The Shapers of Worlds anthologies, edited by Edward Willett, are collections of science fiction and fantasy short stories written by authors who have been guests on Ed’s excellent podcast. The lineup of authors on these books is impressive. And the second volume has just been published: in ebook, paperback, and hardcover! I’ve added it to my own to-read list. (Yes, I have a story in it, a reprint of one of my favorites. But I don’t need to reread that one. I want to read the others. But by all means, read them all.)
I’m not sure launching an audiobook special on the same day the new Dune movie releases is the best timing, but there you have it. In a greatdeal from Chirpbooks, Sunborn in audiobook is just $1.99 for a limited time! (Normally it’s $14.99 at Chirp, which is already way less than the price at Audible.) Grab it while you can! It’s a book I’m especially proud of, with a wonderful narration by Stefan Rudnicki.
Neptune Crossing is also deeply discounted. The rest of the Chaos series is supposed to be marked down, but I haven’t seen the prices drop yet, so check back. I may need to shake a few branches.
Edit: They came through for me! All the volumes of The Chaos Chronicles are marked way down. There will never be a more economical way to stock up on the whole series!
Over the last mumblety years, I’ve done a number of interviews in various media, or written essays for other publications or blogs. I always link to them, but mostly I’ve not gotten around to putting them on my own site (after a decent interval), as I’ve meant to do. Well, it’s never too late. I start with one of my favorites.
On November 21, 1997, I was a guest along with author Joe Haldeman on a remarkable public radio series called The Connection, hosted by Christopher Lydon on Boston’s WBUR public radio station. The Connection was a highly respected show on public affairs and the arts. It wasn’t the kind of show where you normally expected any mention of SF literature. But this time it was, and the discussion was lively, with lots of input from callers. I had a great time. I recently found a tape recording of the show, and have digitized it for the modern age. (Edit: I realized the tape reproduction was a little fast, so I have adjusted the recording to what seems to me to be the correct pitch and tempo.)
I hope the producers don’t mind my doing this, since technically I don’t own the copyright. But it’s been over twenty years, so I hope it’s all right. For the record, I’ve stored this recording on my own website, and I’m offering you a chance to plug into my headphone jack. Please don’t distribute this, but if you’ve got a little time and you want to hear our chat with an influential radio personality, just lean over and plug your headphones in right here…
Here’s a picture of Joe and me together at a book signing, a few years later. (Photo by Gay Haldeman)
You’d never know this dog just had major surgery that left him without half of his lower jaw! His energy and desire to do stuff has come roaring back. He doesn’t like his Hat of Healing—who would?—but other than that, he’s raring to go; and by the way, folks, haven’t you noticed that it’s dinner time, already? Yesterday he pawed at the refrigerator door, which is an all-new way for him to ask for food. Today, on his walk, he took a stab at his old favorite game of jumping around and trying to grab his leash. (The hat blocked him, fortunately; he’s not supposed to roughhouse or tug on things for six weeks.) He’s on soft food for a few weeks, and then he can go back to eating whatever he wants.
Unless you look very closely, you don’t even see that half his lower jaw is missing—except for the telltale tongue hanging out on one side. That’s probably going to be part of his new persona going forward.
This is all great, but we anxiously await the biopsy results, which will give us more information on whether the surgery got all the cancer. That will guide us on what, if any, follow-up treatment is needed. Hopefully none, as he follows in the paw prints of Moonlight, his late cat friend—who at a very senior age, smacked down a gloomy diagnosis and wrested a couple more good years of life for herself.
I hate cancer. It has taken too many people I love. And now it’s threatening our dog, Captain Jack: an aggressive tumor on his lower jawbone and gum. It was ugly, it was nasty, it appeared very suddenly, and it was growing like wildfire. But we just got it taken out.
We were extremely fortunate in one respect. It is nearly impossible to get prompt veterinary care these days, because the vets and vet hospitals are all overwhelmed by the huge increase in dog ownership during the pandemic. But we managed to get him in to see a surgeon, and he had the operation today, a radical surgery of the jaw that involved removing a lot of bone. The surgeon reported that all went well, and he is recovering. We hope he’ll come home tomorrow. The surgery was performed at Boston West Veterinary Specialties and Emergencies, in Natick, outside Boston. We haven’t even been inside the place; it was all handled curbside and by phone. But kudos to their surgical team!
Please continue your prayers and positive thoughts for our buddy!
Purchasers of Eternity’s End, this is a factory recall! Not quite as bad as airbags that might kill you, but bad enough. Longtime readers of this blog know that I am ferocious about correcting typos, and more than once have howled in frustration at the seeming “whack a mole” quality of trying to stamp them out. But this… this goes way beyond typos.
Thanks to dedicated reader Karen W, I learned today that the Nook version of Eternity’s End had the peculiar flaw of having an entire chapter relocated to a completely different section of the book. And, as it turns out, so did the Kindle version, the Kobo version, the print version, and all the rest. What should have been Chapter 23 somehow became Chapter 33, and in context makes no sense at all.
How could this travesty have occurred? Operator error, probably. As best I can tell, when I was making the final corrections to the new, improved edition in the software tool Vellum, I must have inadvertently dragged and dropped the chapter to a new location, without ever noticing, because the chapter numbering is automatic. And that bollixed-up file is what got converted into the shiny print and all of the ebook editions. This is why I hate drag&drop! I really, really hate it. Except, of course, when I do it deliberately.
