Saturday, February 26, 2011

A new phase of the Moon(struck)

My second novel, MOONSTRUCK, went in and out of print long before the days of this blog. Way before Kindle, too.

I'm delighted to report that MOONSTRUCK is available once more, in a classy trade paperback format and now also for the Kindle. That's the new cover on the left of your screen.

And the story? I could tell you, but these review snippets describe it *so* well ...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar ...

... Sigmund Freud is said to have said.

And so, by the power vested in me by the State of Analogy, surely an SF author can declare that sometimes an SF story (or TV show or movie) is just a story, and that it's okay to simply be ... fun.

In that spirit, take a gander  at this paean to SF corridors from the Den of Geek.  It's a neat post with great visuals  from classic SF movies.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The monopsony cometh

I realize authors always claim that times are tough ... but these times are.

Yesterday brought the bankruptcy filing of Borders Books. Borders, of course, is the the #2 bricks-and-mortar bookseller in the country -- and for a couple of months, they haven't been paying publishers. Many publishers, consequently, haven't been sending them new books. (Under the circumstances, why would they?) About two hundred stores will be closed over the next several weeks, possibly more. The remainder of the chain, operating under bankruptcy-court protection, is likely to be very conservative in their restocking decisions -- to the extent, still to be determined, that publishers take the risk of resuming shipments. For the thoughts of another author on the subject, see A Bankrupt Borders Makes Everyone Poorer, Especially Authors.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Creative Destruction

"Creative destruction" was economist Joseph Schumpeter's capsule description of capitalism. In a few words: good ideas and well-run companies ride roughshod over past-their-use-by-date ideas and badly run companies. Wealth from failed businesses and industries shifts to more productive uses in new enterprises.

(Contrast with: Uncreative destruction, as when governments bail out imploding companies, throwing [your] good money after bad. Seen any of that recently?)

We saw -- and continue to see -- a great deal of creative destruction as work shifts from labor-intensive processes onto computers and the Internet. As Alan Greenspan (former chairman of the Federal Reserve) once observed (citation), "From the development of the textile loom two centuries ago to today's Internet, output per hour has increased fifty fold."

(Disclosure: here we segue to a commercial announcement.)  My first collection of short fiction was computer-themed.  I named it, appropriately enough -- or, anyway, so I think -- Creative Destruction.

The title story (i.e., "Creative Destruction") is set in my InterstellarNet universe, about which I've posted before. The original/standalone novelette-length version of "Creative Destruction" (versus the expanded version that forms a section of  InterstellarNet: Origins) was in a year's best anthology and also serialized in the daily newsletter of  Telcom World 2003. (That's not just some random techie gathering. Telecom World is sponsored annually by a United Nations agency, the International Telecommunication Union.  Speakers are folks like IT corporation CEOs and national telecom ministers.)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Techno-copia

Several items of likely interest to the SF (and just S) readers of this blog ...

What if robots could share what they learn?  Is that a step toward Skynet or just towards less dumb robots?  Check out RoboEarth: a Worldwide Web for Robots

(Robots interacting with the real world is a hard problem. My grad-school days are long passed, but back then I shared an office with a guy whose doctoral dissertation involved programming a robotic arm to ... stack blocks.)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Of fleet Fleets and Known Space

(Updated August 21, 2012, to reflect the release of Fate of Worlds)

Readers often email me to discuss fine points of Known Space lore, including how the Fleet of Worlds series of collaborative novels relates to other books and stories within Larry Niven's Known Space future history.

(No spoilers herein. In this post I'll say little or nothing about plots. For per-book descriptions click embedded links to go to the book-specific Amazon pages. For books in the Fleet series, you can also click the book covers on the right-hand side of this post page for more description.)

Erroneous web references abound that Fleet/Juggler/Destroyer of Worlds are a trilogy (they're not), and that Betrayer of Worlds is the first of a series (a new sub-series is more accurate, in that Betrayer introduces a new main character), and wondering if the series is complete (as of today's update, with the release of Fate of Worlds, #5, it is).

Other online articles -- from mainstream reviews to fan sites to blog posts -- offer conflicting opinions as to whether and how individual Fleet of Worlds series books relate to earlier-written Known Space stories -- and even to each other.

You know what? I thought I'd offer an opinion.  Being a coauthor imparts some qualifications, right?