Darkness Within

Darkness Within, the third book of Tales of the Associated Worlds, is now officially released, in both paperback and Kindle e-book formats. It can be obtained here:

Primarily set after the Core War, this book returns to the style of “Vignettes of the Star Empire”, with more nanofiction from the Associated Worlds, including some of the events following the war in “Aftershocks”, and the multi-part story “Darkness Within”.

[Buy now as an e-book for Amazon Kindle.]
[Buy now from Amazon.com.]

I hope you enjoy it.

The fourth book in the series, Unscheduled Reality Excursions, is currently planned for late 2020 or first half 2021.

Immortality Blues

“Every year, since I was old enough to read them, more books have been published than I can read in a year. My reading speed has increased many orders of magnitude in the millennia since then – I have a submind which does nothing but read, continuously – and yet the authors continue to not only outmatch my ability to read, but also my ability to keep the gap from opening still wider.

And yet there are people in the universe who claim that they would find immortality boring.

I do not think the problem lies where they think it lies.”

– Esitariel Cyprium-ith-Avalae, unpublished interview

Book #3!

It’s coming!

(I was initially planning to wait until I had a novel-length piece to publish, but a lot of nanofic has passed under the bridge since then, so a third collection it is. At least once the editing work is done – so you can consider this a pre-announcement, which should give anyone who isn’t a current patron but would like to take advantage of the free e-book-for-patrons offer time to subscribe appropriately.)

No title as yet: that will come out in the editing. Cover art, on the other hand, that is on its way, so there’s absolutely that to look forward to!


Trope-a-Day: No Paper Future

No Paper Future: Played mostly straight.  And there aren’t many data rods around either, except in specialist applications; ubiquitous wireless networking, and the slate (i.e., future-iPad-analog) replace them more or less completely for routine applications.  (And no, unlike Star Trek, no-one has a stack of slates on their desk.)  Of the paper documents that do exist, most of them are smart-paper that can electronically edit itself or become other documents or its own appendices.  Actual paper tends to be a mark of the very traditional on special occasions.

(Actual paper books are a little more common than random paper documents, but even they are collectors’ items.  That said, there are entire bound books made up internally of smart-paper, so you can keep a bookshelf in your house which can change to contain whatever books you need from your (bigger) e-book library essentially on-demand. [Incidentally, as an author’s note, you have no idea how much I want this technology.  Really.  You don’t.])

Money-wise, it’s similar.  While there is still metal coinage and paper money – well, plastic-silk money – around, virtually all transactions are done digitally across the data network.  The physical currency exists nearly exclusively for certain types of anonymous transaction, traditionalists, and eccentrics.


As an additional celebration of the release of my new book, the e-book of my first book, Vignettes of the Star Empire, will be on sale at $0.99 on Amazon.com for the next week (April 9 – April 16), a two-thirds discount. If you haven’t picked up a copy yet, this would be a great time to!

(A similar sale will be in effect on Amazon.co.uk from tomorrow through the 20th.)

The Core War and Other Stories

The Core War and Other Stories

I haz another book!

Which you can find for Amazon Kindle here, or in genuine paper form here, 98,000 words of short fiction and novella from the Associated Worlds for the modest prices of $4.99 e, $10.99 paper.

Please buy a copy! Buy several copies and give them to people! Or tell people to buy a copy for themselves – that works, too! (Plusses, reshares, retweets, and other such things of this post are also much appreciated.)

And if you don’t yet have a copy of my first book, Vignettes of the Star Empire, there will be some news tomorrow that may interest you…


Cover Art!

It is now, at last, time for the cover art for The Core War and Other Stories to be revealed (click through to see full-size version):

The Core War and Other Stories

Beautiful, isn’t it? Now, click through here for more on the artist’s site.

Art credits:

Drake-class frigate illustrated by William Black more of whose brilliant work can be seen here: http://william-black.deviantart.com/ .

Drake-class crest by Zeynep Dilli.

Background image of the Carina Nebula:

Credit for Hubble Image: NASA, ESA, N. Smith (University of California, Berkeley), and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA).
Credit for CTIO Image: N. Smith (University of California, Berkeley) and NOAO/AURA/NSF.

And So It Begins

…a short quieter-than-normal season.


That’s good news! Because it means that hundreds of pages of fiction are being pored over by myself and my lovely editor, so that we can bring you Tales of the Associated Worlds: Volume II! (In e-book and book forms, the former of which all Patreon patrons receive by virtue of their gracious patronage.)

But it will mean a brief slow-down in the rate of fic production here on the blog while we edit and format and say “argh, what about cover art? aaaargh!”, so please bear with me while that all gets done.

Book Recommendation

I made a book recommendation elsewhere today, concerning the problem of writing beings with senses or abilities or other things that we don’t have, and since for myself I think it’s a rather good recommendation, well, I’m going to make it here, too.

Specifically, Inside of a Dog, by Alexandra Horowitz.  It’s a fascinating examination of the canine umwelt – per von Uexkull – their subjective view of and interaction with the world, including the many differences in their sense perceptions.  I originally found it useful to help me think about the different mindset of the dar-bandal, the uplifted near-wolves of the Eldraeverse, but a good many of the concepts and ideas I picked up in there have helped me a lot with imagining the perceptions and internal view of much stranger creatures.

(After all, dogs and wolves are close cousins of ours, who may have different models of the traditional five senses, but still use those; it’s rather more challenging to try and imagine the perceptual world of the five-minded ice snakes that are the murast whose “vision” includes none of our visual-light spectrum, the seb!nt!at who perceive the world through nuclear force and magnetic domains, or the mezuar, who as sophont forests, don’t even have a similar sense of self-identity to ours!)

Highly recommended for both worldbuilders and those of everyone fortunate enough to have a dog in their lives.

Man is an Orc to Man

The problems with Flauríë Amanté’s latest novel, Twelve Rings and the Sky, can be summed up entirely by its opening passages:

The smoke from the burning city below rose to sting the eyes of the two struggling atop its tallest spire.  At the top of the narrow stairs, Eldin of Myr slipped on the blood-slick stonework – blood red as that of any beast with but little of the true indigo, for the defenders of Serranos had sold their lives dearly – sprawling on the roof as another of the Nighthand’s stunted oncemen, round-faced and lop-eared, lunged from the shadows of the stairs.

It would have been the end for the champion of Myr, had not the creature been struck down in the act of raising its blade by a bolt from Lady Qar’s clockbow, passing through the space where he had stood but moment’s before.  “Make haste!”, she called to him.  “The Eidolon casts off even now!”

Sigh.  This again?  It was original when Filír Estenv, inspired by bioarchaeological work then ongoing at the Lunar Library, first portrayed the shadowy minions of the evil overlord as short, ruddy, misshapen, beast-blooded creatures twisted by the Dark out of folk who resembled actual people in Princes of the Spire, but that was over a century ago.  Now, however, portraying “oncemen” using elements of the reconstructed form of Pseudoeldrae archaea admixed with goblin myths – if not the entire notion of moral corruption as biological corruption – is a cliché so hackneyed that more original antagonists are growing on it.

We suggest that Citizen Amanté find some.

Our Rating: 4/12 (Workmanlike if clichéd pulp fiction; good enough to pass slow time, but nothing too exciting or innovative here.)

– the Ethring Review of Books