Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net

Light And Shadow: eight short stories

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

Light And Shadow by Linda NagataBack in January, I posted a list of writing goals for 2016. One of those goals was to publish a second short story collection — and here it is: Light And Shadow: eight short stories.

The collection includes all my short fiction published since 2012, with the exception of the two “Zeke Choy” stories from the Nanotech Succession story world.

Here’s the list of included stories:

Through Your Eyes (Asimov’s 2013)
Halfway Home (Nightmare Magazine 2013)
Codename: Delphi (Lightspeed Magazine 2014)
Attitude (Reach For Infinity 2014)
A Moment Before It Struck (Lightspeed Magazine 2012)
Light and Shadow (War Stories 2014)
Nightside On Callisto (Lightspeed Magazine 2012)
The Way Home (Operation Arcana 2015)

It’s likely that those of you who regularly visit this blog have already read most of these stories, and if you haven’t, I want to let you know that most of them are available to read online. If you’d rather approach them that way, visit my website for links.

On the other hand, an ebook is vastly more convenient, this one contains short introductory notes with each story, and sales of this ebook could give a small but meaningful boost to my rather paltry career.

Further persuasion: I’ll add that half of these stories have appeared in various best-of-the-year anthologies.

So…buy an ebook! And tell your friends! I don’t expect this collection to be a big seller, but I’m hoping it can serve as an introduction to my work, for those vast numbers of readers who have never encountered my stories or novels before.

Here are some vendor links. The first link is to my webstore, which uses PayPal to checkout:

Mythic Island Press LLC USA UK
Kobo Books (International)
Barnes & Noble

Okay, back to writing.

Free Short-Story Ebook

Thursday, June 27th, 2013
Through Your Eyes by Linda Nagata; cover art by Dallas Nagata White

Cover art for “Through Your Eyes” by
Dallas Nagata White (click image to view large version)

Update: July 19, 2013
This promotion has ended, but the ebook is presently available for purchase at Mythic Island Press LLC for $1.25.

My short story “Through Your Eyes” was published in Asimov’s Science Fiction‘s April/May 2013 issue. It’s never been generally available — until now.

“Through Your Eyes” is a prequel story to my newest novel, The Red: First Light. Right now, I’m offering an ebook copy to everyone who subscribes to my newsletter.***

To get your copy, just fill in your email address and a name in the “New Book Alerts” form at the top of the righthand column, or if you’re using a feed that doesn’t show the column you can go here to fill in the form.

After you submit the form, you’ll get an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Once you do that, you’ll get a thank-you email that includes the web address where you can download both EPUB and MOBI (Kindle) versions of the “Through Your Eyes” ebook, which also includes an excerpt from The Red: First Light Note that it usually takes ten or fifteen minutes for this email to arrive.

My newsletter doesn’t go out very often. Generally I send it when I have new publications to announce, so you won’t be spammed. I hope you’ll sign up. It’s the best way I’ve found to stay in touch with readers.

*** The download is also available to current subscribers. An email has been sent explaining how to get it. If you’re a subscriber and didn’t get the email, please check your spam folder.

Snippet: “Nahiku West”

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

Nahiku West by Linda Nagata

A railcar was ferrying Key Lu across the tether linking Nahiku East and West when a micro-meteor popped through the car’s canopy, leaving two neat holes that vented the cabin to hard vacuum within seconds. The car continued on the track, but it took over a minute for it to reach the gel lock at Nahiku West and pass through into atmosphere. No one expected to find Key Lu alive, but as soon as the car re-pressurized, he woke up.

Sometimes, it’s a crime not to die.


I stepped into the interrogation chamber. Key had been sitting on one of two padded couches, but when he saw me he bolted to his feet. I stood very still, hearing the door lock behind me. Nothing in Key’s background indicated he was a violent man, but prisoners sometimes panic. I raised my hand slightly, as a gel ribbon armed with a paralytic spray slid from my forearm to my palm, ready for use if it came to that.

“Please,” I said, keeping the ribbon carefully concealed. “Sit down.”

Key slowly subsided onto the couch, never taking his frightened eyes off me.

Most of the celestial cities restrict the height and weight of residents to minimize the consumption of volatiles, but Commonwealth police officers are required to be taller and more muscular than the average citizen. I used to be a smaller man, but during my time at the academy adjustments were made. I faced Key Lu with a physical presence optimized to trigger a sense of intimidation in the back brain of a nervous suspect, an effect enhanced by the black fabric of my uniform. Its design was simple—shorts cuffed at the knees and a lightweight pullover with long sleeves that covered the small arsenal of chemical ribbons I carried on my forearms—but its light-swallowing color set me apart from the bright fashions of the celestial cities.

