Book Reviews: Stross, Valente, and Snyder

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Jennifer Morgue CoverI’ve fallen behind in my book reviewing again, so this is my attempt to catch back up, starting with The Jennifer Morgue [Amazon | B&N | Indiebound], by Charles Stross.

This is part of Stross’ Laundry Files, about magic and computers and government employees. In this one, “Bob Howard, geekish demonology hacker for The Laundry, must stop a ruthless billionaire from unleashing an eldritch horror, codenamed ‘Jennifer Morgue’ from the ocean’s depths for the purpose of ruling the world…”

This was another fun read, similar in tone to The Atrocity Archives (which I enjoyed, and reviewed here). Only there’s an added twist. Without getting into details, Stross has found a clever way to write a tribute/parody of a certain other subgenre, one which fits perfectly with the rules of the world he’s created. It felt a little forced in one or two places, but for the most part, I enjoyed watching Stross play with the tropes and structures of those other books, while occasionally smiling and thinking, I see what you did there.

The character of Ramona was fascinating, and representative of the real darkness Stross gets into with these books, beneath the humorous surface. People have talked to me about feeling uncomfortable with Lena Greenwood’s character, with her nature and the way I chose to write her. Ramona created similar discomfort as I read–she’s possessed by a succubus, meaning she has a physical need for sex, as well as using sex as a weapon of assassination. While I’m not sure Stross handles this perfectly, neither do I, and I give him credit for not ignoring the problematic aspects of Ramona’s character.

Overall, if you enjoyed the first book, you’ll almost certainly like this one as well. They’re smart, different, and bring enough humor and darkness and action to keep things moving.

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Fairyland CoverNext up is Catherynne Valente‘s award-winning YA book The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making [Amazon | B&N | Indiebound], about a 12-year-old girl named September who leaves Omaha during WWI to travel with the Green Wind to Fairyland, where she befriends a wyvern who’s part library (only A through L), meets witches, rustles wild bicycles, confronts a queen, and so much more.

Valente’s imagination shines through from every page, presented in lush language by a narrator who offers their own commentary throughout the book. It felt like I was reading an old-fashioned tale of young, fantastic adventure, with shades of Wonderland and Narnia and more. I enjoyed it, but I could also see reading this one to my 9-year-old. I suspect he’d get a kick out of it.

My guess is that a lot will depend on whether or not you like Valente’s style in this book. I’d definitely recommend checking out the excerpt on the publisher’s website.

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Finally, there’s Lucy A. Snyder‘s Installing Linux on a Dead Badger (and Other Oddities) [Amazon | B&N | Indiebound], a collection of “12 humor stories about computers and the forces of evil.” I received a review copy of this one in audio book format, as read by Mary Bertke, and listened to it while driving to and from ConFusion earlier this month.

The collection starts with step-by-step instructions for installing Linux on a dead badger, but this is only the start. From there, the stories begin to explore the implications of a world where you can reanimate the dead with the right hardware and operating system. Many of the stories take the form of news reports, exploring everything from the implications of zombie call centers to the special Kung Fu mode you can activate in your dead badger.

The first story went on a little long for my taste, but I liked the larger picture Snyder created as the collection progressed in its satirical exploration of a world — particularly the corporate world — that’s gotten its hands on magic. As someone who’s worked both in tech support and in the land of cubicle bureaucracy, many of Snyder’s ideas felt just familiar and plausible enough to be funny. (And also depressing, now that I think about it … how many of us could be replaced with zombies at our day jobs?)

Three of the stories are available on Strange Horizons:

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Cool Stuff Friday

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Friday is feeling quite chipper this morning!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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The Chippening: Day Two

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See Day One for background and the first part of our story.

Click for full-size pics. You know, if you really want to…

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Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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The Chippening: Day One

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So this happened over on Twitter. And then this happened. Finally, there was this.

The internet is weird, yo…

Also, I couldn’t find our chocolate chips, so we’re starting with a butterscotch chip. Because I don’t see chip color.

