Amazing and Aurealis Magazines Bestow Thumbs-Up!

Here’s some good news: Two small, but highly regarded, SF magazines have published glowing reviews of The Reefs of Time and Crucible of Time.

A little perspective might be in order. One of the hardest things about shifting from traditional publishing to indie is trying to get your books reviewed in traditional review circles—even from publications that have been reviewing you favorably for years. This goes for mainstream press as well as most SF publications. Well, finally some reviews for Reefs and Crucible have come in! Here are some choice bits…

From Amazing Stories:

“There are giant, and brilliant, concepts in these books… If you haven’t read it you’re in for a whale of a ride! I, personally, will have to pick up more of Jeffrey Carver—not just this series—because I’ve become a fan of his world/galaxy-spanning imagination! I highly recommend these books.” —Steve Fahnestalk, Amazing Stories Magazine

And from Australia’s Aurealis Magazine:

“Jeffrey A. Carver’s long-awaited return to The Chaos Chronicles underpins its stunning science fiction and character-driven narrative with a strong theme of ‘coming home’… As narratives intertwine at separate ends of the timescale, Carver’s talent for weaving incredible technology and worldbuilding with meaningful character moments is a standout.

“Each location and the alien race that lives there feels tangible and diverse, with a realism that supports the underpinning themes of being lost, searching for connection and juxtaposing expectations against reality.

“[A] compelling narrative that combines the best of science fiction’s flair with its unique capacity to dissect the human condition. Fans of Carver’s Chaos Chronicles won’t want to miss this latest installment, and new readers will find it an easily-accessible entry to a fascinating, well-told universe.” — Terence MacManus, Aurealis

And finally:

I learned this from a friend, who sent me a screenshot—Locus Magazine apparently listed Sunborn Number One for SF ebooks at Smashwords in December. Not sure what it’s based on—but I’ll take it.

Wheels Down, Mars! Go, Perseverance!

posted in: Mars, NASA, public affairs, space 0

At last, something we can all be proud of! The new rover Perseverance touched down in Jezero Crater on Mars, in another of NASA’s patented hair-raising landing sequences, beautifully illustrated in this short animated video from NASA.

Well done, JP, NASA, and Perseverance! Among the many cool things about this rover are its mini-helicopter, to be used for aerial reconnoitering, and its tools for taking core samples, to be stored in sealed containers for later pickup by a followup mission.

Here’s Perseverance’s first picture, taken by a low-res camera, with its protective cover still on. This came back within minutes of the successful landing. Expect high-res photos soon.

Also soon, the Chinese Mars lander will be attempting that nation’s first landing on the red planet. Let’s hope the two rovers don’t start tossing pebbles at each other!

 

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Presidents Day…and Cowardice in the Congress

posted in: public affairs, Trump 5

Presidents Day is upon us in the U.S., and what a way to celebrate it—by the cowardly betrayal by Senate Republicans (with a few notable exceptions) to hold their seditious and insurrectionist president accountable for actions that took lives and endangered the democratic process. In the face of the most appalling desecrations of truth and decency by their party leader, forty-three Senate Republicans, apparently ruled by fear, abandoned their duty to defend the Constitution. They should all be turned out of office, every single one of them.

First to go should be Mitch McConnell, who—immediately after voting to acquit Trump—declared, “There is no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of that day,” and called his actions “a disgraceful, disgraceful dereliction of duty.” He further acknowledged that months of Trump’s false claims about the elections set the stage for the event.

But where was this good Senator for all those months when Trump was whining and spinning lies to persuade a shocking fraction of the population that he’d been wronged? What was Mitch McConnell doing? He could have taken steps to at least stem the anti-democratic tide in the Senate. He did not. He could have acknowledged the outcome of the election when it became clear. He did not. He abandoned his responsibility to the republic, and instead, hid in fear of disfavor from the Trump base.

It is often said that “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing.” That assertion has rarely been demonstrated as clearly as by the failure of currently sitting Republican Representatives and Senators to hold their own party’s leader accountable for sedition, insurrection, and wholesale dishonesty.

I know you already know all this. I just felt a need to put exactly where I stand on the record. For Presidents Day. May the coming year prove a good civics lesson for all of us.

StoryGateBundlePunk: Great SF!

SFWA Story Bundle - book covers

Covering all bases, because you never know. Seriously, a new Story Bundle has just been released, and I’m part of it! It’s called the The Expansive Futures Sci-Fi Bundle, and it’s curated and sponsored by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). It’s a great way to get a big pile of great new books for almost nothing, and support a good cause in the process. It’s a terrific deal. https://storybundle.com/scifi

I’m going to let Amy Duboff explain it. She’s the one who oversaw the curation of the package:

“Since the early days of science fiction, authors have explored the future of humanity and what other life might be out there among the stars. From cybernetics to spaceships to alien contact, future-focused sci-fi lets us explore complex issues while escaping from everyday life. Eighteen diverse visions of Expansive Futures have been gathered in a special collection curated by SFWA members, now available in a limited-time bundle.

“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 Expansive Futures StoryBundle 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….” [read more]

The photo gives a quick snapshot of the books in the bundle. If you like futuristic, visionary science fiction, you really owe it to yourself to pick this up.

