Saturday, December 31, 2022

Ending the Year with a Big(gish) Bang

Just in the nick of 2022 time, ReAnimus Press has released new editions of three -- count 'em, three -- of my books. All three are offered in hardback, trade paperback, and ebook formats. 

(Small detail: as I type, only Amazon offerings have appeared. I'm assured the remaining ebook formats will have percolated to other sites and ebook formats within a few days.)

The three reissued books being ...

Thursday, December 22, 2022

A gem of an anniversary

This month, IEEE (the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, of which I am a longtime member) is observing a milestone we should all be honoring: the 75th -- diamond -- anniversary of the transistor. 

Cover art,
December 2022 IEEE Spectrum
Because what would the world be like without this now ubiquitous device? Because what computer, phone, household appliance, entertainment gadget, vehicle, etc. in your life doesn't require oodles of transistors to function -- while doing way more than their pre-transistor precursors (if any such even existed)? 

The rate of improvement in transistors (and so, the increasingly complex integrated circuits made from them) never ceases to amaze. The ever-plummeting cost. The ever-increasing density. The number of transistors in a single microprocessor chip. 

The Intel 4004 microprocessor, introduced in 1971, had about 2300 transistors. Today's Intel i9 processors have more than three billion.

One snapshot of progress

Beyond general admiration for what this industry has accomplished, and the related industries (including, certainly, anything to do with the Internet), I feel a personal affinity. 

  • As a teen in the Sixties, I marveled at the first truly portable personal music device, that wonder of the age: the transistor radio. 
  • In university classes and summer jobs, I studied and experimented with the first, primitive integrated circuits. (Oh, the terror when, on a college summer job, I accidentally fried an op-amp chip costing $50! Much inflation later, op amps cost ... a few pennies each.) 
  • My first job out of university was at Bell Labs, where the transistor was invented. My first assignment there dealt with upgrading telephone switching equipment (specialized, ultra-reliable computers) from magnetic memory to semiconductor (i.e., transistor-based) memory. 
  • In succeeding assignments and at succeeding employers, I moved with industry from mainframes to minis to micros, and to ever more capable microprocessor families.   

Now try to imagine what marvels new versions of the transistor will enable by the device's 100th anniversary. I, for one, can't wait.

Monday, December 12, 2022

Of soft spots ... and fleeting opportunitities

Updated January 2, 2023: the InterstellarNet series is temporarily out of print and electrons

Authors are frequently asked, "Which of your books is your favorite?" This is (as I've opined before) among our least favorite questions. It's about like asking a parent, "Which is your favorite child?"

With this year's release of The Best of Edward M. Lerner I've at least gained an answer to the related question, "Which of your books should I try?" -- and yet, that career-spanning short-fiction collection isn't the authorial "soft spot" of my subject line. 

It turns out I have, if not one favorite from among my books, a deep connection with a trio of them. This came to my attention when -- with short notice -- I was told my three-book InterstellarNet series is going out of print (and electrons). At year's end. Yup, mere days from now.

Hence, the "fleeting opportunity" also mentioned in my subject line. Unavoidably, this is a commercial announcement. While I'm confident these books/ebooks will be reissued sometime, I can't speak to when.  

Each InterstellarNet novel offers an entirely different take on First Contact -- and yet, all three novels interrelate. Perhaps the essential reason for my attachment to InterstellarNet is the obvious one. A story premise whose first glimmerings shaped a single novelette had such potential that I couldn't set it aside until three novels later. 

Along the way, precursor stories to two of the novels collected, among their recognitions, my first appearance in a year's best anthology and a Hugo Award nomination. One precursor was serialized -- as the lone work of fiction -- in the proceedings of a conference of the UN's International Telecommunications Union. (And aptly so. The ITU was inspiration and role model for my Interstellar Commerce Union.) Oh, and InterstellarNet: Enigma, the third and concluding novel of the series, was a Prometheus Award nominee and winner of the inaugural Canopus Award for a novel "honoring excellence in interstellar writing."

Until year's end, when InterstellarNet begins its unanticipated hiatus, these are the novels (the titles link to Amazon):

InterstellarNet: Origins. We are not alone. Now what? (Other than a cascade of crises, ever more daunting, to bedevil an expanding number of interstellar civilizations for generations.)