Part two should be coming in the next few days.

Click for full-res pics, IF YOU DARE!

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Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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ConFusion Wrap-Up

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ConFusion in Dearborn is one of my favorite conventions. I’ve been attending for years, and it seems to just keep getting better. I missed it last year, because I was doing a Guest of Honor gig at MarsCon, which was also cool. But I was happy to get back to Fusion, too.


And not just because it meant I got to play D&D with a bunch of awesome authors … though that’s definitely a bonus. Here you see the party in miniature, setting out to explore a maze of twisty passageways, all alike. Three guesses as to which mini Sam Sykes was using:


Miniatures


Trouble was, I think we may have entered into an alternate universe where the laws of probability no longer applied. I mean, I can understand bad dice luck. I’ve rolled plenty of poorly timed 1s on the d20. But when our party rolled three 1s in a row during combat, it got weird. And then we rolled a fourth … a fifth … and finally six 1s in a row, which ended with Diana Rowland accidentally slaying the party magic user. Oops!


Diana Rowland


Saturday was pretty much a nonstop day, from Author D&D to panels to a book launch with ConFusion Guest of Honor Karen Lord, which was awesome. I read and loved her first book, Redemption in Indigo. Well, Karen is as smart and lovely a person as she is a writer, and I came away with autographed copies of The Best of All Possible Worlds and The Galaxy Game, both of which I’m looking forward to reading.


Oh, and I read from and moved some copies of Unbound, too.


The mass autographing went really well, but my favorite part was when Tegan showed up and gave me a beaded Smudge she had made. I love it!


Tegan gave me a Smudge!


ConFusion attracts a lot of awesome people, and I loved getting to just hang out and chat with people. I knew going in that there wouldn’t be enough time for me to catch up with everyone I wanted to, but I did the best I could, and I had a blast.


Unfortunately, I had to leave early on Sunday. My wife had texted me on Saturday to remind me that we had tickets to the Blue Man Group, which I had somehow managed to not add to my calendar. The show was fun, but I’m bummed to have lost the extra time to hang out.


There’s only one thing to do. I’ll just have to go back again next year to catch up with everyone I missed!


I’ve posted the rest of my photos on Flickr, in the ConFusion 2015 album. I’m pretty happy with how they turned out. I’m still very much an amateur photographer, but I feel like I’m learning a bit more each time.


I hope the rest of you had as good a weekend as I did!





Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Cool Stuff Friday

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Friday will be doing a joint book launch with ConFusion Guest of Honor Karen Lord tomorrow!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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A Hugo for Korra

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I’ve done my own award eligibility post, talking about Invisible. Now I want to push something else, because I believe this past season of Legend of Korra deserves to be on the Hugo ballot.

I wasn’t familiar with Avatar: The Last Airbender when the first season of Legend of Korra came out, but I watched a few episodes of Korra, and I was hooked. Then I went back to watch Avatar. By the time I finished, I was a hardcore fanboy for life.

The Legend of Korra has had its ups and downs. I wasn’t as happy with season two, but season three started to turn things around.

And then the fourth and final season came out last year, despite some bumps and troubles from the network, and holy crap! This season was amazing. The artwork and animation was gorgeous, showing the blend of our world with the spirit world. The story took on PTSD and empire-building and compassion and redemption and family and war and so much more, and it avoided going for easy answers or resolutions. And then there was that final episode, where the writers finally Did the Thing!

Tenzin - Woohoo

I want Korra to win a rocket. I suspect the odds are against it, but I firmly believe this show and its creators have earned a spot on that ballot.

The Hugo Award Categories address serialized TV works:

Works such as TV series, comics and sometimes even whole novels are sometimes published in multiple parts making up a complete story arc. The individual elements of such a story arc are always eligible for their year of publication. However, voters may want to nominate a complete story arc. In such cases it is the publication date of the final installment of the series that counts for eligibility purposes.

Season four aired between October and December of 2014, so both the full season and all individual season four episodes are eligible for the Hugo.

