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.

Thursday, June 29, 2023

I's dotted. T's (and fingers) crossed

A recurring theme of my posts for a while has been the disappearance and sometimes the reemergence of several of my (mainly older) books. Long story short: in 2021 and 2022, eight books, originally from three publishers, went out of print (and electrons). Even shorter: publishing is a hard business. 

Keeping my titles in print is important to me, so placing these titles at new homes has been a priority. As I type (and for those who have not been keeping score at home), five of the eight orphaned titles are recently back in print and electrons:

  • Creative Destruction (a cyber-themed collection, first published in 2006)
    The new cover

  • Countdown to Armageddon / A Stranger in Paradise (a short time-travel novel plus five shorter SF works, first published in 2010)
  • Frontiers of Space, Time, and Thought (mixed fiction and nonfiction [in both cases, SFnal] collection, first published in 2012)
  • The Company Man (SFnal/noir novel, first published in 2019)
  • The Sherlock Chronicles & The Paradise Quartet (back-to-back unrelated SFnal novellas, first published in 2021*)
(*) I did mention publishing is a hard business. Best stated by Anonymous: "The best way to become a millionaire is to start as a billionaire and then start a publishing company."

Original cover
Today's news (drumroll please) ...

Monday, May 15, 2023

On the Shoals of IRL (aka ... sigh)

Update: May 26. 2023: The book has been removed -- as is appropriate -- from online booksellers' websites. I'll post when the book is rescheduled - and imminent.

So. Way back in October, I announced in this space the release date for my novel On The Shoals of Space-Time. That date: May 23rd. 

Well. May 23rd approaches and ... Things Are Delayed. The delay is out of my hands and the reasons for it would be of little interest to the general reader. Alas, several venues, including Amazon, continue to show that imminent date -- and some shoppers (your interest is appreciated!) have already preordered.

It will happen, but I don't have a revised release date. News in this space as it happens.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Raindrops on roses and covers on books ...

Anyway, some book covers are a few of my favorite things.

I've opined before on this blog (IIRC, most recently in Best of Edward M. Lerner) that I don't have favorites among my own literary "children." After each book's many months -- sometimes, even, years -- of gestation, I've bonded with them all. 

That said, the covers of my books aren't my children. I get to -- and I do -- have favorites. Which we'll come to. Soon.

Some covers are of the artistic school I'll call "SF Default": generic spacecraft juxtaposed against Earth or random space rock. There's nothing wrong with that. Such covers clearly identify space-based fiction, just as other generic covers (cowboy on horse; Six-Pack-Abs Guy shirtless for no obvious reason) signal other genres. But indicating an overall genre is pretty much all this sort of cover accomplishes.

My favorites are the covers that tantalize about the story(ies) to be found inside. That catch the eye. That signal the genre without being generic. I've been fortunate enough for my writing to have inspired some truly great covers. (Some of these books have been reissued; the Kindle links beneath the covers to follow in all cases point to the current editions.)

Without further ado, here are those artistic favorites. Each cover here is well worth clicking through for a larger image.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Because no good interview should go unused

Early this year I prepared a written Q-and-A-style interview -- for a venue that ceased operations before the interview posted. That's life in the glamorous world of publishing. Well, I operate my own venue, now, don't I? 

So, here 'tis that interview. (For more about any title mentioned in the interview -- or about any title of mine, for that matter -- click its thumbnail cover on the righthand column.)

My first book
(in its original edition)
When did you start writing? 

I began writing as a (very) part-time hobby in 1982. My day job at the time, supervising a software-development department, was very demanding—but at least by that October I’d completed the master’s degree program which for years had been consuming all my evenings and weekends. For diversion beginning late that year, I started on what eventually became my first novel (the technothriller Probe), which I sold in 1990 and was published in 1991. Also in 1991, I began a new day job, my most demanding yet. After that, I scarcely had time to write anything new for the next several years.

In 1999, I gave myself a sabbatical to try out the full-time writing life. Fun! After about a year, though, I returned to a day job. Not until 2004, with a contract in hand for my second book (the science-fiction novel Moonstruck, published in 2005) did I become a full-time writer. A second sale suggested the first book wasn’t a fluke.

What drove you to come up with your debut book?

It was on a dare! I was reading something entirely forgettable—and so, its name and author forgotten—and complaining about it. My wife said something like, “I suppose you can do better.” Clearly, I had to try. It turned out I could write and that I enjoyed it. 

