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 ...

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Physics updates

Has your GPS ever failed you? Perhaps it told you to turn in 100 feet or so, but once you were past a corner, on your way to the nearby next cross street, it decided you'd gone too far. Perhaps, at some critical juncture, it just failed to say anything, because reflections from nearby buildings confused it with too many signals. Or perhaps you were indoors, hoping for intra-building guidance, and -- of course -- there was no signal.

And it works!
Then be of good cheer (especially if you're in Japan)! Read up (from IEEE Spectrum) on "Japan’s Plan for Centimeter-Resolution GPS: A $1.2 billion system of satellites and ground stations would give unprecedented accuracy," then begin to anticipate the same functionality appearing in your neck of the woods. Doing pretty much anything for the first time is the hard part.

(Don't get me wrong ... I'm not down on present-day GPS. It's a wonderful service, and the technology beneath the hood is fascinating. I'm merely in favor of it becoming even better.)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Of philosophy and planetaria

I was recently invited to review an issue of Sci Phi Journal, the new periodical that approaches science fiction from a philosophical perspective. I finished the magazine a few nights ago (full disclosure: I received the March 2015 issue as a free ebook, not that getting it for free will affect my comments) and I'm going to share my thoughts.
First: it's always great to see a new genre publication. Sci Phi Journal is professionally assembled, with a mix of familiar authors and others new to me. Like Analog, the genre magazine in which my own short works most often appear, Sci Phi Journal offers both fiction and essays (and in this issue, as it happens, a story and an article by two Analog regulars who aren't me). The artwork throughout is nicely done.

Where Analog tends toward stories of an adventure- or problem-solving nature, Sci Phi Journal leans (as the name suggests) toward philosophical themes. Most stories conclude with something of a discussion guide -- for a tête-à-tête between you and the author -- about the issues raised by that story. Most of the fiction in this issue was science-oriented, but one, "Bunny Rabbit" (E. J. Shumak), was of the fantasy persuasion.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Catching up

From the Department of Miscellaneous and Sundry (and saved for a rainy, er snowy day when a blog topic didn't jump out at me) ...

Home, cluttered home
Geologists, biologists, and others divide Earth's long history -- about 4.5 billion years -- into ages, epochs, and periods. Each marks a major shift in the nature of the planet. We humans, despite our grand airs ("homo sapiens sapiens ... twice wise? really?) are newcomers. Still, we are remodeling the place. And so, some scientists wonder: "Are we there yet? Scientists prepare for change of epoch."

What do you think? Has the Anthropocene epoch begun?

In a related vein, "Nation’s Historians Warn The Past Is Expanding At Alarming Rate."

Monday, March 9, 2015

Fools' Experiments -- and other authorial goodies

Fools' Experiments, a novel of artificial life, artificial intelligence, and hubris -- and, as it happens, my most popular solo book -- has become relatively difficult to find.

Bummer, right?

The new cover
No longer! Phoenix Pick (an imprint of publisher Arc Manor) has just re-released Fools' Experiments in trade paperback and multiple ebook formats.

What is Fools' Experiments about? I'm glad you asked. 

"Lerner’s physics and computer science background serve him well for this pulse-pounding yarn about the creation of the first artificial life form inside cyberspace."
— BookPage Notable Title 

“Viruses and worms have come to be an important ‘feature’ of our network landscape. And yet this is just the beginning. In FOOLS’ EXPERIMENTS, Edward M. Lerner gives us a fascinating view on how awesome these threats could soon become.” 
— Vernor Vinge, Hugo award-winning author of Rainbow’s End

Or even more succinctly, as the tagline puts it: We are not alone, and it's our own damn fault.

This being an unabashedly commercial post, here are the Amazon links for the new Fools' Experiments paperback edition and Fools' Experiments Kindle edition. (Other etailers will also offer the novel, of course, in print and non-Kindle ebook formats. And your favorite brick-and-mortar bookseller will be happy to order the new print edition for you -- tell him or her ISBN 978-1612422343.)

And in other authorial news:
  • Tomorrow (March 10) is the final day to nominate works for the 2015 Hugo awards. Support your favorite authors.
  • Many of you participated in the recent book bombing (see "I've been book bombed! (And that's a good thing)". I hope you enjoyed "A Time Foreclosed."
  • MANY of you made your way to last week's free Kindle download of "Championship B'tok" -- a novelette which, by an amazing coincidence, is eligible for a Hugo nomination (see "B'tok (and ka-Boom)". I hope you enjoyed it. The ebook has returned to -- IMO, a still quite reasonable -- 99 cents.
  • Now I'm off to pore over the page proofs for InterstellarNet: Enigma. That's my latest novel (see "InterstellarNet redux"), of which "Championship B'tok" forms a key segment. The pub date isn't yet set, but late spring or early summer seems about right. I'll post about it when I know.
A final thought before I go ... please consider helping me get out the word. You might repost, share on Facebook, pin on Pinterest, or tweet about the  new release of Fools' Experiments. And there's always workd of mouth. Icons for sharing are immediately below this post (and its labels).