Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net


Storybundle: AI in Science Fiction

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

AVAILABLE NOW!

Storybundles are themed collections of ebooks, sold together at discount, and available only for a very short period of time. Lisa Mason — author of the Philip K. Dick Award nominee Summer of Love — has put together the latest science fiction Storybundle, launching today. It’s assembled around the theme of artificial intelligence and includes two of my novels: The Bohr Maker and Limit of Vision.

I know that many of you who are regular visitors to this blog have already read The Bohr Maker, but I suspect that fewer have read Limit of Vision. So now’s your chance! And of course, the bundle also includes several other ebooks, many by well-known writers, and at a really great price. In fact, StoryBundle lets you name your own price, with a $5 minimum.

So…a purchase of $5 gets you the basic set of five books:

Aristoi by Walter Jon Williams
The Bohr Maker by Linda Nagata
Arachne by Lisa Mason
Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology, edited by John Kessel and James Patrick Kelly, with stories by William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Pat Cadigan, Jonathan Lethem, and twelve others
Queen City Jazz by Kathleen Ann Goonan

To complete your bundle, beat the bonus price of $15 and you’ll receive another five amazing books:
Eye Candy by Ryan Schneider
Glass Houses by Laura J. Mixon
Cyberweb by Lisa Mason
Limit of Vision by Linda Nagata
The A.I. Chronicles Anthology edited by Samuel Peralta including stories by David Simpson, Julie Czerneda, and eleven others

This Storybundle is available only through April 20. Visit the Storybundle website for more detailed information — and if you’re so inclined, please help spread the word!

Limit of Vision’s New Book Cover

Monday, July 25th, 2016

Back in June, I collected your opinions on potential new book cover designs for Limit of Vision, using part of the existing cover art, created by Sarah Adams.

After deciding on a direction, I then sent the project to graphic designer Emily Irwin to “professionalize” the concept. I’m very pleased with the result, which you can see here:

Limit of Vision by Linda Nagata

A new version of the ebook, featuring the new cover, should be available shortly at most ebook vendors. Find links and more information here.

I’m hoping to do a print-on-demand version this fall.

Book Cover Critique II

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

…original post is here

Update: added a third version, as suggested by Sharon in the comments.

Madness has struck and I am messing around with cover layouts. Generally, this is a profoundly time-wasting practice, but since I’ve come this far, let me know what you think of these concepts…

Layout 1:
The first one is a mockup. It’s an attempt to position elements to suggest the final cover layout, which would have to be completely re-done by someone with actual art/graphics skills. The small scene at the bottom would need to be repainted. It could be either a very similar painterly scene which fades into flat color, or else an entirely graphics sort of scene. The tumbling debris is meant to link the spider to the dissolving castle structure — and of course the color scheme would need to be adjusted to make a better match between the two elements.

If this was to be principally a print book viewed on a shelf, I would go for even smaller title fonts to suggest that “limit of the visible” idea, but it will be viewed almost exclusively online, so… maybe the font is too small?

layout1_500x771

Layout 2:
The second one is even simpler, and I don’t think requires further comment from me except to say that it would be handed off to a graphics artist for final font selection, placement, and rendering. Please let me know what you think!

layout2_500x771

Layout 3:
Suggested by Sharon in the comments…

layout3_500x771

Book Cover Critique

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

Limit of Vision by Linda NagataBack in 2011 I set out to develop a new cover for my stand-alone novel, Limit of Vision. I put together a rather laughable mockup of a cover concept. Artist Sarah Adams went on to turn it into a beautiful digital painting. I then added some clumsy title graphics, and the result is the cover you see at right.

There is so much that I really love about this cover art: the rendition of the landscape, the color scheme, the plummeting space debris, the foreground artifacts, and the spidery entity which is rendered so much better here than in the original Tor Books cover. And yet — though this layout is exactly what I asked for — I’ve never been really comfortable with it. Now I’m starting to think of doing a print or audio edition of this book, so I’m reconsidering the cover.

