NOT a Black Friday Sale!!

The Reefs of Time by Jeffrey A. CarverBecause the whole Black Friday thing really bugs me. This is more of a “Have you listened yet and would you like to listen for really cheap?” Yes, another Chirpbooks sale has started (Cheep! Cheep!), and as a result you can get the audiobook of The Reefs of Time for some ridiculously low price, so low I don’t even want to remember what it is. The timing of it was completely up to the Chirpbooks people—just my luck of the draw that it’s right at Thanksgiving time. (In fact, the promotional email is going out on Thanksgiving Day, but the price has already been dropped.)

Most of the other Chaos books are discounted, too, because why not. These are all really good narrations. If you’re not into audiobooks yet, maybe it’s time to give them a try, what?

Or give them to somebody you love. Note, I did not say “gift” them to somebody you love. Because that would bug me even more than calling it a Black Friday sale.

*Footnote. I just checked the link and saw the display page for the book, and right there’s a nice quote that Greg Bear gave me for the book. Damn. That, I think, was the last time we communicated. Why did he have to go so young?


Greg Bear (1951-2022)

The science fiction world has lost another of its greats with the passing of Greg Bear, at 71, from complications following heart surgery. The author of over 50 novels, Greg was a multiple award winner, not just in the U.S., but overseas, as well. He was president of SFWA for two years. He was also a hell of a nice guy, known throughout the SF community for his kindness and decency and wisdom. More details about his work and life can be found at File770, from which this photo was reproduced.

I didn’t know Greg well, but we interacted from time to time over the years, always positively. Once when I was in Seattle with my wife, I gave him a call to see if he wanted to connect for coffee. “Why don’t you come over for dinner,” was his immediate reply. His wife Astrid, an equally lovely person, served us something delicious, and we enjoyed an evening of conversation.

Those who knew him are going to miss him for his humanity. The whole world will miss his writing.

Sincerest condolences to Astrid and their sons and daughters, and Godspeed to you, Greg, in the journeys to come.

A Changeling Star Burns Free…

posted in: BookBub, specials 2

Free for just a few days, that is, with a little help from Bookbub to give away more copies. This, of course, is a transparent effort get people to read a book they might otherwise have overlooked, and maybe go on to read the sequel, Down the Stream of Stars. These are two of my favorite books, and I am working feverishly to prepare new treebook editions to accompany the ebooks.

From a Changeling Star, by Jeffrey A. Carver

From a Changeling Star was, I believe, one of the first SF books—maybe the only one—to deal with nanotechnology, cosmic string, and sentient stars, all in one go. Plus, it’s an amnesia story and a love story. In addition, it’s where we first meet the robot Jeaves, who later shows up in the Chaos Chronicles. And it’s the origin story of the starstream, which figures very importantly in The Reefs of Time. Writing it nearly bent my brain, or maybe did bend my brain. It demands more from the reader than probably any other book of mine, but I feel it’s worth the effort.

Here’s a bit of blurb:

“Beneath the roiling surface of Betelgeuse, scientists anxiously await the one man essential to the success of Starmuse, the greatest engineering project in human history. But on Kantano’s World that man, Willard Ruskin, battles invisible agents for control of his life, his physical form, and even his memories. Drawn into a conflict from which not even death will free him, Ruskin must find a way to reach Betelgeuse before his enemies sabotage Starmuse—and humanity’s future among the stars. A harrowing journey from inside the human cell . . . to the mind of a dying star.”

“Running from the micro to the macro and back again, redefining sentience, space-time, and perhaps humanity along the way, From a Changeling Star is a fast-paced puzzler, rich in invention, and Jeffrey A. Carver’s most ambitious book to date.”  —Roger Zelazny

“As audacious and imaginative as the best of John Varley, with characters as memorable as those of Sturgeon or Zelazny, and with one of the most powerful endings in science fiction, this book will both hold and reward your attention.” —Spider Robinson, author of The Stardance Trilogy

“Has what only the best science fiction can offer: an almost mystical sense of the wonder and strangeness of this universe and the creatures who inhabit it.  If you’re not crying at the end, you’re a robot.” —Richard Bowker, author of Dover Beach

So why are you still here? Grab it now! For free! And look for the print edition—soon!—not quite so free—very smart and handsome, and a great gift for yourself or someone you love.

