Tag Archives: john scalzi

Do You have a Yen for Some Hard Science Fiction?

Image 1Hard science fiction…so hard that it’s like knocking your head against granite. L. E. Modesitt, Jr. in his latest novel, Solar Express presents a compelling plot against the background of a developing war among the Sinese Federation, Noram (U.S. Military), and India. Much like the fear that drove the development of the atom bomb, fear of another country getting control through space drives these three power superpowers to secretly start weaponizing space.

And then an alien object is sighted headed in system towards our sun.

The problem becomes that Modesitt wants to get each detail completely accurate and properly measured. The main character, Chris Tavoian, low orbit shuttle pilot, is promoted to major and sent out on a covert mission to investigate the alien artifact, conveniently categorized as an asteroid to keep secret it’s alien nature. Each minute is painstakingly recorded, each angle of the artifact explored while under the time pressure of an approaching Sinese spaceship.Solar Express

Meanwhile, back on the moon, his love interest, Alayna Wong-Grant who discovered the alien object, and doesn’t understand why no one has mentioned it in the media, is investigating the mechanism of multi-fractal mini-granulations found in the sun.

See what I mean? More science with big words.

A thrilling plot, rife with politics, told through memos and emails between moon-bound Alayna and alien-probing Chris. Theirs is a relationship developed through correspondence, much like our online dating and email nowadays.

I wanted to really like this, especially since Modesitte is a favorite author, but I struggled through it. However, if you have been yearning for hard science among the slim pickings of good science fiction offerings of late, and an interesting plot, this may be a good read for you. Modesitt explains the rational for his novel.  http://www.lemodesittjr.com/2015/11/17/another-reason-for-pseudonyms/

My marketing has slowed because I have been catching up on my writing. My life as an author is like being on a seesaw. Personal life, writing or marketing? It’s hard to balance all three. I needed more time for writing, but needed to put a plan in place for marketing, at least for this month. Sales declined while my attention was on the wedding.

Caught in Time, my first in a series, will again be available for free Thursday, March 11 through Sunday March 13 through the KDP Select program. I decided to shortened the time to only three days to leave room for another campaign later. If I don’t promote, sales tail off.

I chose Free Kindle Books and Tips because I have not used them before as an ad venue, and also Choosy Bookworm. These are two new sites that I’m trying out, and I’ll let you know if they’re productive. I have to also balance the cost of promotion against possible sales.

I love writing this blog, but Facebook and Twitter are not my thing. My life is quiet because I like it that way. I get my excitement in my stories. Never mind SnapChat, and that other thing. I am verbal, but not able to think up witty things on social media.

Sharing results is helpful, so I’m offering a link to an interesting article on what makes people buy self-published books. Lots of pretty graphs and hard data by a favorite blogger of mine from the Emerald Isle.

http://tarasparlingwrites.com/2014/07/31/what-makes-people-buy-self-published-books/

For you fantasy fans, I must say that I’m enjoying the Magicians series on the SyFy channel even more than the books.

Isn’t that a switch? Check it out and my review blog on the book.

My Powell’s book group meets tonight and we’re discussing John Scalzi’s Redshirts. I’m ranting and raving about the editing. TOR is his publisher and promotes him extensively, so you’d think it would be better edited. I tried to find a science fiction ebook from a promotion, but the one I read was so poorly edited, I stopped completely and would not recommend it; the other was forty pages long and not worth recommending either at that length.

More on this in my next blog as I’m trying to finish Redshirts. Add finishing reading my books for my review blog to that wobbly seesaw.

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Filed under aliens, Aliens in Science Fiction, Best selling science fiction, ebook marketing, first contact, Hard science fiction, Hugo winners, magic, Marketing and selling novels, Political Science Fiction, science fiction, Science fiction thriller

A Self Publisher Markets and John Scalzi’s latest

IMG_0193This self publishing gig isn’t as easy as it’s cracked up to be.

“Tell me something I don’t know,” you mutter.

There is a world out there willing to give advice, but how good is that advice for your situation?
Who knows?