If you’re not familiar with Limit of Vision, this is a near-future, high-tech story set mostly in Vietnam. The two primary characters are an American scientist who instigates an incident of runaway biotechnology, and a Southeast Asian journalist who finds her life overtaken by that. It’s an adult novel, meaning that it’s not young adult.

We all like to think that the right cover will sell a book, and sometimes it’s true. So a general question for those willing to offer an opinion: is this the right cover? My own concerns go to the foreground figure. The portrait is meticulously painted, but is it too large? too dominating? Is it too suggestive of a young-adult novel?

Here’s a look at the cover painting without my amateur graphics:

Limit of Vision cover art

And here’s what it looks like without the foreground figure:

Limit of Vision cover art

Here are some options I’m looking at:

(1) Have a graphics designer fix up the fonts and it’ll be fine

(2) Eliminate the foreground figure, but keep the background — and get a graphics designer to fix the fonts.

(3) Start over.

I’d appreciate opinions — and opinions need not be limited to these options. Thank you!

Behind The Scenes: Limit of Vision

Friday, February 13th, 2015

Limit of VisionI think of my novel, Limit of Vision, originally published in 2001, as the book-no-one-has-heard-of. Certainly, it occupies a weird place in my mental landscape, in large part because it was written in the great, oxygen-deprived emotional void that followed the publication of Vast.

I can’t talk about Limit of Vision without talking about Vast. Vast was a special book to me. It took everything I had to give as a writer. It was edgy, nontraditional science fiction, something I knew at the time would appeal mostly to the hard core of the genre. It was the book I was born to write — that’s how I felt, and I’m not going to argue the point now. But Vast, of course, was a market failure and very quickly out of print.

The experience left me with a sense of futility, but I forged on anyway and wrote Limit of Vision, a near-future biotech thriller that takes place primarily in the Mekong Delta. The novel sold to Tor for a much larger advance than I’d ever had before. Even so, in the wake of the failure of Vast to find a larger audience, I was not brimming with confidence.
(more…)

Snippet: Limit of Vision

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

Limit of Vision - cover art by Sarah AdamsLimit of Vision was originally published in 2001 by Tor Books. It begins in Honolulu, but most of the story takes place in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam.

“I will tell you a story of these children,” Ky Xuan Nguyen said, startling Ela again with his voice so intimate in her ear. “It is said the Roi Nuoc are not human. Some say no children are truly human anymore. They are invaders, living in disguise among us. Aliens. They hope to keep us unaware until they reach breeding age, at which time they will bear only alien-type offspring. At that point the world as we know it will end. If we are unlucky, or undeserving, they will murder us all. If we have shown the proper deference and respect, they may choose to see us through an honored old age, but even so, we will be the last human generation. Any children we bear will belong to them.”

Ela caught herself barely breathing. She had heard this same story in Bangkok, after Sawong left with his lover and she was alone. “If you want to be afraid of something,” she said softly, “it’s easy to find an excuse.”

“I’m not afraid.”

No. Why should he be?

She spoke to the green-tinted mud. “People like to talk. But these are not evil spirits. Not alien invaders.”

“You’re sure?”

Her mouth felt dry. Sawong had left her with a thousand baht, a set of farsights, and the keys to his apartment. She’d been twelve. “They are just children.” She tapped her fingers, wishing she could see Nguyen’s face so Kathang could read him. “They are just children. I should do an article on them. That would be a good thing, if I show—”

“No, Ms. Suvanatat, that would not be good. You will not write about the Roi Nuoc. Not now. Not ever.”

Ela stood still, gazing back at the village and the silhouettes of distant women working in their platform houses, feeling as if she stood on the rotten floor of an abandoned tenement. Only a fool would take another step. So. “You think you can make it forever?”

“You are much like the Roi Nuoc, Ela. You are very like them. You could have found Sawong, or waited for him to return. But you didn’t. Why not?”