Kindle | Nook | Apple | Kobo | the Goog


New Print Edition: Star Rigger’s Way

My second novel, Star Rigger’s Way, has been out of print in paper for many long years. We aims to change that. In fact, we just did. It is now available in a handsome trade paperback from Starstream Publications.

Star Rigger's Way print edition cover

Star Rigger’s Way was the first book of mine to gain much attention (read: sales). Based on a short story, “Alien Persuasion,” which was published in Galaxy Magazine, Star Rigger’s Way was the first book-length exploration of the art and science of starship rigging. That’s a little odd, since my debut book, Seas of Ernathe, was set in the Star Rigger Universe, but at a later time when the art of rigging had been lost; that story was all about rediscovery. Star Rigger’s Way, on the other hand, plunges us right into the experience—with a young pilot, Gev Carlyle, trying to work with a large, catlike alien, Cephean the cynthian, to get them both to safety through a dangerous passage.

Here’s an interior illo by Freff from the story in Galaxy, showing Cephean with his fernlike minions, the riffmar.

Cephean the cynthian

The novel is a coming-of-age story for Carlyle, and an alien contact story for the human and cynthian. We see some sights in the galaxy, talk to some drunken riggers in a bar (where we learn there are dragons in space)—and tangle with some interstellar pirates, inadvertently setting up a later novel, Eternity’s End. There’s a bit of romance, as well.

This was the first book of mine to be published, not just in paperback, but as a main selection of the Science Fiction Book Club. Which meant a low-cost hardcover, sent out to SFBC members who either ordered it or forgot to return the little form saying, don’t send it. Either way, it gained me some notice early in my career.

By the way, I plan to make complete, autographed sets of the Star Rigger Books available for holiday shopping. Just as soon as I finish the new edition of Dragon Rigger, which is real close now.

This new edition of Star Rigger’s Way is available at Amazon (affiliate link), and soon through other stores, as well.

Writers of the Future Podcast: Science to Science Fiction

posted in: podcasts, writing 0

Things have been a little quiet on the podcast front, but I recently participated in a good one: “Science to Science Fiction: Jeffrey A. Carver, Edward M. Lerner, Alan Smale, Edward Willett” which is part of the “Writers & Illustrators of the Future Podcast” series. I joined my colleagues listed above, in a discussion of writing, hosted by John Goodwin. Unlike many podcast hosts, John actually reads the work of the people he is hosting. Thumbs up on that one!

The discussion among the five of us was lively and, I thought, interesting. And, I hope, helpful for new or aspiring writers.

Here’s a video teaser:

You can listen to the whole thing on Soundcloud:

A Good Word for Dell

posted in: Uncategorized 0

My Dell XPS laptop had to go to Dell’s Advanced Repair center in Houston to have the keyboard and fingerprint reader replaced. (Good thing I bought the 4-year all-hazard protection plan.) Naturally, when the tech proposed this, I assumed it would be gone for at least two weeks, which I didn’t think I could stand. But I needed to get it fixed. So I was surprised when the tech said, “No, you’ll have it back in five business days or less, and we pay for FedEx overnight shipping.”

I still put it off, but finally—after moving sensitive financial files off the drive—I boxed it up in the box they sent and took it to Walgreens for FedEx pickup. That was Monday, at 4:30 p.m.

On Tuesday morning, I got an email saying it was at the center and a tech was working on it. On Tuesday evening, I got an email saying the repair was done and it was on its way back to me. That couldn’t be right. Could it?

On Wednesday afternoon, I was taking it out of the box and plugging it in. That’s right, they fixed it—and cleaned it inside and out—and got it back to me… in less than 48 hours! Holy cow.