I can only tell you what works for me…and what doesn’t.

With some success last month, I once again threw myself into the marketing fray. Since I had extra funds in the marketing budget, I decided to advertise two places during my KDP Select free book week.

Robin Reads has been getting buzz lately as an upcoming site still reasonably priced. For $20, I got the number one spot. That was sweet. My criticism of Robin Reads as a reader is that I haven’t figured out how to select out the genres I prefer, so every day I get a list of all types of books which is a pain to page through. I’m not into steamy romances or zombie thrillers…but many readers are.

However, as an author and advertiser, I received fourteen hundred downloads in one day (9/19) for my anchor book, Caught in Time. Not great, but better than I expected for the price. Now usually, a program like that is immediately followed by retail sales of other books in the series.

Crickets.

Added to Robin Reads, I spent $70 at Freebooksy for one day (9/21) where I have had great success, so I was rubbing my hands together in excited anticipation. I got almost a thousand downloads that day. So, over two thousand plus free downloads.

Retail sales? Crickets.

April Aasheim author of The Witches of Dark Root,  reports good luck advertising on Facebook. I’ve been reluctant to try. Anyone having good luck with that?

Meanwhile, The Fussy Librarian sent this out in their newsletter. I thought it interesting. It talks about an article that claims paperback sales are picking up and Ebook sales diminishing.

Seriously? I find that hard to believe. My sales are mostly in EBooks, although paperbacks are readily available.

http://us7.campaign-archive1.com/?u=1fa68a8fb20ec8a1817392970&id=a8f7a5bbb8&e=d0ae4f54e9

The End of All Things2This week I’m suggesting a favorite author. John Scalzi is deeply entrenched in traditional publishing in many forms: hardback, paperback, iBook, audio, short story serials etc. He recently came to Powell’s again to promote his new book The End of All Things.

Now there’s a catchy title. It’s available in hardback for $24.99…thank you, big publisher (TOR)…or free at the local library, no taint involved in the free price.

This science fiction soap opera takes place in The Old Man’s Universe, meaning in the universe of his John Campbell Award winning book, Old Man’s War.

True to form, Scalzi does something different. Humans have expanded into space, only to find it populated with thousands of alien species. The Colonial Union formed to protect humans but kept Earth ignorant of aliens so as to provide colonists and soldiers by using consciousness of old people in repurposed bodies.Old Man's War

Many of the alien species threatened by these superhumans formed their own alliances called the Conclave.

Then Earth found out it was being used and got angry. It stopped providing experienced conscious minds and bodies. Without Earth to provide bodies for fighting, the Colonial Union found itself in trouble.

Unbeknownst to the Colonial Union, bitter infighting and politics now threatens to tear the Conclave apart.

The first story of the book is told by the sole survivor of an ambush on the ship the Chandler. A mysterious splinter group known as the Equilibrium has been secretly pitting the Conclave and the Colonial Union against each other. This secret third faction is made up of individuals from the different groups who plan to overthrow all other contenders. While all on The Chandler and any escape pods are ruthlessly killed, Rafe Daquin, recently hired as third pilot on the Chandler, is allowed a consciousness in order to pilot the ship, but he is separated from his body and reduced to operating as a brain in a box.

So your narrator for the first section is a brain in a box who tells the events of the attack and how he thwarts his enemies working without a body.

The Last ColonyThe second part of the book tells events from the point of view of Hafte Sorvalh, the second most powerful individual in the Conclave, or the advisor to Tarsem Gau, the Conclave leader. This story is political theater at its best and Scalzi is a master of clever dialogue. Subtle nuances of behavior by politicians during a Conclave Congress reveal that this powerful body of aliens has its own problems, and act more like humans than most imagine.

The third section brings in favorite character Harry Wilson from the other books in the series who thwarts an Equilibrium attack and interrogates one of their leaders in an attempt to unravel their plans. This section reads more as a spy thriller.

Scalzi admits to frantically trying to finish writing on time and missing deadlines as he travels around for signings and marketing. It makes the book choppy. You can imagine him writing a section, dusting off his hands and sending it in.