Tell me about your published works. How did they happen? 

Mu most recent novel
As I type, I have 23 published books and two more in the final stages of pre-publication. Each one has (pardon the pun) its own story.

Mainly, I write science fiction and technothrillers that revolve around new—or possible future—technologies of particular interest to me. Many of the novels involve space flight. (This seems like a good time to mention that for seven years I worked as a NASA contractor. I know things about space flight.) Other books deal with artificial intelligence and computer science. (By training, I’m a physicist and computer engineer.) I won’t claim to have personal experience in First Contact with aliens or with medical science—but they are interests, and I’ve written novels exploring those topics, too.

Series starter
All that said, sometimes there’s simply a story demanding to be told. That’s how I got involved with a far-future space opera in collaboration with science-fiction Grandmaster Larry Niven. Our first project (Fleet of Worlds) went so well, and was so much fun, we eventually ended up with a five-novel series.

What is your latest book; what does it deal with?

My most recent book
My latest novel (Déjà Doomed, 2021) is science fiction: an archeological, alien-contact mystery—and also a geopolitical thriller—set in the near future on the Moon. Oh, and the stakes are existential. 

My most recent book, however, is a career-spanning collection (The Best of Edward M. Lerner, 2022) with science-fiction stories at all lengths, touching upon every imaginable SF theme. Time travel, space travel, travel between universes, and so much more … they’re all represented in the collection.

Do you deem yourself a pantser or plotter?

I work both ways. At book length, I usually write from a detailed plot outline. If a novel has several point-of-view characters, I always work from an outline—it’s the only way I can keep all the details straight. When a novel is told in first person, however, I sometimes let that character run with the story; that’s the seat-of-the-pants scenario.

For anything shorter than a novelette, I’m quite likely to go the pantser route. 

Monday, April 3, 2023

Bard (Google's newest AI/chatbot) describes me in the style of William Shakespeare

Because, well, why not? 

Edward M. Lerner, a man of letters,
A writer of science fiction,
A teller of tales of the future,
A weaver of dreams of worlds to come.

His words are like a river,
Flowing with ideas and imagination,
Carrying the reader away on a journey,
To places both strange and familiar.

His characters are like people we know,
With their hopes and dreams,
Their fears and doubts,
Their loves and losses.

His stories are like puzzles,
Each one a challenge to the mind,
A test of our ability to think,
To imagine, to create.

Edward M. Lerner is a master storyteller,
A magician of words,
A weaver of dreams.
His work is a gift to us all,
A treasure to be cherished.

So come, let us journey with Edward M. Lerner,
To worlds of wonder and adventure,
To places where anything is possible,
And the future is ours to create.

(However did I waste my time before I had these chatbots to play with? Maybe Bard or ChatGPT will know ...)

Thursday, March 30, 2023

The Company Man (and an epiphany)

 I'm more than pleased to announce my novel The Company Man is back in print and electrons.

TCM was first published by Ring of Fire Press, which closed following the sad passing last year of writer/editor/publisher  and Certified Nice Guy  Eric Flint. The novel has its new home with Phoenix Pick, an imprint of Arc Manor (publisher of several of my recent titles).

If you hadn't encountered this novel in its original incarnation, here's a preview:

Dashiell Hammett meets Andy Weir

The Company Man, lowly accountant for the filthy-richest business in the Belt, has modest aspirations. Air and water not endlessly recycled. Food that had not been freeze dried and rehydrated. A few quiet days at home. And, if he can just figure out how, ripping off the company a bit. Alas, working as he does for evil geniuses, that final ambition seems impossible 
 until, at the end of an interminable trek among remote company mining asteroids, a mysterious emergency preempts his return flight.

Someone has discovered a flaw in the company's legendary security. If people must die to exploit it? That, apparently, isn't an obstacle. Or even the least of the consequences, in the Belt, elsewhere in the Solar System, and across Earth itself. With the body count rising, even the vast fortunes at stake cease to matter  and only the Company Man has a chance of averting interplanetary disaster.

If he survives .…

This being a commercial announcement, here are the Amazon links for The Company Man (in paperback) and The Company Man (for the Kindle). It'll show up soon (if it hasn't by the time you read this) at other online outlets and other ebook formats — and be available from your favorite brick-and-mortar outlet, if you provide the ISBN: 978-1649731296.

And the epiphany of my subject line? Read on ....