Great Galactic Couples

11954241201556281584tomas_arad_heart.svg.thumbAs I approach the most important scene in revision, the moment my two lovers meet for the first time, I’ve been thinking about my favorite SFR novels. They span decades, their styles are different, their characters unique, but they all have one thing in common. L.O.V.E. At first sight. Pretty much.

In preparation for this scene, I read through my male character sketch and I found the following:

“Who can explain the nature of attraction? The philosophers promise it is a gift of mystery, the devotees preach it is the will of the gods, the cynics sneer it is an accident of timing. Until Naomi appeared in my life, I never thought about these questions. Now I cannot stop asking them.”

So, here are a couple of early SFRs that explore the nature of attraction. If you haven’t read them, you’ll find they stand the test of time.

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman51JF1gGjMgL._AA160_

Written in the early 1970s , The Forever War is an evolution of Starship Troopers, without Heinlein’s not-so-thinly veiled sexism. Haldeman’s love story is military science fiction set in a grim universe, but his draftee characters, William Mandella and Marygay Potter manage to triumph over the ruthless barriers of time and space. Haldeman’s irony and humor make this a true classic.

 

Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold

51eiH-Rv2oL._AA160_On a routine survey mission astrocartographer Captain Cordelia Naismith is taken prisoner by Lord Aral Vorkosigan, leader of a merciless expeditionary force. In spite of  their strongly opposing politics  and profound culture clash, Aral  is immediately intrigued with his serene and wise captive. And the feeling is mutual.Cordelia’s compassion and intelligence tempers Aral’s hunger for power and tormented nature seamlessly.  Bujold frames their unlikely romance with her truly remarkable world-building.

So, you tell me. What inspires attraction? Who are your favorite galactic couples?

 

Check out TaylorGraceauthor.wordpress.com for the 5 Books I re-read over and over.   Thanks for the inspiration for this blog, Taylor.

Also, J. C. Conway.com has a wonderful post about what happens when we fall in love – Love Science. Amazing stuff!

Book images: Amazon

 

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Seeing Stars

The Super Moon is visible tonight. I don’t usually repost a past blog, but I think it’s important that we keep looking up before our civilization’s relentless dazzle obscures the heavens.  The photo below is what I wish I’d seen that week before Christmas, 2010.

Rocky Mountains Indian Peaks Milky Way Rising

I was lucky. The Friday night before Christmas, I saw the Milky Way.

Photographer friends of mine would say I did not really SEE it because of light pollution However, from my son-in-law’s windswept driveway, I was able to see enough of our covering blanket of stars to know it is still twinkling above us.

Two thirds of the population of the western world has never seen the Milky Way. Light pollution is so rampant over the Earth, creeping into the night like a brilliant rash, covering the East and West Coast of America, Europe and parts of South America, that I feel privileged to catch a glimpse of our stars.

From Rick’s desolate yard in rural Colorado, I looked to the northwestern sky, let my eyes adjust (in the dark your pupils open like giant telescopes), and I watched as as a veil of stars rose overhead and twisted down to the southeast horizon. Layers of light pulsed toward me, from the palest  background of the farthest star fields to a lace net of sharp pinpoints of night shine. The beauty is so profound, so unchanging, standing under its arch is a connection with creation. Although the Milky Way’s light was generated billions of years ago and is just now reaching us, it looked the same to primitive man as it does to us now.

The stars steady me.  They appear in their season New Year after New Year. Long after I’m gone some yet-to-be-born woman will stand here, and she’ll be comforted by the stars. She’ll wonder how long the stars have been here and how long they will shine. And, if I could, I’d l tell her they will guard her forever.

 

Photo credit: Striking Photography by Bo Insogna /Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

 

Volatile Vortex

1194986475730032167air_stefan_bazelkov_01.svg.thumbV- After tonight, only four days to go! A to Z is a much needed exercise in discipline for me. I’m ready to start working on my new novel, thanks to this writing extravaganza.

I am an IT foot soldier on the front lines at a local community college. My coworkers, IT folks and professors, make sure computers remain our servants and not the other way around. We have two weeks left until semester end, and everyone is looking forward to the summer off. There is, however, an undercurrent of unease. For about two years now, software has evolved with pandemic speed and the hurtling vortex  of change finally caught up with us. Can we keep up? Will we wash up on the shore of progress, like some digital flotsam and jetsam? I’m not talking about changes to  the software, I’m talking about more and more new software, changes in the popularity of software and the looming power of the Cloud. These changes have profound effects on higher education.

