Originally published in Analog Science Fiction & Fact, March/April 2021 issue, my novella “Problem Landing” is out now as an ebook, and in print. The piece was a finalist. in the 2021 Aurealis Awards Best Science Fiction Novella category. The Award went to Samantha Murray for “Preserved in Amber” originally in Clarkesworld #178.
Toughing out life on Mars, Ciananti Burrows finds herself constantly repairing failing equipment and pushing research aside. But when new arrivals declare an issue with their landing vessel, all those learned repair skills might come in handy.
In other news, my story “Single Point Failure” will appear in Analog’sJuly/August issue. A tiny flaw in a station on Io’s surface might just lead to cascading failure. Marli has to think fast and act faster.
In other, other news, the copy-edits on the Cole Wright Thriller Scorpion Bait are almost done. But we’re still doing a switch, and putting it out September, with Slow Burn preceding it July. Planning to have the preorder for Slow Burn ready to go in the first week of June.
My short story “Eyes to the Height” appears in the current issue of Analog. This is my third Analog story, and I’m thrilled to have had even one. Cyan Reddings struggles with an issue or two with her little cutter as she flies above the moon. These are the opening few paragraphs:
Cyan Reddings tried again to coax some response from the consoles of her misbehaving cutter. She’d launched from Herschel III sixteen minutes ago and things had gone south from the get go.
The cutter was a Sampang Sliver, with a very nice Merlin engine. Twenty two meters from stem to the base of the main nacelle. Way too powerful for just moon hops–twenty thousand kilograms of thrust and just about enough fuel capacity to kick her out to Mars if she wanted.
Not that she could. She would run out of food and air and sanity, probably not in that order, long before she even got ten percent of the way out.
The Sliver’s cockpit was plush and comfortable. Way too much space for just one person. Sampang had fitted it out for at a dozen.
Check it out at analogsf.com, and available on Amazon and other retailers. Even at your local newstand.
Wow, my second post in a week. Part of my effort to here a little more frequently. Hopefully I can continue to have things worthwhile saying. Hopefully this was worthwhile. Thanks for reading.
My second standalone short sci-fi story of the year “Fabulous Skies” is available now for pre-order.
Jenelle lives for storms. The elemental and the destructive. With her flotilla of flybots, she studies and researches the biggest storms. Right out in the wild.
But perhaps existing out in the wild takes more than she knows.
A story that asks the question, what are we running from?
A sci fi short from the author of Crimson Birds of Small Miracles.
Full release on February 29th, but available for preorder from the usual booksellers – Amazon, Smashwords, and others (universal booklink). $2.99 ebook and $5.99 in print (it’s a cutie – 30 pages… I do like these little books).
This is fun getting this shorter stories out into the world. Next month, however, we’ll have out, Deuterium Shine, the first novel in a new series “The Jupiter Files”. Following that another short, “Mem and Cyborg”, and following that the publishing will ratchet up a little, with some collections, omnibuses and more novels.
Alongside all that are more works in the “Matti-Jay and Dub Adventures” series. These middle grade works go through a different process to reach publication. This is the series I write for my daughter Matti-Jay, so before they go public we read them at home, just to make sure they’re good to go.
There are three novels in the first series for Matti-Jay – Blue Defender, Red Alliance and Gold Embers – which make up “The Chronicles of the Donner”. There is one short “Trapped” as part of the follow-ups in the “Matti-Jay and Dub Adventures”, but three more in the works right now, the novel Pirates, the novelette Good Ship Hartford and another short “Event on Algoria Three”. We’re almost done with that last one, so it might be available in the next couple of weeks.
I have story, “One Hundred” in the March/April issue of Analog, if you’re an Analog reader. Pretty chuffed with that one – my first in Analog. Later in the year I have another story in Asimov’s – “Marbles”, which is the third in Asimov’s in my “Worlds of Shilinka Switalla” series, following the (ahem) award-winning “Crimson Birds of Small Miracles”, and “Ventiforms”.
I’ll post more about those closer to the time they come out.
Speaking of Asimov’s, I had two stories published there last year, both of which are eligible for New Zealand’s Sir Julius Vogel Award – “Ventiforms” and “Chasing Oumuamua”. That’s exciting, though of course it all takes getting nominated to get onto the ballot. We’ll see how that goes. No matter, it’s always a thrill to be published in Asimov’s.
Right now I’m busily preparing three books for publication. I’d like to have them all out by the end of May.
The first, my new novel, continues to trip me up. First, the title was not my working title, but that title doesn’t work. Titles trouble me (sometimes, more on that below). It seems the best one here is the name of the alien species (following Jack Vance’s novels The Dirdir and The Pnume, and doubtless many others.
Also the tag line (another thing that always trips me). “Earth on the verge of annihilation”. Sheesh, really. Well, that’s kind of what it’s about. Kind of.
