Vonda N. McIntyre, 1948-2019

The science fiction world lost another giant with the passing of Vonda N. McIntyre on April 1, and I lost a friend and colleague. Vonda was probably best known for her Nebula and Hugo Award-winning novel, Dreamsnake, which was feminist and compassionate and insightful, and also heartbreakingly beautiful. But she wrote lots of other books, as well, including several Star Trek novels, and The Moon and the Sun, filmed in 2014 as The King’s Daughter with Pierce Brosnan and William Hurt, but not yet released. Vonda died two months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and she finished writing her last novel, Curve of the World, just days before leaving us.

Though I had met Vonda once or twice before, we first really got to know each other at the Launchpad Astronomy Workshop, where we were classmates in the first session, in 2007. A few years later, when I was going it mostly alone publishing my backlist in ebook form, she invited me to apply for membership in Book View Café, the writer-coop of which she was a founding member and one of the most active volunteers. That’s where I really saw her tireless efforts helping others. We worked together on picky ebook-formatting questions, and on customer support, a job that I took over from her. We only met in person on one more occasion, I think—at Sasquan, the SF Worldcon in Spokane, in 2015, where she was Co-Guest of Honor. But with the magic of the internet and BVC, she felt like an essential part of my book-publishing community. I miss her already.

For more complete tributes to her life and career, see the Guardian and New York Times obituaries.

Here’s something Vonda would have loved to see, if only she’d been with us a little longer, the first picture of a black hole:

I like to think she’s somewhere right now, smiling at that, perhaps having gone to visit M87 in person!

So Many Titles, So Little Time!

Or in the case of this book, too much time. For you to be waiting, that is.

Here it is: I’m publishing The Reefs of Time in two volumes—two months apart—in both ebook and print.* I’m aiming for July and September. Yes, of this year, wise guy. I want to promote the launch of the first one at worldcon. Each volume will be heftier than any of the other Chaos books except Sunborn. Taken together, they’ll mass something just shy of a neutron star, or maybe a quantum black hole.

Okay, that could be an exaggeration. But I do hope they’ll suck you in, heh-heh.

I have a mountain of work to do to prepare for this. But today I want to talk about titles. Specifically, the title of the second book.

My first thought was, The Reefs of Time (Vol. 1) and The Reefs of Time (Vol. 2). But that doesn’t work, because it’s already Volume 5 (and 6) of The Chaos Chronicles and the potential for confusion was endless. So I started noodling around titles for the second part. Until a few days ago, I thought it was going to be:

The Reefs of Time (and)
A Triumph of Time

But then I had an epiphany. How about this, instead:

The Reefs of Time (and)
Crucible of Time

I actually like both. But I think “crucible” sounds more dangerous. Riskier. Anything can happen.

What do you think? I’m inviting comments, or even alternative suggestions!

*In case you missed it, these are no longer going to be published by Tor. I am publishing them under my own Starstream Publications imprint, in cooperation with Book View Café.

 

Sudden Left Turn at the Reefs (or, The Great Divorce)

Grab a partner and hold tight!The Reefs of Time have taken a sharp left turn. My long-time publisher, Tor Books, has declined to publish it, sight unseen.* This came as something of a shock. The reason given is that it’s been too long since the last book—which is certainly true.

Fear not—the project is not grounded! But it has changed direction abruptly. I will publish it through my own imprint, Starstream Publications, in cooperation with Book View Café. While at first glance this seems like a setback, I choose to regard it as a blessing and an opportunity. I’ll get the rights back to the earlier material, and can now control the entire series, top to bottom. And I can publish the new work the way I want.

It does mean I have a lot of work cut out for me, and I don’t just mean publishing Reefs. Before the new book can come out, I need to have all the first four books available in new print editions, so that new readers can start at the beginning and read the whole story. These books are already available in ebook, but many people still prefer print. And then, of course, I need to do all the production of ebook and print book on the new novel—including cover design.

I have hired an assistant for the promotional efforts. I have called on artist and writer Chris Howard, who has already done two covers for me, to outdo himself. Various of my colleagues, both in and out of Book View Café, have stepped forward with offers of help. It’s been amazing, really. Still others have offered strong encouragement, including some terrific authors who have been dropped by traditional publishing and gone on to do exactly what I’m doing, and done quite well at it.

This all happened suddenly, and it’s too soon to have a realistic time frame sketched out. But my goal is to have the new work out in time for the World Science Fiction Convention in Dublin, in August.

Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!

