The man, the myth, the legend.
Category Archives: Science Fiction
So my very first Dragoncon is in the books and I gotta say, with a few exceptions I had the best time of my life.
So without much ado, rewind to 9 days ago…
I was going to leave Wednesday originally but work requirements prevented this from happening. So instead I left the house at something like 0600 with plans on arriving in Atlanta around 1400 that afternoon. However, my roommates were arriving early, so I managed to finagle the Hilton app and get an early checkin time for no extra cost. Score!
The drive was relatively uneventful, for a change. Usually I almost die a few times on the drive to a con, but for some reason I hit almost no traffic until I was just about in downtown Atlanta. However, before then I could see my hotel from about 6 miles out.
I’m not kidding.
The Westin at Peachtree Plaza has something like 70 floors in it, and this was where the four of us were crashing. It was the so-called “quiet” hotel of Dragoncon, which I was thankful for. The Hyatt and Marriott were freaking insane with their parties and whatnot, and I need… space? Quiet? So I checked in and promptly posted a picture to my Instagram account showing the view. And whoa, what a freaking view! I could see everything from there: the stadium where the Atlanta Hawks played, a giant ferris wheel that looked impressive from the ground but puny from my room (40th floor), and lots of buildings everywhere. It’d been years since I’d been in a large metropolis… I forgot just how many people there are in big cities.
So I rolled in and met up with my roommates… sorta. We were mostly ships passing in the night the entire weekend, and while I’m glad we all had our own personal space it would have been nice to hang out with them a little more. Still though, I had fun.
So Thursday evening I was starving and looking for food. Ran into the Internation Lord of Hate, Larry Correia, who hatefully guided me to food where I could divulge in hateful mchatey hate-filled sustenance. Unfortunately, I suck with directions and got lost. I wandered around and discovered the underground food court eventually. The problem was that in order to get to it from my hotel side you had to go down a CVS and then navigate into it. The CVS staff was awesome and were immensely helpful while handling 80,000+ congoers all weekend. Found a terrific Cubano food place and ate like a fiend. Prices were a bit high (a common theme the entire weekend) but the food was delicious (another recurring bit). Finally fed, I found my way up to Speaker’s Speakeasy.
This used to be Barfly Central but this year, since Tedd “Speaker To Lab Animals” Roberts was hosting it in his suite, it was renamed. There I got to meet up with some old friends and make some new ones. For some reason I’m blanking on who was in the room besides Speaker, but it was nice to catch up with them all. From there I headed back to the Westin, where I ran into David Weber and his awesome wife, Sharon. David was recovering from a fall and was kind of doped up on pain meds, courtesy of a broken nose and some stitches. From there I briefly met up with my publisher and friend, Chris Kennedy, who was in the bar holding court. Surrounding him were some of his authors, including Mark Wandrey, Kevin Ikenberry and (I think) Jon Osborne. All of them had their spouses in tow.
Question: when I meet my fellow male authors, their spouses always seem to be more attractive and “out of their league”. It seems to be a rule of thumb. Just an odd observation that I’ll probably have people screaming at me in the comments over.
Pooped, I finally crashed around 2300. Friday promised to be a long day and I knew I would need to rest.
I woke up around 0700 Friday morning. Stupid, considering how little I was going to sleep for the rest of the weekend, but still… I tried to be quiet for my roommates (one of them stumbled in at around 0400 or so) and made my way down to the Starbucks in the hotel. Ran into my publisher again and we briefly talked about the sales of Deathlords, Book 3 of the Kin Wars Saga. The book had gone on sale Thursday and reception has been amazing so far. A lot of people have yelled at me for the opening scene of the book, when they received a gut punch that they were not expecting.
We talked briefly about Book 4 and he mentioned that I should be writing in the Four Horsemen Universe, which had been co-created by him and Mark Wandrey. When I reminded him that I’d written in two anthologies, he countered with “novels”. That sort of caught me off guard, since I was already writing a 4HU novel with my old writing buddy Chris Smith.
