Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net


Archive for September, 2013

Facial Recognition

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Yesterday in the gym I saw someone who I’d not seen for several years and who I’d hoped never to see again—or anyway, I thought I saw this person. The resemblance was uncanny: the same, unusual body shape; the same facial structure; the same hair; the same mannerisms. The only two points of doubt from my observation post on the treadmill were that this person might have been a bit too tall and a bit too young. But I wasn’t sure. Only much later during my workout, when I happened to hear the subject speak, did I know for sure this was a different person.

For me, a voice can be a much more certain identifier.

Like a lot of people, I’m terrible at facial recognition. I admit that part of this is laziness. If I’m casually introduced to someone I don’t expect to meet again, the name and face will breeze right out of my memory as I walk away. But part of it is just an inherent problem with facial recognition. Take a person out of the context in which I casually know them, change their hair style or color, change their weight, dress them in different clothes—and odds are excellent I won’t recognize them. This is one reason Cloud Atlas was a total fail for me. Most of the time, the continuity of actors completely escaped me.

Some people have an astonishing ability to recognize and remember others. My husband is one. More than once I’ve been in the situation of demanding to know how in the world he recognized that-person-who-looked-totally-different-from-before and “how can you possibly remember that person you worked with for a few days fifteen years ago?”

Ah well, we all know that talent is not evenly distributed.

But this is one reason I find conventions very intimidating. I could be introduced to someone and an hour later be uncertain if that is a face I should know. Yes, everyone wears name tags, but things can still be difficult.

So bring on augmented reality! Google Glasses or better yet, contacts, with a facial recognition program running off of a personal database of who-is-who in my world, while also tapping into shared Internet resources with all the skill of the NSA and Facebook combined, to identify the people I encounter. Oh, and could we include a brief bio while we’re at it? And deliver the information via voice, since I don’t want my eyes looking shifty as I try to read names and bios.

Uh…privacy concerns? What do you mean privacy concerns? I just want to know if I know you!

The Wild: Chapter 38

Friday, September 27th, 2013

The Wild is my one and only attempt at high fantasy. It’s written in an old-fashioned, formal tone, with old-fashioned heroes, and is quite different from anything else I’ve done. Except for a handful of printed advance-reader-copies (ARCs) created in 2011 to test the market, it’s never been published—until now. I’m serializing it on my blog, one chapter every Friday. I hope you enjoy.

Go to: beginning | prior chapter | next chapter

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Snowy Mountains. Artist: Sarah Adams
Chapter 38

That night the men of Habaddon groped their way north through darkness and rain until they were deep in Samokea . . . and with every mile they advanced the dread afflicting Bennek grew worse. He could not ignore it as he had resolved to do. Finally he spoke to Jahallon. “Sir, there is something awaiting us. I know it. I cannot see it, I cannot name it, yet it is worse than the onslaught of arowl, and more dreadful than the talisman.”
“Would you have us turn back?” Jahallon asked him.

“We cannot turn back.”

“Then have courage, Bennek. We must have victory, no matter what happens.”

(more…)

A Review at Tor.com

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

Reviewer Stefan Raets offers his opinion of The Red: First Light in a review published yesterday at Tor.com.

“…an amazing novel… The Red: First Light is a dark, intelligent, cynical take on military SF. It’s an excellent novel that deserves a much larger audience.”

Read the full review here.

The Wild: Chapter 37

Friday, September 20th, 2013

The Wild is my one and only attempt at high fantasy. It’s written in an old-fashioned, formal tone, with old-fashioned heroes, and is quite different from anything else I’ve done. Except for a handful of printed advance-reader-copies (ARCs) created in 2011 to test the market, it’s never been published—until now. I’m serializing it on my blog, one chapter every Friday. I hope you enjoy.

Go to: beginning | prior chapter | next chapter

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Owl on branch. Artist: Sarah Adams

~ Part 7: Far Father ~

Chapter 37

On a summer evening, when the last light of the sun still lingered over the western ocean, a woman on watch upon the walls of Habaddon caught sight of two riders as they emerged from the forest. They came slowly, as men will do when they want to bring their horses cool into the stable. The hound that was with them ran ahead to greet the farm dogs guarding the fields of wheat and barley.

“It is Uleál and Bennek,” the sentry called to her captain, and word was sent to Jahallon.

Bennek had been one-and-a-half years in Jahallon’s service. He was seventeen now—Marshal’s age, when Bennek had last seen his brother. Not a day went by that he didn’t think of Marshal, and of Kit and Lanyon and Pantheren and Jakurian too—but Lanyon was gone away, and no news of the others had ever come out of the north. Bennek still longed to go after them, but the way north was impassable. No matter the number of arowl that were slain by Habaddon’s warriors, ever more came forth to do battle.

(more…)

Online Ads For Books: Yes or No?

Friday, September 13th, 2013
Ads from the ongoing
Clarkesworld campaign.
(size reduced)

The Red: First Light by Linda Nagata

Memory by Linda Nagata

The Bohr Maker by Linda Nagata

TRFL-Rusch-300x250

I’ve run three online ad campaigns to try to get the word out on my newest novel, The Red: First Light, published last March. For those new to me or my website, the novel is a very near-future, high-tech, military science fiction thriller — and it’s indie-published, so I’m on my own for publicity.