I believe the entire season deserves to be nominated:

Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form): Legend of Korra, Season Four. Created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko

I would also encourage people to nominate individual episodes for the Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) category, if you have a favorite. To be honest, I’m still struggling to try to pick one. I’m leaning toward the final two episodes. And since you can nominate up to five things in each category, why not both?

Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form): Legend of Korra, “Day of the Colossus.” Written by Tim Hedrick.

Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form): Legend of Korra, “The Last Stand.” Written by Michael Dante DiMartino.

ETA: A number of people are also recommending the second episode, which directly addresses Korra’s trauma and PTSD. I agree that this was one of the strongest episodes of a very strong season.

Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form): Legend of Korra, “Korra Alone.” Written by Michael Dante DiMartino.

I think Avatar: The Last Airbender was one of the best shows to ever go on television, and in it’s final season, I think Korra finally matched the quality, the artistry, the thoughtfulness, the storytelling, and the power of its predecessor.

If you’re eligible to nominate, I’d encourage you to check the show out (if you haven’t already), and to add it to your ballot.

Please feel free to link and share this post.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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ConFusion Schedule

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ConFusion is one of my favorite conventions. I missed it last year, since I was busy being Guest of Honor at Marscon. (Which is, you know, pretty darn cool too.) But I’m very excited about getting back to ‘Fusion this weekend.

Friday, 1/16

  • 5 pm: Dumb Questions 2015. Michigan – Big Top. A panel where the sillier the question, the better. Please show up ready to try to stump the panel with goofball queries, or just set up a good joke to see what is done with – or to – it.
  • 6 pm: Whose Cartoon Is It Anyways? Allen Park. I’m MCing a cartoonist face-off — the audience gives the panel of cartoonists a situation to draw. Cartoonist #1 draws half of it – Cartoonist #2 finishes it and adds a punchline!

Saturday, 1/17

  • 9 am – Noon: Author D&D. Great Room. Come watch as some of your favorite authors join together in a rousing game of Dungeons & Dragons. During the game we ask that you refrain from interjecting or disrupting the players.
  • Noon: I Suck. Erie. A panel of authors play “dueling suck” with their own works, trying to see who can best generate a vacuum.
  • 1 – 3 pm: Galaxy Game/Unbound Book Launch. Michigan – Big Top. A shared book launch with me and author guest of honor Karen Lord.
  • 3 pm: Mass Autographing Session. Huron—Ontario—Erie.
  • 7 pm: Writers as Fans, Fans as Critics, Critics as Writers and Fans. Southfield. Reviews are not for authors, they’re for fans. But many authors are engaged, critical fans. How can authors engage with fans without creating a chilling effect on criticism?

Sunday, 1/18

  • Sleeping in, hanging out, and whatever else I feel like doing.

ConFusion has turned into a very author-friendly convention, with a lot of author guests. I’m already bummed because I know I won’t have enough time to see and talk to and hang out with everyone, but I’m really looking forward to the chance to catch up with so many amazing people.

Hoping to see some of you there!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Unbound, Week One

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UnboundUnbound [Amazon | B&N | Indiebound] has been out for one week now, and I’m starting to finally come down from the adrenaline rush.

My thanks, as always, to everyone who bought, borrowed, read, reviewed, and/or signal-boosted. It’s very much appreciated.

Reaction so far seems to be positive, including some great reviews:

  • “The joys of the first two volumes of the possibilities of Libriomancy are transformed and changed here into something very different, and in many ways, greater.”-Paul Weimer, SF Signal
  • “This is a great series with a lot of great components, but more than anything else it’s a love-letter to imagination.”-Smart Bitches, Trashy Books
  • “I had tears in my eyes when I recognized so much of what was going on with Isaac and saw how well it was woven into the story. I have to draw a distinction here: Isaac was depressed, and the depiction is necessarily a bit dark, but it never crosses over the line into the sort of darkness that makes reading it depressing … The fact that Hines could ride that line so beautifully without ever stepping over it in the wrong direction is really kick-ass!”-Errant Dreams

I have no idea what the sales look like, and probably won’t know a lot for a while yet. To be honest, I’m nervous. Book #4, Revisionary, is already under contract and being written. But how well Unbound does is going to be a significant factor in whether or not Revisionary is the last book. On the other hand, Four books will allow me to tell the story I wanted to tell, and to end the series in a good place if necessary. Given how many series get cut short after only one or two books, I’m very happy with how Magic ex Libris has done.