InterstellarNet: New Order. Humanity is about to discover that meeting aliens face to face is very different -- and a lot more dangerous -- than long-distance chicanery.

InterstellarNet: Enigma. Humanity once feared that we might be alone in the universe. Now we know better -- and there are far worse things than being alone.

InterstellarNet: Complete. All three novels in a bargain ebook omnibus.

“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

Lerner’s world-building and extrapolating are top notch.” -- SFScope

“An excellent series.” -- Galaxy’s Edge

“… 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

Monday, November 21, 2022

Buy-A-Book Saturday ... redux

Times flies. (Like an arrow, though that's an irrelevant obscurity for today's post.) 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 (falling quite late this year: November 26) 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.)

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Best Reads of 2022

Once again, I concede that a year's-best posting this early in November might seem, well, early. OTOH: lingering pandemic. 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 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 2022 has been, surely anything meriting the label "best" is welcome. Distraction via the books that follow certainly helped me cope with this dreadful year.

 Not to mention that if ever there were a year to support one's favorite authors, 2022 (again! sigh) 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 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. And a (very small) celebratory woohoo: this compilation 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 of recommendations are Amazon links, often to newer editions than the original publication (and to Kindle editions, where available).

This year's summary is unusual in one respect: I'm going to name one book of my own. Because, when calling out standout materials, I could hardly fail to at least mention the career-spanning, carefully curated, SF collection published this year that is The Best of Edward M. Lerner.
What's impressed me so far this year? Read on ....

Monday, November 7, 2022

A most enjoyable podcast

Writers of the Future recently hosted a podcast aimed at aspiring science-fiction writers: a conversation with old hands Alan Smale (as it happens, a former WOTF winner), Jeffery A. Carver, Edward Willett, and (because two Eds are better than one ... I'll pause while you groan) Edward M. Lerner. John Goodwin as MC ably herded us SFnal cats. 

It was a fun conversation. Here 'tis, if you're inclined to listen. 

Friday, October 21, 2022

Of world-shaking events

I'm delighted to report that Mars: Life and Death (officially only the working title, though no one's yet come up with a better name) has been delivered to the publisher. Trust me: events therein are matters of life and death.

The arena ...
When can you read it? To be determined. These things take time. My best guess is late 2023 or early 2024. 

More news as it happens ...

Monday, October 3, 2022

Books (fewer than) a million

Updated January 2, 2023

 And yet, lots of book news.

Two new novels in the works :-)

On the Shoals of Space-Time (through Caezik Science Fiction and Fantasy, an imprint of Arc Manor) now has an official release date: May 23, 2023.

Mars: Life and Death (likewise through Caezik)(here, I'm using what's nominally a working title) is in complete first draft and in the hands of beta readers. I'm guessing it'll be out in a year or so.

I'll (of course!) have more to say about each novel as its release approaches.

New editions of four older titles

The Company Man (a novel; through Phoenix Pick, the reprint imprint at Arc Manor) As of late December 2022, release info still pending.

Creative Destruction (my earliest collection; through ReAnimus Press) As of late December 2022, back in print and electrons.

Countdown to Armageddon / A Stranger in Paradise (a short novel plus a short collection; through ReAnimus Press) As of late December 2022, back in print and electrons.

The Sherlock Chronicles & The Paradise Quartet  (two novella-ized story arcs; through ReAnimus Press) As of late December 2022, back in print and electrons.

I foresee see a lot of copy-edit reading, galley review, and proofreading ....

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Technical difficulties

Updated September 13, 2022

I'm in the process of migrating my authorial website ( to a new hosting service. Till that's complete, and all the details sorted out, my blog is reverted to its actual home (i.e.,, rather than its aliased location,

Lots of embedded links in years-worth of blog posts rely on the domain, and (for now) won't work. Sigh.

Hopefully, I'll have all this fixed soon. Meanwhile, if you found yourself here, it's still me.

Update: Yay! It's fixed (anyway, it seems to be.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Speaking of the best

Since the May release of the career-spanning collection The Best of Edward M. Lerner, I've done several interviews, with others apt to happen. As I type, there's been but one published review, but I anticipate more. 

So: this post is to gather links to related reviews and interviews. I'll update it as appropriate.


