The Preview Baru Cormorant

“Viciously original, beautifully written, and just heart-rending over and over again.”

There’s a monster coming. An empire with the answers to everything. It wants to conquer your home, your parents, and you.

You are seven years old. You are armed with your wits. No other weapon can be trusted.

Here is your solution: conquer the empire from the inside. Rule the world. Fix the course of history.

Begin.

Tor.com has posted Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 of The Traitor Baru Cormorant.

Continue reading

Let’s Hurt Sentences!

I’m doing page proofs on THE TRAITOR BARU CORMORANT, my September debut. It’s a novel about sex, money, imperial power, colonial resistance, accounting, logistics, psychology, and the price of civilization. It’s a story about a young woman fighting to save her home and change the world. It’s made out of sentences.

I like quite a bit of it. Like any writer, I hate some of it. We can talk about the good stuff when the book comes out! Let’s talk about the sentences I’ve discovered I hate, the specific kind of sentence I loathe the most. Let’s figure out why they’re broken.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading