I am very lucky.

I’m overjoyed to report that Tor Books will publish my first three novels. Look for my debut, The Traitor Baru Cormorant, in Fall 2015.

I’m enormously grateful to my agent, Jennifer Jackson; to Marco Palmieri at Tor; to Sarah Brand, who was sitting in the room at Alpha 2011 when Baru came into my head and who I’m convinced talked me into writing it; to Rachel Sobel and all my other wonderful first readers; and to Jenny and Stefan, for helping get me out of one place and into this one.

One old project, one very new

I’ll have some big news on The Traitor Baru Cormorant in the next couple weeks – not the last hurdle, but certainly not the smallest.

On the full-time front, I’ve accepted an offer from Bungie Studios in Seattle to work as a writer. I’ve been a fan of Bungie’s storytelling since I discovered Marathon Infinity, and I’m really excited to tackle this new challenge.

What I’m up to, and who you should read

I’ve been silent this past month because I’m wrapping up a novel – a geopolitical thriller, ruthless conspiracy and romantic tragedy, an argument about empire and resistance. The Traitor Baru Cormorant is a work of fantasy, but like all art, it exists in a political context. It doesn’t have a choice.

Here I want to plug a number of writers who’ve both contributed to my own political awareness and perpetrated some great art of their own.

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Catherynne M. Valente: a pre-emptive defense

I left academia this year, probably for good, but I look back fondly on all the mysteries. Cognitive science has unearthed a constellation of enigmas – systems in the mind that alter or completely defy our ideas about how we think. Introspection, it turns out, is a bit shit; self-awareness deeply myopic. There’s a lot more going inside our skulls than we realize.

One central idea that’s turned up again and again is the power of exposure. It turns out that much of our cognition is associative. When it comes to thinking, we are, to a surprising extent, what we see, what we hear, and what we read. Everything that comes into the brain adds to a semantic network that influences our thoughts and actions. People do act on what they consume, and, if I may overstep the bounds of firm science for a moment – writers do write what they read.

Everyone, not-writer or, in particular, writer, should read Catherynne Valente, just in order to have her inside their skulls.

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We…need worldbuilding?

In today’s post, I admit to altering my opinions in response to someone else’s argument, costing me my bid for Minister of Authority Heuristics. Speaking of which – I’m blown away by the reception to ‘A Plant (Whose Name is Destroyed)’, including fantastic reviews on Tangent Online and BestScienceFictionStories.com.

After the cut: why I sneered at worldbuilding, how Kate Elliot made me change my mind, and fiction by a very capable friend.

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A Post (Whose Name is Reflexive)

My story ‘A Plant (Whose Name is Destroyed)’ is now up on Strange Horizons, accompanied by a podcast reading in the voice of Fearless Leader Anaea Lay.

I’m very proud of this story. People often ask me whether genre writing, concerned with questions of what if and what next and what’s out there, must sacrifice some of its humanity to achieve its goals. I like to think that moving away from the mundane real doesn’t have to mean moving away from human truths. Distance can provide parallax, or make the familiar strange.

I’d like to talk about this story – and my other short fiction on Beneath Ceaseless Skies – in more depth, but Kate Elliot’s interesting points about worldbuilding are up next.

 

Thoughts on ‘Elysium’

Kate Elliot, prolific fantasy author, said some very interesting things about worldbuilding that I’d like to touch on, and I’d planned to write about them next. But since it’s fresh – my thoughts on Neil Blomkamp’s Elysium, and why it didn’t work for me. (Spoiler: it’s not just because it’s pretty sexist! Really, though: spoilers.)

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