Friday, May 17, 2024

Life (and the Internet) goes on

It recently sank in that my last blog post was in December, when Life and Death on Mars was published. Hmm. Truth be told, like much of the Internet, I've moved on from blogging to Facebook posting.

That said ... if only because Blogger's tools are better than FB's, I'll occasionally post here when I have something major (or anything lengthy) to say. Meanwhile, your best bet with keeping up with me is my authorial Facebook page.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Life and Death on Mars

(May 12, 2024 update Huzzah!! the complication with distribution over which I have no control is resolved. Life and Death on Mars is once more available in ebook formats, including Kindle.)

I'm (beyond) delighted to announce the release today of Life and Death on Mars. In terms of scope, it's one of my most ambitious novels ever.

As though landing people safely on Mars weren't daunting enough ...

The Space Race of the Sixties, at the height of the Cold War, had been nail-biting—until the Soviet Union forfeited.

In the thirtiesamid a second Cold WarChina is not about to lose the race to Mars. Nor is the United States. Nor, quite the wildcard, is a secretive cabal drawn from among the world's multi-billionaires. All of them scrambling to launch deep-space missions on a schedule to make the Sixties contest appear lackadaisical.

Competition that could only continue on the Red Planet.

More treacherous still? The rivalries, resentments, and distrust that simmer just beneath the surface within each expedition.

More difficult yet? Survival on that arid, radiation-drenched, all-but-airless planet.

These challenges have somehow fallen into the lap of NASA engineer—and reluctant astronaut—Xander Hopkins.

But the thorniest problem of all? The existential quandary for which neither training nor experience has in any way prepared Xander? Making sense of the seemingly unstoppable plague that has already killed. The plague that seems poised to devastate all life on Mars and another world.

Earth.

This being a commercial announcement, I'll offer links to the print edition and Kindle edition at Amazon. The book will also be available soon—if it isn't already by the time you read this—in other print and ebook venues. If your favorite brick-and-mortar store doesn't have it on the shelf, they'll be happy to place an order (to make it painless for the bookseller, here's the ISBN: 978-1647100889).

Monday, December 4, 2023

The Return of the Inter(stellar)Net

The  long-awaited re-release of the acclaimed three-book InterstellarNet series has (finally) arrived. I like to believe it was worth the wait.

What is the InterstellarNet series? To share a few of my favorite reviews:

"Edward M. Lerner’s InterstellarNet is one of the most original and well-thought-out visions of an interstellar civilization I’ve ever seen." 
— Stanley Schmidt, author of Argonaut

"A wonderfully thought-provoking story… Lerner's world-building and extrapolating are top notch." 
— SFScope

"Faster-than-light travel is such a commonplace convention in SF that we seldom consider the flip side: a universe in which FTL does not exist. In this book … Edward M. Lerner uses such a universe to great effect." 
Analog Science Fiction and Fact

"An exceptional book in an excellent series … If you enjoy a good story on a large scale told by sympathetic characters, read Interstellar Net: Enigma. If you enjoy space opera, space combat, and unlikely heroes saving the earth, you will enjoy this book. If you enjoy mysteries, the futuristic elements will not detract. This is one of the few novels that combine an action mystery with a sweeping science fiction and excels at being both. Get this novel. Whether you read the others or not, it stands alone. Highly recommended." 
Galaxy's Edge

"… Space opera set in an interesting variation of the standard solar civilization. There’s a little bit of military SF, some intrigue, some wondrous revelations, and some gritty conflicts. Fun." 
Critical Mass

"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

"... A well researched hard science fiction series. Building from today's technology into a believable tale of the not-so-distant future of characters, ships and planets, I really enjoyed it." — Abyss & Apex

Oh, I might also mention that InterstellarNet: Origins (the first of the series) incorporates "Creative Destruction," the novelette that brought me my first appearance in a Year's Best anthology. InterstellarNet: Enigma (third and last of the series) incorporates "Championship B'tok"), the novelette that brought me a Hugo Award nomination. InterstellarNet: Enigma as a whole won the inaugural Canopus Award, "honoring excellence in interstellar writing."

