Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net

Out Today: Cosmic Powers

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

I have a story in editor John Joseph Adams’ newest science fiction anthology, COSMIC POWERS.

Here’s the anthology’s description:

A collection of original, epic science fiction stories by some of today’s best writers — for fans who want a little less science and a lot more action — and edited by two-time Hugo Award winner John Joseph Adams.

Inspired by movies like The Guardians of the Galaxy and Star Wars, this anthology features brand-new stories from some of science fiction’s best authors including Dan Abnett, Jack Campbell, Linda Nagata, Seanan McGuire, Alan Dean Foster, Charlie Jane Anders, Kameron Hurley, and many others.

“A little less science” isn’t my usual sort of story, but when John asked me to contribute something I thought, Why not? It’s good to do try my hand at different things. Right? I mean, in the past John had asked me to write a military fantasy story — something I’d never tried before — and the result, “The Way Home,” turned out to be, in my opinion, one of my best short stories ever. So I agreed.

Oh, did I come to regret it! 😉

I had such a hard time writing this story. Quite obviously I had a mental block. I’d never before written a story with hyperspace/ FTL/ wormholes/ etc. and my muse made it clear I wasn’t going to start now. So after considerable soul-searching, I set about creating a whole new story world set in our solar system. It was a lot of work just for a short story, but I finally sent the result to John and he accepted it. He also gave it a new title: “Diamond and the World Breaker.” (I don’t remember what my original title was…)

Here’s the table of contents:

Introduction by John Joseph Adams
A Temporary Embarrassment in Spacetime—Charlie Jane Anders
Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance—Tobias S. Buckell
The Deckhand, the Nova Blade, and the Thrice-Sung Texts—Becky Chambers
The Sighted Watchmaker—Vylar Kaftan
Infinite Love Engine—Joseph Allen Hill
Unfamiliar Gods—Adam-Troy Castro, with Judi B. Castro
Seven Wonders of a Once and Future World—Caroline M. Yoachim
Our Specialty is Xenogeology—Alan Dean Foster
Golden Ring—Karl Schroeder
Tomorrow When We See the Sun—A. Merc Rustad
Bring the Kids and Revisit the Past at the Traveling Retro Funfair!—Seanan McGuire
The Dragon that Flew Out of the Sun—Aliette De Bodard
Diamond and the World Breaker—Linda Nagata
The Chameleon’s Gloves—Yoon Ha Lee
The Universe, Sung in Stars—Kat Howard
Wakening Ouroboros—Jack Campbell
Warped Passages—Kameron Hurley
The Frost Giant’s Data—Dan Abnett
Cover Art by Chris Foss

Cosmic Powers is out today. Visit the FREE READS page to read selected stories.

Short Fiction Sale: Asimov’s

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

I’m very pleased to announce that a short story I wrote last spring has been accepted at Asimov’s. “Through Your Eyes” is scheduled for the April/May 2013 double issue. This will be my first publication in Asimov’s, which is a milestone for me.

In the post linked to above I mention that “The protagonist of this story is proving rather troublesome. He’s in my head, lobbying for his own novel…” Uh-huh, and since then he’s gotten his own novel. That’s the one I’m presently working on, with the first draft just finished a couple weeks ago.

Why Science Fiction Short Stories
Are Really Hard to Write

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Your assignment: write a science fiction short story set off Earth, in another time.

Your story should do the following:

(1) Present to the reader an unfamiliar storyworld that is internally consistent and coherent, including an implied past and future.

(2) Present to the reader a specific setting within this storyworld, making sure it includes unfamiliar yet reasonably plausible technology.

(3) Utilize two or three unique and interesting characters. If not human, describe both the general and specific appearance of these characters, as well as their origin and biology. Please avoid caricature! If human, you need only describe your characters’ specific appearance, relying on the reader’s knowledge for general principles. In either case, communicate your characters’ motives and personalities in a manner relevant to the mood and tone of the story.

(4) Develop a fast-paced, action-packed story arc suited to the motives and personalities of your well-developed characters and utilizing the story’s plausible technology as an essential element. Be sure there is an external plot: something must happen. Equally important, include an internal plot: your primary character should have an issue or two to overcome!

(5) Include a theme that adds layers of meaning to your story.

Your assignment should be accomplished in 3000 words or less. Bonus points are awarded for stories achieving levels of “cool,” “awesome,” or “mind-blowing.”