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