This being a commercial announcement, I'll share Amazon Links. In print:

InterstellarNet: Origins

InterstellarNet: New Order

InterstellarNet: Enigma

For the Kindle:

InterstellarNet: Origins

InterstellarNet: New Order

InterstellarNet: Enigma

If you're a brick-and-mortar shopper and you don't happen to find the book(s) of interest on the shelf, just ask the bookseller to order it for you. (She'd much rather do that than have you go elsewhere.) To simplify ordering, here are the ISBNs:

InterstellarNet: Origins: 978-1515458074

InterstellarNet: New Order: 978-1515458081

InterstellarNet: Enigma: 978-1515458098

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Buy-a-Book Saturday returns (anyway it can, with your help)

Times flies. (Like an arrow, though that's an irrelevant obscurity for today's post. As is that you can time flies with a stopwatch.) Meaning Buy-a-Book Saturday is once more almost upon us. 

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 -- and Black Friday somehow having begun days ago at many retailers/etailers -- even to wait till close to that Saturday 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. Yet again.

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 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.)

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Best Reads of 2023

I concede that a year's-best posting before Thanksgiving might seem, well, early. OTOH: Supply-chain woes. Labor shortages. Postal/UPS/FedEx slowdowns. Not to mention the countless stores that had up Christmas displays well before Halloween. Especially if you (or your reading giftees) prefer material in paper and ink, you may want to undertake your holiday shopping sooner rather than later. In any event, Black Friday and Cyber Monday will soon be upon us. At some stores/e-stores, they somehow already are.

If you find none of that convincing? The way 2023 has been, surely anything meriting the label "best" is welcome. Distraction via the books that follow certainly helped me cope. Not to mention that if ever there were a year to support one's favorite authors, 2023 (again! sigh) is it. So: on to the latest installment of this annual feature. 

As always, I read a lot: as research, keeping current with the genre in which I write, and simply for enjoyment. Before the annual 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. FWIW, this is my twelfth such compilation. 

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 of recommendations 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 ....

Thursday, October 5, 2023

A note to book marketers

Speaking solely as a frequent book shopper ...

I see way too many promos -- Kindle Daily Deal spots, BookBub ads, back-cover copy -- boasting within the first sentence that a book is "riveting," "captivating," engrossing," or "page-turning." Worse are the boasts where someone combines the puffery (e.g., "captivatingly riveting"). Whereupon, generally, I lose interest. 

No. Just, no.

Because you know what I get from such assertions? The expectation that whatever's between the covers will be as annoyingly overwritten. In the word-count-limited space available, consider telling me what the book is about. That might interest me.

While I'm venting, color me skeptical of assertions a book is (and I exaggerate only slightly from descriptors I've seen) "John LeCarre meets Emily Dickenson" or "Andy Weir meets the Dalai Lama." 

(Has any promo for a book of mine ever committed such offenses? Once or twice, IIRC. Which isn't to say I was behind it ....)

Ranting ... complete.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

On the Shoals of Space-Time

I'm pleased to announce the publication of my latest novel, On the Shoals of Space-Time.  

Space opera? Check. Near-future expansion into the Solar System? Ditto. Intriguing aliens? Of course. With surprises along the way? I like to think so ;-) 

Sharing a bit more about the book: 

However wildly people had imagined First Contact? They never imagined this.

They weren't supposed to be there. They hadn't planned to be there. But neither had they planned for the near-catastrophic explosion that had all but destroyed their interstellar passenger vessel.

There was somewhere on the far fringes of what the rustic locals—for all they knew alone in the universe—egotistically capitalized as the Solar System. But however primitive these humans, scarcely spacefaring at all, they were the last, best, and—however vanishingly small—only hope for the few surviving passengers of the starship Greater Good to avoid lingering deaths on some remote, icy rock.

