Prehistoric Selfie

by wjw on August 22, 2014

EPSON scanner imageIt’s something called Throwback Thursday.  So here’s an old photo, from when I was an angel or something.  I think I’m about eighteen or nineteen.

I still have the blue velvet shirt, if the moths haven’t got it.

 

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Episode One

by wjw on August 21, 2014

91dc028fed808233cd95865f47d1e618afa60ceeSo Hardwired, Episode One is now available at Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, and iBooks.  There’s been a technical problem with Barnes & Noble, but it should be resolved shortly.

Yes, I’m serializing a novel that’s already complete and available!

Why would I do this, you ask?  Before I get into that, let me point out that it’s FREE.

And that it has an EXTRA, which is to say that it includes an essay I wrote about the origin of the novel.

So for FREE, you get that essay and a chunk of the novel.  (Which most of you have read already, probably.   But don’t let that stop you from downloading the file.)

As for why I’m doing this, I thought I’d give away Episode One as an inducement to buy the complete novel.

Plus, AMAZON NUMBERS.  If you get good Amazon numbers, Amazon gives you other stuff, like making it easier for readers to find your books.

So— AMAZON NUMBERS, FREE ESSAY, FREE FREE FREE.

Download and enjoy!

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Number One! Everywhere! All the Time!

by wjw on August 19, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 8.49.10 PMHere you see that Kobo has declared that my story “Wall, Stone, Craft” is #1 in Historical Fiction!

You know what else is #1?  The Macedonian and Cat Island, both by me.

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 8.53.37 PMAs you see, Implied Spaces is #1 in “Sci Fi” & Fantasy!

You know what else is #1 in SF&F?  My story “Video Star.”  My novella “Solip:System.”  My short story collection The Green Leopard Plague.   And my short novel Investments.

While I would like to believe that somehow all of these stories are #1, my suspicion is that somebody’s fucking with Kobo’s logarithm.

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Slinging

by wjw on August 17, 2014

Went to see Louisiana guitar-slinger Sonny Landreth the other day.  He played at the zoo band shell, and probably kept the lions and zebras up past their bedtime.

One of the annoying things about seeing guitar wizards is that they invariably attract a crowd of guys in front of the stage who just stand there and stare open-mouthed at the guitar player.  They get in everyone’s way, and my guess is they don’t learn better guitar, either.

This time the gawkers were foiled, because the band shell is protected by a moat full of ducks.  The ducks actually hung around and stared, just like guitar wannabes.

Anyway, here’s what they were looking at.  This is Sonny playing with Derek Trucks, another guitar whiz, and (possibly not coincidentally) the nephew of Butch Trucks, the Allman Brothers’ drummer.

Quite a contract in styles between the two.   Check it out.

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Waterloo It Ain’t

by wjw on August 14, 2014

Pintura no castelo de Edimburgo comemorando a tomada de uma bandeira francesa pelas tropas escocesas na batalha de WaterlooMy short novel “Wall, Stone, Craft,” which was nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, and the World Fantasy Award, is now available for your reading pleasure at Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and soon at various other locations throughout the eReaderSphere.

The story appeared in an Axolotl chapbook back in 1993, and saw magazine publication later that same year.

It was a story that I wrote purely for myself, but like many of the works that I wrote for my own enlightenment (like Hardwired), it seemed to have found an audience anyway.

“Wall, Stone, Craft” belongs to my “Dead Romantics” series, and thus is alternative literary history, along with “No Spot of Ground” (Poe), “The Boolean Gate” (Mark Twain), and “The Last Ride of German Freddie” (Friedrich Nietzsche).

Originally the story was conceived as a sort of crazed, inverted Regency romance, in which the straitlaced social novelist Jane Austen ran off with the hot young poet, Byron, in a mutual frenzy of high wit and extravagant sexual passion— but a quick glance at the timeline showed that was impossible, since at the time that young Byron was waking in London to “find himself famous,” Jane Austen was dying of Addison’s disease in Winchester.  They really are too many generations apart.  A signpost pointing to my original idea is the appearance in the finished work of Jane’s brother Captain (later Admiral of the Fleet) Frank Austen, who I portray as the decent stick he seemingly was.

