Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net


Archive for June, 2014

Book Rave: A Double Feature

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer
This book was recommended to me. It’s the memoir of Nathaniel C. Fick as he recounts his experiences training as a marine officer and then deploying for the first time — just before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Fick soon found himself in Afghanistan, and later at the “tip of the spear” during the invasion of Iraq. It’s a fascinating recounting of both war and the incredible challenges of becoming a successful “recon” marine.

In One Bullet Away Nathaniel C. Fick mentions a reporter who was embedded with his platoon during the Iraq invasion. That reporter was Evan Wright, the author of Generation Kill — an account of Wright’s experiences riding with one of the teams in Fick’s platoon. Generation Kill is a compelling and very graphic narrative that passes over none of the less savory aspects of infantry life during the invasion of a foreign country. It also explores the personalities of a fascinating assemblage of marines, good guys and bad guys.

Reading these two books back to back was an interesting experience. I was intrigued by the differences between Wright’s and Fick’s versions of events. Not in the raw recounting of events — both were in agreement on the facts so far as I could tell — but there were often significant differences between what each author chose to describe and discuss, and in the tone in which their recollections are presented. The rawest version of the invasion has to go to Evan Wright.

Third!

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Cover rebranding-- The Red: First LightSo this is kind of cool…

As I mentioned last month, The Red: First Light was included as one of fifteen nominees for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, a juried award presented for the best science-fiction novel of the year. It didn’t win the award — that enviable honor went to Strange Bodies by Marcel Theroux — but as it turns out, it placed third, behind Paul McAuley’s Evening’s Empires. I’m happy with that.

The link above will fall out of date as time passes, so here’s a link to a PDF announcement detailing both the John W. Campbell Memorial Award results, and the associated Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for the best short science fiction.

Rainforest Hike, Kauai

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

I enjoyed a very short trip to Kauai at the end of last week. One of the adventures I went on with my husband, Ron, was a short hike on the Pihea Trail in Koke’e State Park.

If you’ve visited Kauai, you’ve almost certainly been to Koke’e. I’ll bet the photo below looks familiar…this is a view into Kalalau Valley — it’s a standard stop for island visitors.

kalalau_valley

Nearly everyone who visits walks out along the eroded ridge that is the back wall of Kalalau Valley. That is the start of Pihea Trail, which continues along the ridge to a peak on the opposite side of the valley. It’s not very far — maybe 1.5 to two miles? — but there is some interesting terrain along the way. It’s good to remember, this is called a rainforest for a reason.
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Waimea Canyon, Kauai

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

I think I was sixteen when I flew from Oahu to Kauai with a group from the Hawaii Sierra Club, to participate in a two-week “Hawaii Service Trip Program” project — a volunteer work project, in this case devoted to building new trail in the bottom of Waimea Canyon. I participated in several other HSTP projects over the years, but this was my first.

Waimea Canyon — often called the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” — is an amazing feature that seems entirely out of place on a small island like Kauai. Wikipedia puts its size as about ten miles long and as deep as 3,000 feet. The geology alone is striking, but there is also an abundance of streams and waterfalls which exist in sharp contrast to the generally dry terrain. In Hawaii, rainfall patterns change radically over very short distances. Just to the east of the canyon is a high elevation region dominated by Waiʻaleʻale, the highest peak on the island at 5,100 feet. Rainfall records from Waiʻaleʻale indicate it’s one of the wettest places on Earth. Between the peak and the canyon is the Alakai Swamp, which drains into the canyon, feeding those amazing waterfalls.

Waimea_Canyon_1

Unfortunately for me, I haven’t been back in the canyon since that first expedition. One of these days I’ll need to make a serious effort to go again, but for now photos from the canyon rim will have to do. These were taken on Friday, June 20 — an absolutely gorgeous summer day.

Waimea_Canyon_4

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“Attitude” in Reach For Infinity

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Reach For Infinity, edited by Jonathan StrahanReach For Infinity is a just-released anthology of hard science fiction edited by Jonathan Strahan, that includes my original short story** “Attitude.”

Reach is the third volume of the “Infinity Project,” following on the first two books, Engineering Infinity and Edge of Infinity. The subject is “that period when we’re trying to get off Earth and into space.”

I am honored to be part of a contributor list that includes Pat Cadigan, Aliette de Bodard, Greg Egan, Kathleen Ann Goonan, Ellen Klages, Karen Lord, Ken Macleod, Ian McDonald, Hannu Rajaniemi, Alastair Reynolds, Adam Roberts, Karl Schroeder, and Peter Watts.

You can find Reach For Infinity in both print and ebook editions at all the usual book-selling locations and websites. If you get a chance to read “Attitude,” please let me know what you think.

** “Attitude” is 7,900 words. By the standards of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, that makes it 400 words too long to be a short story. Technically, it’s a novelette … if anyone happens to be keeping track.