Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net


Archive for January, 2016

Book Recs & a Link

Saturday, January 30th, 2016

I admit:
It’s happened more than once over the years that I’ve picked up a popular, acclaimed novel in the genre and completely failed to see the appeal. This is a disconcerting experience. It makes me question myself and my place in the field. How can my tastes be so different from the majority? Do I really understand this genre? Is my concept of what makes a good story too out of date or too far afield?

But then I’ll pick up another popular, acclaimed novel, often one I’ve hesitated to read for some reason or other, and discover that it totally works for me — which always makes me happy.

Silver on the Road by Laura Anne GilmanSilver on the Road by Laura Anne Gilman is the first example. This is a 2015 novel that has received rave reviews, but I hesitated to pick it up in large part because it was described as a “weird Western.” I’d never before heard of “weird Westerns,” but I think of weird fiction in general as the sort of horror that leaves me feeling like I need to clean my brain out; in other words, the sort of horror that I avoid. I’m happy to report Silver on the Road is nothing like that. This is a coming-of-age story of a young woman growing up in a fantastical version of the American West in which magic is commonplace. Early in the story, she makes a decision that will determine the path of her life to come — and that path is far more harrowing than anyone expects. The story does an excellent job of presenting both characters and landscape, and makes a compelling read. It’s the first of a series.

The Nebula awards are voted on by members of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). Prior to the period when books may be nominated for the ballot, SFWA keeps a Nebula Suggested Reading List, with the suggestions made by members. This is not a “long list.” It’s just a list of titles that members feel are worth a look. This year, for the first time, the suggested reading list has been made public and you can find it here. Take a look at it! Notice something? I’m not going to count them up, but I think it’s safe to say there is a large preponderance of fantasy novels near the top of this list. (Come on, science fiction writers! Represent!)

Vicious by VE SchwabHonestly, I’ve begun to feel overwhelmed by the number of fantasy novels out there, and yet so many are so very, very good. I hate to admit it, but fantasy is the real backbone of the genre these days. VE Schwab’s Vicious is an example of why. This is a 2013 novel that, like Silver on the Road, garnered enthusiastic reviews, but as I recall, some of those reviews talked about “superheroes.” Like “weird fiction,” “superhero fiction” is a term that makes me take a step back and look for something else to read. But I was finally inspired to try Vicious and all those enthusiastic reviewers were right — it’s a very good book! That said, it’s not a book for everyone. It’s violent, and pushes the boundaries of antiheroes (hmm…not unlike my Puzzle Land books). It’s also very well written, with intriguing characters, excellent descriptions, good pacing, and a style of nonlinear story telling that I really liked.

So those are my recommended books.

And here’s the promised link:
If you’re a writer, or just interested in the way things work (or don’t work) in Hollywood, check out Matt Wallace’s post over at SF Signal “The Pelecanos Proposition and What it Means to SFF Authors” wherein Matt makes the case that we writers give up control of our work too easily, and that we should do more than just deposit the check on the option. Matt quotes novelist and screenwriter George Pelecanos, who is speaking about writers when he says: “…what a producer told me one time is, ‘We can’t control you guys.’”

Kobo Sale

Friday, January 29th, 2016

Just a quick note to say that ebook seller Kobo is presently holding a very short term sale on most or all indie titles in their store. The sale is happening in Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, and it includes most of my older titles.

Be aware that Kobo ebooks are in EPUB format, and require an EPUB e-reader. The books cannot be read on your Kindle.

To get the sale price, use the promo code JAN1650 — and you can use it an unlimited number of times. Sale ends on Sunday, January 31st (I don’t know what time zone.)

Find my ebooks here, but many other titles are also available.

Links & News

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

Just a few odds and ends…

* For those who write, Baen Books is holding a short story contest. They’re looking for near-future, humans-in-space themes. Find the details here. Deadline is February 1!

* The New Yorker takes a look at STX Entertainment in their article “The Mogul of the Middle.” It’s a long read, but a fascinating look at how thumbs-up/down decisions get made in the movie business.

* A photo essay on “The Internet” by Peter Garritano, with some background explanation over at The Atlantic.

* It was a nice end-of-the-year for The Red Trilogy. io9.com included it on their list The Very Best Science Fiction And Fantasy Books Of 2015. Bookworm Blues included The Red on her “The Epic Best Books of 2015 List.” Rob Bedford, who reviews for SFF World, put The Red at the top of his “Favorite 2015 Science Fiction Novels.” And Annalee Newitz included the trilogy in her Ars Technica list “All the science fiction books you’ll want to binge read over the holidays.” 🙂

* It’s been many years since I’ve read Dan Simmons Hyperion. I’m revisiting it now in audiobook format, and so far this edition is EXCELLENT. I’ll probably have more to say on it when I’m done, but at this point I’m hugely impressed both by Dan’s story and the production.

Writing Goals For 2016

Friday, January 1st, 2016

Happy New Year!

Since 2011 I’ve posted an annual list of writing goals that I want to accomplish in the ensuing year. “Goals” in this sense are things that I can accomplish through my own efforts and perseverance, as opposed to “dreams” which require the cooperation of others. So, for example, writing a short story is a goal, selling that story to Tor.com is a dream.

So here are my writing goals for 2016:

1. FINISH the current novel-in-progress, where “finish” means it’s been revised and polished and is in my agent’s hands. I’m really hoping to achieve this by the end of the summer. Right now I’m 35 to 40 percent through a rough first draft. This is going to be a stand-alone novel, not a series, so when it’s done, it’s done.

2. START the next novel, where “start” means figure out the general idea behind it, and develop a rough outline with a list of characters. Bonus points for actually writing the opening.

3. PUBLISH a second short story collection. This is going to be a round up of all my short fiction published since 2012. Several of these stories are available to read online, but I might as well consolidate them all in a single volume. And since I have absolutely nothing else scheduled for publication in 2016, I might as well go ahead with this. It will be published by my own imprint, Mythic Island Press LLC.

4. Write a short story in THE RED story world. This story has been requested for an anthology that I’d really like to participate in, so odds are good it will happen.

5. Write at least one hard-SF short story unrelated to anything else I’ve done.

6. Write at least one novella set in an existing story world. This is an unmet 2015 goal, that I want to try again.

Okay! I think I can do this…so long as I don’t squander too much time on Twitter. 🙂

What are your writing goals?