Shortly after the death of my original idea, it occurred to me that Byron was present, as it were, at the birth of science fiction, in the famous night at the Villa Diodati when Mary Godwin recited the story of Baron Frankenstein.  Would an alternate Lord Byron, I wondered, result in an alternate paradigm for science fiction?

Well, hell yes.  Of course it would.

Now it should be pointed out that I know far too much about the period of Napoleon, the English Regency, and the War of 1812.  I can discourse on the politics and diplomacy of the period, I can diagram the battles of Trafalgar, Borodino, and Waterloo, and I can cook you a damn good Chicken Marengo (though it’s better with veal).  I can talk about uniforms, fashion, fans, boots, and horses.   I can tell you who made the pistols used in the Burr-Hamilton duel.  (Wogdon & Barton, London)  I can tell you how to set up a pair of shear legs to step a jury mainmast.  And I can quote the dialogue between Talleyrand and his valet when they found themselves lost in Maine.  (The province in New England, not the one in France.)

Put it down, if you like, to reading War and Peace at too impressionable an age.

So I created “Wall, Stone, Craft” with the intention of making as much use of this body of knowledge as possible.

Since Byron wrote that, if he hadn’t suffered from a clubfoot, he would have become a soldier, I got rid of the clubfoot and made him the Hero of Waterloo.  (Since he eventually became a decent soldier in spite of his disability, I felt reasonably firm on this ground.)  He describes the battle in the story— it’s a character moment— though how he alters the outcome is probably best left to people very familiar with the history.

The Shelleys found the historical Byron far too aristocratic, arbitrary, and grand for their tastes, and I figured making Byron a war hero would make him even more insufferable.

I confined the point of view strictly to Mary Godwin, because (being female, I guess) her POV tends to be diminished by literary scholars of the period; and because she, after all, is the person who went and invented science fiction (likewise diminished by scholars, I should point out). Because she’s seventeen, intelligent, and has no reputation left to lose, she’s actually in a position to speak the truth, which is refreshing in a protagonist.

As with other of my historical works, practically every named person is a real historical character.  (The exceptions are the sturdy Swiss farmer Fleury and his family, and Byron’s fencing master.)

The boating accident on Lake Geneva, in which Ariel is capsized and Byron engages in saber combat with the rigging, actually happened just as described.  It is not to be confused with the other boating accident, involving a schooner also named Ariel, in which the historical Shelley and two friends were killed.

Mary’s miscarriage in Switzerland, involving a bucket of ice, happened more or less as described.

Adam von Neipperg, the Austrian cavalier, actually was ordered by Metternich to seduce the “Countess Laufenberg,” with rather different results from those in the novel (if somewhat happier for the principals).

And how the story’s new paradigm for science fiction would affect subsequent literary history, I leave as an exercise for the reader.

Enjoy!

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Eyesight

August 12, 2014

I’ve been trying to upload an ebook to the iBooks website through Apple’s software iTunes Producer, and it’s just like jabbing knitting needles in my eyeballs!  The interface is terrible, hard to read and confusing, there’s a pop-up that keeps reappearing and you can’t get rid of it, and the results are often something very like gibberish. […]

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And Then I Said No

August 12, 2014

So . . . the other day I said no to a contract from a major New York publisher. Not that it was a terrific offer or anything.  There didn’t seem to be a lot of enthusiasm, the money wasn’t great, and the contract was non-negotiable. (Non-negotiable contracts are a thing now.  Because publishers are […]

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Stripping the DRM

August 4, 2014

I need to bust me some DRM. It’s the DRM on my own work, I hasten to add.  My publishers have ebook rights for North America on some titles, but I control the rights elsewhere.  Easiest way for me to exploit these rights is to strip the DRM from the North American ebooks, then put […]

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I Am At Bubonicon

August 1, 2014

I am at Bubonicon 46, New Mexico’s longest-lasting science fiction convention.  (It’s lasted nearly as long as I have.) So I’ll be in Albuquerque for the weekend, hanging out with convention mascot Perry Rodent (pictured right), and therefore not posting for a while. If you’re in the Greater New Mexico area, please come by the […]

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I Haz a Newsletter

August 1, 2014

So now I’ve got a newsletter, to which I urge you to subscribe.  Because though the same announcements will probably appear here, the newsletter will turn up in your inbox instantly, and you won’t have to even turn on your browser. I promise not to send you a whole lot of crappy spam.  Or even non-crappy […]

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