Still…

I enjoy Scalzi’s interesting science and clever dialogue. He makes reading science fiction both fun and enlightening…

And that’s the way it should be.

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Filed under alien life forms, Alien worlds, aliens, Aliens in Science Fiction, artificial intelligence, award winning scifi, Best selling science fiction, Cutting Edge Science ideas, downloaded personalities, science fiction space opera

Science Fiction Author Signing

IMG_0174One more program left in my marketing endeavors and the results will be in for this summer’s attempts. I’ll let you know which was the most successful: online or face to face.

On August 16, Cosmic Entanglement will be eligible for the Amazon Countdown Deal. It will be $.99 for 16/17, $1.99 for 18/19, $2.99 for 20/21, $3.99 for 22/23, then back to regular price. It’s a seven day special. Cosmic has never been discounted before, so this should be interesting.

It’s the third in the series, but, hey, we’re dealing with time travel here, and it makes a nice introduction to several other books. You get to see Rowyna as a young clone, you meet Braden and Richard as kids and discover how each finds his own path: Richard into the Timelab and Braden out into space on the Seeker. Also, you experience a pivotal scene that provided the inspiration for my current novel, Someone’s Clone due out in late Fall. Someone’s Clone begins with a murder, goes to a time jump into the future, and then involves a developing war between the Alysians and invading Earthlings.

Yes, invading Earthlings. A bit of a twist.

I want to thank Jan’s Paperback in Aloha, Oregon for supporting Diana and my authors’ signing. It was a well organized event and I very much enjoyed myself. Thanks Debbie and Jody.photo

Diana Peach (Myths of the Mirror, Sunwielder) has been a great companion author throughout all our book festivals and signing endeavors. In spite of the wind blowing over my roses and splashing water all over her at the festival, and then me juggling a water glass that landed in her lap at the signing, she weathered all liquid events with aplomb and a gracious smile. A true lady.

Recently I’ve noticed that many of the best selling science fiction novels are priced on Kindle at $9.99 and up. Run a finger over some of the well known authors and see what the bigger publishers are asking for a downloaded book. Right now Amazon is engaged in several battles to get prices down while being painted as the bad guy in the negotiations. When the cost of ebook production is so low, those margins are outrageous. The customer is paying for infrastructure and salaries of the big publishers. Also, they are supporting flying best selling authors all over for signings, thus making them even bigger best selling authors. Recently, John Scalzi tweeted that he was tired of traveling so much. The small publisher, like me, doesn’t have the deep pockets to do this. I go where I can drive. But you, the customer, are paying for these big named authors out of the prices larger publishers put on ebooks.

I’ll step off the soap box. Sorry, these rants just spontaneously combust.
So…

For those science oriented readers who are feeling slighted by a recent lack of hard science news…I have an interesting tidbit for you. With the caveat that I discovered this on the internet, and all that implies, check out the following link.

http://www.space.com/26713-impossible-space-engine-nasa-test.html

14-space-future-spaceflightTwo independent labs claim that a means of space propulsion has been validated using what they are calling the ” em drive,” or vacuum plasma thruster. The idea is to bounce microwaves around in a closed container. These microwaves are generated by using electricity powered by solar energy. The engine can work forever as long as the hardware holds out. In 2009 a team of Chinese scientists built it and claimed they could produce 720 millinewtons, which is reported as enough to build a satellite thruster.

Then, Guido Fetta and a team at Nasa Eagleworks at the Johnson Space Center has produced a paper that demonstrates a similar engine using the same principles does indeed produce thrust…but only 30 to 50 millinewtons. There’s a far ways to go, but think of the advantageous of not having to carry fuel on board, but be able to get your thrust from solar energy.

Wow! Not having to carry a heavy load of fuel would be a major advance in the traveling to Mars program. Now, how fast can it get going?

Hmmm… going to Mars for an author’s signing? Wonder when that might happen? I would think they’d have lots of time to huddle indoors and read great scifi on the red planet, eh? A future market?