And, to make it worse, the major software (Adobe CS6) we use in our classes has increased in price from $5,000 to $20,000 a year.12284211311154772712sheikh_tuhin_Label_Icon_svg_thumb Yes, you read that right. All the other softwares cost more now, a lot more. There may be a grassroots revolution brewing in freeware, but that’s a conversation for another blog.

These events make me wonder – how much new information can the human mind absorb before it balks? How many changes, adjustments, and slicker and better software can we afford? And, is this multitude of bells and whistles necessary to teach students the basics?

We’ll keep it current and cool with iMacs and Cintiqs but, really, how much fantastic new software is too much?

Writing Event Horizon

In general relativity an event horizon is a boundary in spacetime beyond which events cannot affect an outside observer. In layman’s terms it is “the point of no return” i.e. the point at which the gravitational pull becomes so great as to make escape impossible.1257596738438424553ywuwth-md

I’m approaching the event horizon of this project. My novel is almost done. Now, I’m being pulled by the gravity of completion toward the black hole of writing my query letter – the letter in which you write more brilliantly than you ever have in your life.

In the time it took me to write this novel I have figured out some important things:

1 – Finally, I can describe my novel in thirty words or less.

2 – After countless battles, I made Word 2007 my friend, sort of. I know how to replace words using edit, I have every chapter typed to the best of my ability, and I understand how to compile the entire novel into a continuous flow of numbered pages.

3 – At this moment, I have an outline of my query letter and a draft of the synopsis.

4 – And, most important of all – I am not, nor will I ever be, a proficient typist.

So, the big question is: who in hell is going to type this manuscript for me?  This is not a favor you can ask of your friend the office assistant at work. Not if you want to keep that friend.
So tell me. What are the going prices for manuscript typing? I know this is an expensive proposition, but will I have to mortgage the house?

How will you handle the typing issue when the time comes?

Chapter-20-to-end

Wonderful World of Recovery

Greetings from the wonderful world of recovery.

I’ve reached a tough chapter, and so I’m taking a break for an update. I’m over halfway through Lessons 18 and 19.

For those of you who unfamiliar with HTRYN, this means query letters will be shooting out by email mid-February.

This is a big deal and I’m excited. At the same time, I’m tired of revision. Anyone who’s done it will tell you, while it has its enjoyable parts, it’s mostly hard work. So, to amuse myself, I’ve started thinking about possibilities for my next project.

The first idea is a murder mystery that takes place in the mountains of Colorado. The hero, a local sheriff, pursues the killer through the northern front range of our beautiful state and into the contemporary wilderness of Wyoming-and back again. The second idea on the cooker is science-fiction, using two of my current characters. These characters are both soldiers of different ages and backgrounds who, when they meet, teach each other a lot about survival, honor, and love. However, neither one of the characters is human. I’m not sure if this is a plus or a minus to readers who don’t know these folks like I do.

So, now it’s your turn. What new projects are lurking in your future?

Backasswards

Lesson 17 DONE. Those of you who are doing How To Revise Your Novel know what this means. Months and months and months of hard work revising your first novel, the novel you wrote backasswards. This is the novel you picked through, struggled with, discussed with your family and fretted over for hours, days, forever. The beast is revised now. All that remains is style check, continuity, and my personal favorite – punctuation and spelling. Yes, there is still a lot to do. But, the story itself is written. I won’t say more tonight, I’m just too tired. I feel good about coming in only five days over my deadline. Deadlines do work. Thanks  to my husband, Rick,  my military advisor and biggest fan, to Lynette for setting my timeframe, and to Texanne for compassionate advice.

Next Page of the Electric Book

OK! I’ve had it. I went to Amazon with the intention of downloading an older novel from a favorite author. OMG. The PRICE. Amazon is quick to say the publishers are boosting these e-book prices. And, yes, authors should make money, but for an e-book this is ridiculous. I can still buy a used copy from an Amazon seller for half the price, if I want to wait for the mail.

And, yes, I’ve looked at the thousands of free or 99 cent fiction ebooks available.  I understand this sounds wimpy but, honestly, I don’t have time to mess with this overload of choices.

So, that brings me to my questions for you all.

What do you think of epublishing? Most of you are fiction writers, and some of you have epublished. Tell me why you chose the cyber path. Was it the difficulty of capturing a traditional agent? Or, did you just want your story out there, without waiting? Are there e-book only publishing houses that actually draw readers? Do you know something I don’t know?

Now, with the recent debate about John Locke and his 5 star review purchases, I have to wonder about the whole thing. Check out Holly Lisle’s website for more on this.

Lots of questions, lots of answers.

Let’s hear them.

Oh, yeah. Ok. I did buy download the book I wanted. The too impatient to wait on the mail bug has bitten me, too. How well those publishers know us!