Category Archives: Cyberpunk

Books Translating into Media Forms

Have you noticed recently a lot of familiar book titles showing up on various streaming services? Movies? Television series? Then I read the last few blogs of Kris Rusch talking about licensing your work. Story content is at a premium in the war for streaming memberships, and she urges authors to look into the lucrative world of licensing.

Think about it. Star Wars has made a fortune on licensing games, dolls, cups, sweatshirts. Oh, you’ve seen all the stuff. Their products are everywhere, and it’s all from a story.

But, you say… I’m not famous. Well, according to Kris, you don’t have to be. Check out her blog and her experience at the Vegas licensing conference.

http://www.kriswrites.com/2019/08/07/business-musings..

However, it didn’t all come together in my mind until I read Tor’s blog on upcoming books adapted for media. (Movies, Netflix, TV, etc.)

Mind blown.

There’s too many to list here, so I’m just going to mention those books I have recommended in my blogs that I’m familiar with. I’m omitting the large quantity of graphic novels slated for production. Also, some went into contact and because of delays, the contracts have expired.

But still, the list is extensive.

First…those science fiction stories that are returning from an already broadcasted series and are in upcoming productions for an additional season.

The Expanse by James Corey.– This is an long series that is very good. So far the production has been outstanding. Coming on Amazon streaming service Dec 13 renewed by Amazon after being dropped by Netflix.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness broadcast– US /BBC April 2019. Second and third season has no date yet but is in production. (See discussion on this below). Well done as a broadcast.

Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan (See trailer and review in previous blog) Season 1 was February 2018. It’s a gritty Cyberpunk murder mystery where people can be “sleeved” into other bodies or cloned. Far future. It has been renewed for eight seasons by Netflix and is in production to return in 2020.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman–Already available on Netflix, the first two seasons deal with a group of students at a college that teaches magic. They discover an alternate fantasy world through a book and soon are battling a variety of demons and bad guys while dealing with several romantic conflicts. Next in the series due out in 2020.

Man in the High Castle. By Philip K. Dick.–First two series on Netflix. Third season due out Nov 2019. It tells the story of an alternate universe during Hitler’s era where Germany and Japan have divided up the United States. However, there’s a secret film that has our timeline on it where Germany is defeated, and everybody is searching for it to take to the “man in the castle.”.

Outlander by Diana Gilbraldi. –several seasons already. Starz says that the fifth season of the Golden Globe-nominated original series Outlander will premiere on Sunday, February 16 2020. It will be the first time new episodes have aired since the season 4 finale in January. … Season five is currently in production in Scotland.
There are eight books in this romantic time travel series to date. My own Caught in Time has a similar premise of a woman traveling to the past and falling in love… Only my female protagonist is sent back to assassinate the king, but she accidentally falls in love with him because of mistaken identity.

The Umbrella Academy. First season on Netflix. No date yet for second season, but ten episodes confirmed. This is based on a comic book story of a dysfunctional family of superheroes who are now reunited to face a world threat.

The Feed by Nick Clarke Wundo. First season on Amazon Prime Nov 22 2019. Second season to date is neither canceled or confirmed. Based on science fiction thriller where technology is placed in everyone’s brain and people can read other’s minds.

The City and City by China Mieville aired BBC (Britbox) April 2019 but no date for U.S. yet. Science fiction crime thriller takes place in dimensionally overlapped cities.

These are a few of an already broadcasted series that I have mentioned in my blog or viewed.

There are many books or graphic novels that are in contract to be published in the media. Here are only a few I’m familiar with.

Artemis by Andy Weir. Film. 20th Century Fox
Artemis is a 2017 science fiction novel that takes place in the late 2080s and is set in Artemis, the first and so far only city on the Moon. It follows the life of porter and smuggler Jasmine “Jazz” Bashara as she gets caught up in a conspiracy for control of the city. Wild young lady who disrupt the moon community. (in blog)

Ancillary Justice by Anne Leckie—to be announced. (In blog) Breq used to be the spaceship Justice of Toren, controlling countless ancillary soldiers, before an accident fragmented her. Now, in a single form, she is returning to the Imperial Radch to confront its ruler, Anaander Mianaai. adapted for Fox tv.

The Last Policeman by Ben Winters. Put pilot for TV. NBC. (In blog)
With an approaching asteroid on a collision course with Earth, the end of the world is just months away. But as civilization frays at the edges, police detective Hank Palace is determined to stay on the job and investigate the crimes everyone ignores. (In blog)

Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey is a high fantasy series called Kushiel’s Legacy. At this time, it is unclear if Lionsgate is planning a film franchise or looking to bring the series to a cable channel as a series in the vein of Game of Thrones or Outlander, which all had successful leaps from page to screen. (in blog)

Name of the Wind. By Patrick Rothfuss—optioned by Lionsgate for Film, TV, or possibly gaming. (In blog)
The Kingkiller Chronicle is a fantasy series by Patrick Rothfuss, which recounts the story of Kvothe, an adventurer and musician. The story is narrated from the third person, but mostly consists of Kvothe narrating his life to a scribe in the first person.

Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula LeGuin optioned for TV. (In blog)

Lies of Locke Lemora. By Scott Lynch —TV. Tba
The Lies of Locke Lamora is a 2006 fantasy novel by American writer Scott Lynch, the first book of the Gentleman Bastard series. Elite con artists calling themselves the “Gentleman Bastards” rob the rich of the city of Camorr, based on late medieval Venice but on an unnamed world. (In blog)

Fifth Season. By N. K. Jemisin TV. TNT in progress (In blog)
At the end of the world, a woman must hide her secret power and find her kidnapped daughter in this intricate and extraordinary Hugo Award winning novel of power, oppression, and revolution.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Heinlein (In blog)

The Peripheral by Gibson—Amazon series
Neuromancer by Gibson. Film looking for screenwriter (In blog) Gibson is the father of the Cyberpunk genre. Hugo award winning novel.

