Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net

Archive for the 'Guest Posts' Category

Links & Last Calls

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

Women in Science Fiction StorybundleI’m just back from the mainland and much is going on. Here are two time sensitive happenings. (Act now! Deadlines are imminent!) is hosting a sweepstakes. They’re giving away five copies of The Red. Comment on the post to enter. Sweepstakes ends 12:00 PM ET on August 26th. Open to legal residents of 50 United States and D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec).

The Women in Science Fiction Storybundle ends on August 27. This is a chance to buy a lot of ebooks for not much money, including my novel Memory. Follow the link for details.

The Red - Saga EditionAnd here are some links to posts of mine around the web:

At the Women In Science Fiction blog, run by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, I talk about my novel Memory. This is in relation to the Storybundle.

At John Scalzi’s blog Whatever I have a Big Idea post in which I talk about both The Red and its sequel The Trials.

At, I have a post titled Wired Soldiers: The Technology Behind The Red.

At Charles Stross’s blog, Judith Tarr, Nicola Griffith, and I have each posted on women in science fiction, looking at things from different perspective. Here are links to all three posts.
Where Have All the Women Gone? by Judith Tarr
Data, books, and bias by Nicola Griffith
Chilling Effects by Linda Nagata

And finally, one more review of The Red, this one at LitStack Review.

Guest Post @ Far Beyond Reality

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

Stefan Raets' Far Beyond Reality blogStefan Raets, proprietor of the science fiction and fantasy blog, Far Beyond Reality, was one of the first reviewers — possibly the first — to take notice of The Red: First Light in its self-published edition. His review of it, first published at, helped incredibly in bringing the book to the attention of many more readers.

Today I’ve got a guest post up at Stefan’s blog, talking about the differences between the original edition of The Red and the revised edition now out from Saga Press — and I answer the frequently asked question: Do I need to buy the new edition to continue with the story?

Find my guest post here…

And Stefan’s review, in an updated post, here…

And find Stefan on Twitter here…

Guest Post:
Doug Farren on Thermodynamics

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

I met Doug Farren in the summer of 2012 at the Launchpad Astronomy Workshop in Laramie, Wyoming. Doug is a popular and successful indie writer of science fiction and fantasy. Check out his Amazon page here. Doug does an occasional column on “The BS in SF.” I really liked his post on thermodynamics and asked if I could re-post it here. Enjoy!

Translight-by-Doug-FarrenThermodynamics: I consider it the bane of science fiction. Nothing is 100% efficient and most of the loss in efficiency shows up as heat. A perfect example is something I deal with every day—power production. Nearly every large power plant has a cooling tower and all that vapor pouring out the top is waste heat. How much? About 65% of the energy generated in the reactor or boiler! This waste heat creates a MAJOR problem for science fiction. In order to understand why, let’s take a step back and talk about heat transfer for a moment.

Heat can be transferred in three ways: convection, conduction, and radiation. Convection and conduction require the heat source to be in physical contact with the transfer medium. A spacecraft is isolated from everything else by the vacuum of space which rules out both of these as a means of dumping waste heat. That leaves radiation, which is the transfer of heat through the emission of electromagnetic radiation. This means that if you want to keep your ship cool you need large radiators to dump the excess heat.

If you look at a picture of the International Space Station (ISS), the first thing you will most likely notice are the huge panels extending away from the primary truss. The largest of these are the solar panels that provide the station with electricity. The others are the heat radiators. Damage enough of these and the station will quickly become uninhabitable. Ever wonder why the space shuttle kept its cargo doors open the entire time it was in space? Because the inside of the doors served as heat radiators to keep the shuttle cool. If you’re building a nuclear powered warship equipped with directed energy weapons, you’re going to have to get rid of a tremendous amount of waste heat. To do that, you’ll need a heat radiator with a very large surface area. Now you have a problem. (more…)

Charlie’s Diary

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

I have the great good fortune of guest-blogging this week over at Charlie’s Diary, the blog of top SF writer Charles Stross.

