Friday, May 29, 2009

Nice Review Makes the Author's Whole Morning

Looking Glass hasn't generated a lot of reviews lately. It's far from a new book. Interestingly, though, the free/low cost ebook program seems to be garnering it some attention. First came this one, from a blog called "Books on the Knob", in which the blogger mentions FPP's $.99 Kindle books, mine included. So I don't know if the new interest in Looking Glass this generated caused blogger BonnieBelle to do this nice review on her blog, "A Working Title" or not, but whatever the reason, I'm grateful for such a nice review.


Friday, May 22, 2009

State of the Author Address

For those of you not following the comments to "Stem cell targeting with magnets", regular commenter John Foberg was asking when my next book is coming out. I thought I'd address that with (what was supposed to be) a short posting.

Einstein's Blues,
I have two more novels in the pipeline right now. One, tentatively titled Einstein's Blues, is a completely new direction for me. It's space opera, basically, although I give more than a passing nod to real world physics in it. Consider if you will, the life of a band leader for a traveling show on permanent tour in interstellar space without the benefit of faster than light travel. Einstein's Blues. You can get there from here, but because of time dilation, you can never go home. This novel is about half finished. It needs a lot of work, but I'm happy with the characters and the general flow of the story. It's likely to wind up very different from my previous work, though. The level of action is much lower.

Truth be Told
The other, tentatively titled Truth be Told is the third novel in the LookingGlass world. It's set in the UCSA, and is shaping up to be a cyberpunk mystery story, told by Detective Harlan Lewis. This story is much more in flux, as the 2008 Nanowrimo draft doesn't really work for me. No guarantees that Harlan will survive into the final draft, or that he'll continue to be the main/narrating character. I have a cloud of ideas for this story, and the existing draft taps very few of them, so it will be changing, and drastically.

Vox Humana
I have yet another novel in mind. I'm going to tentatively title this one Vox Humana, although it will almost certainly get renamed before I'm done. If I go ahead and write it, it will be the fourth and almost certainly last book of the LookingGlass world, as current events are rapidly closing in on the history of the LookingGlass world, and certain trends that seemed plausible in 2004 when I wrote LookingGlass are losing steam rapidly now in 2009, and I really don't want to break continuity or go revisionist on you. Nevertheless, Vox Humana persists in my mind as an idea.

Set your wayback machine to 1991, while I was in Ft. Collins, Colorado, in grad school, and the United States was embroiled in the first Iraq war - Desert Shield/Desert Storm. (For those too young to remember, see this wikipedia article. :) There I was, sitting in my rented room, thinking about how very bad it could get if there was a protracted, possibly nuclear war in the oil fields of the Middle East. Recall that at the time, gasoline was about $1.15/gallon. Expensive - about $1.44/gallon in 2009 dollars. (Data from here, as heaven knows I don't remember.)

So I set out to write a cyberpunk story set in a world where petroleum was too expensive to burn, and also set in the West where I was. Let's just say there were horses in it. But there was also a nuclear powered transcontinental train. The United States was gone, having been broken into several smaller countries and Canadian provinces. The net was utterly pervasive in people's lives, and it rather than close proximity in cities, allowed humans to maintain the synergy of minds that makes civilization possible. Does any of this sound familiar? It should. It was this novel that the LookingGlass world really was born to host.

Unfortunately, I got sidetracked, as young men often do, by chasing girls, class work, and by the first Gulf War's rather startling brevity. (Amazing what a conventional military can accomplish against another conventional military with a few hundred-billion dollars, one of history's great generals, and clearly defined goals.) That story went by the wayside, and I ultimately move to California to pursue my career in high tech, and marry one of the aforementioned girls I'd been chasing. :)

I have about a dozen pages of that 1991 novel - a couple scenes, lots of ideas that I cannibalized later for other projects, including Looking Glass.

So what is Vox Humana about? Well, the pieces I have are about a private investigator named Kimble McGee. Remember him? (Irreconcilable Differences - he's a supporting character. He's named after a grad-school friend of mine's roommate's cat.) Kim is in his 30s (which seemed like middle age to me then), and contracting police work out in a small town in Wyoming. The first scene of the novel has him encountering a really, really messy corpse and claiming the case to work on. The other scene I have introduces the other main character, a molecular cyborg named gloves. An engineered person, Gloves doesn't speak, is enormously strong and fast, has internal weapons, and is called an LMX, which stood for something, I'm sure. When we first meet her, she's climbing the side of a building and breaking in. And that's all I have of the story. The pages and pages of notes that went with those two scenes are long since lost, but I remembered enough and had enough notes from a later project that when it came time to knock out the first draft of Looking Glass in a month, I knew I had a good world to tell the story in.

Ebooks and webcomics, oh my!
So that's where I am. One new universe and one, possibly two more installments in the Looking Glass world. Two novels in draft, and one still in the idea phase. And at the moment, I'm working as Flying Pen Press' ebook editor, so I'm busy turning their back catalog into ebooks, particularly for the Amazon Kindle, so I haven't been actively working on any of those projects. There is also a project afoot wherein I'll be turning one of my novels into the script for a webcomic, so watch this space. I'll certainly crow about it if that project comes to fruition :)


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