Out now: Stormy Nights

Jul. 24th, 2017 09:54 pm
julesjones: (Default)
[personal profile] julesjones
Release day for my new book. :-) This is a collection of short stories, some reprints and some new to publication. It's available now from all good ebook sellers (and you would not believe how long I spent at the weekend tracking down All The Amazons). Full details including all those buy links are on the page for Stormy Nights on the Storm Duffy site, and you can see the cover below. I don't have an approved-by-publisher excerpt as yet, but will endeavour to provide some snippets over the next few days.

Sex and love, lies and truth, shades in between. Happy endings and might-have-beens. Nine tales of these things between men.

Stormy Nights contemporary gay romance

Christmas special trailer

Jul. 24th, 2017 12:16 am
john_amend_all: (crichtardis)
[personal profile] john_amend_all
The trailer for the 2017 DW Christmas special can be found here or here. Thoughts on the trailer )

In other news: I recently discovered that a romance novel author asked P. G. Wodehouse if they could use the name Rosie M. Banks. He said yes. I'm tempted to add the summary to the Generator, perhaps with an explanatory note.

Deborah Watling

Jul. 22nd, 2017 06:41 pm
lost_spook: (Default)
[personal profile] lost_spook
Some more sad news for Doctor Who fans (well, of the Classic variety at least): Deborah Watling has died, aka companion Victoria Waterfield. A lot of people have linked to the clip from Tomb, but it is such a beautiful scene, so I'm going to do it as well:



(Forgive the embed outside the cut this once.)

Victoria was a companion that I always liked the idea of more than what they actually did with her most of the time, but Debbie Watling always seemed pretty lovely, and she had a very good relationship and rapport with both Patrick and Frazer. My old telly adventures have also led to me watching her (at least briefly) appear in The Power Game, along with her father, Jack, who was a regular (a favour which she returned in DW, getting him cast as Professor Travers in two of the Yeti stories).

Book log - Hugo 2017 short stories

Jul. 22nd, 2017 01:47 pm
julesjones: (Default)
[personal profile] julesjones
I wrote some notes as I went along with the Hugo short story nominees, which I then failed to post soon enough to be of any help to anyone else. Never mind. Here they are anyway...

Given in the order in which I read them. I'd be happy to vote for any of these, and picking an order is going to be difficult.

A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers by Alyssa Wong

Two sisters, both weather workers, both capable of bending time back on itself and trying another timeline. It starts with one burning up in her own flame; it ends with the other still searching for a timeline in which her sister can live. In between we learn much about them and the different paths they have taken. It's raw emotion delivered in skillful prose, and not only supports but demands a second reading to understand the layers. The idea of a fan or network of timelines spreading out and being able to step from one strand to another is not new; but this use of the concept is an emotionally wrenching read.

Published by Tor.com and available free online, or for purchase as a DRM-free ebook. Kobo, Amazon UK, Amazon US


Seasons of Glass and Iron by Amal El-Mohtar

One woman is required to wear out seven pairs of iron shoes. Another sits atop a glass hill too slippery to climb. El-Mohtar considers what might happen when the woman of one fairy tale walks into the other story, and subverts the subtext of both. "Subverts" is rather too weak a word here - it dances on the subtext with hobnailed boots. Possibly too much so, but then there's a lot of subtext in fairy stories that needs to be dragged into the light and examined. This particular happy ending is one that I can believe has a chance at being happy ever after. It's sweet but not saccharine.

There's a lot to like in this story, but I was especially taken with the short scene in which the women run a scientific experiment with the golden apples meant to be a reward for the Hero who manages to climb the mountain. It left me wanting to buy the anthology it was originally published in.

First published in the anthology "The Starlit Wood" . Reprinted in Uncanny Tales (available free online). There's an interesting discussion of it at Short Story Squee and Snark.


Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies by Brooke Bolander

A short tale of a harpy's sweet revenge. Too short to review without giving away too much, but fabulous use of language that brings the narrator to vivid life in a commentary on modern media's portrayal of women.