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Innovation and Writing Trends in Science Fiction

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I put The Human Division by John Scalzi on my reading list, not realizing it offered the opportunity to discuss current writing trends.

The Human Division takes place in “The Old Man War” universe after Earth realizes it’s been used to supply soldiers and bodies to fight an alien filled universe for the Colonial Defense Force.

The Colonial Union, an association of dozens of planets with a population of billions, took old people from Earth who were ready to die, downloaded their brains into green heavily augmented bodies and inducted them into the military to fight enemy aliens. Upon agreeing to the procedure, the new recruit understands that he will never see Earth again. Everyone he ever knew will consider him dead.

The human DivisionBut now, in the Human Division this lie is revealed and Earth is mad about the deception and may sever all ties from the CDF. The third factor is the Conclave, an association of four hundred alien species once enemies, now formed into a single political unit that wants to dominate all worlds. The Colonial Union wants to prevent the spread of their power and dominance, but needs Earth to supply soldiers.

Pretty standard plot.

What is different here is that Scalzi first presented this novel in an electronic episodic format that he has now turned into a hardcover book.

The first episode/chapter begins with a planned secret meeting between an alien race, the Utche and a Colonial Union ship, the Polk, out in deep space for some clandestine back door negotiations. The Polk arrives three days early and surprises an unknown ship that is setting a trap to disrupt the supposedly secret meeting. The Polk gets fired upon and destroyed; everyone on board is killed, including an important Earth diplomat.

With sixteen hours before the jump plus four hours at the incident spot before the Utche are scheduled to arrive, the CDF calls in a “B” team to find the Polk’s black box and try to learn what happened.

Enter Harry Wilson, wisecracking hero and ex CDF, and Harte Schmidt, junior ambassador and sidekick. Their leader is the abrasive Earth female ambassador, Ode Abumwe. Eight are on the team to find the black box, learn what happened and conclude the negotiations successfully.Th Last Colony

Expectations are not high for a successful completion of the task. Black boxes are notoriously hard to locate in deep space…the black color, and well, Abumwe is not a smooth diplomat.

But the “B” team is the underdog, the misfits, who everyone roots for and how they accomplish their goal makes for an interesting and exciting story.

Chapter one.

The episodic format while interesting has its weaknesses. After the chapter or episode completes, the reader can easily put the book down. The next episode is a piece in the puzzle, but stands alone, often in another point of view or event somewhere else.

One of the techniques many writers often try to employ is to have your chapter ending leave the writer wanting to turn the page, desperate find out what happens next. We don’t want the reader putting down the book. We want the light on under the covers at midnight with an avid reader muttering that he or she has to get sleep while compelled to read on to see what happens next.

That’s what we want. Sometimes it happens.

So the episodic format jerked me around a bit. I easily could put down the book. But then, I would pick it back up because of Scalzi’s plot and characters.

The bantering dialog between Schmidt and Wilson was brilliant…except for the writing style. Whatever big name editor guided Scalzi to use “said” for most of the dialog tags was an idiot. It was very disruptive.

Here’s an example from the first chapter:The Ghost Brigades

“Let’s hope the rest of our people made it to the other escape pods,” Blair said.
“But Evans said–”
“Evans said what he needed to shut us up and get us off the Polk,” Blair said.
Several minutes later he said….”

Now, I was at more than one writing seminar at Willamette Writers a few years back when “professionals” encouraged writers to use “said” for all dialog tags. They claimed it disappears and the readers won’t notice.

Well, it doesn’t. It’s annoying if used too often. I got annoyed.

The current writing style mandates “show, don’t tell.” No one is supposed to even use dialog tags any more. It’s all behavioral clues.

While I agree with this to a certain extent, there are times when you have to tell and get on with the story.

Also, adverbs no longer are allowed. Banned.

Here are examples of each:

Tell:  Luke was angry.
Dialogue tag with adverb: “What did you do now?” Luke asked angrily.
Show: Luke stomped into the room, threw his coat on the sofa and yelled, “What did you do now?”

