Red Tide by Larry Niven, Brad R. Torgersen, and Matthew J. Harrington

Red Tide

Available as the August 2014 Phoenix Pick Book of the Month (until the end of the month) for $4.99 for the eBook.

Preorder the paper version here. Ships on October 15.

Full disclosure: one of the authors of this book, Brad R. Torgersen, is one of my very best writing friends, and also one of my writing inspirations and mentors. I am not exactly neutral when it comes to his work. He’s a rising star, and I’m eagerly following his examples as I try to keep up with his success.

More full disclosure: someday, when he least expects it, I shall kick Brad in the shins for being the luckiest author on the planet.

When Mike Resnick (yet more full disclosure: also a friend, mentor, and all-around great guy — with an occasionally biting sense of humor) and the good folks at Arc Manor (and one final bit of full disclosure: they also publish Galaxy’s Edge magazine, which has published two of my stories) announced the Stellar Guild series, I loved the idea. They approach an established pro SF/fantasy author about writing half of a book, and then having an aspiring new pro (chosen by the established pro) write the other half of the book. The veteran and the new writer might write two stories in the same universe, or they might write two halves of a single story. It’s a great way to get some new fiction from the veteran and to discover a new writer. Win-win! And I wasn’t at all surprised to learn that Brad had been selected for the program. He’s that good. (Don’t believe me? Check out Lights in the Deep, his first short story collection. If these stories don’t move you, you are stone.) And I even wasn’t surprised when I learned Brad would be paired with Larry Niven, one of his idols.

But when I figured out that they would be working in the Jerryberry Jansen universe, I assumed my best angry Kirk face, and I shouted “BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADDDDD!!!!!” (Later I added “MATTHEWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!” when I learned that Niven is so awesome, they had to pair him with two new authors just to maintain the balance.)

The Jansen series — maybe better referred to as the teleportation series, since Jansen is only one of many protagonists — is to my mind the quintessential Larry Niven series. Niven’s signature technique is to take one speculative idea and then ruthlessly, logically follow wherever that idea leads, finding stories as he follows. This to me is science fiction perfection, an ideal that I aspire to in my own stories; and Larry Niven is a perfect master, and this series is where I first saw him in action. Where some stories just assume teleportation exists, Niven asks, “What would it do to society if teleportation existed? What would change? What social stresses might disappear? What new stresses might appear? What new crimes might arise?”

Niven started answering those questions in “Flash Crowd”, wherein a young “newstaper” (journalist), Barry Jerome “Jerryberry” Jansen, unintentionally incites a riot — simply by reporting a riot. (The rest is simply a logical consequence of teleportation.) He followed up with a number of other short stories in the same universe. It’s not as well-known as his Known Space universe, but I think it’s more accessible because it’s smaller and more focused.

This book begins with “Red Tide”, a longer, updated version of “Flash Crowd”. It is still very much the same story (I’ve read the original enough times to tell), but it’s… fresher. The technology and world have been updated in subtle ways to reflect how the world has changed in the 41 years since the story first appeared. Cell phones are now familiar to the modern reader, so of course the characters all have them. The internet and blogs are all old hat, so the story reflects these as part of its background. (I thought the discussion of what distinguished a newstaper from any random blogger with a cell phone camera was brilliant.) In so many subtle ways, this is now a story for the 2010′s, not the 1970′s.

But even more than that: the story is now better as an introduction to Jerryberry. There is now more depth to his background. Some casual references to teleportation’s impact on his father have been expanded into a complex relationship between Barry and his father. That helps explain what drives Barry as a newstaper, and it also explains Barry’s relationship with Robin Whyte, the inventor of teleportation and the other chief protagonist in the book. Over the course of these stories, Whyte becomes something of a surrogate father to Barry, and it makes sense given Barry’s background. (Still, if I have one complaint about this book, it’s that I wanted to see a resolution to Barry’s relation with his dad. Larry Niven, if you’re listening, maybe another story…)

Following “Red Tide” is another Niven short story: “Dial at Random”. This story steps back in time, where Robin Whyte and his team prepare to test their new, experimental long-distance teleport systems. Something goes wrong, and a teenage girl goes on a very unexpected tour. There’s humor and danger and a lot of logical extrapolation on how a teleport system works, and what that means. The only problem is it’s short, so I wanted more!