Other nifty stuff:

I’ll be doing a booksigning tonight at Schuler Books in Okemos at 7 p.m. I’ve also got a joint book launch at ConFusion with author guest of honor Karen Lord. That’s on Saturday from 1-3.

We now return to our regularly scheduled blogging.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Legend of Korra, Season 4, Episodes 8-10

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Season four of Legend of Korra is kicking serious ass. The humor, the writing, the characterization and development, everything has leveled up for this final season, and I’m really enjoying it.

Episode 8: Remembrances. This was the Legend of Korra clip show. Creator Bryan Konietzko explained that as a result of serious budget cuts, “We had two options: 1) let go a significant number of crew members several weeks early, or 2) make a clips episode. We never considered the first option. We weren’t going to do that to our crew, and even if we were callous enough to do so, we never would have been able to finish the season without them.”

Well, this was one of the most entertaining clip shows I’ve ever seen. I loved the pop-up chibi-style heads interrupting with questions and snide commentary in the first part. The second segment with Korra and Asami was great for another piece of character growth. But it was the final segment, where Varrick rewrites the entire first three seasons into a mover-style show with Bolin as the star, that was truly brilliant.

Also, I would totally watch Varrick’s mover about these four. (Click for full size.)

Korra 4x8

Episode 9: Beyond the Wilds. Any episode that opens with angry spirit vines and a tourist announcing, “I’m gonna poke it with a stick!” is a winner for me. But there were so many great moments and lines in this one.

  • Korra using earthbending like a laser pointer to play with Naga.
  • Varrick’s explanation of the superweapon. “Like a regular weapon. Only super!”
  • The fire nation’s refusal to go to war. I love the way you see them acknowledging their history, and being so cautious about never going down that road again.
  • Bolin’s line, “I love you guys … and I really want a hug again.”
  • Opal’s refusal to take any of Bolin’s romantinc scheming BS. Go, opal!
  • Asami and Varrick. Much as I like Varrick’s development this season, it was great to see that the show and the characters aren’t just forgetting everything he’s done until now. Asami wrist-locking the weasel and driving that point home was perfect.
  • And I loved Korra’s confrontation with Zahir. They’ve done such a great job of showing her struggle with PTSD. She’s fighting so hard, making real progress, but then every time her trauma resurfaces, you see her getting more despondent and frustrated. It feels so honest — there’s no quick fix. She thought facing Zahir would get her over her fear, but he showed her it wasn’t that easy.
  • But we also see Zahir’s regret for what happened in the wake of him murdering the Earth Kingdom queen last season. Korra’s victory wasn’t just in going to face Zahir, it was in choosing to let him help her.

Episode 10: Operation Beifong. Beifong reunion! Zhu Li being badass! Yes, please!

  • “What’s up with him?” To which Lin Beifong responds, “He’s an actor.”
  • I don’t know if we’d met Juicy the Bison before, but this was the first time I’d really registered him. He reminds me of a pathetic cat we used to have named Smoosh, a flat-faced beast with skin fungus and other problems who was constantly sneezing and snotting. So I’m loving Juicy the bison, as well as Opal’s commentary about the airbender-bison bond being permanent. You can’t change bisons. She checked. (But you know they love each other.)
  • I’m so glad that after three and a half seasons, Zhu Li is finally developing into her own character. I’ve hated the relationship between her and Varrick from day one. But she was clever enough to ingratiate herself to Kuvira and sabotage the progress of the atom bomb spirit vine weapon. And when caught, she all but spat in Kuvira’s face. Sweet!!!
  • And then we get Team Beifong, with Toph eventually joining in (as we all knew she would) to kick ass. Not even Kuvira wants to chase after that crew. Kuvira keeps her cool on the outside, but you know deep down she’s saying, “Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit. Please don’t make me fight the woman who invented metalbending.”

