silver on the Road by Laura Anne GilmanSilver on the Road by Laura Anne Gilman is the first example. This is a 2015 novel that has received rave reviews, but I hesitated to pick it up in large part because it was described as a “weird Western.” I’d never before heard of “weird Westerns,” but I think of weird fiction in general as the sort of horror that leaves me feeling like I need to clean my brain out; in other words, the sort of horror that I avoid. I’m happy to report Silver on the Road is nothing like that. This is a coming-of-age story of a young woman growing up in a fantastical version of the American West in which magic is commonplace. Early in the story, she makes a decision that will determine the path of her life to come — and that path is far more harrowing than anyone expects. The story does an excellent job of presenting both characters and landscape, and makes a compelling read. It’s the first of a series.

The Nebula awards are voted on by members of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). Prior to the period when books may be nominated for the ballot, SFWA keeps a Nebula Suggested Reading List, with the suggestions made by members. This is not a “long list.” It’s just a list of titles that members feel are worth a look. This year, for the first time, the suggested reading list has been made public and you can find it here. Take a look at it! Notice something? I’m not going to count them up, but I think it’s safe to say there is a large preponderance of fantasy novels near the top of this list. (Come on, science fiction writers! Represent!)

Vicious by VE SchwabHonestly, I’ve begun to feel overwhelmed by the number of fantasy novels out there, and yet so many are so very, very good. I hate to admit it, but fantasy is the real backbone of the genre these days. VE Schwab’s Vicious is an example of why. This is a 2013 novel that, like Silver on the Road, garnered enthusiastic reviews, but as I recall, some of those reviews talked about “superheroes.” Like “weird fiction,” “superhero fiction” is a term that makes me take a step back and look for something else to read. But I was finally inspired to try Vicious and all those enthusiastic reviewers were right — it’s a very good book! That said, it’s not a book for everyone. It’s violent, and pushes the boundaries of antiheroes (hmm…not unlike my Puzzle Land books). It’s also very well written, with intriguing characters, excellent descriptions, good pacing, and a style of nonlinear story telling that I really liked.

So those are my recommended books.

And here’s the promised link:
If you’re a writer, or just interested in the way things work (or don’t work) in Hollywood, check out Matt Wallace’s post over at SF Signal “The Pelecanos Proposition and What it Means to SFF Authors” wherein Matt makes the case that we writers give up control of our work too easily, and that we should do more than just deposit the check on the option. Matt quotes novelist and screenwriter George Pelecanos, who is speaking about writers when he says: “…what a producer told me one time is, ‘We can’t control you guys.’”

Kobo Sale

January 29th, 2016

Just a quick note to say that ebook seller Kobo is presently holding a very short term sale on most or all indie titles in their store. The sale is happening in Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, and it includes most of my older titles.

Be aware that Kobo ebooks are in EPUB format, and require an EPUB e-reader. The books cannot be read on your Kindle.

To get the sale price, use the promo code JAN1650 — and you can use it an unlimited number of times. Sale ends on Sunday, January 31st (I don’t know what time zone.)

Find my ebooks here, but many other titles are also available.

Links & News

January 5th, 2016

Just a few odds and ends…

* For those who write, Baen Books is holding a short story contest. They’re looking for near-future, humans-in-space themes. Find the details here. Deadline is February 1!

* The New Yorker takes a look at STX Entertainment in their article “The Mogul of the Middle.” It’s a long read, but a fascinating look at how thumbs-up/down decisions get made in the movie business.

* A photo essay on “The Internet” by Peter Garritano, with some background explanation over at The Atlantic.

* It was a nice end-of-the-year for The Red Trilogy. io9.com included it on their list The Very Best Science Fiction And Fantasy Books Of 2015. Bookworm Blues included The Red on her “The Epic Best Books of 2015 List.” Rob Bedford, who reviews for SFF World, put The Red at the top of his “Favorite 2015 Science Fiction Novels.” And Annalee Newitz included the trilogy in her Ars Technica list “All the science fiction books you’ll want to binge read over the holidays.” :-)

* It’s been many years since I’ve read Dan Simmons Hyperion. I’m revisiting it now in audiobook format, and so far this edition is EXCELLENT. I’ll probably have more to say on it when I’m done, but at this point I’m hugely impressed both by Dan’s story and the production.

Writing Goals For 2016

January 1st, 2016

Happy New Year!