I then went over to the dealer’s room and found Nerd Mecca. Three floors of vendors, with wares ranging from handmade personalized nerd wall clocks to massive dragon and fairy wings for those searching for that elaborate costume piece. I found kilts as well (didn’t buy one, instead snagged one of a friend’s old ones) and some other really cool gifts, including something for my housesitter. I realized that it was getting close to time for my first panel so I hustled over to the Marriott, where I sat in on The Pen & Sword.
It was a pretty crowded panel and quite a few people were there to listen as myself, Kevin Dockery, Marc Allen Edelheit, and Mark Wandrey spoke about how we armed our protagonists and the pitfalls of dealing with modern and classical weapons. The best example was the classic “safety on a Glock” incident.
From there I headed back up to Speaker’s. Along the way I had to pass through the throngs of partygoers on the main levels of the Hyatt and Marriott. It was plain to see that Dragoncon was officially underway as thousands of cosplayers were out showing off their costumes. There was everything from inflatible dinosaurs to a woman in a walker cargo lift from Aliens. It was amazing.
I went back down to the Fantasy Gathering panel, which was more of a room for all of us on the fantasy lit track to sell our books and meet the fans than anything else. There I got to meet Todd McCaffrey again, Quincey Allen, and JoHanna Moresco, one of the violinists from The Cruxshadows. I’m pretty sure I was only at stage 9 of 10 on the blushing level. I sold quite a few books and had a blast. I packed up quickly and headed out at the end, done for the night. I needed sleep, and bad.
Was up at the butt crack of dawn because one of my roommates was in the Dragoncon parade, and I promised to get pictures. I had a special invite up to one of the rooms overlooking the route, so I got to see the parade with no obstructions. While watching the parade I spotted Larry Correia and his wife, Bridget, on a similar balcony practically next door. Lots of waving and facial expressions made (as well as a dance off at one point) made for a fun viewing experience of the parade.
From there I had to hustle because my next panel, Amazons & Assassins, was about to begin. It was a pretty interesting panel, and my first one with both S.M. Stirling and Eric Flint. I didn’t talk much on this one, preferring to listen as two masters of the craft talked about their own writing experiences. After that it was over to the Baen Books Traveling Road Show, where the winner of the Best Military SF Story was announced. My friend Kacey Ezell won for her short story in the Forged in Blood anthology. That was awesome, and then Toni Weisskopf (editor of Baen Books) showed off some of the new books coming out, including the cover for Deathlords, which was pretty damn cool.
Next panel was Stealing from the Past, which was… I don’t know. I actually don’t remember anything about it. Weird. Yeah, Saturday night was a bit of a blur actually. I don’t remember much after the Road Show, though I do know I bought a really cool art piece from the Art Show.
Sunday was fun. I got to do my first of two book signings at the Baen Books booth, which was myself, Mike Massa, and John Ringo. Mike and John cut out a little early due to panels, and Larry Correia showed up a bit early, so I got to hang out with three of my favorite Baen authors. Got to talk up the Black Tide Rising anthology and hand out beads for Baen. Nobody really wanted my signature, which was okay, because I stealth signed the sh*t out of those Baen bead necklaces. 😀 Take that, oppressors!
I’d also made a mistake in not bringing any of my own books with me to sell. I didn’t think I was allowed to do this. My bad.
Then was my Four Horsemen roundtable panel, which featured just about every single 4HU author attended who was there. It was here where I finally came up with a solo 4HU novel (titled Fangmaster, and then also Ortu Luna, the collab with Chris Smith). It was a lot of fun. After that I prepared for the I:scintilla/Cruxshadows concert. That was probably the most fun I had all con, as I got to meet the band afterwards and catch up, since it’d been over 10 years since I last saw them. Got to hear a lot of their newer stuff as well as older songs I was more familiar with. What a great concert.