And Brad provided more! The third story in the book is Brad’s “Sparky the Dog”. (Forgive me, Brad, I keep wanting to say “Sparky the Wonder Dog”.) The story starts with a frame where Jansen visits near the end of Whyte’s life, and we get a nice picture of their surrogate father-son relationship. Then Whyte tells a story from the very earliest teleportation experiments, where Whyte and the aforementioned Sparky go on the ride of their life, facing dangerous gunmen and the perils of the desert. The story answers several questions on how the technology works, and it also shows us a younger, more vital and yet less confident Whyte. And it gives us Sparky the Wonder Dog! (OK, OK, I’ll stop now, but I’m a sucker for dog stories.) But most of all, it lets Jansen (and us) say goodbye to Robin Whyte.

The final story in the book is Matthew Harrington’s “Displacement Activity”. This story has a brief connection to Jansen at the start; but then the chief protagonist, Sam Watt, gets unexpectedly teleported into the distant future and far across the galaxy. There he must learn to survive in a strange society where humans are not quite slaves, but they’re not their own masters. Harrington’s style is notably different from Niven’s, and his humor is different as well. Not bad (of all the pieces, I laughed at his the most), just different. But despite those differences, Sam Watt is a perfect Niven protagonist, right up there with Jerryberry Jansen, Beowulf Schaffer, Gil Hamilton, and the rest. I knew I was reading a different author, but I also immediately felt at home in the universe he described.

If you’re a Niven fan, I can’t recommend this book highly enough: a fresh new spin on “Flash Crowd”, a brand new Niven short story, and two new authors invited to play with Larry’s toys. If you’ve never read Niven, I still recommend this to anyone who likes ruthlessly consistent science fiction.

5 stars (out of 5 — I would give 6 if I could read a story of Jerryberry and his dad)

Make them struggle!

It’s common writing advice: make your characters struggle. When things are going well for them, throw a disaster at them.

I don’t disagree with this advice. First, it’s part and parcel of the rising-tension structure that’s at the core of traditional western storytelling. And second, it’s a psychological one-two punch: readers empathize and identify with a character who struggles (because we all do); and then readers feel a cathartic rush when the character succeeds in a struggle. Some say this is one of the main draws of fiction: to let the reader vicariously struggle and experience triumph. And by escalating the struggles, you escalate the vicarious triumphs.

But though I understand the advice, I’ve never consciously followed it. In my stories, I just see what should logically happen next, and I write that. Easier, harder, I don’t think about those, I just write the logical next thing. If there’s escalating struggle and rising tension in my stories, it’s entirely subconscious.

But THIS story… Every time I think, “What should happen next?” the answer is “More bad news. It just got worse.” Every time I think, “OK, they have a plan that will succeed, now I just have to write what’s left,” I start writing, and I discover, “Wait a minute. They never thought of this.” There is hazard here everywhere they look. There’s no “triumph,” there’s just survival to reach the next struggle.

Oh, there will be an eventual triumph. I know what it is (I’ve known from the start). And there’s maybe only six to eight challenges left before they get there.

Of course, two weeks ago, I thought there were only five or six challenges remaining, and I’ve hit them with half a dozen challengers since then. So there may still be surprises hiding out there for them. And for me!

Martin Takes a Hike for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life

From my Relay for Life page:

Sweating in the Summer Heat for My Sister

As some of you might know, my sister Anita was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago. For some people, this is a very private matter they keep to themselves. But Anita was really helped by stories from other survivors, so she’s telling the world her experience at http://anita.buckowing.me. She’s not sugar-coating anything, but she also refuses to get down. “It is what it is,” she says, and the family is doing whatever they have to do to fight this disease. Four years later, she is cancer free at every doctor visit, and she’s fighting strong!

