Showing posts from October, 2020

Am I Weird?

  Someone, whose opinions I respect a great deal, recently read The Human Template . He called me up and asked a number of articulate and thought-provoking questions about the book and the world I created there.   What delighted me more than anything was my ability to provide him with thoughtful and interesting answers. I’ve never perceived myself as particularly erudite, but because his questions were informed and insightful, I discovered that they were all about things I had researched well and already thought about at length. The answers poured out of me. I was finally getting a chance to talk about the thoughts and influences that informed my decisions in the telling of the story. It made me realize that I had tons and tons of stuff there wasn’t room to expand on in the book because of creative choices I had made (including the need to just shut up and get on with the story).  This was all stuff I didn’t even know I knew!   I've been shying away from doing interviews to pro

Gods of the New Wasteland

  The problem with writing a book that starts off with a science fictional premise is that its hard to market as anything but science fiction. Once it’s been labelled that way, readers look at it through a science fictional lens and judge it by the standards they use to judge all science fiction. For many of those with a science fictional mindset, that entails a withdrawal of their willing suspension of disbelief if everything doesn’t play out in a convincingly logical way. Forgive me, but I honestly couldn’t come up with another way to market it. Avenging Glory (the diptych) was never intended to be a science fiction book, even though this first book, The Human Template has a very science fictional premise. It presents as sci-fi, even though it was conceived more as a satirical, action adventure. This was a concern to me when I wrote it and will probably become even more of a concern when I release the second book, which pretty much drops all pretense of being science fiction an

Breakout TV in the Year of the Pandemic

 As the pandemic wears on, I suppose it’s only natural to start looking for positive aspects, good things that have come about at least partly because of Covid. A number of television series that wrapped just before the pandemic took hold were released as scheduled and some of the early ones didn’t have much impact at the time. Season two of Showtime’s stellar comedy, Kidding ran in February, which turned out to be somewhat unfortunate timing, since the corona virus probably distracted us from realizing this was one of the best things on television and we had no idea how little good entertainment was going to be released in the coming months. Magic realist, dark, funny; this one’s certainly worth looking up if you haven’t seen it. Watch now and you get to see both seasons back to back. If you actively dislike Jim Carrey, then even the wonderful supporting cast (including Catherine Keener and Frank Langella) may not sway you. But if you liked The Truman Show , even a little, then you

A Literary Wild, Wild West

  Of my dozen or two established writer friends in the 1990s, most of them had multi-book contracts through their agents. They would do signings and interviews and bookstore launches. 60% of them published through Tor; most of the rest with other large genre imprints like DAW or BAEN. And a few had books published by prestige small publishers. The closest anyone came to self-publishing was putting out occasional chapbooks through tiny self-owned imprints. Those days, a mere 20 to 25 years ago, seem very ordered and genteel (if a trifle elitist) compared to now. Here are Some of the Many Ways the World has Changed for Writers: I still have half a dozen writer friends with recent Tor books, and/or online novellas. A few others have drifted from TOR to either mainstream or well-known alternative publishers. A few writer friends whose books were orphaned by the demise of their publishers have been picked up with great results by Open Media. A number are still publishing with the survi