Since 2011 I’ve posted an annual list of writing goals that I want to accomplish in the ensuing year. “Goals” in this sense are things that I can accomplish through my own efforts and perseverance, as opposed to “dreams” which require the cooperation of others. So, for example, writing a short story is a goal, selling that story to Tor.com is a dream.

So here are my writing goals for 2016:

1. FINISH the current novel-in-progress, where “finish” means it’s been revised and polished and is in my agent’s hands. I’m really hoping to achieve this by the end of the summer. Right now I’m 35 to 40 percent through a rough first draft. This is going to be a stand-alone novel, not a series, so when it’s done, it’s done.

2. START the next novel, where “start” means figure out the general idea behind it, and develop a rough outline with a list of characters. Bonus points for actually writing the opening.

3. PUBLISH a second short story collection. This is going to be a round up of all my short fiction published since 2012. Several of these stories are available to read online, but I might as well consolidate them all in a single volume. And since I have absolutely nothing else scheduled for publication in 2016, I might as well go ahead with this. It will be published by my own imprint, Mythic Island Press LLC.

4. Write a short story in THE RED story world. This story has been requested for an anthology that I’d really like to participate in, so odds are good it will happen.

5. Write at least one hard-SF short story unrelated to anything else I’ve done.

6. Write at least one novella set in an existing story world. This is an unmet 2015 goal, that I want to try again.

Okay! I think I can do this…so long as I don’t squander too much time on Twitter. :-)

What are your writing goals?

Book Rave: City of Stairs

December 28th, 2015

City-of-Stairs-Robert-Jackson-Bennett-2Best-of-the-year lists and award-nomination lists are fun to talk about and it’s awfully nice to have your work appear on them. But these lists are also valuable reminders that we have diverse tastes and that our reasons for reading — and for choosing what we read — are all very different. And I think it can be interesting to take note of what’s not on these lists.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading this year, some of it 2015 books, and some books from earlier years. Several months ago I posted about Claire North’s 2014 novel The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, which was one of the best novels I’ve read in recent times. Ignore the cover. Seriously. And read it. After I finished, I was amazed at how little I’d heard about this book, and that it had not put in an appearance on either the Hugo or Nebula ballots. (It did win the John W. Campbell Memorial award.)

I just finished another 2014 novel, City of Stairs, by Robert Jackson Bennett, which is also a terrific book that, in retrospect, I am surprised I didn’t see on 2014 award ballots. (Yes, there were complications with the Hugos, but not with the Nebulas! And it may have been on best-of-the-year lists, last year, I don’t know.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Writing Goals for 2015:
The Assessment

December 26th, 2015

Since 2011, I’ve been publishing a list of my writing goals for the year, and at the end of the year I take a look at that list and assess how I did at meeting those goals. So it’s time to assess 2015.

I want to start by saying that in 2014 I had some lofty goals — and I failed to meet several of them. So in 2015 I scaled down my ambitions. Here’s how I did:

1. Revise and polish the third novel of THE RED trilogy so that it’s ready for publication.

Yes. Done. And Going Dark has been published!

2. Write at least one novella set in an existing story world.

Nope! As I mentioned last year, I really want to write a novella. I still do. I like the idea of a complete, fully developed, novel-like story that can be read in just a few sessions, and I even know what story I want to write. Maybe in 2016.

I’ve only ever written one novella, “Goddesses,” which is available in my short fiction collection of that name.

3. Write at least two short stories unrelated to anything else I’ve done.

Read the rest of this entry »

Award Eligible Work — 2015

December 2nd, 2015

For those of you who like to nominate for the annual science fiction and fantasy awards, including the Nebula and Hugo awards, here’s a roundup of my 2015 award-eligible work.

In the short story category…

The Way Home in Operation Arcana“The Way Home” is a military fantasy story that reads like science fiction. It belongs to the subgenre known as “portal stories” in which ordinary people pass through some sort of portal to an extraordinary world. Bluntly, I think this is one of the best short stories I’ve ever written. I like its structure, its characterization, and its compactness — it contains an action story with multiple characters in only 6,300 words. Since I tend to write long, I take the latter as a personal victory. All that said, the story has garnered very little interest. So judge for yourself! “The Way Home” was reprinted at Lightspeed Magazine where it’s available to read free online.