*This might seem odd, since I’ve been working on the book with my editor for about eight months. But he’s working on a consulting basis for Tor, and it was only when the books were ready to go into production in-house that the editorial oversight team at Tor said no. I’m not taking it personally; in fact, they’re settling graciously, and unlike many authors I’ve known in similar positions, I’m getting all my rights back without a fight. It’s an amicable divorce. There are no hard feelings on my part.

 

Neptune Crossing to Be Narrated by Grammy Winner Stefan Rudnicki!

Great news on the audiobook front! While many of my older books have been available in audiobook for some time, my most recent work has never been recorded in commercially available audio.

Well, we’re about to start changing that! Neptune Crossing is coming to audiobook, and with a vengeance. I’ve signed with Skyboat Media and Grammy Award-winner Stefan Rudnicki to both produce and narrate the book. In short, I’ve just signed with one of the premier audiobook producers in the business! I could not be happier.

Stefan-Rudnicki1I have long noted Stefan as one of the narrators I most enjoyed listening to as a consumer of audiobooks. (Audiobooks are how I get most of my reading done nowadays. Some people use them to while away long commutes. I use them to while away long dog walks. In fact, my most recent listen was to Zeroboxer, a wonderful young adult science fiction novel by Fonda Lee, narrated by Stefan.) I have long felt that if Audible or any other audiobook producer were to ask me who I would like to narrate any of my books—and no, they’ve never asked—Stefan’s name would have been right at the top.

My road to getting Neptune Crossing into audio has been a rocky one. Tor Books, the original print publisher, controlled the audio rights, but didn’t exercise them. A few years ago, I started trying to get just the audio rights back, but it was a slow slog; and when I finally got a complete rights reversion, it came just too late for a particular window of opportunity. That was pretty discouraging, and for a time, I didn’t do anything further. But when one door closes, another opens. When a colleague of mine at Book View Café mentioned that Stefan’s Skyboat Media was open to new material, I thought, “What have I got to lose?” I queried, and sent them an ebook to peruse. About a week later, Stefan made an offer for a production deal, with Blackstone Audio as partners—and because he liked the book so much, he wanted to narrate it himself!

I didn’t have to think long about that. I brought my agent in to handle the contracts, and a few weeks later, we were signed. Stefan tells me we’re aiming for a release date of September 6, in both CD and MP3 download from all the major audiobook vendors.

This will be an important trial. If sales go well, the hope is to continue with the other Chaos titles, and maybe Eternity’s End. So everybody, Please pull with me on this one! Spread the word! Neptune Crossing hits the airwaves on September 6! If you don’t listen to audiobooks yourself, you probably know someone who does. What a great gift! Or get your local library to order it! That’s the ticket!

Thanks in advance!

Carver-Neptune Crossing600x900

 

The Long and Winding Road of The Infinity Link

The Infinity Link, my fourth novel and my first biiig novel, is now available in an all-new ebook edition. The cover art is still the gorgeous David Mattingly painting that has been on every previous edition, from the Bluejay hardcover to the Tor paperback to the earlier E-reads ebook edition. But inside the cover, the ebook has gone through a complete reformatting and beautification, and I think it looks great. In the years since E-reads put out their edition, the tools for ebook formatting have improved dramatically, as have the reading devices themselves.

This 180,000 word novel started as a short story in my head, with just the main character and her plight (an impossible love, at the other end of a tachyon beam). It grew quickly into a longer story, and then a full novel. And then a big novel.

Funny thing about big (thick) novels: They seem to go in and out of style with remarkable speed. When the first paperback edition came out, the publisher lamented to me about the length. (I love your book. I just wish it weren’t so long. It’s hard to fit thick novels into book racks in drugstores and supermarkets, and even in bookstores you can’t get as many on the shelf.) To his credit, he didn’t ask me to change it; he just told me the facts of life as he saw them. Historical note: Back then, they actually sold SF books in drugstores and supermarkets, and those were very important parts of the marketplace.

A few years later, the same publisher reissued the paperback, with a different cover treatment (same art, but used differently), and they printed it on thicker paper, making the whole package thicker—yes, bigger and fatter. I never was given a reason for this, but could only conclude that that year, fat books were in.

Here’s the sales blurb:

Ancient alien travelers. Hopeless love. Astonishing encounter. Mozelle Moi’s life turns into a flight of fear and astounding discovery, as she becomes enmeshed in a secret government project to make first contact with visitors from the stars. Caught in a telepathic link with the Talenki voyagers, Mozy’s personal odyssey will soon be entwined with the fate of all of Humanity.

Combining visionary scientific speculation with passionate human characters, The Infinity Link is an epic work of transcendent science fiction and an exploration into the very nature of humanity. From the Nebula-nominated author of Eternity’s End.

