To the chagrin of my engineer dad and loan agent mom, I’ve never been good at math. For a guy who writes sci fi and tech thrillers, my inability is a crime. I need a calculator to check my sons’ homework; to determine radio delays between Earth and Jupiter; to pursue enemy planes with F/A-18 Super Hornets; and to obsessively tally my income as a 21st Century writer.

Because my strength is words, not numbers, I’ve been careful in setting benchmarks.

No fuzzy-headed artiste am I. I’m a businessman, albeit one whose morning commute consists of stepping across the hallway from his bedroom to his office, typically without shaving, much less changing out of his sweatpants and Niners jersey.

When I self-published The Frozen Sky, I told my wife I wanted to sell 20,000 copies during its first year to consider it a success.

By now, everyone knows the drill.
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Jeff Carlson, author of The Frozen Sky, has released new “author’s cut” e-book editions of his Plague Year trilogy. Unfortunately, due to his contracts with Ace, the new editions are available only outside North America – and this weekend, the first book (Plague Year) is free!

Here is the revised jacket copy:

At last, the author’s cut of the bestselling apocalyptic thriller! The all-new Plague Year is twenty pages longer, less expensive, and packed with artwork.

“Terrifying.” –Scott Sigler
“Riveting.” –David Brin
“Rock-hard realistic.” –James Rollins

The nanotech was intended to save lives. Instead, it killed five billion people, devouring all warm-blooded lifeforms except on the highest mountain peaks.

The safe line is 10,000 feet. Below, there is only death. Above, there is famine and war. Mankind’s final hope rests with a scientist aboard the International Space Station – and with one man in California who gambles everything on a desperate mission into the ruins of the old world…

[GUEST POST] Jeff Carlson on The E-Report

Sometimes I wish I was an old man so I could have written a pile of books that are out of print.


That’s right.  I wish I’d written books that are out of print so I could relist ‘em on Kindle, Nook, iTunes and Kobo at rock bottom modern e-book prices.  I’d make a fortune.  Instead I gotta do things the old-fangled way and write more books first!

Not long ago, I felt like I was the Last Of The Mohicans — a writer who’d come up the traditional path from placing short stories in print magazines to finding an agent to selling novels to a Big 6 publisher who produced, printed, warehoused and distributed fat stacks of dead trees.  (The publisher also fielded returns and issued Byzantine, biannual royalty statements).

Now I’m dangerously close to becoming a wild-eyed e-revolutionary.

After some success republishing my short stories online, knowing exactly what New York had to offer, I self-published my fourth novel in October.

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MIND MELD: SF/F Items on Our Holiday Wishlists

[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

It’s the holidays, which means it’s time for holiday lists! We’re not above generating interesting lists, so this week’s question is:

Q: Which SF/F-related Items are on your Holiday wish list? Why?

Here’s how this week’s panelists replied..

Connie Willis
Connie Willis‘s most recent books are the time-travel opus, Blackout and All Clear (it’s one book in two volumes), which is partly set at Christmas, and All About Emily, also set at Christmas, and with Rockettes! Last May, she had the very great honor to be named a Grand Master of Science Fiction. Right now she’s working on a new Christmas story called “Now Showing,” which will be in George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois’s Rogues and on a novel about telepathy, tentatively called Connection.

I just asked my brother for an extra DVD copy of the British TV show Primeval so that I could loan it out to all the people I’m constantly attempting to convince to watch it. (I refuse to part with my own as I watch it all the time!) It’s absolutely my favorite SF TV show ever! It’s about a team of dinosaur hunters in modern London (I know, I know, but trust me) who are dealing not only with velociraptors but also the government, the need to keep the whole thing secret, team stresses and strains (and romances), a really awful villain. It’s got everything I love–irony, humor, romantic comedy, Andrew Lee Potts, and best of all, a real ending. The show ran 5 seasons (short British seasons) and wrapped everything up with a really emotionally satisfying ending, so no being left hanging like lots of cancelled series we gave our hearts to and/or screwing up the ending, like, say, Torchwood. I’m also giving Primeval to the few people I haven’t already given it to, and a Dr. Who ornament of K-9 to my secretary, who introduced me to the joys of Dr. Who. I would also recommend Dr. Who seasons as great Christmas gifts. It’s on my wish list, too. As for book ideas, I’m currently reading a collection of Jack Finney’s short stories–his time travel stories are wonderful!
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Jeff Carlson is the author of Plague Year, Plague War (a finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award), and Plague Zone. To date, his work has been translated into fifteen languages worldwide. His short stories and nonfiction have appeared in a number of top venues such as Asimov’s, Boys’ Life, Strange Horizons and the Fast Forward 2 anthology. His latest book, The Frozen Sky, is available in paperback and as an eBook.

Adventures in Self-Publishing: What I’ve Learned So Far

Self-publishing is five jobs and a half.  By comparison, writing the book was easy. It was also waaaaay more enjoyable.
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Jeff Carlson is the author of Plague Year, Plague War (a finalist for the 2008 Philip K. Dick Award), and Plague Zone. To date, his work has been translated into fourteen languages. His short stories and nonfiction have appeared in a number of top venues such as Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, Boys’ Life, Strange Horizons and the Fast Forward 2 anthology. His latest book, The Frozen Sky, is available as an eBook.

Aliens, Spaceships and The Frozen Sky

I’m fourth generation sf/f.  My great-grandmother built her library around Frank L. Baum’s Oz series, the original fantasy epic.  She passed those beautiful hardcovers to her son, my grandfather, who kept them alongside “Doc” E.E. Smith novels  such as Triplanetary and Galactic Patrol, which were the cutting edge in his time.

Later, when I was a boy, my grandfather introduced me to the world’s first media tie-ins like Han Solo’s Revenge and Splinter Of The Mind’s Eye.  This was not a man who sneered at popular good fun.  He entranced me with Star Wars books, then fed my new addiction with the classics.

At the same time, my father was bringing home doorstoppers like The Hobbit and Clan Of The Cave Bear, which reads very much like alt history with strange people in a strange world.

My point is I know a good piece of science fiction when I see it.  Tell me this doesn’t fit the bill:

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This week’s Mind Meld topic was suggested by John Klima. We asked this week’s panelists (including John):

Q: Which SF/F/H book do you love that everyone else hates? Which SF/F/H book do you hate that everyone else loves?

Here’s what they said…

Farah Mendlesohn
Farah Mendlesohn used to edit Foundation, the International Review of Science Fiction, is the President of the International Association of the Fantastic of the Arts, and is about to send McFarland a Manuscript about Children’s and Teen science fiction. She has read around 400 of these books so you don’t have to.

Gene Wolfe’s Wizard-Knight. As far as I am concerned this was like reading C.S.Lewis writing Conan the Barbarian. I was mostly repulsed by the ethics, and while I quite understand that this was meant to be a juvenile wet dream of muscular morality, that doesn’t mean I need to read it. The frightening thing was that when I presented this analysis to several well known critics, they agreed with me, and then went on to explain why it was a work of genius.

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SF Tidbits for 8/21/09

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