Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net

Archive for April, 2014

Interview in English & Spanish

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

A number of Spanish blogs have been participating in a special project during the month of April devoted to women in science fiction and fantasy. It’s called “The Gender and the Genre” and I have the privilege of being part of it, through an interview conducted by Cristina Jurado, from the blog Más Ficción Que Ciencia, and writer and reviewer Elías Combarro (@odo on twitter) of Sense of Wonder.

Cristina and Elías composed the questions, and then Cristina translated my responses into Spanish.

You can find the English version of the interview here at Sense of Wonder.

And the Spanish version is here at Más Ficción Que Ciencia and mirrored here at El Fantascopio.

Also check out Elías’s review of The Bohr Maker (Spanish only).

Book Rave: Germline

Monday, April 28th, 2014

I first heard of T.C. McCarthy through the War Stories anthology, and I just finished reading his novel Germline, winner of the 2012 Compton Crook award — a first-novel award presented annually by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society.

In summary, Germline is the most absorbing SF novel I’ve read in some time.

As I get older, it’s harder for me to really connect with a novel, to be pulled in by it. So much of the time, reading feels like an intellectual exercise — but that wasn’t the case with Germline. I found this effect especially interesting because there were aspects of the novel I would have resisted, if they’d been handled with less skill.

Germline is military science fiction, but it’s not about glory or heroism or interstellar battles or even tough choices. It’s about the destructive hopelessness of war, even for the survivors, and reminds me a lot of stories set in World Wars I and II.

The story takes place on Earth in Kazakhstan. This is no brush war: the theater is large, and it’s an all-out slugfest, with no regard for civilians. It’s supposed to take place in the future, but to me it felt more like an alternate history, using some weapons still-to-be-invented. Also, there are a couple of plot points that didn’t add up for me — but there’s no such thing as a perfect book. Where this story really excels is in the characterization. There’s great depth in the protagonist, Oscar Wendell, as he interprets the effects of war on himself and the men around him. The story Oscar tells is grim, grim, grim, but it’s not without friendship, caring, and devotion.

The title, Germline, refers to genetically-engineered soldiers, who do exist in the book, though to me they were not what the book was about. So in retrospect, the title seems a little odd. But that’s a trivial point. If you haven’t read T.C. McCarthy’s Germline yet, grab a sample and check it out. You’ll know early on if this is a book for you.

Weight Loss & Body Image

Friday, April 18th, 2014

This is a post on diet and weight loss — not something I usually blog about — but under the circumstances these subjects have been much on my mind.

I now weigh 113 pounds. Why is this significant? Because before I fractured my jaw on March 6, I weighed about 126 pounds. To give you some perspective, I’m 53 years old, 5’4” tall, and fairly athletic–on the day before my accident I ran 3.5 miles on the treadmill in under thirty-two minutes, followed by a weight-lifting session which included a few chin-ups and 120-lb underhand lat pull downs. If you’d asked me at the time, I would have said that I could stand to lose five or six pounds — though I wasn’t too concerned about it.

But now that I have lost weight, I’m interested in the process, especially since our culture spends so much time debating the most effective way to drop pounds.

Global Selfie?!

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

This sounds kind of fun and interesting. NASA is asking everyone, everywhere, to participate in #GlobalSelfie with NASA on Earth Day.

They’d like people to take a selfie, with friends or by yourself. Here’s the gist: “Tell us where you are in a sign, words written in the sand, spelled out with rocks — or by using the printable signs we’ve created.”

* Ahem *

/commence lecture mode/
As someone who has worked over the years as a volunteer at Haleakala National Park, and who has long been married to the former (now retired) chief of resource management at Haleakala, PLEASE DO NOT SPELL OUT YOUR LOCATION WITH ROCKS. And unless you are on a beach, don’t write in the sand either. Messages written in rocks are graffiti. In a natural environment, they are vandalism. And while it may seem harmless to scratch your name in a cinder field, I have seen marks linger in cinder fields for literal years.
/terminate lecture mode/

(Other than that, I think this is a cool project.)

So what are the photos for? The photos “will be used to create a mosaic image of Earth — a new “Blue Marble” built bit by bit with your photos.” That sounds like a fun, inclusive project, reminiscent of the day-in-the-life projects that used to be popular — only BIGGER.

