Archive for the ‘Mirrored Heavens’ Category

The Dragon Page interview

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

The inimitable Mikes over at the Dragon Page did an interview with me a couple weeks back, which I’m only just now posting because I only just listened to it, because I have a Weird Phobia about listening to myself on tape. I suspect this is a subconscious fear that what I recollected as a reasonable conversation wil come across on tape as the mad ranting of a professional psycho.  Or maybe it’s just a very subtle method of procrastination. I’ll think it over and get back to you.

All the presidents

Monday, April 6th, 2009

io9 put together a list of future presidents for the 21st century, and President Andrew Harrison from MIRRORED HEAVENS/BURNING SKIES has made the list!

THE AWESOME RETROFIT: Harrison rules from 2088-2093; other U.S. presidents include Lex Luthor, Victor Von Doom, Oprah Winfrey, the alien FXJKHR, and—my personal fave—Robert L. Booth from Judge Dredd, the man who started the Great Atom War that turned North America into radioactive wasteland!!!

THE ACTUAL TRUTH: As all loyal citizens know, President Andrew Harrison (aka “the Throne”) took power in 2088 as first president under the Reformed Constitution, and then proceeded to invoke the state of emergency clause; twenty-two years later, he continues to rule with absolute powers, presiding over an Inner Cabinet composed of scheming traitors loyal officers.

Cielos Reflejados

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

Via Magna is releasing the Mirrored Heavens in Spain! And check out the trippy cover—one of the best attempts I’ve seen so far at capturing the mindset of the book’s razors as they traverse the zone (aka cyberspace), and chow down on their various combat drugs. It’s also nice to see something that I don’t have to immediately start obsessing over, compulsively looking for potential errors and typos, because yanno, I don’t speak Spanish.  And hey, apparently you can buy the book herecielosreflejados-compl-lr

But I do seem to recall that “caelum” is sky in Latin.   Which led me to investigate . . . according to my handy Yahoo Spanish dictionary, “cielos” can be translated as either “sky” or “heaven.”  Anyone out there care to tell me which is the more standard usage?  BONUS QUESTION:  if the title of my second book is BURNING SKIES, would they just have to use the word “Cielos” again if that one also gets published in Spanish?  Uh-oh . . .

It can’t happen here?

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

In the world of THE MIRRORED HEAVENS, America is a dictatorship—or more precisely, a military autocracy with the trappings of democracy. This is a vision of the future that I can’t say I’m thrilled about, but it’s one I stand by. I don’t see our republic as surviving more than a few decades into the 21st century, and I think there’s a decent chance it may be all over within the next few years, particularly when you keep in mind the following things:

1.  Extreme economic conditions breed extreme politics.
2.  The average voter has the logic/reasoning abilities of my cat
3.  The Right is totally blind to its own autocratic tendencies, and totally demonizes the Left.
4.  The Left is totally blind to its own autocratic tendencies, and totally demonizes the Right.
5.  Extreme economic conditions breed extreme politics.

In short, we’re entering a high-tech version of the 1930s, and God only knows what could emerge from the other end of it this time.  It seems pretty clear at this point, though, that when the delicate equilibrium that’s the Constitution finally collapses, it will be in favor of some kind of executive-branch-on-steroids, and so that’s what I created in MIRRORED HEAVENS.  The agents and soldiers in the book colloquially refer to the president as the Throne, which (to my surprise) some people took literally, assuming that now America had a monarchy.  Yet the whole point of dictatorships, as Caesar recognized so long ago, is that you don’t need to put a crown on your head. And as Orwell observed more recently, if you keep the basic loyalty-symbols in place (flags, etc.),  you can do anything you want and people will get in line like lemmings.  Someone will get us all in uniforms before too long, I suspect.

BURNING SKIES and the rest of the story

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

A reader writes in:

Ok, you _could_ have made it harder to find out: 1) IF you were coming out with a new novel 2) IF your next novel would be a sequel or in the same universe… 3) When the next novel might be available. .  . . I’m glad you are releasing “The Burning Skies” soon, but it took me 5 WHOLE minutes to find the information on this site! I just finished “Mirrored Heavens” (about 6 minutes ago) and I needed to know how long I’d have to wait for more.

Of course, he’s entirely correct, and this is a good wake-up call for me to update this #$# site.  In the meantime, here’s the lowdown on the sequel to THE MIRRORED HEAVENS:


When Is It Available?:  May 19th

What’s It About?:  Autumn Rain’s plan to nail the president at the secret summit conference he’s holding with the Eurasian leadership.

What Comes Next?:  The last book in the trilogy:  THE MACHINERY OF LIGHT (May 2010)

Stay tuned. . .

Director’s cut: MIRRORED HEAVENS opening

Friday, February 20th, 2009

The Mirrored Heavens went through more opening sequences than most books have pages. The N minus one version is posted below: this was the first page of the draft that Jenny Rappaport accepted for representation, and that Juliet Ulman at Bantam bought—and then promptly suggested I cut. And she was quite correct to do so. There was a time I thought this was prose that moves the universe; now that I’m a little more objective, I can see that as good as it was, it was all guitar solo and no riffwork.  Still, in many ways, for many reasons, it remains the alpha and omega of everything I’ve ever written.  Cue Claire Haskell, in dream-state:

They said things to her then, and some of them she remembered.  They made promises, too, just like they always did, and even then she watched herself believe them.  She didn’t believe their faces, though—the old man, withered in spirit yet not in mind; the orbiting gazes of the handlers, even the reflections of herself:  all those simulacra, conjured up for the present purpose, and hinting in no way of the real purpose whose business they were about.