In the novel category…

The Trials: book 2 of The Red TrilogyThe Trials
book 2
The Red Trilogy
Going Dark: book 3 of The Red TrilogyGoing Dark
book 3
The Red Trilogy

The books in The Red Trilogy are fast-paced, near-future, high-tech science fiction thrillers. The Trials continues the story begun in the Nebula and Campbell-nominated The Red, and Going Dark completes that story.

A short history for those of you new to The Red Trilogy: The Red was originally self-published in 2013. It was republished by Simon & Schuster’s Saga Press this past June, with The Trials following in August, and Going Dark released in November.

As of this writing, the ebook of The Trials (and also of The Red) is on sale at most ebook vendors for $1.99, so if you’re interested, this is a great time to pick them up.

SFWA members: ebook and PDF editions of all three volumes of The Red Trilogy are available for download in the SFWA Forum. Once you’re logged in, you can find them by following this link.

That’s it! Thanks for stopping by.

Kindle Editions: $1.99

November 30th, 2015

Amazon_promoI have no idea how long this will last [Edit: runs through December], but Amazon has put the Kindle editions of both The Red and The Trials on sale for $1.99 each. Tell your friends! Tell everyone! Don’t say I didn’t tell you. 😉

By the way, neither book has ever been discounted before.

Oh, and the math works out so that you can get the entire trilogy for $12.97 + tax.

Edit: The $1.99 price is also available at both iBooks and Barnes & Noble and Kobo! Sale applies to the Saga edition.

Edit 2: The United Kingdom edition is also on sale. It’s £1.99 at Amazon. Hopefully it’s priced the same at Kobo, though I can’t actually see the page from within the USA.

War Stories from the Future

November 15th, 2015

War Stories From The FutureA new ebook anthology is just out, and it’s FREE. War Stories from the Future is published by the Atlantic Council. It’s part of their Art of Future War Project, whose mission statement reads:

The Atlantic Council’s Art of Future Warfare project is driven by the Scowcroft Center on International Security’s mandate to advance thinking and planning for the future of warfare. The project’s core mission is to cultivate a community of interest in works and ideas arising from the intersection of creativity and expectations about how emerging antagonists, disruptive technologies, and novel warfighting concepts may animate tomorrow’s conflicts.

My contribution to the anthology is a reprint of my short story “Codename: Delphi,” but the anthology includes original stories commissioned from Ken Liu, Madeline Ashby, Jamie Metzl, Mathew Burrows, and project director August Cole, co-author of the World War III thriller Ghost Fleet. And there’s a reprinted story from David Brin. New voices are also included in the anthology, in the form of contest-winning stories from Alec Meden, Nikolas Katsimpras, and Ashley Henley.

Find more information and download links here. Available in EPUB and MOBI (Kindle) formats.

Veterans Day Audio Book Giveaway

November 11th, 2015

Follow up:
November 12, 2015
This was a fun giveaway that brought a lot of visitors to the blog, though most of you decided not to comment!
::sigh:: But that’s all right. Since there were just six active participants, it was easy for me to give a code to all of them. The emails have already gone out to the address you used when you posted your comment. If you haven’t heard from me, check your spam folder. If you still can’t find the email, contact me at linda at mythicisland dot com (converted to regular email format of course) and I’ll re-send.

A big mahalo (thank you) to all participants, and to everyone who helped boost the signal!

Thank you to those who’ve served and who continue to serve our country this Veterans Day!

Because it’s Veterans Day, and because the audio-book edition of Going Dark has just been released TODAY, I thought I’d do an audio-book flash giveaway. Audible has provided me with download codes. So I’ll be giving away one code for each book in The Red Trilogy — and I want to have three different winners. So enter to win with a comment on this post, letting me know which book you’d like to win — either The Red, The Trials, or Going Dark — and if you’re willing to settle for your second or third choice.

My son-in-law, US Army veteran Edward White, will be selecting the winners. If you’ve got a veteran anecdote to share, he invites you to do so, but it’s not required to enter.

The Audible editions of books in The Red Trilogy are narrated by Kevin T. Collins, and they’re available worldwide where Audible books are sold. I haven’t been told there are any regional restrictions on the code, so do enter even if you’re outside of the United States. You do need to be registered at Audible/Amazon to redeem a code, but you do not need a paid membership plan.

Enter today! Winners will be announced tomorrow, November 12 (Hawaii time). Thanks for participating!

The Red Trilogy Audio Editions