Thursday, April 30, 2015

A break from enigmas

The release of a new novel is a whirlwind of activity (of which the occasional blog or FB post is only a small part). Releasing a novel in serial form? An N-part serial, I've been learning, takes almost N-times the effort of "merely" a book.

To remind myself that there is life outside of new-book promotion -- and to save my sanity -- I took a break last weekend in downtown DC. The highlight of that break was a visit to the National Building Museum.

The Pension Building
The building now home to the building museum (recursive, to be sure) was completed in 1887. It first served as headquarters of the Pension Bureau (a precursor to the modern Veterans Administration, serving Union veterans of the Civil War), and is commonly known as the Pension Building.

This is an enormous, all-brick (15 million bricks, more or less) structure that borrows design and ornamental elements from the Parthenon, Trajan's Column, and Italian Renaissance palazzos. The building all but fills a city block.

Monday, April 27, 2015

The enigma deepens / the plot thickens

Last week, in InterstellarNet: Enigma -- a mystery (starts to be) revealed, I announced the first installment of a new InterstellarNet adventure. Part One of the serial is "The Matthews Conundrum." Today I'm happy to report that Part Two of the serial is also released to all three major ebook venues: Amazon/Kindle, BN/Nook/ePub, and iTunes.

The serial edition
Firh Glithwah, leader of the Hunter clan Arblen Ems, schemes to liberate her people from two decades of ignominious internment and isolation on a remote moon of Uranus. She will have her vengeance against the clan’s human oppressors.

Only the hated humans may be the least of her worries ....

The Hugo-centric edition
(Just so ya know: Part Two of the serial, "Championship B'tok," is based upon the 2014 Analog novelette of the same name. A few weeks back, when that story became a Hugo nominee, my publisher rushed a special edition of the story to the Kindle store. If you have the red-backdrop ebook pictured nearby, it contains both the Analog/nominated version and (slightly tweaked and expanded) Part Two of the serial. But if the spiffy new cover is worth an extra 99 cents to you, I won't stand in your way.)

And in the intervening week, the overall novel collected another great recommendation:
"Edward M. Lerner’s InterstellarNet: Enigma is an engaging, intellectually stimulating science fiction novel spanning cosmic time that tackles a puzzle fundamental to the series. Science and logic dominate the narrative in a way they do all too rarely in the field these days. Chock full of aliens, spaceships, killer robots, artificial intelligences, InterstellarNet: Enigma does not shy away from action when the story calls for it, representing a satisfying balance of thought and deed. This is quality science fiction."
-- Mike Brotherton, author of Star Dragon
Wyoming Infrared Observatory
Besides having great SF chops, Mike is an astronomer on faculty at the University of Wyoming.

Next week, I expect to bring you an update on Part Three. And something more ...

Monday, April 20, 2015

InterstellarNet: Enigma -- a mystery (starts to be) revealed

I am delighted to announce the beginning of the release of InterstellarNet: Enigma. It's the latest -- and IMHO greatest -- of the InterstellarNet adventures. (And fair warning: this is a commercial post.)

Historian Joshua Matthews has landed a terrific new position, and with it the opportunity to write the definitive history of the Interstellar Commerce Union. In those annals, he plans to focus attention -- in his opinion, long overdue -- on the improbability that an interstellar community even exists.

But somehow, returning home from the party thrown to celebrate his good fortune, he has lost a month of his life. Everyone is certain he’s been away on an epic bender. And so, rather than promoted, he is disgraced, unemployed, unemployable ... and unaware just how lucky he actually was. 

The novel is already garnering some great comments. For one:
“When people talk about good hard SF -- rigorously extrapolated but still imbued with the classic sense-of-wonder -- they mean the work of Edward M. Lerner, the current master of the craft. InterstellarNet: Enigma is Lerner’s latest gem, and it’s up to his usual excellent standards; a winner all around.”
-- Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award-winning author of Red Planet Blues
You know how bunches of SF, like Star Trek, has bunches of alien civilizations that conveniently reside near one another (and to humans)? And how those civilizations often have similar enough tech to make their conflicts a fair (read: plot-worthy) fight? After the Great Silence of fifty years of SETI, how can one explain such scenarios except as authorial convenience/contrivance?

