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Predicting the Future

May 8, 2015

o-FUTURE-900Here’s a new experience for me: the Huffington Post asked me to predict the future!  To celebrate their 10 year anniversary, they asked 10 science fiction authors to predict some aspect of technological or social change that will happen in the next 10 years.  Here’s the article:

10 Science Fiction Writers Predict How Our World Will Change In The Next 10 Years

It’s just one of many possibilities I could have written about.  After you read it, let me know how you would have answered, if they had asked you!

Hackers and Space Pirates

May 7, 2015

Another book by a friend of mine!  This time it’s Corsair, by James Cambias, a book about hackers and space pirates and shadowy international corporations.  His first novel, A Darkling Sea, was one of my favorite reads of 2014, so I’m definitely looking forward to giving this one a read.

Here’s the publisher’s description:

In the early 2020s, two young, genius computer hackers, Elizabeth Santiago and David Schwartz, meet at MIT, where Schwartz is sneaking into classes, and have a brief affair. David is amoral and out for himself, and soon disappears. Elizabeth dreams of technology and space travel and takes a military job after graduating. Nearly ten years later, David is setting himself to become a billionaire by working in the shadows under a multiplicity of names for international thieves, and Elizabeth works in intelligence preventing international space piracy. With robotic mining in space becoming a lucrative part of Earth’s economy, shipments from space are dropped down the gravity well into the oceans. David and Elizabeth fight for dominance of the computer systems controlling ore drop placement in international waters. If David can nudge a shipment 500 miles off its target, his employers can get there first and claim it legally in the open sea. Each one intuits that the other is their real competition but can’t prove it. And when Elizabeth loses a major shipment, she leaves government employ to work for a private space company to find a better way to protect shipments. But international piracy has very high stakes and some very evil players. And both Elizabeth and David end up in a world of trouble.

Seriously Wicked

May 6, 2015

Check out the latest book from my friend Tina Connolly, the talented author of Ironskin (an innovative and thoughtful fantasy which I greatly enjoyed).  Seriously Wicked is a bit of a departure into a clever, light-hearted, young adult style, and it looks to be a fun romp.  I haven’t read it yet (it was just released today!), but I read the first chapter, and it made me smile.

Here’s the publisher’s description:

Camellia’s adopted mother wants Cam to grow up to be just like her. Problem is, Mom’s a seriously wicked witch.

Cam’s used to stopping the witch’s crazy schemes for world domination. But when the witch summons a demon, he gets loose–and into Devon, the cute new boy at school.

Suddenly Cam’s got bigger problems than passing Algebra. Her friends are getting zombiefied. Their dragon is tired of hiding in the RV garage. For being a shy boy-band boy, Devon is sure kissing a bunch of girls. And a phoenix hidden in the school is going to explode on the night of the Halloween Dance.

To stop the demon before he destroys Devon’s soul, Cam might have to try a spell of her own. But if she’s willing to work spells like the witch…will that mean she’s wicked too?

Medicians in The Clockwork Dagger

April 29, 2015

DeepestPoison500x330Today we hear from my friend Beth Cato, whose story “The Deepest Poison” is out from Harper Voyager Impulse today! This tale takes place in the same world as her novel The Clockwork Dagger, which has been delighting readers since its release last Fall.  “The Deepest Poison” takes place before The Clockwork Dagger, but either can be read first.  Here’s Beth to talk to us about what a “medician” is, and the key role they play in the world of The Clockwork Dagger:

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A lot of fantasy books use healing magic. It’s a necessity to keep characters alive. There’s usually a side character the heroes can turn to for help, or the protagonist relies on a regenerative skill along with a plethora of other abilities.

ClockworkDagger_PB_cover500x332My Clockwork Dagger series blends epic fantasy, steampunk, and mystery. My heroine, Octavia, is a medician—what I call the class of healing wizards. She’s not a fighter, not in the traditional sense. She’s the sort of woman who can change out bed pans or amputate a limb. She’s not afraid to shoot a man in self-defense, but she’ll also turn around and try to save his life.

