Monday, January 10, 2022

Today only

 Today only ... I have a Really Good Interview (tm) streaming on The Author Show. A punchy 13 minutes. Check it out at:

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Monday, December 20, 2021

Ending the year with a bang

 Any year that sees two of my books newly released? That's a banner year. Which 2021 turned out to be, what with the publication of novel Déjà Doomed and collection The Sherlock Chronicles & The Paradise Quartet. I even had the pleasure mid-year of announcing a new novel under contract to be written: (working title) Mars: The Great Race. So, this year -- pandemic aside -- couldn't get any better. Right?

Wrong. This month, I signed contracts for two other books. 

The first is a novel, On the Shoals of Space-Time. This is a first-contact adventure such as -- trust me -- you've never seen. (For those of you who find the title somehow familiar, it's the novelization of a story arc that's been running behind the paywall at The Grantville Gazette. With expanded and new material.) 

The second addresses what have to be any author's least favorite questions: "What's your favorite from among your books?" And "If I want to try one of your books, which should it be?" Questions like, for a parent, "Who's your favorite child?" 

You see, new book #2 is the collection The Best of Edward M. Lerner, offering fourteen career- and topic-spanning works at every length from flash fiction to novella. None of these pieces are excerpts from novels -- I don't believe in those -- but many of them did give rise to sequel stories, or novels, or are illuminating in some way about one of my novels. As appropriate, my per-story authorial reminisces explain these happy events. In short, soon, I'll have my answer to those pesky questions (except about my children).

Do you sense I'm ending 2021 on a happy note?

Sunday, December 12, 2021

MacGuffins and starships and aliens, oh my!

 Alternate title: Of tropes, and (interstellar) trips, and sealing wax

Okay, that's enough semi-obscure references for one day. 

I was pleased recently to revisit Sci-Fi Saturday Night, one of my favorite genre podcasts. Whereas on my first visit, we discussed my latest novel, Déjà Doomed, this time the topic was my nonfiction book, Trope-ing the Light Fantastic: The Science Behind the Fiction.

Amazon page
(Trope-ing takes an in-depth look at genre tropes -- science used other than literally -- such as faster-than-light travel, time travel, general AI, and the like, including the science that could someday make such technologies possible. The book also offers literally hundreds of examples (from written SF at every length between flash fiction and novel series; from dramatic SF on screens large and small) of the genre using -- and abusing -- science. Here's my original announcement of Trope-ing.) 

Today's post is to share our delightful, roughly half-hour, chat: Irrational Numbers for Rational Science Fiction. I join the conversation at about 6:50 minutes into the podcast. 

Until you have a half hour to spare, the takeaways include, "A trove of wonderful information about the why and how of the science in the fiction. … a must read for any science fiction fan.” and "One of the most important books I've read in a hell of a long time."

(As for the perhaps still-cryptic subject line(s): those were the topics -- among many covered in the book -- on which our latest conversation mainly focused. Well, except sealing wax.)

Monday, November 15, 2021

Buy-a-Book (maybe even *before*) Saturday: broken-supply-chain edition

 It's that time again. With the added wrinkle this year that most anything physical is in short supply and/or stuck on a ship waiting to offload. Books included ...

Regularly since 2010, shortly before Thanksgiving, I've posted about Buy-a-Book Saturday. That's my personal variation on Small Business Saturday: the day (specifically, the second day after Thanksgiving, and one day after retail's infamous Black Friday) on which holiday shoppers are especially encouraged to patronize small businesses. The big-box stores and Internet giants will do fine this holiday season. But will neighborhood stores, non-chain shops, and boutiques?

What with the supply-chain problems, even to wait till close to that Saturday (falling quite late this year: November 27) might not be the best of strategies.

Rara avis! Is that a book store?

Why do I promote the buy-a-book variant? Because what business is smaller than the author toiling away by him- or herself? Because, as I (and many others) post from time to time, the publishing business keeps getting tougher -- especially for authors. Because more than likely you're a reader, else you wouldn't have stopped by this blog.

Because this year has been harder on small businesses, authors included, than most. Paper for printers is just one thing stuck in supply-chain snarls.

So: I'm here to suggest you give serious consideration to books -- whether print or electronic or audio -- for some of your holiday gifting. Friends, relatives, coworkers, your kids' teachers and coaches, the local library you support ... surely there's a book that's right for each of them. And at least one book for yourself, of course ;-)

Suppose you're at a brick-and-mortar bookstore -- assuming said business survived the pandemic so far and/or venturing out isn't once again an unacceptable risk where you are -- and a book or author you had in mind isn't to be found on the shelf. Not a problem! Almost certainly, the store will be happy to special-order books for you. (Why? Because  they'd much rather do a special order than have you go home and order online for yourself.)

