Sunday, March 26, 2006

Ice Art

If you've been thinking about visiting Alaska in the winter but never knew why, here's one good reason.

Daughter Kalina and friend Monika and I went to the Ice Art park last night, the last weekend before the park closes (and sculptures bulldozed, lest they melt and fall on people). I'll bet most readers of this blog won't know that Fairbanks is a stop on the world ice sculpting circuit. Our sculpture park draws ice artists from all the ice hotspots, including Russia, China, Germany, and France.

Not that these babies are in any real danger of melting any time soon. We have had such a cold gloomy March.

Here are Monika and Kalina. I left the red eye in because it seemed to fit. Sorry, girls.

Here's a detail of a much larger piece. The lighting itself is artistry.

Foreign Deal

The car pictured above is not my car, only a car I have lusted over in public in Seattle.

I have just signed a contract for publication of COUNTING HEADS in Romania. My agent tells me there are more foreign contracts on the way, but this is the first to arrive. I can't wait to see what the book will look like all duded up in Bucharest having dinner with the folks from Editura Tritonic. Very cool, little book.

Friday, March 17, 2006

A lap-ful o' denali

When I flew to Anchorage last week, the pilot literally flew us right over the mountain. I've never been so close.

Geek-fu (or enough about me)

Yesterday I stumbled across Andrew Wheeler's blog in which I learned that there has been a minor flame war concerning my NYTBR review on March 5. Flame war may be too strong a term for what transpired, but here are some links to judge for yourself. Link , Link 2 , Link 3 , Link 4 , Link 5 , Link 6 , Link 7.

You will note that there were a lot of hot heads and that much vitriol was spilled. Remarkably, my book, the purported object of the review, was largely ignored. That's because the fracas wasn't about my book. It was mostly a rant against the Time's reviewer, Dave Itzkoff, and his fitness or lack thereof, to represent Science Fiction in the pages of the NYT.

My role in all this, I think, is to remain a stunned by-stander. Of course, I'm tempted to weigh in on my book's behalf. To refute some of the malicious lies written about it. To chastise the number of self-appointed pundits who, admitting they haven't even read the book, nevertheless adopt the reviewer's opinions without challenge and dismiss it as unworthy of taking up so much valuable space in the NYT.

But alas, I have already cut COUNTING HEADS loose. I gave it as good a launch as my publicist at Tor and I could muster. We gave it a loving shove into an indifferent world. My debut novel is on its own now, and if it wants to mix it up in the NYT, there's nothing I can do about it except chew my nails and wish it well. Keep your dukes up, little book.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

New York Times Book Review

In case I haven't crowed loud enough, my novel COUNTING HEADS received a full-page review in the NYT on March 5 ( I think I'm finally coming to grips with it. At first I thought it was a mixed review, seeing how the reviewer said some things I took as disparaging.

Then I reread the review and took it as backhanded NYC speech for "We love it!"

Then I read it not as a review to tell potential readers about my book (it doesn't) but rather as a personal missive from the reviewer to me alone. The last paragraph is the major tip-off where, with a wink and a nudge, he gives me some friendly advice about writing my next books.

Well, I'm already a third of the way through the first draft of the next book, tentatively titled, MIND OVER OSHIP, and I think the emotionally stunted AIs are taking over. So much for good advice.

In any case, the issue of the hour is finally getting a story collection published. (Read the next post down.) Send me an email at and I'll attach you a pdf of my Sturgeon Award-winning novella, "The Wedding Album." If you'd be interested in seeing a story collection, let me know and I'll use it in my lobbying efforts.

And at the top is the photoshopped mug shot the Times ran with the review. What can I say--I'll make an attractive cyborg.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The short stories

I regularly receive enquiries about my short fiction. I've been wanting to have a collection for years, but putting out a collection of short stories is harder than you might think. I'm told collections lose money for the publisher, and my agent hasn't landed me a deal yet.

On the other hand, I'm not thrilled with the idea of self-publishing them as a POD or ebook either. And I'm not yet in the Creative Commons camp where I would simply post them on my site and let people download them at will. I know there's a lot of arguments for and against doing this, but I'm not ready yet.

However, with today's review in the NYT and reviewer Dave Itzkoff calling them "as concentrated and potent as a dwarf star," I have to do something. Especially with people sending me emails all day asking about them. My agent is in England at the moment. When he returns to NYC, I'll start a campaign with him and David Hartwell at Tor to GIVE ME A COLLECTION, DANG IT. You can help by emailing me and saying you'd be interested in such a colleciton.

In the meantime, I'll send you a complimentary pdf copy of "The Wedding Album" just for the asking.

Also, there's a Stories link on my web page ( with a complete bibliography. Many of my stories have been anthologized and should be available at most public libraries. Even here in Fairbanks, Alaska, I can find all of them at our excellent Noel Wien Library.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

some catch-up news

My big news is that COUNTING HEADS will be reviewed this Sunday, March 5, in The New York Times Book Review. And not just a tiny paragraph notice, the review covers a whole page and is illustrated with a mug shot in which my face is photoshopped to look like--a Borg, I guess. Anyway, very SFnal.

What I don't get is all the hand-wringing about SF being too geeky. Must be a NYC thing.

The photo above is of me doing a signing at the local Waldenbooks store last month. This was the first time I've done the "author sitting out front next to a table of books" thing. My daughter, Kalina, was up for the weekend, and she sat with me, so it was actually a good visit. And a number of people did drop by to BUY THE BOOK, so there was some book business going on too.

My second piece of good news is that I sold a short short story to NATURE, the venerable, weekly, British science journal. They are publishing a series of single-page short SF stories called Futures. The stories are 800 to 900 words in length. Mine, which will be my 11th published short story, is called "My Morning Glory." It's a little confection, like a bon bon, that leaves a sweet taste in the mouth. In other words, I finally wrote a happy story. I think.

Don't know which issue it'll appear in.