Archive for April, 2010

Scifi Surplus interview

Friday, April 30th, 2010

The good folks at Scifi Surplus posted an interview I did with them last week about the Autumn Rain trilogy, and the impending release of the final volume, THE MACHINERY OF LIGHT. . . check out what I had to say here.

It’s always dangerous to try to select your own Money Quotes, but here’s my shot at it:

“We’ve had all this talk about whether the U.S. can engage in pre-emptive strike; but in the world of cyberwarfare, there’s no such thing:  you’re constantly at war, it’s always on, in the same way that your white blood cells are constantly at war with bacteria.”

“The one part of the original cyberpunk vision that never sat well with me was that the State would wither away.  I never got into the idea of faceless corporations running things; I think nation-states will get bigger and meaner and uglier.”

“At the end of the day, the best reason for getting into space anyone’s ever found is that the other guy’s doing it.  If the Chinese land a taikonaut on the Moon, I have to believe the U.S. would be getting back there pronto.”

“People think weaponization of space is abstract and in the future. . but every time an American GI in Iraq uses GPS, that’s reliance on space-based hardware right there.”

“It’s all too easy to forget the Net is grounded in physical infrastructure.  If I control your satellites and your switchboards, I control your internet, no matter what your copyright laws are and how many manifestos on the freedom of information you’ve written.”

“Let’s face it, the biggest enemy of the U.S. army is the U.S. navy . . . they’re both competing for the same funding.  So for my books, I wondered what that would look like if the military were really running the show . . . it ended up being office politics taken to a new, savage level.”


A chance to win the ENTIRE TRILOGY (thanks to Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist)

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Captain Zoom here.  I’m pleased to announce Jason Simmons has won himself a copy of the ARC of MACHINERY OF LIGHT, for responding with the correct answers within the hour of the questions being posted.

It’s tempting to call the rest of you “losers”, but now you have yet one more chance!  Patrick St. Denis has a contest going on his awesome blog to win the entire trilogy!  Get over there now and redeem yourselves!

And lest you think that cats have no attention span, I’d like to take this time to talk further about hey is that a bird over there holy shit let’s get it

Watts walks

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Congratulations to Peter Watts, who is now a free man, thanks to a suspended sentence that brings his ordeal to an end. He’s a convicted felon now, of course, but that’s what a guilty verdict does to your criminal record, even if the statute in question was poorly worded and the border guards were made to look silly in court. It’s an utter travesty that the whole thing got as far as it did.  The main thing is he won’t be serving any jailtime, and can get back to doing what he does best:  writing.

And speaking of, you really should go and get a copy of the Dozois/Strahan anthology The New Space Opera 2, and read Watts’ story “The Island”, which has now been nominated for both a Hugo and a Locus, and is one of the best stories I’ve read in years.  You know those stargates that always get conveniently scattered around the galaxy in space opera?  Well, this is the story of the poor fucks who have to cruise out into the empty at sub-light speeds and build the damn things.  And then switch ‘em on, wondering what the hell is going to come out….


Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Attention Fools.

This is your Captain speaking.

Captain Zoom, that is.

Though I am less than a year old, I can proudly say I have done absolutely no fucking work during any of that time.

Truly, I am the uberslacker.

But today that changes.

Today, I personally preside over the contest to determine who wins the final advance copy of THE MACHINERY OF LIGHT.

Beginners and casual readers:  I refer you to my litterbox.   This one’s for the fanatics only.   Email all answers to and I will judge you mercilessly.

Roll ‘em . . ..

#1:   Where does the fight between Sarmax and Carson take place?

#2:  Who wins?

#3:   What do people call Szilard behind his back?

#4:  What is the name of the Praetorian major who has custody of the Remoraz?

#5:  What drug are Spencer and Linehan dosed with in the final moments of MIRRORED HEAVENS?

Good luck.  I mean, may you gnash your teeth in a mouseless darkness forever.  Mwahahahahahahahahahhhahaahahahaa.. .


Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

In celebration of Earth Day and all things involving the Earth’s destruction, Suvudu asked me to pen a post on possible superweapons that may or may not feature in the war to end all wars that goes down in THE MACHINERY OF LIGHT.

Check out what I have to say about the tech that could wreck your whole day here.

And tomorrow:  your last chance to win an advance copy of Book Three!!!

Adventures with Indiana Jim

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

For two years I’ve been stalking him.

Through jungles and lost temples. Not to mention the darkest corridors of Balticon.

Finally, I caught him.

Or maybe it was the other way around.

At any rate, legendary podcaster Indiana Jim and I finally had the conversation we’ve been meaning to have our whole darn lives.  You can listen to his latest podcast here, where I ramble on and on (and on) about space weapons, the future of the Internet, and the dangers of not taking science fiction seriously.  Not to mention the imminent completion of the Autumn Rain trilogy . . .

And speaking of, an additional ARC of MACHINERY OF LIGHT is now in the hands of feline unit Captain Zoom.  He’ll commandeer this blog and give it away this Friday.  I will be helpless to resist.

Riddick Returns (?)

