Saturday, December 30, 2006

BSG—It's Everywhere

I finally decided to take a few minutes to switch my Blogger account over to the "new" Blogger, whatever that means. I was amused by their informational page, which explained the upgrade by comparing it to the difference between the old Battlestar Galactica, with Lorne Greene, and the new Battlestar Galactica, with Edward James Olmos. (Their link to the Wikipedia article on BSG then led me to squander an hour figuring out how to add information about the book series to the BSG article. So much for just taking a few minutes.)

I'm amazed at how thoroughly Galactica has permeated popular culture. I mean, it doesn't even play on a broadcast network. If it weren't for the recent move to free On Demand rebroadcasts, I wouldn't be seeing it on my own cable box. And yet, I frequently see references to it in print, it turns up in comic strips like Sheldon, and here it is, being used as a point of reference on Blogger. It's fun to be associated with it, even if the association is small. Last night we watched episodes 8 and 9 of the current season (boxing episode and food-crisis episode), which weren't at all bad, if not up to the level of the preceding 7. I've been asked not to give spoilers, and I won't, but I'll say that while there was great backstory in #8, I was less drawn in by the front story; and #9, about the food crisis, showed once again that they're better at writing stories about human drama (or melodrama) than they are at anything involving science. (Even so, it had a powerful ending.)

Speaking of Wikipedia, check out the new article on star rigging created by blog reader Kitty. (Kitty is a relative of mine, but I'll be danged if I can explain how we're related. Can you, Kitty?)

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Holiday Greetings, Everyone!

I hope all of you out there are enjoying your holidays. Hope you had a great Christmas, or Solstice, or Hanukah, or Kwanzaa, or whatever you celebrate. We had a wonderful Christmas here, with family and friends visiting. Which is just one reason I am, typically, offering Christmas greetings a few days after the fact. (I've hardly been online at all in the last few days, much less writing blog entries.)

One of my favorite comic strip discoveries of last year was Sheldon, which I started reading on, then subscribed to after it moved to its own web site. The last couple of days, Sheldon has been doing a riff on Battlestar Galactica, which has been very funny—and accurate. If you'd like to read it, start here and move forward. (Sheldon is the kid; the talking duck is Arthur.)

We're actually a few episodes behind in watching Galactica, so I don't know yet exactly what's happened in the mid-season cliffhanger (though I glimpsed a bit of it while recording from free On Demand on our Comcast cable). But in general the writing on the show this season has been superb—the best yet. I wish I could say that sales of the book have been equally superb, but it would be a lie. There have been various screwups in distribution, including a long delay in getting the mass market paperback listed on and into bookstores. (Borders still doesn't seem to be carrying it in most stores.) If you don't see it, by all means ask for it.

I feel a cold coming on (people around me have been dropping left and right with colds and flu), so this might be my last entry before the new year. If I don't see you before then, have a great one!



Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Water on Mars and a Cool Historical Link

In case you've been living on the Moon and haven't heard, they've found evidence of possible liquid water on Mars—water that flowed, not in the geologically recent past, but over the lifetime of one of our probes. If it proves out, that's just plain cool. Maybe next we'll find a Martian frog.

Also, a friend sent along this link, to a Flash display on the Maps of War web site showing all of the various empires that have controlled the Middle East over the last 5000 years (including a few I'd never heard of). It takes 90 seconds to play, and is well worth it.

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SUNBORN Is Still...(probably) SUNBORN

Okay, I didn't mean to not follow up for a week and a half, but I sort of crashed and burned after turning the book in. I still have some editing work to do on it, even before my editor comes to me with comments, but all the things I'd been putting off while finishing the book came rushing back at me.

Meanwhile, my editor and his assistants started saying they liked another title better. (After saying, all this time, "They're all good—just pick the one you want." Aaaiieee!) But I think we're holding firm. I ran it past some more writing colleagues, and they preferred Sunborn.

I've been doing stuff like rewriting dust-jacket copy and coming up with a sort-of synopsis of the first three Chaos books, for the benefit of new readers. That's a lot harder than you might think. It has to be short and enticing, and not a boring plot summary. It's probably a good thing that this came right after we talked in the SF writing workshop about writing good query letters, and the importance of keeping it short and not writing boring plot summaries. I needed a dose of my own advice, and it was helpful.

Meanwhile, I just got word that scheduling changes at Tor are forcing a delay in the pub date. Auugghhh! Now it's scheduled for winter of 2008, just a little over a year from now. The good news is that it'll allow more time for proper preparation, by which we mean getting (we hope) nice quotes from other writers, in time to get the sales and marketing people excited about the book. (You probably thought publishers put all of those quotes on books to entice you to buy them. That's partly true, but they do it even more to entice sales and marketing to get excited about the books.)

That about all I have on Sunborn right now. But I'll sign off with the news that wrestling season has just kicked off for my daughter, and she started off with a pin in her first meet. That's the way to start your senior year!

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Friday, December 01, 2006


Yes, I have decided to stick with the original title! And I have just five minutes ago emailed the completed manuscript to my editor. (Long, long sigh.) And now...I have been up all night, and I am going to bed. To bed, to bed, to bed....

More on all this later.

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