This is the final day to get a really deep discount on The Infinite Seaaudiobook, as well as the rest of the Chaos books! At Chirpbooks.com, until midnight tonight in some time zone (Pacific, I think). It’s been a terrifically successful sale, and you can still get in on it. Go forth!
Also…it’s the final day to get in on the Kickstarter for Shaper of Worlds II, with a huge pile of great rewards (including free audiobooks of The Reefs of Time and Crucible of Time, plus loads more). And it’s a great project. Right here.
It’s finally out! Eternity’s End is a BIG audiobook, carried along effortlessly by the smooth rumble of Stefan Rudnicki’s voice. It’s now available at Audible, Apple, Amazon, Chirp, Nook, Kobo, Play, and other stores! Stefan really outdid himself on this one. When I listened to the recording for review, I almost forgot that I was supposed to be listening with a critical ear; I just got carried away. This book was a Nebula finalist in 2001, but this is the first time it’s been in audiobook. This is my last new audiobook project for now, and I feel like a cat full of c/a/n/a/r/y catnip.
By the way, although it’s tagged as Book 5 of the Star Rigger Universe, you do not need to have read any of the other books first. You can dive right in.
The best prices are currently at Apple, Nook, Play, and Chirp. No guarantee how long those discounts will last. (The final prices are at the discretion of the retailers.)
Edward Willett is a prolific author of SF and fantasy for all ages. He’s also the creator of a podcast called The Worldshapers, in which he interviews other writers on their creative process. I was a guest on his podcast in its second year. Ed is putting together the second anthology of stories by folks who were on his podcast, and it’s called Shapers of Worlds Volume II. It’s a fine collection of authors. (Yeah, I’m in it, too, but that’s not why I said that.)
It costs money to put books together, especially books with a lot of authors who need to be paid, so Ed for the second time is running a Kickstarter campaign to finance the publication of the book. He’s got a lot of great rewards lined up for folks who contribute. Ebooks, treebooks, audiobooks, and more! (Including some from me.)
Mom would have been 99 today. (She departed this plane in 1970, at the tragically young age of 48.) What a glorious spring day for a birthday! She would have loved it. Our first crocus has popped up—pictured here under its dog-resistant cage. She would have loved that, too. An Ohio farm girl, she loved gardening, whether of flowers, fruits, or vegetables. (I did not inherit her skill, unfortunately. Though if you need a cage put over a plant, I’m your man.)
I celebrated by rollerblading for the first time this year! Usually I start out gradually, to give my body a chance to get used to the idea. But today I needed to pick up our car from the shop, at the other end of town. The other end of a lonnng uphill climb. It’s not really seven miles, but it felt like it to me, especially with a mask on. And it’s definitely steeper than it used to be. Fortunately, our excellent bike trail runs from close to our house right up past the back of Mal’s Auto Service. I made it without a fall, though I lost track of how many times I paused to rest. (I wonder who that girl was who skated by me at warp speed.)
Clearly I should get more aerobic exercise. Today was a an excellent start!
I had an entertaining chat with Pen for Hire host Matthew Harms not long ago, and he’s posted it on YouTube so that you, too, can be entertained. (Well, I hope you’re entertained. If you’re not, I guarantee your ticket price back.) You can see it here:
I didn’t start out thinking I would discount the entire Chaos Chronicles series in audiobook format. But when Chirp Books approved a special promotion on The Infinite Sea (just $2.99! right now!), one thing led to another. They suggested I steeply discount some of the other books in the series to keep the hoped-for wave of sales going, and I thought that sounded like a fine idea. By the time I was done, I’d put the entire series on sale! Even Blackstone Audio, which publishes the first book, Neptune Crossing, has graciously joined in.
That’s six audiobooks, all discounted at up to 80% off list price. All narrated by the incredible Stefan Rudnicki. Limited time, folks. Limited time only. These prices will never be lower! Read More
I’ve landed a Covid vaccine appointment. I’ve been eligible for a couple of weeks now, age-wise, but so have a million other Massachusetts denizens, all angling for the 50k or so doses available each week. Our high-tech state did a remarkably feeble job of creating an online registration service, so there was no way to just queue up in an orderly fashion. The game was to find out when and where appointments were opening up, and to jump online that very instant to see if you could score one before your, um, neighbor.