I’m really enjoying this season. My only dilemma now is whether to race through the final few episodes, or to space them out and prolong the enjoyment.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Cool Stuff Friday

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Friday thinks Book Launch Week is like, completely whoa, dude…

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Reddit AMA Today & Comet Hunting

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I have an Ask Me Anything (AMA) at Reddit today. The AMA post went up a half hour ago, and there’s already a question asking about why I changed my mind about Reddit. Which I pretty much expected, though I didn’t know it would be the very first question, or that it would pop up so quickly.

I talked about this back in September. I’m sure there will be more questions and conversation about it tonight at the AMA. I hope it won’t be the only thing people ask and talk about, but we’ll see what happens.

In the meantime, please feel free to stop by and ask whatever you’d like.

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A few weeks back, The Mary Sue posted about Comet Lovejoy coming closest to Earth on January 7. Given Michigan weather, I figured the skies would probably be overcast, but lo and behold, yesterday was actually pretty clear.

It was also about 2 degrees Fahrenheit…before you factor in the windchill.

I bundled up and dragged out the telescope. This proved to be an hour of failure and futility. My spotting scope’s battery had died, and the scope’s lens was messed up, making it useless. There’s also enough light pollution in my neighborhood that there was no way for me to see the comet so I knew where to aim the thing. I had pulled the star charts and had an approximate idea where Lovejoy should be hiding, but I never managed to find it with the scope.

So after going inside to thaw out, I switched to Plan B. I brought out the digital camera, which has a much wider field than the telescope. I set up the tripod, aimed the camera at the patch of sky where I thought Lovejoy should be, and snapped a long-exposure shot.

It wasn’t spectacular, but there was a distinct green dot among the stars. I zoomed in, adjusted shutter speed and ISO, and eventually managed to get a decent photo. It’s nowhere near as spectacular as the professional comet pics, but it’s the first time I’ve ever managed to photograph one.

Comet Lovejoy

Comet Lovejoy is the green dot just above and to the right of the center. To be honest, I wasn’t even 100% sure it was the comet at first, but after talking to others on Twitter and Facebook last night and getting confirmation from at least one astronomer, as well as comparing my photo to better ones, I think it’s safe to say I have officially shot my first comet.

I may have also frostbitten my brain in the process, but ah well.

Sky and Telescope has some much cooler pictures, as well as information on how to spot the comet yourself, if you’re so inclined.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Awards Eligibility Post

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Yep, it’s that time of year again. Here’s what came out from me in 2014:

Two short stories:

InvisibleThen there was The Prosekiller Chronicles: Rise of the Spider Goddess: An Annotated Novel. Technically, this would probably qualify for Best Novel or Best Related Work categories, but let’s get real. Is there a “Worst Novel” category I should be campaigning for?

Finally, there’s Invisible, a collection I edited of 14 essays about representation in science fiction and fantasy.

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While I’m proud of all of these things — yes, even Spider Goddess — it’s Invisible that I’d most like to share with folks. I was blown away by the powerful, personal, and important stories people shared. The anthology has also raised $500 for the Carl Brandon Society.

Almost all of the essays are available online:
Invisible is eligible for the Hugo Award for Best Related Work.

I’d be happy to send a review copy to eligible voters (i.e., members of the 2014 or 2015 Worldcons). Email me, and I can send it along in .epub or .mobi format. If neither of those work for you, let me know and we’ll figure something out.

If you’ll be nominating and would like to consider something else I did in 2014, I can hook you up with the short stories and/or even Spider Goddess, too. But if you only have time to check out one thing, I’d love it if you’d give Invisible a try.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Unbound is Out Today!!!