In the grand tradition of protagonists, Octavia is also special.  She’s more powerful than any other medician, though she would be the first to tell you that the power isn’t her own. It comes from the Lady, a world tree of lore who intercedes on behalf of the injured. Calling on the Lady requires a circle laid of a particular herb, and the act of healing also requires specific herbs to treat particular ailments. To a medician, every living body emits music. Within a circle, they can hear the frantic jig of a palpitating heart, the wail of blood, the wheeze of escaping brain matter.

ClockworkCrown_331x500Octavia’s problem–one of many–is that she can hear this music all the time. Walking down a city street means she’s bombarded with a cacophony of competing songs. Being in a circle makes the sound stronger.

After spending most of her teenage years at the front, Octavia is also adept at doctoring. She can clean and bandage wounds, use common tinctures, and wait out the healing process… not that she wants to, not with her special connection to the Lady. To her, it’s the greatest of blessings, and one she can use to save many. Octavia has a hard time saying no to a person or animal in need. She hates suffering. She hates death. She’d save everyone if she could.

That becomes especially difficult for her in my short story, “The Deepest Poison.” This story focuses on a pivotal event that takes place not long before the start of my novel The Clockwork Dagger: soldiers in Octavia’s army encampment are poisoned en masse, and as matron, she’s leading the effort to save lives. Her mentor, Miss Percival, arrives to lend assistance as well… and Miss Percival is weary of being constantly out-done by her best pupil.

“The Deepest Poison” is 99-cents from all online book retailers. If you like it, go on to read the novel The Clockwork Dagger and be ready for the release of the sequel, The Clockwork Crown, on June 9th!

“The Deepest Poison”
99 cents
Release: April 28th, 2015
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / Google Play / iTunes
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BethCato-steampunk-headshot100x150Beth Cato hails from Hanford, California, but currently writes and bakes cookies in a lair west of Phoenix, Arizona. She shares the household with a hockey-loving husband, a numbers-obsessed son, and a cat the size of a canned ham.

She’s the author of THE CLOCKWORK DAGGER steampunk fantasy series from Harper Voyager. The newest book, THE CLOCKWORK CROWN, comes out on June 9th, 2015.

Follow her at BethCato.com and on Twitter at @BethCato.

Science Fiction and Hope

April 23, 2015

PZO8526Please welcome my friend Josh Vogt, another author with a new book coming out this year.  I asked Josh to tell us why he writes in the science fiction and fantasy genre.  What’s so special about SFF that makes it such a great genre to read or write in?  This was his reply.

JOSH VOGT:

I look back all the way to my childhood, when I first read The Chronicles of Narnia and The Hobbit, and then track all the way to today, seeing how much fantasy and science fiction have been an integral part of my life since. The books I read are 99% from those genres (and related subgenres), as are the movies I prefer, the games I play, the conversations I hold…

Enter the Janitor - CoverBut why? What does the whole of the SFF genre offer that has captured me for what I fully expect to be a lifetime? Why have I given over countless hours to writing in that imaginative arena?

The short answer?

Hope.

The long answer?

I believe that our ability to dream, to have a vision of the future, to cast our imagination beyond the boundaries of this reality…all those things are a big part of what it means to be human. We are, in many ways, a hopeful species. We explore. We seek out adventure. We strive to learn and grow and build, even in the face of global disaster and individual trauma.

Hope gives us strength, and fantasy and science fiction—to me, at least—embody that virtue in many ways. These genres represent endless possibility and the belief that there is always something wild and wonderful yet to be discovered. Even if there’s danger or even death along the way, we have the ability to be brave and persevere in the hope of reaching a better existence.

No, not every story within science fiction and fantasy is a hopeful one. Yeah, there are speculative genres like supernatural horror where everyone dies in the end, or grimdark stories where existence is a senseless string of blood and gravestones.

However, when I go to write a story, I find I naturally lean toward hopeful themes and characters to one degree or another. Maybe they aren’t that way at first, but it often emerges later on at least. It’s what I want to believe in and what I want to experience in the stories I continue to read.

Some people might consider it unrealistic or simplistic. That reality is too harsh and unforgiving to have any room for hope.