Redshirts and Old Man’s War– Scalzi up for option on Old Man’s War. Netflix (In blog)
An adaptation of the John Scalzi science fiction novel “Old Man’s War.” Released in 2005, the novel tells the tale of a futuristic army, the Colonial Defense Forces. An intergalactic Earth military, the CDF’s soldiers are placed in updated versions of their own bodies and have their DNA enhanced by nanotechnology. At age 75, retired writer John Perry enlists and is given the gift of youth at the cost of military service.

Rivers of London by a Ben Aronvitch TV series (In blog) Also titled Midnight Riot.
This bestselling UK series follows Peter Grant, an ordinary constable turned magician’s apprentice, as he solves crimes across London in a sensational blend of inventive urban fantasy, gripping mystery thriller, and hilarious fantasy caper.

Sand Hugh Howey. TV at syfy channel, tv.
a story about a world covered in dunes in which a select few “sand divers” are able to retrieve lost relics from beneath the worldwide desert brought about by ecological devastation.

Seveneve’s Gaiman. Ron Howard adapting for movie
A colony of survivors living in outer space try to return to Earth thousands of years after it was evacuated.

Shipbreaker Paola Bacigalupi. In production. For film by Cinamablend beginning 2018
Shipbreakers is a thriller that deals with the ecological breakdown of Earth. The Polar caps are melting and New Orleans is under water. (in blog) YA

Spin Robert Charles Wilson syfy mini series now on backburner (In blog)

The Strange Case of the Alchemists Daughter by Theodora Goss. TV (in future blog)
Based on some of literature’s horror and science fiction classics, this is the story of a remarkable group of women who come together to solve the mystery of a series of gruesome murders—and the bigger mystery of their own origins.

Stranger in a Strange Land. Heinlein optioned for TV. Famous classic Hugo winning novel

Time Salvager Leslie Chu for film (In blog) optioned in 2015 tba
Centuries in the future, a burned-out time traveler breaks society’s highest law for love and the chance to restore a toxic Earth.

The Telling (aka The Disposed) Ursula Le Guin. Film (In blog)
The 2019 Sundance Film Festival began on January 24 and runs through February 3, 2019. “The Dispossessed” is part of the Shorts Program at Sundance Film Festival.

The Time Travelers Wife Already a movie, now optioned for TV (In blog)
Problems one faces when your husband is an involuntary time traveler.

The Three-body Problem by Cixin Liu. Six movies… Already finished shooting in 2015, but the release date is still unclear. During China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military program sends signals into space to initiate first contact with aliens. Years later, a physicist uses a virtual reality game to uncover what the aliens actually want from Earth. (in blog)

The Way of Kings Sanderson (In blog) DMG three movie sets.
The Stormlight Archive is set thousands of years after disastrous cyclical wars ravaged the storm-swept planet of Roshar—a time when the Heralds of the Knights Radiant and their ten powerful swords, the Honorblades, have been reduced to legend. Even the ancient Voidbringers, who once swept the planet in invasions called”Desolations,” are now a mystery. The nations of the world squabble amongst themselves, until the threat of a final Desolation known as the Everstorm rears its head at the end of The Way of Kings.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik (In blog) Warner Bros film along with co-producer Ellen Degeneress won rights in 2014. Air date to be announced.
Follows a young woman who lives near a corrupted woods where people rely on the powers of a wizard to keep the evil at bay.

Wool Hugh Hugh Howey (In blog) AMC developing TV series.
Tells a post-apocalyptic story that follows a sheriff, his wife, and their larger society forced underground due to toxic air on the surface of the planet.

These are just a few I cherry picked from a large list that I have already talked about in my blog. For a more complete list go to:

(Almost) Every Sci-Fi/Fantasy and Comic Book Adaptation in the Works

 

This blog idea came about when I received a free ARC copy of A Discovery of Witches and then noticed it was a series on Netflix.

Netflix did a good job with the adaptation that spans several episodes.

The story is about a descendent of one of the Salem witches who denies her powerful magical abilities until she is forced to use them to protect herself and acknowledge her legacy. She is a professor at University and when doing research on alchemy in the library there, one of the books she takes off the shelves is a sought after book by several supernatural creatures. A prominent professor, secret vampire, notices and stalks her to gain the book and its secrets. However, a difficult romantic entanglement ensues, and he decides to keep her safe from the clustering werewolves, vampires, witches, and other fey creatures who want the book for their own reasons. Time travel gets involved.

There are three novels in this trilogy and Times Convert, next on my list to read, is the second in the series. I look forward to the Netflix version when it airs.

Just waiting on Christmas

4 Comments

Filed under alien life forms, Alien worlds, Aliens in Science Fiction, Alternate Universes, award winning scifi, Computer implants in science fiction, Cyberpunk, Dystopia Earth, first contact, Hugo winners, Marketing and selling novels, science fiction science, supernatural

Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading List for 2018

Happy 2018 to everyone. Yes, it’s hard to believe we have a new year starting again, and although there was plenty of tumult around me, this past year was a good one.

I’m currently working on the third book in my Terran Trilogy called The Weight of Gravity. This trilogy is part of the overall Alysian Universe series, but from a completely different prospective. It makes the tenth book I’ve written, along with other shorter works in anthologies. Kristine Rusch talks about author burnout, and I’m battling a bit of it myself. Maybe the new year will energize me.

When I set out to pick ten books for the upcoming year for my blogs, I noticed that my kindle library was bursting with books gathered from various ad sites that I promised myself I would get around to reading. So, that’s where I will draw from for some of my selections. I’m worried that ebooks are getting cheaper and cheaper, many are offered for free, and personal libraries are filling up so buyers don’t need to purchase quite as much to satisfy their reading needs. A lot are free. As a reader, I like it when I don’t have to spend tons of money on books, but as an author, I wonder where the trend is going, and will I be able to keep up my income? Are we reading more or spending less? Or both? Or does it even out?