What to do? I have uploaded corrected versions of the ebook to all of the stores. If you bought the book in the last year or so, you can simply download a new copy. (It might take a day or so for the revisions to become live.) The correct version has Chapter 23 as “The Maintainers.” Anything different, and you’ve got the wrong copy. (If you bought the book earlier, this shouldn’t affect you. But check.) The audiobook, thankfully, is correct.
If you bought the print version from Amazon, B&N, me directly, or anywhere else, it’s even more embarrassing. Please check Chapter 23 and get in touch via the email link at www.starrigger.net. Show me some proof of purchase, and I’ll send you a replacement, as soon as I have some.
If you happen to be in the vicinity of West Lebanon, New Hampshire this Saturday, come visit the Upper Valley Comic Expo between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. You’ll find me there as one of the featured authors, along with some of my colleagues, including V.S. Holmes and Jennifer Anne Gordon, fellow members of the Creative Edge publicity group. Also featured is actress Gigi Edgley, of Farscape fame (she played the mischievous Chiana).
This is more of a book/author/artist/actor fair than a con like the ones I usually go to. (No panels, for example.) It might actually be a better opportunity to meet and chat with authors; I think it will be very relaxing and low key. Also, it’s only $5 admission, and it’s a benefit for Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock. Brought to you by Sci-fi Saturday Night! Come say hi, and pick up some autographed books while you’re there!
If you subscribe to Bookbub, you probably already got the wireless flash: the ebook price for The Reefs of Time has hit submerged rocks or something, because it’s low in the water, lower than it’s ever been or was ever designed to be. This is terrible! Help me offload these ebooks before it goes under. They’re big ebooks. And the price has dropped precipitously, to $.99!
Danger! Danger! Aaoogah! Aaoogah!
And no wonder they weigh so much: The Reefs of Time takes us to the heart of the galaxy, and a billion years into the past, to find the birthplace of the malicious Mindaru. The relativistic effects alone are… well, relativistic. Think of the mass increase! At $.99? It’s staggering.
Here are some other reasons you and your friends and your friends’ second cousins’ guy they know want to grab some copies: It is “rich, dignified prose wedded to excellent and imaginative storytelling on the grandest scale,” according to Charles E. Gannon, author of the Caine Riordan world. It is “stunning science fiction and character-driven narrative with a strong theme of ‘coming home,’” according to Aurealis Magazine. Do you need more reasons? No, you don’t.
You can help carry away copies from all major ebookstores, for an energy expenditure of just $.99! Hurry! Just click one of these:
This slipped by me when I was busy celebrating my 35th wedding anniversary (yay!) a couple of weeks ago…
It’s an essay I wrote for Readers Entertainment Magazine, called “The Quiet Inspiration for Writing.” Here’s a small snippet:
“No writer works in true isolation. Every conversation a writer has, every book she reads, every job he has ever held, every movie they watch, everyone they’ve fallen in love with, is fodder for the creative process. And most writers, I think, would acknowledge some special influences in their lives, people who touched them early on, encouraging them or maybe trying to discourage them. In my own early life, there were many… [read more]”
The Mothership transported Allysen and me to Acadia National Park in Maine this last week. It’s where we went on our honeymoon thirty-five years ago, and this was our first return visit. It was beautiful, frustrating, exhilarating, uncomfortable, breathtaking… and ultimately cut short. Also, we got to see some good friends in Maine we hadn’t seen in far too long.
This was our first time out together in the Mothership. I’d found it comfortable for one, and with brand-new stereo speakers installed by yours truly, I was looking forward to really vacationing, if only for a few days. Of course, I was concerned that it might be cramped with two people. And it was, when we were trying to get past each other in the aisle. But that happens to us in our pantry at home, too. On the whole, we settled right in.
First evening there, we set out on our mopeds (towed on a trailer) for a reconnoitering tour. That was fun! Or was, until we got back to the camp and I discovered the broken rear strut on my steed. That was it, for moped-riding. Blast. On the other hand, as we learned the next day when we started driving the scenic park roads in the main ship, the scenic loop roads really weren’t right for mopeds, anyway. Too hilly, too narrow. We were spared the ignominy of having to give up and turn back.
Sleeping, well… that’s another matter. We sleep on a cushioned bench seat that flattens out and, with additional cushions, becomes a bed. Ish. By myself, it had been okay. With two of us, I just couldn’t get comfortable, no way no how. This is clearly a problem we need to solve, if we’re going to do any serious traveling. We need some kind of good, but easily packable, mattress topper. (The stereo sounded great, though.)
On a tip from our friends Joellen and Geir, we set out to find Thuya Garden. We did, but first we found the Asticou Azalea Garden, which is a cross between an English and a Japanese garden. It was exquisite. Here’s one view.
The Thuya Garden was nearby, but to get to that, you had to climb 250 steps of various types and angles. Parkour for seniors. Thuya garden was different, but equally stunning: vast beds of various kinds of native flowers. And hummingbirds!
We also saw the seaside, of course.
And we met up with some local friends, who by coincidence were there at the same time. And we saw the Wild Gardens of Acadia.
But in the end, we didn’t stay as long as planned. Word came from home that our dog, Captain Jack, had needed an emergency visit to the vet. What appears to be a tumor had erupted on his lower gum, and it is likely quite serious. We are awaiting the biopsy report to see if it’s cancer. We cut our trip short and came home early, to be with our buddy Jack and also Jayce, who was left to dog-sit, but then was faced with having to take him in for this. Right now, it’s a waiting game. Updates to follow. Here’s a candid shot of Jack.