You Can Have My New Sony Reader…

When you pry it from my cold, dead fingers. Just like Charlton Heston and his guns. People, I love my new Reader. I love the built-in light, I love the 150 or so books I have on it right now, with room for about a thousand more. I love the way you can organize them, to make titles easy to find. I love the way, with the help of a program called Calibre, I can import books in other formats and convert them for reading on the Sony, and even share them with Allysen, who is discovering that she loves reading on her new iPod Touch. I’ve actually been getting a lot more reading done since adopting my PRS-700.

I’ve named it Plato.

Most of what it’s filled with now is free ebooks, either from the general sources like,, and—or from the free offerings of Tor, Baen, and other publishers. I’ve bought a couple of ebooks, including the Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge (but, ironically, his iconic and groundbreaking story about the net, “True Names,” does not seem to be available in ebook form).

I’m slowly returning the world of productive work, following the holidays. I’ve signed up my novels The Infinity Link and Seas of Ernathe for the ereads program, which already features five of my novels, so they’ll be available in electronic format before too long. (Also, The Rapture Effect and Dragon Rigger should be available very soon.) Right now I’m proofing The Infinity Link, actually reading it for the first time in many years. It was my first BIG book, published in 1984, and I’m pleased to say I’m enjoying it.

Hope you’re all having a great beginning of 2009!

“You’ll never make much money writing books like that. But the very best people will come to your funeral.” —said to Edgar Pangborn, as told by D.G. Compton

To New York, ish, Twice This Week

This last Monday was the date of the annual SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) Editorial Reception, where SFWA hosts a big gathering for members, editors, artists, and friends, to generally schmooze and reconnect. I hadn’t been to one in years, so I decided at the last minute to go down, just for the day. I treated myself to Amtrak’s Acela for the ride down. Great train. Then I hoofed it from Penn Station to the Tor Books offices, tipping my hat to the Empire State Building on the way. (I make it sound like I know where I was going. Yeah, me and my Google map.)

In the past, the publisher’s offices were always a gathering place for writers prior to events like this, and I expected to be joining a crowd. Nope. I was the only one there, and all the Tor people were actually working. (!!) But my publicist Sam Cutler took me around to meet all the publicity people, and I waved to all the editors I knew (my own editor not being in town), then I browsed the bookshelves, plucking down books to read. While thumbing through a book, I heard a mutter from the room next door about problems with Mobipocket Creator. Having spent a good deal of time on ebook creation, I poked my head in, and thus met Pablo Defendini, maven of, and also the guy who’s doing his level best to get Tor ebooks up and running. Great guy, great conversation, and eventually I grabbed some dinner with him and some of the other people, as well as Irene Gallo, Tor’s art director, all good folk. Then we all went off to the SFWA thing, where I indeed reconnected with some old friends, and even ran into my agent, Richard Curtis!

Coming home on the 3 a.m. train out of Penn Station wasn’t quite as much fun (actually, waiting for the 3 a.m. train in Penn Station wasn’t as much fun), but hey. A good trip.

Today, I turned around and drove to pick up my daughter and a couple of friends from college, a ways up the river from NYC, then turned around again and brought them home. Could have been a lot worse; the poor souls on the Mass Pike westbound toward New York as I was coming back east were in for a long time on the road!

Safe travels for the holidays, everyone (if you travel, which you probably will, if you’re in the U.S.)!

Two Signings This Week!

I’ve added a second book signing of Sunborn to the one previously announced:

  • On Friday evening, Nov. 7, from 6:30 to 8:30, I’ll be doing a benefit signing at Park Avenue Congregational Church in Arlington, Mass., at the annual fair.
  • On Saturday, Nov. 8, from 4:00 to 7:00, I’ll be signing as a guest at the regular wine tasting at Menotomy Beer and Wine, also in Arlington.

Click for a full rewrite, with details and locations. Stop by! Have some lasagna and pie (Friday) and some wine (Saturday).


Well, this is kind of depressing. And no, I’m not talking about the election; that’s still a few hours off. No, I’m talking about the stats for downloads of the ebooks—especially Sunborn. Turns out that my web logs analyzer, a program called Analog that I’ve used faithfully for years, has been lying to me about the number of downloads.

Well, not lying exactly, just being stupid.

I think this applies mainly just to the PDF downloads rather than the others, because people can actually open the PDF file right in their browser without downloading the file to their hard drive. And when they do, the file is sent to them in little packets, which you would only notice by the repeated little message at the bottom of the browser indicating activity. As I discovered to my dismay last night, each of those little packets gets its own line in the logs. And Analog has been counting each of those packets as a separate download request! And fooling me like a politician greasing a gullible audience.

To paraphrase one such politician of the past*, let me make one thing perfectly clear. I am not a crook. However, previous reports of the downloads of Sunborn and the other PDF files are exaggerated. A lot. A real lot. As nearly as I can tell, actual complete downloads of Sunborn are in the low-mid hundreds at this point, and the highest, Neptune Crossing, is at maybe a thousand. All told, the cumulative ebook downloads are in the thousands, but I’m not even going to try to guess a more exact number. That’s not cottage cheese, but it’s nowhere near the 20K plus that Analog was selling me.

To say that this discovery was a downer would be no exaggeration.

Anyone know a better free (or cheap) web-logs analyzer? (I’ve tried a few, but none quite fit the bill yet.)

*For the young’ns among you, or those outside the U.S.: Richard M. Nixon, the worst president in U.S. history prior to the current one.

“From my close observation of writers … they fall into two groups: 1) those who bleed copiously and visibly at any bad review, and 2) those who bleed copiously and secretly at any bad review.” —Isaac Asimov

Sunborn Is Born!