And then, putting “Aurealis Award Finalist” on the cover by my name. Hmmm. It’s true, I have been a finalist for the award (lost out to Garth Nix there, so that’s okay). But is it okay to put it there when it wasn’t for this story? I guess I’ve kept it by my name, rather than by the title. And many authors do have all sorts all over their covers. Am I bragging too much there? Or in the right way? Should it say “Aurealis Award Finalist Author”? But then I’ve got “Author of Gretel” right underneath and doesn’t “author” twice in tags look silly?
Despite doing this for a few years now, I’m still second-guessing and learning and trying new things. I do like the cover – courtesy of Luca Oleastri/Innovari.
The other two books are stories, one a small collection and one a big collection. The first is titled “Celeste Without Gravity” and the other “Listen, You!”. I do like Celeste’s title (following on from above), not sure about the other.
Anyway, The Cly will be out by the end of this week, Celeste sometime next week and, all going to plan, Listen, You! the following week.
All in time and out of the way to get the next novel Athena Setting (my darling, see previous posts) out in early June.
Back in mid-April I commented on Dean Wesley Smith’s blog post about choices. I realized that actually my comment fitted with my own blog and, in fact, could stand expanding.
When I was a teenager and wanting to be a writer and writing lots, I also drew covers for novels I would write someday.
It was kind of self-encouragement: in those days I had no idea how to write a novel. But it was cool to have a pretend cover with my name on it. In the intervening years I might have learned a couple of things about how to write a novel and I’ve practised plenty by writing a fair number of them.
So in January of this year, wondering what to write next, I remembered about that teenage dream. You know what? I sat down and wrote one of those novels. Now I have a book for my cover. Athena Setting. About a space mission gone wrong, a trapped crew about to plunge into Jupiter’s atmosphere while the would-be rescuers struggle to come up with a workable plan.
I will, of course, write a more attractive blurb for the release.
Naturally, I also have a new cover for my book (that pencil scratching would look out of place, and it seems is in fact long gone). A wonderful image by Mik3812345 sourced from Dreamstime.com. I’ve tinkered with that a little. I think it helps tell the story. I do think I’ll update that tagline too – maybe “One hundred hours till rescue, ninety hours till impact” which kind of sums it up a little better.
The novel should be out around the end of May (maybe early June) as both an ebook and in print.
But after saying all that, let me tell you, I had such a fun time with the writing of the story. I got to be that kid again. It might not be my best novel, but I hope my sense of fun and adventure comes through. The kid in me can’t wait to hold the book in his hand. And try out writing another one.
A while ago I wrote a longish short story (8400 words), science fiction, set well into the future and sent it off to all the appropriate pro markets. It came back each time, sometimes with a form rejection, sometimes with a little personal note but still a rejection. So I’m putting it up through my own Triple V imprint with some trepidation.
You see, it’s about an astronaut running out of air. I haven’t seen Gravity yet, but the previews seem to have given the game away a bit too much (I’m going over the weekend so I’ll know more by Monday). I know my story’s very different from the movie (near-future vs. far future, international space station vs. space wreck, near-Earth-orbit vs. light years away, George Clooney vs. minor character, etc.), but still kind of feel like I’m ripping off the trope a bit, even though I wrote this before I’d even heard about Gravity.
Still, to assuage that guilt a fraction, for readers of this blog/facebook post, here’s a code to get it free. (I know there aren’t many of you, but feel free to pass the code on… it expires in a month anyway: Gravity will be fading from the theatres and I will feel less guilty).
Go to the ebook at Smashwords and enter the code FY77L. You have to be a member of Smashwords, but I think most of you are already. Let me know if not – I’ll send you the epub or mobi or whatever. You can preview 20% anyway with or without joining.
Promotional price: $0.00
Coupon Code: FY77L
Expires: November 24, 2013
It’s also on Kindle, and will show up on Nook, Sony, etc. soon.
Here’s the opening:
Clare Benjamin knew she had three minutes to live. The suit’s oxygen gauge read eighteen liters, atmospheric effective. Fifty breaths. She was already on the emergency tank.
She gave the strobe a flash and saw the way ahead. Conduits and wires. Some of them were damaged, pointing stiff and sharp edges into the narrow passages.
Behind the conduits the pressure walls might be intact. Probably were. She’d felt a thrumming in the hull when she’d pulled herself along through the evacuated hold. Somewhere inside there was an engine running. It might just be some automatic function, but it might also be a converter sustaining atmosphere to some sections of the wrecked ship. If she could get inside an atmospheric room, then she could buy some time to figure out her next move.
“You find it yet?” Suz said through the comms.
Clare pulled herself along another meter in the darkness. She fired the strobe again. The gap looked even more vicious up close. Like the serrated jaw of a deep sea monster ready to ingest her.
“Clare? You got an exit yet?”
“I’m here. No. I didn’t find it.” Suzanne Memphis was waiting outside the liner in their eighty ton tender, the Mercy Me.
“You need to move, girl.”
“Oh? Thanks for the reminder.” Two months ago, they’d been salvaging from The New Jersey, a station at Cannon’s Star, busted and orbiting Cooltown, the system’s biggest gas giant. The station had been shut down by its owners. Suz and Clare’s clients had lost all their personal property being shipped through. Suz had gotten herself lost. The memory still made Clare blanch.