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UnboundIt’s been seventeen months since Codex Born was released, but Unbound is finally out today!

This is the third book in the Magic ex Libris series. There will be at least one more (Revisionary, tentatively scheduled for February 2016), but this one wraps up a lot of the plotlines I’ve been playing with over the course of the series. As Carrie at Smart Bitches Trashy Books said in her review:

I liked how the book wrapped up a lot of major character arcs. If there’s no more to this series, I’ll feel that the story reached a satisfying conclusion. On the other hand, the series is potentially poised to take off in completely new directions that could be incredibly interesting. So I’m down with that, too … I’m in an odd state of one hand feeling like, “OK, we’re cool, you may move on to other projects, thank you for this satisfying conclusion” and on the other hand I’m all, “More, please, nomnomnom”. It’s Schrodinger’s Series.

Summary:

For five hundred years, the Porters have concealed the existence of magic from the world. Now, old enemies have revealed the Porters’ secrets, and an even greater threat lurks in the shadows. The would-be queen Meridiana, banished for a thousand years, has returned in the body of a girl named Jeneta Aboderin. She seeks an artifact created by Pope Sylvester II, a bronze prison that would grant her the power to command an army of the dead.

Michigan librarian Isaac Vainio is determined to rescue his former student Jeneta. With no magic of his own, Isaac must delve into the darker side of black-market magic, where he will confront beings better left undisturbed, including the sorcerer Juan Ponce de Leon.

With his loyal fire-spider Smudge, dryad warrior Lena Greenwood, and psychiatrist Nidhi Shah, Isaac races to unravel a mystery more than a thousand years old as competing magical powers battle to shape the future of the world. He will be hunted by enemies and former allies alike, and it will take all his knowledge and resourcefulness to survive as magical war threatens to spread across the globe.

Isaac’s choices will determine the fate of his friends, the Porters, the students of Bi Sheng, and the world. Only one thing is certain: even if he finds a way to restore his magic, he can’t save them all…

Purchase Links: If you’re interested in picking up a copy, I’ve gathered up some convenient links. Because I’m considerate that way, you know?

Reviewers: If you’re a reviewer and would like a copy of Unbound, please contact my publicist at anixon -at- penguinrandomhouse.com.

Guest Posts: I’ve also done some guest blogging for the release, and will be linking those here as they go live. My thanks to everyone who hosted me!

Other Releases: Wait, there’s more! Today isn’t just Unbound day, it’s also book day for other awesome people like Karen Lord, Daniel José Older, Steven Harper, David B. Coe, and Irene Radford.

 

But my favorite thing about this particular release date is that author Sara Humphreys has a new novella out today … called Unbound. I feel like this calls for some sort of epic showdown, Unbound vs. Unbound. Sexy man-back vs. Smoldering librarian. Lion vs. Fire-spider.

vs.

So, yeah. Not only does Unbound come out today, so does Unbound. Mind … blown!

Anyway, where was I?

Events: I’ve got three things going on for this one.

My thanks to everyone who’s supported the series so far. Tweets, reviews, links, and other word-of-mouth are always appreciated, but mostly, I just hope you enjoy the story. I’ve been waiting years to get to some of the events in this one, and I can’t wait to share it.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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2014 Writing Income