Anita has also become very active in American Cancer Society fund raising. If you know Anita, you’re not surprised by this. Community participation and event organization is something she always excels at. And as part of that, she and daughter Kira and “sister” Amy have put together the BAAAD KROWS Relay for Life team. Don’t ask me to explain the name, and don’t ask me to explain how they roped me in, because neither one makes sense to me.

Well, OK, they didn’t have to rope me in. I’m not a doctor. I couldn’t help Anita with her disease, other than driving her to appointments now and then. But I can help her with this fund raiser, which is important to her. I am participating in the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life because I want to make a meaningful difference in the fight against cancer.

Almost everyone has been touched by cancer, either through their own personal battle or through someone they love. Anita’s not my first relative to face this, and I’ve had friends go through it as well.

So if you would like to help for Anita, or for your friends and relatives who have faced cancer, please make a donation to help the American Cancer Society create a world with less cancer and more birthdays. Together, we can help make sure that cancer never steals another year of anyone’s life!

Every day, the American Cancer Society is helping us stay well by preventing cancer or finding it at its earliest, most treatable stages. They assist families in finding the best resources to help their friend or loved one deal with a diagnosis and their journey to get well. The American Cancer Society is also rallying communities (like ours!) through events like Relay For Life, to fight back and find cures for this disease.

OK, a couple of those paragraphs are boilerplate. After all, the American Cancer Society can explain their mission better than I can. But I want to add my personal request.

The relay will be 7/25/2014, so there’s only a little time to raise funds between now and then. Any bit you can contribute would help toward that. $10, $5, even $1 would help.

Also, the Relay is more than just a fund raiser. It’s also a memorial for those we’ve lost, and a celebration for those who are fighting back against this disease. if you’d like to attend the Relay and help memorialize and celebrate, we’ll be in Wayland Friday July 25 to Saturday July 26, 3 p.m to 3 p.m. We’ll have somebody from BAAAD KROWS walking the track the whole time. We and other teams will have lots of games and other on-site fundraisers, including catering.

I’ll be there as soon as I get out of work on Friday. I don’t know which hours I’ll be walking, but I’ll be there.

Thank you for your time.

Even small donations help. If you would like to contribute, please visit my Relay page.

“Unrefined” wins Third Place in Writers of the Future!

From PRWeb:

The 1st Quarter winners of the 31st year of the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest were announced today.

THE FIRST QUARTER WINNERS ARE

1st place – Tim Napper of Australia
2nd place – Auston Habershaw of Massachusetts
3rd place – Martin Shoemaker of Michigan

They were chosen from a group of 8 finalists and are now awarded cash prizes, a week long intensive workshop, an awards ceremony and are also published in the annual L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future. Tim, Auston and Martin will receive a cash prize for their win this quarter.

Tim, as first place for the quarter, will compete with the 1st place winners of the remaining three quarters of the year for the Grand Prize of $5,000.00.

Contest judges include, Tim Powers, author of On Stranger Tides, Kevin J. Anderson and Brian Herbert, Dune, Robert J. Sawyer Flash Forward, Robert Silverberg, Sailing to Byzantium, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, A Mote in God’s Eye, Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game, and Nnedi Okorafor, Who Fears Death, to name a few.

I am so proud, so pleased, and so relieved. Why relieved? Because this was the last quarter I was eligible for Writers of the Future. It’s a contest for non-pro writers trying to break in, and I am now officially a pro. So for me, this quarter was win-or-go-home. That added a degree of pressure I haven’t experienced in past quarters.

I am also grateful for a couple of rejections. Why is that? Because my Third Place story, “Unrefined”, was originally written for the Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest. I thought it was perfect for that contest: an inspiring story of humanity exploring space and finding ways to survive challenges. But the judges thought otherwise. If they hadn’t, they would’ve published it, and that would’ve meant I was no longer eligible for Writers of the Future.

After the Baen Memorial passed on “Unrefined”, I sent it to what I thought was surely its natural home, Analog. But Trevor thought otherwise, and he passed. If he had accepted it, it would’ve been published last year, and that would’ve meant I was no longer eligible for Writers of the Future.

