Monthly Archives: January 2016

“Packrat Machine” is now archived

Get it while it’s hot – “Packrat Machine” is now live archived at Perihelion SF. (Download: packrat-machine.pdf) (The original title was “The Packrat Machine,” but the editor prefers not to begin story titles with that particular definitive article, so there you are.)

I’ve already talked about the challenges I faced in this story’s exposition here.

For now, I’ll just say that this story wandered the desert for quite a few years, and I’m happy it’s found a home.  Early reader responses have been very positive.

It was a fun story to write, and a bear to edit.  Enjoy!

2015 reading: thoughts

I read a lot of books in 2015, according to Goodreads.  How many? 56.  And that number doesn’t take into account keeping up with Daily Science Fiction, the odd issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and all my slush reading for Flash Fiction Online.

For a complete list, go here.

How did I manage this?  There was no magic method, no secret speed-reading technique.  Simply put, I was not, ah, gainfully employed from January through April-ish.  I looked for work, and did lots of Reality Maintenance™, but gave myself long lunches with a book, an iPad, or the laptop. I’d like to think that much of that reading kept me sane.

Last year’s books covered a wide spectrum:

Short and long:

  • 181 pages – The Ocean at the End of the Lane (by Neil Gaiman)
  • 880 pages (!) – Seveneves by (Neal Stephenson – of course)

Slightly obscure and super popular:

  • Eat Sleep Sit: My Year at Japan’s Most Rigorous Zen Temple by Kaoru Nonomura
  • The Martian by Andy Weir

Series (in no particular order):

  • California Bones, Pacific Fire, Dragon Coast by Greg Van Eekhout
  • Range of Ghosts, Shattered Pillars & Steles of the Sky by Elizabeth Bear
  • War Dogs & Killing Titan by Greg Bear
  • Ancilliary Sword & Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie
  • Blightborn & The Harvest by Chuck Wendig
  • Blackbirds & Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig
  • The Blue Blazes & The Hellsblood Bride by Chuck Wendig
  • The Trials & Going Dark by Linda Nagata
  • Inferno & Escape from Hell by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
  • The Just City & The Philosopher Kings by Jo Walton
  • Terms of Enlistment, Lines of Departure & Angles of Attack by Marko Kloos

First novels:

  • Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
  • Updraft by Fran Wilde
  • Letters to Zell by Camille Griep
  • Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
  • Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
  • Beasts of Tabat by Cat Rambo
  • Mr. Shivers by Robert Jackson Bennet
  • The Saffron Crocus by Alison McMahan

I am also happy to note that a whopping 44 of the 56 books on my total list were written by people I’ve met through Viable Paradise, Paradise Lost, and the Science Fiction Writers of America.

For the first time in many years, I found myself pre-ordering books, buying new e-books as they dropped, and attending author events because I couldn’t wait for the paperback or library copy.

The quality of the words last year: very, very high.  I think I abandoned one, perhaps two novels that just didn’t work for me, but overall I found myself appreciating the books, if not outright loving them.  (I also wonder when the hell I’ll find time to go back for a proper re-read, but that’s another blog post.)

Of course, in addition to filling my brain with all those wonderful characters and stories, those 56 books will spur on my own writing.  That’s a win-win.

This year: I’m working again, so we’ll shoot for 45 books.  And a few more sales.