Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net

Archive for May, 2007

A Call For Opinions

Saturday, May 26th, 2007

In 1998 I wrote a young-adult novel entitled Skye Object 3270a. It was set in the Deception Well story world, but was otherwise independent of that book and its characters. The novel didn’t find a publisher – no one knew quite what to make of it, I suspect – and it has been sitting ever since, until this spring when I decided I would offer it as an e-book. My first plan was to charge a nominal $5 for the PDF, and I already wrote most of the script to automatically email a copy when a purchase is made… but now I am reconsidering. Is it better to follow instead the model of most open source software, and make the novel available for anonymous download? Certainly it should get much higher circulation that way, and then those who enjoy it can make a small payment if they wish, or return to the website to purchase other books.

So what is the best business model? To make a few dollars upfront? Or to try to get my name out to a wider audience? At the moment, I am definitely leaning toward Plan B. If anyone has thoughts on this, I’d be interested to hear them.



Monday, May 21st, 2007

I sat next to a bodhisattva today, on a twenty minute inter-island flight. I had an aisle seat, she was sitting beside me, and her companion had the window. It was impossible not to eavesdrop on an energetic and animated conversation that began with a deep examination of their personal emotional needs, their experience with channeling, insight on her past lives, their struggles to find the perfect romantic partner, and other subjects that discretion suggests I not repeat here.

Then, perhaps halfway through the flight, he leans toward her and asks her to accept what he is about to say with an open mind. “I truly believe you are a bodhisattva.” She laughs pleasantly and agrees. The talk moves on.

Far be it from me to claim expertise on any religion, but I do happen to know that a bodhisattva is a Buddhist figure, commonly conceived as one who is on the way to becoming a Buddha, but “delays his own final and complete enlightenment in order to save all sentient beings out of his enormous compassion.” ( So a bodhisattva is a very powerful spiritual being. As an example, the Dalai Lama is considered by many to have this status.

I admit I tried to sense a spiritual aura… just in case. Perhaps I am just deaf to such things. Still, I imagine spirituality as something conveyed more in emotion than in words. The talk-talk-talk of the bodhisattva and her companion was quite incredible to me — both for its simple abundance, but also that such confessions and discussions should be made in a public place.

Perhaps in their enthusiasm, they simply forgot I was sitting beside them. But even enlightened beings might do well to remember the value of a little discretion.

The Wild

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

The name of this website comes from a place name in the fantasy novel that I finished last fall, and which went to market in January. Long after I had started writing this novel, but long before it was done, my agent called to say he was concerned – the market for heroic fantasy had collapsed, and almost nothing was selling anymore. I wasn’t too bothered. This was typical of my career – the collapse of science fiction arguably began around the time I started breaking into the market – and anyway, I was writing the book I wanted to write. I hoped to have it published – I thought it would be published – but if not, at least I would have written it.

So I kept at it, through some very stressful years.

When my agent read it last fall, he was… shall we say ‘concerned’ again? ‘Finely crafted, but doesn’t draw the reader in until well-along in the story.’ I was surprised, and none too pleased, but after some discussion it went off to market anyway. His premonitions proved accurate, for the novel did not find a home among the last of the major fantasy publishers. The general reaction was very similar to my agent’s, “Doesn’t grab me enough; Doesn’t draw me in.” Well, okay.

Strangely enough, I am not depressed. I still think there is a market for this book, but now I will have to find it without the involvement of New York publishers. This is not a horrible fate. Truthfully, I have had such awful experiences with the publication of the last two books that it’s not hard to look at this positively.

So unless I am struck by a bolt of good sense and persuaded otherwise, it’s my plan to self-publish the novel. Not as it is, of course. The book did not garner the reaction I expected, and I want to try to understand why, and re-write it, if I can see a better way to do things. So now the book – and all the risk of publishing it – belongs to me alone, which is frightening and pleasant all at once. Since no one else can tell me what to title it, or what cover image to use, I would like to finally introduce it to you, at least by name. It’s called The Wild. I look forward to working on it again, and I will do my best to make it a better book by the time it sees print.