Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net

“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.

Writing to Request

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Goddesses & Other Stories by Linda NagataI think of myself as a very independent writer. An idea will occur to me, I’ll play with it, work at it, expand on it, and if things go well, it will grow into a story. But fiction doesn’t have to occur all in isolation. Sometimes a request for a specific sort of story can be the inspiration to push past our own creative limits.

The first time I was asked to write a story to request was in the late nineties. Back then I was young and cocky, significant money was involved, and the project was unique, so I agreed. The assignment was to write a story with a positive, near-future setting. I talked over the details with the editors, took notes on all the technological and societal elements they wanted to see included, warned them that stories set in utopian milieus tend to be a bit dull, and set about it. The result was a decent novella. That project never reached publication, but I didn’t mourn because I’d been well paid and got all the rights back. I rewrote the novella, stripping out all the parts that were there only because the editors wanted them, and I ended up with an edgier story that I retitled “Goddesses.” It sold to Ellen Datlow for publication in, and went on to win a Nebula Award.

Here’s the takeaway: I would never have written this story on my own — it had nothing to do with anything else I was writing at the time — but once pointed in a specific direction, I was able to move beyond my own ingrained limits, and write a story of a kind that was new for me.

Short Story Sale: “Attitude”

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Reach For Infinity-preliminary coverWay back in January of this year, editor Jonathan Strahan invited me to submit a short story to an anthology he was developing, to be called Reach For Infinity. The anthology will be the third volume of the “Infinity Project,” following on the first two books Engineering Infinity and Edge of Infinity. The subject for the new book is “that period when we’re trying to get off Earth and into space.” Sounds simple, right? Well, it wasn’t simple for me.

I spent a lot of time brainstorming, developing and discarding ideas, either because they didn’t inspire me, or they seemed too involved to handle at short story length. It took me nine months to come up with an idea that intrigued me enough to build a story around it. I put together an outline first, and then set to writing. The result is a story called “Attitude.” After a brief misdirection to a spam folder, it reached Jonathan safely, and was soon accepted.

Look for “Attitude” in Reach For Infinity, due out from Solaris books in June 2014. Read more about the anthology here.