Not only do I have a new keyboard, but the cooling fan is barely perceptible, because they cleaned it and the heat sink inside, which was probably full of animal fur. Folks, my hat is off to Dell. I know they had problems in the past, but from where I sit in 2022, their service rocks! (Tip o’ the hat to FedEx, as well.)

Captain Jack (2010 – 2022)

We are in shock and mourning. Our beloved border-collie mix, Captain Jack, has left us. Just two weeks ago, he was joyfully chasing a younger dog round and round at a friend’s house, totally exhausting us just watching. However, three days ago, he abruptly went into a precipitous decline—not eating, having difficulty walking, and even standing. I realized with a start that he had lost weight, which I hadn’t noticed. Despite long sessions in two different animal hospitals, the cause remains uncertain. But probably it was a return of the cancer that almost took him a year ago. Here he is, enjoying a last review of the property during a brief rally toward the end.

Many of you will remember that he had radical cancer surgery on his jaw a year ago, resulting in a new lease on life, though one with his tongue hanging out for lack of a place to park it. He enjoyed that year, and we are deeply grateful to have enjoyed it with him.

The timing was uncanny. He abruptly showed serious symptoms on the very day Allysen and Jayce were flying back from Puerto Rico. I was at the hospital with him the very hours that they were in a plane coming home. We are all devastated, but grateful that the whole family could be here to say goodbye. A lovely vet named Dr. Johnson, who makes euthanasia house calls, came to our home to ease his way. Many thanks to her, and to Jackie and the other dog walkers, and to our regular vet Dr. Parker, and to Jack’s oncologist Dr. Cronin, and many others who helped make his life the amazing life that it was. I have owned (and said goodbye to) many dogs, but never one about whom so many people have come to me to say, “I love this dog; what a great dog; he was the highlight of my day.” We already miss him terribly.

Still with us is Lady McDuff, aka Duff-Duff, aka Septima, aka Nugget, aka Possum. She was Allysen’s mom’s dog and is now ours, and she has found her own way into our hearts. Here she is with Jack in happier times. No doubt she is mourning in her own way.

The Ponce Chronicles: Fall of 2022, Part 2

posted in: Ponce Chronicles 0

Work has pretty much wrapped at Casarboles for this trip. The California half of the crew has already gone home, and Allysen and Jayce head back to Boston tomorrow. What did they get done? A lot, but not nearly as much as they’d hoped, by all accounts. A lot of cleaning, emergency plumbing, and uprooting of out-of-control flora. A lot of estimates from workers who promised to show up the next day and then didn’t. (What else is new?) So, things like broken windows and skylights are still broken. What can you do? Go back in February, is the current plan.

Although power was restored on their second or third day, internet service was not, so they were dependent on their cell phone data service for things like Allysen’s and Andrew’s trying to keep up with their regular jobs back home. I’m not sure how well that went, but I think I can guess.

One thing I do know, because you can see it here: They pumped the green swamp water out of the pool!

That pool will remain empty for now, because shortly after this picture was taken, they discovered that there wasn’t actually any water reaching them from the city, after all! No, they were draining the giant cistern all this time, and now it’s empty. Oh yay, no water! (Well, except for the small secondary cistern which, due to certain, uh, irregularities in the way it was hooked up, years ago, feeds just one toilet way in the back.)

Jayce also supplied me with some essential pictures of the cutest and most adorable of the stray cats wandering about this year.

The Ponce Chronicles: Fall of 2022, post-Hurricane Fiona

posted in: Ponce Chronicles 3

I’m writing this from home, where I’m holding down the fort while Allysen, Jayce, and Allysen’s brother Andrew and our niece Lauren take on the challenge of working on the house, known as Casarboles. In case you’ve been sleeping in a cave, Hurricane Fiona recently tore through Ponce and the rest of Puerto Rico, leaving shambles in its wake, especially in the least prosperous and most vulnerable areas. There’s city water on the hill, finally, but no power as of the arrival of our company on the hill—except from a small generator, plus another small one Allysen picked up at Costco on her way from San Juan airport. Update: The power to the hill was finally restored, on the evening of day three, Monday. There was much dancing and celebrating, by all accounts.