So the lesson to me is: don’t give up on a story! There are other markets. Keep trying until you exhaust them all! If I had given up on this one, I wouldn’t be going to Los Angeles next year to hang out with Tim and Auston (plus Illustrator winners Michelle Lockamy, Tung Chi Lee, and Emily Siu) and the winners of the remaining quarters and the pro instructors and judges, learning how to improve my writing as a craft and as a business.

I would like to finish with the “theme song” for this story: “The Tide is High” by Blondie. No, I didn’t listen to it while I was writing the story; but after I finished the story, I was in my local Harding’s, and this song was on the PA system. Listening to it, I realized that the lyrics applied perfectly to my story (you’ll have to wait for the anthology next year to see why):

The tide is high, but I’m holding on.
I’m gonna be your number one.
Number one…
Nummmmmber onnnnnne…
Nuuuuuummmmber onnnnnnnnnnnne…

Then I went home, looked up the song, and found this amazing Apollo/space-themed video; and I knew I’d found my theme song. Enjoy!


Blondie – The tide is high

Professional status!

I just read the news: Galaxy’s Edge has been accepted by SFWA as a pro-qualifying market. Therefore my two sales there, “Il Gran Cavallo” and “Pallbearers”, are my third and fourth official pro sales. (They’re my fifth and sixth at pro rates, but Digital Science Fiction didn’t last long enough to qualify as a pro market.)

So the good news is: I am now officially eligible to join Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Thank you Mike Resnick, Laura Somerville, and Shahid Mahmud for producing such a great magazine and making this possible.

The bad news is: I am now officially ineligible to enter Writers of the Future. My current entry for Q1 is my final eligible entry. I have now “pro’ed out”, putting me in the great company of authors like Annie Bellet and Kevin J. Anderson. Thank you, Joni Labaqui, David Farland, and the crew at Author Services, Inc. for an amazing three years with the contest. And thank you to all my fellow members of the WotF forum for all your support and encouragement.

Jen Haeger asked me three simple little questions. Or so she thought…

Jen Haeger asked me three simple little questions. Or so she thought…

Jen is the author of Moonlight Medicine: Onset, an urban fantasy/paranormal romance (I’m never sure where the line is there) about a veterinary researcher caught up in a war between werewolves who want to destroy her because she offers the most dangerous thing possible: a cure.

Don’t bore me with all that medical stuff!

“I like a good doctor story as much as the next reader, but don’t bore me with all that medical stuff! Don’t tell me the patient’s blood pressure, don’t tell me what course of treatment they tried that accidentally made things worse, and don’t tell me how they found the real illness hidden behind all of those mysterious symptoms. Just tell me that the patient went to the hospital, and the doctor did some doctor stuff, and the patient got worse until they did even more daring doctor stuff, saving the patient in the nick of time!”

“I like a good sports story as much as the next reader, but don’t bore me with all of those plays and strategies! Don’t tell me the plays they tried and how their opponents blocked them, don’t tell me the ingenious strategy that turned disastrous, and don’t tell me how the replacement quarterback tried something no one had ever seen before and surprised everyone with the winning touchdown. Just tell me there was a game, and the teams clashed, and the home team was on the verge of losing until the underdog turned it around and won the game!”

“I like a good police procedural as much as the next reader, but don’t bore me with all of that forensic stuff! Don’t tell me how they combed the scene for clues, don’t tell me the strange evidence they found but couldn’t explain, and don’t tell me how the forensic team managed to tie together disparate clues to paint a picture of the real crime. Just tell me there was a crime, and the police were stymied, and then the lab fingered the real killer. Don’t waste time on procedure, just get to the exciting chase scene at the end!”

