Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net

Times Change: “SF” vs “Sci-Fi”

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

Long ago it was taught to me that within the science fiction genre we should never say “Sci-Fi.” If we want an abbreviation, we use the initials “SF.” Otherwise it’s “science fiction.”

The general reason given for avoiding “sci-fi” was that logically it should be pronounced “skiffy.” (Shaun Duke and Jen Zink have turned this right around by creating The Skiffy & Fanty Show).

Really though, I think it’s a tribal thing. Within the genre, “Sci-fi” was seen as a term used by dilettantes, those who might have picked up a Michael Crichton novel or two, watched some Star Trek or Star Wars, but in all likelihood knew little to nothing about the core of the genre.

I used to wince when someone would say to me, “Oh, I love sci-fi!”

But you know what? Times change. I now freely use the term “sci-fi” — and twitter is the reason.

Twitter allows a maximum of 140 characters per tweet. “SciFi” without the hyphen takes up five. “Science Fiction” requires fifteen. That’s a HUGE difference when I’m trying to tweet something like:

“There Needs To Be A War Going On Somewhere” The Red: First Light is a near-future scifi thriller. Read a sample:

That’s 136 characters. Spelling out “science fiction” would break it.

So why not use “SF” which is even shorter? Because for most people “SF” stands for “San Francisco.” Yes. Truth. I have confused people by using SF in a tweet. I may be an “SF Writer” but I’m not a writer from San Francisco and The Red: First Light is not set in San Francisco.

So I have taken to heart a quotation from Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon:


I’ve put aside my tribal prejudice and, on twitter at least, I’ve adopted the use of “Sci-Fi.” I understand this is a kind of heresy, but then, I’m a fiery revolutionary indie publisher…or at any rate, I’m a pragmatist.

Ya’ gotta’ do what ya’ gotta’ do.

You know?

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.

David Brin’s SF & Fantasy List

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

David Brin has posted a long list of his favored science fiction and fantasy, divided into categories. I’m proud to say I get a mention under “The Hard Stuff.” Check the whole list out here.

Thanks to @keith_johnston on twitter for pointing out the list!

Gregory Frost at Book View Cafe

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

My own Book View Café launch comes next week, but this week belongs to best-selling fantasy, science fiction, and thriller author Gregory Frost.

Look for his novel Lyrec, premiering this week exclusively at Book View Cafe. Lyrec is Greg’s bestselling first novel, back in print for the first time in 25 years. Epub and mobi samples are available for free download.

Book View Café is a professional authors cooperative offering DRM free ebooks in multiple formats to readers around the world, in a variety of genres including mystery, romance, fantasy, and science fiction. Check it out!

The Maui News Published an Article!

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

My home town newspaper, The Maui News published an article in today’s Sunday paper on my writing and on my latest novel, The Dread Hammer. Go take a look! It’s a truly nice write-up, with the title “The Magic of Fantasy.”

Side note–the article talks about research. A lot of fantasy writers do a A LOT of research for every book–probably more than I’ve ever done for any one science fiction novel. The Dread Hammer, being the sort of story it is, simply didn’t require a lot of background work, which was a big factor in helping me move forward with it.

Update: Just wanted to share the graphic from the newspaper’s print version. Forgive the terrible photo quality. This is a lovely and very creative spread by the newspaper’s graphic artist.

Sample the ebook here: USA
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble

Or find the print version here:
Amazon USA
Barnes & Noble
Powell’s Books

Snippets: The Bohr Maker

Friday, June 24th, 2011

“Name?” the majordomo program asked.

Nikko, who was in truth only a program himself, a modern ghost, an electronic entity copied from the mind of his original self, had little patience for Dull Intelligences. “The name’s Nikko,” he growled. “Rhymes with psycho. Nikko Jiang-Tibayan. I’ve only been here a hundred times you decrepit excuse for a secretary.”

He could hear Kirstin laughing, somewhere over the electronic horizon, a dim sound in the majordomo’s limited sensorial world. “Are you going to admit me or not?” he snapped.

“Of course, sir. The lady is expecting you.” USA
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble

Winner of the 1996 Locus Award for Best First Novel

A Good Reason to Write Short Stories

Monday, June 13th, 2011

I’m a novelist by nature. I’ve only ever written a handful of short stories–and most of those are on the long end of a short story–plus a few novelettes and novellas.

Word count is the deciding factor on which category a piece of fiction falls into. According to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America:
Short story: under 7,500 words
Novelette: 7,500 to 17,500 words
Novella: 17,500 to 40,000 words
Novel: over 40,000 words

I’ve just published in ebook form a 7,000 word short. In the Tide was an Analog cover story back in the day, which was quite a coup for me at that stage of my career.

Here’s a tip for new writers: In the Tide was actually a “study” in much the same way that a painter will do sketches before tackling the big oil painting. I used this story to develop a feeling for the nanotech-drenched story world that later led to The Nanotech Succession books. I also used it to develop the type of evolved-human character that ultimately led to Nikko in The Bohr Maker. It’s a scheme I heartily recommend! Get paid developing the ideas for your novels. Where’s the downside of that?

In the Tide is a 99¢ short story. Here are the links:

Amazon USA
Amazon UK (£0.69)
Barnes & Noble

UPDATE: “In The Tide” is now available for free on my website, Look for the box labeled “FREE FICTION”