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Posts Tagged ‘Only Superhuman’

There be WILD CYBERS here!

No, I’m not under attack by rogue robots — rather, my author copies of Among the Wild Cybers: Tales Beyond the Superhuman have just arrived.

Among the Wild Cybers in box

Among the Wild Cybers in stack

They’re thinner than I expected for a nearly 80,000-word book, but I guess that’s because of the trade-paperback format. But here they are, and it’s not much longer before the rest of you can get them too (Kickstarter backers first).

Here’s my brag shelf of all my original fiction to date, such as it is:

CLB brag shelf

Minus Hub Space, which I haven’t yet obtained a print copy of. But hey, the shelf is finally starting to grow a bit, and there’s a good chance that it’ll be growing more before long. For now, though, Only Superhuman and Among the Wild Cybers contain my complete published works to date in my primary original universe (plus “No Dominion”). So it’s nice to see them side by side. (I put ATWC first both for height reasons — I don’t want it between two shorter mass-market paperbacks — and because I generally shelve anthologies/collections before novels, a habit I picked up when I worked at the university library.)

And we’re now ridiculously close to unlocking “Abductive Reasoning” for Kickstarter backers — one to three more pledges should do it:

Only 11 days left!

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Thank you so much!

I want to give my deepest thanks to all the readers who made donations after my plea on Tuesday. Thanks to your exceptional generosity, I’m now confident that I’ll be able to pay my rent for another month, and most of my other bills as well. I’m not entirely out of the woods yet — and it turns out that my “good reason to believe” my writing situation would soon be improving is a bit less of a sure thing than I thought, or at least a bit more distant. Still, your donations have given me time, and enough relative peace of mind, to do my own part and continue looking for work. I’m deeply grateful, and I intend to give you all a shout-out in the acknowledgments of my next book, unless you let me know you’d rather stay anonymous. There may even be some characters named after you in some future book. It’s the least I owe you guys for being there for me when I needed you.

In the meantime, my book sale remains ongoing; consult the previous post for the list of books and the payment info.

To the person in Japan who ordered the copy of Only Superhuman: I still need to receive the international postage cost before I can send the book. I e-mailed you with the amount on Thursday, so please get back to me soon.

Meanwhile, folks, please share the word about the Among the Wild Cybers Kickstarter with anyone you can think of who might be interested. The more pledges we get, the more goodies our backers get, and the more it helps me pay my bills for next month, if not this one. The Kickstarter will remain open until May 30.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/e-specbooks/epic-science-fiction-adventures?ref=card

 

 

Good news and bad news

The good news is, the Kickstarter for Among the Wild Cybers (and Bud Sparhawk’s Shattered Dreams) has already surpassed its minimum funding goal in less than a week. Now comes the pursuit of the stretch goals, which will unlock a number of exciting benefits for the patrons who donate — and will also help me and Bud get monetary advances for our books, so that would be great.

Meanwhile, I have good reason to believe that my work situation is finally going to start improving significantly within the next few months, though I can’t say anything more about that yet.

 

The bad news is that, though I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel, I don’t have quite enough fuel to make it there. I’m flat broke, folks, more so than I realized I was until I checked my bank balances this morning. All the good things on the horizon are still too far away to help me with my immediate financial crisis. At the moment, I don’t have enough to pay the next month’s rent and other critical bills. I’m doing what I can to remedy that. I’m looking for jobs, I’m submitting stories, I’m even trying to sell my bicycle that I hardly ever ride anymore. But I can’t be sure I’ll make enough money in time, so I need to ask for any donations my readers are willing to give. I know this has become a familiar refrain from me lately, but it’s never been more urgent. It’s incredibly frustrating that my career slowdown has gone on this long, that so many things I’d expected to pay off by now have been delayed this long. Now they’re finally on the verge of paying off, but just a month or so too late. It’s ironic and scary to see myself so close to the finish line but not know how I’m going to make it the last few steps. I really hope you, my readers, can dig deep and help me out one more time. It doesn’t have to be much. My activity stats show I tend to get around 200 hits on this site per day. If every one of you donated just $4-5 each, it could be enough.

If nothing else, I still have a number of autographed books available for purchase. Here’s the current list of books I have available, their quantities, and the price per copy (in US dollars):

Mass-market paperbacks: $8

  • Star Trek: TOS — The Face of the Unknown (5 copies)
  • ST: Enterprise — Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel (4 copies)
  • ST: ENT — Rise of the Federation: Uncertain Logic (5 copies)
  • ST: ENT — Rise of the Federation: Live by the Code (5 copies)
  • ST: ENT — Rise of the Federation: Patterns of Interference (9 copies)
  • ST: Department of Temporal Investigations — Forgotten History (5 4 copies)
  • ST: Ex Machina (1 copy)
  • ST: TNG: The Buried Age (1 copy)
  • ST:TNG: Greater Than the Sum (1 copy)
  • ST: Titan: Over a Torrent Sea (1 copy)

Hardcovers: $20 (20% off!)