“I like a good science fiction tale as much as the next reader, but don’t bore me with all of that science stuff! Don’t tell me how the laws of physics blocked the protagonists’ plans, don’t tell me how they pushed their ship to the limits to try to skirt the edge of possibility, don’t tell me how they pushed too far and their ship broke down, and don’t tell me their ingenious plan for turning disaster into triumph. Don’t waste time on believable science, and especially don’t waste time convincing me that it’s believable. Just make something up, and get to the exciting chase scene at the end!”

I don’t think anyone would watch House M.D. and say the writers should cut out all the medicine. I don’t think anyone would watch The Replacements and say the writers should cut out all the football plays, the huddles, and the practices. I don’t think anyone would watch CSI and say that the writers should cut out the, ya know, Crime Scene Investigations and the laboratory scenes.

Yet some people show no hesitation in dismissing science fiction with actual science and engineering at its core. Not just “I’m not interested in that,” but rather, “You’re doing it wrong!” And often they’ll add (with a sneer), “It’s science fiction! Duh!” I can only shake my head and pity them. Such limited imaginations…

There’s room for medical soap operas, and room for medical mysteries. There’s room for stories about the lives and passions of pro athletes, and room for stories of a team of underdogs fighting against all odds to get to the championship. There’s room for buddy cop films, and room for forensic investigations.

And there’s room for fantastical, metaphorical science fiction verging on fantasy, and room for real nuts-n-bolts, hard science fiction.

The Troll Under the Fridge

Copyright © 2014 by Martin L. Shoemaker
Adapted from Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe, De tre bukkene Bruse som skulle gå til seters og gjøre seg fete, Norske Folkeeventyr, translated by George Webbe Dasent in Popular Tales from the Norse, 2nd edition (London: George Routledge and Sons, n.d.), no. 37, pp. 275-276. Translation revised by D. L. Ashliman.

Once upon a time there were three Billy Goats, who were to go into the kitchen to make themselves fat, and the name of all three was “Gruff.”

In the kitchen was an old refrigerator with all the best food; and under the fridge lived a great ugly troll, with eyes as big as saucers, ears like skillets, and a nose as long as a carving knife.

So first of all came the youngest Billy Goat Gruff to open the fridge.

“Creak, crack, creak, crack!” went the hinges of the fridge. They were old and hadn’t been oiled in a long time.

“Who’s that cracking open my fridge?” roared the troll.

“Oh, it is only I, the tiniest Billy Goat Gruff, and I’m getting a snack to make myself fat,” said the Billy Goat, with such a small voice.

“Now, I’m coming to gobble you up,” said the troll.

“Oh, no! Pray don’t take me. I’m too little, that I am,” said the Billy Goat. “Wait a bit ‘til the second Billy Goat Gruff comes. He’s much bigger.”

“Well, be off with you,” said the troll. And the little goat grabbed a pudding cup and fled from the kitchen.

A little while after came the second Billy Goat Gruff to open the fridge.

“Creak, crack, creak, crack, creak, crack!” went the hinges of the fridge.

“Who’s that cracking open my fridge?” roared the troll.

“Oh, it’s the second Billy Goat Gruff, and I’m grabbing some lunch to make myself fat,” said the Billy Goat, who hadn’t such a small voice.

“Now I’m coming to gobble you up,” said the troll.

“Oh, no! Don’t take me. Wait a little ‘til the big Billy Goat Gruff comes. He’s much bigger.”

“Very well! Be off with you,” said the troll. And the middle goat grabbed a frozen package of macaroni and cheese and fled to the microwave oven. Fortunately no trolls lived under the microwave, only some dust bunnies, and they weren’t very hungry.

But just then up came the big Billy Goat Gruff.

“CREAK, CRACK!” went the hinges of the fridge, for the Billy Goat was large and impatient and he opened the door very wide to see what was deep in the back of the fridge.

“Who’s that cracking open my fridge?” roared the troll.

“It’s I! The big Billy Goat Gruff,” said the Billy Goat, who had an ugly hoarse voice of his own.

“Now I’m coming to gobble you up,” roared the troll.