Published in Uncanny Tales (available free online)


That Game We Played During the War by Carrie Vaughn

"The people of Gaant are telepaths. The people of Enith are not. The two countries have been at war for decades, but now peace has fallen, and Calla of Enith seeks to renew an unlikely friendship with Gaantish officer Valk over an even more unlikely game of chess."

A short story that explores some of the ramifications of full telepathy, and does so through a pair of fascinating characters and their unfolding friendship. The chess game is indeed a metaphor for the war, and gives some idea of how a non-telepathic nation could have held its own against an army of telepaths, but it's the characterisation that makes this story shine. Calla and and Valk have each been a prisoner under the control of the other as fortunes have shifted over the war; Calla working as a nurse in her own side's military hospital treating prisoners of war that include Valk, and then as a trustee prisoner in a Gaantish hospital desperately in need of nursing staff. The chess game starts as a way to pass time, a way to take their minds off the situation they're in, and becomes much more.

Published by Tor.com and available free online, or for purchase as a DRM-free ebook. Kobo, Amazon UK, Amazon US


The City Born Great by NK Jemesin

Great cities come alive, and in this short story they do so in a most literal fashion. But there are things out there that feed on new life, and a city needs a midwife to guard it as it struggles to birth itself. Our protaganist is a young black man in New York who half believes, half disbelieves a new friend's tales of living cities and his role in New York's story - right up until the monsters try to come for him. Stunning fantasy story deeply rooted in a deftly depicted metropolis.

Published by Tor.com and available free online, or for purchase as a DRM-free ebook. Kobo, Amazon UK, Amazon US

vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Reread.

Second of the Spatterjay (sub-)series in Asher's Polity universe. Takes place about ten years after the end of the previous book. We do, again, follow several different viewpoint characters, on all sorts of moral sides of any situation that may happen in the book. Some are returning characters, some are new.

I'd definitely recommend starting with the first book in the series, but all in all an eminently readable book.

So, I updated my desktop wallpaper

Jul. 21st, 2017 01:26 pm
capriuni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
[personal profile] capriuni
This is my main image. I just thought I'd share:
tree-forest

description: )

Happy Birthday...

Jul. 21st, 2017 09:46 am
lost_spook: (Default)
[personal profile] lost_spook
... to [personal profile] grondfic and [personal profile] kerkevik_2014! I hope you both have an excellent day!
lost_spook: (james maxwell)
[personal profile] lost_spook
To start at the end, as it were, before I forget everything. The theme for this week in my old telly adventures seems to have mainly been Bad Stuff Happening to Planes.*

Ransom, Secret Army & Department S )

one week to publication day

Jul. 18th, 2017 09:50 pm
julesjones: (Default)
[personal profile] julesjones
So the countdown begins to the release of my short story collection. :-) Stormy Nights is now available for pre-order direct from the publisher's website and from all the usual suspects including SmashWords, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and the many and varied Amazons - UK, US, AU or search on your local 'Zon for the ASIN B073RRNKBD.

Official list price is US$3.99. Looks like local prices are currently £3.09-£3.49 and AU$5.25 for the UK and Oz.

StormyNights-f500

Sex and love, lies and truth, shades in between. Happy endings and might-have-beens. Nine tales of these things between men.
capriuni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
[personal profile] capriuni
At least, I've managed to extract each of the 30 individual poems from the PDF of the book, and save them as separate word files, again. Just got poem #30 down a few minutes ago.

Next Step: putting them back together in single file.

Step after that: making sure the format is all correct, re headings and stuff: crossing ts and dotting is.

...And deciding what changes to make, if any (Do I want to keep the compass rose ornaments at the start of each chapter, or do I want this to be a "no frills" edition? Do I want to add an "Author's comment" about stuff that's happened since the book first came out as paper and ink? etc.).

In any case, to commemorate finishing that first task, I've decided to increase the discount on the paperback (On the Lulu.com site) from 20% to 50%. You can now buy it for less than the cheapest shipping cost (probably).

...Just saying.