Okay, the energy is better with just behavioral clues, but notice the word count. Sometimes for the sake of the main plot and the mounting word count, you have to tell and move on. At other times, the action needs to be rich to engage the reader more and the writer should use behavioral clues and show in detail.

But current editors swoop onto any “tell” like an eagle to a mouse and start shaking a finger. A little leeway, please.

Another popular mandate of current editors is to use only the active verb and not anything passive.

“ing”, “was” “had” are a few of the culprits here. Scalzi has four or so “wases” per page and doesn’t flinch from using had or ing words. And Scalzi isn’t the only best selling author to do so.

I would not call his writing passive. It’s full of twists and turns, battles, witty dialog and strong human interaction and relationships.

Plus “ing” may be a participle verb that needs a “was.” If you are describing action in the past, you might need a “had”…otherwise your grammar is incorrect.

Example:

She was skipping home. (lots of action here)
She had skipped home as a young child, now she walked sedately.

Okay, enough style ranting.

In The Human Division each story isn’t of equal quality. On this necklace of a novel, some chapters are diamonds while others are quartz.

While each chapter contains a complete story, when I reached the end of the novel, I still didn’t know who, or what was trying to manipulate a war. I finished without a conclusion. That was not where I wanted my cliffhanger.

Now I’m clutching the edge, ready to fall and hoping he’ll get the next book out before life intervenes or I don’t care any more and fall off the cliff.

Other Scalzi books I recommend:

ps: Redshirts won a Hugo, Old Man’s War and Zoe’s Tale were nominated for Hugo

Red Shirts

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Selling a Science Fiction Novel

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Marketing is in an upheaval for both big publishers and small self publishers.

What to do?

Take a look at the play book of John Scalzi who uses both something old and something new.

The something old is the juggernaut of science fiction publishing houses, TOR. Often I check out the Acknowledgments in a book. Since I am reading The Human Division for my 2014 book list, I looked at what John had to say there. John thanks TOR’s editor Patrick Neilsen Haydon for his support…and Irene Gallo for the art, Sona Vogel as head copyeditor, cover artist John Harris, book designer Heather Saunders, and TOR’s publicity TEAM. (numerous names here) He thanks fiction agents selling overseas and tv/movie agents who are involved in an “Old Man’s” movie project. He acknowledges the team at Audible who are  putting together an audible version. It’s a picture of wide distribution and an entourage of professional help with his book. The Acknowledgments run two and a half pages.

Whew! I could sell a few novels with that kind of support.

The human DivisionHe mentions a rigorous signing tour for Red Shirts during which he writes episodes of The Human Division. This brought up the memory of a year and some time ago when he came locally for a signing of Fuzzy Nation.

I went.

It was John Scalzi.

Running late, I slid into a seat in a packed section of Powell’s bookstore. The man next to me introduced himself and before I knew what was happening, he’d gone to grab a book for me, saying that they were running low. He handed me a $25 hardback edition of Fuzzy Nation. It had an ugly cover.

He acted like it was a great favor.

I couldn’t quite hand it back…but putting out expensive hardbacks and following up a year later with the cheaper paperback is so old school. And very traditional publishing.51CG59JWAeL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_

Needless to say, Scalzi put on a great performance, both witty and informative. I figured that half the cost was for the live entertainment. And I got a personally signed book…for a crowded bookshelf. Of course, paperbacks of older works were also available, but the new one was only available in hardback for signing. So, being charming to your reading public when they’re holding your $25 novel is a good strategy.

I spent a lot of money that night.

The Human Division is now available only in expensive hardback at the bookstore, but fortunately we have Amazon and Kindle downloads for us high tech frugal folks…if you don’t mind foregoing the illegible signature.

BUT, John doesn’t just old school it.

If you are involved in the Twitterverse, you might be following Scalzi.

I am.

He tweets some of the more enjoyable snippets and is very funny. While others scream, “buy my book” or tell you what they’re eating for breakfast, John offers up humorous anecdotes in the life of a successful author and even makes humdrum daily events hilarious. He is a prolific tweeter.

In addition, John talked TOR into releasing The Human Division not only as a print book, but electronically in episodes.