Well, guess what? Science fiction and fantasy let me create any reality I want. And while the stories I write will still be full of struggle and heartache and loss and pain, those will be the shadows to contrast with the ongoing hope for freedom, love, joy, and healing.

Onward and upward.

Josh-8194-2 - smallestJosh Vogt has been published in dozens of genre markets with work ranging from flash fiction to short stories to doorstopper novels that cover fantasy, science fiction, horror, humor, pulp, and more. His debut fantasy novel, Forge of Ashes, adds to the RPG Pathfinder Tales tie-in line. WordFire Press is also launching his urban fantasy series, The Cleaners, with Enter the Janitor (2015) and The Maids of Wrath (2016). You can find him at JRVogt.com or on Twitter @JRVogt. He’s a member of SFWA as well as the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.

The Golden Rule: Path to Disaster?

April 18, 2015

Children-of-Arkadia-cover-1000Strangely enough, I’m not the only author with a new book coming out this month!  Please welcome Darusha Wehm, author of the soon-to-be-released Children of Arkadia.  Darusha is here to tell us about her new book and her perspective on the Golden Rule…

DARUSHA WEHM:

Following the Golden Rule is a path to disaster.

I’m not, of course, advocating that we should treat each other badly. But people are different and have different preferences. When I treat you the way I want to be treated, there’s no reason to believe that you’re being treated the way you want.

For example, when I feel sick, the last thing I want is anyone else around. I want to wallow in my misery, feeling sorry for myself, and wait for it to be over. Imagine my shock when I discovered as an adult that some people want to be mollycoddled — having someone nearby at all times when they feel unwell, offering soup, support and sympathy. To me, that sounds utterly horrible. But to someone who wants to be taken care of when ill, my natural instinct to leave them alone would be seen as uncaring and cruel.

This is a simple example, but I’m fascinated by the myriad ways in which the finest of intentions can go wrong. My new book, Children of Arkadia, is about a group of humans and Artificial Intelligences who are trying to create a just and fair society on an orbiting space habitat. There are, of course, challenges they face from the inherent danger of building in space, and not everyone is completely community-minded, but the driving conflicts in the story are the ways in which people can run afoul of each other even when they are trying to be kind.
Peace, justice and fairness are noble causes, but achieving them is surprisingly difficult even when almost everyone is committed to those goals. How can we reconcile our different needs and preferences without infringing on another? Is it even possible? Is there a better way than following the Golden Rule?
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Children of Arkadia

Kaus wants nothing more than to be loved while its human counterpart, Raj Patel, believes fervently in freedom. Arkadia, one of four space stations circling Jupiter, was to be a refuge for all who fought the corrupt systems of old Earth, a haven where both humans and Artificial Intelligences could be happy and free. But the old prejudices and desires are still at play and, no matter how well-meaning its citizens, the children of Arkadia have tough compromises to make.

When the future of humanity is at stake, which will prove more powerful: freedom or happiness? What sacrifices will Kaus, Raj, and the rest of Arkadia’s residents have to make to survive?
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M. Darusha Wehm is the three-time Parsec Award shortlisted author of the novels Beautiful Red, Self Made, Act of Will and The Beauty of Our Weapons. Her next novel, Children of Arkadia, is forthcoming from Bundoran Press in April 2015. Her short fiction has appeared in many venues, including Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Toasted Cake and Escape Pod. She is the editor of the crime and mystery magazine Plan B.
She is from Canada, but currently lives in Wellington, New Zealand after spending the past several years traveling at sea on her sailboat. For more information, visit http://darusha.ca.

The Buzz is Buzzing!

April 11, 2015

Some great responses have been rolling in about Superposition!  The Washington Post called it “a thriller ride” and “an expanding universe of delight.”  An article in today’s Wall Street Journal called it an “engrossing and illuminating sci-fi thriller” and concluded “This is the way sci-fi ought to be.”  Even NJ.com liked that I chose New Jersey for the site of my fiction supercollider, and said “Walton has crafted something impressive.”

All this buzz has got to be good!  Go, little book, go!

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