Not long ago, Charlie did a blog post on why he doesn’t self-publish. I asked if he’d be okay with me doing a counter post on why I do self-publish and he thought it was a good idea. Follow this link to view the post, and if you’re not already following Charlie’s blog, check out the fascinating array of topics he covers.

Guest Post: The Next Darkover Novel

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

In case you don’t know her already, please meet author Deborah J. Ross, a fellow denizen of Book View Café. Deborah is guest-posting today, answering questions on her upcoming book, The Children of Kings —LN

Deborah J. RossWhat is the working title of your book?
Since I just started noodling around with notes for a new project, in between bouts of terror of the page proofs for one project and editorial revision requests for another that are going to descend on my any moment now, I’d rather talk about the book that’s coming out in March. It’s got a real, official title and you can pre-order it at Amazon. The Children of Kings, AKA The Next Darkover Novel.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
A couple of things. One is that Marion’s original concept for Darkover centered on the clash of cultures, so I wanted to bring the Terran Federation back into the picture, but not in a nice sedately friendly way, in a OMG terrible crisis about to descend upon us way. I also wanted to run away to live with the chieri, and Kierestelli (Regis and Linnea’s daughter, from Hastur Lord) kindly offered to take me.

For this tale set mostly in the Dry Towns, I used as background not only The Shattered Chain but a very early (1961) “proto-Darkover” novel, The Door Through Space. The Door Through Space contained many elements familiar to Darkover readers, from jaco and the Ghost Wind to the names of people and places (Shainsa, Rakhal, Dry-towns). Marion was exploring a world in which Terrans are the visitors, and adventure lurks in the shadows of ancient alien cities. She drew upon and further developed this material in The Shattered Chain (1976).

These books reflected the growth of Marion’s vision, but each of them was also part of the times in which it was written. 1960s science fiction novels were often tightly-plotted, fast-paced, and short by today’s standards. Most, although by no means all, protagonists were male, and female characters were often viewed from that perspective, what today we call “the male gaze.” By the middle of the next decade, publishers were interested in longer, more complex works. Not only that, the women’s movement and the issues it raised influenced genre as well as mainstream fiction, opening the way for strong female characters who defined themselves in their own terms. If Marion had written The Shattered Chain a decade and a half earlier, I doubt it have found the receptive, enthusiastic audience it did. Her timing (as with The Mists of Avalon or The Heritage of Hastur) brilliantly reflected the emerging sensibilities of the times.

Now we live in a different world. This is not to say that the previous struggles have been resolved, but that much has changed in the social consciousness from 1976 to today. In writing The Children of Kings, I considered how Marion’s ideas about the Dry Towns (and any patriarchal desert culture) might have changed over the last three decades. The Shattered Chain, with its examination of the roles of women and the choice (or lack of choices) facing them, focused on only a few aspects of the Dry Towns culture. What if we went deeper, seeing it as complex, with admirable aspects as well as those we find abhorrent? With customs that we cannot truly comprehend but must respect, as well as those that resonate with our own? With men of compassion and women of power?

As the Dry Towns developed in my mind, I turned also to the theme that had characterized the early Darkover novels—the conflict between a space-faring technological race and the marvelously rich and romantic Domains, with their tradition of the Compact and the laran-Gifted Comyn. And now, adding to the mix, the ancient kihar-based Dry Towns.

What genre does your book fall under?
Like much of Darkover, it’s technically sf, reads like fantasy. This one’s a bit more like the earlier novels in that there are space ships and guys from outer space and such. And chieri, native non-humans. Definitely romantic.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
When Terran smugglers arm the Dry Towns warlords with blasters, it’s up to the grandson of Regis Hastur to save Darkover.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I write Darkover novels under subcontract to the MZB Literary Works Trust, which owns the copyright. Their agent (who coincidentally happens to be my agent for my own work as well).

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I typically take about a year to a year and half from beginning the outline to handing in the manuscript to my editor. It’s hard to say “first draft, second draft…” as the amount of pre-writing and “oops-in-the-middle” varies so much. I also usually leap-frog rough drafting one project and revising another, interspersed with breaks for other deadlines (page proofs, short fiction for invitational anthologies). This one was no exception.

