Real Wars and Star Wars

There’s a really interesting article on io9 about SFF authors who served in the military, and how this informed their later works. Well worth a read, and features this blunt but powerful quote from Kurt Vonnegut:

The firebombing of Dresden was an emotional event without a trace of military importance… I will say again what I have often said in print and in speeches, that not one Allied soldier was able to advance as much as an inch because of the firebombing of Dresden. Not one prisoner of the Nazis got out of prison a microsecond earlier. Only one person on earth clearly benefited, and I am that person. I got about five dollars for each corpse, not counting my fee tonight.

It also reminded me that I somehow haven’t read Starship Troopers yet, which I should really get around to.

Oh, and Tor has a perceptive article on why J.J. Abrams directing the new Star Wars movie might be a bad thing. I don’t entirely agree that he’s not one to take artistic risks with his work–Lost was pretty out there at the time–but I accept the point they make about his Star Trek movie being awesome, but not really Star Trek. Hmm. Thoughts?

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What’s Going On (Right On, Baby, Right On)

It’s been a little while. What have I been up to? There are a few strands.

Venus Rising is mid-edit. I’ve got feedback from a couple more beta readers coming in the next week or so, and then some edits to make. After that, the MS goes to Misti at Red Adept on March 11th for a good tearing apart and putting back together again. Stephanie is working on the cover, and I hope to have that ready to reveal in the next week or so. Can’t wait.

Meanwhile, I’ve pulled together the outline for the next book. It’s going to be a novella, and the third book in the still-unnamed series. I have a title which I love, but which I’m not quite ready to announce yet; I’ve got three parts, and a brief summary for all of the scenes. I still need to expand the character bios and write those up, and then I’ll be ready to start the first draft.

But before I do that, I’m doing something a little bit random. I’ve realised that it’s got to the point where I can’t quite hold all of the important details of the Ascension Point universe in my head. It’s crucial for the continuity and consistency of the other books in the series (and the trilogy I’ve got planned after that–watch this space) that I keep track of all of the people, places, factions, groups, landmarks and technology that I’ve created. So to help me do that I’ve started indexing everything in an already-massive spreadsheet. It’s pretty damn tedious, but it should mean that when I’m halfway through a draft of my sixth novel I don’t spontaneously change the canon I set up in the earlier books. That’s the idea, anyway.

So that’s my update. I’m still on track to release Venus Rising in April, so look out for that!

(P.S. If you didn’t get the reference in the title, it’s from ‘What’s Going On’ by Marvin Gaye. Do yourself a favour, and familiarise yourself: Marvin Gaye – The Best Of Marvin Gaye.)

Stuff What I Have Been Entertained By Lately

Pretty sure I nailed the grammar in that title. Good job, me.

So, what’s been entertaining and intriguing me in the world of SFF this week? Links ahoy!

If you’re not yet familiar with Hugh Howey’s amazingly successful Wool series, now’s the time to get acquainted. Here’s an excerpt.

Watching the Star Wars prequels–muted.

Time zones in Antarctica. Cool.

An in-depth analysis of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I never really got into DS9 when it was on television, but I’m tempted to give it a whirl.

Review of Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake. (Warning: spoilers.)

Microquasar + supernova = lazing manatee nebula. Apparently. (Warning: physics.)

The Man of Steel trailer…

…gets a Lego remake.

Both awesome.

Interviewed by The Indiscriminate Critic

After posting a wonderful review of Ascension Point, The Indiscriminate Critic himself got in touch with me, and we had a pleasant chat. He mentioned he sometimes posts author interviews alongside his book reviews, and asked if I’d be interested; naturally I was, and we had a long email exchange earlier this week.

You can read the transcript here. We had a wide-ranging chat, covering writing from a foreign country, the editing process, the inspiration behind the Ascension Point universe and its technology, and where the series is headed. I thoroughly enjoyed doing it, and it made me think hard and articulate some thoughts and decisions which had been almost subconscious before, which was very interesting.

I hope you enjoy reading it.

A very satisfying review of Ascension Point from our new friend, the Indiscriminate Critic. Worth a read, if you’re on the fence about buying a copy!