“Dude… Seriously?” said the big Billy Goat Gruff. “You’ve got a fridge full of food here. Pudding cups and frozen jalapeno poppers and potato salad and cheese and hot dogs and broccoli and orange juice and… Hey, I think you have half a leftover turkey in the back there! That looks good! And there’s about a hundred more things in here as well. Troll, with all this food, why would you want to gobble me up?”

The troll scratched one big ear. He had only three fingers on each hand, but that was enough to scratch with. “Ummm… I never thought of that. Hiding under things and gobbling people is the only job I’ve trained for.”

“Well, take the day off! You’ve got plenty of food. Hey, we’re watching the big game in the den. Sixty inch TV! Kickoff’s in ten minutes. You should join us!”

So the big Billy Goat Gruff grabbed the leftover turkey, and the troll grabbed the jalapeno poppers and popped them into the microwave. Then all three Billy Goats Gruff and the troll really raided the fridge and set out a small mountain of snacks and drinks on all the tables in the den. The dust bunnies decided they were hungry after all, so they brought in some chips and salsa. Everything was ready just in time for the kickoff.

The game was a real nail-biter: it went into overtime, and a Hail Mary pass won it for the home team. Everyone roared with excitement, even the dust bunnies (though they roared very quietly). The troll and the big Billy Goat Gruff stood and gave each other a high five. (Well, high three for the troll and high two for the big goat, but you know what I mean.)

The Year’s Top Short SF Novels selects “Murder on the Aldrin Express”

Now it can be told: AudioText, producers of fine audio books, has selected “Murder on the Aldrin Express” for volume 4 of The Year’s Top Short SF Novels. This is truly an honor! Their emphasis is mainly audio, but they also produce an ebook version of each volume.

To see what sort of company that puts me in, here are their past volumes:

  • The Year’s Top Short SF Novels: “Return to Titan,” by Stephen Baxter, is set in his Xeelee sequence. Michael Poole and his father search one of Saturn’s moons for sentient life that would interfere with their plans to build a gateway to the stars. In this year’s Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award winner for best short fiction, “The Sultan of the Clouds,” by Geoffrey A. Landis, a terraforming expert is inexplicably invited to Venus by the child who owns most of the planet’s habitable floating cities. “Seven Cities of Gold,” by David Moles, tells the story of a Japanese relief worker charged with tracking down the renegade Christian leader responsible for detonating a nuclear device in an Islam-occupied North American city. In “Jackie’s-Boy,” by Steven Popkes, an orphaned child befriends an uplifted elephant from the abandoned St. Louis Zoo as they trek south across a sparsely populated North America to find sanctuary. “A History of Terraforming,” by Robert Reed, involves a young boy’s ambition to take up his father’s work of terraforming Mars and then much of the solar system and discovers that much more than planets have been altered. In “Troika,” by Alastair Reynolds, the lone survivor of a mission that explored a massive alien object attempts to reveal what he discovered despite the wishes of the Second Soviet Union. Set in the author’s S’hdonni universe, “Several Items of Interest,” by Rick Wilber, the Earth ruling aliens ask a human collaborator to help quell a human insurrection led by the collaborator’s brother.
  • The Year’s Top Short SF Novels 2: In “The Ice Owl,” by Carolyn Ives Gilman, an adolescent, female, Waster in the iron city of Glory to God finds an enigmatic tutor who provides her with much more than academic instruction while a fundamentalist revolt is underway. In the HUGO AWARD winner, “The Man Who Bridged the Mist,” by Kij Johnson, an architect from the capital builds a bridge over a dangerous mist that will change more than just the Empire. In “Kiss Me Twice,” by Mary Robinette Kowal, a detective, with the assistance of the police department’s AI that takes on Mae West’s persona, solves a murder with all the flair of an Asimov robot story. “The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary,” by Ken Liu, is a moving chronicle of attempts to witness the history of Japanese atrocities against the Chinese in a World War II prison camp by traveling back in time using Bohm-Kirino particles. In “The Ants of Flanders,” by Robert Reed, a teenage boy, incapable of fear, takes center stage in an alien invasion of Earth that pits alien foes against each other in a war that has no regard for mankind’s existence. Finally, in “Angel of Europa,” by Allen M. Steele, an arbiter aboard a space ship, exploring the moons of Jupiter, is resuscitated from a hibernation tank to investigate the deaths of two scientists that took place in a bathyscaphe underneath the global ocean of Europa.
  • The Year’s Top Short SF Novels 3: In “In the House of Aryaman, a Lonely Signal Burns,” by Elizabeth Bear, Police Sub-Inspector Ferron investigates the murder of genetics engineer, Dexter Coffin, who has been turned inside out, in a cutting edge biomedical lab set in a not too distant future India. In Jay Lake‘s “The Stars Do Not Lie,” Morgan Abutti is soon in fear for his life when he tries to announce his discovery of something in the stars that contradicts the creation myth of a major religion on his planet. In “The Weight of History, the Lightness of the Future,” also by Jay Lake, set in the author’s “Sunspin” series, the Howard Immortal, Before Michaela Cannon, and an untrustworthy shipmind investigate the cause of the Mistake, an alien attack on human civilization with an EMP weapon that occurred more than a thousand years ago and wiped out most of its technology. In “Sudden, Broken and Unexpected,” by Steven Popkes, a burnt-out, talented musician is hired to help a world-class rock star divaloid, an electronic construct, prepare for her new world tour. There’s only one problem, the musician passionately despises divaloids. In Robert Reed‘s “Eater-of-Bone,” marooned human colonists, from the “Great Ship,” fight for dominance on a planet inhabited by smaller, weaker, and less intelligent aliens. Finally, in “The Boolean Gate,” by Walter Jon Williams, set in the 19th century, an elderly Samuel Clemens escapes his Mark Twain persona through his friendship with Nicola Tesla. As Tesla’s inventions come to fruition, Twain suspects that Tesla has opened up a gateway to an alien intelligence.