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

BTW, here's the one review of the book on Lulu's page (and no, I don't know this person very well -- maybe said a few words to him on an online forum, over the course of a few years):
Begin quote:
(Five Stars)

I could try to string out a bunch of adjectives, but they wouldn't convey the experience of reading this. "Drawing on the emerging academic fields..." might hint at dry dissertation; there is nothing dry about this beautiful, expressive, poetry.

End Quote.

*preens*
capriuni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
[personal profile] capriuni
...to pour over every detail of this with stereotypical geeky delight.

You have been warned.


[Image description: Thumbnail image for the YouTube video: “Meet the Thirteenth Doctor” posted by the Doctor Who YouTube channel, showing a close-up of a white woman’s open hand, with the cuff of a dark coat’s sleeve, holding a brass colored key in her open palm. Description Ends]

Video Description behind the cut )




Okay, so this is what I am wondering: Can we garner any further clues from this (beyond what’s already been leaked/officially released) about what happens in the Christmas Special?

I mean, that hooded coat is very like the one Twelve has been wearing, the last two series. But Jodie Whittaker is a lot smaller than Peter Capaldi, and she is not lost in there – it’s clearly tailored to her.

So is this her fresh after regeneration and the outfit 12 had been wearing changed with her, to accommodate (via TARDIS magic), or is this outfit this incarnation’s Chosen Look? And if so, what does that say about her character, if she’s chosen something so similar?

Also – presumably, the Christmas Special will at least start out wintry, but this scene is in the height of summer. So what happens in the intervening seasons/years? Also also – the bit where first, a fresh key, and then the TARDIS, appears is reminiscent of the end of Eleventh Hour… Apparently, they’ve been separated from each other for a while. Does that mean that Twelve’s regeneration will be as destructive as Ten’s was?

(I did warn you…)

Or, alternatively, do you think this scene’s only purpose is to introduce 13? And the mysterious walk through the woods just looks cool? And if that’s the case, what do you think it says about the tone and/or themes for the show that Chibnall wants to set?

Discuss.


^Everything above this line started as a Tumblr post.^

Everything from here is fresh for Dreamwidth:

  • I'm glad they decided to go with a woman.

  • I'm disappointed she's so white (and still not ginger!).

  • But I'm even more disappointed than I expected to be that they went back to the conventional "pretty youth" mold; for those viewers who just started watching with Doctor 10,* it must seem that Clara's concern in "Deep Breath" was valid: 12's regeneration as an 'old' person must seem like something was broken, that time. I don't need a full head of grey hair. But would a wrinkle or two really be so bad?
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Previously unread.

This is the, what, ninth? eighth? book in Stross's The Laundry Files and the wheels on the hand-basket are truly on their way out, along a radial trajectory.

This book sees the return of many faces from previous books, as we slowly see things unwind around Bob. I am trying real hard to not let anything slip here, you see, as I feel that approaching the book spoiler-free is the most, ah, enjoyable? way of reading it. Surprising at least.

Anyway, Laundry Files, if you've read some of them before, you know what to expect. If you haven't, might I humbly suggest that this is perhaps not the best starting point (although it may well work as an intro novel). We do a fair bit of POV shifting in this book, even if it's primarily a "Bob" book (we also follow Mo, Mhari and Cassie, as well as the occasional follow-the-baddies).

All in all, a gripping read. I shall blame technology (and not being completely done with the previous book in time for the release) for taking this abysmally long to finish off something that was released a whole 4 days ago.

Remix!

Jul. 15th, 2017 09:42 pm
lost_spook: (writing)
[personal profile] lost_spook
If there's one thing I'll risk signing up for, even in summer, and even verging on Yuletide, it's Remix! And someone has set up a replacement for the much-lamented RemixRedux at [community profile] remixrevival and sign ups are open at AO3 from now until the 30th. If you're also into remixing, or want to be, head over there now!

This version also allows art/art remixes (and art/fic, fic/art remixes) if that would interest you more than writing. (I went for fic/fic; I love the whole thing of writing remixes and being remixed in writing.) It seems to allow origfic as well, and there will still be a Remix Madness collection, when anyone can throw their works into the ring without signing up, which is about as low pressure you can get in a writing exchange. :-)

2017 - #72, "The Skinner", Neal Asher

Jul. 15th, 2017 01:55 pm
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Reread.

