Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net


Archive for October, 2013

The Wild: Chapter 42

Friday, October 25th, 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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Distant mist. Artist: Sarah Adams
Chapter 42

Lanyon held Bennek at a distance when he would have embraced her. Her angry fists crumpled the fabric of his shirt as she struggled to push him away. “Why are you here?” she demanded. “Why have you come? Why?”
Bennek refused to give way, holding tight to the collar of her coat, determined she should not escape from him and vanish again. In their struggle they turned one about the other, like children wrestling, while Kina cavorted about them, barking, as if it were a fine game.

“Do not struggle so, Lanyon! I came to find you. Surely you knew I was coming?”

“No!” Tears welled in her eyes. “You are supposed to be with Jahallon! Safe under his protection! This path I walk can have no good end. Bennek! I did not want you to come.”

He shook his head. “Do not be unkind to me, Lanyon, I beg you. Do not misread me. I would have stayed with you all this time if I could have. I wanted nothing more than to return to you. Don’t be angry. Please. You must forgive me.”

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Moon, the Film

Monday, October 21st, 2013

Moon_film_posterUntil recently, I’d never heard of the movie Moon, directed by Duncan Jones and released in 2009, but over the past year I saw it mentioned several times in social media in a generally positive way — so last night I finally sat down to watch it.

Did I like it?

I think so.

The trouble is, I really didn’t like the beginning. The opening of the film created a lot of mental resistance in me of the “I am totally not buying this” variety. But deep into the movie it suddenly became very interesting. It was as if the director wanted the opening to look like cliché (and succeeded all too well!), the better to surprise viewers later on.

* * * * SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW * * * *
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A Glossary of Hazardous Cooties in Science Fiction

Monday, October 21st, 2013

This post was originally published at Book View Cafe.

It’s dangerous out there, people. There are risks involved in reading the wrong sorts of science fiction, and while advice and counsel is available around the web, the time has come for a concise glossary of the most common debilitating parasitic memes, most frequently referred to as “cooties,” that are known to infect vulnerable readers. Knowledge is power. As a writer who has risked association with ALL listed varieties, I felt compelled to share my observations and experiences.

This book is known to contain the following varieties of cooties: girl, hard SF, military SF, male protagonist. Read with caution!

This book is known to contain the following varieties of cooties: girl, hard SF, military SF, male protagonist. Read with caution!

GIRL COOTIES
Found in: science fiction written by girls
Who’s at risk? boys
What happens if you catch them: possible loss of manhood generally through exposure to romance and excessive clothing descriptions; moderate risk to self-image in cases where female characters are not competing to win attention of male characters; possible nausea when female reproductive issues (non-coital varieties) are involved; in general, subversion by the alien female.

HARD SF COOTIES
Found in: science fiction that attempts to extrapolate from known science
Who’s at risk? girls
What happens if you catch them: possible loss of womanhood with severe risk of personality collapsing into cardboard, resulting in long-term loss of emotional empathy. Occasionally associated with right-wing conversions.

MILITARY SF COOTIES
Found in: science fiction about military service; rarely: found in association with Hard SF cooties.
Who’s at risk? girls and boys
What happens if you catch them: possible loss of empathy for those outside your unit, frequent development of might-makes-right approach to problem solving; reduction of color vision—in worst cases even shades of gray are lost.

FEMALE-PROTAGONIST COOTIES
Found in: science fiction with a female protagonist
Who’s at risk? boys
What happens if you catch them: Little-to-no risk has been found with the “kick ass” variety of female-protagonist cooties. For risks of other varieties, refer to the listing for girl cooties.

MALE-PROTAGONIST COOTIES
Found in: science fiction with a male protagonist
Who’s at risk? girls
What happens if you catch them: effects vary greatly. Some male-protagonist cooties are benign, some induce a severe allergic reaction. The most potent induce a hallucinogenic state wherein the victim comes to feel empathy for the alien other.

Warning: some science fiction is known to be infected with multiple species of cooties and should be considered especially hazardous. Read with caution!

The Wild: Chapter 41

Friday, October 18th, 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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The Owl. Artist: Sarah Adams
Chapter 41

The owl was a distant presence, watching over them as they rode north. They would glimpse her soaring far out over the plain or rising through the misty air behind them. Sometimes her shadow swept over them, swift and silent. She flew in the daylight, but she also flew at night. Lying half-awake in the darkness Bennek heard her calls, and the terrified cries of the small wild things she took for her pleasure.
She cast a subtle veil within the Mere so that when Bennek looked there for Pantheren he saw him as the faintest of shadows, perceptible only because they rode side by side. “Don’t leave me,” Bennek joked. “I think I would have a hard time finding you again.”

“Your eyes don’t remember how to follow a horse’s trail?”

Bennek glanced behind them, awake to this new worry. “If Édan finds our trail he will follow us.”

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SF Signal: Mind Meld

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Every week, SF Signal poses a question to a collection of writers. We answer separately, and the results are posted on Wednesdays. This week I got to participate. The subject: How has reading science fiction and fantasy changed you as a person or changed your life?