Monday the con began to wind down. I was on a final panel with some authors and it went okay. Got to meet Cat Rambo at the last panel, which was interesting. From there I went to went back to sign more books at the Baen Books booth. Then it was off to the Dead Dog Party at some restaurant. I forgot the name of the place. It wasn’t horrible but for the prices I was expecting a little more.
Before the Dead Dog Party, however, I was taking the escalator when a con staff volunteer was attempting to go up. He had a large travel bag, a sleeping bag, and looked, well, exhausted. His bag got caught up in the escalator and he tried to dislodge it. In the process of doing so, he lost his balance and fell backwards. It looked like he was stuck on the escalator and it looked like it could get ugly in a hurry, so I tried to help him back up to his feet and off the escalator. He was confused and he fought me a little, trying to continue going up. However, because he was fighting me, he wasn’t getting to his feet, and that was when I decided I needed to move his ass off the escalator, willing or no. I reached under his arms and hauled him off the escalator. He was shorter but bigger than me, so he had a better center of gravity. Unfortunately he had no balance, and fell backwards on top of me as I was getting him off the escalator. He also, incidentally, landed on my wrist and dislocated it.
That hurt like hell. Fortunately we were able to get it back into place and hotel security and staff helped him to his feet. They made him drink water and then started asking him questions. That was when we found out he couldn’t remember when he last ate, slept, or drank water. That is a fail.
Con staff — make certain you get sleep every night, eat twice a day, and shower once. That should keep your wits about you so incidents like this don’t occur. I’m okay but I’m going to have to go to the doctor’s this week to see about damaged ligaments in the wrist because I’m still in a lot of pain. This could have all been avoided if the guy had just gotten some rest.
Tuesday morning I shoved off for home. Along the way I stopped to have lunch with David Weber and Sharon, and catch up on how David was doing (sore). Eventually I got home and passed out.
For my first Dragoncon, it was pretty smooth. The Fantasy Lit track (where I spent most of my time) was run very well and, outside of a few tech issues with the mics, there weren’t any problems. I was asked if I was coming back next year. I said yes, of course, though I failed in procuring a room so far.
Getting a room for Dragoncon is akin to the Hunger Games — may the odds be ever in your favor.
I swear, I look down, get back to writing, look back up… and it’s almost been a month since an update.
How does time do this to me?
Well, this week I had not one but TWO cover reveals occur. The first one is the one that everybody has been waiting for, and HOLY CRAP it is beautiful! Here is Deathlords, Book 3 of the Kin Wars Saga.
Nice, isn’t it? Bonus quiz: can you identify the planet from the series that the suit is protecting?
Then, on Thursday another publisher released the final cover of Sha’Daa: Toys, the (from what I hear) final anthology in the Sha’Daa universe. This one will actually be out in a few weeks, but the cover is downright creepy.
They both are great, and shows once more while I will continue to support small press publishers. Both teams I work with are amazing people who put all their efforts into producing quality workmanship. I can’t ask for better people to write for.
Yes, the title is correct. Darkling is now live and available over on Amazon. I’m super excited about this. How excited? So excited I’m going to be running a giveaway for a copy of Wraithkin, Darkling, and Kraken Mare, all autographed. All you need to do is Tweet it, tag me in it (@warpcordova), and voila! one entry. You can also tag me on instagram @warpcordova to show me your share for a SECOND entry! Want to enter a third time? Post a screenshot of you sharing a link of the book over on any other site like Facebook or MeWe and I’ll add in your names. Contest starts TODAY and will end at 11:59PM EST Sunday. Winner will be randomly selected at 8:00PM on Wednesday, April 18.
Good luck, my Kinions!
First off, Darkling is finished! It’s now off and in the hands of the Super Mega Awesome Beta Force Crew for dissemination and assassination. Book 2 of the Kin Wars Saga had a ton of heartache, loyalty, and betrayal. Let the song of victory play!
Secondly, my article about the current kerfuffle within the Worldcon has gone live over at the Mad Genius Club. Go take a gander and see just why they would seek to remove one of the more prominent Hispanic science fiction writers out there from their attending guests, and see just what I think of this (hint: I’m not a fan of their decision).