I had a couple of good publicity opportunities when TRFL was released. This helped sales in the first six weeks, although the novel never got anywhere near qualifying as an “indie success story.” So, having no luck getting the book reviewed***, I decided to experiment with online ads.

(***Update: The Red: First Light has since been reviewed at both Tor.com and Locus Online.)

I’m going to guess that most of you reading this never click on online ads. I’ve clicked on a few, but it’s rare. So why would I even consider spending meaningful amounts of money on web ads? I had a few reasons:

1. I HAD TO DO SOMETHING –this was a big reason. “Something is better than nothing” & “Try stuff” — Right? Yes, it costs money. On the other hand I’ve already made a huge investment just in the time devoted to writing the book. What’s a few hundred dollars more?

2. I’m not entirely unknown in the field. In the mid-nineties through the early 2000s I had six hard science fiction novels published by Bantam and Tor. I have a couple of awards. I’ve had short fiction published recently in Asimov’s, Analog, Lightspeed, and Nightmare. My thought was that I might be able to capture the gaze of readers who’d enjoyed my books during my “first career” and were interested in what I was doing now, along with those who’d read some of my recent short fiction, and might be curious about what else I’m up to. This was the factor that really convinced me to try it.

3. I had some awesome blurbs from name writers that might help sell the book — but the value of those blurbs was limited if the only people who saw them were those who visited my website. So the possibility of putting those blurbs in front of a new audience was the third main factor in my decision to try advertising. (more…)

The Wild: Chapter 36

Friday, September 13th, 2013

The Wild is my one and only attempt at high fantasy. It’s written in an old-fashioned, formal tone, with old-fashioned heroes, and is quite different from anything else I’ve done. Except for a handful of printed advance-reader-copies (ARCs) created in 2011 to test the market, it’s never been published—until now. I’m serializing it on my blog, one chapter every Friday. I hope you enjoy.

Go to: beginning | prior chapter | next chapter

* * *

Mist & River. Artist: Sarah Adams
Chapter 36

For a time Luven was undone by her grief. She lay in bed, in the little room she shared with Marshal, and wept. A witch light filled the room with its cool radiance, but she could see only darkness. Luven had shared with Zavoy her mother’s womb and every day since. It did not seem possible to exist in the world without him. Her despair might have swallowed her whole, but for Marshal’s voice, reaching out to her past her suffocating grief—“Luven, Luven, hear me. You must be strong. Remember our baby yet-to-be-born. Do not let Édan take its life. Do not let Édan take yours.”
Édan.

She shuddered at his name, and yet it brought her strength. It brought her purpose.

After a few days she arose from her bed. She returned to her duties. But she was quieter than she had been, and as the days passed she spent many hours in the library—a place she had only rarely visited before.

Gonly’s widow, Gorem, often joined her there.

Gorem was the eldest of the clan, as old as Pantheren and a powerful witch. There among the manuscripts she and Luven conspired together.

After grief, there comes a need for revenge.

(more…)

The Wild: Chapter 35

Friday, September 6th, 2013

The Wild is my one and only attempt at high fantasy. It’s written in an old-fashioned, formal tone, with old-fashioned heroes, and is quite different from anything else I’ve done. Except for a handful of printed advance-reader-copies (ARCs) created in 2011 to test the market, it’s never been published—until now. I’m serializing it on my blog, one chapter every Friday. I hope you enjoy.

Go to: beginning | prior chapter | next chapter

* * *

Distant mist. Artist: Sarah Adams
Chapter 35

Neither Lehe nor Penrik had any experience telling lies, so when they returned to the cavern they said nothing. Only in the evening, when the hunters still hadn’t come home, did Luven think to question Lehe. Then the story of the deer came out, and Luven was so swept up in astonishment that she didn’t notice the tears standing in Lehe’s eyes.
There was much talk and excitement that evening, but Lehe and Penrik took no part in it. Pantheren wondered at this, and he wondered too that it should take Kit all day and a night to track down the deer, for Kit was a skilled hunter. Pantheren went outside several times that evening to wait and to listen. He wasn’t alone in his worry. Late that night as he went again through the tunnel, he heard ahead of him a whispered argument. In the darkness he couldn’t see who it was. He made known his presence by asking, “Who is awake and about at this late hour?”

A startled silence followed. Then a meek voice answered, “It is Lehe, War Father. And Penrik is here.”

(more…)

New Story: “Halfway Home”

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Nightmare Magazine - September 2013The September issue of Nightmare Magazine is just out, and it includes my newest story, “Halfway Home,” a dark fantasy with a here-and-now setting…or maybe it’s magic realism?

At any rate, it’s a story that wouldn’t have been written without the encouragement of one of my readers. Here’s a blog post on how it came to be.

You can purchase the September issue of Nightmare Magazine in ebook form for only $2.99 — I encourage you to do so, in support of short fiction!

But you can also read the story online at Nightmare Magazine‘s website. Find it here.

Newsletter On The Way

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

A few times a year I send out an email newsletter, usually to announce new publications, but occasionally with other news. If you haven’t already signed up to receive my newsletter, I encourage you to do so. It’s a great way to stay in touch, and it’s simple to do. I just need your email address and a name. You’ll have to click a link on a confirmation email, and then you’re in.

The next newsletter will go out in a couple of days, so please consider it.

Sign up using the “New Book Alert” form in the righthand column of this blog, or click here for a sign-up form, along with samples of past newsletters.

THANKS!