Category Archives: Line and Orbit

Sunday Linkdump: A smile I’ve learned to fear

He's watching.

He’s watching.

So it’s been a while, hasn’t it? Stuffing some news in with the links.

To my immense chuffedness, Line and Orbit took silver in the Best Gay SF and bronze in the Best Gay Debut categories in the 2013 Rainbow Awards. Many, many congrats to all the winners and finalists.

Linky links.

  • “Michigan passes ‘rape insurance’ bill”. The Republican governor actually opposed it. Michigan, I cannot even with you.
  • “The Return of the Welfare Queen”. Which does not actually exist, naturally.

    The facts defy the stereotypes. The largest group of food-stamp recipients is white; 45 percent of all beneficiaries are children; and most people eligible for Medicaid are families with children in which at least one person in the household has a job.

  • “David Cronenberg Wants to Be Inside You.” On the Cronenberg exhibition currently making the rounds and Cronenberg’s overall oeuvre.
  • “Friday the 13th: A Ghost Story”. This past Friday was the 13th. So someone had a surprising and unwelcome visitor.
  • “Five Stages of Reading the Novelization of Star Trek: The Motion Picture”.

    The book starts with a special preface by Admiral Kirk. He introduces himself by talking about his name. Kirk, because he’s a traditionalist, Tiberius because of his grandfather’s fascination with the classics, and James after his uncle and his mother’s first love instructor.

    Yeah. That’s what it said. That’s page one.

  • Over at Cyborgology, David Banks has the first part of a post series we’re doing, of our own personal history with devices and digital technology. As I said on Twitter, it’s funny, insightful, and rather sweet.
  • And I have the first part of a two-part essay on sex and drones and how they go together.

    Drones have become a symbol of contemporary surveillance, a thing that’s always there and always watching and always potentially capable of doing harm. Sometimes this harm is through direct violence, and sometimes it’s merely the delivery of data to people who can use it against you. But either way, there are two aspects to the erotic power of drones, and they’re interrelated: Being known, and being controlled.

This has become my theme/end titles music for Labyrinthian, the SF novel I just finished writing, so enjoy.

Line and Orbit sequel news!

The news is that I’m rewriting it. Almost completely. Not going back through and changing some scenes around, not making some major adjustments. I mean I’m scrapping what I have and starting almost entirely from scratch. With the exception LineandOrbitof one subplot, and a few characters, it’s going to be a totally different book.

There are a number of reasons why I’m doing this. Some of it is that, on further consideration, there are  a number of aspects of Fall and Rising as the current version stands that simply don’t work as well as they could. I took on a lot in that book, and I’m not confident that I pulled all of it off as well as I might have. I’m not averse to failure, even in public, but it’s something that I also see no reason not to avoid if at all possible. A lot of Fall and Rising is uncomfortable, and I’m not convinced that all of it is uncomfortable in a good way.

Another reason is money. I want to sell this book and I want to get paid.

I haven’t had any luck finding a publisher for it as it is. This is a problem, and the problem is compounded by the fact that it’s a sequel, not a standalone novel. It’s also much bleaker than Line and Orbit, and while I love and value my bleak writing – my short fiction can be just brutal a lot of the time – I’m not sure that bleak is the right tone for this series. I don’t believe that sequels have to perfectly match their predecessors in tone, but I also don’t believe that they should be vastly different.

So while I dearly love Fall and Rising and while I’ve very proud of huge chunks of it, it’s going into the proverbial drawer and something else is happening. I view this as a learning experience. I don’t think it was a mistake, and I don’t think the effort I put into it was wasted. It just isn’t going to be what I thought it was.

The takeaway is that this never stops being an educational process.

So, as of right now, here are the things (I think) I know about this new version of the next chapter of Line and Orbit:

  • The focus is back on Adam and Lochlan. I love Eva and Kyle, and I think they’ll be showing up in a major way, but Adam and Lochlan were among the primary things that people seemed to fall in love with in the first book, and I think it makes sense to stick with them. That means that this is back to being primarily “M/M” (scare quotes because I am still not 100% comfortable with that categorical marker). There are a number of reasons why I think this is a Good Thing on the whole.
  • It’s not going to be as goddamn bleak. I think a lot of bad things will still happen, but not nearly to the degree that they were happening in the first version of the book.
  • Spoiler alert: For those of you who’ve read my story in Hellebore and Rue, you may see some familiar faces. I’m really pleased about this, and I’m happy that I’m doing this rewrite if only because I get to circle back around in that way.
  • Nkiruka, the would-be replacement for Ixchel, is still in the game.
  • The villain remains the same guy with  the same characterization. Because I love his perfect face.
  • It does essentially the same job as the first version. That is, setting up the third and final book in the series, in essentially the same way. We end at basically the same place, we’re just getting there by a very different route.

So that’s where things currently stand. I’ve started work on it and I don’t expect to blast through it nearly as fast as Labyrinthian (which takes place in the same ‘verse so will hopefully act as an appetite whettener), so we’re ideally talking a finished MS by the end of January at the latest. I’m also supposed to be writing Rookwar, the third book in the Casting the Bones trilogy, so Fall and Rising may get pushed back depending on what my priorities end up being. Oh, yeah, I’m also theoretically writing a doctoral dissertation. So there’s that.