Today is the release of the long-awaited first book of a brand new series I’m writing. Wraithkin is out and available in both print and e-format, and the early reviews is that all my hard work has come to fruition with this book. Run and buy, share, talk about it. Publicity never hurt a writer.
T-minus five days and counting until Honorcon.
You might be wondering what panels I’ll be doing, or what I plan on talking about, but you may be surprised to know that I’m actually working this convention for The Official Honor Harrington Fan Association. Being the Volunteer Coordinator is, well, a job that nobody wanted so I volunteered (ha!). It’s been an eye opener, and I’ll definitely remember how hard the concom works leading up to any con that I will attend in the future. It’s not like I’m a difficult guest (at least, I don’t think I am… I have almost no requests for anything except a free ticket for my handler), but it’s always good to keep in mind the hard work that goes into running a convention.
Other than that, still writing, still reading various books and trying to find the time to review them. I have both Shattered Shields and The Baen Big Book of Monsters to review, plus a couple of Irene Radford novels. It’s not that I don’t want to review them, really. It’s just that I don’t have the time right now. Between finalizing the purchase of the new house and wrapping up Murder World: Kaiju Dusk and the con, time seems to have just zipped away. Ooh, there it went again!
However, Barb did manage to review Michael Z. Williamson’s Freehold over the weekend (one of my favorite books of all time). I don’t think she was as enamored as I with the book, but she still gave it a very positive review. She’s pretty much carrying Shiny Book Review right now, for which I’m extremely grateful (how she finds the time is beyond me).
Of course, while complaining about a decided lack of spare time, I volunteered to help out with the Youth Bake Sale at church…
Also, the lack of time has been the primary reason I haven’t written anything about #GamerGate yet. I keep meaning to but then life happens, as it usually does, and internet fighting usually takes a backseat to real life for me. I might finally write up something next week, maybe. No promises. People are going to call me a “Johnny Come Lately” (they still use that phrase, right?), but whatever. I have more important things to worry about.
Like finding the time to finish this damn book.
Speaking of, there’s still time to purchase Murder World: Kaiju Dawn and help support My Generous Lords, the Great and Terrible Kittehs! in their world domination scheme.
Before you freak out and grab your pitchforks, I’m hard at work on Murder World: Kaiju Dusk. Really, I am. It’s coming along nicely, and I think everyone will be pleased to know that Captain Vincente and his crew is back for a second round. Eric and I should have this novel done by the end of July. In the meantime, you can still pick up a copy of Murder World: Kaiju Dawn on Kindle for a mere $0.99. That’s way less than a cup of coffee, and less than a reprocessed cheese and “pink stuff” burger from a fast food restaurant. So pick up a copy of the book instead of another greasy cheeseburger. Your intestines will thank you.
That was a short pitch. Huh. Maybe I should try to offer something more? Ehh…. no, I think that’s good. A $0.99 book. Yeah. Good enough.
I guest blogged over at Sarah Hoyt’s site today. More on the Marion Zimmer Bradley issue, how it relates, and me asking why the SFWA hasn’t kicked out their 2013 Grand Master and open pederast Samuel Delaney. I, uh, kinda lost my cool a bit.
I’m going radio silent for the weekend. I won’t be around until Tuesday of next week. This weekend is Libertycon!
- Friday, 3:00PM — Autograph signing — kicking off the weekend with some autographing, I might sign a few books. I’ll mostly be sitting back and plotting books while watching the more important authors be bombarded by their fans. I’m signing with Peter Grant, Kurt Miller and Travis S. Taylor. I dream of the day when I can have Kurt Miller do one of my book covers.
- Friday, 5:00PM — Opening Ceremonies — Yada yada yada.
- Friday, 9:00PM — What’s New in Military SF — This one should be fun, since I’ve written a ton of MilSF and Kaiju novels recently (6 in the past 10 months alone). I’ll be with Walt Boyes, K. S. Daniels, Bill Fawcett, Mark Wandrey, Charles Gannon (woot!) and John Ringo (woot woot!). That’s quite a large panel, which means someone (not me) has the unenviable task of trying to rein in John.
