Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Bring out your dead

No, this post isn't about Monty Python and the Holy Grail (though that movie is a hoot).

But just as the one guy in that particular scene isn't quite dead, today's post deals with something also still with us -- and yet, less than energetic. To wit: books from deep in one's back list. Any author who has been plying his craft for as long as I have has a a book or three like that. Case in point ....

For no discernible reason, this morning I found myself remembering my earliest collections. These contain stories of which I remain fond -- but the books don't get a lot of (read: any) visibility. Haven't in years ....

So: I'm going to indulge myself with a few words about these early authorial endeavors. If this post ends up only Your Humble Blogger taking a stroll down Memory Lane? I'm okay with that.

My earliest collection, with a computer theme, was Creative Destruction (2006).
  • The cover story, a novelette, was the second (but standalone) adventure in what grew over the years into my three-novel InterstellarNet saga. The original story (which I expanded into a segment of InterstellarNet: Origins [2010]) first appeared in Analog. The story went on to become my earliest appearance in a Year's Best anthology. 
  • The longest story in this collection is "Survival Instinct." It was my first serial appearance in Analog. Updated and expanded, this story went on to become the central third or so of Fools' Experiments (2008), my third (and perhaps most technothriller-ish) solo novel.
  • The collection also includes my very first pro appearance, "What a Piece of Work Is Man," an homage to Asimov's famed Three Laws of Robotics. 
  • Plus five more stories. 
  • Also ... I love the cover (above). How perfect is that for a computer-themed collection?
Then there's a more general collection: Countdown to Armageddon / A Stranger in Paradise  (2010). In print, this is two books back to back, like the old Ace Doubles. In electronic and audio formats (the nearby link will get you to those, too), the halves are sold separately.
  • Countdown to Armageddon is a rip-roaring (but still hard SF) short time-travel novel, originally serialized in the (late, lamented) Jim Baen's Universe.
  • "A Stranger in Paradise," the double's second cover story, is a deeply emotional, deep-space adventure, also first in Jim Baen's Universe. It later appeared in a Best of JBU antho. (Years after this collection, this story inspired me to undertake a sequel. "Paradise Regained" became the Analog readers' choice for best short story of 2017.)
  • Plus (on the Paradise side) four more short works. 
I choose to believe (sorta like the guy in the "Bring out your dead" skit) that these collections aren't dead yet :-)

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