Publishers Weekly Starred Review

February 23rd, 2015

The Red - Saga EditionMy agent sent a brief email this morning to let me know that a review of The Red came out in Publishers Weekly, a trade magazine of the publishing field — and it’s a “starred review” which counts for… well, I was going to say an extra-bonus-thumbs-up, but seriously, it counts for a lot. You can see the review here.

And here’s an interesting write up from Slate on the subject of books reviews: How four magazines you’ve probably never read help determine what books you buy.

2014 Nebula Awards Nominations

February 20th, 2015

The 2014 Nebula Awards Nominations were published today. If you haven’t seen the list yet, you can find it here. A lot of the shorter fiction — those works published at Tor.com, Lightspeed, and Clarkesworld for example, are available to read online, so check those out if you get the chance.

Given the vast amount of fiction being published these days, the publicity that follows being nominated for an award like the Nebulas can be a real boost to a writer’s career, as I can personally attest after The Red: First Light was nominated last year in the novel category.

TRFL was initially self-published. (It’s being re-released by Saga Press/Simon & Schuster in June.) Back in December 2013 I posted on “Awards & Self-published Books” in response to Shaun Duke, who suggested there were logistical problems in considering self-published books for the major awards. If you’re interested in revisiting the discussion, my post includes links to Shaun’s, and there is a follow-up here.

A hearty congratulations to this year’s nominees!

What Your Computer Dollar Bought in 1983

February 17th, 2015

Columbia computer price list-200pxI was cleaning out a closet and found this most awesome document. The price list for a Columbia portable computer, as offered by a computer company on Oahu, in 1983. Click the image to see it big.

I don’t remember who wrote those helpful notes that appear on the price list. But notice that 128K of additional RAM is available for only $445!

Below is the invoice of what we actually bought. You can see we got a nice discount on the $395 dot-matrix printer!

Columbia computer invoice

THOSE ARE 1983 DOLLARS, BY THE WAY!

We must have been insane to spend that much money — but at the time I felt it was necessary since I wanted to be a writer.

By the way, I got the computer in lieu of a diamond engagement ring. To this day, I wear only a gold wedding band. No regrets! :-)

Addendum: I just found the HANDWRITTEN original draft of the first novel I ever wrote. It was a “closet” novel, meaning unpublished. I had totally forgotten that I’d been handwriting the thing. I’m impressed with the fortitude of my younger self — and totally understanding of why I was willing to pay so much for a computer.

A RED Thriller

February 14th, 2015

The ARCs are here!

ARCs, or Advance Reader/Reviewer Copies, are early versions of an upcoming book that get sent out a few months ahead of publication to reviewers, and to other writers or well-known people who might offer a quote that will help publicize the book.

The ARCs for The Red went out a couple weeks ago, but my copies arrived late yesterday.

There will be a simultaneous hardcover edition, but the copy I have is an “oversized” paperback — the sort commonly seen for political thrillers. So with luck, this Red Thriller should fit right in.

The Red ARCs

The Saga Press edition of The Red releases in June. You can read more about it here.

Behind The Scenes: Limit of Vision

February 13th, 2015

Limit of VisionI think of my novel, Limit of Vision, originally published in 2001, as the book-no-one-has-heard-of. Certainly, it occupies a weird place in my mental landscape, in large part because it was written in the great, oxygen-deprived emotional void that followed the publication of Vast.

I can’t talk about Limit of Vision without talking about Vast. Vast was a special book to me. It took everything I had to give as a writer. It was edgy, nontraditional science fiction, something I knew at the time would appeal mostly to the hard core of the genre. It was the book I was born to write — that’s how I felt, and I’m not going to argue the point now. But Vast, of course, was a market failure and very quickly out of print.

The experience left me with a sense of futility, but I forged on anyway and wrote Limit of Vision, a near-future biotech thriller that takes place primarily in the Mekong Delta. The novel sold to Tor for a much larger advance than I’d ever had before. Even so, in the wake of the failure of Vast to find a larger audience, I was not brimming with confidence.
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Excellent Short SF Film

February 12th, 2015

If you’ve got fifteen minutes, do go watch the short film “All Her Children Fought,” now available on YouTube. It’s based on a story by Tobias Buckell, and it’s a really excellent example of what can be done on a small scale by dedicated film makers.

Toby talks about the story behind the film in this blog post: “Sometimes it pays to take a chance.”

The Year’s Best Military SF

February 4th, 2015

Years Best Military SFDavid Afsharirad is the editor of The Year’s Best Military SF & Space Opera, published by Baen Books. This is the first of an annual edition, and I’m very pleased and proud to report that two of my 2014 stories will be included:

* “Codename: Delphi” originally published at Lightspeed Magazine

and

* “Light and Shadow” originally published in the War Stories anthology.

Both stories are set in the story world of The Red, and “Codename: Delphi” features some of the same characters.

Publication date for the ebook is May 16, 2015, with the print book following on June 2, 2015.

On Running

February 2nd, 2015

We are capable of far more than we imagine.

Yesterday, for the first time, I ran six miles on the treadmill and I did it in 55:28, which works out to an average pace of 9:15/mile — not a big deal, but still, not bad for a fifty-four year old woman of no great height or running ability.

I’m not much of a motivational speaker, but I do want to say that if you’re interested in fitness, in getting in shape, in getting stronger, go for it! (Usual caveats — check with a doctor, etc. — you know yourself better than I do.) But it’s very likely that you are capable of far more than you imagine. That’s been the case for me. I was well into my forties before I started running somewhat regularly. I remember being astonished when I was able to sustain a good pace for thirty minutes. Now I’ve almost doubled that.

I think the key is to start slowly but keep it up. I started by running on the road. It’s a country road, so there are reflectors along the side. I’d run for the distance of four or five reflectors, then walk for two or three. As the days passed I’d extend the running segments and reduce the walking segments, until eventually I was running the whole thing.

My muscles were very sore when I first started. I don’t work out when I’m really sore. I let my body rest and heal. But I do workout when I’m a little sore — and usually I feel a lot better the next day. I tend to push myself pretty hard. But I also have a history of not exercising for stretches of time, sometimes because I’m traveling, or I’m sick, or I’m just so busy…but I always get back to it.
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Now at iBooks

February 2nd, 2015

Memory by Linda NagataMy ebooks have been available through multiple vendors including Amazon, Kobo, Book View Cafe, Barnes & Noble, and my own publisher website Mythic Island Press.

But for those who prefer iBooks, I’m now offering some of my books there, and will likely be adding all of them before long.

So far, I’ve uploaded Memory and three of the nanotech books. Take a look at them here.

I’d also be interested to learn where you buy your ebooks, and why. I know a lot of people don’t like to buy from Amazon, but because of inertia, habit, and convenience, that’s where I get most of mine. How about you?

Launch Pad 2015 – Apply Now

February 1st, 2015

In the summer of 2012 I was lucky enough to attend Launch Pad, a week-long, wide-ranging crash course on current astronomy put on by Mike Brotherton, Professor of Astronomy at the University of Wyoming. Launch Pad was created for writers, editors, and people in film and other media, with the goal of improving the scientific accuracy of our stories and promoting a culture of science.

The sessions are a lot of fun! And this year, with some funding from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, travel stipends have returned. The other bit of good news: Mike tells us that this year they “managed to secure the ‘Honors House’ on campus, which should be a major step up from the dorms.” The dorms where I stayed during my visit we’re pretty rugged, but mostly they were hot.

Click this link for more information about Launch Pad, along with the application form.