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Best Reads of 2021

For a second consecutive year, I must concede that a year's-best posting this early in November might seem, well, early. OTOH, pandemic. Supply-chain woes. Postal/UPS/FedEx slowdowns. Especially if you (or your reading giftees) prefer reading material in paper and ink, you may want to do your holiday shopping early rather than late. In any event, Black Friday and Cyber Monday will soon be upon us. 

If you find none of that convincing? The way 2021 has been, surely anything meriting the label "best" is welcome. Distraction via the books that follow certainly helped me cope with this dreadful, pandemic-ridden year.

 Not to mention that if ever there were a year to support one's favorite authors, this (again!) is it.

So: on to the latest installment of this annual feature. 

As always, I read a lot: as research, to keep current with the genre in which I write, and simply for enjoyment. Before the holiday shopping onslaught, I've taken to volunteering a few words about the most notable books from my reading (and sometimes re-reading) thus far in the current year. And a (very small) celebratory woohoo: this is my tenth such post in the series. 

When I name a book, you can be certain I really enjoyed it and/or found it very useful. Life's too short to gripe about books I didn't find notable (much less the several I elected not to finish). Presuming that you visit SF and Nonsense because you appreciate my assessment of things, you might find, in what follows, books you (and like-minded friends, relatives, etc.) will also enjoy. Unless otherwise indicated, the dates shown are for original publication. Titles are Amazon links, often to newer editions than the original publication (and to Kindle editions, where available).
What's impressed me so far this year? Read on ....

Friday, October 8, 2021

A series-ous matter

Today is release day for the umpteenth James Bond movie. I suspect there's hardly an adult or teen living in a First World country who doesn't recognize the name. Franchises continue for a reason -- audience loyalty -- and not only on the big screen. Novel series have likewise been all the rage in recent years.

Marcus Judson Book #1
Many of my books are entirely independent of one another, but I've also been involved in two literary series. The Fleet of Worlds series (with Larry Niven), ultimately of five novels, takes its name from a unique astronomical feature -- the eponymous grouping of flying worlds! -- that figure throughout. The InterstellarNet series, of three novels, is named for the technological glue -- an interstellar comm network -- whose creation, evolution, and consequences underpin, well, everything that happens across a growing number of species, light-years, and decades. I like to believe both series labels pique book-shopper curiosity and sustain reader interest.

Since this past May's release of Déjà Doomed, I've had something of a naming conundrum. Just as James Bond's adventures (setting aside remakes and reboots) are independent apart from some recurring characters, several main characters in Déjà Doomed first appeared in 2012's Energized. Sticking loosely with today's James Bond theme, the lead character in both of these novels, Marcus Judson, has now twice  been -- however reluctantly -- a CIA asset. And, I have to admit, thoughts of inflicting a third adventure on Marcus have been tickling the back of my mind ... 

Marcus Judson Book #2
So: what should I call this latest series? The obvious choice is Marcus Judson, and subtitle books as "A Marcus Judson novel." (Hey, going with the hero's name worked for Ian Fleming. It works, in the SF context, for Jack McDevitt's long-running Alex Benedict series.) I may very well end up going with this choice. 

But I like that my earlier series had IMO catchy names. Hence, a question to those of you who've read Energized and/or Déjà Doomed. Any thoughts about a Marcus Judson series? Any thoughts about an alternative series name? 

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Adventures in Space-Time

Updated December 22, 2021

Grantville Gazette readers: if you've been following the (mis)adventures of my alien castaways and their would-be human rescuers, good news! The third and final installment of "Ill-Met in Space-Time" is in the current (September 2021) issue of the zine.

(My favorite banner art for the serial is from the first installment. So that's what you're getting from me. And not just because while the aliens don't have a queen, nonetheless there is a gambit.)

"Space-Time" has been an ongoing project for me for much of the past year, comprised (so far) of "On the Shoals of Space-Time," "Marooned in Space-Time," "Adrift in Space-Time," and now the completed serial, "Ill-Met in Space-Time."

As for you non-Gazette readers ... don't be surprised if at some point I integrate and expand the story arc into a novel.

(Update: there will be a novel :-)    See "Ending the Year with a Bang."

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

CFTAR trifecta

 I was recently invited, in connection with a recent novel's publication, to the author-friendly website Campaign for the American Reader. In fact, host Marshal Zeringue asked if I might contribute to several departments of the CFTAR program. It was my pleasure to oblige.

And so, in the past couple weeks, I've had the following CFTAR appearances:

(Quirky, how? you might ask. The question to be answered is, "If a reader opens a book to the [randomly chosen] page 69, would they get a good sense of it? Why or why not?)

As you might suspect, two of those appearances focused on May's new novel,  Déjà Doomed. The Q&A is more about writing in general.

All, IMO, in good fun.