REVIEWS:

“A long, ambitious work, painted on a canvas as big as the solar system. The concept itself is even larger—the eventual linkup of various intelligent life forms of our galaxy, including humans, whales and several alien races.  Carver carefully sets up his story and develops it in a meticulous fashion…it works very well.” —Publishers Weekly

“A complex, rich, and satisfying novel.” —Fantasy Review

There are more review quotes that you can read on the actual sale pages, if you want.

The Infinity Link debuts today at Book View Café, and is also available (or will  be shortly) wherever fine SF ebooks are sold!

 

Back By Popular Demand: The Rapture Effect!

Even if the popular demand is just from me the marketing department at Starstream Publications, we prove once again that we listen to our customers. My standalone novel, The Rapture Effect, is once more available in ebook format, this time from my own imprint and Book View Café!

Here’s the blurb:

War between the stars. It was started by an AI, and few humans even knew there was a war at all. But now people are dying, not just robots and aliens—and the AI wants it to stop. But a war is easier to start than to stop, and the computer can’t alter its course without outside help. When the Gnostic Control System searches for conspirators, it chooses its friends carefully…

  • Pali: a public relations director, who broods far too much on her unfulfilled ambitions.
  • Ramo: a flamboyant senso-dancer and sculptor, who prefers a musical jamdam to serious conversation.
  • Sage: an awkward systems designer, for whom the AI rapture-field is realer than life.
  • And three of the alien Ell: Harybdartt, who would rather die with dignity than betray his people; Lingrhetta, who tries to unravel the meaning of human dance and music, pain and love; and Moramaharta, the binder, who must persuade his fellow decision-makers to risk everything for the sake of a fragile bridge of understanding across the stars.

A thought-provoking novel of the not-too-distant future, from the Nebula-nominated author of Eternity’s End and The Chaos Chronicles.

The Rapture Effect is a lively dance of ideas—first contact, interstellar war, artificial intelligence, alien culture—and it moves at a rapid pace, from Earth through cyberspace to the Horsehead Nebula, and various points between. It’s well-worth the trip ticket.” —Roger Zelazny

Art by David B. Mattingly, cover design by Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

Here’s a little glimpse inside:

Q. Then the . . . war . . . is being fought by . . . AI-units?
A. Yes.
Q. And who is the enemy?
A. Unknown. An alien race.
Q. You mean our first contact with an alien race is a war? A secret war?
A. Yes.
Q. Who manufactures the AI-units?
A. The Company.
Q. Who is conducting the war?
A. The Company.
Q. Who knows about this?
A. The Company, the government, and you.

The Infinite Sea Goes Live at BVC, and Gets a New Look, Besides

My third Chaos book, The Infinite Sea, has been out as an ebook for quite a while, but I’ve been waiting to put it up at Book View Café until I could get a new cover designed for it. I’ve been wanting a new cover for a long time, but I couldn’t find the right art. (On my budget, the art on my books usually comes from stock art web sites, sometimes with significant massaging, or combining of images, by whoever does the design work for me. On my more recent books, that design work has been expertly done by my fellow BVC writer, Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff. Sometimes I can use the original art from the print edition, with permission of the artist, and that’s cool, when it happens.) But in this case, I just couldn’t find what I wanted: an undersea tableau on an alien world.

Enter Chris Howard, writer and artist, whom I first met when he enrolled in the Ultimate Science Fiction Writing Workshop that I’ve run from time to time with my friend Craig Shaw Gardner. Chris is a gifted writer. It turns out he’s also a terrifically talented artist. Take a look at his website, saltwaterwitch.com, and tell me he’s not. I commissioned a piece of original art from Chris, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the results.  

The Infinite Sea goes on sale today at Book View Café in its new clothes:

Original artwork (c) by Chris Howard

For those who like history, here’s what the future looked like in print from Tor Books, and also its previous ebook cover, which I created myself, using Chaoscope, a chaos image generator. I liked the Tor cover a lot, and I liked the chaos image, though my hand-made cover had a, well, hand-made look to it. I’m really psyched to be moving on to the new image, from Chris Howard (type design by Maya). It will replace the versions currently in all the other stores, as well.

 And these last two covers will retire, with honor.

Dog Days Sale at Book View Café!


There are a slew of books on sale for half price at BookView Café, in our Dog Days of July sale! Fantasy, science fiction, romance, and more by a bunch of different BVC authors. Includes a couple of mine. From now until July 28!
Check it out.  BVC has really well formatted ebooks, most of them previously published by the big houses, all of them DRM-free, and just generally good stuff. If you have any problems, just contact Customer Support. (You’ll probably get me.)
Dog Day Sale ad