And the crew of the tiny spaceship Andrew Carnegie? They entertained no plans beyond keeping secret the identity of their destination asteroid, exploiting its storehouse of precious metals, and fantasizing over how to spend their anticipated wealth.

The universe, once again, didn't give a damn what anyone had planned....

This being a commercial announcement, I'll offer links to the print edition and Kindle edition at Amazon. The book will also be available soon—if it isn't already by the time you read this—in other print and ebook venues. If your favorite brick-and-mortar store doesn't have it on the shelf, they'll be happy to place an order (to make it painless for the bookseller, here's the ISBN: 978-1649731395).

(From the Department of Nothing Is Ever Easy Anymore: for reasons not worth getting into, the publisher moved Shoals from one of its imprints to another. That change led to a delay in the release date. Hence, you might encounter OBE references to a May 2023 edition that's "out of stock" or "unavailable." If that happens, check for "other formats and editions." The novel's actual release, as above, was in September 2023.) 

On a personal note, with publication of this book, my 24th, I can in all honesty speak of my dozens of books :-)

Monday, July 31, 2023

Because (a little bit) less can be more

More and more (irony alert?), I've come to appreciate the novella format.

To be clear, I haven't stopped liking novels. I have, after all, written eleven and cowritten five more. I've got two new novels in the publishing pipeline for -- fingers crossed -- later this year. But not every storyline belongs in a novel.

First things first: a definition. Per dictionaries, a novella is fiction longer than a short story and shorter than a novel. Well, duh. That's not the most useful of descriptions. In the SF field, encompassing most of my work, the pro writers' organization (SFWA, aka the Science-fiction and Fantasy Writers Association), has a precise -- if arbitrary -- delineation: a novella is fiction in the range of 17,500 to 39,999 words. Novels, obviously, start at 40K words. Realistically, most book publishers require 80K or more words in a novel; most zines draw the line for novellas at 20-25K words. 

Amazon link
Why my appreciation? Novellas are a format long enough to: tell a complex, multi-layered story. Incorporate rich world-building.  Give characters significant depth. Provide room (when it advances a particular plot) for multiple point-of-view characters. Even, if/when appropriate, to include sufficient back story to connect nicely with an author's other works in a broader fictional universe -- while standing alone in the process. Within length limits that demand the discipline to exclude anything unnecessary. 

All that usually doable in a few weeks to no more than a couple months. On rough average, it takes me a year to write a novel.

Why a declaration of appreciation now? Call it fallout from assembling last year's career-spanning The Best of Edward M. Lerner. I included in that collection, among many more shorter works, three of my novellas -- and kept wishing I'd had page count for more. With that thought recurring (and recurring, and recurring ...), my mind turned to one of the most unusual among my books. 

The Sherlock Chronicles & The Paradise Quartet -- as you've perhaps inferred -- contains two back-to-back novellas. (If you're old enough, this is where you might channel Ace Doubles.) The book had been available for scarcely a year when publisher (and editor, and author, and all-around Good Guy) Eric Flint passed away -- scarcely a year ago -- and the book went out of print and electrons. While it's recently republished by the fine folk at ReAnimus Press, the book's short first run still saddens me.

Amazon link
The Sherlock novella is near-future, in which a bored AI fills its idle nanoseconds solving crimes -- and finding itself in ever more existential situations. The Paradise novella is harder to capture in a sentence. It's far-future. Post-apocalyptic. With generation ships and lost colonies. Also, with its own existential perils. I like both these novellas. A lot

(Oh, here's another thing at which novellas excel: exploring -- in time or space or implication -- ideas previously touched upon in shorter works. Thus it happens that both novellas in Sherlock/Paradise began in shorter stories. Those two nuclei are included in -- (and so, comprise a small part of -- Best of.) 

ANYhow ... perhaps by sharing, I've exorcised the "had to leave 'em out" demon. If I've piqued your curiosity, feel free to click the links under the nearby covers.