Stop by NASA’s website for more information and to print out NASA’s predesigned sign.

Now Online! “Codename Delphi”

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Lightspeed #47 April 2014My newest Lightspeed Magazine story, “Codename Delphi,” is now available to read online. Find it here. And if you feel inclined, please help spread the word!

“Codename Delphi” is illustrated by Hugo-award winning artist Galen Dara. And for those of you who enjoy podcasts, there is also an audio version.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, “Codename Delphi” is set in the story world of my novel, The Red: First Light — though it takes a look at things from a different perspective — that of the handler, instead of the soldier in the field.

Please check it out, and let me know what you think.

Some Insight on the Editorial Process

Saturday, April 12th, 2014

(For those of you who are writers, I’d thought I’d talk a little about the editorial process behind my newest books.)

The process I use to get a novel ready for publication is the same now as when I was traditionally published. I write the entire manuscript with no outside input. When I have a solid draft, I send it to one or more beta readers and then process their comments. This step can be repeated, though I usually don’t, in large part because experienced beta readers are always in short supply. So once I’ve worked through beta-reader comments, the manuscript is ready to be seen by a professional editor.

What does an editor do? It depends what you hire her for and how much detail work you’re after (or you need). The more experience you’ve had with writing, the less supervision you’re likely to need. I’ve written quite a few novels at this point, so I get an overall edit that looks mostly at structure and internal logic.

Judith Tarr served as editor for both The Red: First Light and The Red: Trials. What Judy provides is a letter giving a general assessment of the novel, covering both its strengths and its weaknesses, and then the nitty gritty of specific comments, using Word’s comment feature to annotate the manuscript from beginning to end.

For First Light there were over 700 editorial comments. Trials had only half that—either because Judy despaired or else she really did feel that Trials was initially better written. 😉

Book Rave: The Golem and The Jinni

Monday, April 7th, 2014

My novel The Red: First Light was short listed for this year’s Nebula award, along with seven other works, some of which I’ve read or intend to read. But I blush to admit I was unaware of Helene Wecker’s fantasy novel The Golem and The Jinni until it appeared on the list.

I don’t think the title is particularly enthralling, but it does tell you exactly what constitutes the story’s essential core: by strange chance an artificial woman made of clay – the golem – and a spirit creature founded in fire – the jinni – arrive in 19th century New York City and ultimately find that their paths intertwine. (more…)

The Red: Trials / Copyediting Primer

Friday, April 4th, 2014


Or … I am done pending feedback from my copyeditor, Chaz Brenchley.

What does a copyeditor do?
A good copyeditor will read through the manuscript, attending to the nitty-gritty details of grammar, spelling, capitalization, and consistency of story elements.

Some examples:

* look for typos, missing words, missing punctuation, misspelled words

* look for incorrect punctuation

* make sure there is consistency in the way words are spelled and capitalized. For example, I always use “nightvision” instead of “night vision.” And where abbreviations and acronyms are used, I tend to skip the periods, so “US Army” or “Washington DC.”

* make sure that characters’ names and physical attributes are consistent throughout (except of course where those physical attributes change).

* make sure characters are where they are supposed to be and have not magically transported elsewhere.

Copyediting is a tough, demanding job. Part of the skill set is to know when an author has deliberately and effectively violated the rules of grammar. For example, I might use a comma splice on occasion to rush the action forward. Is it an effective use? The copyeditor might have an opinion on that.

New Story: “Codename: Delphi”

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Lightspeed #47 April 2014Just out in the April edition of Lightspeed is my newest story “Codename: Delphi.”

This one is set in the story world of my novel, The Red: First Light — though it takes a look at things from a different perspective — that of the handler, instead of the soldier in the field.

As a novelist who is constantly battling to keep word counts reasonable, this story is a triumph for me because it really is a SHORT story — it’s only 4,100 words — even though there is a lot going on.

Right now, if you’re not a subscriber to Lightspeed Magazine, you’ll need to purchase a copy of the April issue to read “Codename: Delphi.” I hope you’ll consider doing so. It really helps to support a lively short fiction market.

The story will be published online later this month.

Please let me know what you think!