Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net


Earth Day 2015 #NoPlaceLikeHome

April 22nd, 2015

NASA’s social media Earth Day event this year is #NoPlaceLikeHome — and indeed there isn’t! Ours is an amazing, irreplaceable world. Here are a few glimpses of my small corner of it, also posted today on Twitter:

Haleakala Crater rim, Maui
Haleakala Crater rim

Sandlewood flowers, Haleakala, Maui
sandlewood flowers, Haleakala Read the rest of this entry »

Book Rave: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

April 10th, 2015

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire NorthThere’s been a lot of controversy regarding the Hugo awards lately. My problem with the Hugos, the Nebulas, and many other lists is that books as amazing as Claire North’s The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August don’t make the short lists.

According to Amazon, this novel was published in October 2014. Maybe it came out earlier in the UK, I don’t know. But if I’d read it a few weeks sooner, I certainly would have nominated it for both a Nebula and a Hugo. As it is, I didn’t hear of it until just a couple of weeks ago, when someone casually mentioned it on Twitter. Perhaps I’d heard the title before, but not with the enthusiasm and repetition that would cause me to sit up and take notice – and that’s truly unfortunate.

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August is about exactly what the title says. Harry August is a man who is born, lives, dies, and is born again exactly where and when he entered the world the first time. He is not the only so-called “Kalachakra,” and the lives he actually lives are never the same, one to the next. And there are complications, and there is a cause.

I love the character of Harry, with his curiosity and understated emotion. North portrays him convincingly as an increasingly brilliant man who has explored the world living his many lives and pursuing many experiences – and this despite the fact that North herself is not yet thirty years old.

I also love the way the story is written, with its gently detailed descriptions that make myriad places come alive without slowing down the story in an excess of detail, and with its nonlinear mode of telling. We shift continuously forward and backward in time and yet I never felt lost or impatient.

This is not a book about magic. It takes the fantastical element of repeated lives and extrapolates consequences in this world that we know, taking a major interest in the development of technology.

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August is a wonderful achievement and I’m looking forward to reading more novels by Claire North.

Oh, and it did make the Arthur C. Clarke Award shortlist for best science fiction novel published in 2014. So well-deserved congratulations to the author on that!

Book Rave: Nexus

March 22nd, 2015

Nexus by Ramez NaamIf I had a category for “better late than never” on this blog, this post would be filed under it. I suspect most of you who stop by here are already familiar with Nexus, a 2012 first novel by Ramez Naam. But for those who are even farther behind in their reading than I am, you’ll want to add this novel to your reading list.

Nexus is an account of brain and body enhancements and the struggles of global society as the world tries to decide how to deal with the onset of trans and posthuman existence. This theme is one I’ve explored in my own work. Should society decide what it means to be human? What becomes of those who defy the consensus and push on beyond their naturally evolved limits? Those who want to hold onto a historical definition of what it means to be human might have good reason to fear posthuman minds — but despite the fears, might these technologies offer net gains? And in a world of many billions of people, is it even possible to ban the biohacking that could lead to a posthuman existence?

Nexus is full of fascinating philosophy, technology, and engaging characters, but it’s also a thriller, making it a compelling read. Honestly, there aren’t a lot of novels that truly hold my interest. This one did. It’s the first book of a trilogy. The second book, Crux, is already out, and book 3, Apex, releases in May.

Find more information on Nexus here at the website of the publisher, Angry Robot.

New Author Photos

March 11th, 2015

Winding Back the Scruffy

Last month when I was on Oahu I had my daughter, Dallas Nagata White, shoot some new author photos for me. Dallas is a professional photographer who’s done a lot of work in the fashion industry. She’s good both in front of a camera and behind a camera. For this shoot, she acted as stylist, makeup artist, photographer, and Photoshop/Lightroom magician, and we had a lot of fun.

True confession: I don’t actually wear makeup very often because
(1) I am lazy
(2) It’s boring to put on
(3) Things get awkward when you’re running five miles and sweating under the foundation
(4) My eyes freak out with most eye makeup, although not with the eye makeup Dallas used that day, so I’ll need to follow up on that.

But since these photos will serve as my “official” photos for the next year or two, I made an effort to look a bit more polished than I usually do — and I love the way the pictures turned out. Read the rest of this entry »

Podcast of “The Way Home”

March 8th, 2015

Just a short note… In case you missed it, there is a podcast edition of my recent story “The Way Home,” which was dual published last week in Lightspeed Magazine and the anthology Operation Arcana.

I had a chance to listen to the podcast yesterday. It’s really well done, though I have to admit there are parts when I was thinking, “No, no. The emphasis wasn’t meant to be like that!” Yes, we all have our different ways of interpreting dialogue.

The podcast is hosted by Jim Freund, produced by Skyboat Media, and narrated by Stefan Rudnicki. Find it online at Lightspeed Magazine.

Future of War: Conference videos

March 8th, 2015

In my wanderings around the Internet I came upon the video archive of Future of war : First Annual Conference. The event was held February 24 – 25, 2015, in Washington DC. I’ve watched just a few videos so far, but they’ve been fascinating. The two I want to mention are…

How Will the Digital Biology Revolution Transform Conflict?
This is a discussion of synthetic, or digital, biology, along with implications and how some of the extreme downsides might be mitigated.

How Will the Wars of the 21st Century be Fought?
This covers a lot of ground, some of the most interesting parts having to do with nationalism as opposed to neomedievalism — when loyalties are divided among nations, regions, corporations, cultures, and religion.

There are several more I want to listen to. The entire conference schedule, along with all the videos, can be found here at NewAmerica.org

New Story: “The Way Home”

March 3rd, 2015

Operation-Arcana-final_250x400READ IT ONLINE

Operation Arcana, an anthology of military fantasy stories edited by John Joseph Adams, is out today in both print and ebook editions.

The anthology includes stories by T.C. McCarthy, Genevieve Valentine, Myke Cole, Elizabeth Moon, and many more, including me.

My story is called “The Way Home” and it’s available to read online at Lightspeed Magazine. There’s also an audio version available at that same link, if you prefer to listen.

In addition, Robyn Lupo did a short interview with me, to get some background on “The Way Home.” Read the interview here.

This story is a favorite of mine. I hope you enjoy it.

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.