I sat down on the couch opposite Key Lu. He was a well-designed man, nothing eccentric about him, just another good-looking citizen. His hair was presently blond, his eyebrows darker. His balanced face lacked strong features. The only thing notable about him was his injuries. Dark bruises surrounded his eyes and their whites had turned red from burst blood vessels. More bruises discolored swollen tissue beneath his coppery skin.

We studied each other for several seconds, both knowing what was at stake. I was first to speak. “I’m Officer Zeke Choy—”

“I know who you are.”

“—of the Commonwealth Police, the watch officer here at Nahiku.”

The oldest celestial cities orbited Earth, but Nahiku was newer. It was one in a cluster of three orbital habitats that circled the Sun together, just inside the procession of Venus.

Key Lu addressed me again, with the polite insistence of a desperate man. “I didn’t know about the quirk, Officer Choy. I thought I was legal.”

The machine voice of a Dull Intelligence whispered into my auditory nerve that he was lying. I already knew that, but I nodded anyway, pretending to believe him.

The DI was housed within my atrium, a neural organ that served as an interface between mind and machine. Atriums are a legal enhancement—they don’t change human biology—but Key Lu’s quirked physiology that had allowed him to survive short-term exposure to hard vacuum was definitely not.

I was sure his quirk had been done before the age of consent. He’d been born in the Far Reaches among the fragile holdings of the asteroid prospectors, where it must have looked like a reasonable gamble to bioengineer some insurance into his system. Years had passed since then; enforcement had grown stricter. Though Key Lu looked perfectly ordinary, by the law of the Commonwealth, he wasn’t even human.

I met his gaze, hoping he was no fool. “Don’t tell me anything I don’t want to know,” I warned him.

I let him consider this for several seconds before I went on. “Your enhancement is illegal under the statutes of the Commonwealth—”

“I understand that, but I didn’t know about it.”

I nodded my approval of this lie. I needed to maintain the fiction that he hadn’t known. It was the only way I could help him. “I’ll need your consent to remove it.”

A spark of hope ignited in his blooded eyes. “Yes! Yes, of course.”

“So recorded.” I stood, determined to get the quirk out of his system as soon as possible, before awkward questions could be asked. “Treatment can begin right—”

The door to the interrogation room opened.

I was so startled, I turned with my hand half raised, ready to trigger the ribbon of paralytic still hidden in my palm—only to see Magistrate Glory Mina walk in, flanked by two uniformed cops I’d never seen before.

My DI sent the ribbon retreating back up my forearm while I greeted Glory with a scowl. Nahiku was my territory. I was the only cop assigned to the little city and I was used to having my own way—but with the magistrate’s arrival I’d just been overridden.

* * *

Here’s what Locus says about “Nahiku West”:
“A complex mystery, with an intricate plot… Well conceived and well executed. RECOMMENDED.”

“Nahiku West” is a 9,000-word novelette. Find it at Book View Café Use coupon code NW1012 for $1 off through October 30, 2012.

Amazing Stories Returns

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Amazing Stories, July 2012Those of you who’ve been around for a while will remember Amazing Stories as one of the primary digest magazines publishing science fiction and fantasy short stories. Launched in 1926, Amazing passed through various owners, continuing to publish until 2005.

I never sold a story to Amazing when it was a regular magazine, though I did try a lot in the early years, and I think I got close a time or two. I did finally place my shortest published fiction ever in an Amazing Stories anthology edited by Kim Mohan.

So…in case you haven’t already heard, Amazing Stories is on it’s way back! Steve Davidson has taken over the helm and the “Relaunch Prelaunch Issue” is going up online throughout the month of July.

Book View Café has the honor of participating in the first new issue, in the form of a roundtable discussion on questions relating to science fiction and the new world of publishing. You can find the first issue here, along with links to the questions and responses. See “Chain Mail: Amazing Stories Interviews 13 Authors From the Book View Cafe.”

To give you an idea of what we’re talking about, here are the first questions in the Chain Mail interview:

Part 1 – Is Science Fiction Definable?

Part 2 – Is Science Fiction Dying?

Part 3 – Is There A Divide Between Literary Fiction and Genre Fiction?

Part 4 – Is Fantasy Eclipsing Science Fiction?

Check it out and please let me know what you think!

