Jay Lake: Writer

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[links] Link salad rings in the New Year

Jay Lake, “Escapement” (2009) — A Romanian review of Escapement, not so much with the enthusiasm.

Jay Lake Feed — At Dreamwidth, should you wish to follow me there. My thanks to [info]wild_irises for creating this.

My entire genome has gone open source — In case you missed it yesterday.

I Had My DNA Picture Taken, With Varying Results — Fascinating, and not terribly surprising. (Via Dad.)

Hamlet (Generic): A Map of Nowhere through Danish Eyes

In the Human Brain, Size Really Isn’t Everything — This is pretty damned cool. (Via Dad.)

Jesse Willms, the Dark Lord of the InternetHow one of the most notorious alleged hustlers in the history of e-commerce made a fortune on the Web (Via David Goldman.)

New Utah AG: Cost to defend same-sex marriage ban worthwhile — For conservatives, no expense is too high in defense of bigotry and religious privilege.

The ugly collusion between ‘religious faith’ and bigotry[T]hose who are so damn eager to speak against the so-called sin of homosexuality would be best to remember the sin of lying, speaking ill of one’s brother, or bearing false witness. It is painfully self-evident that the commandment against bearing false witness is no longer important to most American Christianist leaders and politicians. Smug Republican Jesus gave them an exemption from Biblical inerrancy on that point, apparently. (Via Slacktivisit Fred Clark.)

Crude oil tanker derailment explosion town dodged bullet, Casselton, North Dakota mayor saysHe said it is time to “have a conversation” with federal lawmakers about the dangers of transporting oil by rail. Hmm. A small town mayor in North Dakota in favor of more Federal regulation? Really? Who knew liberal-progressives had such a hold there. No good heartland conservative could possibly be calling for increased regulation, after all.

On Christmas, Republicans Quietly Declare War on ThemselvesIf you spend years letting your voters think Saddam Hussein was an agent of al-Qaeda, that passing a national health care program will result in the formation of Stalinist “death panels,” or that Barack Obama is secretly a foreigner, you’re going to end up with some loopy candidates prone to saying crazy things that will turn off voting majorities, which in turn will make it hard to the deliver policy objectives you actually care about for your big-money donors.

Amazing details from the drunken Moscow bender that got an Air Force general fired — This is why good conservatives support our troops no matter what. So loyal, patriotic Americans like General Carey aren’t vulnerable to purges conducted by the Kenyan Muslim socialist usurper currently occupying the White House.

The Myth Of Western Civilization — Ta-Nehisi Coates is angry in some magnificent ways.

?otD: Did you party last night?


1/1/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 8.25 hours (solid)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Weight: n/a (traveling, no scale)
Number of FEMA troops on my block faking evidence for evolution: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

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[links] Link salad takes a walk with its sister, the moon

The C-Word or “C” is for Cancer — Author Eugie Foster is in great and sudden need, something I understand all too well. I will be shifting some of the funds raised for me to Eugie. Please join me in helping her.

You can do a lot in a lifetime if you don’t burn out too fastLisa Costello on her first year in Portland (with me).

METAtropolis: Green Space is now available for pre-order — Edited by [info]kenscholes and me. Stories by Elizabeth Bear, Tobias S. Buckell, Mary Robinette Kowal, Seanan McGuire, Ken Scholes, Karl Schroeder and me. Check it out.

A favorable Russian review of Escapement

8-year-old flags ‘sexist’ children’s books; bookstore takes notice — Wow. (Via [info]threeoutside, among others.)

Wind Turbine Bird Threat Overstated, Study Suggests — (Via David Goldman.)

Galloping robot “WildCat” — Crazy video. (Via [info]threeoutside, among others.)

When to Catch a Lie via TextA recent experiment finds that when people are about to lie via digital text they take longer to construct their words. I can think of about a million things wrong with this, but it is still interesting. (Via David Goldman.)

Shutdown Stops T. Rex Trek in Its TracksThe ongoing government shutdown has stalled plans to haul a near-complete T. rex fossil to its new home at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, a federal institution forced to shut its doors last week.

Creationism and Climate ChangeSkepticism about evolutionary science, it seems, bleeds over into suspicion of all mainstream science. If mainstream science has been proven, from creationists’ perspective, to be a naked emperor, then its conclusions on every topic must be treated warily. I’ve been saying precisely this about conservative politics and culture for years. Privileging evolution denial has validated magical thinking at all levels and devaluated evidence-based reasoning. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Judge Demands Sikh Man Take Off His “Rag” — American conservatives: always at the forefront of the battle for religious liberty. Their religious liberty, not anyone else’s, of course. Sarah Palin “real American” bonus points for total indifferent ignorance about the differences between Muslims and Sikhs. (Via [info]goulo.)