This year, I had my highest month ever, and lowest, in royalty income. Several authors mentioned a similar situation of lower royalties, blaming it on the distraction of the election and following political commotion. Since my lowest month was January, I’m buying into the theory. Luckily, the summer months brought a welcome increase in sales with August my best month ever. A number of authors have commented on this seasonality of book buying, and I’m thinking to research this further in another blog.

In my December blog, I always select five books to add to my reading list for the year. This time, I wanted to consider a mix of stories with time travel and space opera foremost but also include a bit of fantasy. I wanted to suggest both traditional and self-published novels. Last year, I discovered a few new authors who wrote in a series, and I decided I should continue their works. Along that line, the Expanse Series is coming back to television, so I picked the newest release, Persepolis Rising by James S. A. Corey. I’ve read the earlier novels and blogged on several of them, so check it out if you want to know more. If you haven’t read the books, the television version can be confusing, but I love the special effects, even though I disagree with the choice of actors who play the characters.

The second book on my to-read list for 2018 is Angel City Blues by Jeff Edwards. Yes, I know that I selected this last year and don’t know why I didn’t read it. I loved the first book, Dome City Blues and this will bring in an urban cyberpunk genre that will be a fun contrast to my other choices.

My next choice is Third Daughter by Susan Kaye Quinn. This fantasy just appeared to be a fun book to read. Any book that starts out saying, “Sneaking out of the palace may not have been one of Aniri’s best ideas” has me hooked. As third daughter, Aniri is under no pressure to marry and hopes to wed her fencing instructor lover. Then, she gets a marriage proposal from a barbarian prince in the north who has his own secrets and… Not science fiction, but it sounded too good to pass up.

Time travel is a favorite of mine, so when I saw Crossing in Time advertised, I stuck that in my kindle library. The blurb asked, “If someone took everything you live for, how far would you go to get it back?” Turns out, the main character would go far into the past to change events in order to get back a loved one, and that idea intrigued me.

Finally for now, the fifth selection comes from a popular author that I never got around to reading until a year or two ago. Andre Norton has become a favorite of mine, and I have been eyeing her Time Traders sitting in my kindle library. Time to read it.

There you have my first five. In January, I’ll add five more. As you know, other books may be selected as I see fit. Sometimes, publishing schedules change, or other ideas take precedent, so this is not cast in stone, but only serves as a guide. I offer suggestions and comments for books I think readers will like, but I’m not a professional reviewer and don’t take review requests any more. However, I’ve been reading science fiction and fantasy for years and love to share this passion with fellow enthusiasts.

This time around, I noticed that a deciding factor was the blurb. Cover and blurb are so important in a reader’s selection process. So, authors, put extra effort into those two elements to help sell your stories.

Here they are to start:

Third Daughter by Susan Kaye Quinn
Angel City Blues by Jeff Edwards
Crossing in Time by D. L. Horton
Time Traders by Andre Norton
Persepolis Rising by James S. A. Corey

Also, for the new year, I would like to recommend you check out Kristine Rusch’s blog on the state of publishing. Not only does she live in Oregon like I do, but she is in the traditional publishing arena along with being a strong advocate of self publishing, having self-published many books herself. She has written several series in several genres under various pen names and is thoughtful and knowledgeable about the total spectrum of publishing, both Indie and traditional.

Here’s the link:
http://kriswrites.com/2017/12/27/business-musings-the-year-in-review-overview/

With 2017 ending, and 2018 about to begin, I wish a bright future for everyone… and happy reading.

7 Comments

Filed under Alien and human bonding, alien life forms, Alien worlds, award winning scifi, Best selling science fiction, Classic science fiction, Cyberpunk, ebook science fiction, fantasy series, Future of Publishing, Indie authors, Indie Science Fiction Authors, Publishing Trends, science fiction romance, science fiction series, science fiction space opera, Space opera, space travel, The future of publishing, time travel

A “Cool” Science Fiction, Cyberpunk Read.

 

 

 

This week I have two exciting blogs to share. One compares 100k authors ($5000 per month) to Emerging Authors. ($500 per month) to see what makes them different. This is a study done by Ferol who is COO of Written Media, parent company to Freebooksy, Bargain Booksy and other ad sites. The survey covers responses from 38,000 authors. The findings are interesting. Here are eight takeaways from the survey.

1. The longer an author has been writing, the more money they tend to make. So if you’re struggling with just a book or two, have patience. Persistence is key. Keep writing.

2. Publishing Indie is a viable way to success. Of those in the 100K, 72% were Indie and 28% were hybrid. Although authors in the survey were more Indie authors than purely traditionally published authors (5%), none of the traditionally published authors were in the 100K pool. Realize that authors like James Patterson didn’t take the survey, so it’s skewed a bit to Indie authors. Those in the hybrid group had 28% in the 100K versus 17% in the Emerging Authors group.

3. “Going Wide” or limiting to KDP Select didn’t make a difference in how much money the authors made.

4. The 100K group spent more than $100 on professional looking book covers. However, none spent over $1000. Looking professional is key but you don’t have to spend a fortune doing it.

5. Also key is spending money for a professional editor. Ninety-six percent of the 100K group spent for professional editing. Half spent at least $250-500 while 20% spent $500 to $1000. Fifty-six percent of Emerging Authors spent up to $50 but realized how important it was to at least have another pair of eyes on their work.

6. As to marketing, in both $100K category and Emerging Authors, the author handles marketing. Even so, the authors that make more money often hire assistants to help with their marketing.

7. Don’t quit your day job. Sixty-six percent of Emerging Market Authors are supported by a day job by either themselves or a spouse. Twenty-eight percent of $100K have the support of a day job.

8. And finally… The more hours writing=more books=more payout. Emerging Authors write 19.8 hours per week while 100K spent 28.5 hours.

