Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net

Archive for August, 2012

Stan Schmidt Retires From Analog

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

I am so upset.

Stan Schmidt has been the editor at Analog Science Fiction & Fact for thirty-four years. He was the first editor to ever buy my work, and in fact the first three stories I sold went to Analog.

Last year, when I got back into short story writing after a very long hiatus, Stan was my first choice for “Nahiku West”–and to my delight he bought the story (which just saw publication this month in Analog’s “October” issue). So I think it’s fair to say that Stan Schmidt started my career twice.

He will be missed, but I hope he gets to enjoy more time writing his own fiction.

Here’s the article at Locus Online.

My First “Mind Meld”

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

SF Signal is a website devoted to covering the science fiction and fantasy field, with articles, book reviews, and other contributions from people across the genre.

Each week features a piece called “Mind Meld” in which several writers, editors, fans, or others active in the field are asked to respond to a question. No one gets to see the other answers until publication day.

Today was my first time participating in Mind Meld.

The question:

Q: As a reader and as a writer, how do you feel about the practice of revising books after they have been published (or at least have reached the ARC stage)? How much revision goes into your writing process? (How clean are your drafts)?

Find everyone’s answer here at SF Signal.

Whining On Twitter Can Pay Off

Saturday, August 25th, 2012
Whining on twitter can pay off

Indie Bits

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

* Amazon now sells ebooks directly in India, but the terms to the writer/publisher are much better if you buy from Book View Café

* I offer print-on-demand versions of eight books. The other day a reader was surprised to discover on receipt that these are not “mass market” paperbacks, not the small “pocket books” that used to be so common. Instead, they are the larger “trade” paperbacks, 5.5 x 8.5 inches–basically the size of a hardcover. Just wanted to clarify that for anyone wondering at the cost.

* Kobo took over fifteen days to publish the first ebook I uploaded to their store. (Uploaded July 20; published August 5.) The second book, uploaded a few days ago, was published within an hour or two. The third book, uploaded yesterday, has still not published. I realize it’s a new system. Hopefully, consistency will come with time.

Update: The Bohr Maker went live on Kobo sometime overnight, and is available for purchase as of August 23.

A Civilization that Celebrates Science and Intellect

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

And here is something of an explanation, and an antidote, to yesterday’s ugly. David Brin writes on “Obama on the importance of Curiosity,” an essay in which he discusses the politics of our time:

If you like being part of a civilization that celebrates science and intellect and progress… while willingly negotiating in openness and improving through the reciprocal criticism of faults… then you are behooved to lift your head, this season, and note the implications in politics.

A reassuring read! Also see his response to comments, here on G+


Monday, August 20th, 2012

Detail from the cover of Hepen the Watcher; illustration by Sarah AdamsMy fantasy novel Hepen the Watcher is about the violent take-down of a misogynistic society. It’s a humorous book in parts, with what I hope are lively and likable characters. But other sections are grim, as any such book must be.

From time to time, I’ve wondered if I went too far in my depiction of the society, one that is deliberately engineered from On High to despise women and treat them as mindless yet dangerous chattel, its customs strictly enforced despite the better feelings of many men.

But there is no instance of oppression in Hepen the Watcher that hasn’t actually existed in the world with the hearty approval of authoritarian figures. Indeed, most of the goings-on in the book still exist somewhere in the world, while here in the USA it seems that every few days yet another politician — always of the Republican party — steps forward, eager to create more and more laws aimed at regulating women’s sexuality and reproduction. This, from a party with an Orwellian knack for hiding behind words like “liberty” and “freedom,” and crying out against excessive government.

Yesterday, Sunday, both twitter and facebook seemed oddly quiet until midafternoon, when word of Missouri’s Republican Congressional Representative Todd Akin hit. His asinine and ignorant comments on the biology of rape ignited a storm of utterly justified outrage. I’m sure by now you’ve heard what he had to say. If not, you’ll find Mr. Akin’s comments quoted in this essay by Ilyse Hogue at The Nation: The Danger of Laughing at Todd Akin. As Ms. Hogue makes clear, the enemy is not just this one individual who has somehow persuaded the people of Missouri — my father’s home state — to put him in a position of power. The enemy is widespread:

In the multidimensional chess that shapes public opinion, the game is less about individual elections and more about a sustained effort to mainstream radical ideas. In the case of denying women control over their lives, there’s evidence that the bad guys may be winning the long-game.