A Ghost of May Days Past: East Germany Rises Again! — Politics and the map.

Inquisitive Justices? No Argument There

What did Justice Scalia mean? — A linguist takes on the Supreme Court’s most narrow-minded and intellectually dishonest justice. (And that’s saying something.)

Why the Devil Quit Bothering Pigs, According to Justice Scalia — And this man sits on the Supreme Court. Are you proud of your Republican party?

The Craigslist Ad That Will Make The Government Shutdown Seem Hilarious — This is pretty funny.

Despite federal shutdown, MAVEN mission still blasting off to MarsKey role as communications hub keeps probe on schedule.

How Democrats Got a Spine“Dealing with terrorists has taught us some things,” said Washington Rep. Jim McDermott after voting no on one of Thursday’s GOP bills. “You can’t deal with ’em. This mess was created by the Republicans for one purpose, and they lost. People in my district are calling in for Obamacare—affordable health care—in large numbers. These guys have lost, and they can’t figure out how to admit it.”

Deadlock — Jim Wright on the government shutdown. A must-read, especially if you consider yourself a supporter of the shutdown.

The Importance of CompetenceLosing the last election seems to have exhausted Republicans’ patience rather than forcing them to scale back their ambitions. Winning parties are often guilty of overreaching and imagining that they have an electoral mandate to advance their preferred agenda no matter what, but it is very unusual for a losing party to have the same delusions of grandeur. The simple answer to that is that Republicans don’t think they lost. They’ve never considered Obama’s victories legitimate. Listen to their rhetoric: conservatives see themselves as the aggrieved victims of liberal conspiracies to steal elections. They know perfectly well how much they have to manipulate voting rolls, turnout and polling to win, and cannot imagine Democrats doing anything different.

?otD: Have you been living underground, eating from a can?


10/8/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: 30 minutes (stationary bike)
Weight: 242.2
Number of FEMA troops on my block enforcing laws passed under the Constitutional process and fully subjected to judicial review: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

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[links] Link salad wakes up in a different, shorter world

2013 Locus Awards Finalists — My Nebula- and Hugo-nominated novella, “The Stars Do Not Lie”, is also a finalist for the Locus Awards as well. I am quite pleased

A reader reacts to Escapement — They didn’t like it so much.

Ultraconserved words? Really??Language Log responds to the recent “ultraconserved words” story.

Sky Crane — A gorgeous photo of the construction of One World Trade Center.

Ridge could be piece of Pangaea — Speaking of ultraconserved.

First Quantum-Enhanced Images of a Living Cell

San Francisco gives up on cell phone warning stickersReuters’ reporting makes a hash of the science.

Changing U.S. Racial Demographics — This one pretty much explains itself.

Heritage: We Have Nothing To Do With Racial Immigration Study — This is the quality of conservative intellectual discourse. These are the people who produce it.

A former religious extremist explains how radicalization happens {plus, a theory of how suspected Boston Marathon bombers were radicalized}The enemy is fundamentalism because fundamentalism is very attractive to people looking for Definitive Answers. Extremist religion provides a rigid, black-and-white framework for understanding the world. Much the same could be said of contemporary conservatism. Conservatives proudly “don’t do nuance“, and have explicitly rejected critical thinking and sneered at the reality based community. How different is that from religious extremism with its comfortingly simple answers? (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

On gun fatalities and terrorist fatalitiesIn the last 30 years, there have been 30,000 to 40,000 gun deaths in the United States per year, more than 900,000 people. In the last 40 years since 1970, there have been about 3,400 terror-related deaths. What would the response of a rational society be? Here in America, we will never know. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

10 Things You Can’t Do and Become President

QotD?: Are you going to do something wonderful today?


5/9/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (stress)
Hours slept: 7.0 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: 246.8
Number of FEMA troops on my block digging for fossils in the yards of God-fearing Republicans: 0
Currently reading: The Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett

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[links] Link salad celebrates M’aidez

A reader reacts to Escapement — They liked it better than Mainspring.

Worldbuilding with Maps — Art guru James Gurney (of Dinotopia fame) is interesting.

Rob and Laura: 1963 — I’m not quite old enough to remember this as a prime time series, but it was in regular rerun rotation when I was a little kid, in the year or so I actually watched television during my childhood.

Could Body Armor Have Saved Millions in World War I?The follies that led to poor helmets and a lack of torso protection for men in the trenches. (Snurched from [info]james_nicoll.)

Google Glass: Let the evil commenceGlass has now been ‘jailbroken’ with a well-documented exploit. So what can you (or others) do with a hacked headset? Apparently, a whole lot.