- Saturday, 11:00AM — Urban Fantasies — This one… uh… okay, I can do this one, but I feel this is not my usual dog and pony show. Scott Baker, Louise Herring-Jones, D. Alan Lewis and Gail Z. Martin will be with me on this one.
- Saturday, 4:00PM — Reading — Huh. Wonder what I’ll read to the people.
- Saturday, 9:00PM –What’s New from Iron Clad Press — One of my publishers is rolling out a bunch of books this year, and I owe him a Tobias Fox novel. This one will be fun, but I’ll probably be late getting there due to prior commitments elsewhere.
- Saturday, 10:00PM — Book Launch Party — Iron Clad Press, Moondream Press and Perseid Press are all having books come out this weekend, and are having a massive launch party. I’ll be there (since I have books from each publisher) and probably about ready to drop at that point (I get tired easily).
- Sunday, 11:00AM — Autograph signing — another one, though most people are probably still recovering from the previous night’s drinking. I’ll be there, sleeping (or signing, whatever).
- Sunday, 1:00PM — Kaiju – Why Do We Love the Big Monsters Who Stomp us to Pieces? — Eric S. Brown, and I are gonng talk Kaiju, lots of Kaiju, and nothing but Kaiju. This one should be fun.
- Sunday, 2:00PM — What’s New from Moondream Press — Another one of my publishers and we’ll be talking Sha’Daa more than likely.
Late last night, while watching an absolutely atrocious movie, I had a thought experiment come to mind. I dismissed it quickly enough, since the whole point that the director tried to make was his attempt to cause the viewer to “think” (when, in reality, the message was more “I’m smarter and morally superior than you”, but whatever), but then I had a dream about it and how it correlates to the current dust-up in Science Fiction/Fantasy (yes, it’s coming full circle). I’ll pose the moral quandary here for you, and let you decide.
Let us begin.
- There is a train coming. There are 5 individuals of varying nationalities (everyday Joe’s so to speak) tied to the train tracks who will most certainly die if they remain there. There is a lever which you can pull that will divert the train onto another set of tracks. On this second set of tracks, however, is noted white English author Iain Banks (he’s still alive for this thought experiment). Iain Banks will surely die if you divert the train. Do you sacrifice Mr. Banks to save the five everyday Joe’s? Or do you sacrifice the average Joe’s to save the noted author?
Let’s take it up a notch, shall we?
- There is a train coming. There are 5 white men tied to the train tracks who will most certainly die if they remain there. There is a lever which you can pull that will divert the train onto another set of tracks. On this second set of tracks, however, is noted African-American poet Maya Angelou (again, let’s presume that she’s still alive for this experiment). Maya Angelou will surely die if you divert the train. Do you sacrifice Ms. Angelou to save the 5 white men? Or do you sacrifice the 5 white men to save the noted poet?
Thinking yet? Well then, let’s not stop there. I want to keep going because, well, philosophy and sh*t.
- There is a train coming. There are 5 impoverished minority children tied to the train tracks who will most certainly die if they remain there. There is a lever which you can pull that will divert the train onto another set of tracks. On this second set of tracks, however, is noted physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. Neil deGrasse Tyson will surely die if you divert the train. Do you sacrifice Dr. Tyson to save the 5 impoverished minority children? Or do you sacrifice the 5 impoverished minority children to save the renowned physicist?
Let’s do one more, just to put some knickers in a twist.
- There is a train coming. There are 5 wealthy, snobby, bratty white American children tied to the train tracks who will most certainly die if they remain there. There is a lever which you can pull that will divert the train onto another set of tracks. One this second set of tracks, however, is noted author (and outed pedophile) Marion Zimmer Bradley. Marion Zimmer Bradley will surely die if you divert the train. Do you sacrifice Ms. Bradley to save the 5 insanely wealthy, snobby, bratty white American children? Or do you sacrifice the 5 insanely wealthy, snobby, bratty white American children in order to save the famed author and pedophile?
