Saturday, February 28, 2015

Losing Leonard Nimoy Is Hard. Losing Spock Is Even Harder.

The passing of Leonard Nimoy at age 83 saddens me in much the same way that losing Neil Armstrong did, back in August of 2012. (Has it really been two and a half years?) Armstrong was a space pioneer. Nimoy created the role of a space-fiction pioneer. And both carved lasting places in my heart, and in my view of the world and the century I’ve lived in.

I never knew Nimoy personally, but I do feel that I know, and love, Spock. As a science fictionally literate teenager, my initial reaction to Star Trek in its original 1960s run was that the pointy ears and walled-off emotions were pretty cheesy and unoriginal. But Spock grew on me with time, as did all of the Trek characters. It wasn’t until years later, after countless viewings of the reruns, that I came to appreciate Nimoy’s acting, and to realize that it was Enterprise family I loved, more than any of the much-touted forward-thinking virtues of the show (though those were good, too). And at the heart of the family were Spock and Kirk, with Spock possibly at the heart of the heart. Later came the movies, and the death and rebirth of Spock, and that’s when he really came into his own as a character, and as a friend in my own mind.

We’ll always have Spock with us, of course. And in his own way, Leonard Nimoy will always be with us, even as he journeys now in the beyond. But we’ll never again get to see him play Spock in something new. And that, in a way, is what hurts the most.

Godspeed, Leonard Nimoy. Live long and prosper. And thanks for all that you’ve given us.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Beneath the Seas of Ernathe

In the latest bold stroke of my continuing campaign to take over the world, I have just released an all-new edition of my very first novel of the Star Rigger Universe, Seas of Ernathe. Eat your hearts out, Lee Child and George R.R. Martin!

Okay, I guess it’s not all new, in the sense that the words are the same, give or take a few corrections, as the book I wrote quite a few years ago. But the formatting is all new, far more attractive than the previous editions, and it boasts a gorgeous new cover by Chris Howard, whose other work you can sample here.

Seas of Ernathe was in fact my first venture into the novel form, though it tells a story set the farthest into the future of all of my Star Rigger stories. Whether that reflects my innate upside-down genius vision of the universe, or my essential backassward way of doing things, I leave to the reader to decide.

Here’s the short blurb:

"Starship rigging is a long-lost art. But the ocean world Ernathe may hold the key to its rediscovery, if a young star pilot can learn the ways of the mysterious sea people, the Nale’nid. A touching story of love and personal discovery, Seas of Ernathe takes us on a journey back toward the mode of star travel that once knit the galaxy together."

Kindle | Nook | iBooks

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Where All the Ladders Start

If you like private eye novels, and if you like near-future civilization-grinding-down novels, and if you like great characters and witty dialogue and sharp writing, why don’t you check out my friend Richard Bowker’s new book, Where All the Ladders Start. Because it has all that, and more.

I got to read this one in manuscript—actually, in several different drafts—and it’s really good. I understand it’s available now in both ebook and paper. Check it out!

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Yesterday...and Today

Yesterday I looked down from my third-floor office window and realized that the back side of our garage was just as heavily laden with snow as the side I’d laboriously cleared the other day. My camera arm wasn't long enough to show it, but here I am literally standing in snow up to my waist, in the backyard neighbor's yard, raking at the roof. The word roof-rake wasn't even in my vocabulary a year ago!

And let me tell you, that snow had hardened! I wish I had gone at it when it was fresh powder. But after I'd cleared it and stood inside the garage looking up at the old rafters, I thanked God that the structure was still standing.

Today the temperature is 37 degrees, and things are finally melting!

It’s gonna get cold again real soon. Subzero low predicted for Monday night. Some days I feel as if I’m living on one of those alien worlds I write about.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Glacier on the Garage Roof

What with all the warnings (and news reports) about roofs collapsing under the weight of all the snow we’ve received this month, I finally decided it was time to do something about this huge snow cap on our garage roof. It has compressed down and hardened over the last week or two—and they are predicting wet snow or “wintry mix” this weekend. That’s a lot of weight on aging timbers.

Armed with our new roof rake from Ace Is the Place, we set to work. First, I had to carve something resembling a path to a point in the back yard from which we could work. This meant using the snow blower to tunnel into the mountain ridge that walls the Valley of the Snowba. Good news! My new carburetor arrived from China yesterday, and the old Snowba  runs like a new machine now! Let’s hear it for Chinese manufacturing! (Actually, I spent about an hour trying to MacGyver a choke control, because the choke assembly on the new carb does not even remotely match the one on the old carb. Finally I gave up and tried starting it with no choke at all. It blasted off on the first pull!)

Anyway, here’s what it all looked like. I spent 2-3 hours out there, and let me tell you, I was ready for some brandy in my coffee when I got back inside.

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Cheap Books! Cheap Books!

It’s that time of the month again. If you’ve subscribed to (as I have so often exhorted you to do), you already know this: The Rapture Effect is on sale for a buck minus a penny, for a week and a day minus a day. Get it while you can!

The Rapture Effect was my first book after The Infinity Link, which I recently blabbed about. It’s about artificial intelligence and alien contact, two of my favorite themes, with overtones of music and dance. Oh, and an interstellar war. It has some great aliens, with names like Moramaharta and Dououraym. I think you’ll like it.

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

’Nother Day, ’Nother Foot o’ Snow

I’ll just let the pictures speak, instead of lifting all those heavy words.
Click any picture to biggify.

The sand worm passes

Dive! Dive!


A neighbor's collection of shovels

The Valley of the Snowba

To the left, there, you can see the top of the railing on our elevated deck. At this point, to clear a pathway on the deck, we have to heave the snow down into the valley, and then use the Snowba to hurl it further out. That's getting to be quite a throw.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

What Do You Mean There’s More Snow Coming?

I know I’m a good digger, but really.

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The Long and Winding Road of The Infinity Link

The Infinity Link, my fourth novel and my first biiig novel, is now available in an all-new ebook edition. The cover art is still the gorgeous David Mattingly painting that has been on every previous edition, from the Bluejay hardcover to the Tor paperback to the earlier E-reads ebook edition. But inside the cover, the ebook has gone through a complete reformatting and beautification, and I think it looks great. In the years since E-reads put out their edition, the tools for ebook formatting have improved dramatically, as have the reading devices themselves.

This 180,000 word novel started as a short story in my head, with just the main character and her plight (an impossible love, at the other end of a tachyon beam). It grew quickly into a longer story, and then a full novel. And then a big novel.

Funny thing about big (thick) novels: They seem to go in and out of style with remarkable speed. When the first paperback edition came out, the publisher lamented to me about the length. (I love your book. I just wish it weren’t so long. It’s hard to fit thick novels into book racks in drugstores and supermarkets, and even in bookstores you can’t get as many on the shelf.) To his credit, he didn’t ask me to change it; he just told me the facts of life as he saw them. Historical note: Back then, they actually sold SF books in drugstores and supermarkets, and those were very important parts of the marketplace.

A few years later, the same publisher reissued the paperback, with a different cover treatment (same art, but used differently), and they printed it on thicker paper, making the whole package thicker—yes, bigger and fatter. I never was given a reason for this, but could only conclude that that year, fat books were in.

Here’s the sales blurb:

Ancient alien travelers. Hopeless love. Astonishing encounter. Mozelle Moi’s life turns into a flight of fear and astounding discovery, as she becomes enmeshed in a secret government project to make first contact with visitors from the stars. Caught in a telepathic link with the Talenki voyagers, Mozy's personal odyssey will soon be entwined with the fate of all of Humanity.

Combining visionary scientific speculation with passionate human characters, The Infinity Link is an epic work of transcendent science fiction and an exploration into the very nature of humanity. From the Nebula-nominated author of Eternity’s End.


“A long, ambitious work, painted on a canvas as big as the solar system. The concept itself is even larger—the eventual linkup of various intelligent life forms of our galaxy, including humans, whales and several alien races.  Carver carefully sets up his story and develops it in a meticulous works very well.” —Publishers Weekly

“A complex, rich, and satisfying novel.” —Fantasy Review

There are more review quotes that you can read on the actual sale pages, if you want.

The Infinity Link debuts today at Book View Café, and is also available (or will  be shortly) wherever fine SF ebooks are sold!


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Monday, February 09, 2015

Buried By Snow on a Snowy Evening

My friend Rich Bowker has been posting a series of snow poems by actual poets. I thought I would add my own stanza to the ouvre.

Whose woods these are I think I know
His house is in the snowdrift though
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods swall’w’d up by snow.

—Robert Frosty

The ground is down there somewhere. Way down.

Another foot or so predicted tonight and tomorrow, after the foot or so we’ve had over the last couple of days. It’s getting really hard to pile it any higher.

Captain Jack's enjoying it.

Something interesting

My snow blower continues to work, off and on, coughing and sputtering. I believe it’s running way too rich on the bad carburetor (new one still en route from China), and after few hours it quits and I have to feed it a new spark plug because the old one is fouled with carbon. I only have so many new spark plugs on hand to feed it. (Like, that was my last.)

The bike path transformed

We will remember this winter, I think.

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Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Did We Think We Were Done With Snow?

It is to laugh. Today’s storm was, in some ways, more challenging than Blizzard Juno. We got about a foot and a half of snow, which was a good workout. The hard part was finding a place to put the stuff. It was pretty, though! And with the town-wide parking ban, we were happily free of all the commuters who usually park up and down our street and walk to the T.

I tried a Hail Mary pass on the snow blower, tweaking a couple of things in hopes of getting it running—and it started! And ran! It didn’t run well, exactly, but it ran well enough to do what I needed it to do. There was rejoicing all around. (My new carburetor is somewhere en route from China. Probably sunning itself on Guam.)

I took these pix after dark, and the flash flare against the still-falling snow was pretty intense. (Just like J.J. Abrams with lens flare in Star Trek: Into Darkness.) The first one came out pretty well as abstract art, I thought. But what I was really trying to get was the rising walls of snow, turning the walkways into deepening canyons.I like the blue light from the tree glowing off the snow ridge in the second one.


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