We officially have a kick-ass cover

Well Eleanor just got the Prophets cover from DAW, and it’s all full of crunchy SF goodness. This will be hitting the shelves March 2009.

UPDATE: I should let you all know who the artist is behind this great cover, the 2008 winner of the Hugo for best artist, Stephan Martiniere. Which is just seven flavors of cool.

Prophets: Apotheosis Book One Cover

Oh, and a little bonus for the Moreau fans out there, there’s this little detail:
Prophets cover detail

The man who would be president

Lee L. Mercer Jr.As we watch ignore the proceedings of the Democratic National Convention, I think it is time to reflect on the nominee who could have been. I am talking about a candidate of vision, of character, of purpose. A candidate who could have been a historic first if not for the fact he failed to garner a single delegate or appear on a single ballot. Even so, the failure of the Democrats to nominate this man for president represents a tragic loss, the loss of a man who combines the stability of Lyndon LaRouche, the gravitas of Dan Quayle and the wisdom Dennis Kucinich and stirs it up into a nice gooey ball of complete sincere batshit insanity.

I am talking of course of Lee L. Mercer Jr. As far as I know, this man has only garnered a single endorsement, but he deserves so much more than that. But allow me to show you the wisdom and the glory that is his candidacy. Here are some choice quotes answering the key question, “Why is Lee L. Mercer Jr. running for president?“:

  • The United States Federal Congress has encouraged me to want to become President of the United States so that I can do what the President of the United States of America is supposed to do and complete the federal and military government biography and autobiography in development in Eye Spy Community-Military Intelligence (All Three) Business and Commerce Intelligence Education across the board National and International.
  • To prove there is a Public Health Crime War in Business and Commerce in America National and International through Eye Spy Community-Military Intelligence (All Three) Business and Commerce Intelligence.
  • To prove The Klu Klux Klan and the Communist Party are gangsters and organize crime in Business and Commerce through Eye Spy Community-Military Intelligence (All Three) Business and Commerce Intelligence National and International.
  • To prove the United States of America has two Governments and they are Government #1 and Government #2 and I own Government # 1
  • To Prove The United States Army Guarantees all of my performances because I am on a United States Army Hot-wire Hookup for performance monitoring as Eye Spy Community-Military Intelligence Business and Commerce Intelligence University Of Texas at Austin ROTC The United States Army Military Intelligence Academy.
  • To Prove Governor William Perry is killing me and my family very seriously
  • To Prove Jeb Bush is all in my house with disease.

I can only mourn our loss.

Michael Chabon is made of win!

(via swivet)

Michael Chabon has laid out to the LA Times just how the attitude of the Literati toward genre fiction (“oh, your genre has cooties”) is kind of stupid.

There are a lot of people on both the pretentious literature side (“It was written well so it can’t be science fiction!”) and the pretentious fanboy side (“That motherfucker stole our rocketship!”) that could do to read it.  A guy with a Pulitzer AND a Hugo ought to have some credibility on this point.

How to be an asshat, literary edition

To all the aspiring writers out there who want to make a bad impression and leave a permanently sour taste in the mouths of not only your readers but with anyone who’s ever heard of you, Victoria Laurie has some tips for you. (Original post is gone, but once released those electrons don’t go away.)

First off, have skin as thin as possible. Make sure that every negative comment about your work is taken personally and make sure you attack Amazon reviewers by name on your blog. Brag about gaming Amazon to get those nasty evil comments by those nasty evil people removed.

Second, if someone sends you fan mail that says “I like most of your stuff, but this latest series, not so much” make sure to rant, rant, rant. Of course we know this is no fan, after all, this person dared to criticize your work, and we know that no real fan would dare do such a thing. So make sure you publicly threaten this fan, to wit:

And so, come September…my little “fan” and some of her close friends and family will likely read about a character with a very similar name, (i.e. nearly identical but not enough to get me sued) depicted in one of the most comical and fabulously scandalous scenes within Death Perception. And trust me…this isn’t a scene which in any way flatters that character. 🙂 (Also trust me….you’ll know it when you read it!)

Third, just for the hell of it, draw your editor into it:

And by the way – anyone else out there thinking they can just arbitrarily slam an author and feel good about being particularly nasty…be warned….my editor thinks this concept of mine is hilarious and she’s going to suggest the idea to her other authors who are fed up with being targets for the mentally deranged…in other words I’d advise being very careful whom you choose to direct a personal barb at lest your alter ego appear in a less than flattering way in that author’s next book.

Fourth, and most important, when it’s clear you made a pile of poo and stepped in it, and other bloggers start to notice and point out the shit covering your face, make sure you panic, take down the original post on your blog and start sending lawyer-like letters to people making bogus IP claims of copyright infringement for daring to quote the ludicrously stupid things you’ve said.

Bonus Points, make sure that you use an unflattering analogy of yourself as a waiter spitting in someone’s food. That’ll leave an impression.

UPDATE: She doesn’t want to blog about it . . . but let’s post a long rambling rant on how we’re being persecuted by nutcases, post their e-mail addresses on our blog post, drag our editor into it again, and turn off the comments ’cause we just can’t deal with that shit. Mr. Foot, please to meet Mr. Mouth, I am sure you will be so happy together.

UPDATE #2: Then again, if you can’t write a post that doesn’t make you look like a complete psychotic loon, you can always nuke the whole effing blog. You, however, see Victoria’s last gasp, which bordered on actionable slander, (or is it libel, I can’t keep those straight) in part on Jane’s letter to our fair asshat’s editor as posted on Dear Author.

Forever Old Man’s Starship Troopers

I just had the opportunity to read Old Man’s War by John Scalzi, The Forever War by Joe Haldeman, and Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein all in fairly quick succession. I’d recommend the same to any aspiring SF writer, and not just because they’re all good books in their own right. The three books are a triptych that illustrates how broadly a single subject can be approached, and shows how an author’s politics (or more broadly, an author’s beliefs about how the universe works) inform a narrative.

This trio, when viewed from a distance, show a very similar story. A future cadet from planet earth joins a unified human military force as an infantryman. The military is embroiled in an interstellar war against alien forces and uses its starship-based high-tech infantry in a role roughly equivalent to armored cavalry units. The cadet starts in basic training/boot camp and sees fellow cadets screw up (sometimes fatally) but manages to squeak by training, entering the infantry as a private. The new private sees action, more people die in action, and he sees at least one major battle screwed up royally. He rises into the officer ranks and sees his last action (in the book at least) in a battle that ends as a qualified success (at least the important characters survived.)

Of course, at ground level where the narrative meets the road, you’d be hard pressed to find three more divergent treatments of the same subject. Some examples that more than likely grow out of each author’s point of view:

  • In ST, the government and the military are both benign and competent, whereas in FW they are neither. In OMW the government and military are competent but morally ambiguous and often out-gunned.
  • In ST, military service is a respected duty performed by willing volunteers, in FW it is a burden imposed on draftees, in OMW it is a crapshoot taken by people who really don’t have any idea what they’re volunteering for.
  • In ST, basic training is relevant to the soldier’s tasks and justified at length, in FW the training is pretty damn pointless, in OMW the training has a justifiable point, but an actively hostile universe is still handing you your ass.

In fact, someone can (and probably has) fill a fourth book with the differing attitudes in this trio of books show towards all sorts of things from the rights and responsibilities of citizenship to sexual politics.

Rainbows = Evil!

This video is making the rounds, so I figured why not? Somewhere in my heart, I really hope this is a satire. . .

Can you say Sudetenland?

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures

I am not a liberal, and I don’t subscribe to the idea that George W. is a secular antichrist, my qualms about the (Iraq) war have always been of ones of tactics (i.e. letz fite stoopid) and strategy (this served the national interest how?). However, events in Georgia have made me decide that George W. will be vilified in the historical record, not for what he’s done, but for what he hasn’t done. George’s good friend, Vladimir Putin has been steadily reversing every democratic gain in Russia, engaging in saber rattling, and mucking about in other country’s elections and all the time George was reading from the Neville Chamberlain playbook.

Geopolitically, Putin has outmaneuvered the US and Europe, watching us become so embroiled in this war on terror that he can pretty much invade any of his neighbors and not expect much more than a hurt look from our President. Fuck Iran. This guy is actually sane, already has nukes, and is smart enough not to announce he’s going to wipe a country off the map until after he does it. I would not want to live in Eastern Europe right about now.

Writerly type stuff

Side-stepping the world of politics for a moment, I wanted to mention that I’m finally back to writing new material, after doing rewrites of three novels in a row.  You’ll notice the counters slowly starting to move again as I work on Heretic, the second volume of the Apotheosis trilogy. Yea.  Goal is to get this done before the end of the year.

Second thing, I will be in Austin at Armadillocon in a week, at the invite of ex-Hamster and ex-Clevelander Maureen McHugh.  I’m even on a military SF panel with Scalzi.  Should be fun.

Update: Islamic Students reasonable. Islamic Scholar, not so much.

According to Gallycat, the students riled up by the threat of Random House’s publication of the Jewel of Medina were planning little more than a publicity campaign to e-mail the publisher and news outlets and so on. Perfectly innocuous stuff in a pluralistic society. Which makes Random House look like a bunch of wusses, and makes Professor Denise Spellberg’s frantic warnings about threats to Random House’s staff and property look even more like disingenuous bigotry, to put it kindly.

Islamic Overreaction freaks out Random House

From the “this surprises you why?” department:

Random House was going to publish a book titled The Jewel of Medina by Sherry Jones, a historical novel that features one of Mohammad’s wives, and has decided “oops, bad idea.” Quoth Random House in the Washington Post Op-Ed, “after sending out advance copies of the novel, the company received “from credible and unrelated sources, cautionary advice not only that the publication of this book might be offensive to some in the Muslim community, but also that it could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment.”

Apparently one of those credible sources was an American academic named Denise Spellberg (sage advice from the Smart Bitches, do not let this woman blurb your book) who got an advance copy and apparently got her knickers in a prudish little twist (you see Muhammad had wives, and gasp, may have had sex with them) and made a “frantic” call to the editor of a popular Muslim website (this book made her frantic) and asked him to warn Muslims about this nasty, evil, book that “made fun of Muslims and their history.” And apparently, armed only with Spellberg’s description of this “very ugly, stupid piece of work,” not having read it himself, he did exactly what she asked, warning people of the coming literary apocalypse. And, of course, offense spreads like wildfire.

But what seems to be the trigger that caused the book to be pulled was Spellberg’s own warning to her own editor at another imprint at Random House. According to Spellberg, if the book was released there was “a very real possibility of major danger for the building and staff and widespread violence.” Apparently she babbled on like an islamaphobic neocon frightened by Obama’s middle name. The Terrorists would kill them all if the book saw the light of day. Her warning was bounced around the email servers at Random House until the book was pulled less than a month later.

Spellberg might count Random House’s withdrawl of the book as some sort of victory, but I wonder if she realizes that encouraging them to stomp this book by using threats of violence is casting Islam in a much more vile light before a much broader audience than the book’s publication ever would have.