These are quick highlights of an interesting survey. For you number geeks who like more details, including graphs and numbers, go to:

https://www.writtenwordmedia.com/2017/06/07/100k-author

Next, check out Sandra Beckwith’s blog. Sandra Beckwith has been in the book business a long time offering advice through blogs and books. Recently at a convention, she realized there are five things she thought authors knew, but apparently they don’t. Here are the five. For explanations on each, check out her blog at :

https://buildbookbuzz.com/5-things-I-thought-you-knew/

1. A traditional book contract isn’t an option for most authors-to-be. Too many believe the myth of write a book, send to a publisher, and become famous. Unless you have a big following or are related to the owner of the publishing house, self publishing is a better option for the new writer.

2. Readers don’t care when your book was published, they just want a good story. This goes against the old ways when a book earned the most money at launch; then a few weeks later was abandoned. Now it isn’t so. I doubled my income in my second year and increased my income in the third year. Books don’t have a shelf life anymore. They can be available for a long time.

3. Even authors with traditional publishers have to promote their books.

4. If your book looks and reads like a traditionally published book, no one will know it’s self-published.

5. People will disappoint you. You thought your mother or mother -in-law or sister would jump for joy at your publishing a book. What you heard was, “I don’t read science fiction.” (true story) Find those readers who love what you write and don’t worry about friends and family…unless they love what you write. Then cherish them. (true story there, too)

Okay, great stuff here to help think through what it is to be a successful author.

On to this week’s book suggestion.

This week I found a fresh fun book in the cyberpunk, mystery, humor style. Think Blade Runner meets Dashiell Hammett with humor. Liquid Cool by Austin Dragon was free on an ad site with a great cover and intriguing title. It starts off slow. The first several chapters have different viewpoint characters.

And then there is an odd murder.

Once the story settles into Cruz’s steady viewpoint, the story takes off. A main feature of the book is the setting. It takes place in the future in a crowded megacity city where it constantly rains. (Portland?) Cruz repairs and builds classic cars, but can barely make ends meet. The society is rigidly structured with well-delineated areas, Uptop being where the richest hang out.

Easy Chair Charlie, one of Cruz’s friends, gets killed and the glib explanation that he started a shootout with police doesn’t ring true with Cruz. Cruz has a bit of ADD and is a germaphobe, which makes him quite the character. He is a bull dog who won’t let go when a puzzle confronts him. He begins to poke around, and soon is asked by his friend Run-Time, who manages a transportation service, to look into who killed Easy Chair Charlie.

Next thing Cruz knows, he’s being called a detective, given an office, and the case is getting more and more complicated. Although his life is threatened numerous times, he’s willing to continue for the thrill of it. Beside, he needs a steady job to impress the snobby parents of his fiancé, China Doll.

The names in the story are a hoot, and there’s quite a bit of humor along with the fast-paced action. Expect twists and turns as Cruz deals with crazy in-laws-to-be, a strong-willed girlfriend, and danger around every wet and slippery turn.

1 Comment

Filed under Cyberpunk, ebook marketing, Indie Publishing, Marketing and selling novels, science fiction, Science Fiction Detective Story, Science Fiction Mystery, science fiction series, Self-publishing

Science Fiction Marketing and Cyberpunk

IMG_9503Someone’s Clone just hit number #1 in Kindle’s free Books on Genetic Engineering and number #1 on Kindle’s free books on Time Travel. Wahoo! AANNDD…The day is not over, either. #28 in paid Kindle Science fiction. Exciting stuff.

But like my days as a stockbroker, sales change hour by hour, and today’s heady success is tomorrow’s tough struggle. Market on Indie authors.

However, today I’m thrilled. (A brief humble bow ensues)

Why the spike in downloads? I enrolled Someone’s clone in KDP Select for July 5 through July 9. It is one of my favorite books in the series and can be read as a stand alone. But since it is positioned at the end of the current series, it was languishing in sales as readers were picking up the earlier books. I figured anyone reading it for free, might become interested in the rest of the series. (which is happening) This is a limited time offer for this book, and will not often be repeated.

I’m also hoping that readers will like it and write a good review. (hint, hint)

I don’t know how other books get so many reviews. Some have big publishers behind them, and others become popular and get on lists that help sales. If a book is good, it deserves good reviews. I have no problem with that. I have not gotten involved in review swaps or traveled all over for book signings, but friends and family have often supported my books…honestly. Others in the family, not so much. “I don’t read science fiction.”

Now with Amazon’s new policy on reviews, it will be interesting to see if reviews change at all or continue along the the same path. I understand why Amazon is cracking down on reviews. Fake reviews and paid reviews have gotten out of hand so that the customer no longer trusts them. Amazon is all about protecting the customer, so they have stepped up to the plate and cracked down. I just think the process will be harder for the unknown Indie author who likes to write and is not such a strong marketer to get the reviews he or she needs.

As a friend of mine says often, “We’ll see.” Peripheral

This week I am reading Cyberpunk. Normally, I like William Gibson, but I am finding his new book, The Peripheral, a struggle. So I switched over to Charles Stross’s Halting State. Both deal with virtual reality and events inside an internet game. Gibson is harder to piece together what is happening because of his constant point of view shifts. In both cases, nerd-tech language is used lavishly and often there’s an inside joke or innuendo. Also characters are not delineated clearly in Gibson’s book. I had to reread an entire chapter trying to find a name to pin to the person talking in the chapter and still couldn’t figure out who it was.

Finally, I read the summary which enlightened me to the fact that one of the main characters, Wilf Netherton, lives seventy-five years in the future. The story begins in an apocalyptic near future where jobs are scarce and money is tight. Flynne Fisher earns what she can by assembling product at a 3-d print shop. Her brother, Burton, tries to live on money from the Veterans Association since he is disabled, and often takes on online gaming jobs to augment his tight income.

Burton persuades his sister, Flynne, to take over a few observation shifts in a game for him, promising her that the game isn’t a shooter. Still, the crime she witnesses there is plenty bad.

