Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net


The Subtle Art

December 20th, 2017

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

You’ve probably seen this book around. It’s classified as a self-help book. I read an excerpt from it sometime ago and liked what the author had to say, but I felt like I’d already applied a lot of his principles in my life, so I didn’t pick it up.

Recently though, the subject of the book came up again so I decided to listen to the audiobook — and I really enjoyed it! It’s profane but humorous, it tells engaging stories to illustrate its points, and the narrator is excellent.

“Not Giving a F*ck” in this context is about seizing the power to choose what you “give a fuck” about. In other words, making the choice only to care about the things that really matter in life and “Not Giving a F*ck” about the rest of it, or about what others think of your choices. Of course there’s a lot more to it, including an interesting discussion of entitlement and a chapter on the effect of social media on our psyches. If you’re looking for a relatively short, smart, and humorous listen, check it out.

99 Reasons

December 15th, 2017

I saw the new Star Wars this afternoon. Measured against the rest of the franchise, I thought it was fine. But on to the subject of this post…

“99 Reasons 2017 Was A Great Year” is the title of a post authored by Angus Hervey, for Future Crunch. Anyone with a bit of curiosity will find something of interest in this list of mostly science and environment-oriented markers of progress.

For example, #17, “Chile set aside 11 million acres of land for national parks in Patagonia, following the largest ever private land donation from a private entity to a country.”

Or #29 “In November, Mexico’s government created a new 148,000 square kilometer ocean reserve, ‘the Galapagos of North America’ for the conservation of hundreds of species, including rays, humpback whales, sea turtles, lizards and migratory birds.”

What a contrast to the American regime, whose officials have no interest in doing their mandated jobs but instead are trying to take away America’s protected lands!

There’s also positive news on the technology front. Item #52: “The cost of solar and wind plummeted by more than 25% in 2017, shifting the global clean energy industry on its axis.”

Of course there is stuff to argue about in the list, and there are items guaranteed to inspire cynical comment. Number eighty-four is an example of the latter: “Heckler & Koch, the world’s deadliest arms manufacturer, announced it would end gun sales to countries falling short of corruption and democracy standards.” So no more sales to the USA, eh?

Each item includes a handy link to a source article. So click through and check it out. If you happen to be a science fiction writer, you’ll probably find a lot of inspiration.

The Days Are Flashing Past So Quickly

December 13th, 2017

Recent Work
My recent workdays have mostly gone toward that short story I need to write — mentioned in my last post — and an early start on revising the novel-in-progress.

Happily, I’ve now got a solid draft of the short story. Sadly, it’s a thousand words longer than I wanted it to be. Brevity is an asset in a short story, right? I mean, it’s part of the definition. I’ll go over it another time or two, but at this point it’s unlikely I’ll manage to chop out 20% of it. Oh well.

As for the novel, I finally put together a detailed timeline for the story world. Yay, me!

What’s that? Well, yes, it would be more logical to create a timeline before writing the story, but when I’m starting something new, I find it’s usually best just to plunge right in before fear has time to freeze my forward progress.

The State of the Union
In political news, I was relieved to see Alabama reject their loathsome Republican senate candidate. It feels like a step back from the abyss. On the other hand, almost half of Alabama voters found this wretch to be worthy of representing them, so I see this as only a reprieve. No telling just yet if the tide will really turn.

Here’s a post from last year on pessimism.

Year-End Lists
Lots of publications, as well as individual reviewers, like to put together lists of their favorite books at the end of each year. My work hasn’t made any of the big lists (NYT, NPR, etc.). We can assume this is because they never read my work. 🙂 But here are a couple of lists you might enjoy.

“Featured Futures” has a list of favorite online short science fiction. Yes, my Tor.com story is included, but there are links to lots of other stories too. Check it out! I’m going to.

Reviewer Paul Weimer, who writes for both Tor.com and Barnes & Noble, among others, has put together a post on some of his favorite novels from 2017. What I really like about this (besides that he included The Last Good Man!) is the uniquely descriptive categories he’s using. Check it out here.

Progress

December 5th, 2017

Today I declared the current novel-in-progress to be a complete first draft. There will be lots of cleanup and revision to follow, but for now, Huzzah!

I’m also over 9,000 words into a no-longer-short story. This one was intended for an anthology, but it’s way past the word limit for that and it’s only going to get longer. So I’ve put it aside for now, though I hope to finish it sometime in the next couple of months.

Meanwhile, I still owe a story for that anthology, so that project will now be priority one.

After that, it will be revisions on the novel I just finished, and then on to a planned sequel. I’m making an effort to worry less and write more. So far, so good.

Science Fiction World + German Audiobooks

December 4th, 2017

Science Fiction World is the premier science fiction magazine in China. “The Martian Obelisk” is my third story to be published there in translation. I just received my contributor copies today. See the cover below, along with the illustrated start of the story. (Click the cover for a larger image).

Science Fiction World 10.2017 with The Martian Obelisk

“The Martian Obelisk” was originally published last July at Tor.com. You can read it there online — in English!

And for German speakers, the final volume of Red trilogy is coming soon in audio!

Random Post

November 29th, 2017

I feel like I should be posting here more often, but most of my time these days is going towards writing, followed by all the other daily essentials of life.