  • Only Superhuman (21 20 copies)

Trade paperbacks: $16

  • Star Trek: Mirror Universe — Shards and Shadows (6 copies)
  • ST: Myriad Universes — Infinity’s Prism (2 copies)
  • ST: Mere Anarchy (2 copies)
  • ST: The Next Generation — The Sky’s the Limit (2 copies)

Trade paperbacks: $14

  • ST: Deep Space Nine — Prophecy and Change (1 copy)
  • ST: Voyager — Distant Shores (2 copies)

I’ll try to keep this list updated with regard to availability, but if you have doubts (particularly with the single copies), query first. For buyers in the US, add $2.50 postage per book for MMPBs, or $4.00 postage for trades/hardcovers.  For buyers outside the US, pay the book price and I’ll bill you for postage separately once I determine the amount.

If you have a PayPal account of your own, please pay through that instead of a credit card.  PayPal charges a fee for credit card use, so if you do use a credit card, I have to ask for an additional $0.25 per mass-market paperback or an additional $0.50 per trade paperback or hardcover.

Please share this post and spread the word, both for the Kickstarter and for my book sale and call for donations.

AMONG THE WILD CYBERS Kickstarter is open!

I’ll make this quick, since I’m sleepy — I’ve just been sent the notification that the Kickstarter funding campaign for Among the Wild Cybers: Tales Beyond the Superhuman is now running:

The fundraising drive is for both the Wild Cybers collection and the novel Shattered Dreams by fellow Analog veteran Bud Sparhawk. It runs from now to May 30th. This is my first Kickstarter, so I’m not an expert on how it works, but as you can see on the page, donors will get various rewards that get better the more they donate, and there are also stretch goals that will earn donors further bonuses if they’re met. Bonuses include a digital or print copy of the book (received ahead of general release, I gather), as well as various bonus stories from different authors. The bonus for the first stretch goal will be a digital copy of “Abductive Reasoning,” my one published original, non-Hub short story to date that isn’t in Wild Cybers. I like that, because I regretted not having room to include it in the collection, so this means it will be “included” after all, though only for Kickstarter backers.

I’ve also offered up a few copies of the hardcover and audiobook editions of Only Superhuman as bonuses, and they’ve even managed to scrounge up a copy of Spider-Man: Drowned in Thunder to offer as a bonus to one lucky $40 donor. And of course Bud Sparhawk and the eSpec Books team are offering numerous additional bonuses of their own, and there will be more bonuses announced later. It looks like we’re already making good progress toward the minimum goal needed to fund the books, but hopefully we can do much better with your help.

Some followup on WILD CYBERS

(Robot and Cover Design by Mike McPhail, McP Digital Graphics)Now that the cover art and design are complete, Among the Wild Cybers: Tales Beyond the Superhuman is moving into the final stages. The file has been sent to the printer so advance copies can be printed and sent out to reviewers (and if any professional reviewers reading this are interested, let me know). The exact release date is still being settled — the process seems rather more flexible for small publishers — so for now I can just say it’ll be out in the summer. There will be a Kickstarter campaign to fund the book starting pretty soon, and Kickstarter backers will be the first to receive the book before its general release.

Since I reblogged the cover announcement from eSpec’s WordPress site (first time I’ve ever tried that), I didn’t get to share my thoughts about the cover before. Mike McPhail put it together from a stock illustration for the background and butterfly and a 3D robot model of his own, I gather, with some input from me on the direction we wanted to go in. It’s not a literal depiction of anything in the stories, more a symbolic expression of some of the concepts and themes, but I like that it tells a story of its own, with a robot that could easily seem forbidding and looking somewhat timeworn standing in such a beautiful setting and reaching out in appreciation, like it’s discovering new possibilities. It fits with the general themes I go for in my work — optimistic science fiction that isn’t devoid of struggle and hardship.

My preliminary cover thoughts had been running more in the direction of a montage conveying elements from several stories, maybe something with a more professional rendering of my designs for the aliens in the stories, and ideally highlighting the various heroic women featured in most of the stories — particularly Emerald Blair, who has a brand-new story inside. But that’s a lot to cram into one cover. Better to have a single, striking image that catches your attention enough that you take a closer look, and I think this cover does that.

Only Superhuman MMPB coverIt just now struck me that the Wild Cybers cover is kind of a complement to the Only Superhuman cover. There, you had a vibrant, living feminine figure within a hard, mechanistic environment, her arm extended in an act of aggression, while here, you have a hard, mechanistic masculine-ish figure within a vibrant, living environment, its arm extended in an act of gentleness. They even invert the order of the title and byline. It’s a nice coincidental contrast, since these two books between them encompass the entirety of my published fiction in their universe to date. (Also, both figures have their midriffs set apart in one way or another, and both have pretty well-defined abs…)

Oh, speaking of Only Superhuman, I discovered that some of the interview and essay links on my page for the novel had expired, so I fixed them. Two of them are still online at different addresses, while the third is preserved on the Internet Archive.

GraphicAudio sale this weekend!

Heads up: GraphicAudio is running a sale this weekend on its comics/superhero-related audiobooks, with 20% off when you buy 2 or more. This sale includes their adaptations of two of my novels, Only Superhuman and Spider-Man: Drowned in Thunder, so that works out nicely. The ordering links are here:

Only Superhuman audiobook  Only Superhuman

Spider-Man: Drowned in Thunder audiobook  Spider-Man: Drowned in Thunder

It looks like OS is only available in digital audio formats, but DiT is still available in a 5-CD box set as well as digitally.

Admittedly, Only Superhuman has never been done in comics (not yet, anyway), but it’s a superhero story and is largely an homage to superhero comics, so GraphicAudio lists it along with their comics titles. Anyway, this is a good time to call new attention to OS, considering that my story collection Among the Wild Cybers: Tales Beyond the Superhuman, featuring the brand-new Only Superhuman prequel story “Aspiring to Be Angels,” is due out later this year.

Minor update to ONLY SUPERHUMAN Historical timeline

Today I had occasion to glance over the Only Superhuman Historical Timeline page here on my site, and I noticed it was a bit outdated in some of the details, as well as containing a significant typo in one entry (with the word “And” and several spaces inserted somehow in the middle of a word). In particular, I referred to the conflict in 2076 as the Belt War, a leftover term from early drafts that didn’t appear in the final text of OS, whereas in “Murder on the Cislunar Railroad” (Analog, June 2016) I’d renamed it the Orbit War, since it was as much between Earth and its orbital habitats as between Earth and the Asteroid belt. (The Orbit War name also appears in the historical appendix to my upcoming collection Among the Wild Cybers: Tales Beyond the Superhuman). I also realized that the description I’d given of the conflict didn’t quite jibe with “Cislunar” or with the background given in the first chapter of OS. So I made some tweaks to the Timeline text to make it more cohesive. (I also updated “Belt War” to “Orbit War” on the Character Profiles page for the novel.)

Only Superhuman MMPB coverIn the course of doing this, I discovered a convergence that had never occurred to me. In Chapter 3 of OS (the first flashback chapter), when Emerald Blair’s father Richard is explaining the backstory of the Earth-Strider tensions to his young daughter, he says at one point that, as a pacifist, he couldn’t fight in “the war or the troubles that followed,” meaning the dissolution of the Strider states into chaos and internecine struggles in the years after the war. It struck me that if that period had actually been known as “the Troubles” (also the term used to refer to the Northern Ireland conflict of the 1960s-90s, a similar era of political/social strife and violence), that would provide a nice explanation for how the superpowered peacekeepers who emerged to save lives and promote order during the period came to be known as the Troubleshooters. I’d always assumed that they’d picked up that nickname before then, and there are lines referring to early Troubleshooters’ involvement in the war, but those lines are in retrospect, spoken years after the fact, so the name could be applied anachronistically. Even if some of these private vigilantes were informally called “troubleshooters” before the actual Troubles in the early 2080s (and before the Troubleshooter Corps’s founding in 2083), it could’ve been the reason the name caught on during and after them. It’s got a nice resonance, and it doesn’t overtly contradict anything in the text, so it works. Indeed, I wonder if I might have had something like this in mind when I wrote the line “the troubles that followed,” but didn’t remember it later on.

In real life, I chose the name “Troubleshooter” because I initially envisioned the characters as an elite class of problem-solvers within a larger Solar Security Bureau, before I realized the premise worked better without a central Solar System government and started over from scratch with OS. But with that backstory gone, the etymology of the name “Troubleshooter” for what were now outright superheroes became a bit more random. I kept it because I wanted to stress that my heroes were primarily problem-solvers, not just fighters. But this new insight gives the name more of an in-universe justification. And it fits neatly, because in OS I used the word “trouble” as a recurring motif in chapter titles and dialogue (including the Green Blaze’s catchphrase, “Looking for trouble? You just found her.”) I’m kind of surprised I didn’t think of it before. Whether I ever get to use it in an actual story remains to be seen, though.

Anyway, this is a reminder to be more careful about curating my website content. When I check the text of my stories to ensure they’re consistent with each other, I don’t always remember I have further material on the site. That material may not be strictly canonical, but I should remember to check it for consistency with new stories. I’m glad I caught this before the release of Among the Wild Cybers, which will hopefully bring some new readers to my site.