More than 20,000 people apply for one-way ticket to Mars — Wow.

Would an antimatter apple fall upward from the earth?

Sun Plus Nanotechnology: Can Solar Energy Get Bigger by Thinking Small?

Atoms star in world’s smallest movie from IBMResearchers at IBM have created the world’s smallest movie by manipulating single atoms on a copper surface.

A Sense of Where You Are — I have an excellent sense of both location and direction. I know people who have very little internal sense of either of those things. Finally, an explanation.

Prenatal DNA SequencingReading the DNA of fetuses is the next frontier of the genome revolution. Do you really want to know the genetic destiny of your unborn child? I sure would. Also note, this story is about the company that did my own Whole Genome Sequencing.

Representing Transracial Adoptions — Wow. As a white parent in an adopted transracial family, just wow.

Pro-Environment Light Bulb Labeling Turns Off Conservatives, Study Finds — Sometimes the jokes just write themselves.

Poll: Democratic edge for 2014Slightly more voters say they’ll vote Democratic in the 2014 congressional elections than Republicans, bucking a historical trend of the president’s party losing seats in his sixth year, a new poll Wednesday shows. I’ll believe it when I see it, but if true, this represents a welcome trend away from the fever swamp of destructive insanity that the GOP has become.

QotD?: Est-ce que vous êtes internationale?


5/1/2013
Writing time yesterday: 1.0 hours (WRPA editing work on METAtropolis: Green Space)
Hours slept: 6.25 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: 248.2
Number of FEMA troops on my block helping welfare recipients buy cell phones and big screen tvs: 0
Currently reading: The Truth by Terry Pratchett

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[books] Foreign covers of my books

Got a package from my agent yesterday. The Russian edition of Green, and the German edition of Escapement were lodged therein.

I still think foreign covers are sooooo cool.

IMG_3877

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Photos © 2012, Joseph E. Lake, Jr.

Creative Commons License

This work by Joseph E. Lake, Jr. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

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[sale] German rights to Endurance

I am pleased to be able to announce that my German publisher, Bastei Lübbe, has acquired the German language rights to Endurance, to go along with last year’s acquisition of Green along with the Mainspringtrilogy. This is via my agent Jennifer Jackson of Donald Maass Literary Agency.

By happy coincidence, today she also sent me the link to the art for the forthcoming German translation of Escapement. The German cover art is gorgeous.

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[process] Mature characters with backstory

Saturday evening I was texting with [info]bravado111 (urban fantasy author J.A. Pitts) about how much we both liked Saladin Ahmed’s Throne of the Crescent Moonjlake.com | LiveJournal ]. John observed that the book read like the fourth volume of a series, and compared it to the original Star Wars movie, now known as A New Hope.

This got me on to thinking about mature protagonists, a topic which has already been on my mind somewhat of late. Mature characters come with their own backstories, their own histories. (For that matter, so do infants, but in dramatic narratives, people with fully formed life histories are usually more interesting.)

Among my books, Rocket Science, Mainspring, Escapement, Pinion, Green, Endurance and Kalimpura all center around young protagonists. Death of a Starship and the Flowers books deal with people in middle age. (The Before Michaela Cannon, core protagonist of Sunspin‘s ensemble cast, is 2,000 years old, so she’s a bit of an outlier.) With those younger protagonists, a major aspect of the story being told is their own journey to maturation and discovery of their life path. The older protagonists have a lot of backstory and implied action embedded in their preferences, desires, choices and reactions to the unfolding of the plot.

Certainly that latter effect is what Saladin achieved in Throne of the Crescent Moon. Hence [info]bravado111‘s reaction. Those characters had been around a long time, had experienced many prior adventures, had lived.

What I’m now chewing on is whether I think it’s a bigger challenge to write a youthful protagonist or to write an older protagonist. How does this affect the reading experience? Green and its subsequent volumes would be very different books if she were middle aged at the time of the action. Some of the key underlying themes of Sunspin would be null and void if Cannon weren’t literally the oldest human being who had ever lived. And Ahmed’s Doctor Adoulla Makhslood wouldn’t be anything like he is if he were still living in the bloom of youth.

Food for thought, indeed. What’s your take, as either a reader or a writer, on the age of protagonists?

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[links] Link salad on the final day of chemo

A catalog of digital thoughts: Escapement — A reader reacts to my second clock punk novel, Escapement.

20 awesome gingerbread creations inspired by sci-fi films and TV — A gingerbread AT-AT? (Via my mom.)

As Permafrost Thaws, Scientists Study the Risks — I don’t know why scientists are wasting money gathering realworld data when GOP ideology has already told us the Truth.

