Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net

Looking Back, and Looking Ahead

December 28th, 2016

Here we are at the end of the year. It’s a good time to take stock of writerly things. This isn’t meant to be a whiny post. More of a looking-reality-straight-in-the-eye post — and looking ahead at what’s to come


Some writers have nicely ascending career paths. There may be a few setbacks, but overall the trend is up. For many of us – dare I say most of us? – that’s not how it goes. Oh sure, we enjoy the occasional triumph, but our careers are mostly a long, lonely slog through tough, soggy, mosquito-filled terrain, with only an occasional glimpse of snow-capped peaks rising in the distance—the Olympian heights! (This being a metaphor for bestseller lists, in case you missed that.)

For a while, it looked like The Red trilogy was going to be my path out of the fens — if not to the magic mountains, then at least to more solid ground. I mean, the critical response was pretty damn encouraging. Check out some of the crazy quotes here.

If you’re new to this blog and you’ve never heard of these books, here’s a brief history:

Back in 2013, I decided to self-publish the first of the trilogy, The Red: First Light, rather than trying to sell it to a traditional publisher. This was my first science fiction novel in ten years, and it went on to become a finalist for the Nebula award and second runner-up for the John W. Campbell Memorial award. It was picked up by Simon & Schuster’s Saga Press, given a gorgeous new cover, and in that incarnation was named as a Publishers Weekly best book of 2015. Saga Press published the second and third books in the trilogy in quick succession. Book 3, Going Dark, tied for first runner up for the Campbell Memorial award.

So I had reasons to get my hopes up, right?

These books had the most commercial potential of anything I’ve written. They are action oriented, and they extrapolate on real-world technology and politics. They are also heroic stories in which the actions of individuals do matter. Yes, they are written in a cynical tone (an amusingly snarky tone, I hope), but this was cynicism wrapped around a core of idealism. In other words, they’re culturally appropriate for a large swath of American readership. As evidence of that, they’ve had multiple inquiries regarding film and TV rights, and in fact were optioned for TV (an agreement now expired).

This was all far more than I’d expected … but the path peters out if potential readers miss those reviews, or if they decide for reasons of their own to skip the books, or if they never hear of the books at all because they don’t read reviews and rely instead on chance, name recognition, or word of mouth to choose their next read.

The trilogy garnered enthusiastic readers — and I’m grateful for every one of you! — but despite all the good omens, it failed to capture the attention of enough readers to make it a success. Sales languished. The books sank out of sight.

Hell, yes, this was disappointing. And I could write a long, disgruntled post speculating on the reasons why it happened — in fact I did — but I’ll spare you that. We’re here at the turn of the year and it’s time to move on, because…




Hey, I’m excited about it. I hope you are too. I really, really hope you’re excited, because I’m going to need your support on this.

So what’s it called? What’s it about? That post will go up at the New Year. But here’s a hint:

In these crazy, frightening, rapidly changing times my focus has been captured by the near future. Where are we going? What are some of the implications of our rapidly developing technologies? What impact might they have on the way we see ourselves, and on what we value in ourselves, given that we are still operating under the templates of our ancient tribal minds? These are some of the themes behind a thriller that’s written on a very human scale.

So check back soon. And in the meantime, if you haven’t done so already, sign up for my occasional newsletter (see the form in the upper right column). It’s one more way to keep in touch.

Posted on: Wednesday, December 28th, 2016 at 8:02 am
Categories: Writing, Writing Life.
Tags: ,

11 Responses to “Looking Back, and Looking Ahead”

  1. Paul Weimer Says:

    *I* am excited for your new book, Linda 🙂

  2. Linda Says:

    ::adds Paul to list of potential reviewers::

    Thanks Paul!

  3. Carli YS Says:

    VERY excited about your new book!!

    You are one of my very favorite SciFi authors. I WAIT and WAIT for the next book!!

  4. Chris M. Says:

    What Paul said. Keep it up. BTW I own in fact the Mythic Island edition of “First Light”. Albeit I’m as mentioned on Twitter to poor for the HC.

  5. Linda Says:

    Thanks Carli and Chris! Details will be here on the blog next week, and the wait won’t be nearly as long as it might have been. 🙂

  6. Pamela Dean Says:

    I am terrifically excited for your new book. I’ll read anything you write, as evidenced by my devouring the trilogy though I really don’t like military science fiction and I really don’t like action-oriented fiction. I liked the trilogy, though, enormously. If you write it, it works for me.

  7. Linda Says:

    Pamela, you’re awesome! Thank you so much. 🙂

  8. thesfreader Says:

    Waiting reader here too 🙂

  9. Linda Says:

    🙂 Thank you!

  10. Sandra Says:

    Dear Mrs Nagata!

    Your first novel of the Red trilogy has been published in German in October 2016, and yesterday I bought a copy.
    Unfortunately, my English isn’t good enough to read a complete book in English, so I hope the German translation will do justice to your English original.
    I’m only a few pages into it – and so far I really like it and I think I will buy part 2 and 3 as well, but will have to wait until February and July respectively for them to be released.

    All the best for 2017 and kind regards from Germany!

  11. Linda Says:

    Hi Sandra. I’m glad to hear the German edition reads so well. I hope you enjoy the rest of it. Thank you for stopping by!