Some of you have already decided that the “Greater Good” trumps all, and that the 5 saved are always better than the 1 lost. However, do you really want to run the risk of losing such an established individual like deGrasse just to have, say three of the five kids you saved die from malnutrition or other diseases, before they’re 20? Think about the loss to humanity if someone like deGrasse were suddenly removed, and none of the five ever come close to his level of intellect or contribution to humanity. Do you save the physicist and murder five children?
Some of you immediately went to saving the noted individuals because you know them, and they’re famous. Much like how society now looks to those who are famous being more important that those who are not, you attached yourself to the idea of saving Maya Angelou and letting the five white men die. But ask yourself… did you put Ms. Angelou ahead of saving the white men because of her contributions to society, or do you feel that race and guilt made the decision for you?
The problem with a moral quandary like this is that there is no right answer (except for the last one, but that’s to come). How do you value one over the other? How does an individual choose?
Well, this is where your own perceptions of what is important come into play for this thought experiment. Your judgment is based on who you identify with, who you associate yourself with, and who your “tribe” is.
Part of what bothers me in this current dust-up is that the legions on one side are lashing out at the problem instead of addressing it, then fall into this sort of congratulatory mutual masturbation session in which they pat each other on the back while jerking each other off (inelegant, I know). The moral problems are still there, but instead of making a decision, they’re attacking the questions posed. They may even say that the root of the moral problems I posed above boil down to “RACISM!” and attack me for this. There may even be harsh language.
With the exception of the final problem (let the pedophile die, and pop up some popcorn so the children can enjoy the show is my vote), there isn’t an easy decision to make in the group. If you found any of them easy, then you may want to check your perceptions of what is important or not. If you picked Maya Angelou over the five white men, for example, did you just condemn five innocent men to die? Or if you picked to save the five white men, aren’t you worried someone may turn around and call you racist for not choosing the African-American woman (oh come one, you knew that was coming)?
But since 3 of the 4 questions aren’t really that “fair”, a Progressive minority might casually dismiss the philosophical implications of the decisions and instead attack me, the questioner. This would make sense to some, since after all, I’m the one who dared to include racial stats into the equation. But if that’s the case, would it make your decision easier? Would it make your decision simpler if it were just five men on the tracks versus Maya Angelou? Or five white kids versus Neil deGrasse Tyson? What do you, personally, place value upon when you look at life?
Take this all into comparison with the current dust-up in SF/F and you might… MIGHT… begin to understand. For some within the SFWA community, battle lines MUST be drawn. The very soul of science fiction is at stake, they’ll argue. It is their job to protect it from racism, sexism, misogyny and whatever other buzzword of the week is.
Finally… back to the philosophical questions posed above. Please, I want you to be honest with me (and yourself) in this matter… but did you even think of asking if there was someone else around who could help you save everyone? Because, despite your protestations otherwise, you are not the moral majority and you do NOT get to decide who lives and who dies. NOBODY has that right. You do not get to choose whether Neil deGrasse Tyson is more important that anyone else, or that anyone else is more important that Dr. Tyson.
Or, in the case of Science Fiction/Fantasy, you do not get to determine what is the heart, and what is the soul, and you definitely don’t get to decide what is good and what is bad.
Finished Murder World today. Clocking in at around 52,500 words, it’s quite frankly one hellishly fun and exciting book. I love each and every one of the characters, and whenever I killed one, I almost felt bad for them (almost… I’ve been watching a lot of Game of Thrones lately).
Right now the Super Awesome Beta Reader Team is currently tearing it apart, readying for their report about just how badly it sucks. I have awesome people, what can I say?
I also hope to have some very good news tomorrow as well. I’ve been bouncing around all weekend waiting to share it.
In the meantime, have you left a review for Kaiju Apocalypse? No? What’s wrong with you? Did your hard drive die or something?
Oh. It did? Sorry.