There is no justification for compromising women’s freedom, equality, and self-determination. Yield no ground. Don’t let the bad guys win.

New Story Online At Lightspeed Magazine

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012
Detail from digital painting by Sarah Adams, for the book cover of The Dread Hammer by Linda NagataDetail from the cover of The Dread Hammer; digital painting by Sarah Adams.

This is the first time I’ve had two stories debut in the same month. Story #1 was “Nahiku West,” a police procedural in a nanotech-saturated story world. Story #2 is part of the August edition of Lightspeed Magazine. The story has been available as part of Lightspeed’s ebook edition, but starting today it’s available to read free online — or you can listen to the audio book version!

“A Moment Before It Struck” is a prequel story to my novel The Dread Hammer. It’s less than 5,000 words so it won’t take you long to read. Why not take a look?

And do consider buying the ebook edition of Lightspeed Magazine, for an easy-to-read version of all this month’s stories.

Locus Reviews “Nahiku West”

Monday, August 13th, 2012
Illustration for Analog by Tomislav TikulinIllustration for Analog by Tomislav Tikulin

Lois Tilton reviews short fiction at Locus and has some nice things to say about my recent Analog story “Nahiku West,” giving it a “Recommended.”

Find the review here.

The story is not available online, but the August issue of Analog can be purchased in both ebook and print form.

Check this page for ebook vendors.

Getting From Here to There

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

My current work-in-progress is a near future thriller that opens with an extended sequence of scenes comprising Part 1 of the story.

The transition to Part 2 is abrupt and, I think, effective. After that there are rebuilding scenes — transitions — that will eventually get the story to the next big action sequence.

A lot is going on in these passages. The protagonist has a lot to do and see, there are a fair number of other characters involved, and many things need to be accomplished from a plot perspective to get all the chess pieces in place.

I’ve been plowing through this section at a fairly good pace using a lot of short scenes, each with its own challenge for the protagonist. I’m constantly asking myself, what is necessary? How much can I skip? Do I need to communicate this next part in the form of a scene, or can I just summarize it in a paragraph of narrative and move on?

Many times I’ve started to do a simple narrative summary and been dissatisfied, leading me to switch to a scene. “Show don’t tell.” Not a rule to follow slavishly, but one to consider.

I have some concern that all these scenes will result in an unpleasant, jerky sense of progress — but that may just be the way it feels when I write it.

I also have a suspicion that I might wind up cutting or consolidating much of what I’m working so hard now to create. But historically, it’s been rare for me to cut much from a novel. It’s been far more common for me to underwrite the first draft, and then fill in details on the second round. So we shall see.

Despite these concerns, my goal at this point is to just keep moving forward. I’m learning a lot about the story as I go along, and if I do need to cut or consolidate later, I’ll have a much better grasp of what I need to keep and what I can get rid of. I keep muttering to myself “trust the process.” This mantra represents a big change for me, because in the first phase of my writing career I was a determined revisionist, who did not move on to the next chapter until the current one was clean and polished.

In no sense would I describe this manuscript as clean and polished, but it’s definitely growing in a way that makes me impatient to write more.

Next . . . yoga?

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

So apparently I need to do yoga. I have a bum shoulder. I’ve been favoring it in the gym for a long time now, and have gradually decided that stretching helps, particularly hanging from my arms with less than my full weight.

Well, I just ran across a video “Workout Tips from Miss Hawaii 2012 Skyler Kamaka: Child’s Pose & T-spine Rotation.”

Me, watching the video: “Heh. That looks easy. I’ll try it.”

Me during the child’s pose: “Geez, the child’s pose hurts.”

Me during the t-spine rotation: “Look up? Good heavens, I can’t even look sideways…but I used to be able to bend like that….”

Me after reality hits: “I guess I need to do yoga.”

I look like I’m in great shape. Just don’t ask me to reach back and touch between my shoulder blades.