So what’s going on with the writing? Well, the end is in sight on the initial draft of a new novel. This will be a short novel compared to most of my work. I’m hoping the final will be around 75,000 words. It will also be the first of an anticipated trilogy of similarly short novels, so we’ll see how that goes. I’d like to get book 2 drafted in the next few months. How’s that for ambition?

It looks like I need to get back to promoting the books…
Before and after The Last Good Man came out, a huge percentage of my time went toward promotion — and not much toward writing. I started backing off on the promo activities in September and by October I wasn’t doing much at all. I don’t think I’ve done more than tweet about the book a few times in November — and wow, have sales fallen off over the past two or three weeks. And not just on my newest, but on the other books too. Yes, it’s a bit discouraging. Isn’t “momentum” supposed to kick in at some point? Heh.

There’s a school of thought in indie publishing that the way to grow your career is to have a new novel come out every three months. Deep down, I suspect this might be true, but that’s far, far faster than I can get a book out the door. Oh well. At least I’m having fun with the writing … which is why I don’t want to shift focus back to promotion! 😉

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 23rd, 2017

It’s Thanksgiving here in America. I hope everyone celebrating today enjoys a pleasant holiday, and if you have to work today, I hope the world treats you well and that you enjoy Thanksgiving whenever you get a chance to celebrate it.

I’d like to take advantage of today to say an extra thank you to all my readers. You give me a reason to keep plugging away at this writing gig. I’m well along with the newest novel and I’ve got a lot of plans for more to come. I just need to keep my focus and my confidence and keep the work flowing!

More soon!

Xena Rose is thankful for squeaky tennis balls.

The New Writing Schedule

November 16th, 2017

At the start of the month I mentioned that I’d undertaken a new writing schedule:

Writing more fiction is my top priority and I’ve already adjusted my schedule to accommodate that. My plan is to ignore email, Twitter, and the news until at least noon. Instead, I’ll start my day by diving straight into writing…

I’ve stuck to this new schedule since then and I’m loving it. Words are still not pouring forth in a torrent, but I’m so much more focused on the writing, on the storytelling, and for me that’s the important thing. When I’m immersed in the words, progress is going to be made.

I’ve gone back to the novel I started earlier this year. Much of the past few days has been spent getting my notes in order and plotting the remaining events that take place in this volume, along with some of the main action in the next, but I’ve also been slowly extending the word count.

A side effect of this schedule, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing, is that I’ve been spending a lot less time on social media, Twitter in particular. It’s better to be writing. Right?

Award Eligible Work — 2017

November 15th, 2017

(This post is from November, but I’m pinning it to the top of my blog for a bit since we are now in AWARD SEASON, and I long ago gave up being shy about this sort of thing. 🙂 )

For those of you who like to nominate for the annual science fiction and fantasy awards, including the Nebula and Hugo awards, here’s a roundup of my 2017 award-eligible work.

In the novel category…
The Last Good Man
A high-tech, near-future thriller

Army veteran True Brighton left the service when the development of robotic helicopters made her training as a pilot obsolete. Now she works at Requisite Operations, a private military company established by friend and former Special Ops soldier Lincoln Han. ReqOp has embraced the new technologies. Robotics, big data, and artificial intelligence are all tools used to augment the skills of veteran warfighters-for-hire. But the tragedy of war is still measured in human casualties, and when True makes a chance discovery during a rescue mission, old wounds are ripped open. She’s left questioning what she knows of the past, and resolves to pursue the truth, whatever the cost. (June 2017)

Publishers Weekly starred review
On the Locus Recommended Reading List

In the short story category…
Diamond and the World Breaker” is short story in the anthology Cosmic Powers, edited by John Joseph Adams (April 2017).

The Martian Obelisk” is short story available to read online at Tor.com, editor: Ellen Datlow (July 2017).

“The Martian Obelisk” has been included in five best-of-year anthologies:
The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year Volume 12, edited by Jonathan Strahan
The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirty Fifth Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois
The Best Science Fiction Of The Year – Volume 3, edited by Neil Clarke
The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2018 Edition, edited by Rich Horton
• …and one that I don’t think has been announced yet.

Region Five” is a military science fiction short story set in the story world of the Red. Find it in the anthology Infinite Stars, edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt (October 2017).

➛ SFWA members: an ebook edition of The Last Good Man is available for download in the SFWA Forum. Once you’re logged in, you can find it by following this link.

That’s it! Thanks for stopping by.

Writing Buddy

November 14th, 2017

Last November I posted about my new puppy, Xena Rose. It’s been a year since then and she’s all grown up.

Well, mostly grown up.

Here’s what she looks like now:

Xena’s my writing buddy — every morning lately she’s slept in my lap for an hour or two as I work. Of course she’s also my “you’ve done enough writing for now so take me out” buddy. That’s all right. It’s good to get up and walk around.

Considering Xena is only eight pounds, she’s been a handful. And what a comedian! If life gets too dull around here, she will actively seek something naughty to do — steal a remote control, pull something from the recycle bin, snatch a tissue from a pocket — just to stir things up. I still use barriers to limit how far she can wander in the house, because I never know what she’s going to get into. But she’s a lot of fun. 🙂