Sunborn is a book, available in fine stores everywhere! Yay! I even have copies myself! By a wonderful fluke, the case I ordered for the upcoming book signing at the Menotomy Beer and Wine store (see earlier post) arrived on my doorstep today. So I get to see it, too! (This may sound odd, but usually the writer is the last to get copies. Well, sometimes the editor is last, and the writer is second to last. Indeed, there’s no telling when my regular “author’s comp copies” will arrive.)

Order now from:

If you’d like to read before you buy, here’s the deal on downloads. I’ve put up a regular PDF version for free download. This will look nice on your computer (but probably not so great on your small device). In addition, I’m offering anyone who buys the hardcover a free ebook in other ebook formats, straight from me! Buy the book from me or from any store—and just send me proof of purchase of any kind. Details are on my downloads page.

I don’t quite have the ebook ready at this moment. I’ve been untangling the formatting on Tor’s typesetting file, which required a somewhat messy Quark to Word conversion. That’s just about done, and very soon I’ll be able to start converting it into the formats that ebook readers prefer.

The long wait is over!

Coming Personal Appearances

For those of you in eastern Massachusetts or southern New Hampshire, or…okay, for those of you in the continental U.S., or neighboring countries…

The evening of October 30 will find me moderating a panel at the University of Massachusetts Lowell campus, called “We May Be On to Something Here (Science Fiction in the 21st Century).” Part of the Concord Festival of Authors, the panel will also include Craig Shaw Gardner, new writer Chris Howard, Alexander Jablokov, and Matt Jarpe. We’ll kick off at 7:30 p.m., jawbone interestingly with each other and the audience for a while, then segue into a book signing hosted by the university bookstore. This will be my first opportunity to sign Sunborn—and in all likelihood the first time I will have set eyes on the actual book myself.

If you can’t make that—or even if you can—you’ll have another chance to say hello and pick up a signature on a shiny new hardcover (if that appeals to you, and why wouldn’t it?) on Saturday, November 8, from 4-7 p.m. The venue will be a little different this time; I’ll be signing at Arlington’s Menotomy Beer and Wine store, while a free wine-tasting swirls around me. The wine tastings are a popular event at the store, and it’s a great bunch of people, with some interesting wines. Stop by and say hi!

Another signing is tentatively planned for later in November, but more about that when details firm up.

And don’t forget: you can download the first three novels of the Chaos Chronicles for free in ebook form, so even if you haven’t read them yet, you can grab them now and be all up to speed for Sunborn. Go for it!

Free Ebooks Round Three! The Infinite Sea!

They’re all up, now—all three volumes to date of The Chaos Chronicles. They’re all free all the time, on my downloads page. (The Infinite Sea still has a few formats unfinished, but the most popular formats are up now.) Thanks, as always, to my friends on the Mobilread forum for their help with conversions.

And do come try the audio podcast of Sunborn. Word on that doesn’t seem to be getting out as fast, or maybe the audiobook people are a different demographic. But if you know people who listen to books while they drive, or on their mp3 players while they jog, send ’em my way. Right now I have a starter file of the prologue and chapter one. It’s an exacting and sometimes frustrating business getting a good reading down, and chapter two has been giving me fits. But we’ll get there. If you record it, they will come—right? Let’s hope so.

“Half of my life is an act of revision.” —John Irving

Free Sunborn Audiobook Sample

I’ve been submerged in the recording studio (my office) for the last few days, and have emerged with the first taste of what my audiobook of Sunborn will be like, if the good Lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise. I’ve put the prologue and first chapter up for free download, pretty much in finished form.

Sunborn cover art by Stephen Martiniere
Check it out and let me know what you think!

“Good writing is about telling the truth. We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason they write so very little. But we do.”
—Anne Lamott

Publishers Weekly Thumbs Up on Sunborn

Actually, I haven’t seen the full review myself. Didn’t even know there was a Publishers Weekly review until I stumbled across a post about it on Here’s the excerpt someone put there:

“The long-anticipated fourth entry in Carver’s Chaos Chronicles (after 1996’s The Infinite Sea) is space opera at its most agreeably and classically science fictional. . . .With such a large cast and a parallel plot involving a threat to Earth itself, character development is necessarily sketched broadly. Some may find the narrative overly stage-managed, but Carver skillfully rotates viewpoints and weaves the choreography directly into the plot. This installment is a cut above the earlier books and will be entirely accessible to any reader who appreciates high-powered stellar and n-dimensional physics blended with old-school space-faring.”

Or maybe that is the full review. I don’t get PW, so I guess I’ll find out when someone tells me. I tried to scope it out online, but couldn’t get to it.

But I can live with what we’ve got right here!

P.S. Over a thousand downloads of Strange Attractors in one day! I think I only posted here and on the above forum, but word virused out with amazing speed. Rob Sawyer posted a very nice notice on his blog. Don’t know where he first saw it, but thanks, Rob!

Ebooks Round Two! Ding! Strange Attractors!

I’ve just released Book Two of The Chaos Chronicles for free download. That’ll be Strange Attractors, now on your cyber newsstand in html, Mobi, PDF, RTF, yadda, yadda, and yadda. With yadda formats soon to come. Seriously, with the help of the good ebook lovers of, it’ll be in about eight different formats within a few days, more than likely. Most of them are up now.

This, if you’re just joining us, is part of the great windup to Sunborn coming out as a Tor hardcover at the end of October. I can also report here that all signs are Go for Sunborn to also appear as a Tor ebook at around the same time, or soon thereafter. (This represents a change in my arrangement with Tor, a change I agreed to with the understanding that it would appear in a timely fashion, and in a DRM-free form.)

So, I’m psyched.

“One glance at a book and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1,000 years. To read is to voyage through time.” —Carl Sagan

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