Hints of Higgs from the Large Hadron Collider APOD with a mighty cool photo of the LHC.

Dear Congress, It’s No Longer OK To Not Know How The Internet Works — SOPA and you. (Via [info]danjite.)

They Call It the Reverse Gender Gap — And so…?

The Ghosts of Watergate — Ah, the politics of resentment.

Iowa newspaper backs Mitt Romney? Weird GOP race gets a little weirder. — The Des Moines Register endorsing Mitt Romney even though Romney has essentially ignored the state? It’s just the latest line in a bizarre GOP presidential primary season. I can sure see why conservative voters unhappy with Obama long for a return to Bush-era runaway expansion of Federal powers, massively costly foreign wars and record-setting deficits, but I can only laugh at their inability to find a sufficiently lunatic savior from among their pool of candidates.

?otd: Would you recommend cancer as a hobby?


12/18/2011
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo fatigue)
Body movement: 0.0 hours (chemo fatigue)
Hours slept: 10.5 (fitful)
Weight: n/a
Currently (re)reading: Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey

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[publishing] Out of contract blues

Now I’m going to complain about something that will probably irk some of the aspiring writers who read this blog. It’s one of those established writer problems that can look ridiculous from the outside, but is perfectly real and serious from the inside.

I’m out of a trade publishing contract for the first time since 2006. And it feels very weird to me.

Mainspring was originally contracted by Tor in 2006 for a 2007 release, along with a second book to be named later, which was eventually Escapement. Near the end of that contract cycle, Green and Pinion were contracted. Near the end of that contract cycle, Endurance and Kalimpura were contracted.

Well, now it’s 2011 and I’ve delivered Kalimpura for 2012 publication and, well, here we are. It’s not that Tor and I have parted ways. It’s not that we haven’t parted ways. We simply haven’t had the discussions, nor have I entered into discussions with any other trade publishers.

Some of this is my own doing, as I decided to write the Sunspin series as spec books rather than proposing them to Tor. Some of this is the cancer, which has stolen half my writing time in past two years, slowing down my ability to deliver a spec book in time to propose it to Tor, or anyone else, within my usual contract cycle. Longtime readers may recall that had I not experienced another metastasis this year, I had planned to write all three volumes of Sunspin by this fall. The book package would have been ready to go to market last summer, except for cancer.

And now, thanks to the travails of chemo and my resulting inability to execute on important revisions recommended by la agente, Sunspin‘s first volume won’t be ready to go to market before next February or March at the earliest. So I’m going to stay out of contract for quite some time to come, unless we take the rather unusual step of trying to sell on proposal plus unrevised draft.

All of which makes me feel very weird and insecure about my career. I’m in danger of missing the 2013 publishing cycle. I’m going to take a financial hit, to boot, simply because of delayed contract and payment timelines. But mostly, I worry about simply disappearing from view.

So I’ve got the out of contract blues, magnified by my cancer woes. And it doesn’t make me very happy. Another penalty of cancer, another thing being taken from me by this disease.

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[books|writing] Keeping score on my novels

Not that anybody was asking, but in an attempt to corral my own thoughts, here’s a list of all the novels I’ve ever written/co-written or am committed to writing, time and my health permitting. I make this seventeen completed manuscripts, two in-progress manuscripts, and six on the table to be written. In addition to all of the below, [info]kenscholes and I have discussed doing a YA gonzo SF trilogy together, once he’s done with the Psalms of Isaac.

Who has time for cancer?

Written but unpublished

The January Machine (time travel/millenial SF, project abandoned)
Rocket Science (zero draft)
Death of a Starship (zero draft)
The Murasaki Doctrine (space opera/military SF, could not sell)
The Heart of the Beast (with Jeff VanderMeer, project abandoned)
Our Lady of the Islands (with Shannon Page, at my agent)
Other Me (YA lost colony/identity paranoia SF, awaiting rewrite)

Written, in progress or planned

Rocket Science

Death of a Starship

Mainspring
Escapement
Pinion

Green
Endurance (forthcoming)
Kalimpura (forthcoming)

Trial of Flowers
Madness of Flowers
Reign of Flowers (not a committed project)

Calamity of So Long a Life (in progress)
The Whips and Scorns of Time (to be drafted in 2012)
Be All Our Sins Remembered (to be drafted in 2012)

Original Destiny, Manifest Sin (American Old West fantasy/AH, to be drafted in 2012 or 2013)

Black Tulip (Dutch historial thriller/mystery, to be drafted in 2013)

The Rockefeller Plot (1970s diplomatic thriller with Ambassador Joseph Lake, in progress)
[untitled Biafran war novel] (1960s diplomatic thriller with Ambassador Joseph Lake)

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