Innovative.

Okay, okay…Charles Dickens did it through print newspapers a while ago, but electronically episodic is still a new path for most science fiction writers. Not too long ago, Hugh Howey used this form of marketing to break through with his Wool series and has become quite successful. Now he’s selling trade paperbacks in bookstores. (6″x9″ $15-$17)

John also has a very popular blog: www.whatever.Scalzi.com

He is plugged into the science fiction good old boys’ and girls’ network and lists a number of well known science fiction authors who helped him while he did “a staggering amount of travel.” He apologizes to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (premier science fiction association) for being distracted with publishing The Human Division during October and says, “it won’t happen again while I’m president.”

So, this shows me how important networking and interacting with fellow writers can be, and also that getting involved in prominent associations and conferences is also helpful in getting recognized, and boosting sales.

51PGEMXGN8L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_ The Human Division is also “in the universe” of the very popular novel, Old Man’s War, which was nominated for a Hugo…so winning awards, or even a nomination, and especially a Hugo, plumps up sales, and writing within a popular series helps sell any new book in that series.

Which gets me back to old school basics…

Write a great book…and they will come help you market everywhere.

And keep writing…as you tour, as you tweet, as you blog, as you serve on committees and attend cons.

Then you will sell…

Quite a lot.

Ps. Next week I’ll review The Human Division

 

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Filed under Alien and human bonding, alien life forms, Alien worlds, downloaded personalities, ebook science fiction, first contact, genetic manipulation, Hugh Howey, Hugo winners, Marketing and selling novels, military science fiction, modifying humans, science fiction series, space ship, space travel, Transhumanism

How Readers Pick Books

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To select the first five books that I want to read for 2014, I followed Mark Coker’s study on how ebook buyers discover books.

http://blog.smashwords.com/2011/09/how-ebook-buyers-discover-books.html

Surprisingly, or maybe not…word of mouth is still the number one way readers select books.

So my first selection breaks my rules of only reading science fiction because Peter at Powell’s became wildly enthusiastic  telling me about The Lies of Locke Lamora by Stephen Lynch. Peter is the science fiction and fantasy expert and lives and breathes books at the number one bookstore in Beaverton. So, when I asked what would be his top pick for me to read….I listen…and listened…and finally  grabbed the book he was waving around out of his hand and bought it.The Lies of Locke Lamora

The second method of selecting what to read…is, of course, reading a new book by a favorite author. Often if I like one book in the series, I go on to read the whole series. But for my next choice, I just went with a favorite author who has a new book out.

The human DivisionSo, The Human Division by John Scalzi is my second choice.

Besides, I wanted to add military science fiction to the list as it’s a popular genre with my readers. Also, Scalzi has great humor and action. Every book I’ve read of his, I have enjoyed.

No brainer

Lists are a third way people often select what they read. So I went to Goodreads, Amazon and Google to look at what books are making the 2013 most popular science fiction lists.

Time bound by Rysa Walker struck my fancy because of the subject matter. Also, she won Amazon’s breakout novel award for 2013. Not a bad list to be on. Here is a new author, that is number four on Amazon’s science fiction best selling list and sounds like something I might like. Timebound

Getting onto a top selling list is crucial if an author wants to sell a lot of books. Unfortunately, it can be a matter of serendipity. Somehow the story gets the attention of a few readers in a sector, and then a few more, as the word spreads. Next thing that author jumps into a top one hundred list and that propels the book forward. The more lists, the more readers, the more sales. People do check what everyone else is reading. And people love to make lists and share what they like.

So that brings me to number four, which is reviews and story summaries. Once a reader decides he wants to find a book, he may gather several titles that pique his interest. In deciding how to narrow his choices down, he looks first at the cover and then, the story blurb. What is the story about? Does it sound interesting?

I found Reality Check on a list and also under “if you like this, then you’ll like…”Reality Check

I am not a YA reader, but I will cross that line if the story sounds compelling. So a compelling story blurb is important if you want to appeal to readers. Three young adults leaving Earth for various reasons and starting out on a new world appealed to me. So I read the reviews, which for the most part were very positive.