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About seven years ago, I started doing a yearly blog post on my annual writing income. Yeah, it’s a weird and sometimes uncomfortable thing to talk about, but I also think it’s important to get some facts out there. It’s hard to get any real data on what authors earn, where the income comes from, and so on. Of course, I’m only one data point, so don’t go drawing any broad conclusions. But one is better than none, eh? And I’ll link to any other authors I see posting similar info. My background: I’m a U.S. author and have been writing science fiction and fantasy since 1995. My first novel with a major publisher came out in 2006. Since then, I’ve been averaging about one book/year. I have a few short collections and one odd novel project that I’ve self-published, but I’m primarily published through a traditional/commercial/whatever-you-want-to-call-it publisher. I’ve also got about fifty published short stories. I’ve hit the Locus bestseller lists, but I’ve never made the New York Times or USA Today lists. I still work a full-time day job, and I’ve got two kids at home, which means I probably devote about 20 hours/week to the writing career. My income posts from previous years are here: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. 2014 Income - Cumulative 2014 was a good year. Not my best, but I didn’t expect it to be — I had sold three books in 2013, and spent the next year actually writing two of them. This means I got a chunk of all three advances in 2013, but the rest of the money will be spread out through 2014 and 2015. All total, I earned $50,900 as a writer last year. This is after my agent takes his commission, but before expenses and taxes. Here’s how it roughly breaks down:

  • Novels (U.S.) – $39,840
  • Novels (Foreign) – $4130
  • Self-published Work – $1400
  • Short Fiction & Nonfiction – $2300
  • Other – $3200

2014 Income Breakdown The “Other” category includes the advance for The Goblin Master’s Grimoire, my short story collection from ISFiC Press, as well as things like honorarium payments for speaking engagements, a T-shirt royalty payment, and other miscellanea. Expenses for the year were probably between $3000 and $4000. (I haven’t calculated everything yet.) Mileage and convention costs, primarily hotel rooms, were the largest chunk, followed by hiring an artist to do the cover for Rise of the Spider Goddess (which I haven’t yet seen any income for, since that book only came out last month). I also paid another artist to do the banner art for my website. I’m very happy with both of these decisions. In the “Novels (U.S.)” category, I’ve got nine books in print with DAW. (Number ten comes out on Tuesday, but that’s another blog post.) Looking back, all nine of those books have earned out their advances and are now paying royalties. Those royalties account for a little under half of the novels income in the U.S. I should also note that because DAW purchased English language rights, the accounting for the UK edition of the Magic ex Libris series flows through them, and gets counted as part of the U.S. deal’s income. Novel advances are generally broken down into multiple payments. For my most recent books, they’re split into an on-signing payment, delivery & acceptance, and publication. For Unbound and Revisionary, the on-publication payment is further split into hardcover and mass market. What this means is that in 2015, I can expect to see the hardcover on-publication payment for Unbound, the D&A on Revisionary, and the D&A and publication payments for the Secret Novel Project of Doom. Though the on-publication payment for that last might not show up until 2016, depending on when exactly the book comes out. I’m also hoping to pitch and sell some new books this year, which would hopefully bring in some on-signing money and make sure I’ve got authorial job security for another year or two. I hope this was useful, and I’m happy to answer questions. Here’s to a successful 2015 for all of us. ETA Related Posts:

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Snoopy

Huh. Looks like I should redo my Top Posts list, as my response to Mr. Wright has jumped into the #6 place for the year over the course of 24 hours.

But it’s more interesting to look at some of the rather random search queries that brought people to the website over the past year.

  1. pills to make you happy – That would be my posts on depression and Zoloft, I’m guessing.
  2. neil gaiman factsI have 20 of ‘em! :-)
  3. yeti he sniffed the air – Um…
  4. sexy guy photo poses – Why thank you!
  5. spoon theory is stipud – No comment.
  6. i farted kitten – Sounds unpleasant.
  7. jerry pournelle + jim hines – I think someone’s writing some very odd fanfiction.
  8. keep calm dave has just farted – Forget calm! Run for your lives!!!
  9. did miss piggy have sex with long john silver – It’s Tim Curry. Could you blame her if she did?
  10. hobbit – why do the goblins all die so easily – That’s what I want to know!
  11. fake agent jennie wikipedia – “Jennie Wikipedia” sounds like a geek superhero name.