Douglas Coleman Show (video)

Paul Semel Blog (written)

Between the Covers (video)


Tangent Online

More as it happens :-)

Friday, July 29, 2022

A character speaks her mind

The Protagonist Speaks is one of the more unusual -- and fun -- interview venues for authors. Many of my interviews, whether audio, video, or written, overlap significantly in their questions. (That's fair enough -- different venues, one assumes, have different audiences -- but the repetition can make things less interesting for the interviewee.) 

The Protagonist Speaks is very different. Its unique feature? The "interview" is with a character from the author's book. It can be, and often is, the protagonist. But instead it can be the antagonist. Or the plucky sidekick. Well, anyone the author chooses.

I recently had the pleasure of introducing one of my characters to The Protagonist Speaks. Ekaterina Borisova Komarova, Katya to her friends, features prominently in Deja Doomed -- but she isn't a point-of-view character. Which isn't to say she herself hadn't seen a lot. Lunar exploration. Ancient alien ruins. Triumph and tragedy.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Katya better through an interview done in her voice. I venture to guess you'll enjoy making her acquaintance, too.

Here is Katya's interview.

Monday, July 11, 2022

My third and fourth least favorite questions

The recently released The Best of Edward M. Lerner finally offers answers to my least favorite questions numbers one and two. (Those are, “What’s your favorite from among your books?” and “If I want to try one of your books, which should it be?”)

And numbers three and four? Often asked by randomly encountered people (if they discover I'm an author) and interviewers alike: "What's your typical work day? How much time do you put in?" For which the honest answers are, "There are no typical days," and "Yeah, I wonder that, too."

Of course, there are days when all I do is sit at a computer and compose and/or edit text. I suspect many people would be surprised how few days are like that. Because there is so much more to the job ...

Outlining. Plotting. Fleshing out characters and locations. Research directly applicable to a specific book, story, or article project. All manner of interaction with editors and publishers, at every stage of the process. For some projects, interacting with beta readers. Those are, unambiguously, part of the writer's job. But then there all these other activities:

  • Long walks pondering story ideas, or how a character might react to a situation, or (me being an SF writer) the rules of some extrapolated tech
  • Reading that might -- and might not -- lead to a new book, story, or article
  • Reading to stay current in science and technology (again, me being an SF author)
  • Reading a sampling of colleagues' new books, to know how the genre is evolving, and to avoid inadvertent similarities
  • Maintaining a professional social-networking presence (Facebook, LinkedIn, this blog [and this post?], my authorial website, ...)
  • Doing sysadmin duties for that website (software updates, security-log review, backups)
  • Doing promotion (interviews, signings, conventions, lectures) -- and travel time for many of those
  • Maintaining -- and following up on -- a tickler file (of story submissions, contract expiration or renewal/rollover dates, royalty due dates), because without follow-up, a lot goes astray
  • Keeping records of income and expenses for tax purposes 
  • And on, and on, and on  ...

Methinks I'll stick with "There are no typical days" and "Yeah, I wonder that, too."

Monday, June 6, 2022

InterstellarNet: happy anniversary

Some of my most popular fiction -- the InterstellarNet series -- takes place in an alternate/future history that splits off from our familiar timeline in 2002.  The triggering event: a radio signal from extrasolar aliens. 

First novel of three
I never specified an exact date that year when the signal was recognized, beyond that the weather in Geneva was warm. So: I declare today, in the story's timeline, the twentieth anniversary of the series.

If you're not familiar with this corner of my work, what began as a standalone novelette ("Dangling Conversations") in the November 2000 issue of Analog eventually grew into a three-novel series. 

Along the way, InterstellarNet collected a goodly share of recognition. "Creative Destruction" (the second story in the series -- expanded, along with its predecessor, into the opening of InterstellarNet: Origins) marked my first appearance in a "year's best" anthology. Downstream, "Championship B'tok" got me a Hugo Award nomination. And InterstellarNet: Enigma -- novel #3, and the culmination of the series -- won the inaugural Canopus Award for "excellence in interstellar writing."

Canopus Award for 3rd novel
SETI. First Contact. Second Contact, up close and personal. Aliens, obviously. AIs -- and alien AIs. Hackers extraordinaire (you did notice the "Net" aspect of InterstellarNet, right?). Galaxy-spanning, mind-bending intrigues. InterstellarNet has all that -- and more. 