Anyway, for those who are interested, them’s the haps.

In which I’m seriously dorky about music and my writing

Okay, so while I procrastinate re: the Line and Orbit sequel (I should just really start calling it Fall and Rising, except I feel like L&O has more name recognition right now) I thought I’d post a couple songs that have been serving as mood-setters for a while now.

One of the dorky (see above) things I do when I’m writing something huge that I love is to find songs that could sort of serve as the “end titles” if what I were working on was a movie. I’ve had one for Line and Orbit for a while that I’ve been referring back to, and now I have one for Fall and Rising as well.

So, Line and Orbit:

M83 ft. Susanne Sundfor – Oblivion

This song is effing perfect, at least in my mind. I didn’t see the film and after reading the general review consensus I don’t much want to, but this song has it all: epic scope, soaring chorus, lyrics about night and stars, and this heartbreakingly lovely little solo piano coda. I can’t imagine any other piece of music serving as well.

Fall and Rising:

Young Beautiful in a Hurry and Bear McCreary – I Forever

Whereas Oblivion is sweeping and epic, this song is smaller and more intimate, which I feel like actually fits the book better. In many ways it’s a smaller, more intensely intimate book, though epic aspects are certainly still there. And I think those aspects are wonderfully captured by the elegant piano and strings, while the vocal pulls you in much closer. It’s also a love song that isn’t necessarily about romantic love, which I think serves to accommodate the range of different relationships I’m working with here.

So that’s it. I’m sure by the time the third as-yet-untitled book rolls around I’ll have something ready for it as well, and I’m sure I’ll be dorky when that happens too.

More Line and Orbit outtakes: An interlude with Kae and Leila

Here, for your reading enjoyment, is another one of the bits of Line and Orbit that was cut from the final version of the book. It was one of the casualties of our many cuts for length, and ended up going because it doesn’t do a huge amount to LineandOrbitadvance the plot. However, what it does do is present a sweet little slice of life at home with Kae and Leila, and also builds their characters a bit. Additionally, it brings to light something about Kae’s character that, without this scene, actually doesn’t get revealed until later in the book.

It made me sad to have to cut it. But hey, here it is for free. Hope you enjoy.

A note on chronology: This scene originally came at the end of chapter 9, after Lochlan has taken Adam to meet with the Council and Adam has had his first awkward meeting with Ixchel. There are no majorly important spoilers to speak of unless you count Kae’s character thing, but the scene also won’t make the maximum amount of sense if you haven’t read the book.

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Quick little taste of the Line and Orbit sequel.

The trees thinned out around her, the path widening, and then they fell away entirely and she came out into the fields, the grass whispering in the breeze and carrying the sweet smell of heather and the bracken that grew at the edge of the wood, mixed with the headier scent of honeysuckle. The light of the sunlamps was deepening into afternoon, and for a moment Nkiruka stood, breathing it in. She tilted her head back. Far above her, through the transparent ceiling, the stars shone in the night that went on forever.

She had not been born on Ashwina but on Suzaku, where the High Fields were drier and faded into patches of red desert, and the Arched Halls were–strangely–lusher and more humid, more like what people described as the equatorial jungles of Terra. She had grown up in those Fields and those Halls, had carried their dust and drifting pollen within her when she came to Ashwina to learn how to fight, to dance the death dances, to pilot an escort fighter. It had been an adjustment but she had made it. She would never love these lands the way she loved the lands that rested at the top of Suzaku’s great bulk, but she had grown to love them all the same.

Anything growing. Miracles in the black.

I am so, so happy to be back here again. And I love this character.

Line and Orbit: The deleted scenes! In which Lochlan makes a new friend.

Some of you may – or may not – be aware that Line and Orbit used to be quite a lot longer. Specifically, it was almost an entire book’s length longer. A great deal LineandOrbitwas cut, some of which we loved, and it seems a shame to think those bits might never see the light of day in any form.

So something that I and my co-author will be doing in the next month or so is pulling out some of the scenes that were cut from the final edit of Line and Orbit, dusting them off a bit, and posting them here for your reading pleasure.

The scene below is actually a huge chunk of what was chapter three, before chapter three became the segment that introduces us to Lochlan and Ixchel. It should be understood to take place directly after the scene in which Ixchel reads Lochlan’s future. It’s significant in that it’s actually the scene that was originally supposed to introduce readers to Kae and Leila, whereas in the final cut Kae and Leila are introduced only after Adam arrives on Ashwina.

It also features Lochlan being his cocky, promiscuous self. And Kae’s full, glorious name.

For those concerned: There are no major spoilers for the plot itself. If you haven’t read or haven’t finished reading, do not fear. Enjoy.

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Line and Orbit’s Lochlan and Adam: Super-exclusive and totally for actual real interview

As work on the Line and Orbit sequel continues, I thought it might be appropriate to check on the previous book’s two main characters. Between Line and Orbit and its sequel, a lot of time has passed, there’s a bunch of catching up to do, and anyway I miss them both. So I managed to get hold of them and sit them down for a short chat… Which Lochlan of course entirely highjacked and stripped of any decorum or meaningful substance it might have had.

He’s basically a jerk. See for yourself, after the cut.

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