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Followers of this blog know that I have more than a passing interest in the Riddick franchise, so it’s great to see that the third Riddick movie (tentatively titled Dead Man Stalking) seems to be picking up momentum, with io9 featuring some cool concept art earlier this month. Shooting remains more than a year away, so it’s way too early to count chickens (or scalps), but director David Twohy’s overall plan looks like a good one:  fuck space opera, and go back to the Pitch Black basics. For one thing, he can no longer afford the sweeping galactic vistas that characterized second movie (and box office bomb) Chronicles, and for another thing, the Riddick character thrives on a particularly brutal kind of stripped-down minimalism.

The big challenge, of course, is how to do this without dishing up a clone of Pitch Black.  Twohy seems to have opted for a First Blood-type approach in which Riddick ges hunted by mercenaries on a deathtrap of a planet, and naturally turns the tables on them (a longer, meaner version of the first five minutes of Chronicles, perhaps).   Savvy marketer that he is, he’s been pitching the new project as building on Pitch Black the same way that Road Warrior built on Mad Max.  That’s certainly got my attention. . . just as I’m suspecting the home video numbers—and the continued ascension of the Riddick franchise to cult status—has gotten investor attention, and allowed Twohy to get this close to resurrecting one of the most memorable characters to ever hit SF moviedom.  Fingers crossed that Twohy succeeds in dumping Riddick in a whole new world of hurt.

Richard Morgan, Crysis 2, and the PR jackpot

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Richard Morgan triggered more than a little stir in the gaming community earlier this week, when he celebrated his winning the Crysis sequel job by doing a drive-by on the writing in various other games . . . Halo is “full of bullshit archetypal characters” . . . Arkham Asylum features “the stupid girl with big tits” . . . Call of Duty:  Modern Warfare 2 is “just a bunch of mission levels” . .  you get the idea.   Predictably, the gaming community reacted like a bee hive getting poked with a stick.

The key word being:  predictably.

Richard knows what he’s doing, of course. Indeed, he does it every time he embarks on a new venture in his career, the last one being when he announced the release of his first fantasy novel by digging up the corpse of J.R.R. Tolkein and sodomizing it.  I exaggerate….but judging from the way Tolkein’s legions reacted to his criticism that Lord of the Rings was essentially a puerile piece of crap, you’d have think that’s exactly what happened.

But all that was going on was Richard getting more attention for his book.  Same way he just got that much more attention for the Crysis sequel.  Knowing him, he’ll probably do a pretty good job with it too . . unlike a lot of writers with a genius for self-promotion, Richard actually delivers the goods, as anyone who’s read ALTERED CARBON can tell you.

And he picks his targets carefully.  Were he to pen a mainstream novel, he’d have an article in the Guardian about how Hemingway was too drunk to write his way out of a paper bag.  If he writes a scifi movie script, we’ll have a rant about how everything from Star Wars on sucks balls.  Part of it may just be the natural ambition of a writer who wants to take everything he does to the next level.  But most of it’s a matter of page-views and eyeballs.  Looking at the man’s career thus far, it’s kinda hard to argue with the results.

WillyCon XII GoH debrief

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Science fiction is alive and well in Nebraska, folks…..WillyCon XII rocked from start to finish. And next year the guest of honor is none other than Harry Turtledove, so I’m starting to feel like I’ve hit the big time at last. Highlights of the con include:photo

–the Trivia contest Friday night. (Yet neither team knew what the Ultimate Destination of the Necromongers was . . . . wtf???  C’mon guys!! )
–meeting Sarah Clemens, artist guest of honor, and creator of the dangerous cat/dragon combo Loki and Magnus
–doing the first reading from MIRRORED HEAVENS in a while  . . it was good to revisit that spaceplane scene, which I wrote in winter of early 2005 and am still enjoying the fuck out of half a decade later
–the writing workshop.  Leaving aside the irony of having *me* teach a writing workshop, it’s always cool to be able to pay it forward.  Some of those folks will break in if they stop for nothing in the meantime.
–getting a chance to talk to the students in the Wayne State College Science Fiction and Fantasy Club.  I went to a school ten times the size of WSC, with nowhere near as vibrant a SF presence.
–almost getting the chance to get a look at a mint copy of the now out-of-print D&D classic Lost Castle of Zagyg. . . almost!  But the owner was a little late back from Sioux Falls . . sigh . . .

Special thanks to Ron Vick, Sr., who’s guided the SF club at Wayne State for more than a decade now, and is very much the hub of the whole scene.  A truly fab weekend.

From Norwescon to Nebraska

Friday, April 9th, 2010

So here I am in the middle of the prairie, getting ready for the start of Willycon XII, where I’m Guest of Honor, which promises to be a lot of fun. There’s even a panel on supervolcanoes tomorrow!—which makes me sad for not having one in my book.  (Originally I was going to put the Autumn Rain base in an underwater volcano, but settled for an abandoned 21st century sea-fortress instead.).

And of course last weekend I was at Norwescon, which rocked.  Great panels on directed energy weaponry and tomorrow’s tech, as well as the chance to catch up with a number of folks—highlights include meeting Vernor Vinge in person (we’d shared a virtual stage last year), having a coffee with space opera maestro S. Andrew Swann, catching up with fellow Clarionite Derek Zumsteg (whose account of Norwescon you can find here), wandering through the endless late-night halls with Daryl Gregory and Jack Skillingstead, and realizing that Cat Rambo and I are both obsessed with Julian May’s Saga of the Exiles.

And in between, I’ve been cranking away nonstop on Secret MegaProject Alpha, which is the no-space/radio-silence into which the last week has dropped.  Stay tuned. ..