GUN MACHINE: Book Trailer 2, by Clayton Cubitt, with music by Meredith Yayanos

January 17th, 2013 | Work

As hosted by Vulture, to whom I am indebted.

(Ignore the blurb at the page, it’s all wrong and there are no devils.)

Director: Clayton Cubitt
Editing, Compositing, Effects: Jeff Dragon
Soundtrack: Meredith Yayanos
Grooming: Katie Wedlund
Wardrobe: Signe Yberg
The Hunter: Joe Heaps Nelson
Additional audio effects: CGEffex via Freesound

booklist 2013: THE HUMAN DIVISION #1 – The B-Team, John Scalzi

January 15th, 2013 | stuff2013

So John Scalzi’s doing this thing with publisher Tor where he’s releasing a weekly serial. It’s a novel, but designed to be experienced episodically. Scalzi:

The only problem is, the story I wanted to tell wouldn’t exactly work in straight-ahead novel format. Or more accurately, it could work as a novel, but it would (work) better as episodes.

The first episode, THE B-TEAM, popped just after midnight.  I read it in a single sitting.  I’m not incredibly au fait with John’s OLD MAN’S WAR science fiction setting, having read only one book in that sequence (THE GHOST BRIGADES), but I wasn’t in the least bit lost by this latest addition to the series.  I’d go so far as to say that you don’t need to have read anything in the sequence thus far to understand THE HUMAN DIVISION.

It’s a thing hard to talk about without spoilers, this story.  But let me try and frame it like this. Perhaps you remember one of Iain Banks’ impetuses for beginning to write military science fiction/ space opera.  I can’t find the exact quote right this second, but it was something along the lines of wanting to rescue a genre he loved from a bunch of American fascists.  The phrase “American fascists” is his, I’m pretty sure.  Anyway.  You get the idea.  From Heinlein and Campbell through to Niven and Pournelle and the current-day state of that end of the field, it’s a pretty flat and reactionary field, full of flat and reactionary characters.

What Scalzi does in these books is take the second strain of military sf, the more liberal and literary works like Joe Haldeman’s THE FOREVER WAR, and sew it into the classic form.  What comes out is rich and smart and funny – still very much a good-time rollercoaster entertainment, but also pleasingly human and self-aware as it rattles along its tracks, scattering spaceship wrecks, lethal diplomacy, species dieback and interstellar spookshow paranoia in its wake.

This first episode was basically a really good laugh, and I’m looking forward to the following episodes appearing on my Kindle.  As far as I know, all forms of ebook reader and retail can get you a copy: Kindle, Kobo, Nook, iBooks etc.  99 cents in the US, 64p in the UK.

Don’t Fire Walk With Me, Because Look FIRE

January 11th, 2013 | brainjuice

At the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, I walked across this.

I was in the Los Angeles Times yesterday.  Probably some other things have happened too, but here in the second week of Book Launch I am frankly pretty fried, and am looking forward to taking some time off and hiding somewhere at the end of the month.

Almost all writing stopped when the book launched, and I’ve been a professional emailer for ten or eleven days at this point.  I’m getting itchy: to go back into New Novel, to develop whatever SPIRIT TRACKS ends up being called, to work up some graphic novel ideas, to kick around a couple of notions for other media.  Or even for the time to finish reading this excellent Ian Rankin book before we interview each other next week.

I’m hoping that today is the day that everything calms down and I can get back to making things.  Which is probably ridiculously optimistic.  But my fingers always crackle a bit at the top of the year, wanting to write new things down and start some changes.

(This could be psychosis brought on by quitting Red Bull.)

This was today’s post.  One every weekday until I get all the way back on the horse.

GUN MACHINE Is Now A New York Times Best Seller

January 10th, 2013 | Work

By the skin of its teeth, after five days of sales, at least four of which were without any stock on shelves in Barnes & Noble stores and other locations, and selling out on Amazon twice.

(It’s been a bit of a week.)

That is a strange thing to see.

Thanks to all who pre-ordered it and sought it out on its first week of release.

booklist 2013: UNDERGROUND ENGLAND, Stephen Smith

January 9th, 2013 | stuff2013

UNDERGROUND ENGLAND: Travels Beneath Our Cities and Country, by Stephen Smith.  The prose style is frankly a bit arch and somewhat fusty in places, for me, but it’s done with good humour and, as you can see, it’s stuffed with fun things like this.  The man is fascinated by what lies beneath, and rattles all over the country (seeming not to stray across the borders, which I find a little sad) in search of caves, tunnels, mines, basements, secret passageways and your general array of holes in the ground.  Including, I should note, the underground town built for the Government and the Royal Family in event of nuclear war, named at various times Subterfuge and Site 3.  A secret buried town called Subterfuge.  How can you not love that?

Not what you’d call a serious exploration of England’s hidden spaces, but an amusing whistlestop tour, thickly littered with interesting pieces of information.