Wilf is a high-powered publicist in a world seventy-five years in the future where reaching into the past is considered no more than a hobby. He is working online secretly as security in some on line games. Both Flynne and Wilf will soon meet and realize the impact each other’s world will have on the other.Neuromancer

Okay. Confusing in parts for me so far. But, I love most of Gibson’s other books, so I’m soldiering on. His Neuromancer is the book that began the whole Cyberpunk sub genre and won a Hugo.

51wHalting State0l9FLDeL._SX373_BO1,204,203,200_Charles Stross is a Hugo winner also, so I picked up his book Halting State on a recommendation. Be aware that Rule of 34 is the second in this series.

Now in Stross’s Halting States, a crime also takes place inside an online game. Susan Smith of the Edinburgh police is called in on an unusual robbery where orcs and a dragon rob a bank inside the virtual reality land of Avalon Four. The company that owns the game, Hayek Associates, is a dot.com start up that just floated onto the New York Stock Exchange and whiffs of impropriety could crash the stock, affecting a number of powerful investors and worldwide financial empires.Rule 34

This one was easier to follow, and not because of my stock broker background. Each chapter is titled with the name of the character in which point of view it is written. However, Stross uses second person which is a bit disconcerting, but is what the gaming world uses in their instructions. Stross also uses a lot of gaming technology and inside tech-nerd slang and information.  So far the story is edgy enough to be interesting, but I’m like investigator Smith, who wonders what is all the big fuss about? The more she investigates, the more complex and bigger the case becomes. Looks like a worldwide conspiracy is using Hayek Associates to funnel money around.

Sell your Bitcoins before it’s too late.

5 Comments

Filed under artificial nature, award winning scifi, Classic science fiction, Cyberpunk, Cyberspace, ebook marketing, ebook science fiction, Hugo winners, Indie Publishing, Marketing and selling novels, Political Science Fiction, science fiction, Science Fiction Mystery

Comets and Book Clubs

IMG_9503We are landing on a comet tonight! This is a momentous event. After ten years of chasing, using gravity assist, the Philae Lander, a robotic spacecraft, will catch up to comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, or 67P, and anchor itself there for hopefully a year long ride.

The Rosetta project, led by the European Space Agency with contributions from NASA and others, will be studying this comet in order to better understand the composition of comets, thought to bring water to primitive Earth, and possibly life itself. Eventually it will be within 180 million km of the sun and expelling water and gases because of intense heat.New Image of Comet ISON

Find more at: CNN.com: Rosetta Landing or www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Rosetta

This is the ESA’s official website, where you can find the latest news, images and animations on the spacecraft and its lander .

touching-crystal-thumb-1Why does this intrigue me? My sixth novel, Touching Crystal deals with the impact of a comet against Alysia’s moon, Thanos, and the resulting consequences to my world of Alysia.

Science will now explain what was once mystical, a harbinger or omen for humans. Although it took ten years to get close enough to land, the idea that we can interface with a moving comet offers hope that we may be able to divert any future threats to Earth from this type of cosmic threat.

Although, we certainly didn’t see the meteor that crashed into Russia last year and took us by surprise. We were too busy staring at a passing asteroid.

NeuromancerI am currently reading Snow Crash, as it is a selection of my Powell’s Book Club and we meet tonight. It is a Hugo winner classic from 1992 and is very different. Think William Gibson and his Hugo winning book, Neuromancer, which created the sub genre of Cyber-punk in the early 1990s and you have an idea of the story.Snow Crash

The Powell’s book club is a rowdy group of fifteen to twenty-five or so science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts who have been meeting for over ten years at the world famous bookstore of Powell’s in Beaverton. They are awesomely intelligent about science fiction and not shy about offering opinions.

Makes for lively discussions, so I need to be prepared.

Abyss Beyond DreamsI also plan on reading The Abyss Beyond Dreams by Peter Hamilton, and will report on that new offering in the next week or two.

someones_clone_front-cover_v2_finalBut first, I have my proof for Someone’s Clone in my hot hands and expect a November 20 publication date. Until then, I’ll be working feverishly to put the final touches on it and conquer the format and download monster.

Check out Amazon for this exciting new adventure, one of my best to date. A murder, a mystery, time travel, romance, aliens…this one has it all…so stay tuned.

 

1 Comment

Filed under Alien worlds, Aliens in Science Fiction, artificial intelligence, award winning scifi, Best selling science fiction, Classic science fiction, Comets and asteroids, Cutting Edge Science ideas, Cyberpunk, Disaster Fiction, downloaded personalities, genetic manipulation, hard science, Hard science fiction, Hugo winners, modifying humans, Robots in science fiction, Science Fiction Detective Story, Science Fiction Mystery, science fiction series, Science fiction world building, science news, time travel, Transhumanism, virtual reality

Writing, marketing and the web

Authors used to think that they could write the great novel, sit back and that was that. It’s no longer the case. Even with the big publishers, a lot of the marketing work falls on the shoulder of the author.

However with the internet, a lot of authors and businesses are using the web to get out and get to know their readers and customers. They are spreading the word with twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and others. A long time ago I was told that the computer would free us up and give us more time to do recreational activities. It seems to have worked the other way. I spend more time now at the computer than I do any other activity except sleeping.

And I admire people like Morgen Bailey who has put together an in-depth website that promotes Indie authors. She has interviewed over 400 authors and I am number 68. Recently she revisited my blog and I have linked it here:

http://morgensauthorinterviews.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/author-interview-no68-sheron-mccartha.html

If you want the skinny on me, then give it a read.

There is a section on her website that lists the authors numerically and gives their name, genre, a link and short one sentence synopsis of their work. There are over 400 authors of all kinds of genres, both fiction and non fiction. It is easy to scroll down and find the book you are looking for. I rolled down looking for science fiction and when I found something interesting, I just followed the link and learned more about the book and author. I either liked what I saw or moved on. Check out #68.

Me.

