Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net


Audiobook of The Red incoming!

May 11th, 2015

The Red - Saga Edition Word came today from narrator Kevin T. Collins that he’s just finished recording the audio version of The Red.

The Red will be released in simultaneous hardcover, mass-market paperback, and ebook editions by Simon & Schuster/ Saga Press. And it will be released in audio by Audible.

Four formats! That’s a first for me.

And this will be my first-ever audiobook. I’ve had a few short stories issued in audio format thanks to Lightspeed Magazine, but never a novel. I’m looking forward to it.

For you audiophiles out there, here are my available short stories:

“Nightside on Callisto”

“A Moment Before It Struck”

“Codename Delphi”

“The Way Home”

Book Rave: The Black Company

May 3rd, 2015

There are times when I begin to think I’m jaded with fiction, that there isn’t much that can really seize my interest and draw me into a story anymore — but then I’ll find a book to change my mind. Those are the books I write about here. I just finished reading Glen Cook’s The Black Company — and I loved it. I was honestly amazed how much I enjoyed it, and how compelling it was.

I’m going to guess that most of you who are into epic fantasy first read The Black Company long ago. It was published in 1984. That was three years before my own first publication – a little short story in the magazine Analog Science Fiction & Fact — and at the time I wasn’t reading epic fantasy at all.

The reason I picked up The Black Company now was because of a post at tor.com Message Fiction: Politics in Sci-Fi and Fantasy Literature in which “The G” (@nerds_feather on Twitter) describes it as “a forebear of the gritty turn in epic fantasy and sword & sorcery”:

The Black Company explicitly and directly rejects the simple good vs. evil dynamic that has traditionally defined heroic fiction, whether fantasy or not. The Company’s war is not one of righteous truth or glorious conquest, but a war of survival and a war of profit. It is a civil war, and one whose primary victims are unarmed civilians—the exact kind of war, one notes, that has predominated in our world since 1945.

How could I resist that?

The writing style used in The Black Company is unusual in my experience, especially at the start. The storyline jumps about at times and much of the background is not explained. Imagine stepping into another world. Everyone already there knows the critical history and they assume we know it too. So like a child we are left to piece together that history from comments dropped here and there. This can be frustrating, and at times I wondered if I’d missed some critical part or if this wasn’t actually the first book in the series—and yet it works very well. I was forced to pay attention, and my interest never flagged.

The narrative voice, a physician-warrior named Croaker, is wonderfully done. And as is always the case in a compelling tale, it’s the positive relationships between the characters that power the story. The Black Company are mercenaries. Croaker recognizes their faults and sins. But in the midst of a grim and bloody civil war they are devoted to one another, and Croaker’s ruminations on good and evil add a necessary philosophical balance to the action.

Publishers Weekly
Best Summer Books 2015

May 2nd, 2015

The Red - Saga EditionThis is certainly a once-in-a-lifetime honor, so I’ll note it here: The Red is on Publishers Weekly list of “Best Summer Books 2015 (SF/ Fantasy/ Horror).”

Publishers Weekly is an industry magazine important to book buyers at stores and libraries, so fingers crossed that this will help sales when the Saga Press edition is released June 30.

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.