Anger blended with her surprise. He should not know about Sawong. He should not have bothered to know. “Say, did you want to do an article on me?”

“That would be difficult. There’s not much to tell, is there?”

“Sure. Aliens lead dull lives.”

“I take it we understand each other, Ms. Suvanatat?”

Oh yes. She understood him. He had made a mistake, talking to her about the Roi Nuoc, and now he wanted to pretend that mistake was repaired. Fine. “Of course, Mr. Nguyen.”

So what was his connection to the Roi Nuoc anyway?

With a few quiet finger taps, she passed the question on to Kathang for investigation. After all, she was not going to stay trapped in the Mekong forever. Someday soon she would be in Australia — and beyond Nguyen’s reach.

* * *

Publishers Weekly:
[A] compelling biotech thriller. Nagata…enlivens this extended chase through the steamy murk of Mekong swamps and the monsoons of the southeast Pacific with fascinating biotech hardware and gadgetry as well as clever extrapolations into nanotech potential…an idea-provoking narrative that is genuinely innovative in conception.

Now at Book View Café
Limit of Vision

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

My novel Limit of Vision is now available at Book View Café. Book View Café is a professional authors cooperative offering DRM free ebooks in multiple formats to readers around the world. You’ll find Limit of Vision available in both epub and mobi formats.

Here’s the book description:
“LOVs” are a tiny artificial lifeform containing bioengineered human neurons. Three young scientists illegally use implanted LOVs to enhance their cognitive abilities–but when the experiment goes wrong, the consequences are bizarre and unforeseeable. A space station module containing the last remnants of the LOVs crashes to Earth in the Mekong Delta, and the sole surviving scientist, Virgil Copeland, finds himself in a race to recover them–and avoid arrest. He meets Ela Suvanatat, an independent journalist infected by LOVs when she arrived first at the crash site. Together, they will ride the whirlwind of a runaway biotechnology leading to the next phase of human evolution.

Grab a sample and check it out!

A New Cover for Limit of Vision

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

When I first started re-publishing my backlist of novels, I created new covers myself for all the books. It seemed like the thing to do in those long-ago, pioneering days of winter 2010-2011.

The situation has improved considerably since then. Thanks to Bruce Jensen I was able to re-use the original cover art from The Nanotech Succession books, and Jenn Reese created a new cover for Memory.

Limit of Vision was the last novel to still have a cover by me, but it’s now stepping up in the world. Maui artist Sarah Adams has just finished a digital painting that will soon be on the ebook, and will also appear on the new print version at some future date.

Here it is. Click the image to see a larger version in a new window. And let me know what you think!

Limit of Vision is probably my most obscure science fiction novel, which is too bad. In my admittedly biased opinion, I think it’s a very worthy book.

If you’ve never heard of it and are curious to know more about it (or to see the original Tor cover) visit the Limit of Vision page on my website.

If you’d like to sample the book, you can find it at these vendors:
Amazon.com USA
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble

For would-be readers outside the USA, UK, or Germany: avoid the hefty international surcharge by buying from Book View Café. Check back here or on twitter/facebook/G+ for an announcement on when Limit of Vision will be available from BVC.

Chesley Awards

Saturday, August 20th, 2011

Publishing my own books has made me a lot more conscious of book covers and forced me to think more about what book buyers like–though I’ll admit this continues to be a deep mystery to me!

At any rate, Tor.com has a post on this year’s winners of the Chesley Awards for science fiction and fantasy artists, just announced at WorldCon. Go on over to Tor.com to check it out. Once you’re there, don’t forget to click on the category header to see all the nominees.

There are a lot of impressive illustrations, but the winner of the “unpublished color” category is one of my favorites, Julie Dillon’s “Planetary Alignment; digital” which is the second image when you click this link.

I’d love to show you the work-in-progress for the new book cover for Limit of Vision, but since I haven’t cleared it with the artist, I suppose I’d better wait.