Friday, November 19, 2010

Military Sci Fi

I posted earlier that my current WIP was a Military Science Fiction story. One of the things an author must do when writing genre fiction is to respect the conventions of the genre. By this I mean that people who read a certain genre have expectations. If you are reading a gothic romance novel you need a certain setting (preferably a moor) a strong male lead (preferably a brooding sort) and a plucky female (it wouldn't hurt if she were a bookish sort that could give way to her passions). You don't want to write such a book that violates the conventions of the genre unknowingly. You can bend the rules, be iconoclastic, but it's better if you know what your doing wrong rather than just stumble along. As I have said before, I don't feel constrained, but at the same time I try not to be blatant (like calling Twilight 'Horror' fiction- argghhh!)

For this reason I thought to have a look at some of the premier Military Scifi out there and I came away with this short list (if you think I've missed one please speak up).

1. Starship Troopers, Heinlein (Clearly the all time best of the genre-read it loved, still love it)
2. The Forever War (a Vietnam ere anti-warish sort, but great)
3. Old Man's War, Scalzi (I've read the third in the series and wasn't blown away- good but not terribly realistic from a military perspective)
4. Anvil of the Stars, Bear
5. Exultant, Destiny's Children, Baxter
6. The Kinsman Saga, Bova (Have this to read but haven't yet)
7. The Man-Kzin Wars, Niven (Inspired a whole slew of books, and made it into the star trek cartoons of the 70s- read a few, liked them but not very militarily strong)
8. Armor, Steakly
9. A Hymn Before Battle, Ringo (Read it, liked it, Ringo's first novel, clearly written from the perspective of a junior NCO-even though the Main character is a junior officer, but these are the young men that fight our nation's wars)

What do you think? Have I missed a good one?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"Succumbing to Gravity" is a riveting read that will be hard to put down.

My Midwest Book Review review came in, and they liked it. About 20 book reviews down in the fiction review section [here]. They were also kind enough to five star me on their companion Amazon post.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Sacrifices of Automated Tabulation - Again

My Steampunk-ified story, The Sacrifices of Automated Tabulation is now out in the 'Cover of Darkness', a biannual digest [trade paperback-anthology] of darker fiction, by Sam's Dot publishing. Yay.

I've commented on the story before (it was first in Steampunk Tales).

My first second sale, and since it's a rewrite of a previous tale that I sold can I count this as a trifecta?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Three British authors and one not

I knocked out books by three British Author in quick succession.
The first was Ukridge by PG Wodehouse. If you haven't read any Wodehouse, you're missing out (if you like stuffy, dated British Humor- which I do). He is often held up as an example of how to write sympathetic characters, humor, timing. These books are antiques, but timeless.

The next was Agincourt by Bernard Cornwell. I've spoken of him before- he writes great Historic/Military fiction. This one was the fictionalized account of one of the most famous battles in history. A British force outnumbered ten to one (or so), prevails. I think some famous deadguy wrote a play about it.

The last was With One Lousy Free Packet of Seeds, by Lynn Truss. Truss is the author of the best selling 'Eats Shoots and Leaves', a cute little book about punctuation. The book was fine, a sort of Britsh Comedy of errors. When I picked it up I didn't realize it was an early 90s book, as her ESandL was quite recent.

After all this Britishness I had to cleanse my palate with a good old fashioned dose o SciFi. I read Scalzi's 'The Last Colony'. I went to my favorite used book store looking for Old Man's War, or Ghost Brigades, but neither was available, Stand alone it felt like I was missing somthing with this one (some books are like that, if you like the earlier books in the series you are 'on board' with the characters, but if you haven't you don't buy in so readily- this one was like that for me).