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 ....

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

And ... we have a *title*

In ancient days (last October, that is), I teased, just a tad, in Of world-shaking events, about my then recently delivered Mars-centric novel. I still can't offer a release date -- the publishing process, alas, takes time. But here's one bit of progress. I have the final (versus, merely a working) title.

So: you may want to look forward to Life and Death on Mars. Meanwhile, be thankful you're not my protagonist ...

Monday, January 9, 2023

SF antho with a twist

I'm ambivalent about theme anthologies. They can be great -- but limited to a specific topic, all too often an antho's stories, however excellent individually, begin to blur. 

Looking for a great SF antho?
Check these out
Not so the Shapers of Worlds anthologies, edited by Edward Willett, of which I recently finished reading the third-and latest volume in the series. How does Ed consistently dodge the too-much-of-a-good-but-same-thing bullet? With his open-ended theme: stories by spec-fic authors who have been guests on his Worldshapers podcast. And that selection criterion works, because Ed -- beyond his excellence as an interviewer -- has such a great sense for guests to invite. 

Whether your taste runs to hard SF or soft, horror or fantasy, IMO you're apt to find much you'll enjoy in this series. I certainly have, for three anthos running.

(Obligatory disclaimer: I was recently a guest on the podcast. If the series continues long enough, well, I might have a story in it, too. If so, I'll be in good company.)