A New Day! A New Year! A New President!

posted in: public affairs 2

Happy New Year, everyone! For me, the year 2021 started at noon today, when Joe Biden and Kamala Harris took their oaths of office. They swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America, and unlike another individual who took that oath, I genuinely believe they meant it. I am filled with joy, and I believe history will show that on this day, America began its turn away from the darkness and toward the light.

(Of course, the darkness is still out there. The white supremacists and QAnon and the delusional conspiracy theorists, the liars and the fear-mongers, they are still with us; they have just been stilled for a little while. But it has always been so. If the price of peace is eternal vigilance, then we must continue to pay that price.)

It’s hard to say what stirred me the most: Biden’s call for us to come together in humility rather than self-aggrandizement; the swearing in of Kamala Harris and all the “firsts” she represents; the sight of all those former presidents, each of whom willingly and graciously transferred the power of office to their successor; or the vision of Amanda Gorman, the remarkable young woman who served as inaugural poet. I was even moved by Lady Gaga singing the national anthem, a startling sight that.

While it was sobering and sad to see the nation’s capitol closed down under the watchful eyes of the National Guard, there was a definite poignancy in watching the proceedings move forward in spite of the attempted coup. As President Biden said, our democracy is fragile, but it is also strong, and it prevailed. I pray that it will continue to do so in the days to come.

Fay Palmer (1930-2021)

posted in: family, tributes 6

Allysen’s mom died last Sunday, of Covid-19, at the age of 90. The senior care facility where she lived had managed to stay free of the virus until just a couple of months ago. Then it got in, and it was just a matter of time. Fay tested positive on Tuesday, and Sunday night she was gone. The end was remarkably peaceful, a quiet ebbing away, without apparent discomfort. She (at Allysen’s wise insistence) stayed in a quarantine bedroom in the facility rather than being taken to a hospital, which she would have hated. The staff were great, and so were the hospice people who helped out at the end.

Fay was a remarkable lady, well educated and well traveled. She and Phil, my father-in-law, had roamed the world for decades, finally settling in Ponce, Puerto Rico after his retirement. She was witty and generous and interested in all kinds of things, but especially art and art history. During her “retirement” years, she worked at the excellent art museums in Ponce and San Juan, and her house was full of art gathered from all over the world. She loved her dogs and her kids and her grandkids. She used to introduce me to complete strangers as “the world’s greatest son-in-law,” which was both heart warming and undoubtedly undeserved. She noted when Allysen and I were married that it would be awkward figuring out what I should call her. “Mom” didn’t seem right; even Allysen didn’t call her “Mom.” She finally settled on “Mm” for her and “Mmm” for Phil.

We are all terribly sad to see her go, but we know she didn’t want to hang on, as time robbed her of her faculties. We are grateful that the end was merciful and peaceful. We know she’s glad, too.

Fay, I hope you’re enjoying your reunion with Phil, and all the dogs, and all the others who went before you! God bless you.

2020 Screeches to a Close

A year ago, I posted that I fervently hoped 2020 would be a better year than 2019, which had been personally difficult. That, um, didn’t happen. At least not to the world and the nation. I’m not going to make that mistake again. In fact, I’m not even going to reflect on the obvious about 2020, as we head out to wherever the future takes us. I think I’d rather close with dancing robots and Christmas tree-eating goats.

The latest video from Boston Dynamics. I leave it to the viewer to decide whether it’s enchanting or terrifying. I find it a little of both.

And here, from the Boston Globe, the latest in Christmas tree recycling

BTW, I’m saving my real New Year celebration for January 20, when an actual president is sworn into the White House and a dangerous and incompetent fascist is shown the door, ending at least part of the nightmare. That’s when the new year starts for me.

Sometimes Interviews Are Really Fun!

posted in: interviews 0

Those crazy dudes at SciFi Saturday Night podcast interviewed me again last week. They always start with some zaniness that as far as I can tell has nothing to do with anything—must be something in the New Hampshire water—and then, wham, we’re into talking books. These guys love books! They read your stuff before you come on, and they really want to talk about it. “Why did you do this?” “You really had me going with that…” It’s a lot of fun. This time we talked about my efforts in audiobooks, over the last year. And a bit about the challenges of putting older books back into (paper) print. You can listen to it right here: http://scifisaturdaynight.com/?p=9834

Shortly before that, I was on the Douglas Coleman Show. This was much more of a general audience broadcast. I don’t think he gets a lot of SF writers on his show, so let’s call it carefully calculated subversion. Get that general audience thinking about otherworldly things they might not tend to ponder very much. One slight problem was that I must have been tired. It was a video interview, and I sat there looking sort of like a low-budget cartoon character—you know, the ones where just the mouth moves. I hope I was interesting in spite of that. You can see it here: https://youtu.be/7_LyRzMJHl4

Wonder Woman 1984

posted in: movies 0

We watched the new Wonder Woman on HBOMax last night, and it was a lot of fun, an excellent Boxing Day movie. It didn’t reach the level of greatness of the first film, but it was still quite entertaining—especially if you’re weary of the dark, brooding tone of recent D.C. movies (and for that matter, Marvel, as well). Granted, the script is a little uneven, especially in the first third, but Gal Gadot still has the magic, and great chemistry with Chris Pine. Kristen Wiig is fun, as well. I finished the movie with a smile, if not the stars in my eyes that I left the theater with after the first one. The Easter egg has a nice twist. And because there’s a scene at the end at Christmastime, this can now go on the list of Christmas movies!

Time now to try the new Pixar: Soul.

 

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