Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow…

This blog and the writing project that goes with it have languished for too long.

It’s time to fix that.

Be warned: Talie Tappler is watching you...

Be warned: Talie Tappler is watching you…

I’m currently in the process of rewriting and reediting all the stories in the Tomorrow News Network series. There will be a relaunch, coming soon.

In the meantime, I’m taking the stories down from this website. I do not make this choice lightly, but I believe it is the best thing I can do for the series.

Over the next few months, this blog will document my journey through the revision process. The plan (fingers crossed) is to republish the Tomorrow News Network stories in ebook form. This will be an entirely new experience for me, and I’m more than a bit nervous.

... and Mr. Cognis is recording your every move.

… and Mr. Cognis is recording your every move.

Stay tuned for updates on my progress. Hopefully I won’t go down in flames, as so many of Talie and Cognis’s victims—I mean, interview subjects—have done.

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Do You Need an Agent?

IndieLife7

Today’s post is part of Indie Life, a blog hop hosted by the Indelibles.  Click here to see a full list of participating blogs.

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Two weekends ago, I attended the GLVWG (that’s Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group) conference in Allentown, Pennsylvania.  I’ve gone several years in a row now, and I always have a good time, meet a lot of fun people, and make a few new contacts in the publishing world.  If you’re a writer living in the northeastern US, you should consider attending (click here for more info).

Over the last two or three years, I’ve noticed a change in the way agents, editors, and presenters at the conference talk about indie authors.  For one thing, they call us indie authors now, not self-published or vanity-published authors.  For another, agents (some of them, at least) seem defensive about their role in the publishing business, as though they fear they’re about to lose their jobs.

But this year was different.  The agents still used the term indie author and still said it’s the wave of the future, but they didn’t seem so worried about their own futures.  Emily Keyes of the L. Perkins Agency claimed that independent authors who have agents tend to make more money than those without agents.  Sara D’Emic of Talcott Notch Literary Services explained that navigating all the issues of contracts and rights and fair use can get complicated, and at some point successful indie authors need help.  While talking about how authors can now take direct control of their careers, keynote speaker Jane Friedman referred to agents and the big six publishers as our “partners.”

So is this true?  Have agents and even the major publishing houses finally found their role in the brave, new world of independent publishing?  Are they no longer gatekeepers but our partners?  I’d love to hear from any indie authors who have agents or who have been published by a traditional publisher.

What is Science Fiction?

I’m currently hard at work on the next Tomorrow News Network story, which I hope to complete in early April.  In the meantime, here’s an old post from my first blog which I think you’ll enjoy.

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Although we’ve all seen science fiction movies or read science fiction books, although we all know about Darth Vader, the USS Enterprise, and the number 42, no one seems entirely sure what science fiction is.  What’s the definition?  What determines that this story is Sci-Fi and this one is not?

Some say science fiction must have some scientific fact at its core.  If you take that fact out and the story falls apart, then it’s science fiction.  However, this definition might include many stories we don’t think of as Sci-Fi.  Many action thrillers involve nuclear weapons, many mysteries use forensic science, and you could even argue most romances depend heavily on biology.

Another definition says science fiction is no different than fantasy except in science fiction the “magic” must have a scientific explanation.  However, this runs into problems when the scientific explanation is not consistent with real science.  Many Sci-Fi purists argue that Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and so forth are not science fiction because of alleged inaccuracies.  They say these stories belong in a new category called “science fantasy.”

I prefer to describe science fiction as anything that depends on a fictional science.  It’s pithy, but it works.  Star Trek has the fictional sciences of warp drive and transporter beams.  Dune has the fictional science of planetology.  The Hitchhiker’s Guide has the fictional science of the number 42.  Nuclear weapons, forensics, and biology are all real sciences, so thrillers, mysteries, and romances can’t sneak into the Sci-Fi section under my definition, and we don’t have to create a whole new genre for the less-than-perfect depictions of science in Star Trek and Star Wars.

Obviously this ongoing debate doesn’t end here.  What do you think science fiction is?  Do you like any of the definitions here, or is there another you prefer?

2013 and Beyond!

This is New Year’s Eve, so it’s a good time to think about the future.  Here are some of my predictions for what we might see in 2013 or at least sometime in the near future.

1.            In 2012, scientists announced they’d discovered a planet in Alpha Centauri, the nearest neighboring star system.  Where there’s one planet, there will probably be more.  I don’t expect to ever see a human being travel to one of those planets, but someone will soon try to send a message to Alpha Centauri.  If anyone is living there, we could get a reply in less than eleven years!

2.            The Curiosity rover is currently exploring the surface of Mars, searching for evidence of life.  The rover has already made a few interesting discoveries, but nothing to prove the Red Planet supports life now or ever did in its history.  However, I predict we will find that Mars once supported life.  We may even discover some form of bacteria still living there.

3.            Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, keeps teasing us with hints that his company will start building a colony on Mars in the next 20 years or so.  He’s talking about transporting thousands of people there.  I doubt that will happen (at least in my lifetime), but at some point human beings will land on Mars.  I don’t expect to be one of them, but I do think I’ll live to see it happen.

4.            Modern physics has two major, competing theories: Einstein’s theory of relativity versus the confusing rules of quantum mechanics.  Relativity is true on the large scales of stars and planets and galaxies, but quantum mechanics–nonsensical as it seems–is true for atoms and molecules and subatomic particles.  Scientists have been banging their heads against a wall for decades trying to make these two theories fit.  They won’t get it done in 2013.  They won’t get it done in 2014 either, but at some point they’ll figure it out.  It’ll take decades, but they’ll do it.  And when they do, I predict only a small handful of physicists will understand it.

5.            There’s one thing I can guarantee will happen in 2013: more Tomorrow News Network short stories.  There will be dinosaurs, Martian bacteria, and one or two dangerous time travel paradoxes.  Also, the stories from 2012 will soon be available in ebook form, so stay tuned to hear more about that.

So what do you expect to happen in 2013 or the near future?

Talie Tappler Gets Interviewed

Time traveling journalist Talie Tappler is usually the one interviewing people, but today she’s the one being interviewed.  The blog Reality Skimming does a regular feature called “Continuing Characters” where they interview a recurring character from a fantasy or science fiction series.  They usually ask the author a few questions too.

See what Talie has to say for herself at Reality Skimming by clicking here.