Sunday, August 18, 2019

A Linguistic Footnote


I was having dinner with The Fabulous Pat Cadigan last night (as well as other good friends) when Pat, reminiscing, almost settled a small mystery I've been wondering about for over 35 years: the origins of the word cyberpunk.

Gardner Dozois, who was often credited with inventing the word because he was the first to apply it to people like William Gibson in print (and who, when told another person claimed precedence, "Let him have the credit; it never did me any good!") always said that he'd first heard it in conversation. From Pat Cadigan, he thought.  

So, as I said reminiscing, Pat told me that in 1979, she was either listening to the radio or watching TV (the restaurant was noisy), when Cars by Gary Numan came on. After the song, the DJ-or-VJ said, "Well, there's some cyberpunk for you."

Not long after, Pat carried the word into SF on foot... and the rest is rather well-documented.

The actual creator of the word may never be known. Unless it was on TV and somebody chances to stumble across the tape. And even then, who knows who the music jock himself got it from?

Language is a mysterious thing and endlessly wallowable-in.

Above: Pat, mugging for the camera in Helsinki.


Thursday, August 15, 2019

The Iron Dragon's Daughter & the Dublin Worldcon


The Dublin Worldcon begins today! So I'll be busy all weekend.

Meanwhile, there is a flash sale of The Iron Dragon's Daughter as a Kindle Daily Deal TODAY ONLY at The ebook will be downpriced to $1.99.

So if you're an ebook reader and curious about the first book in the Iron Dragon trilogy, this is a good opportunity.

But you'll have to act fast.

Meanwhile, I've got people to schmooze and Smithwick's to drink.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Bones of the Earth Ebook Sale!


I leave for Ireland on Sunday! (But--a friendly note to criminal opportunists, the house will be occupied by My Son the Black Belt) So I'll be spending the day running around and doing things that have to be done.

While I'm away, I'll do my best to keep you posted. Brace yourselves for a flood of photos of people having way too much fun in one of the most beautiful countries on the planet.

Meanwhile, I got an email from Open Road Media. As follows:

I am pleased to let you know that Bones of the Earth will be featured in BookBub, a daily ebook deals newsletter with millions of subscribers, on 8/10/2019. The ebook will be downpriced to 1.99 across all US retailers on that day, and Open Road will promote the feature via social media.

You can subscribe to BookBub here so that you'll get the direct link to the deal on the day that it appears in the newsletter.

So if you're an ebook reader and love dinosaurs (as who doesn't?) and don't already have my dinosaurs-and-time-travel novel, this is a good deal.

But, if I read this correctly, it's a one-day-only good deal. So be prepared to pounce!


Tuesday, August 6, 2019

A Horror Movie for Trees


After posting a new picture from the Image Book every day (almost) for over three months, I have reverted to my old, slovenly ways--promising three posts a week and immediately being a day late with Monday's.

The problem is that I'm feverishly working to have a promised story finished, polished, and delivered before flying to Ireland. Which means writing it over and over and over again. There up above is my wastebasket, en route to the recycling bin.

I buy paper by the case, and frequently. When trees go to horror movies, they see my office. "Don't go in!" they shriek at the innocent young fir on the screen. "Swanwick needs paper!!!"

There's got to be an easier way to write. But I haven't found it yet.


Friday, August 2, 2019

The Iron Dragon Notebooks


If there is a theme to this blog--and who knows?--it would be that whenever I'm busiest and most productive, I have the least to say. Conversely, when I have announcements galore, I'm rarely getting much of anything done.

Right now, because I am waist-deep in any number of very interesting projects that I cannot yet talk about, I have almost nothing to say. So I thought I'd share a few pages from the Iron Dragon Notebooks, compiled as I was writing The Iron Dragon's Mother, to keep my notes and thoughts in one easy-to-find place.

Don't worry, I'm not going to share every page of them, the way I did with the Image Book. But when  it's a question of dipping into them or letting the blog lie too long fallow...

Here's an interior page with a picture of Caitlin's half-brother Fingolfinrhod that I think really captures him. As the text in the bottom left corner puts it:

Long, tall, regally thin
A pale flame
Fey in the truest sense
Knowing but kind

The pages are largely taken up with the attempt to find a name for the character. Apparently he came close to being named Echthelion, hard thought that is to imagine.

At this point, Caitlin was still named Charlotte.

Finally, here's the inside cover of Book I.As you can see, I was originally thinking of calling it Mother of Dragons. The success of a Certain Show on HBO put the kibosh on that.

It's probably just as well. The Iron Dragon's Mother seems to be the title the book was meant to have.


Thursday, August 1, 2019

A Wondrous Strange World


Look what popped up today... a rave review not for The Iron Dragon's Mother, but for The Dragons of Babel, the second book in my accidental fantasy trilogy.

The reviewer (or, almost, essayist) is Jonathan Thornton and the review appears at The Fantasy Hive. I won't say a lot about it because a positive review can be almost as entertaining as a blood-letter, if the reviewer is knowledgeable enough. So you should consider reading it.

The piece does identify the insight that is central to all three books (The Iron Dragon's Daughter being the other): That this is a wondrous strange world we live in, and though we go to fantasy to escape into worlds unlike our own, it is the duty of fantasy to at some point reconnect with reality and comment upon it.

More than that I will not say, because I'm getting perilously close to humblebragging here, and I am a modest man.

You can find the review here.