The other authors who answered this week’s question are Myke Cole, Evie Manieri, Gillian Polack, James Patrick Kelly, Howard Andrew Jones, Michael J Martinez, Ken Scholes, E.J. Swift, and Abhinav Jain.

Find this week’s Mind Meld here: How Science Fiction Changed Our Lives

War Stories Kickstarter Launch!

Monday, October 14th, 2013

War Stories AnthologyIn prior posts I’ve mentioned the upcoming War Stories anthology, edited by Jaym Gates and Andrew Liptak. War Stories is an anthology of military science fiction, to be published by Apex Publications, and will include my story “Light and Shadow”–if it goes forward.

This anthology is a Kickstarter project, with a funding campaign that launched today! Please stop by the Kickstarter page and while you’re there be sure to check out the video. I hope you’ll consider supporting this project. I’d love to see this anthology become reality.

Thanks!

The Wild: Chapter 40

Friday, October 11th, 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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Mountains & River. Artist: Sarah Adams
Chapter 40

Samokea was still a dangerous land. Each day as Pantheren and Bennek rode north, they heard the mournful baying of small packs of arowl that had come too late for battle. Pantheren refused to hunt them. “If we kill them, it will only draw more.” He was done with battle. His only purpose was to find Lanyon. He carried her bow with him, the one made for her by the Snow Chanter, hoping he might return it to her in some near season. So it became Bennek’s task to watch for the arowl packs, and to guide them away.

They set out each day at dawn, stopping only when the horses needed rest. One evening they saw in the distance the great palisade they had climbed in their quest to find the Snow Chanter. Bennek’s heart beat faster, knowing they were drawing near to Kesh. That night clouds came from the east to veil the stars. His sleep was uneasy. He dreamed the stars wavered, as if waves of light and shadow rolled through them. And next the night sky shattered, its broken pieces falling down to the world, falling on him so that he was crushed beneath their terrible weight.

He sat up, gasping for air.

Pantheren was startled out of sleep. He leaped to his feet, sword in hand. “What is it?”

Bennek didn’t answer. All his senses were turned to the Mere, seeking, seeking . . . and then she whispered hush.

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How I Self-Published
The Red: First Light

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013
This is a revised version of a post originally published at Charlie’s Diary, the blog of Charles Stross. Six months later, I have a little bit more to say.

The Red: First LightIn my last post, Why I Self-Published The Red: First Light, I talked about why I decided to independently publish my newest science fiction novel. This time I want to talk about the process.

In the spring of 2012 I wrote a short story called “Through Your Eyes.” I intended it as a stand-alone piece, but I couldn’t get the protagonist out of my head. I wanted to know what became of him, and The Red: First Light is the result.

From the start I knew the novel would be problematical from a marketing perspective, for the reasons noted in my last post, but I wanted and needed to write this book.

I started working on the novel in early June 2012—a week or so after sending the short story off to market—and finished a very rough draft at the end of September, ironically, about two days before the short story sold to Asimov’s.
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Why I Self-Published
The Red: First Light

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013
This is a revised and expanded version of a post originally published at Charlie’s Diary, the blog of Charles Stross. Six months later, I have a little bit more to say.

The Red: First Light by Linda NagataThere is no best path in this business of writing fiction and every author’s career is different. I started in the usual way, with traditional publishing, and had six science fiction novels published by New York houses between ’95 and 2003. My work garnered good reviews and there were a couple of awards, but despite my best efforts no meaningful amount of money was going into the family coffers. Economically, I was wasting my time. Emotionally I was inhabited by a deep, dark sense of failure, with no viable means to turn things around. So circa 2000 I more or less walked away from the field for almost ten years. I did not stop writing entirely, but it was close.

In 2009 I woke up to the ebook revolution.

My background and situation let me jump right into self-publishing. I’d worked in web development for nine years, so I knew how to handle the HTML behind ebooks, I was familiar with Photoshop, I’d learned the basics of InDesign, I had the rights back to all my novels, and I had time to devote, since the recession had ended my programming job. So I became my own publisher and reissued the novels, first as ebooks and then in print-on-demand editions.

I found that I loved this new business, because I was in control.

In traditional publishing, after a book is sold, the important decisions are made by the publisher—format, cover art, cover copy, sales date, pricing, promotional budget (if any)—and once those decisions are made they can rarely be changed. So my near-future bio-thriller Limit of Vision was released with a pulp cover featuring giant bugs, while my far-future novel, Memory, was released with a back cover description that got the basic facts of the story world wrong.

As my own publisher, I make mistakes too, but because my business model—low upfront costs and no warehoused inventory—is radically different from that of traditional publishing, I’m in a position to correct those mistakes. I can—and I have—changed cover art, cover copy, and pricing after publishing a book.

Of course these days, self-publishing out-of-print backlist isn’t controversial. The question writers debate is what to do with original fiction. I looked at it from a business perspective, asking What’s best for me? And I couldn’t justify trying New York again.
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Mauna Kea/Milky Way Time Lapse

Saturday, October 5th, 2013

This is an amazing time-lapse video of the Mauna Kea observatories, the Milky Way, and lasers!

The video was created by University of Hawaii grad student Sean Goebel.
Read about the process used to create the video, and also about the lasers here at Peta Pixel: