Category Archives: Books

Politics is inseparable from science fiction and fantasy

So today, on that outrage machine known as Twitter, I saw that there’s a new consortium of science fiction and fantasy writers out looking for members, going so far as to dive into the mentions of an established author to get her to sign on. (No, I was not invited – and I’m really fine with that.)

Putting aside this very mild breach of Twitter etiquette, this group’s stated goal is to create an inclusive organization for all genre creators that steers away from “non-SF/F issues” and does not get bogged down in divisiveness over race, creed and politics.

When a respected agent chimed in with the belief that all art is political, the group’s Twitter scribe responded by saying that such an opinion was a “cancer” on science fiction and fantasy.

OK, full stop. Wut? No. (Rant ahead. You have been warned.) Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Politics, Publishing, Rant, Writing

MJ-12: Endgame available for pre-order

The third MAJESTIC-12 novel, MJ-12: Endgame, is out September 4, but if you really like to plan ahead, you can pre-order it today at any number of fine sites. And to whet your appetite for this next chapter in the story of our Variant spies, here’s a brand-new description:

Josef Stalin is dead. In the aftermath, the Soviet Union is thrown into crisis, giving former secret police chief Laverentiy Beria exactly the opening he needs. Beria’s plan is to secretly place his country’s Variants―ordinary people mysteriously embued with strange, superhuman powers―into the very highest levels of leadership, where he can use them to stage a government coup and seize control of the USSR.

America’s response comes from its intelligence communities, including the American Variants recruited for the top-secret MAJESTIC-12 program, who are suddenly thrown into their most dangerous and important assignment yet. From the halls of the Kremlin to the battlefields of Korea, superpowered covert agents face off to determine the future of the planet―a future their very existence may ultimately threaten.

Yes, we’ve fast-forwarded to 1953. It’s not that there isn’t great stories to tell between 1949 and 1953, of course, but rather this seemed like a natural way to close out this trilogy. (And yes, we’re closing it out. I mean, it’s called Endgame for a reason!) Of course, I never say never — there could be great stories ahead for MAJESTIC-12. But for now, I feel this is a good place to leave things be.

As of right now, Endgame is in the capable hands of my editor, Cory Allyn, and while we don’t have a cover yet, I’m very certain it’ll continue along the same theme. So we’re pretty much on track for September, which is exciting.

And now, here are your pre-order links, if you’re so inclined! (No links yet for Kobo or Google Play, but when I see ’em, I’ll post ’em.) As always, I encourage you to buy local and/or support independent bookstores whenever possible, because they’re awesome. And if you’re low on funds, put in a request at your local library, because libraries are awesome too.

MJ-12: Endgame: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indie Bound | iTunes

#SFWApro

1 Comment

Filed under Books, Publishing, Writing

A visit to Amazon Books

The Garden State Plaza is the mall in my area. It’s a gargantuan cathedral to retail excess, chock full of boutiques and anchor stores and really expensive crap most normal people could never afford. I mean, I’m not dropping a grand on a watch, y’all. Or a suit. Or anything, really.

Since the Borders chain went out of business in late 2010, this massive mall didn’t have a bookstore. There are a couple Barnes & Nobles in the area, and a few indies, but not at this joint. At least, not until Amazon opened up a brick-and-mortar outlet a little while ago.

Now, I most certainly urge folks to buy my books from local independent retailers, but let’s face it — Amazon is Amazon. They have something like half the print book market and two-thirds of the e-book market in their pocket. As an author, Amazon’s been good to me. So on a recent trip to said mall — I have a 13-year-old daughter, so the mall is a thing — we stopped in at Amazon Books, holiday gift card in hand.

Here are my impressions.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Publishing

A less-than-fond farewell to 2017

I know I’m not the first one to say this, of course — 2017 was not fun, and for many people, that’s a monumental understatement. Personally, professionally, culturally, politically…this year was a godforsaken mess. I’m far less inclined to toast the year that was, but I’m quite ready to embrace the one coming down the pike, and I hope you are too.

So let’s start with the elephant in the room, which would be Trump and his coterie of destructive buffoons. I’m not going to go into his policies, or the rapacious GOP’s attempts to create a permanent, uneducated American underclass to serve the top 1%. But I know full well that the very presence of this looming threat to American values and democracy, and the utter barrage of weaponized fake outrage and falsehoods, has taken its toll on so many of us, myself included.

Now, let’s be quite clear in that I’m a straight, married, white male, so when I say “taken its toll,” the bill for me is extremely light compared to women, people of color, folks with chronic physical and/or mental conditions, our LBGTQ+ friends, etc. In fact, it feels slightly disingenuous to be bitching about things when my family and I are doing well, and may even see a tax cut next year.

But while my toll is far less, it’s there. 2017 has messed with my head. In so many areas of my life, I found myself waiting for something, waiting for change. Yes, I ramped up my contributions and I joined a protest at Trump Tower and I spoke out and all that good stuff. But the rest of it was kind of living in a defensive crouch in the corner, trying to go about my business and waiting, hoping, praying for the support to help all of us turn a corner.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Beer, Books, Events, Geek, Politics, Rant, Writing

Some great indie bookstores for all your holiday shopping needs

Last year, I ran a blog post highlighting a number of independent bookstores around the country that I’ve enjoyed and carry my work. With the holidays nearly upon us, I thought I’d re-run this piece and update it a bit, because independent bookstores are awesome.

Now, chances are your local bookseller won’t be on this list, because these are the stores that I’ve personally enjoyed and have carried my stuff. So if you’re not near any of these, hustle on over to IndieBound and find your local independent bookstore there.

So without further ado, here’s some great indie stores, along with links to my books. Because if you’re going to shop at these, I’d obviously greatly appreciate it if you considered my work as well. You know, they make great gifts.

Borderlands Books (San Francisco): This is absolutely my favorite bookstore in the world, run by wonderful people who love science fiction, fantasy, horror and mysteries. They are immensely knowledgeable about their wares and super friendly to boot. They also have signed copies of all my books, and take orders over the phone as well as online. If you’re in San Francisco, the cafe is the perfect hang-out spot in the Mission District.

Websitecatalog | MJ-12: Inception | MJ-12: Shadows | The Daedalus Incident The Enceladus Crisis The Venusian Gambit 

Mysterious Galaxy (San Diego): Another haven for SF/F books, and a fine one at that. Great, friendly staff and a brand new space filled to the brim with books. Yes, they ship around the country do Kobo ebooks, and they were also the supplier for Phoenix Comicon the past few years so you may find them at West Coast cons, as well. I’ve signed books for them in the past, but don’t know how many are left — best to check with them.

WebsitecatalogMJ-12: Inception | MJ-12: Shadows | The Daedalus Incident The Enceladus Crisis The Venusian Gambit Geeky Giving 

The Missing Volume (online and cons): This travelling bookstore hits up many of the major geek conventions in the South and on the East Coast, and has a sturdy online shop as well. They have a huge stock of signed books, including some of mine. Signed books are awesome gifts for super SF/F fans, by the way, though you knew that already.

WebsitecatalogMJ-12: Inception | The Daedalus Incident The Enceladus Crisis The Venusian Gambit  

Powell’s (Portland, Ore.): What more can you say about a bookstore that takes up an entire city block? And has three other outlets in the Portland area as well? And basically has every book under the sun? And they happen to be in one of the best craft beer towns in the country, which is yet another reason to visit. Well, that and they made the Daedalus trilogy a staff pick, which means I love them so much, now and always.

WebsitecatalogMJ-12: Inception | MJ-12: Shadows | The Daedalus Incident The Enceladus Crisis The Venusian Gambit 

The Poisoned Pen (Scottsdale, Ariz.): A lovely, charming all-purpose bookstore in the heart of Scottsdale with a great and very patient staff. How patient? They’ve hosted Kevin Hearne’s Elevengeddon mega-signing over the past couple years, which I very much enjoyed being part of. They have many signed books (possibly including one or two of mine), but best to reach out to them and see if they have what you want.

WebsitecatalogMJ-12: Inception | MJ-12: Shadows | The Daedalus Incident The Enceladus Crisis The Venusian Gambit Geeky Giving 

The Twig (San Antonio, Texas): Speaking of Kevin, this is where I first met him — we sat together at a WorldCon signing thing back in 2013. Another vibrant indie in the heart of the city, and the staff are really dedicated to helping folks find great books. They also sell Kobo ebooks, but if you want ’em to get credit for the sale, sign up for your account at the link on their site.

WebsitecatalogMJ-12: Inception | MJ-12: Shadows | The Daedalus Incident The Enceladus Crisis The Venusian Gambit Geeky Giving 

Boulder Book Store (Boulder, Colo.): This huge, multi-level store used to be an opera house or some such, and it’s right in the heart of beautiful Boulder, which is also home to many find craft breweries. (Just saying.) It’s the perfect store to get lost in for a few hours. And yes, they have Kobo ebooks too.

WebsitecatalogMJ-12: Inception | MJ-12: Shadows | The Daedalus Incident The Enceladus Crisis The Venusian Gambit Geeky Giving 

Phoenix Books (Burlington, Rutland, Essex and Chester, Vt.): I love Vermont, and the folks at Phoenix are quickly becoming the go-to bookstore for the entire state. The downtown Burlington store has a great staff and a fine selection of books of all genres. Plus, you can’t go wrong visiting downtown Burlington.

WebsitecatalogMJ-12: Inception | MJ-12: Shadows | The Daedalus Incident The Enceladus Crisis The Venusian Gambit 

Singularity & Co. (Brooklyn): Whoa. This place is a SF/F fan’s dream shop, stacked to the rafters with new, used and vintage genre books (and more than a few toys and knick-knacks, too). They sell a bunch of cool geeky swag online, and they have a used-book subscription service. If you’re looking for a particular book, best to drop ’em an email or just visit the shop.

Websitecatalog 

#SFWApro

Leave a comment

Filed under Books

Support Worldbuilders! And let’s talk about beer at r/Fantasy today!

I’ve been involved with Worldbuilders now for…four years? Something like that. It’s an incredible charity that’s raised millions of dollars for Heifer International. And each year I offer up, among other things, a critique of your writing. This year, my critique is part of the Worldbuilders lottery, which means your $10 donation gives you a chance to win said critique, along with many other fantastic prizes.

Here’s the details on what I’m offering. Just click on the nice big DONATE button at the top right of the page to enter. And don’t be afraid to go for it — I’ve seen just about everything over the past four years, including a couple stories that pleasantly surprised me with their craft. Whether you’re starting out or just want another set of eyes, I’d be happy to help. And again, it goes to a great cause.

To help celebrate Worldbuilders, I’m participating in a “Ask You Anything” event over at Reddit’s r/Fantasy subreddit today. This is an opportunity for authors to ask YOU, the readers, what’s on your mind. And since this is me, I’m asking about beer and books. Here’s the thread — come say hello!

#SFWApro

Leave a comment

Filed under Beer, Books, Charity, Writing

Less than 24 hours to go to get the Night Shade Books Humble Bundle with The Daedalus Incident

Really excited to see that the Night Shade Books Humble Bundle has sold more than 8,000 bundles — that’s a lot of money for charity. And if you haven’t gotten it yet, you have less than a day to do so.

The premise is simple — for at least $1, you get six books, including The Daedalus Incident. Pay $8 or more to unlock another seven titles. Pay $15 in total (or more) and you get another seven — a total of 23 ebooks, including works by John Hornor Jacobs, Nick Mamatas, Martha Wells and Paolo Bacigalupi and me, along with anthologies edited by Paula Guran, John Joseph Adams, Neil Clarke and Ellen Datlow.

That’s a serious bunch of books. And not only does the money go to charity, but you get to choose which charity when you make your purchase. Good stuff all around.

It looks like this bundle closes down at 2 p.m. EDT tomorrow, so click here to get started. And if you’ve already taken the plunge — thank you!

#SFWApro

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Charity