January 2011 Archives

(No, that's not a really bad photoshop crop job! This HDR nighttime shot with creative illumination is brought to you in lieu of some actual content. Normal service will be resumed next week. Photo credit: Feòrag.)

Currently I'm in London, where I've just been meeting with my new editor at Orbit. More on this soon, and I hope to be able to announce the UK publication schedule for my next three novels (after "Rule 34") before long.

However, medical issues affecting a close family member are going to affect my public appearances over the next few months.

I will still be appearing as guest of honour at Boskone in February. I'll also be doing a reading at Housingworks in New York the following week with Jo Walton (Tuesday February 22nd).

Unfortunately, due to the vagaries of hospital timetables, I won't be able to travel in order to be guest of honour at DORT.con (Dortmund, April 9/10th) or Minicon (Minneapolis, April 24-26th). John Scalzi has kindly agreed to take my place at Minicon; I hope to be able to announce my replacement at DORT.con shortly.

UPDATE: DORT.con are pleased to announce that their new guest of honour will be Robert Charles Wilson.

Hopefully things will be back to normal by June. In the meantime, I'm not accepting any new public speaking or travel invitations.

I'd like to offer my most sincere apologies to the convention committees concerned, and to any con-goers who may have been hoping to see me. Alas, bad shit sometimes happens, and my first responsibility is to my family.

NB: (a) I am not the person who's ill, and (b) I want you to respect their privacy by not discussing their illness here.

UPDATE: This is obsolescent. Here's the constantly updated FAQ you are looking for.






Some folks seem to need this, so:

The Laundry series of stories and novels follows a chronological sequence (Bob's gradual rise through the ranks). The sequence so far is laid out below the fold.

Yesterday I nipped across to Glasgow to give a talk at Strathclyde University. I was hoping to be able to blog my script today (continuing thoughts on the subject of space colonization), but we really want to get a podcast up at the same time, and due to some technical issues with the recording this won't be ready until next week.

High points of the visit? Getting to see some rather neat 3D printers in action, and holding a satellite. (Unfortunately I turned it upside down for a better view, and the top fell off. Ah well, it was a non-flying prototype.)

Meanwhile I'm recovering from a couple of days of speaking prep, and playing catch-up on work (there's a Laundry novel to finish in the next two months). Things will be a little quiet around here for a while.

Freeman Dyson recounts an anecdote in his memoirs from the second world war, during which he worked as an analyst for RAF Bomber Command. Part of his job was to work out what parts of RAF heavy bombers were critically vulnerable to damage and needed extra armour. To do this, he and his colleagues examined aircraft that had returned to base after being badly damaged. They'd map out the areas that were most frequently holed ... and apply armour everywhere else. (The point being that, for a given chunk of airframe, if no bombers made it home with damage to that area, then damage to that area was very probably fatal.)

To identify the most lethal risks you must identify the situations where nobody has survived to deliver a warning ...

A while ago, I went dumpster-diving in Amazon for bad reviews of good books. As I'm still recovering from a winter chest bug, and consequently not up to anything cognitively challenging, I thought I'd share some more with you.

The methodology is simple: (a) Think of a famous book. (b) Look it up on Amazon.com. (c) Cherry-pick the one-star reader reviews. (d) Mockery ensues.

It's cruel, I know, but what can I say?

Let's start with "Sense and Sensibility" ...

So here's a tourist snap. As the man said, the best camera is the one you're carrying at the time; this was taken on a humble iPhone 4.

I haven't been blogging these past few days because I'm coughing like a dog — no, there's no fever: just a mild chest infection — and consequently I'm somewhat sleep-deprived. (Coughing every five minutes through the night will do that.) I'm also struggling with the edits on a novel. I'm sufficiently under the weather that I'm not even paying attention to the firehose of new product announcements coming out of CES.

I'm wishing someone would invent one of these for my blog. Then my work here would be done.

Nominations are open for the Nebula awards (if you're an SFWA member) and the Hugo awards (if you're a WSFS member -- attended worldcon in 2010 or are attending/supporting 2011). The former close in mid-February, the latter through March 26th (nomination forms here).

I feel the need to mention this because some of you may be tempted to nominate a short story of mine which is in fact not eligible.

The short story is "Bit Rot", published in Jonathan Strahan's anthology Engineering Infinity. It's an interstitial between "Saturn's Children" and my forthcoming (in 2013) sequel "Neptune's Brood". The reason it's not eligible is that the official publication date is January 3rd, 2011. However, Amazon have gotten this wrong and are listing it as December 28th, 2010.

So don't bother voting for it.

(Other than that, my only eligible works in 2010 are novels: "The Trade of Queens" and "The Fuller Memorandum".)

You can stop emailing me about it now. Please. It was old news back when The Register covered it back in January 2010; The Washington Post are very late to the buffet today, but the damn thing's been showing up in news articles for nearly two years now, and every time one of you sees it for the first time I get an email, typically titled "CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN".

Does anyone have any really obscure, weird, and batshit insane military projects to announce? Preferably ones that haven't been doing the rounds via the New York Times for eighteen months? Chinese atomic-powered supercavitating torpedoes and Russian new-build Ekranoplans particularly welcome.

Locus, the trade journal of the written SF field, is going online this year, with PDF and epub subscriptions available. And they're starting up a blog, and opening with daily entries from various writers talking about how they began. Here's my contribution.

Happy new year!

Specials

Merchandise

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This page is an archive of entries from January 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2010 is the previous archive.

February 2011 is the next archive.

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