Reality and Other Fictions

All these years, I’ve been telling you wonderful people about my novels, with scarcely a mention of my short stories. That’s because my short stories have been few and far between. Nevertheless, I’ve published eleven shorter pieces over the years, in publications as varied as Science Fiction Age, Fantasy & Science Fiction, and the Boston Sunday Herald. And now I’ve collected them.

The first of two collections is Reality and Other Fictions, now on sale at Book View Café, for the low, low price of $2.99! Here’s what it looks like:

Here’s the blurb:

Explore an Earth being devoured by entropy, in the ultimate runaway environmental crisis. Dive the depths of the sea to prevent the mother of all oil spills. Rocket into space as a tourist. Mine the asteroids with your enhanced border collie, in the can-do spirit of classic science fiction. They include Carver’s first published short fiction, and his most recent. With new introductions, all from the author of The Chaos Chronicles and Eternity’s End.

If you’ve been following my blog recently, you’ll have seen my mention of some new stories going up for sale as singles. Some of those are in this collection. Here’s the contents page:

  • Reality School: In the Entropy Zone
  • Of No Return
  • Seastate Zero
  • Rocket Ride
  • Dog Star

“Seastate Zero” is available only in this collection, as are the insightful introductions I’ve lovingly written for each story and for the book as a whole. At least, I hope you’ll find them insightful, or at least interesting. I do share some memories I’ve never written down before about how these stories came to be, and how they fit into my career.

My second collection, Going Alien, is scheduled for late August. It pulls together all of my short work that involves… can you guess? Aliens.

For both of these books, I am indebted to Gretchen, the high school student (now graduated, and valedictorian!) who typed and formatted a good number of them from old paper copies, while helping me as an intern. And equally to Anna King, who provided extraordinary help in wrestling the final formatting into line. Not to mention Allysen, for catching some embarrassing typos and wordos at the eleventh hour. And finally, Vonda McIntyre, author and BVC founding member, who has been tirelessly helpful in getting this stuff up.

Available exclusively at BVC until July. After that, I’ll release it to the usual suspects.

I hope you’ll give it a try! (Vote for me!)

My Book View Café Launch!

Book View Café (BVC) is an authors collective of established writers who have joined forces to help each other publish their own backlists as ebooks. Names you might recognize include Ursula K. LeGuin, Vonda N. McIntyre, Katherine Kerr, Linda Nagata—and many more. As of June 19, I’m part of that list, and honored to be so. Here’s my page at BVC.

To celebrate my launch on BVC, I’m releasing my first-ever short story collection, Reality and Other Fictions. It’s on sale as I type this! For the rest of June, it’s going to be a BVC exclusive. Why? Because BVC is a great store filled with great authors, and it deserves enthusiastic support. If you buy a book from a favorite author at BVC, the author gets the highest percent of the money of any bookstore that’s not actually on an author’s website. Because people help each other so much in the whole process—everyone pitches in with their own particular skills—the production values are high. And the books are, of course, DRM-free, meaning no annoying copy protection to keep you from moving it from one device to another, regardless of type. If you want to convert your book to a different format, do so with our blessing.

Can you use these books on a Kindle or a Nook or a Kobo Reader or a Sony Reader?  Absolutely. (Just make sure you download the right format for your reader.)

By the way, BVC is not the same thing as Backlist eBooks, about which I’ve written in the past. The two groups have similar goals, and somewhat overlapping memberships. But Backlist eBooks primarily gathers writers together under one site for mutual help with marketing and promotion. Book View Café is more like a cooperative ebook small press, with its own store. It’s even beginning to distribute to libraries!

My next post, which I am going to start writing as soon as I’m done with this one, will tell you all about Reality and Other Fictions.

The Industrious Richard Bowker

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My friend Richard Bowker certainly is a busy fellow. He’s released two more of his novels, a thriller called Replica and a murder mystery called Senator, in the Kindle and Nook stores. I’ve read them both, and recommend them unreservedly. In fact, both went through the rigorous vetting and improvement process imposed by our writing group. Both are previously published. You can read some sample passages on Rich’s blog.

Replica 
(originally published by Bantam)

Senator 
(originally published by William Morrow)

While you’re looking, you might want to pick up his original-to-ebook novel Pontiff, currently on sale for $.99. I give this the same thumbs-up. Don’t be put off by its lack of a print edition. That was simply a dumb oversight on the part of the publishing industry. It’s good.