Everyday I have someone sign up to follow me on Twitter. I have no idea why anyone would, but there you go. There’s no accounting what people do. Recently, new Indie author Lee Carlon tweeted me to check out his book. Now, this has happened before…Lord yes, too many times. Buy my book, buy my book, buy my book. Headache.

However, this gentlemen was very polite and offered to send it free. In a generous mood ( a rare occasion) I went to Amazon and downloaded it. Paid real money…well a credit card. It looked interesting.

I am enjoying it.

The book is well written, so you can cross off the myth that an Indie writer is sloppy with his grammar or spelling. The writing is as good, if not better, than any old school traditionally published book.

At the start, the protagonist awakes to find himself twenty-five years into a nightmare future controlled by the New Technology Corporation and digital entities. The protagonist comes to realize that during a demonstration of what was supposed to be teleportation, he was killed, digitally copied, and his copy appeared in the box across the room. The new technology of teleportation and digital downloads transforms the society and dehumanizes real people. Everyone is required to wear a chip to keep track of them. An underground society of real humans are fighting back at the multinational  corporation that created this nightmare society…and of course his copy is supposed to be the one that caused it all.

You find yourself championing a digital copy. Go figure. Although the story is the humans versus the big bad corporation (maybe like the series Fringe) the idea of digital copies running a society is interesting. The other aspect of the story is the digital animal pets or companions that are becoming more frighteningly self aware. The book raises the ethical debate of how far should we take technology and who has the right to decide what technology is acceptable, or not acceptable. Is technology’s impact on society good or bad? What kind of technology do we want in our future?

The pace kept me reading and the action was both believable and interesting. So, if you like cyberpunk style stories ala William Gibson, Phillip K. Dick and the latest, Player One, then check out d.evolution by Lee Carlon.

Next Saturday I will be attending a workshop on small business and the web. So I might pick up my tweeting pace (which is sporadic at best) and learn more about the web and marketing. Be forewarned.

Also, Past the Event Horizon is coming out in late June, or July. I am excited. I have put up the cover for you to take a peek at and it promises to be a good all around space adventure. Stay tuned.

Last weekend I was a vendor at a small business fair next to Bombshell’s in Beaverton. I met a lot of really nice people and sold a good number of books. Thanks for all for your hard work, April. So you see, I am not giving up on people to people contact.

Nawww, people are just too fun to do that.

1 Comment

Filed under artificial intelligence, artificial nature, Cyberpunk, Cyberspace, downloaded personalities, Dystopia Earth, ebook marketing, ebook science fiction, Indie authors, Indie Science Fiction Authors, modifying humans, science fiction, virtual reality

Distrust this Particular Read

I am a big fan of William Gibson. Starting with Neuromancer on through Pattern Recognition, Mona Lisa Overdrive, Spook Country, Zero History and others. So it was with excitement and ignorance that I settled in with Distrust that Particular Flavor, his newest offer ….and should have–distrusted, that is. It’s a series of bits and pieces of speeches and essays from different times in his life. For that, an occasional insight into the thoughts of a famous iconic writer, but not the edgy, cyber punk story that I was looking forward to.

I feel bad…seeing that we’re twitter buddies and all…but I was very disappointed as I wanted a cyber chunky story.

On the other hand, looking for a good read, I picked up Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s Ghost Ship and was enthralled. I have mentioned their Liadan series universe before and this is the most recent Theo Waitley adventure. Read Fledgling, Mouse and Dragon, Saltation before you read this one, and then enjoy.

Miller and Lee provide rich character portrayals along with interesting science. This time they introduce Independent Artificial Intelligence in a starship. AI is a recent theme I have been reading about and unlike in The Ashes of Candesce, this AI isn’t the enemy, but is a ship that haunts space waiting for its captain to take charge.

Theo Waitley is a newly graduated starship pilot who takes her first courier job from “Uncle.” Her university scholar father, who seemed normal during most of her childhood, disappears suddenly. Finding him, Theo discovers a whole family line that is being hunted and killed by Central Administration. Theo gets put on their list. Also hunting her is an aware A1starship that has decided she is it’s captain because of a key given to her by a dying ex lover.

Great adventure and a fun read. 4 stars****

In the interesting science posts category, I found this new discovery:

http://www.astronautical.org/sites/default/files/spacetimes/spacetimes_48-6.pdf

A proposal to use the quantum vacuum as a propellant. If it can be done, there’s no lack of vacuum in space, and hence might solve the propulsion problem for star travel. Science fiction writers are always looking for valid science to enable their characters to traverse space. Otherwise, we make up something and the science is squishy. You do realize the warp drive is a fictional creation by the writers of Star Trek, and not real?

Here’s one more question:

If you believe in the big bang, where in a micro billionth of a second the universe went from nothing to filling the universe…what does that say about the speed limit of light? Maybe light didn’t exist then. I just think of the word bang and I see exploding light. So the big bang happened in the dark?

p.s. Just watched “Universe: Top ten greatest explosions.”  The comment concerning the “Big Bang” and traveling past light speed was that the universe itself can expand faster than the speed of light, but no particle traveling in the universe can go faster than the speed of light. Squish, squish, huh?

Leave a comment

Filed under artificial intelligence, artificial nature, award winning scifi, Candesce, Cyberpunk, Cyberspace, hard science, science fiction, science fiction series, Science fiction world building, Space opera, space ship, space travel

Attention Gameplayers

http://www.visual.ly/fiction-reality-timeline

Check out this amazing visual link. (above) It shows the science fiction book that introduces an idea on the left timeline and then on the right the date on a timeline that the idea became reality.

If you are a video game enthusiast…this book’s for you.

If you are over thirty-five and reminisce about the 80’s, this book’s for you.

The story is about an Earth in the near future that is falling apart. There are no jobs, no food, gas costs a fortune and humanity escapes reality through an immersive virtual world called, “Oasis”

The creator of Oasis is a Howard Hughes type recluse that has amassed an enormous fortune and no heirs. He dies and leaves this entire fortune to the person who can find a “golden egg” in Oasis. All the clues come from the era of the eighties.

