Thursday, September 21, 2023

E-Book Sales! Today and Tomorrow Only! (Also, Free Stories)


It's not just you. Open Road Media has been running promotion-sales of my e-books rather a lot lately. No idea why. But if I can't cooperate with the people who are working hard to earn me money, then what a I doing in this business?

So here's the deal: Today, Thursday, September 21, my first novel In the Drift, is on sale for only $1.99. One day only, and only in the United States.

Tomorrow, Friday, September 22, my dinosaurs-paleontologists-and-time-travel novel Bones of the Earth, goes on sale for one day only. Again, it's just $1.99 and, again, available only in the US.

And what's this about free stories . . .?

Over at, they're offering a free download of their Summer 2023 Short Fiction Bundle, containing all the short fiction they've put up online over the last several months. It includes my story, "The Star Bear," so I think it's a terrific deal.

You can find it here



Wednesday, September 13, 2023

E-Book Three-Book Sale! Vacuum Bones of the Drift! Friday Only!



As happens on an irregular but kinda frequent schedule, Open Road Media is having a sale of some of my work in e-book format. This time, it's a bundle of three novels: Vacuum Flowers, Bones of the Earth, and In the Drift will be available for purchase this Friday, September 15, for $3.99.  (US only.)

That's a pretty good deal if you a) read e-books, b) don't have those three of my novels, and c) would like to read them.


Thursday, September 7, 2023

A Time-Line for Slow-Starting Gonnabes



Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, who labored long and hard to create a book-length series of interviews with yours truly,  Being Michael Swanwick, shared with me a solicited blurb from John Clute recently

“Some authors refuse to talk about themselves or their work. Others do so, but run out of new things to say. Only a few have the fertility and the mental legs to go deep and long. J. G. Ballard and Samuel R. Delany and Robert Silverberg are three who’ve done so, at great length: but the books containing interviews with them, which take up hundreds of pages, end too soon. And so it is with Michael Swanwick. The 300 pages of Being Michael Swanwick are not enough. It is only the beginning of a fractal journey into the art and artifice and accident and fatedness inspiring his work that make almost every story Michael’s written over the near half century of a brilliant and prolific career so much worth talking about. The more we read, the more we want. The more we want from him, the more we gain.”

This is heady praise. But I don't quote it in an attempt to win your admiration. Ignore all that.

 By a coincidence, over on Facebook, in response to a comment that surely I was always a good writer, my old friend Jay Schauer, himself a very good writer and a much earlier-bloomer than me, posted in response to a comment that I was surely always a good writer:

As Michael's former next-door dormmate, I'd like to mention that he was NOT always a good writer. I read some of his early fiction, and it wasn't that good. But his determination to learn and improve was hugely present. I honestly thought he didn't have the chops, and told him so. He proved me wrong -- hugely wrong. Now I look to him for inspiration and guidance. I have no hope of ever being as good a writer as Michael, but I can learn from his outstanding stories, and more important from his complete devotion his craft. I'm sure I'm not the only one to feel gratitude for his work.
After which, Marianne Porter, the owner-editor-proprietor of Dragonstairs Press (and by sheer coincidence my wife) wrote:
I met him a few years later. By then he was writing concentrated, intense, dazzling ... fragments. But always writing.

Now let's put together a timeline:
 1966: One night, my junior year of high school, after finishing my homework, I read The Lord of the Rings. I determine to become a writer.
1972: The last year of college, Jay still believes my work is hopelessly bad. He is right.
1975: I get a job working as a clerk-typist for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Health, Bureau of Laboratories in Landis State Hospital, where I meet Marianne. I have progressed all the way to writing interesting fragments.
1979:  I finish my first science fiction story. It's not very good. Gardner Dozois and Jack Dann show me how to fix it.
1980: I publish my first two stories, "Ginungagap" and "The Feast of Saint Janis." They both place on the Nebula ballot. And lose.
1990: Stations of the Tide wins a Nebula, my first major award after a decade of losing I forget how many.
2023: John Clute's kind and generous praise of my work.
So I dedicated my life to writing at age 16 and might be judged a success at age 40. Some of us are just slow starters. But I am still going, still writing, at age 72. I spell all this out for the sake of any gonnabe writers who are feeling discouraged but won't quit anyway. (As a rule of thumb, if you can quit, you should; this is a rough way to earn a living.) There are writers who start young and are first-rate almost immediately. That's not all of us. Sometimes it takes a big chunk of your life to get anywhere. Sometimes that's just the price of admission.
End of sermon. Go thou and sin no more.

The Best of Me, Volume Two



Look what came in the mail a week or so ago! A do-it-yourself Bookhenge kit.

