First off: Happy Fourth of July. As much as the news criticizes our government and claims we are as bad as Orwell’s 1984, I am still glad that I live in America and was born to my parents. I am lucky.
More than the government, I fear a relative or friend posting an awkward picture on Facebook, or quoting a tweet out of context. More than the municipal camera on a street corner are the millions of cameras in the average person’s smart phone ready to snap any local event or action. We resent government interference, but embrace everyone else… Amazon, Facebook, Linked-in, etc.
Nowadays we can’t hide from each other.
Nor do we seem to want to.
I just returned from Nashville where I attended a special wedding of my nephew and a book signing.
Text messaging enabled me to stay abreast of all activities and be where I needed to be. My whole dynamic of communication shifted.
I learned a few lessons about doing a book signing. Last time I came to this group, I contacted the organizer well ahead of time and she got me on the regular calendar. The room filled with over fifty people and was immensely successful. I sold every book I brought and then some.
This time I hesitated to contact the organization ahead for various reasons. My old contact had left and someone new ran the activities. I didn’t have her number, would they even want me to talk again? By the time we connected, the normal calendar had gone out. But, she was enthusiastic and we discussed an intriguing title.
Which didn’t get published.
Instead, I was billed as Sheron McCartha discusses her second career as an author, and a small flyer went out to a limited number of people. Needless to say, the attendance was not the same.
There is nothing that beats face to face contact with a reader. Everyone in attendance bought a book and I made some wonderful friends and met some really nice people. I had a good time and would do it again.
The moral is to get out there, but make sure you’re well publicized first. Don’t be shy. People can be really nice.
As I was sitting on the plane traveling out, I remember gazing out the window and seeing the cotton white clouds, thinking of the settlers trudging westward over a hundred years ago. Did any one of them stare up into the sky and imagine large metal birds flying high overhead at incredible velocities packed with passengers of all types that stared at iPads and kindles, and paperbacks, passing the time sipping various drinks and eating peanuts? I took six hours to travel coast to coast where early settlers took many months, and most died in the attempt. I went in comfort and barely felt the heat outside. Did any one of those early settlers envision this future or even have the capacity to understand what it might be?
And a hundred years from now, how might my descendants be traveling, and what might they look like? Hopefully not baggy shorts and Nike t-shirts.
If you would like to imagine a far future where faster than light communication is enabled through Bose-Einstein relays that use special crystals that involve entanglement, and genetically designed and tanked beings, part human, part cyborg exist, then I recommend Chris Moriarty’s Spin State.
Spin State is a detective story with Catherine Li as an augmented investigator, born out of the mines of Compton’s world, where the precious crystals that enable worlds to connect are found. She escapes the crushing poverty of the mines, buys a new face, cutting tech augmentation, joins the military and becomes a hero, a major and finally a UN Peacekeeper.
Now she is sent back to her home world to investigate the death of a dead physicist, called Sharifi, who turns out to be her cloned twin. And what was called an accident is looking more and more like murder. But over thirty-seven faster than light jumps has erased most of Li’s memories and every corner she turns deep inside the mines of this alien world holds deadly secrets she must unravel. The critical crystal may be alive, but dying, and a missing data set could change the balance of power and bring about a war.
Li engages the help of a one of a kind artificial intelligence that is programmed with human emotions. Cohen is her strange lover who uses various human bodies and downloads into them as he helps Li solve her mystery. He can access places no human can go and process data in a blink of an eye…but can she trust him? His motivation is suspect as he also wants to find what Sharifi has discovered and use it for his own purposes. Secrets are everywhere. And the witch Bella, created and tanked by the Synthetic worlds who want to take over humankind, has her own reasons for finding out what Sharifi uncovered deep in a mine’s glory hole. For her, the crystals sing.
An intriguing mix of mystery, quantum physics, evolved humans and artificial intelligences, I found Spin State an engaging read and recommend it. This book is first in a series that I want to bring to your attention. Spin Control and Ghost Spin continue the tale of Catherine Li and the struggle between artificial intelligence and humans. I am looking forward to reading these also.
Spin State received a nomination for the 2003 Philip K. Dick award and was the top ten editor’s pick for Science Fiction and Fantasy in 2003.
And made the time pass swiftly and enjoyably while I soared overhead.