Making the game a little easier were a couple of unofficial sites, created by thoughtful coders in their spare time, that scour the various official sites, looking for openings and then posting them in one place. You still had to play, Ready, jump!, but at least it gave you half a chance. I happened to check one at 4 a.m., as I was heading to bed—and discovered that CVS in my area had acquired some vaccine! I got on their site and refreshed the scheduling page off and on through the night. Finally, at 8:08 a.m. after a largely sleepless night, I staggered to my computer and —to my wonder—scored an appointment at a nearby CVS, for this coming weekend. And a second in three weeks. End zone dance!
Postscript: I have to acknowledge some mixed feelings about this, as I am reminded daily by the news that we don’t exactly have equitable distribution of the vaccines. Not enough doses are reaching the lowest-income folk who are being most hurt by the virus. My taking or not taking a slot in a well-off neighborhood would be unlikely to have any effect on that. But still, I am aware that I’m getting something of a privileged advantage. Here’s a tip of the hat to the many volunteers who are stepping up to help folks get appointments who are not able to play the online game themselves!
A friendly reminder: The Expansive Futures Sci-Fi Bundle ends in just three days! Curated by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), it’s a big, honking collection of vetted space opera for almost nothing, and you can support a good cause in the process.
In case you missed it the first time I plugged it, here’s the core of the pitch:
“SFWA is an organization dedicated to promoting and supporting science fiction and fantasy writers in the United States and worldwide. Featuring award-winning authors and fresh new voices, the The Expansive Futures Sci-Fi Bundle is sure to please fans of futuristic sci-fi and space opera.
“This bundle includes the Nebula Award finalist novel Eternity’s End by Jeffrey A. Carver; When You Had Power, the first novel in a new hopepunk series by bestselling author Susan Kaye Quinn; and Starship Hope: Exodus by rising star author T.S. Valmond, among many others. The Expansive Futures bundle will run for three weeks only, so grab this fantastic deal while you can and discover great new writers….”
The photo tells the story.
Every contributing author (including me) gets a bit of the profit when you buy a bundle. But this is really more about getting some great stuff out in front of a new audience. Are you a new audience for any of these writers?
I have been waiting for years for my flying car. And for years, I’ve been keeping an eye on the development of the Terrafugia Transition, a flying car being developed practically in my back yard, and test-flown from Hanscom Field, where I learned to fly. Just a few days ago, I read that the Transition had just been granted its airworthiness certificate by the FAA! (The highway certificate was still in the works.) But soon! Soon! It was already approved for sale as an airplane.
And now I read that production in the U.S. has been halted, most of the employees laid off, and further development of the plane is being shifted to China. China! (I had not realized that the company was now owned by a Chinese holding company, Geely, which also owns Volvo and Lotus.) Talk about a gut punch! (Bad news for the employees, too.)
No flying car for now. To assuage my sorrow, I have shifted my dreams to another aspiration. This 80-foot, solar-powered yacht:
I like boats. Almost as much as I like airplanes. And who wouldn’t like this boat, from Silent Yachts of Austria? Solar powered! Why, the savings in fuel alone would probably cover the cost. (In, oh, about a thousand years.) But if we had one of these, we wouldn’t need the van conversion for travel that Allysen keeps talking about. Even she would see the logic in that. Wouldn’t she? Allysen? Sweetie?
No, really. I am not making this up. I once shared a theater stage in London with Ian McKellen (yes, that Ian McKellen) for a wrenching death scene. And me with so much to live for! Allysen died, too. It was tragic. I was reminded of this occasion by a panel I was on recently at Boskone, talking about The Lord of the Rings film.
This all happened long before Ian McKellen was Gandalf. In fact, until that evening, I had never heard of Ian McKellen. I think the year was probably 1986 or 1987, not too long after Allysen and I were married. We were visiting with her parents in London, and they treated us to a one-man show by some fellow named Ian McKellen, a Shakespearean actor of some note, we were told, but you couldn’t prove it by me. I remember almost nothing about the show, except that it was surprisingly good. I think he acted scenes from various Shakespeare plays he had been in. And then…
For a close, he invited members of the audience—anyone who wanted to come down—to join him on stage for one final performance. Allysen was out of her seat before he’d finished the invitation, and I said, “You’re not leaving me behind.” I think about thirty of us joined him on the stage. He gave us very explicit acting directions: We were to stand still and do nothing until his monologue came to a certain phrase (which I no longer remember). This we did, quite ably, I think. (Damn, we were good. It was a fight scene, too.) And when he spoke that phrase, we swung into action…
And fell down, dead. All of us.
To thunderous applause. Mr. (not yet Sir) McKellen thanked us graciously for our service and sent us back to our seats.
Little did I know that I had just shared the stage with Gandalf!