If you remember Zork , Dragons and Dungeons, Bladerunner, Wargames, Pacman, Van Halen, etc. then you will enjoy wandering down memory Lane as Wade (avatar–Parzival) answers questions from that era to gain points and  inventory that will aide him win this fortune. But he’s not the only one interested in winning a fortune.

Because Wade has had no life and huddles in a discarded hulk of an automobile in a junk yard to protect himself from an abusive aunt and her boyfriend, he has had lots of time to play every game ever invented hundreds of times within the computer universe. He’s gotten really good at them. He’s a loner who even attends school online and his few friends are avatars in Oasis. It’s also an online love story fraught with the question of who any avatar really is in “real life.” Behind that awesome young looking female avatar could be a balding fifty year old called Chuck. But Wade falls in love anyway with a spitfire of an avatar who becomes his main competition.

For five years everyone has been trying to find the first clue, a key. And then, Wade finds the first key..and the real world reacts violently. He gets offers in the millions for endorsements and interviews, but his life is also threatened by IOI a large corporation that wants to take over the Oasis and monetize it. They are willing to kill anyone who stands in their way, and they do so.

At times, I felt that there was too much explanation on esoteric computers and details of the eighties, at least for me. Once again, Wade, (Parzival) has to play a game, or remember the exact dialog and action in a movie, or recall a line from a song to get to the next level. It got late, I got impatient and I skipped ahead to the end.  I rarely do that. The next morning, I rethought that strategy and went back for the complete story.

Player One is something new. Worth a look. It has a bit of a flavor of William Gibson and Phillip Dick

If you are a geek or even have geekish tendencies…then this book is for you.

Are you Ready to be a Player?

p.s. I am now reading Ashes of Candesce by Karl Schroeder.  Add in chocolate and I’m in heaven.

4 Comments

Filed under 1980's memorabilia, award winning scifi, Cyberpunk, Cyberspace, downloaded personalities, Indie Science Fiction Authors, science fiction, virtual reality

And the Winners are…

It must be that time of year. The Oscars and now the the Tor Top Ten. Tor has come out with its top reader choices in the field of science fiction and fantasy and the Nebula nominations are now in. Here there are:

We’ve counted your votes — all 3000 of them and arrived at the winners of the 2011 Tor.com Readers’ Choice Awards!

But first, let’s look below for the top ten most voted on titles in the categories of Novel, Short Fiction, Covers, and Comics.

The top ten most voted on Novels are:

  1. The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss (140 votes)
  2. The All-Pro by Scott Sigler (105 votes)
  3. The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson (63 votes)
  4. The Seventh Throne by Stephen Zimmer (63 votes)
  5. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (55 votes)
  6. The Final Arbiter by Mark Rivera (55 votes)
  7. A Dance With Dragons by George R. R. Martin (53 votes)
  8. Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi (52 votes)
  9. Dancing With Eternity by J.P. Lowrie (50 votes)
  10. Among Others by Jo Walton (49 votes)

Patrick Rothfuss took the top slot by a substantial margin, although Scott Sigler’s The All-Pro was neck and neck with The Wise Man’s Fear for nearly the entire length of the poll. Voting was consistent for The Wise Man’s Fear throughout the entire 10-day length of voting, whereas fans of The All-Pro came out in bursts throughout the 10 days. In this case, slow and steady ended up winning the race.

I’ve read half of them and I agree that they are worth reading. In fact if you go back through my posts, you’ll see that I suggested several of the top ten books. Be aware that these are only books under Tor’s publication house and therefore limited to who can make the list. We need an Indie Science fiction top ten.

John Scalzi took unfair advantage by offering to save kittens if you voted for him. You can check out his comments on Twitter and his blog “Whatever.” Needless to say, he deserves top mention, kittens or no. But the scuttlebutt is that he came through with the promise and several kittens owe him their lives. I’ll have to admit it’s a new marketing technique and wicked smart.

Now the Nebula nominee awards are out also and often prove fertile ground for that great book you want to read. Here they are:

2011 Nebula Nominees

The Nebula Awards pay particular attention to short fiction, with categories for novella, novelette and short story. The Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Screen Presentation mixes film and television, so Martin Scorcese’s 3-D “Hugo” (no relation to the Hugo science fiction awards) is going up against an episode of “Dr. Who” written by Neil Gaiman. In the running for the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Book is Franny Billingsley’s “Chime,” which was a finalist for the National Book Award.

The full list of nominees:

Novel
”Among Others,” Jo Walton (Tor) 
”Embassytown,” China Miéville (Macmillan UK; Del Rey; Subterranean Press) 
”Firebird,” Jack McDevitt (Ace Books)
”God’s War,” Kameron Hurley (Night Shade Books) 
”Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti,” Genevieve Valentine (Prime Books) 
”The Kingdom of Gods,” N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)

Novella 
“Kiss Me Twice,” Mary Robinette Kowal (Asimov’s Science Fiction, June 2011) 
“Silently and Very Fast,” Catherynne M. Valente (WFSA Press; Clarkesworld Magazine, October 2011) 
“The Ice Owl,” Carolyn Ives Gilman (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, November/December 2011) 
“The Man Who Bridged the Mist,” Kij Johnson (Asimov’s Science Fiction, October/November 2011) 
“The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary,” Ken Liu (Panverse Three, Panverse Publishing) 
“With Unclean Hands,” Adam-Troy Castro (Analog Science Fiction and Fact, November 2011)

Novelette 
“Fields of Gold,” Rachel Swirsky (Eclipse 4, Night Shade Books) 
“Ray of Light,” Brad R. Torgersen (Analog Science Fiction and Fact, December 2011) 
“Sauerkraut Station,” Ferrett Steinmetz (Giganotosaurus, November 2011) 
“Six Months, Three Days,” Charlie Jane Anders (Tor.com, June 2011) 
“The Migratory Pattern of Dancers,” Katherine Sparrow (Giganotosaurus, July 2011) 
“The Old Equations,” Jake Kerr (Lightspeed Magazine, July 2011) 
“What We Found,” Geoff Ryman (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, September/October 2011)