A word on reviews…

I don’t think there’s a book in existence that hasn’t had at least one troll give it a poor review. Even the Bible probably has a review that criticizes the continuity of plot, or lack of depth to certain characters. People have opinions and some give opinions when in a poor frame of mind. That’s life.

However, I do read reviews and consider the comments…and so do a lot of people when making their selections. Time and money is too precious to waste on an awful book and reviews give guidance by people sharing their opinions on what they liked and didn’t like. Taste does vary, but a really good book, one worth reading, often has a majority of readers that like it. So good reviews are important.

The Snow QueenAnd last for this group, The Snow Queen by Joan Vinge. I read this long ago and really liked it. I’m now working on my next novel, Someone’s Clone that uses the viewpoint of a clone. So, I want to revisit this book because of the subject matter.

And that is my fifth reason for selection. Subject matter. If you like time travel, you gravitate towards that. If you like military scifi, that’s where you head. You may wander off course occasionally to try new pastures, but usually the reader will return to his favorite subject matter, and for me that usually means science fiction.

Here are my first five for 2014. I’ll read others, too, as they come along. Sampling the new and grabbing up classics I may have missed.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Stephen Lynch

Reality Check by Christopher Nuttall

The Human Division by Scalzi. Goodreads list

Time bound by Rysa Walker

Snow Queen Joan DeVinge

For something new with classic science fiction themes, you might take a look at my series and see if one catches your fancy. Check out the right hand panel and get the New Year off to a fun start.

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Filed under Alien and human bonding, alien life forms, Alien worlds, Aliens in Science Fiction, award winning scifi, Best selling science fiction, Classic science fiction, Discovering new a Earth, ebook marketing, genetic manipulation, military science fiction, modifying humans, science fiction, Science Fiction book review, time travel, YA science ficiton

Species Symbiosis: Pets in science fiction

IMG_0193Two new kittens tear across my feet, jump and land in a tussle of ferocious claws and fur, wrestling with each other. Tails flick, haunches wiggle and soon one is soaring through the air with a mighty pounce.Image 3

Nothing like two new cats  to distract my gaze from the wet, chill weather that has moved into the Northwest.

So, throughout history and even into fictional alien worlds has humanity attempted to bond with other species.

A treecat in David Weber’s Honor Harrington series springs to mind. A sense of communication and symbiosis wrapped around Honor’s neck much like a pelted scarf.OnBasiliskStation

Sky DragonsOr the dragons of Pern by Anne McCaffrey that humans imprint on the hatching grounds and forge a telecommunication link that can transcend even time.

Robin Hobb also carries out this theme of telepathic dragons in her own dragon series. The more recent ones being Blood of Dragons and City of Dragons. Also in her Farseer trilogy, the young boy hero bonds with a wolf.Royal Assassin

The Zero StoneAndre Norton’s The Zero Stone starts a series where the ship’s cat ingests a strange seedpod and evolves into an entity that names itself Eet and follows the hero as his companion into adventures.

Timothy Vaughn writes in Dragon and Thief about a dragon alien, named Draycos,  that blends onto the young hero’s back and legs, but can leap out into three dimensions to interact at need. Talk about getting a wild tat.Dragon and Thief

In the Liaden universe,  several family cats are cameoed and even a tree appears to communicate with the Delm of Korval, dropping magical seed pods whenever necessary.

John Scalzi’s hero, Jack Halloway,  battles to prove sentience in a small furry creature that he befriends in Fuzzy Nation.  Human and creature face off in a legal battle against the big business of  Zaracorp that has its own plans for their alien world.51CG59JWAeL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_

If you’re searching for a story of alien and human bonding, here are just a few samples of species symbiosis in science fiction .

Do you have any favorites?

We humans form friendships and alliances with other species on our own Earth, so why not with aliens from other worlds? From dolphins to horses, cats to dogs, many other species have enriched our life and eased the drear of coming winter with adorable gamboling and warm, cuddly affection.Kittens copy

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