The Children of Kings is a March 2013 release from DAW. (You can pre-order it now.)

Guest Post: Joshua Palmatier
(aka Benjamin Tate)

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Please welcome Joshua Palmatier, who has written a guest post on the nature and necessity of dark, gritty fantasy — a subject especially relevant and interesting to me as I get ready to publish my own gritty tale. Joshua is the author of, most recently, Well of Sorrows and its just-released sequel Leaves of Flame both written under the pen name Benjamin Tate.

First off, thanks, Linda, for inviting me to guest blog today. I really appreciate it.

I recently attended Arisia, an SF&F con in Boston, and while there I participated in a panel called “Mud and Blood: The Grittier Side of Fantasy.” This was not a surprise, since the most common adjective used to describe my book is “gritty.” But the basic idea behind the panel was to talk about dark fantasy. I thought it would be a good topic for my guest post.

The main question is, what is it about dark fantasy that intrigues me as a writer, and do I really need to include all of the mud and blood, the dirt and grit? The answer is yes. *grin*

I have to admit that I don’t sit down and intentionally write “dark fantasy.” I never thought of my books as dark, I simply wrote them, the way they wanted to be written. (I’m an organic writer, which means I just sit down and write to see what happens; very little planning ahead of time.) And for me, a book and the characters in it aren’t realistic unless they have to deal with the mud and blood, dirt and grit. Those are the elements that make the world real for me, and so I include them naturally. They’re a part of life.

I also feel that people don’t change unless they’re forced into it. We’d all rather stay the way we are, so in order for a character to have a believable character arc in a book, some rather serious and significant emotional pain needs to be inflicted. We often joke that writers like to torture their characters, but it isn’t really a joke. If we expect the character to change, SOMETHING has to happen. Often, that “something” isn’t nice. And in the end, this is what makes characters interesting and gets the reader involved. Being forced to deal with the gritty reality of life is what draws the reader in and makes them sympathetic to the character.

That doesn’t mean that, as a writer, you can’t take it too far. There is a line that has to be drawn by every writer and every book, a line that the mud and blood, dirt and grit, shouldn’t cross. It differs from book to book, but a reader can only take so much grime and so much character torturing before they lose their sympathy and simply start thinking the writer is cruel. Writers need to balance the “dark” with some hope. In my first book, THE SKEWED THRONE, my character, Varis, starts out in the slums called the Dredge. I spent a lot of time trying to make the Dredge as real and believable as possible. Varis is struggling to merely survive, and for a while it feels as if she may not succeed. I couldn’t possibly write an entire book where this was the dominant feeling. At some point, you have to introduce something to counter the grit and give the reader hope that things will change. In my book, Varis meets a Seeker named Erick, who begins training her to be an assassin. That doesn’t mean there aren’t painful experiences yet to come, even after she escapes the Dredge, but at every stage there is hope that, sometime soon, good things will come. And eventually, they do.

So, in my opinion, you need some mud and blood, some dirt and grit, in order to make the world feel more real, and in order to make the character arc believable. Making the world believable in a fantasy novel is even more important than in other novels. But you have to be careful that you don’t take it too far and alienate the reader from not only your world, but the sympathy they have with your characters as well.

Joshua Palmatier (aka Benjamin Tate) is a fantasy writer with DAW Books, with two series on the shelf, a few short stories, and is co-editor with Patricia Bray of two anthologies. Check out the “Throne of Amenkor” trilogy—The Skewed Throne, The Cracked Throne, and The Vacant Throne — under the Joshua Palmatier name. And look for the “Well” series — Well of Sorrows and the just released Leaves of Flame — by Benjamin Tate. Short stories are included in the anthologies Close Encounters of the Urban Kind (edited by Jennifer Brozek), Beauty Has Her Way (Jennifer Brozek), and River (Alma Alexander). And the two anthologies he’s co-edited are After Hours: Tales from the Ur-bar and the upcoming The Modern Fae’s Guide to Surviving Humanity (March 2012). Find out more about both names at and, as well as on Facebook, LiveJournal (jpsorrow), and Twitter (bentateauthor).