Pontiff $.99
Ebook original

Book View Café Grand Reopening

I’ve just joined Book View Café, which is an authors’ cooperative filled with great authors helping each other to republish their backlists and get excellent books back into print, via ebook. Members include Ursula K. LeGuin, Vonda N. McIntyre, Linda Nagata, Judith Tarr, Pati Nagle, Patricia Rice, and lots more. It’s a little like Backlist eBooks, which I also belong to, but is a lot more hands-on with the actual publishing, with its own bookstore and members actually volunteering cooperative-style, to help build the books, design covers, etc. My own books will start appearing there over the coming months, with my official “launch” on June 19 to feature the first of my forthcoming short story collections.

These hard-working people have just completely redesigned the bookstore, and today marks the official grand opening. Complete with a contest to give away some free books! Here’s the announcement…

Book View Café is celebrating the opening of our new, completely-redesigned bookstore by giving our readers a chance to win the book of their choice free. Just take a look around the store anytime up until midnight, June 8, and choose the book you’d like—all the books that are eligible for the giveaway are marked with a gold star. Then come back here and leave a comment with the name and author of the book and why you want it (we may use that comment for publicity purposes). You can also leave comments on any of the author blogs listed on the promotions page. When the promotion ends, winners will be chosen, and free books passed out! Check out the celebration here!

It’s a great bookstore, so do stop by and browse. All ebooks in the store are DRM-free and available in multiple formats for Kindle, Nook, and pretty much all other ebook devices.

When Mining Asteroids, Don’t Forget Your Trusty Dog

The recent arrival of the privately designed-and-built Dragon space capsule at the International Space Station dovetails nicely with another recent event: the announcement of a privately funded initiative called Planetary Resources, Inc., to seek out and mine near-Earth asteroids.

Both dovetail nicely with my own initiative: the release of my short story “Dog Star” as a standalone ebook. The dovetailing has to do with the fact that “Dog Star” is about a young asteroid miner who finds himself grounded on just such as asteroid, just him and his disabled ship… and his trusty “smartmutt,” an enhanced border collie named Sam. Dogs who can discuss astrophysics with you while thinking about digging on an asteroid aren’t a dime a dozen even in this future. Sam has to prove his mettle while helping his human dig his way out of this life-threatening jam.

This is a reprint of a story that first appeared as part of an online science-oriented anthology of stories called Diamonds in the Sky, which was funded by the National Science Foundation to help further the cause of science education, particularly in astronomy. (This new release has a couple of minor corrections from the text as it was released in the anthology.)

Gretchen, the student who has been working with me, helped get “Dog Star” up for sale on the last day of her interning stint. (Thanks, Gretchen!) It’s now free at Smashwords, and you can also get it in the Kindle and Nook stores.

Kindle | Nook | Smashwords (free!)

“Dog Star” will also appear in my forthcoming short story collection, Reality and Other Fictions, which is rapidly moving toward completion. I hope to make an announcement about that in the next few weeks. It will contain about half my published stories, including a couple not released as standalone ebooks. The other half will follow in Going Alien, soon after.

The Dragons Return!

My short story “Though All the Mountains Lie Between” was the spark that led to two novels, Dragons in the Stars and Dragon Rigger. Those books have been back in ebook form for a while now, and I even gathered them into a low-cost set, Dragon Space: A Star Rigger Omnibus. But the short storyoriginally published in The Science Fiction Times and the anthology Dragons of Darkness, edited by Orson Scott Cardhas been out of circulation for many years. With Gretchen’s help, I’ve now amended that situation. Give it up for “Though All the Mountains Lie Between” the ebook!

It’s available in the usual suspect places, and will eventually migrate to even more stores. Just $.99 at Kindle and Nook, and free at Smashwords! It includes a preview chapter of Dragon Space.

Guest Post: Gretchen on Interning

I invited Gretchen, who’s been helping me as an intern for the last two weeks, to write up a post about what it’s been like for her. Gretchen is a high school student with an interest in publishing. Working for me, she’s gotten a look at a side of publishing she probably never knew existed. Take it, Gretchen…

When I began my internship with Jeff, I didn’t really know what to expect. Completing a three-week internship is a requirement to graduate at my high school, and I just jumped straight from my exam week to my internship without wondering too much what it would be like. I soon found out. The first thing I learned—of which I was very appreciative—was that I didn’t have to get up at way-too-early-o’clock in the morning every day to begin work; I got to start at a much more reasonable hour in the afternoon, unlike most of my classmates.

The next thing I learned was that publishing eBooks really isn’t at all like I thought it was going to be. There is much more of a focus on little, seemingly insignificant formatting details than I had thought there would be (of course, those “tiny details” end up more like “huge problems” if you ignore them). Conversely, the actual conversion of documents into eBook formats and the process of putting them up for sale online seemed much easier than I thought it would be.