No.  She didn’t buy it for a moment.

Except . . . it was the old man.  It had to be.  Because she’s seen that face before.  Same one she sees now.  Its eyes are wide.  Its lips are parted.  They’re whispering to her the way they always do: of errands to accomplish and gauntlets to traverse.  Of barren shores and sprawling tundra.  Of teeming cities and discolored skies.  Of the room about her, and the chair beneath her: she feels that seat shift, but only later does she realize that that’s because it’s set upon the sea.  See, this is how it works.  Preserving the integrity of the inner enclaves means that their interface with those who carry out their orders must be judiciously configured.  Which is why all primary briefings of agents take place under the trance, get considered by those agents only in retrospect.  Such is the price of surety.  Yet nothing’s ever sure.  Was he really there?  Was it really him?  She wants it to be so badly.  She hates herself for wanting it.  Her mind babbles on and on and it’s all just background for this:

They said things to her then, and some of them she remembered.  They made promises, too, just like they always did, and even then she watched herself believe them.  They told her of long-ago obsidian and the eyes of cats aglow in moonlight.  They told her these things were true.  But she just turned away, forsook the faces that shimmered through that mist, embraced the greater darkness of the place from which she came—that dark where she could never see that smoke, that black where she might yet forget about that fire.

But now memory crashes down upon her.

A myriad flarings overhead.  Taking the place of stars.  Taking the place of space.  A myriad flames:  resolving into symbols.  Into signs.  Into letters:  of every alphabet, from the extinct to the extant to the not-yet-invented, shifting in the sky above her, burning through the far flung haze beyond—and yet in all those fiery patterns mocking her with what she’s known all along . . . that every last letter combined into all the words that ever were can never even begin to equal the merest fraction of all the things that they might, perhaps, have said.

Hugo/Campbell eligibility

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

My lovely and talented agent, Jenny Rappaport, has told me that I absolutely HAVE to post on my blog that I’m eligible for the Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and that MIRRORED HEAVENS is eligible for a Hugo. I feel a little uncomfortable mentioning this, but I unswervingly follow Jenny’s advice in all things related to the literary business, and she has asked me to post this twice now, so there you have it. And hey, the nomination forms are here.

My own recommendation:  by all means nominate me for a Campbell, but for the Hugo, I’d recommend either ANATHEM or LITTLE BROTHER.  However, with this display of modesty and restraint (and, er, realism), I’m really just buying myself the right to shamelessly pimp the sequel BURNING SKIES, which you really ought to be thinking about for next year’s Hugo, even though you haven’t read it yet because it’s not due out for another few months.  I’d say it’s my masterpiece, but if that’s really the case, then I’ve got a real problem, as the third book has to be even better.  Did I mention that last book’s three hundred pages behind schedule?  I am so fucked.

Oh, and nominate John Joseph Adams for Best Editor, Short Form, because the guy has launched a new golden age of SF anthologies and is, yanno, the Slush GOD.

Book Three of the Autumn Rain trilogy

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

I’m way behind on this—scarily behind—but if I stay on schedule I should be able to make up the deficit soon enough. But it’s a weird feeling to be writing this book at all. You guys have been aware of Autumn Rain for (at most) just under a year now, and you’ve only seen the first book (but did I mention the sequel THE BURNING SKIES is due out in May?); this trilogy has been the center of my existence for more than eight years, and the idea now that I’m writing the final book in the series is very strange indeed.  I’m preparing to say goodbye to the characters who have haunted my dreams for basically this entire decade, and it’s funny, because they’re the ones who wanted to be published even more than I did. They babbled and clamored in my head and demanded to be let loose upon the world, and it was all I could do to do everything to oblige them.

Wrapping up the week/book two

Friday, February 13th, 2009

Sorry for the low profile these last few days, but I have now sent in all the changes to the BURNING SKIES manuscript except for one sentence that I intend to spring on my unsuspecting editor once I’ve mulled it for another 24-48 hours. (It’s a long story.) Thoughts/news in the meantime:

—Can you believe that two satellites collided?  Rest assured that’ll be the first “incident” on many future timelines.

—Tony Smith over at Starship Sofa has declared MIRRORED HEAVENS his book of the month! I don’t know what’s cooler, hearing him wax poetic about the book’s opening, or hearing him wax poetic about the book’s opening in that groovy Scottish accent. Check it out, it’s at 1:24 on this—though as per usual from Tony, the whole episode is great.

Spartacus (who is now far more popular than me) will be allowed no more soft food until I can get him into the vet.

BURNING SKIES is going to blow your #$# minds.

Fast Forward appearance

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

I’m heads-down right now dealing with book two proofs and Spartacus the Cat’s latest “accidents”. . but check out my recent appearance on FAST FORWARD, the Arlington-VA based cable TV show, where host Tom Schaad and I talk about the world of MIRRORED HEAVENS and the impending sequel, BURNING SKIES (which right now is like a giant spaceship in a hangar bay with mechanics crawling all over it—gotta go. . . )