For those keeping track at home, that means this story will appear in two “best of” collections this year! To all of the people behind “Murder on the Aldrin Express”: thank you!

The Year’s Best Science Fiction selects “Murder on the Aldrin Express”

I’m a little late getting this on my blog, but here it is at last: Gardner Dozois, editor of The Year’s Best Science Fiction series, has selected “Murder on the Aldrin Express” for inclusion in volume 31! You can preorder it here!

Here’s the incredible table of contents:

1.“The Discovered Country” by Ian R. MacLeod
2.“The Book Seller” by Lavie Tidhar
3.“Pathways” by Nancy Kress
4.“A Heap of Broken Images” by Sunny Moraine
5.“Rock of Ages” by Jay Lake
6.“Rosary and Goldenstar” by Geoff Ryman
7.“Gray Wings” by Karl Bunker
8.“The Best We Can” by Carrie Vaughn
9.“Transitional Forms” by Paul McAuley
10.“Precious Mental” by Robert Reed
11.“Martian Blood” by Allen M. Steele
12.“Zero For Conduct” by Greg Egan
13.“The Waiting Stars” by Aliette de Bodard
14.“A Map of Mercury” by Alastair Reynolds
15.“One” by Nancy Kress
16.“Murder on the Aldrin Express” by Martin L. Shoemaker
17.“Biographical Fragments of the Life of Julian Prince” by Jake Kerr
18.“The Plague” by Ken Liu
19.“Fleet” by Sandra McDonald
20.“The She-Wolf’s Hidden Grin” by Michael Swanwick
21.“Bad Day on Boscobel” by Alexander Jablokov
22.“The Irish Astronaut” by Val Nolan
23.“The Other Gun” by Neal Asher
24.“Only Human” by Lavie Tidhar
25.“Entangled” by Ian R. MacLeod
26.“Earth 1″ by Stephen Baxter
27.“Technarion” by Sean McMullen
28.“Finders” by Melissa Scott
29.“The Queen of Night’s Aria” by Ian McDonald
30.“Hard Stars” by Brendan DuBois
31.“The Promise of Space” by James Patrick Kelly
32.“Quicken” by Damien Broderick

I am in amazing company! I am honored beyond words.