Archive for December, 2009

On the Hot List

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Pat over at Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist has released his end-of-the-year Hotties, of which BURNING SKIES clocks in at #14. As if that weren’t enough, he’s also tied me with the formidable Jeff Somers for “most improved author” . . . . though last year he had MIRRORED HEAVENS at #20, so said improvement does not mean you get to ignore the earlier portion of my oeuvre, which remains as packed with hijacked maglev trains as ever.  Meanwhile, I’m off to relish my hawtness.

Audio of last week’s appearance on the Ed Morrissey show

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Here’s the tape of my appearance last week on the Ed Morrissey show, in which I discuss the next generation of warfare, as outlined in this essay (not to mention my books).  My part begins at 31:53. Shortly after that, feline infiltrator Captain Zoom manages to get into the room and wreak havoc, knocking over half the shit on my desk in the process.  As you’ll hear, Ed was quite gracious about the whole thing, and the dreaded “Zoomerang” failed to stop us from having a great discussion.


Monday, December 21st, 2009

There’s a certain strand of geek culture that seems to almost pride itself on being unable to see the wood for the trees. In particular, it’s pretty funny to watch Aint It Cool News firing away at Avatar after having hailed the latest Star Trek movie as the second coming earlier this year.  Yet there’s not even a comparison.  The one was warmed-over triumphalist nostalgia, the other a totally original visionary freight-train.  Avatar’s storyline is being derided as thin in some quarters; for me, it was stripped down to its archetypal essentials, and all the more epic as a result. And let’s not lose sight of the fact that featuring a physically disabled lead character is in many ways as groundbreaking as the 3-D lushness that makes this movie something you could get so lost in.  As of this writing, 3-D tickets were outselling 2-D tickets two to one, though the movie itself did well under a hundred million in the States.  Which doesn’t really matter when it raked in more than $150 million overseas, and looks set to have strong legs, in part because the snowstorm that blanketed so much of the east coast acted as a considerable downer on box office performance.  Unless next week’s Sherlock Holmes becomes a ticket-stealing juggernaut, Avatar looks set to roll back and forth over the holiday box office like one of those killdozers from the first Terminator movie.

To be fair, I think what might have pissed off some at AICN is Cameron’s high-handed tone, which drifted perilously close to eco-preachiness.  This didn’t bother me, partially because I think that regardless of the specifics, he’s right on the fundamentals (we ARE going to be a planet bereft of green if we keep this up), but also because I really got into the idea that the moviemaker who took human-eating aliens to a whole new level back in the 1980s has now turned the whole equation on its head:  now humans are the invaders, and the notion of alien becomes relative.  “The aliens went back to their dying world”, concludes Sam Worthingon’s voiceover . . . but movies are never going back after this.

Return to the UK

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

I’m flying to the UK tomorrow for my grandmother’s funeral.  This will be the first time I’ve been back in two and a half years.

My grandmother was born in 1916, same year that zeppelins rained bombs on London.  She hadn’t recognized anyone in a long while now; after my grandfather (to whom BURNING SKIES is dedicated) died in 2003, she endured a long decline, both physical and mental.  So her passing is closure of a kind.

I was fortunate, in that when I worked for these guys, I was sent across the pond at least three times a year, and always made sure to spend spare time up at my grandparents’ house in Hitchin.  And the flights were great, too:  six to eight hours of uninterrupted hacking away at Autumn Rain and their ilk.  I remember like it was yesterday the pissed-off guy in the seat in front of me asking me if I could stop typing so hard.  How could I explain to him that the words were burning so hot I couldn’t help it?  I wanted so badly to get the books published while my grandparents were still alive and cognizant.  But there are some things we don’t get to choose, and most of the ones that matter come down to timing.

Future of War discussion today w/ Ed Morrissey

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

The inimitable Ed Morrissey has invited me to appear on Hot Air blog radio today @ 3:30 to talk about the future of war and the Autumn Rain trilogy.  The link’s available here.

Peter Watts defense fund

Friday, December 11th, 2009

As Boing Boing reported earlier today, Canadian SF author and friend Peter Watts was assaulted/arrested at the U.S. border, and then released into Canada in the dead of winter with all his possessions confiscated (including a winter jacket).  He now faces assault charges in a U.S. court.

Please consider making a donation to his legal fund.  I know times are tough, but for Watts right now they’re way tougher.   Please also pass the word on.

UPDATE:  the donation can be made via Paypal to; the Boing Boing post has some other methods, but for whatever reason I can’t access it right now.


Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Per her announcement of yesterday, my agent Jenny Rappaport has closed up shop. She is the reason I made it into print—she took a chance on me when no one else would—and I owe her a very great deal.  I wish her all the best in her new endeavors; her departure is symptomatic of the extent to which this industry is under ever-mounting pressure.

As to what happens next, not sure.  I’m not actively seeking representation at this time, but hope to have a New Direction/Overall Strategy in place by . . well, why don’t we say next decade.  Stay tuned.

Autumn Rain action figures?

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Well, it’s (almost) all over. I’ve sent Bantam my revisions to the copy-edited version of THE MACHINERY OF LIGHT, and now I’m surfacing with a couple of updates.

First, Jess Horsley and Jeff Saylor over at have included the first two books in their annual Holiday Buyers’ Guide! It’s true that there aren’t any action figures for my characters yet, but my cats are busy constructing some even as I write this. So stay tuned.

Second, I gave some writerly advice to the folks at io9:  “How Do you Bridge the Gap Between Two Cool Moments in Your Novel?” Check out what I had to say here.  And like all writer advice, take it with a grain of salt.  (Or maybe a chunk.)