Also, I received this delightfully cute sketch of Smudge the fire-spider with a fireproof Jig the goblin plushie, and I had to share it with the world. This was created by the obviously-skilled Ariela Housman:

smudge doodle

From me, Smudge, and the goblins, have an absolutely wonderful 2015!!!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Snoopy

To the shock of nobody who’s ever read his blog, John C. Wright is Very Unhappy with the ending of The Legend of Korra, in which Korra and Asami, two female women characters of the same girlish gender, hold hands while walking off into the spirit world together. Wright links to an article which confirms the romantic relationship between these two women, and writes:

“A children’s show, of all places, is where you decided to place an ad for a sexual aberration; you pervert your story telling skills to the cause of propaganda and political correctness.”

Sokka What

I assume Wright’s blog post was written over the course of several days, as he would have needed time to swoon over the horrific perversion of two women holding hands. Not to mention having to counsel his poor, traumatized children.

Keep in mind, this is a show that not only had explicit male/female smooching, but has also shown a woman being suffocated to death via airbending, the imprisonment and torture of Korra, the suicide of a season one villain, and plenty of other instances of brutal violence. But this is what Wright feels he must “protect” the children from.

Wright continues:

“You were not content to leave the matter ambiguous, no, but had publicly to announce that you hate your audience, our way of life, our virtues, values, and religion.”

The delusionality is strong with this one. Watch as he attempts to speak for an entire audience, many of whom were screaming with happiness at the Korra/Asami revelation.

Go watch this video of fan reactions. Look at the joy on those people’s faces.

These are some of the people he’s trying to speak for. Do they look like people whose way of life, whose values and religion and virtues, are so incredibly fragile that they can be hurt so badly by a several-second clip of two women holding hands, or the idea of two women falling in love?

Mister Wright, you do not speak for the audience of this show. You speak for yourself, and perhaps for a small group of intolerant bigots who can’t accept the slightest acknowledgement or recognition of relationships you personally disapprove of, for whatever twisted reason.

“Mr DiMartino and Mr Konietzko: You are disgusting, limp, soulless sacks of filth. You have earned the contempt and hatred of all decent human beings forever, and we will do all we can to smash the filthy phallic idol of sodomy you bow and serve and worship. Contempt, because you struck from behind, cravenly; and hatred, because you serve a cloud of morally-retarded mental smog called Political Correctness, which is another word for hating everything good and bright and decent and sane in life.”

The Phallic Idol of Sodomy. Also known as the Ypsilanti Water Tower:

YpsilantiWaterTower

I went to grad school in Ypsi. It’s amazing I escaped with my heterosexuality intact, spending two years in such close proximity to the PIoS!

A part of me wants to ask what happened to Mr. Wright that a couple of bisexual cartoon characters could send him into such an apoplexy of hatred and rage. What happened to make you so afraid, sir?

But before we get into that, I have to ask how you came to the conclusion that a relationship between two women was all about phallicism and sodomy. I think you might be a little confused as to how things work. Does someone need to sit you down and have “the talk”?

Sokka Facepalm

Wright concludes his rant by saying:

“I have no hatred in my heart for any man’s politics, policies, or faith, any more than I have hatred for termites; but once they start undermining my house where I live, it is time to exterminate them.”

Right. There’s nothing hateful about calling people “disgusting, limp, soulless sacks of filth,” or comparing them to termites and calling for their extermination.

Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra are shows about overcoming hatred and violence and fear. How can you claim to be “a lifelong fan” when you hold so much hatred and intolerance in your heart?

Aang would be so disappointed in you. I suspect Korra would simply turn her back on you and your irrelevant, close-minded views.

I know I’m not going to change your mind. I’m not going to break you out of your little world, or get you to see that the rest of the world is moving on without you. I doubt I’ll make any difference in helping you to see how much Korra and Asami matter to people, how important a step this was. I doubt you’ll recognize LGBT people as human beings with as much value and right to love and happiness as you or me.

But I can damn well make sure you understand that you do not speak for the audience of this show. You are not the mouthpiece for fans. Speak your poison in your own name if you must, but don’t tarnish the rest of fandom with your bile.

On that note, I’ll leave you with a couple of fan-made gifs.

Korrasami2

Korrasami1

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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