Curious? To learn more about any of the novels in the InterstellarNet series, click its cover in this post's righthand side.

Monday, May 23, 2022

The Best of Edward M. Lerner

You know what I imagine must be every 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?” These are like asking a parent, “Who’s your favorite child?” 

Kindle link
In any event, they’re among my least favorite questions, and they’ve often left me tongue-tied … till now. Today, at long last, I have a definite answer(*): my newly released, career-spanning collection The Best of Edward M. Lerner

(*) Oh, and the favorite child thing? Trick question. I don't pick favorites. Just sayin'.

The new book offers fourteen wide-ranging works at every length from flash fiction to novella. 

As the publisher put it: 

Here are the gems! The gateway to the many worlds of Edward M. Lerner!

 While you probably know Ed from his SF novels, including the InterstellarNet series and the epic Fleet of Worlds series with Larry Niven, Ed is also a prolific author of acclaimed short fiction. This collection showcases his finest and favorite shorter works.

 Faced with the common question of which of his books should someone read first, he has carefully selected these stories to cover his wide range. Now he can answer, “This one!”

Alternate history. Parallel worlds. Future crime. Alien invasion. Alien castaways. Time travel. Quantum intelligence -- just don't call him artificial. A sort-of haunted robot. Deco punk. In this book, you'll find these -- and more -- together with Ed’s reminiscences about each selection and its relationship to other stories, novels, and even series that span his writing career.

 These are the best, as determined by awards, award nominations, and the selective tastes of eight top editors and choosy Analog readers.

 Each excellent story stands alone -- you won't need to have read anything prior -- but you’ll surely want to read more of Ed’s books afterwards.

This being a commercial announcement, I’ll share Amazon links for the Kindle, hardback, and trade-paperback editions. Other etailers carry the book, of course (including all popular ebook formats). If you’re a brick-and-mortar shopper and your favorite bookseller doesn't have a copy in stock, s/he will happily order a copy for you. Title and author generally suffice, but the print-edition ISBNs may also be helpful: (in hardback: 979-8447246174 and in trade paperback: 979-8446419043).

And a final comment: if you read, and enjoy, Best of (or any other book, by any author!) consider posting a review on Amazon, Goodreads, Librarything, or the review venue of your choice. 

Friday, May 6, 2022

I have somehow arrived

The package in today's snail mail has me beaming. Mainly I'm grinning at the notion that I have somehow Arrived. Because who *else* is in the SF Historical Trading Cards collection? Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, Isaac Asimov, and Robert Heinlein, to name a few.

As a bonus, it tickles me to have joined such august company bearing number 360. (Yes, cards of the aforementioned have much lower numbers. But still.) Maybe it's from some association with 360 degrees in a circle. Or an ancient Babylonian gene expressing itself. 

Theories welcome.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

It's here(ish) ... The Best of Edward M. Lerner

Updated May 9, 2022

Official release in print and all popular ebook formats remains on track for May 23rdbut Amazon has just made The Best of Edward M. Lerner (Kindle edition only) available for pre-order in all three editions. That's hard back, trade paperback, and Kindle.

If you usually read on a Kindle and this is a book you'll be considering, why not consider it, well, now

As the publisher has written about the collection (with a touch of reminder about me) ...

Kindle link
"One of the leading global writers of hard science fiction."

—The Innovation Show

Here are the gems! The gateway to the many worlds of Edward M. Lerner!

While you probably know Ed from his SF novels, including the InterstellarNet series and the epic Fleet of Worlds series with Larry Niven, Ed is also a prolific author of acclaimed short fiction. This collection showcases his finest and favorite shorter works.

Faced with the common question of which of his books should someone read first, he has carefully selected these stories to cover his wide range. Now he can answer, "This one!"

Alternate history. Parallel worlds. Future crime. Alien invasion. Alien castaways. Time travel. Quantum intelligence—just don't call him artificial. A (sort of) haunted robot. Deco punk. In this book, you'll find these—and more—together with Ed's reminiscences about each selection and its relationship to other stories, novels, and even series that span his writing career.

These are the best, as determined by awards, award nominations, and the selective tastes of eight top editors and choosy Analog readers.