Short story 
“Her Husband’s Hands,” Adam-Troy Castro (Lightspeed Magazine, October 2011) 
“Mama, We are Zhenya, Your Son,” Tom Crosshill (Lightspeed Magazine, April 2011) 
“Movement,” Nancy Fulda (Asimov’s Science Fiction, March 2011) 
“Shipbirth,” Aliette de Bodard (Asimov’s Science Fiction, February 2011) 
“The Axiom of Choice,” David W. Goldman (New Haven Review, Winter 2011) 
“The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees,” E. Lily Yu (Clarkesworld Magazine, April 2011) 
“The Paper Menagerie,” Ken Liu (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, March/April 2011)

Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation 
”Attack the Block,” Joe Cornish (writer/director) (Optimum Releasing; Screen Gems) 
”Captain America: The First Avenger,” Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (writers), Joe Johnston (director) (Paramount)
”Doctor Who: ‘The Doctor’s Wife,'” Neil Gaiman (writer), Richard Clark (director) (BBC Wales) 
”Hugo,” John Logan (writer), Martin Scorsese (director) (Paramount) 
”Midnight in Paris,” Woody Allen (writer/director) (Sony) 
”Source Code,” Ben Ripley (writer), Duncan Jones (director) (Summit) 
”The Adjustment Bureau,” George Nolfi (writer/director) (Universal)

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Book
”Akata Witch,” Nnedi Okorafor (Viking Juvenile)
”Chime,” Franny Billingsley (Dial Books; Bloomsbury) 
”Daughter of Smoke and Bone,” Laini Taylor (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Hodder & Stoughton) 
”Everybody Sees the Ants,” A.S. King (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) 
”The Boy at the End of the World,” Greg van Eekhout (Bloomsbury Children’s Books) 
”The Freedom Maze,” Delia Sherman (Big Mouth House) 
”The Girl of Fire and Thorns,” Rae Carson (Greenwillow Books) 
”Ultraviolet,” R.J. Anderson (Orchard Books; Carolrhoda Books)

Winners will be announced during the SFWA’s 47th annual Nebula Awards Weekend, May 17-20, in Arlington, Va., where Connie Willis will receive the 2011 Damon Knight Grand Master Award for her lifetime contributions and achievements.

Walter Jon Williams will preside as toastmaster; the keynote speaker will be astronaut Michael Fincke, who has served two tours aboard the International Space Station — something science fiction writers dream of.

I was surprised that this year I didn’t recognize a lot of the Nebula nominees. That must meant that we are getting some new names and fresh writing out there. Good to see. I’ll check up on several of these and let you know my reaction.

Stay tuned.

Leave a comment

Filed under alloy magic, award winning scifi, Cyberpunk, fantasy, military science fiction, Mistborn series, Nebula nominations, science fiction, science fiction series, Tor's Reader's Choice

Five for the Future

Finding books that will be exciting to read: an interesting endeavor.

I still combed through my favorite authors, but went out on a limb for a few. At the moment I am casting my net towards upcoming novels, or new releases. Later on, I’ll do a blog of old time favorites that are must reads. Sometimes, you miss a few.

Meanwhile I am fervently working on Cosmic Entanglement that I promised in December, but I have not yet published I have the proof and several of my beta readers are avidly going through it with red pen in hand. Soon, soon. No longer do I criticize the big publishers for their long turnaround time. Well, not as much anyway.

Five for fantastic future fun

1. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline   This is a story that takes place in a virtual reality that has the flavor of the 1980s. The real world is in an upheaval, but put on a headset and enter the world of this virtual reality and life gets interesting…and dangerous. Wade Watts is a trailer park kid that escapes his awful real world into the virtual world. A dead billionaire leaves his inheritance in the virtual world for anyone smart enough to solve his puzzles. In this world, there are hidden keys, that gamers are looking for that offer a fortune if they are found. Some of the people playing the game are serious about winning, deadly serious. This book was in the Amazon Best of Year 2011 and looked interesting.

2. Distrust that Particular Flavor by William Gibson. Geesh, where did he get his title? If it wasn’t Gibson, I wouldn’t give this a second look. But it is Gibson and for that reason, it is on my list.

3. City of the Dragons by Robin Hobb I came late to Robin Hobb, but when I showed up, I went hard. I wasn’t expecting to like her, so I was surprised. Start with the Assassin series, try the Fool’s trilogy and then mosey over to the dragon section. You won’t be disappointed.

4. Boneshaker by Cherie Priest  So much hype about this book, that I just have to investigate it. Steampunk has been very popular the last few years, and this was one of the books that started the craze.

5. Voyage in the Night  by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. By now, you know that I like these two and their Liadon Universe stories. This is the next after Fledgling, Saltation, and Mouse and Dragon.   Sharon and Steve were some of the first to self publish and use the internet to get their books out there. They published e-books and kept on going after their traditional publishing house shut down. They built a fan base through the internet and e-books, and then, Baen books picked them up. Now they have a foot in both places–both self publishing and trad publishing. Go guys.

So, I began my list from last week and read Ghost Story by Jim Butcher. My reaction is that it’s one of his best. Can you imagine waking up and being a ghost and being manipulated into solving your own murder? How Butcher gets around the problem of Harry not being able to hold on to anything, much less be able to speak or communicate is interesting. For once, Harry isn’t in constant pain, but the action is just as wild, the difficulties, even more difficult than ever before. The reader meets all the old characters like old friends (or enemies). There are a few places that bog down with explanations on how a particular magic works, or the history of a particular magical being, but the reader often finds the information interesting. We even meet Uriel, an archangel. I recommend it for any Butcher fans, or fans of fantastical beings in literature.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cyberpunk, dragons, fantasy, magic, Naamah, science fiction, science fiction series, Steampunk, supernatural, the fae