Even though some things haven’t been what I’d imagined, working with Jeff and learning more about publishing in general has been extremely interesting. I have a clearer idea of what publishing is about now—which will be helpful for me if I decide to go into the publishing business—but even beyond that, I’ve just had a lot of fun learning from Jeff and reading his stories.

And with Gretchen’s help, I’ve gotten three stories into ebook form (the third going up today), and several more in the pipeline! 
 

Tor/Forge Books to Go DRM-free!

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This one slipped by me when it was first announced, almost a month ago. Tor Books, my publisher, has announced that all of their ebooks will be going DRM-free. (DRM is the digital right management—or copy protection—that on most books from major publishers locks purchased books to a single type of reading device.) Here’s the announcement in part:

Tom Doherty Associates, publishers of Tor, Forge, Orb, Starscape, and Tor Teen, today announced that by early July 2012, their entire list of e-books will be available DRM-free.

“Our authors and readers have been asking for this for a long time,” said president and publisher Tom Doherty. “They’re a technically sophisticated bunch, and DRM is a constant annoyance to them. It prevents them from using legitimately-purchased e-books in perfectly legal ways, like moving them from one kind of e-reader to another.”

This is great news for ebook readers everywhere, whether they use Kindles, Nooks, iPads, Androids, Sony Readers, or anything else. Baen Books has for years been the only big SF publisher that has eschewed DRM, and it has served them and their readers well. Tor’s move may represent a break from the practice of the parent company, Macmillan U.S.; it may also be the first crack in the wall of the Big Six publishers, whose ebook publishing practices have been fairly anti-consumer for some time now. Instead of treating their customers as criminals who can’t be trusted with the books they’ve paid for, Tor/Forge will now be treating them as, well, valued customers.

No word yet on whether this signals a change in Macmillan’s policy of not selling ebooks to libraries, or whether customers who previously purchased DRM-restricted Tor/Forge books will be able to replace them with DRM-free editions.

My own policy has always been, if you’ve bought one of my books with DRM and it’s causing you any problems in reading it on the device of your choice, just let me know. I’ll personally replace it with a DRM-free copy.

“Of No Return”

My first professional sale came in 1974, a short story called “Of No Return,” about a man who works in a sea-floor power station experiencing difficulty in readapting to life on land. It was published In Fiction, a small magazine published at the time in Boston, and was later reprinted in a very small, limited edition anthology called Wet Visions. Aside from that, it’s been out of print—not even available on my web site. That’s changed, as of today.

Credit Gretchen, the high school student who has been working as an intern for me these last two weeks. She retyped the story, proofed it, created the cover and the ebook, and got it uploaded to all the usual suspect places. Here’s what it looks like. It’s free at Smashwords, for now, and $.99 at Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook.

By this time next week, we should be well along in creating a complete short story collection, for eventual ebook (and who knows, maybe paper) publication. 

Available at Smashwords | Kindle | Nook

“Love Rogo” Back in Print, Electronically Speaking

My fourth short story, “Love Rogo,” is about a lovable doglike creature from Betelgeuse who is a little too lovable for his owners’ own good. It came out in 1977 in the anthology, Futurelove: a Science Fiction Triad, edited by Roger Elwood and published in hardcover by Bobbs-Merrill. There was no paperback edition, although the Science Fiction Book Club published their own low-cost hardcover. The other two authors in the book were Anne McCaffrey and Joan Hunter Holly; plus, there was an introduction by Gordon Dickson. It sobers me to note that I’m the only one still walking the Earth of that group of estimable people. Yow. God willing, I’ll keep the fires going here a while longer.

Getting this story back into circulation has been on my “to do” list for some time now, along with a handful of others. The common theme has been no digital file, which meant either retyping or scanning the stories in, something I just never got around to doing. About a year ago, my faithful reader Anne King sent me a digital copy of “Love Rogo,” in a gentle effort to jump-start the process. I still didn’t get around to it.

What changed is that I now have, for a few short weeks, the help of a smart young woman named Gretchen, a high-school student who is working for me as a publishing intern. The first task I gave her was getting “Love Rogo” finished and up as an ebook. She did that last week. She also designed the cover, modeled on the simple design of my other short story covers. (After a few days, I decided the cover wasn’t quite right, and we worked together to change the colors and type.)

“Love Rogo” is now available free at Smashwords for the month of May, and for $.99 in the Kindle and Nook stores.

Smashwords (all formats) | Kindle | Nook

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