Today I’m departing from our usual fare to update folks on my latest fiction projects.
I just received my author’s copy of the January/February 2009 issue of Cicada, which contains my short story “And Yet It Moves,” an historical piece on Galileo’s confession. This is my first resale of a story (it appeared in Paradox in 2003), and although it’s a departure from my usual science fiction offerings it is one of my favorites. The Cicada website no longer seems to allow you to buy single issues of the magazine, but I’ve found that most Barnes & Noble stores stock it; if they don’t, they can order it for you; just tell the salesperson that Cicada is the young-adult literary magazine published by the Cricket Magazine Group.
More of a professional risk on my part is A Matter of Gravity, my novel now posted to authonomy.com. Briefly, A Matter of Gravity is a book about communication — and how understanding someone's language is crucial to unpuzzling his intent. Michiko Kawachi, a young linguist with humanity’s first-contact mission with the nont’h alien race, must decode the aliens’ language to prevent war — and discover a secret that will upend humanity's understanding of the universe. Please check out the link to the book, which will take you to the authonomy.com site that allows you to read and rank it.
The context: authonomy.com is an innovative site started by HarperCollins to allow new writers to bypass the slush-pile process. For those who aren’t familiar with the industry, the slush pile is the stack of novels they give to an under-paid, over-worked junior editor, with the instruction, “Find the good stuff: But if you take too long at it, or waste our time with books we don’t like, we’ll likely fire you within a year.” For a long time, many writers have suspected the slush-pile process was too overloaded to produce good decisions, and with so few publishers now accepting manuscripts from new writers it’s become rather hopeless even to get noticed, let alone read, considered, bought, etc.
Authonomy.com represents HarperCollins’ answer to the proposition that the slush pile process is fundamentally broken and needs to be replaced. They say they’ve had luck with it, in that by allowing visitors to the site to read and rank the books they’ve in essence recruited an army of slush-pile readers who may well be more representative of the general readership. Books that do well get considered for publication by HarperCollins: no guarantees, but at this point I have to say that if I don’t have enough confidence in my book to expose it to this process, well ...
So please check it out; you may also find other offerings on authonomy.com that you might want to read and rank. Heck, it’s free books to read, and you may discover your next favorite writer.