Archive for July, 2009

ComicCon highlights!

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

. . . are over at Suvudu.

Spacing out

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Back from ComicCon, which ruled. I’ll have more detailed thoughts later, but in meantime, I forgot to link to an article I wrote for Bantam’s Suvudu last week re my thoughts on the fortieth anniversary of Apollo. So check it out. . .

UPDATE:  Discover Magazine has written up an account of proceedings!

(And if you want to see what happens when humanity finally DOES get back into space, all is revealed in BURNING SKIES!)

Comic Con schedule

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

I’m venturing down from the OC wastelands into San Diego today, where chaos has already gripped the city as ComicCon 09 opens. Giant apes storming through the streets, world-changing trade announcements, alien funny cars. . .fortunately the geniuses at io9 have provided a handy-dandy chart to help one navigate all the madness.

As to my schedule:

FRIDAY, 2:30-3:30 Building Tomorrow’s Technology— How does a present where the availability of natural resources is already an issue affect the technology one imagines for the future? Moderator Steve Saffel (editor and publishing consultant) maps a path with panelists Greg Bear(City at the End of Time), David Williams (Burning Skies), Dani & Eytan Kollin (The Unincorporated Man), and Kirsten Imani Kasai (Ice Song). Room 3.

FRIDAY, 3:30-4:30 p.m: Autograph sessions with panelists.  (AA1)

SATURDAY 12 noon: I sign copies of BURNING SKIES at Bantam’s booth in the exhibit hall.

SATURDAY 3 p.m.: I  am eaten by a leopard.

But before that happens, make sure you buy BURNING SKIES!

San Diego reading with Kim Stanley Robinson

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

I read at Mysterious Galaxy last night, with Kim Stanley Robinson. If you’d told me in the summer of 2007 that two years from now I’ll reading alongside KSR, I’d have asked how much you were paying your dealer, and could I get in on the action. That said, there’s nothing like being holed up in the middle of Orange County to ground one, as that’s where I am now, awaiting the start of ComicCon.

And I have to say, I was a little nervous doing last night’s reading, because if it been anything like the Pournelle Extravaganza, then I’d be saddled with a reputation as an author who Doesn’t Play Nicely with Others.  But KSR is a total gentleman; not only did he tell some great stories about Philip K. Dick, but it was particularly cool to hear him read from his upcoming Galileo’s Dream, which doesn’t come out in the U.S. till next year.  (aargh!)  A truly fun evening, and Mysterious Galaxy is now right up there Borderlands and Ripley as one of my favorite bookstores…

Meanwhile, BURNING SKIES is available in the U.S. right now!

Spartacus RIP: August 1, 2008-July 17, 2009

Saturday, July 18th, 2009

Spartacus passed away yesterday evening, two weeks shy of his first birthday.img_0020 He was diagnosed with FIP last week; as soon as I got the news, I cut short my west coast trip and flew back to be with him across his final days, which I like to think I made a little easier. By the end, declining rapidly into kidney and liver failure, and no longer eating or drinking, there were no other options left than to send him on his way.  For any of you pet-owners out there who end up faced with the situation you’ve most dreaded, consider having the vet make a house call.  Spartacus died on my bed and in my arms; he had a very scary hospital visit last weekend, and I wanted him to spend his last hours at home, surrounded by familiar things.  He was a very special cat who enjoyed eating fish and chasing mice and watching pigeons; for once words fail me, as I will miss him far more than I can say.

Back from northwest…

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

Wheels down and back in D.C.  Highlights of trip included:

—Dinner with writers David Levine and Kamila Miller prior to the reading at Powell’s. DL, thanks again for organizing it!

—Catching up in Portland with my old friend Paula Bednarek, who I went to high school with and who local D.C. writer Tom Doyle was at Stanford with.  Small world.

—Having lunch with UWashington professor Thomas Foster, author of SOULS OF CYBERFOLK.  A tremendous book, and one that I’ll be posting about separately shortly.

—Meeting some of this year’s Clarion West class.  Can’t believe it’s been two years since I walked down that road.

—Dinner with Neile Graham, Clarion administrator and first-rate writer/poet.

—Flying VirginAmerica. Those guys put all the other airlines to shame, not least because they have this really radical idea about being nice to their customers.

—Watching the UFC100 at a friend’s bachelor party Saturday night . . . and listening to what’s probably the most memorable victory speech I’ve ever heard.

Meanwhile, BURNING SKIES continues to be yours for the buying!

RIP Charles Brown

Monday, July 13th, 2009

A leading luminary of the field, he will be much missed. Gail Carriger’s piece on him is worth reading: a “barefoot, autocratic, jovial hobbit.” RIP CB.

Reading in Seattle tonight!

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

At UBookstore at 7 p.m.!  See you there. . .

And if you can’t make it, you can always have BURNING SKIES delivered right to your doorstep!

Portland OR reading this evening

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

I’ll be reading in Portland tonight: @ Powell’s Books. . . . Beaverton location at 7 p.m. Check out the cool shot of Mount Hood I snapped from the plane on the way in.  photo-3It’s great to be back in the Pacific Northwest. . . and don’t forget, reading in Seattle at UBookstore tomorrow night!

At the summit

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Unlike the one in BURNING SKIES, the summit between the U.S. and Russia was not crashed by elite Autumn Rain hit-squads. Nor did any of the participants wear powered armor. They did, however, dance around a couple of the key issues that arise in the Autumn Rain trilogy, to wit:

Missile defense:  Russia would like nothing better than for the U.S. to dismantle its plans for missile defense facilities in Eastern Europe.  This is unlikely to happen, but the key variables are (a) the administration’s overall posture toward missile defense (which is still being defined), and (b) whether Russia will ultimately insist on a formal linkage between that and overall arms control talks (in particular the still-unresolved questions around bombers/launchers). While the defense facilities themselves would appear to be directed at Iran rather than Russia, a heavy NATO presence in Eastern Europe is something that makes the Bear nervous.  To say nothing of the possibility that the current “Son of Stars Wars” will ultimately be a stalking horse for a more robust space-based systems.  The conversation so far has both sides biding their time, agreeing to study cooperation options, i.e., defer the key decisions to a later point.

Cyberwarfare:   I’d be surprised if serious discussion occurred on this between the principals, but it’s definitely something getting discussed at the lower levels.  Particularly given that the U.S. created CyberCommand a few weeks back (handing the whole thing over to the NSA—uh-oh).  But while everyone agrees that cyberwar is a problem (if it’s aimed at them), no one agrees on what to do about it.  Indeed, Russia has already launched successful attacks on both Estonia and Georgia.  And China has been attacking the U.S. in cyberspace for some time now.  Ongoing “warfare” of this nature may just be a fact of life in the 21st century, at least until/unless the major regional power blocs establish their own separate nets like they do in my books.  (Of course, such “cyber-autarkies” would have to be accompanied by a comprehensive failure of globalization, but that could be the least of our problems in the decades to come.)

And of course there’s no better way to prepare for those problems than to read BURNING SKIES.