Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net


Archive for the 'Articles' Category

Recommended Links and an Update

Monday, August 14th, 2017

Links
If you were interested in the technology and ethical questions behind The Last Good Man, you might enjoy this article by Andrew Apostolou, which presents a good real-world overview of these topics: “Get Ready for the Silicon Military”.

And because mercenaries are part of The Last Good Man, I’ll also recommend David A. Graham’s piece “Are Mercenaries Really a Cheaper Way of War?” (Hint: the answer is almost certainly “no.”)

And on an entirely different subject, Alastair Reynolds fans should head on over to Audible where you can download a free interview with him, wherein he talks about his novel Revenger. And if haven’t read Revenger I highly recommend it. I loved the world building in this one.

An Update
As for me, I’ve been making progress on a novel, and am itching to work on a couple of other projects as soon as I can get myself organized enough to juggle more than one project at a time.

There’s not much new to report on The Last Good Man. I had hoped to get a couple more professional reviews, but those didn’t materialize. I’m not sure what I can do for more publicity at this point, though I’m always looking for opportunities. Honestly, I’m spending too much time worrying over publicity when I should be focused on writing. It does get frustrating though. I always feel like I should be doing more to promote the book. Sales have been better than any indie book I’ve published before, but not good enough yet to call it a success.

That said, reader reviews have generally been terrific. THANK YOU to everyone who’s posted a review at Amazon. It’s really appreciated. If you’re wondering if additional reader reviews are needed, my answer is “Yes!” and not just for The Last Good Man. If you enjoyed the books in the Red trilogy, those could use some new reviews too.

Giveaways Upcoming
If you haven’t done so already, do signup for my newsletter. I’m going to be holding giveaways for audiobook codes for The Last Good Man and paperback sets of the Red trilogy — starting very soon!

Persistent Technologies

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

I’ve been catching up on my reading, and chanced to find — almost simultaneously — two articles looking at the potential advantages of old, seemingly outdated technologies.

The first, “What An NFL Coach, The Pentagon And Election Systems Have In Common” starts off with a discussion of Bill Belichick, head coach of the New England Patriots, angrily rejecting the use of tablets during football games, calling the technology “undependable.” It goes on to talk about the inherent security of the paper trail generated by America’s old-fashioned and decentralized voting system, and the potential security in the antiquated software behind some weapons systems. As someone who is still using an ancient version of Windows on my writing computer, I am in total sympathy with the latter. 🙂

The second article, Why the US Military Still Flies Cold-War Era Planes looks at old, “persistent” technology from a different angle. The U2 was first built in 1955. It’s still flying today. Why? Because it still does the job:

“With its interchangeable nose cones and sophisticated surveillance equipment, there’s no reason not to think of the U-2S as a cutting-edge, contemporary technology

Like all technologies, planes are flexible. They change both through use and through the actions of their users. They undergo maintenance and updates…

I like this term, “persistent technology.” It’s a good concept to keep in mind when writing near-future fiction. Not everything has to be shiny and new.

Recommended Reading

Saturday, May 28th, 2016

Three recent articles on diverse topics that you might find interesting:

Shared Responsibility
In “The Citizen-Soldier: Moral Risk and the Modern Military” Phil Klay looks at the history of American soldiery, the perception of our soldiers today, the relationship between soldiers and civilians, and our collective responsibilities. Klay says, “A decade after I joined the Marines, I’m left wondering what obligations I incurred as a result of that choice, and what obligations I share with the rest of my country toward our wars and to the men and women who fight them.”
Read it here.

Micropayments
In my 2001 novel, Limit of Vision, the income of a freelance journalist is in part dependent on micropayments. Looking back, it’s startling to realize that despite all the advances in our wired world, micropayments are still mostly theoretical. In a two-part series, David Brin takes a look at micropayments and how they may eventually save us from the horror of an ad-based Internet.
Read part 1 here. (I’ve only read part 1 so far)
Read part 2 here.

Purposeful Practice
In their article “Not All Practice Makes Perfect” Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool make a case that “practice” and “purposeful practice” are not the same things. The article is overlong with historical examples before the authors really get into the meat of their point, but the idea is that, over the past century, people have gotten much better at doing various things. Examples include top-flight pianists, gymnasts, divers, etc, who have gone far beyond the achievements of their predecessors. The article focuses on an experiment in which a subject was trained to memorize random strings of digits. He felt he couldn’t get beyond a string eight or nine digits long–until his method of practice changed. Eventually he was able to memorize, and then repeat back, a string of 82 digits. “Purposeful practice” is an idea that generalizes across mental and physical activities.
Read the article here.

Work-In-Progress Report & a Link

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

Hosmer_Grove_treesMy schedule got a bit turned around today. Usually I do a writing stint in the morning, but today I needed to be in town in the morning, so I went to the gym while I was there … and I’ve been trying to get back into the writing mood ever since. Maybe posting a progress report will give me the incentive I need!

So here’s where things stand:
In mid-March I finished a “partial draft” of the novel-in-progress, meaning that most of the structure was there, but a lot was left to do. That draft was 72,000 words long — a short novel. I’ve been revising and expanding since then, and have added 30,000 words, which is a decent length for a novel, but still shorter than, for example, The Red. I suspect I’ll be adding another 20,000 words or so, which would make this novel roughly the length of The Trials.

Why this discussion of word count? Well, it’s one way to measure progress, and I need the encouragement. No excuse for being so slow about this sort of thing, but that’s the way it is. The next section that I have to tackle in this revision is going to be especially challenging, because I never actually wrote it, in the original draft. I just typed some notes into the manuscript, IN BIG CAPITAL LETTERS DESCRIBING WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN AND WHY BECAUSE WHEN I REACHED THIS POINT IN THE FIRST DRAFT I JUST REALLY REALLY WANTED TO MOVE ON TO THE FINAL SECTION. This isn’t the first time I’ve skipped forward to the end, but when I’ve done it before, I’ve been much closer to end. Oh well. Whatever works. This book will be done eventually. I’m looking forward to handing a solid draft off to beta readers, because after that, I get to work on short fiction!

In the meantime, here’s an interesting article on near-future science fiction (sadly, no mention of the Red Trilogy): The Future is Almost Now. I have more thoughts related to this topic, but will save that for another post.

Links

Monday, August 10th, 2015

I’ve been reading a lot of interesting posts and articles, so I thought I’d share a few of them here.

Can we reverse the aging process by putting young blood into older people?
A series of experiments has produced incredible results by giving young blood to old mice. Now the findings are being tested on humans. Ian Sample meets the scientists whose research could transform our lives.
This is a very long read, it’s rather disturbing in more ways than one, but it’s fascinating too. Find it at The Guardian/Science.

I’m Too Old for This
A mostly cheerful and realistic reflection on the liberating aspects of middle age and beyond experienced by many women, including yours truly. The ability to “shrug off annoyances that once would have knocked me off my perch” is a huge plus. “I’m too old for this” has been one of my mantras for a while, and I’m not sixty yet! Find it at the New York Times.
h/t Morgan J. Locke (@MorganJLocke)

The tree of life gets a makeover
When I went to school, the five “kingdoms” of life were animals, plants, fungi, protista, and monera — but things are changing. This is a fascinating article discussing the effect of genetic analysis on the classification of living things. Find it at Science News.
h/t David Brin (@DavidBrin)