This is the first book in the Sptterjay series, set in Asher's Polity world.

Time-wie, the Spatterjay books fall well after the rest of the series (bar, possibly, Transformation), but as the first two books takes place entirely (or almost entirely) on the planet of Spatterjay (see how the planet meshes with the name of the series...), it's not massively important exactly how it lines up timewise.

We follow a couple of different viewpoint characters. Ehrlin is a Hooper (that is, someone who's been infected by the leech virus, present in most (if not all) lifeforms on Spatterjay), who's been away from Spatterjay for a while, having adventures. Janer is employed by a sentient hornet hive, that he (some decades ago) spent two years indentured to, for killing one of its bodies at a football match. Sable Keech is a reif (basically a cyber-enhanced walking corpse), and ECS monitor. Sniper, a war drone. And Windcatcher, which I shall say nothing about. And a few more, who get walk-on POV roles.

Fundamentally, this is a story about loss and revenge. And how these things change, as time passes. I guess there's some talk about life and what immortality may mean for the human condition.

Again, this is a Polity book so it's kinda grimdark, in places.

HS&S:WT Short

Jul. 14th, 2017 01:25 am
sabremeister: (Author)
[personal profile] sabremeister

Last Stand



Read more... )
capriuni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
[personal profile] capriuni
But ... Tumblr, you know: it may suddenly take off three months from now. In the meantime, it's not exorcised from my mind yet, so I'm posting it here, now (slightly edited to mesh with Dreamwidth's format).

What if we really have had contact with extraterrestrial aliens, already?

Roswell, New Mexico.

Okay, okay. I know it’s cliché.

But hear me out. Besides, I’m offering this as a “What if--” a story prompt, if you will -- not a revelation of some nefarious conspiracy, nor a claim that I’ve figured out the Truth that They don’t want anyone to know.

If there is a single “Big Truth” out there, a) I don’t think anyone can know for sure what it is, and b) if we ever do find out, I don’t think it would be anything terrible or scary, after all (maybe a little sad).

Anyway --

On July 3, 2017, the BBC World Service rebroadcast an interview with the son of one of the men who found the remnants of the “alien craft” (Major Jesse Marcel).

I won’t link to it here, because website itself is inaccessible (audio with no transcript). But if you want to look it up, the keywords I used just now were “BBC World Service,” “Witness” (the name of the program), and “Roswell.”

Jesse Jr. was 11 at the time, and at the time of the interview (in 2010), he came across as sincerely convinced that the bits and pieces his father brought home to the kitchen table were: a) actually alien, and b) not at all like the scraps of weather balloon that were revealed to the public shortly after.

[Caveat] He was 11 at the time, and his father woke him up in the middle of the night to show him what he’d found. It could very well be that he was convinced by his father’s enthusiasm, and that his father was motivated by his desire to find something alien, so that neither of them were seeing these artifacts clearly. And over the years, Jr. could have doubled down on his belief in order to defend his father’s honor. [/Caveat]

Two details of the interview made my ears perk up, and take the idea that there really was some kind of “alien incident” at Roswell, 70 years ago a little more seriously:

  1. Jesse Marcel Jr. insisted that his father made no mention of any alien bodies at the crash site -- and that the first mention of the Pentagon hiding “specimens” didn’t crop up until the 1970s.

  2. When asked by the interviewer: “But why Roswell?” Mr. Marcel answered that the site was radioactive, because of all the nuclear testing, and surely, the aliens would want to investigate that. When the interviewer asked: “But why haven’t they been back?” he answered that he didn’t know.


But, as all our most serious-minded scientists (even the ones who are imagining life outside our solar system, and puzzling through ways to test for it) will tell you: Real-world interstellar travel takes a very, very, long time.

So: here’s what I’m imagining might have happened:

Around the time that predynastic Egyptians were domesticating the donkey, astronomers living on the planet that we are now calling “Kepler-425b” turned their telescopes to the sky, wondering if there were intelligent life on other planets like theirs.

...

Around the time that Alexander the Great was trying to establish an empire, their technology has advanced enough to send forth a ship in our star’s direction, carrying an unmanned probe, which has been programed with instructions to home in on any signs of proof of life -- especially intelligent life.

The ship is capable of traveling at incredible speeds -- almost half the Speed of Light -- but even so, those idealistic astronomers know they won’t live to receive any answers that that little probe may discover. It’s all for their future generations, if they are still around, to reap.

That little probe finally makes it to its destination 3,000 (Earth years) after it set out: a little, rocky planet third out from its star -- a medium-sized star just like the one it set out from. And as it gets closer, the signs of life are unmistakable. And closer still: the signature of enriched Uranium, and Plutonium! Exactly what it was sent to find. It comes in closer, maneuvering with the planet’s gravitational pull, preparing to send its message back home.

Except it crashes. It never gets to send that message. It gets dismantled; its parts get hidden away, and only those Earthlings that are thought to be delusional by others of their species believe it ever existed at all.

But the descendants of the civilization that sent it forth have no idea of its fate. They won’t even start looking for its message to arrive for another 1,400 years.



But (I hear you say)! Isn’t there another star with seven Earth-like planets, that’s much, much closer?

Yes, there is: a star we call “Trappist-1.” But it’s a dwarf star. The planets in its habitable zone are very likely tidally locked. This means that there’s a good chance the civilizations that arose on them have no concept of “Distant Stars,” much less develop the desire and the tech to venture among them (because the habitable zone on their home planet's surface is bathed in continual twilight, so they never see distant stars).

But I could be wrong about that. Still, if the scenario I outlined for the astronomers of Kepler-435b had played out on one of Trappist-One’s planets, instead:

For a probe traveling at almost half the speed of light to arrive in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947, it would have had to leave its home while we Earthling Americans were engaged in our Civil War -- killing each other over whether some of us have the right to own others of us.

Those astronomers would’ve started listening for a return signal from their unmanned probe around the time Ronald Reagan was threatening to bomb the Russians with that same purified uranium. That signal was that was fated never to arrive.

Those astronomers might’ve shrugged their equivalent of shoulders, and wrote it off as a valiant, but failed, attempt.

If, however, they were determined to find us, and make contact, because they’re even more optimistic and friendly than we are, and allowing time to build a second probe to send it chasing after the first one...

That second “message in a bottle” wouldn’t arrive here until almost 2100.

If they already had a second probe ready to go, and their tech advanced in the meantime, and they manage the miraculous traveling speed of three-quarters Light Speed -- we might get a second chance to say “Hello. Sorry about the misunderstanding,” in 2042-ish.

...Assuming we don’t destroy our ecosystem and die off, thanks to global warming, by then.

okay.

So maybe this story’s ending is more than a little sad.

(I think I've glimpsed the singularity of the Fermi Paradox ... And it is us)



Oh, and most of the time I spent writing this was looking up names of stars, and crosschecking the timeline of human civilization.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Reread.

First book in Jansen's Ambassador series. I must've confused this with another "interstellar ambassador" book, since my distinct memory was "ugh, do not like". This, as it turns out, is wrong.

Where was I? Ah, yes, Cory Wilson, our intrepid viewpoint character, is just about to start his job as ambassador for Earth to the gamra assembly, part of the interstellar crowd that run The Exchange (basically, what enables interstellar travel). And as part of the upcoming travel, he's talking to the president of the UN (well, it's called something else, and it seems to be an actual ruling body, and, you know...) when the unthinkable happens. And the unthinkable is taht there's a direct attack on said president, while our POV character is in the office.

And from there, things start unravelling at a frightening pace.

All in all, eminently readable. Now I'm vaguely interested in chasing down my previous post about this one.

Profile

daibhidc: (Default)
Daibhid C

July 2017

S M T W T F S
       1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031     

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 25th, 2017 12:31 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios