Flight of the Vajra: But Here's What It's Really About Dept.

The story isn't the pitch, but for readers, it often is.


Last night a friend mentioned he'd discussed Flight of the Vajra with someone at a geek meetup, although the lead-in was a bit oblique.

Other Person: "I don't read long stories as much as I used to."

Friend: "This book has a guy punching another guy in the brain with a city."

Other Person: " . . . what?"

Yes, this sorta-kinda does happen, but it's that the climax of the story, and it's far from being the most important thing that happens in it. But it's become something of a running-gag-explanation for my friend, who drops it in peoples' laps as a way to spark their curiosity about it. He also came up with a great one-liner to describe the book, one which never fails to turn heads: "A more responsible version of Tony Stark has to save the galaxy, and his elite strike team consists of a circus acrobat, the Dalai Lama, Commissioner Gordon, Seven of Nine, and David Bowie." (I'm putting that on cards and using them for my table pitch at the next con.)

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Tags: Flight of the Vajra publicity storytelling writing


Flight of the Vajra: The Crack In Everything Dept.

How I turned an intellectual failure into a creative success.


One of the better pieces of creative advice I've received is "Look for the cracks in things." Leonard Cohen has a couplet along those lines: there's a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in. But the right way to apply that advice eluded me for a long time.

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Tags: creativity Flight of the Vajra science fiction Science Fiction Repair Shop writing


Welcome to the Fold: You'll Ruin It For Everyone Dept.

Why I keep my work close to the chest until it's done, done, done.


One thing I've noticed about myself vs. other writers with a Web / social network presence is how much more explicit and candid many of them are about their work while it's still being produced. E.g., Twitter updates about word counts or editing status, or even posting the whole thing to their blog incrementally (my friend Scott Delahunt has been doing this with his Lethal Ladies and Subject 13 projects). I don't think these approaches are bad or wrong, just that I've found that they're not the approaches I prefer to take.

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Tags: criticism editing feedback Flight of the Vajra Welcome to the Fold writers writing


Science Fiction Repair Shop: On Whitewashing The Future Dept.

The best far-looking SF is always rooted in the conflicts of the moment -- especially the things we think we will someday outgrow.


Let the Future Be Whitewashed…Today! « The Hooded Utilitarian

... the reason that it is important to include diverse characters and diverse voices in speculative fiction would be because the assertion “we’re all in this together” is not, in fact, a pure, shining, unimpeachable truth, handed down by the gods of speculative fiction for our enlightenment. The statement “we’re all in this together” is, instead, an ideological presumption which is not supported by most of the extant facts.

I'd put it more this way: "we're all in this together" is a dormant truth, one which can emerge one of two ways: either as an evident fact of life, becuse we are all in fact in the same boat and pulling together; or as a grim specter, in which the connectivity of each to all is expressed despite this and not because of it.

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Tags: Flight of the Vajra futurism science fiction Science Fiction Repair Shop


Welcome to the Fold: Lead, Follow, Or Get A Life Dept.

On "I don't want to have to follow an artist that I have to lead."


T Bone Burnett vs. Silicon Valley: 'We Should Go Up There With Pitchforks and Torches' (Q&A)

People tend to want artists to do the same thing, and it is incumbent upon artists to do something that the audience doesn't want — yet. I'll tell you this. I won't follow an artist who will be led by his audience. Because I don't want to have to follow an artist that I have to lead.

The comments about Silicon Valley aside (I use and make a living off this technology, but I see more and more every day why many creative people are embittered about it, but that's another essay), it was this comment — courtesy of Marc McKenzie, hat tip — which caught my attention.

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Tags: creativity creators imagination


Science Fiction Repair Shop: Yesterday's Tomorrow, Today! Dept.

E.W. Dijkstra Archive: On the cruelty of really teaching computing science (EWD 1036) The usual way in which we plan today for tomorrow is in yesterday's vocabulary. We do so, because we try to get away with the concepts we...


E.W. Dijkstra Archive: On the cruelty of really teaching computing science (EWD 1036)

The usual way in which we plan today for tomorrow is in yesterday's vocabulary. We do so, because we try to get away with the concepts we are familiar with and that have acquired their meanings in our past experience.

This insight is a big part of why I'm convinced most any attempt to talk about "the future", especially in SF, is always going to be some form of talking about the here and now. When I wrote Flight of the Vajra I didn't really think the future I was imagining was the future we were going to have, or even a future we were likely to inhabit. It was a future, one I used more as a way to muse about where we're headed or even where we are right now. Such is the way of skiffy.

What I don't think we should ever do, though, is settle for only that. Today's tomorrow shouldn't look like yesterday's tomorrow if we can help it.

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Tags: futurism Science Fiction Repair Shop


Flight of the Vajra: Thumbs Way Up Dept.

It's nice to be well-reviewed.


Sometime fan and old net-friend Robert Beveridge (he loved The Four-Day Weekend) had some fine things to say about Flight of the Vajra.

He also spotted a few goofs. They're being fixed, I swear.

But really, I couldn't have asked for a better review.


Tags: Flight of the Vajra Genji Press reviews (of my books)


Flight of the Vajra: Interview: Claude & Monet

The folks at the webcomic Claude & Monet -- one of them being my Muse Hack cohort Rob Barba -- have published an interview with yours truly. Subject: Flight of the Vajra, of course.


The folks at the webcomic Claude & Monet — one of them being my Muse Hack cohort Rob Barba — have published an interview with yours truly. Subject: Flight of the Vajra, of course.


Tags: Flight of the Vajra Genji Press interviews science fiction


Flight of the Vajra: Taking Flight Dept.

"Vajra" spreads its wings at last.


Flight of the Vajra is now available in paperback and in the Kindle store. It's been well worth the wait, I think.

I'll be adding other formats gradually, but these are the big two that matter for now. I also have a CreateSpace/Kindle exclusive on the book for 90 days, as a way to take advantage of some promotions that are being offered, but once that's up I'll look into Smashwords, etc.


Tags: Flight of the Vajra Genji Press publishing


Science Fiction Repair Shop: SF > Tech + Soapbox Dept.

On hard sci-fi being more than just techno-porn interlarded with politics.


A post worth sharing in toto (I hope Tim doesn't mind):

What is Hard SF? | Where Worlds Collide

My somewhat satirrical definition of Hard Science Fiction is “Anything that reads like a cross between an engineering textbook and a right-libertarian tract”. This might be one cause of the sexism in the SF world, in that few women are interested in writing that kind of stuff; they insist on having things like three-dimensional characters.

That was something that turned me off consistently with most of the "new hard SF" I kept coming across: it was a race between the techno-porn or the politico-porn to see which would constitute the bigger audience endurance test.

Now that I think about it, though, those two things seem to come joined at the head for a reason. The latter is the theory and the former is the practice.

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Tags: science science fiction Science Fiction Repair Shop


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