Saturday, September 7, 2013

The next Jon & Lobo book

At WorldCon and in email, a lot of folks have asked recently about the status of the next Jon & Lobo book.  That's more than fair, because in my ideal world the book would have appeared earlier this summer.  It did not, however, for a very simple reason:  I'm not done with it yet.  I'm working on it, but I don't know when I'll finish.  I've told this to folks, but otherwise I've stayed mum on the book.  That practice is, unsurprisingly, more than a little frustrating to many people.  I've explained before why I try to avoid talking about works in progress, but I also don't mean to be annoying by doing so.

After much thought, I've decided to leak one little tidbit about the next book:  its title.  Though I don't know when I will complete the novel, I do know its name:

All the Worlds Against Us

No, I did not miss an apostrophe; I really mean all the worlds of my future. 

I will also say that the title is rather more true than Jon & Lobo would like.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Zombie fight and bomb shrapnel claim part of writer's tooth

Despite the timestamp on this post, I'm writing it about five in the morning Friday night/Saturday morning.  (I refuse to acknowledge the new day is here until I've gone to sleep and then awakened in that day, so to me this is still Friday.)  I discovered a couple of hours ago that a big chunk of the side of my top left rearmost molar (the only tooth behind it is my wisdom tooth) is missing.  This tooth is one of the few I have that contains a filling, so I suppose that's part of the problem, but I was at the dentist just last month and the check-up didn't reveal any cavities.  To be fair to them, we didn't do x-rays--my fault due to a terrible gag reflex--but, still.

I fly to San Francisco Sunday morning and don't return until Friday night, so my first shot at an appointment with my dentist is a week from Monday.  I fly out again two days after that, so my window of opportunity is small.

The remaining chunk of tooth doesn't hurt, but from what little research I've done, it's probably not great to leave the tooth untended for long.

This sucks.

As life problems go, of course, it's relatively minor, so I won't complain further, but it certainly is annoying. 

It's also annoying that I have no great story to go with it.  Had I been in a fight to protect a young anime-eyed child from a mob of brain-hungry zombies or racing at high speed in my Tesla to drive a fully armed bomb far enough away from a crowded urban center that no one would be hurt and then lost the tooth to a piece of shrapnel, that would be at least interesting.

Instead, sometime today I bit something hard and lost a bit of tooth, and I didn't notice it until the wee hours.

I think I'll just go with the bomb or the zombies and hope folks buy it.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A video series worth watching (and I'm in it)

A while ago, the Space Frontier Foundation enlisted the help of Dr. Kiki Sanford to create a short video series about the influence of Robert A. Heinlein on writers and technologists.  Jonathan Card, the Executive Director of the Space Frontier Foundation, helped pull together the folks involved and create the videos.  Baen Books, my publisher, was a sponsor.  The series appears on the 25th anniversary of Heinlein's death. 

The result is a series of three videos that you can find on YouTube.  You can also click below to watch the first one. 

In the series, Kiki interviewed three people:  Peter Diamandis, entrepreneur and author; Art Dula, trustee of the Heinlein Prize Trust and literary executor of Heinlein's literary estate; and me. 

My interview was the first to appear, so I'm embedding it here.  Fair warning:  I did it via a laptop's webcam while sitting in a temporary office at PT, so it's a bit stark, and I had to limit my movement quite a bit to stay on camera. 

Kiki was a great interviewer, smart and fun and very well prepared.  I enjoyed talking with her.  I hope you also find the conversation interesting. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

More PT sabbatical goodness

In an earlier post, I talked about employees at my company, Principled Technologies, using part of their sabbatical time to do good in the world.  I mentioned in that post that we were making a series of videos about their charitable activities.  The second of those videos is now available. 

I hope you enjoy it.

I should also note again that PT is giving the charity in each of these videos the right to use that video to help promote the good work they're doing. 

I'm very proud of what these PT employees have done, and I'm proud to be part of a company that actively pursues doing good in the world.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Frederik Pohl, R.I.P.

Fred Pohl died yesterday.  I learned about it online while on a plane home from the WorldCon.  With his passing, our field has again lost one of its giants.  He was also one of the last of the first generation of great SF writers: his first publication appeared in the thirties, and his most recent in 2011. 

If you haven't read his fiction, you owe it to yourself to check out such wonderful works as The Space Merchants, a collaboration with C.M. Kornbluth from 1953, Man Plus, and Gateway, to name but a few. 

I did not know Fred Pohl.  I met him once, at my very first science fiction convention.  He was a guest, and a fan friend introduced us.  He wouldn't remember me, of course; I was just another nervous fan.  I mumbled a few words about wanting to be a writer, and he smiled and told me to get to it.  There really is no better writing advice. 

We are poorer for his passing.

Monday, September 2, 2013

On the road again: WorldCon, San Antonio, day 5

Today was about as perfect a travel day as I could hope to have. 

My first flight wasn't until mid-afternoon, so I was able to sleep late and catch up on work before heading for the airport.  The cabbie didn't have much English, but it was good enough to find the right terminal at the San Antonio airport. 

Waiting for me there were first-class upgrades for both flights, so I passed them in comfort.

My layover in DFW was just long enough to allow not only the usual shuttle ride between terminals but also a quick walk to the nearest Red Mango for their delicious parfait.  Red Mango makes every day a little bit better!

Bandwidth on both flights was slow but adequate for me to work, though just barely.  Still, that's nothing to complain about, and I was grateful to have it.

The flight home even arrived a hair early--and my checked bag appeared on time!

As I said, a truly good travel day.

The only flaw in the day was the sadness I, and, I suspect, most SF fans, felt at the news of Fred Pohl's death.  More on that loss tomorrow.

Tomorrow, I resume normal life for the five days until the next trip!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

On the road again: WorldCon, San Antonio, day 4

My noon first panel, despite what most would consider to be its more than humane hour, managed to sneak up on me a bit.  The topic, "The Rapture of the Geeks," afforded plenty of room for discussion, and we ranged far and wide on the resulting intellectual turf.  From practicalities to computing requirements to ethical considerations, we left no key topic untouched--and all in an hour.  The conversation lacked depth, as it inevitably had to do given the breadth of the issues we tackled, but it kept both the audience and the panelists interested.

A little lunch, a little work, some time in the con chatting with friends and attending panels, and then I headed for my second panel of the day.  The topic was philosophy and science fiction, but we ended up talking about pretty much anything even tangentially related to that topic that interested the panelists or the questioners in the audience.  A few folks bailed early, but more replaced them, and we ended with a full house.

Evening brought the annual gathering of the SF clan to honor its own, the Hugo Awards ceremony.  I've been attending WorldCons since the 1978 event in Phoenix, and I've missed only a handful.  I've sat in the audience at the Hugos at every one of the WorldCons I was at, and at every single one I've left with a complex, roiling mass of feelings. 

On the one hand, I'm happy for the winners and glad to be part of this community.  I love its silly rituals and its bits of pomp, its Big Heart award and its tributes to those who have died.  I am always happy to be there.

On the other hand, I'm saddened by never even having been nominated.  As I grow older, and as my own mortality stands ever larger in my vision, I'm having trouble avoiding the fact that it's past time to accept that I will probably never be nominated, much less win.  I remind myself repeatedly that the only reason to write is because I must, and that all I can do is produce the best work I can, but sometimes awards and other distractions are hard to handle.  I have to assume all the other artists and writers encounter similar feelings. 

Despite those complex feelings, I am genuinely happy for the award winners and sincerely glad that I got to see another Hugo ceremony.  I hope to watch many, many more.


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