Each excellent story stands alone—you won't need to have read anything prior—but you'll surely want to read more of Ed's books afterwards.

"Lerner's world-building and extrapolating are top notch."


Friday, April 8, 2022

Coming May 23rd

 For anyone caring to mark their calendars ...

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Sneak peek

 Do you know what I suspect are every author's least favorite questions? (Certainly, they're *my* least favorite.) "What’s your favorite book?" And, "If I were to try one of your books, which should it be?"

They're both like asking a parent, "Who's your favorite child?"

But guess what? Pretty soon, I'll have an answer for the non-child questions. As in ... the forthcoming career-spanning collection of my most acclaimed short fiction. More news as it happens, but meanwhile, a cover reveal.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

The Scientists

 I recently finished reading The Scientists: A History of Science Told Through the Lives of Its Greatest Inventors, by John Gribbin. This was, unquestionably, among the most fascinating nonfiction books I've read -- and so thoroughly enjoyed -- in years.

Amazon link
In a nutshell, Gribbin reviews 500 years of scientific history, basically from 1500 to 2000 -- centuries that saw the emergence of astronomy, physics, chemistry, geology, and biology. He covered many familiar people, of course: Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, and Einstein. Darwin, Wallace, Mendel, and Crick and Watson. Bohr, Schrodinger, Pauli, Pauling, Dirac, and de Broglie. Lyell and Wegener. Avogadro, Lavoisier, and Mendeleev. Halley, Herschel, and Hubble. And so many more. 

Why start around 1500? Because that was a watershed. The ancient Greeks (as Gribbin points out) had some profound insights. Because they didn't have the scientific method, those insights -- and some glaring misunderstandings -- came of pondering and philosophizing, without confirmation (or invalidation) from experiment or observation. The ancient Romans -- as terrific as they were as engineers -- added little to those earlier musings. The so-called Dark Ages and Middle Ages similarly saw some significant engineering advances, but nothing we'd understand as science.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Betrayed by my own title?

 For months now, the most visited post on this blog --  by a substantial margin -- has been Betrayer of Worlds

It is, in general, a Good Thing when a post is popular. But the announcement of the fourth book in the five-novel Fleet of Worlds series? Approaching twelve years after the book's initial release? With no corresponding show of popularity in the novel itself (judged by sales comparisons with other titles in the series)? 

It's puzzling.

Is the phrase "Betrayer of Worlds" inadvertent clickbait? If so, well, the click-throughs must be generating considerable surprise. Because what political content the novel offers concerns alien species, centuries from now, light-years from here.

Now to see what kind of traffic this innocent speculation generates .... 

Friday, February 4, 2022

The best novels of First Contact

For frequent visitors here, my interest in the the First Contact theme will come as no surprise. My fiction has explored the possibilities fairly extensively, for example in Moonstruck, the InterstellarNet series, and, most recently, Déjà Doomed. In "Alien AWOLs: The Great Silence," a chapter in Trope-ing the Light Fantastic: The Science Behind the Fiction, I address the absence of contact -- so far -- in a nonfiction sense. (Click on cover thumbnails on the blog RHS if you're curious about these titles.)

Why am I so interested? First, there’s the Big Question of are we alone. Whatever the answer, the implications are profound. But beyond that, there’s just so much great SF on the topic. A reader recently challenged me to name my favorite First Contact fiction. So: here 'tis! (And as hard as it was winnowing the candidates to a few, the order within my list is not a further ranking.)

(Oh, and please excuse Blogger's odd word-line spacing of this post.)

The list? Drumroll please ...

Monday, January 31, 2022


Updated March 8, 2022 

SF author -- and interviewer extraordinaire -- Edward Willett recently invited me onto his all-about-writing podcast, Worldshapers. Shaping worlds is what writers do -- none more so, of course, than SF authors. What with our common interests (and, as they say, two Eds are better than one), we had a great time. The interview is here

Amazon link
It turns out Ed (the other Ed) edits the Shapers of Worlds anthology series whose only theme is authors who have appeared on Worldshapers. I devoured the original volume (cover and link to the left) and look forward to reading volume two. And there's a Kickstarter campaign coming in March for a third volume. Check them out. 

Update: It's March, and here's the Kickstarter link:

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:

Shares *especially* appreciated of this post 🙂