President Biden recently flew into Ponce* to visit the disaster, instead of following the customary official route of visiting San Juan, which (because it sits on the northern coast and is sheltered by the mountains) typically suffers the mildest effects of these superstorms. I think the folks of southern Puerto Rico appreciated the gesture, especially since it stood in stark contrast to a previous executive’s tossing of paper towel rolls to people who were reeling from Hurricane Maria.

This trip by Allysen and company was actually planned before the hurricane, to fix a bunch of things that needed fixing. Now there’s more to fix. Mostly, from this storm, it’s damage to skylights and windows and doors, and a bent driveway gate that had something land on it. Plus, a general ravaging.

Am I sorry I’m not there? Well, I can’t say I’m envious of what they’re facing. I’m not physically in shape to be able to do much work anyway, and I’m tentatively glad to have some time to myself here, to try to focus less on my health and more on getting some of my own work done. But we’ll see.

I’ve been unable to extract any selfies from the crew, or pictures showing much of the state of the house, but here’s a very nice sunrise, photographed by Allysen the morning after their arrival.

*Side note of complete irrelevance: years ago, when my private pilot’s license was still current, I rented a beat-up little Cessna and did a little sightseeing out of Ponce’s Mercedita Airport, from the very same runway that Air Force One landed on two weeks ago.

New Print Edition: Seas of Ernathe

I’ve got a new treebook to offer the world: Seas of Ernathe, my first novel and the beginning and the end of the Star Rigger universe to date. The beginning, because it’s the first novel I wrote in that world (or any other world), and the end because it’s set farthest in the future in the chronology of starship rigging. That might seem a little odd, but so it goes with story writing. I actually created star rigging in a short story, “Alien Persuasion,” which later became the starting point of my second novel, Star Rigger’s Way, published in Galaxy in 1974, I think it was. That came before I’d even considered attempting a novel.

Seas of Ernathe came about because of an odd opportunity for a new writer—I wrote it because of a rejection letter for a completely unrelated story. I’d been submitting short stories to a number of markets for years, including to the late Terry Carr, editor of a prestigious anthology series called Universe. He’d been responding with encouraging rejection notes. In this case, he sent back a story called “Love Rogo” (later published in the triad Future Love, edited by Roger Elwood). In his note, he said the story wasn’t right for the book he was doing, though he liked it, and would I be interested in possibly writing a novel—with an advance up front, if I could send him a sufficiently interesting outline and three sample chapters?

Would I? I dropped into my chair in front of my Olympia portable typewriter and started pounding… well, not so much the keys as my forehead. Novel. Novel. What could I write a novel about? I had recently sold “Alien Persuasion” to Galaxy, and starship rigging was in my head. Well… well… what if… well… what if they lost the ability to rig ships? Who knows how or why? It would have to be much farther in the future, maybe because of some breakdown in galactic civilization. I didn’t know. But I just started, eventually, to type. And what I typed was Seas of Ernathe. (That’s a silent “e” on the end, by the way. It’s pronounced Ernath.) And this story told us, not how they lost the art of rigging, but how they made a start at getting it back.

Well, now you can read it! On paper! And not in the cheesy-looking Laser Books edition, which was its first publication. In fact, it now has gorgeous cover art by Chris Howard, who also did my Starstream edition covers for The Infinite Sea, The Reefs of Time, and Crucible of Time. Okay, it’s the same art that’s been on the ebook for a while, and in fact provides the backdrop for my website. But it’s gorgeous, nonetheless, and you can hold it in your hands. The type layout is by Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff.

Seas of Ernathe - print edition cover

Right now, it’s available at Amazon. Soon it will be available elsewhere, as well.

My goal is to get all of the Star Rigger books back into treebook print in time to make a complete Star Rigger set available for holiday gift giving. Wish me luck!

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