Recent Reading

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

Thumbing back through my Kindle to review what I’ve been reading, or contemplating reading, lately reveals an odd mix. I’ve been interested in shorter work, so I’ve enjoyed Lawrence Block’s collection The Night and the Music, Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s The Retrieval Artist, some of Book View Café’s anthology Beyond Grimm, and some online stories, especially at Lightspeed Magazine (check out Tim Pratt’s Cup and Table).

I’ve sampled several novels, and have a lot more lined up. I was really intrigued by Brian Evenson’s Immobility, and I went to buy it, but was put off by the price, which I think was $13 at the time. It’s not that I think an ebook can’t be worth $13, but I charge only five or six dollars for my own books. So in one of those twisted psychological moves, it feels like I’m implying my books are rubbish if I’m willing to pay more than twice their cost for a book I know little about, by an author unfamiliar to me. I think this leaves Richard Kadrey’s Aloha From Hell as the most expensive e-novel I’ve ever bought, at eleven or twelve dollars—but that was the third book in a series that I’ve really enjoyed.

The two novels I’ve finished most recently are Greg Egan’s Incandescence, and Alastair Reynolds’ House of Suns, both of which engaged in galaxy-spanning cultures, and technologies existing across vast spans of time. Both are fascinating, and recommended.

Do you have a book to recommend? I’d love to hear about it. All genres welcome.

“Nightside On Callisto”–new short story at Lightspeed Magazine

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Cover of the May 2012 issue of Lightspeed MagazineAs I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I stopped writing short fiction at the end of the last century, but last fall I took it up again. The second story I wrote, “Nightside on Callisto,” has now become my first original short fiction to reach publication since my 2000 Nebula-award winner.

This feels like a very significant milestone for me.

Look for “Nightside on Callisto” in the May issue of Lightspeed magazine, now available here as an ebook. Lightspeed is an innovative short fiction market. Please support them by purchasing a copy of the magazine!

Short Story Update

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

The short story I talked about a few days ago has undergone some revision. It’s crept up in length (of course) and is now 5,900 words. I would have liked it shorter, but I’m not going to complain too much. It’s “done” to the extent that if I don’t rustle up a good beta reader in the next day or two, I’ll probably give in to the temptation to just send it off un-vetted.

The protagonist of this story is proving rather troublesome. He’s in my head, lobbying for his own novel now that I’ve messed up his nice life — and I have to admit I’m tempted, despite all the other projects I’m supposed to be working on.

In The Tide Now a Free Short Story

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

In The Tide is an older story of mine, and the first short that I put out in ebook form. The idea was to sell it for the minimum price allowed at Amazon: 99-cents, which would earn me 35%, or 35-cents on every sale. I note that John Locke managed to get rich on that same margin! Unfortunately, I can’t yet say the same.

I would have priced the story at “free” if it were an easy thing to do. It’s not. Various backdoor machinations are required to accomplish it, and I don’t want to play. So I’ve taken the story down from Amazon and am now offering it free on my website, in both epub and mobi versions. The package includes a five-chapter sample from my novel The Bohr Maker. So if you’ve never read a short story of mine, or want an easy, no-commitment way to sample The Bohr Maker, please snag a copy. And if you know anyone else who might be interested, I urge you, please, PLEASE send them over to

Find the link to the free story in the upper right of the landing page, in that box that says “Free Fiction” 😉

At Lightspeed

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

I’m very pleased to announce that I’ve made another short story sale, my second since I started writing short fiction again last fall. This one, titled Nightside on Callisto, has gone to Lightspeed Magazine, and is tentatively scheduled for the May issue.

This sale was a completely new experience for me. I’m used to waiting weeks for a response on a story, but this round took roughly 22 hours from submission to acceptance, thanks to editor John Joseph Adams’ policy of acting fast on all submissions. That’s a policy I could easily get used to!

Short Fiction Sale!

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

The first short fiction I’ve written in years has sold to Analog Science Fiction & Fact! (Yes, there is a big grin on my face.)

I wrote the story last September. This was a milestone for me, because the last original story of less-than-novel length that I ever wrote was published in 2000–so it had been a while.

The new story was a little bit too long to be called a short story–at 8,900 words it’s technically a novelette, but fortunately, Analog is okay with that length, and Analog was also the home of my first four pro sales, way back when, so I decided to send it there first. Just after New Year’s the very welcome news arrived that editor Stanley Schmidt is buying the story.

No publication date yet, but I’ll post when I know.

If you’d like to read more about the story and the process of writing it, check out this blog post.