You may be too polite to ask, so I will: how do I explain the clustered intelligences that comprise the membership of my own InterstellarNet community?

I haven't. Till InterstellarNet Enigma ...

Monday, April 13, 2015

Posts: deja vu all over again

About four years ago I compiled the first list/overview of what were then the most visited posts here at SF and Nonsense. To my surprise, Postscript (or is that post post?) was itself instantly popular. It remains third on the all-time list.

Let the annual tradition continue.

Some rough posts :-)
Here's this year's all-time top-ten list, which I've assembled from data captured a few days ago. The format is: title/link; posting date; last year's rank in parens (if it was in the top ten); and a few words about the post content.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Of Hugo Awards, Sad Puppies, and notoriety

The flame wars continue on the matter of last Saturday’s Hugo Award nominations. Was this year’s voting process flawed? Was last year’s? Were the processes of many years past? For that matter, was the process ever not flawed?

In all cases: beats me.

What I do know is that a novelette I wrote made it onto this year’s Hugo Award ballot. I should be happy about that -- but I’m finding it difficult.

Why? My story appeared on a particular recommendation list. (“Slate,” the term sometimes applied to this particular list is, IMO, a loaded term. Voters were free to pick and chose -- and reject -- from among anyone’s and everyone’s sets of recommendations.) For some, an appearance on this particular list has become justification enough to make authors’ writing -- and personal worth -- suspect. I see no reason to propagate here the innuendos and slurs and guilt by association. If this controversy is new to you and you’d like to see particulars, Google “Sad Puppies.” The articles and posts are generally disheartening enough. And the comments? Well, you know the Internet.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A B'tok update

(April 8: Updating the update.)

Regarding yesterday's (the below) post: the roll-out of the special ebook edition of "Championship B'tok," in new formats to new ebook venues, will take longer than was originally anticipated. (It's complicated, the publisher tells me.) That said, the Kindle version, including the free loan option within the Kindle Unlimited program, is available. I'll re-update this post as things become clearer.

I apologize for the inconvenience.

(April 10: re-updating the update)

If you're open to reading through a web browser, Analog, in which "Championship B'tok" first appeared, has posted this story (actually, all their 2015 Hugo-nominated stories -- good stuff) to their website. Here are links for the magazine's home page and "Championship B'tok."

In record time, scant days after "Championship B'tok" was voted onto this year's Hugo Award ballot for best novelette, FoxAcre Press has released a special edition of the story.

Click cover for free copy
Make that two editions in one, because the ebook contains the nominated version, as it appeared in Analog last September, and the slightly different version that forms part of the forthcoming InterstellarNet: Enigma. Consider the latter a preview.

You can download the special edition from the Kindle store, where it may cost you a buck (it won't if you're enrolled in the Kindle Unlimited program). Real soon now, you'll also be able to get the ebook from and iTunes.

Or ... if you're willing to share your name and email address with the publisher (sign-up page here), you can get "Championship B'tok" for free in any of mobi/Kindle, ePub, and pdf formats. Sure, the occasional emailed promo will come your way -- but not the least of those upcoming promos will concern InterstellarNet: Enigma. You won't want to miss that.

Curious yet about "Championship B'tok?" As my FoxAcre Press editor has it:
The name of the game is B’tok. It’s how the alien Snakes learn military strategy. B’tok is to chess as chess is to rock-paper-scissors. You do not want to tick off Snakes -- especially when aggrieved Snakes may be the least of your worries. This thrilling adventures moves the story of the InterstellarNet forward as only Edward M. Lerner could do it.  

Saturday, April 4, 2015

2015 Hugo Finalists

Earlier today, this year's finalists for the prestigious Hugo Awards were announced. Congratulations to all the nominees, and thanks to everyone -- a record number of you -- who participated in this year's balloting.
Click cover for more info
Perhaps -- once the appearance among the finalists of a certain novelette sinks in -- my mind will once again consider other topics :-)

(For the curious among you: "Championship B'tok," the most recent adventure in my InterstellarNet series, first ran in the September 2014 issue of Analog. The novelette recently became available as a Kindle book.)

Till next time ...