Okay, it's not a very original joke. You probably made one of these yourself when you were a kid. If you're a published author, you definitely made one of these as an adult.

Nevertheless, I am extremely pleased with the Subterranean Press volume.  It's beautifully made, has a terrific cover by Lee Moyer, and it's chock-a-blck with stories that are, if I may apply the soft sell, well worth reading.

So I'm happy. As witness the fact that, like every other author in the world, my first impulse was to create Bookhenge.


And since you ask . . .

Here's the Table of Contents:

  • Introduction: The Apple Tree, the Vacuum Tubes, and All the World Besides
  • The Mongolian Wizard
  • The Man in Grey
  • Ancient Engines
  • Starlight Express
  • Urdumheim
  • Tin Marsh
  • Dragon Slayer
  • Steadfast Castle
  • Nirvana or Bust
  • The Last Geek
  • Of Finest Scarlet Was Her Gown
  • Eighteen Songs by Debussy
  • The She-Wolf’s Hidden Grin
  • Moon Dogs
  • Huginn and Muninn—and What Came After
  • The Dala Horse
  • Libertarian Russia
  • Dreadnought
  • An Episode of Stardust
  • The Skysailor’s Tale
  • Ghost Ships
  • An Empty House with Many Doors
  • Annie Without Crow
  • Passage of Earth
  • The New Prometheus
  • For I Have Lain Me Down on the Stone of Loneliness and I’ll Not Be Back Again
  • The Beast of Tara
  • Pushkin the American
  • “Hello,” Said the Stick
  • There Was an Old Woman
  • The Bordello in Faerie
  • Cloud
  • The Woman Who Shook the World Tree
  • Goblin Lake
  • The Last Days of Old Night
  • The Scarecrow’s Boy
  • Universe Box

 Not a bad bunch of stories if I do say so myself.

You can buy the book (if you wish) at your local independent bookstore or direct from Subterranean Press. It costs $50.00 for the signed, limited edition hardcover but only $6.99 for the e-book. Click here if that's what you want. Or just go their website and wander about, daydreaming about having enough mad money on hand to buy literally everything here.




Monday, September 4, 2023

The Christopher Morley Wine Challenge


Christopher Morley, newspaperman and middle class bon vivant, wrote an essay about wine and the Prohibition which contains the following partial paragraph, eulogizing wines that were no longer legal in the United States:

There are names that I am selfish enough to enjoy rehearsing. Musigny, rich in bouquet and ether; Romanee-Conti, d'une delicatesse. Clos Vougeot, potent and velvety, Richebourg with exquisite power and aroma. Hospice de Beaune, strong but a touch acrid; Pommard that tickles the cheekbone; Pouilly, the perfect luncheon wine. Nuits St. Georges, bright and gracious. Chambertin, which seems to me just faintly metallic, bitterer than the soft Musigny. Meuralt, which I ran above Pouilly, and the adorable Chablis Moutonne, clear and fine as the lizard's bell-note when he rings, like an elfin anvil, softly under the old stone steps in the mild French dusk.

Sounds good, doesn't it?  A delightful mouthful to reproduce at home over the space of a year or so, I thought. So I set out to see how much it would cost to sample those wines. Not his vintage, of course. But whatever was contemporaneously available. 

And the answer? Choosing always the cheapest bottle in the category... It came to a little over four thousand dollars.

Even allowing for inflation, Morley couldn't possibly have spent so much on wine. Clearly, wine used to be a lot cheaper back when than it is now;

There is no moral to this post. I just thought you'd find it interesting.

Friday, September 1, 2023

E-Book Sales Today & Sunday! Also B&N!



 I have three promotions to announce today! Wow. I don't think that's ever happened to me before.

First up is the e-book of  Bones of the Earth, my hard-science dinosaur novel and easily the single novel that was most fun to research. It is available TODAY ONLY for only $1.99. Available in the US only.

Second up is Vacuum Flowers, often mistaken as a cyberpunk novel. Actually, it's a bright and inventive tour of a future solar system, when human brains can be easily reprogrammed. Available this Sunday, September 3, again for $1.99 and, again, in the US only.

And then there's the third . . .

Here's what Barnes & Noble has just recently informed me:

B&N will be running a pre-order sale between 9/6 and 9/8, exclusively for B&N Members and Premium Members. Members will receive 25% off all pre-orders (print, eBook, audio), and Premium Members will receive an extra 10% off print pre-orders. All TPG titles available for pre-order at that time (titles with pub dates between 9/12/23-8/27/24) will be eligible. This means Stations of the Tide in its Trade Paperback edition!

So there you have it. If e-books are your thing or if you're a B&N Member or Premium Member, this is your chance.