June 11th, 2007



Book Meme

Just got back from my Clarion classmate Marjorie Liu's LiveJournal webpetals, where she was responding to a meme and gave eight favorite books -- then challenged others to add theirs in comments. I responded, of course:

In no particular order, here are eight faves:

Dune / Frank Herbert
The Forever War / Joe Haldeman
Sense & Sensibility / Jane Austen
Almost Midnight / Martin Caidin
Marooned / Martin Caidin
The Santaroga Barrier / Frank Herbert
The Lord of the Rings / J.R.R. Tolkien
The Mysterious Island / Jules Verne

Though there are no recent books on this list, that's not to say I don't have any favorite recent books, including some obscure titles no one has read like Tiger Eye by some newbie writer. Old Man's War by John Scalzi. Harry Potters by That Rich Woman. But those on this list are all books that I read repeatedly in the 70s and 80s, savoring the complexities of the writing.

Mmm... books.

Dr. Phil

But Wait, There's More!

Of course it is SO hard to just leave it at that. For example, a more contemporary list would include, again in no particular order:

Harry Potters and The Richest Woman In The World / J. K. Rowling
The Vampire Lestat / Anne Rice
Tiger Eye / Marjorie M. Liu
Old Man's War / John Scalzi
A Talent for War / Jack McDevitt
The Time Traveler's Wife / Audrey Niffenegger
Neuromancer / William Gibson
The Difference Engine / William Gibson and Bruce Sterling
...and any collection which has a Howard Waldrop story in it.

And pulling out another eight books that I read and re-read for years and years:

God Is An Englishman / R. F. Delderfield
Calico Palace / Gwen Bristow
A Tale of Two Cities / Charles Dickens
A Wrinkle in Time / Madeleine L'Engle
The Andromeda Strain / Michael Crichton
Airport / Arthur Hailey
The Hunt for Red October / Tom Clancy
The Best Science Fiction of the Year (1972) / edited by Terry Carr (I carried this around with me over several vacations that year and it has some very memorable short stories)

And If You Order Now, We'll Include...

Oh, but I have a LONG history of reading and re-reading favorite books, so here's yet another eight:

Warday / Whitley Strieber and James W. Kunetka
Stallion Gate / Martin Cruz Smith
Gateway / Frederick Pohl
2001: A Space Odyssey / Arthur C. Clarke
Ender's Game / Orson Scott Card
Songmaster / Orson Scott Card
Congo / Michael Crichton
On the Beach / Nevil Shute

And a non-fiction list:

The Making of the Atomic Bomb / Richard Rhodes
The Soul of a New Machine / Tracy Kidder
Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman / Richard Feynman
Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos / Dennis Overbye
The Elegant Universe / Brian Greene
The Hot Zone / Richard Preston
The History of Physics / Isaac Asimov
The Right Stuff / Tom Wolfe

What Fun

Whew. Hardly any work other than I am bad with names and had to look a couple of up. (grin) This is hardly an exhaustive list. Whenever I hear someone talk about "What one book would you want to take with you to a desert isle?" I'm like... one book? It's like why I waited to buy an iPod nano until the 8GB unit came out which might hold ALL my favorite CDs all at once. Why be too selective?

Anyone want to add to the lists -- feel free to consider yourself tagged, too.

Dr. Phil
  • Current Music
    Cirith Ungol: nano shuffle 49 of 344

Writing News

Congratulations, You're A Lesbian SF Author

Make that a hard military lesbian SF author. (grin) 2004 Clarion classmate Nikki Kimberline kimnik and her partner Dawn have started a small press, Blind Eye Books:

Blind Eye Books is an independent press, dedicated to publishing science-fiction and fantasy stories with gay and lesbian protagonists.

Our books span a wide variety of styles, settings and themes, but they are always exciting and positive. They are heart-pounding and heart-warming, sensual and sensational. In short, they are stories that we love and are proud to present to the world.

One of their projects is an anthology of "character-driven science fiction, fantasy or paranormal romance featuring gay or lesbian protagonists."


I've sold a short story "Don't Ask" to the Tangle XX anthology. So it's not that I'm a gay or lesbian SF author, it's that my characters are.

Actually, I'm really pleased with this short story. Set in my usual 29th century military SF universe, I wrote "Don't Ask" partly as a dare to Nikki, because she sometimes gives me grief about my hard military SF, but when I said I was writing something just for her, she specifically requested the Unified Star Fleet Marines and their armored fighting suits. Okay, no problem!

In a way, writing my two main characters as lesbians solved a major problem with a story I've been trying to tell for a while: How to get a first date on a military starship. You can imagine that between enlisted, NCO and officer ranks, plus the whole issue of who supervises whom, etc., I was concerned that the story might come off as a gender power play -- a male superior asking out a female suborbinate -- or its reverse. Utilizing two services, the navy and the marines, one gender and equivalent ranks solves all those problems. Story written.

Got Stories?

The anthology is still partly open for submissions:

Submissions for Tangle XY (boy's edition) are now closed

Thanks to everyone who submitted. Choosing between the stories is going to be tough, but we hope to have our final decisions made by June 30.

Although we have all the M/M stories we need, we're still short on thrilling tales of Girl's Love. So we have extended the deadline for Tangle XX to September 1. See our guidelines page for more info how you can submit a story.

Why Now?

I'm posting this sale now, because I finally got the contract in the mail this weekend, signed it and sent it back this morning. Lately my attempts at rigorous records keeping have been all blundered up, as I get information through unofficial channels, such as the WOTF blog for Writers of the Future entries, rather than a simple single date for a letter.

In this case I submitted the original 4600 word story on February 9th. On February 19th I had a request for "more action", which I detailed in a series of e-mail exchanges and resubmitted a 10,900 word version on March 8th. Since then we've been doing a back-and-forth with Nikki doing a swell job of editing my writing to take out some of my verbosity -- and an attempt to simplify the story and some of the heavier military elements which may or may not be of interest to anyone.

They say that part of publishing is who you know -- it's why you go to cons, read blogs, attend something like Clarion, so you can meet people. Did I sell a story to Nikki BECAUSE she knows me? No. If the story had sucked, or I'd really missed the characterizations or their behaviors, no way would she've bought it. But I DID submit a lesbian SF story to a market because I knew the editor. Frankly, I might not have seen the call for submissions if it hadn't been that I knew Nikki -- certainly it's not for a lot of money. In a way, I'm helping support a new venture, and that's surely a good thing.

Anyway, for accounting purposes, "Don't Ask" was sold on 9 June 2007, the day I got the contracts from the P.O. Box. (grin)

Dr. Phil
  • Current Music
    Blondie / Rapture 64 of 344 on shuffle